James Mason Hutchings, 1854-55
Transcription of the California and Oregon travel diary (Library of Congress MMC-1892) of artist, illustrator and future Yosemite National Park advocate James Mason Hutchings.
In the diary Hutchings frequently refers to details in his sketches and photographs; please let me know if any are discovered or suspected. Hutchings refers to taking daguerreotype "views," though he may be using the term generically. In 1855 he could have been producing ambrotypes, tintypes or even paper prints from glass negatives.
----------This diary is sometimes cited as covering the year 1855, but actually covers September 13, 1854 through November of 1855. Beginning in September of 1854 Hutchings kept his diary in a book bound by Marvin & Hitchcock of San Francisco for the year 1854, with the date and day of the week imprinted on each page. After December 31 he continued in the same book, filling in the the blank pages at the beginning of the book with the events of 1855. Hutchings continued sporadically to make notes in the book as late as 1858; I've rearranged them below in chronological order.
For Hutchings' diary of his 1848 voyage to America and his 1849 journey across the plains to California, see here.
James Mason Hutchings
September 13, 1854
Mountain Brow House to Stockton 35 miles.
This morning had the good luck to find a two & half dollar piece. I did not arrive at this house until half past eight last night having thought to stay at Knight's Ferry but they wanted to charge me more than teamsters and I wouldn't stand it so drove on--
The road is very good--there is one thing remarkable in the landscape near the Stanislaus River on the low hills they are washed into a conical shape others into a round top with narrow belts of harder sand than others, and this makes the appearance irregular--
Passed a large number of ox teams and heavy wagons having from 9 to 13 thousand pounds of freight--they are like small steamboats on wheels. As they move along the ground seems to move also--and although these are so large and heavy one is astonished to see how steadily every ox draws his portion--and more so the mules--sometimes we meet a number of teams having from 8 to 12 heavy fine built mules to one wagon, and these frequently--having a number of bells across their collars and the driver looks as proud of them as possible as he seated upon his near mule by a touch of the line guides the leaders with great exactness and puts on the "brake" descending the hills. Some of the names of these mammoth wagons will give one an idea of the pride they feel in them. One is called the "Bride of the Mountains," another "Pride of the Valleys"--"George Washington" "Prairie Flower" "Wild Irishman" "The Belle of California" "Defiance"
September 14, 1854
January 1860 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
September 15, 1854
Stockton to Dry Creek 25 miles.
Leaving Stockton this morning we were directed to take the upper or the best road to Sac. City, and joined when out about a mile that the road was thoroughly fenced up and having to go back--I thought this a very free country where a man could fence up a public road without putting up a notice to inform travelers of the fact.
There are some fine ranches around Stockton and for several miles on the road to Sacramento most of the land is taken up.
Met a man just across the plains with whom I conversed for some time and learned the following facts--the Indians on the Humboldt near the upper crossing had given them battle and wounded two men at daybreak in the morning running off 3 horses &c. He swears that he will cross the plains again and will supply every Indian who makes his appearance in their camp--without their women or pics--with strychnine in a biscuit--for says he the only reason for coming to beg is to see what and how well they can steal--and not a woman ever entered their camp after leaving the upper waters of this river--they the women being kept in the mountains out of the way while they steal. All very well throughout the journey. Brought a good number of stock over.
Saw an almost deserted garden with fine young peach trees growing. The greater portion of the land on this upper road is rolling and barren.
From Stockton to Staples' Ferry on Mokelumne River it is 17 miles from there to Dry Creek 10 miles--
There is a beautiful scene on the Mok River at the ford or ferry.
September 16, 1854
Dry Creek to Sacramento 28 miles.
The country is generally rolling & barren--the soil mixed with quartz.
Noticed a horse racking--or moving the two feet on one side at the same time.
Saw some men threshing wheat with a machine near Dry Creek.
Sunday, September 17, 1854
September 18, 1854
Have spent the day in Sacramento City--one of the most busy cities on the Pacific, and the best laid out and most cleanly city upon any of the rivers or bays of California--the streets running east and west are called after letters of the alphabet such as I St., J St., H St., &c.--those streets running north and south are called First, Second, Third St. &c., &c. See description of Sac. City page ___.
Today I saw a house 30 by 20--two stories high moving along J St.--drawn upon two log wagons by 4 yoke of oxen to each wagon. This is house moving if not table moving.
I bought today the engravings of a letter sheet--called "Crossing the Plains" from Messrs. Barber & Baker for three hundred & fifty dollars.
Sent 24 sketches of California to care of Mr. Bartlett, Placerville--care of Adams & Co.'s Express.
September 19, 1854
May 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Sac. City to Nicholas 25 miles.
This morning we left Sac. City passing a singular shaped "bar" with a roof projecting about 30 ft.--as a shade for teamsters to rest and "take a drink"--this was near the bridge. The bridge is substantial & double tracked, about 300 feet in length with ten arches--built across the American River about two miles above the Sacramento into which stream it empties--and materially increases the muddiness of the latter--on account of the immense amount of mining on the three branches of the American. Nearly all of the teams for the northern mines cross this bridge or as shown in the sketch ford the river when the water is low. Ladies will frequently cross the ford on horseback in preference to the bridge--I suppose to let the men see that lack of courage is no portion of their nature. Crossing the ford we journeyed to a house "solitary and alone" where they charged us one dollar each for dinner--same price as '49 & '50. This house was called twelve miles from Sac. City. Seven miles further--another house called "The Universal Hotel"--and 6 miles further came to Nicholas--distance 25 miles from Sac. City.
Our road today has been very good, running just at the foot of a gentle slope--and at times could be seen a whitish kind of cement cropping out--the telegraph running about parallel with the road.
Nicholas as shown in the view is a small town of about 150 inhabitants composed chiefly of agriculturists and mechanics lying upon the eastern bank of the Sac. River. There is a fine district for land adapted to farming purposes and well timbered in oaks and buttonwood.
In the year 1850 Nicholas was a town of about 1,200 inhabitants with 8 first class hotels and numerous stores supposing this to be the head of navigation on the Sacramento River, but after the fire in Sac. City most of them were removed either to the latter city or to Marysville--there being nothing to support them as a city. Stages for Nevada & Downieville with loaded teams used to start from here. It is now the county seat of Sutter Co. and has a courthouse (such as it is)--formerly the court used to operate in a store.
September 20, 1854
Nicholas to Marysville 18 miles.
This morning spent in taking a sketch and a dag. [daguerreotype] of a splendid horse (for the owner) at Nicholas--
Noon started--3 miles brought us to Bear River which is crossed by a rough bridge. It is but a small stream indeed it is nearly dry--and it is astonishing how small even the banks or bed of these streams are considering how flat must be the country & slow the current--indeed they are not nearly as large as in the mountains--
8 miles further brought us to Dry Creek--there are dry creeks in every county--in great plenty--I suppose for the want of a better name--the whole distance today is upon a good road and partly through a timbered country like what the "Illinoisans" would call "oak opening."
Near to Marysville we passed Mr. Beach's fine peach orchard of several thousand trees--most of them young although this is the third year they have considerable fruit upon them. It must be very profitable eventually.
When near the Yuba River one could perceive a smell unusual further south from rotting vegetation and weeds. Soon after dark we reached the Yuba River but being too dark couldn't see it much--saw a shadowy something like a ferry boat and hailed the keeper who gave us the "all right" and brought the boat over and we were soon across and in Marysville--stayed at the Orleans and charge for suppers were $1.50 the two and beds $1 each making $5.00 for supper, breakfast & lodging for two men.
September 21, 1854
February 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
This morning we are in Marysville. It is truly a good substantial city of about 9,000 inhabitants situated at the junction of the Yuba & Feather rivers 43 or 45 miles by land from Sacramento City and __ miles by water. Describe more fully--[write] good description. Was shown a man this morning who is a singular kind of genius who frequently goes upon a "bust" for some weeks together and on one of these occasions some way sent an account of his death to the paper who duly recorded it. In a few days he came back--saw the account of his death and was shortly afterwards seen with a pick, shovel & bottle of brandy and on being interrogated "was he going prospecting," replied that he was dead--the papers had made him so--and it must be so! and he would have decent burial, and consequently was on his way to select the spot and dig his own grave. Someone persuaded him that it was poor policy to do that work upon such poor brandy and offered to get him some better if he would accompany him--which he did and afterwards returned and dug his grave--this attracted quite a crowd to see him--but towards night he was too drunk to have a sober kind of burial so postponed the burial until morning and as he had noticed the joke suitably--there ended the matter.
September 22, 1854
September 23, 1854
December 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Marysville to "Hock Farm" 7 miles--& back to M.
This morning we left Marysville and within ¾ of a mile crossed a bridge over 500 feet in length across Feather River. The river is not over 300 ft. wide but the banks being deep and sloping it is necessary to extend the bridge to the solid ground. This bridge top is now over 40 ft. to the water although in winter it is nearly up to the top at times. There is a small town called "Yuba City"--leaving this we passed through a pleasant country down the banks of Feather River to Hock Farm, the residence of General John A. Sutter--the old California pioneer--who now entirely lives here except on an excursion upon business or pleasure--the old veteran looks hale and well although a little troubled--his lady and family were here also--and a beautiful place it [is]. In the center, and fronting on Feather River, stands a long commodious "adobe" house tastefully and substantially built. At the south end [of] the house is a fine vineyard and orchard in the front of the house and at the northern end is a tastefully laid out pleasure garden with beautiful and rare flowers & shrubs--with tool house &c. Still more northward is a large iron granary--entirely fire & rat proof--and just beyond that again is a village of Indians which at one time numbered some 500 warriors, but is now nearly deserted. Hock Farm, although taken up some seven or eight years, was not occupied until 1850 when the general was joined by his family.
Boats to Marysville passing and repassing daily makes it look a little more lifelike. The general has been prodigal in hospitality to the Americans and on that account is now comparatively poor. In wealth he might have been a prince among whites, as he was formerly among the Indians, if land sharks and sharpers had not coaxed and swindled him out of his land at Sacramento City while everyone drained him by turns--or nearly so.
There is a fine large dog--and another good one. Today a poor fellow came on business and unluckily the dogs broke their chains and he running they tore his pants behind and bit his arm, tearing coat & shirt--
Mr. ______ Sutter the eldest [son] kindly showed us everywhere and assisted us to take the views--5 in number--of the house, vineyard & garden. May Gen. Sutter long enjoy this in his age--he well deserves it.
Sunday, September 24, 1854
This morning went to church--Methodist--a fine brick building with schoolrooms underneath. Here the Presbyterian worship now since the fire burned down their church. There was a good attendance, Mr. _______ preached.
September 25, 1854
Marysville to Parks' Bar--Yuba River.
Left Marysville about 11 o'clock a.m. and keeping on the north side of the Yuba River for 15 miles when we crossed a toll bridge across a rocky creek called Dry Creek--near its junction with the Yuba River--opposite the bridge is Ousley's Bar on the Yuba; here there are a large number of water wheels and between 4 & 500 men at work busily taking out the pay dirt from the bed of the stream. This year it is remarkably favorable owing to the equinoxial rains not coming at the usual time. The water is very low and keeps low--the claims are all pumped by water by means of rotary pumps. Men upon the rivers are generally wilder and more improvident than those in dry diggings--they generally drink and gamble more. At the head of Ousley's Bar is Long Bar--nearly dried up--quite a number of Frenchmen and Germans--then above is Parks' Bar--a large and populous place--the men are engaged now in the bed of the Yuba--but unlike many other leads has a good dry diggings for winter. Saw the panorama here of "California on Canvas." The landscapes are very good and beautifully tinged with a golden tint that is not only a beautiful reality but tells with excellent effect upon the hillsides. The figures are very good in shape but are not very judiciously introduced--everything is too stiff--too little life--fun--to make it interesting--the lecturer was very prosy and poor--not a joke throughout. Upon the whole I should think it might take well if it were well explained--but it will never--as it now is--create any great excitement.
Parks' Bar has been one of the richest locations in California. In 1852 there was about two and a half tons of gold taken out--frequently 700 to 800 dollars to the pan.
1st "Parks' Bar Co." lost money. 2nd "Buckeye Wing Dam Co." lost money. 3rd "Squad Co." took out about 50 lbs. per day for the season. 4th "The Upper" & "Lower Canal Co." averaged 40 lbs. of gold per day--this was supposed to be the best ground on the river--5th "The Ohio Co." took out 7,000 dollars to the share or man--The Mobile Co. did well--the ground rich but owing to its being small and the expenses large they made but little--the Perry Wing Dam Co. was very rich, took out $6,000 to the share clear of all expenses--the Grizzly Co. has never been tested--they are now putting in a "wing dam" and may--but it is very difficult--then comes the Eureka Co. which did but little.
September 26, 1854
Parks' Bar to Barton's Bar, Rose's Bar & back to Parks' Bar.
Sold my sheets at Parks' and then footed it for 2¾ miles over a rough trail to Barton's Bar. The companies here are doing only a moderate business. On Sunday last (their day of settling as Sunday invariably is in these bars as well as elsewhere). The upper claim had paid all their debts and made a dividend of $50 each to the share. They take out from 20 to 35 ounces per day and work from 18 to 25 men. Although this seems to be a pretty fair reward---there are so many months of expense that before the first dollar is taken out there is a very heavy debt either hanging over the company or else they have paid such sums out of former earnings.
The people here seem very industrious and moral although there is a house of ill fame with several Chileno women in it.
About a mile above is Rose's Bar--rather a pretty locality and is favored by the presence of a few ladies, wives of the men upon the bar--the mines here similar to others on rivers. The claims are pumped out by rotary pump from a water power and deep from the crevices they wheel the pay dirt on wheelbarrows to the "long tom" where it is washed and the "oro" taken out. I should think that this long bar has about 300 men upon it--doing a moderate business. The water is turned on one side, and the bed of the river worked.
The hills around here are not very high although the talcose slate is in many places bare. The color of the pebbles on the entire river is of a darkish dust colored gray--the banks are of a reddish cast in many places with the dark rock cropping out. All the way from Ousley's Bar below to Rose's Bar there is mining going on in places and I suppose for 50 or 60 miles above Rose's Bar.
September 27, 1854
Parks' Bar to Ousley's Bar and Empire Ranch.
Passing through Long Bar & Big Bar we crossed the ferry at the former place going down the river about a mile to Ousley's Bar--this is the first bar seen from the road where mining is known upon the Yuba River--below what is properly known as Ousley's Bar. There is what are called the "Sand Hill Diggings"--including these two there are nearly 300 inhabitants a number of which are German, Spanish & French.
They are now working in the river and although it will not well reward their time, patience and money necessary to secure and work the river diggings--they will yet make moderate wages. Leaving this bar we journey upon the Marysville and Nevada road towards Rough & Ready to the Empire Ranch, where "Night" overtaking us we being weary also had no objection to being made a voluntary prisoner in the custody of "Slumber." Today we passed two female Indians one of which had slung to her forehead not less than two bushels of acorns--and the other although very young--not over 11 years of age--had about a bushel of acorns also--and although very heavy they walked along uncommonly easy. This is a good year for the Indians--between vast numbers of grasshoppers and plenty of acorns. A few miles further on was a "ranch" of Indians--and better looking than any I have before seen. One young fellow was not less than 6 feet high--an unusual height--two or three came and wanted to know, with their usual curiosity--"What you there" pointing to my letter-sheet box and upon my telling him "young Indians in there" was about believing me and wanted to see them, but I said, "Get up, Jem" to my horse and left him standing and then he laughed.
The road today has been very rough--crossing quite a number of deep ravines and moreover the road was very rock--my horse nearly giving out with the heavy drawing of my wagon--although having traveled but about 16 miles.
From the ferry across the Yuba to Empire Ranch it is about 10 miles. There is but little interest except the passing of droves of cattle and emigrants from the plains with their wagons and horses &c.
September 28, 1854
Empire Ranch to Rough & ready 12 miles.
This morning before leaving the Empire Ranch I had a jingle [sic] with the owner. For my hand and self he had charged $2.00 each for supper, lodging & breakfast--this was the usual price to teamsters and he had reluctantly agreed to charge me that price, generally "raising the tariff" upon transient customers, but finding I was mounted upon my box for driving further he agreed to take me at the same price as teamsters. This morning he wanted to back out and charged me $1.50 for my horse--this I paid as I had omitted to speak last night about it--and when I went to the stable my horse had not been touched. I wanted to swear badly and I am sure that I did inwardly. I read him a good lecture on animals and prices, and general swindling under the plea of "hay & grain" to horses they never received, and cleaning they never got--and yet if you pretend to look if your horse is cared for they think you an impudent meddler in other men's concerns and look at you with an honorable indignance as though they would say, "Do you think that I would be guilty of such a thing as agreeing to feed and water and clean your animals all they need--and afterwards not do it?" But if you leave it to them they will cheat your horse if they can't cheat you. An insolent redheaded Irishman--an attache of the house--intimated that if I got no worse treatment for my horse up in the mountains I might think myself well off. I told him to dry up his tongue and mind his own business--not interfere with me or mine--or I would soon try to make him--at the same time remarking that he had better hunt up that six pound potato (said to be grown upon this ranch) and insert it in his mouth--which I should judge by the size of it (namely his mouth) would just fill it. He very prudently troubled me no more--and threatening to prosecute the landlord for obtaining money under false pretenses left for Rough & Ready which I made about noon. The road is rough enough for any name--just at the foot of the hill we were suddenly lowered by the fore wheels leaving the hind ones--and down dropped the fore end of the wagon body upon the ground--the "king bolt" had broken! and the "hames" of harness. Passed large droves of poor young stock just over the plains--also a number of men with their blankets at their backs similar to ourselves in '49 and '50. I must have this well illustrated in the panorama.
September 29, 1854
Rough & Ready to Nevada City 9 miles.
Rough & Ready is the euphonious name given to a small town situated on the stage road to Nevada from Sac. City and about 75 miles from the latter and 9 from the former place. This town has been one of the most thriving little towns in the mines and now contains a population of about 300 persons, but being dependent upon water from canals (it is now the dry season) its population wanes from that number to about 6 or 7 hundred persons during the winter.
The town contains about 60 buildings--all of wood yet this is one of the few towns spared by the devouring element--fire. There are 10 stores--3 public houses--one restaurant--2 saloons--1 livery stable--Adams & Co.'s Express office (or rather a branch office)--a neat little church--(seen in the foreground of the sketch) belonging to the M.E. society although like most other one church towns persons of every denomination assemble therein and as they are generally other[wise] made up, the minister to suit--or even to live--has [to] be liberal in his views and not make the views of his own particular denomination to stand out too prominently--
There is also a day school well supported the whole of the year. There are also about 30 families and all seem very orderly. I think the people here are as quiet and well behaved as in any town I visited.
The country around Rough & Ready contains the golden ore and some of the best diggings of the county have been found in Randolph Hill a short distance north of town. Squirrel Creek is the principal mining point here during summer although many go on to Deer Creek a little northwest of town.
The gold here is generally coarse--some beautiful specimens are to be seen in Adams & Co.'s Express office weighing from one to thirteen hundred dollars each.
During eight months of the year there is no hill so quiet or valley so lonely but the ringing of the pick & the rattle of [the] shovel can be heard echoing among the lofty pine and oak trees around.
The country around is rough & rocky and although rough on its surface it contains the precious ore and the inhabitants are every ready to welcome the miner to develop its wealth to the good of all.
September 30, 1854
Cadez Arion's description of Nevada [City]--abridged & improved
This is the county town of same name and of course has a courthouse &c.--two "first class" hotels the Metropolis & United States.
There are about 15 brick buildings.
No. of families composed as residents 160Packing is carried on from Nevada to Moore's Flat, Orleans Flat, Yreka, Cherokee &c., &c., &c.
Children that attend school 70
Marriageable young ladies 17
Different denominations--Bap., Pres., N.&T., Meth., Cath. 7
Public school 1
Teachers employed 2
Secret societies 3
Law firms 6
Physicians & surgeons 9
Banking houses 4
Printing offices--Journal & 2
Daguerrean saloon (Hilbourne's) 1
Book stores 4
Lamp & crockery stores 2
Dry goods & clothing stores 27
Grocery & provision stores 19
Hotels, restaurants & coffee houses 23
Drug stores 4
Cigar stores 11
Jewelry stores 4
Bakery & confectioners 13
Cooper's shops 2
Auction & commission stores 3
Paint shops 6
Tin shops 3
Cabinet & carpenter's shops 13
Barber shops 5
Harness & shoe shops 4
Street markets 5
Livery stables 5
Gambling & fandango [fan tan?] houses 7
Houses where liquor are retailed 59
Ounces of gold dust purchased in one day 4,042
Letters sent out March 28th, 1854 1,700
Sunday, October 1, 1854
Nevada City. Sunday--
This would appear like a very immoral and noisy city to any stranger who has not been hardened into a sight at first so revolting--a church opposite a gaming saloon--the one singing psalms and professedly serving their God--the other playing polkas and other airs of the same kind. In the streets at this doorway or the other are groups of men eating grapes or watermelons--there three or four miners from a short distance of town are stepping in to take a drink--here is one trading in pork or flour another is examining a pick or shovel--and next to him are two men in spic span new toggery purchased from yonder Jew.
Here one conscientious religionist has closed his store on Sunday--and nineteen others keep theirs open. It is a day of general holiday among miners who have abandoned the "long tom" and "sluice"--washed their clothes, swept up the cabin and now are in town to look around them, buy a pick and drink with their friends--yes, and to see if there are any letters from friends at home--and answer them.
There are four churches in Nevada--Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and Catholic--neither of which are very well attended--
Nevada is situated between Yuba & Bear rivers on Deer Creek about 17 miles from its junction with the Yuba--about 75 miles north of Sac. City and was first settled in the fall of '49--but little progress was made until the spring of 1850 when the mines growing rich and extensive it grew rapidly. In Sept. '50 the famous "Coyote lead" was discovered, and which had proved unsurpassed in richness although but little comparatively worked--this lead alone will take 20 years to work it out--for although it has been worked since 1850 continuously with astonishing results its richness and extent seems still undiminished.
The city was entirely destroyed by fire in 1851 and before the coals were extinguished new buildings were progressing--the woods resounding with the loud crash of falling timber were speedily converted into lumber and the city again sprung up as if by magic--more substantial more beautiful and more extensive. In the fall of 1852 all that part on the eastern side of Deer Creek--now occupied by Adams & Co.'s Express and several other buildings--was again destroyed by fire, but as quickly (almost) rebuilt. A large number of brick buildings now adorn the city and several more are in progress, and every house can be supplied with water from springs in the surrounding mountains.
October 2, 1854
Nevada to Storms' Ranch 9 miles and back to Nevada.
Learning from Senator Crenshaw that the great men of California--viz. Gen. Wool--Senators Gwin & Weller, Thos. J. Henley Indian agent--Saml. Norris--[Sacramento] Mayor Hardenberg--Gen. Denver and several others were about to meet the Indians of Yuba & Nevada counties in a grand "pow wow" or Indian council--early in the morning I & Ned [Edward Jump] were on the way with daguerrean apparatus for "taking the Injuns" and being directed one course took it and amidst a number of "log roads" lost our way and after about an hour found ourselves about half a mile from where we had started--but now we are certainly upon the road and will make haste. "What's that?" cries Ned--and the "king bolt" is broken--in five minutes the wagon was lashed and again upon the road and at Grass Valley were detained having it mended. "How far now are we from "
Wiemah and the others listened to the unintelligible speeches of the "great Americanos"--and which all ended in smoke. After it old Wiemah made a good speech thus--"American man come Indian and Indian here first--by and by Chinaman come. You no send Chinaman away--yet you want send Indian away--Indian no go--you send Chinaman first--white man no keep him promise--no good--white man no good."
October 3, 1854
Took 6 views of Nevada from the back of Adams & Co.'s office by the old swing tree.
Yesterday returning from the council had my horse claimed and the fellow has been waiting all day to get his witness but couldn't find him--although he will, I have no doubt. He has lost the horse nearly two years.
Received today a letter from loving and aged mother. I ought to go home. She is getting very much enfeebled by age and God knows I would gladly be with her to comfort her.
Learned today that the Indians have recently and often fight--setting as an object or stake in the fight a certain number of squaws--and those which are victorious take the squaws away--and who seem to be perfectly satisfied to go--they don't seem to grieve much about it.
The Yubas & Yumas in catching grasshoppers build a large fire and make the ground hot and then set the grass on fire and in a circle--the grasshoppers leap away toward the center and the hot earth disables them and there they lie and are soon ready for eating.
These Indians being short of squaws go and steal some from the adjoining tribes who the first chance they have return the compliment and not only steal them back again--but with considerable interest.
October 4, 1854
Rained this evening & morn 10 hours.
Nevada to Grass Valley.
As the stranger approaches the mountain city of Nevada he is struck with the evidences around him of an immense and heavily timbered forest--thousands of stumps being standing bear witness that before the woodman's axe had laid them low or steam had cut them into lumber they must have been as tall and beautiful as they were numerous.
Dimly seen from between the trees stands the city on the northern bank of Deer Creek and as the road winds its way down the hill you think surely that the city must be built on the outskirts of an immense forest--but the moment you reach the bridges across the creek the bustle and activity take away your thoughts to admire the businesslike movements of men and women--before reaching the city I saw four ladies & gents enjoying a pleasure ride on horseback--and afterwards here and there a woman was to be seen--what a desolate state of things it would be without women. Now to my subject again, Nevada. It is the largest mountain city in California--although there is but little difference in size to Placerville. The streets come almost to a point--the bridge across the creek being the starting point.
October 5, 1854
Grass Valley--4 miles from Nevada.
This town has long been remarkable for its pretty location and its quartz mining--although there is considerable of the surface mining successfully carried on. The old emigrant road passes about 4 miles southeast of the town. In August 1849 a small party of emigrants stopped in this valley to recruit [i.e., rest] their stock and so pleased were they with its beautiful appearance that they concluded to remain. By them the place was named.
They first mined in what is now called Boston Ravine--but were not very successful and left. In November of the same year the Boston Mining Co. commenced operations and gave it its present name. In the same month a Mr. Thorpe built the first store--this with a few log cabins were all of the buildings of Grass Valley to January 1850. In May 1850 Judge Walsh erected the first steam saw mill and the freight upon the machinery from Sac. City was 24 cts. per lb.--it now costs about 2 cts. per lb.
After the heavy emigration of '50 Nevada County began to attract attention as a rich mining county and Grass Valley received a considerable addition to its population.
Attention was first attracted to the quartz gold deposits in Oct. 1850 by a man passing over what is now called Gold Hill and disturbing with his shoe a piece of quartz rock which upon examination proved to be extremely rich with gold. From this circumstance the miners around commenced pounding quartz rock dug from their claims--in a mortar--and took out several thousand dollars--but as this plan was very tedious and laborious some method of crushing quartz was the whole theme of conversation. In February 1851 the first quartz mill was erected by Mr. Isaac Wright of New York--and propelled by water. In March Judge Walsh built the steam mill now owned by Crossett & Co. and in April commenced a new & larger quartz mill adjoining his saw mill. Quartz mining now attracted much attention in all parts of California.
But Grass Valley has kept progressing in this branch of mining [more] than any other section in Cal. and contains some of the most valuable leads in the country.
October 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
These are variously named--The Gold Hill Co.--Empire Co.--Grass Valley Mining Co.--Mount George Co.--Helvetia & Lafayette Gold Mining Co.--Manhattan Co. and several others most of which have been very productive.
From the 11th of April to 11th of August 1852 the Helvetia & Lafayette Cos. took only $98,000 and the net profit after paying all expenses was $50,000. Now the expense of quarrying is much less than formerly--over half. Quartz paying from $15 to $20 per ton can be worked to great profit.
In 4 months time the Empire Co. running but 12 stamps but 12 hours per day--from August 22nd to December 22nd, 1853 crushed 1390 tons of rock and the gross yield was $57,310.47 cts. or an average of a trifle over $41 per ton--and this result was from rock taken from nearly every mill in the vicinity--and among it was rock that did not pay over $1 per ton.
There can be no doubt when suitable machinery can be introduced that the yield of gold from quartz will be enormous and will eventually be the permanent mining of the country and this will be one of the most productive districts of the state.--Grass V. Telegraph of June 29th, 1854.
Grass Valley has a population of about 1,700 persons--a large number Englishmen from Cornwall. There are 3 churches--1 Congregationalist (the white one as shown in the engraving), Methodist a little to the left and a Catholic.
There is Beatty's Hotel, Wells Fargo & Co.--in charge of Old Block (Mr. A. Delano), Adams & Co. There is a well conducted paper called the Telegraph.
The Grass Valley Hotel, The Epicurean & Co. are very good hotels, especially the former!!! No bugs in it to speak of!!!!!!
October 6, 1854
Grass Valley to Rough & Ready 2nd time 4½ m.
Rough & Ready see Sept. 29th.
October 7, 1854
Returned from Grass Valley to Nevada [City].
Nevada--Sunday, October 8, 1854
In the spring of 1852 a heavy freshet came booming down Deer Ck. and took away the theater--and as the house was floating down the stream the flagstaff still standing erect bore the banner on which had been written in large and attractive letters the expressive words "THE LAST NIGHT OF THE SEASON"--and so it proved--it being the last night of the performance of the company. The "Illinois Hotel" went down in company with the theater and several smaller houses--sluice boxes--&c. &c.
Nevada contains a population of about 3000 souls.
A railroad is in contemplation between Nevada & Sac. City.
The estimated loss of Nevada by fire in March 1851 was $300,000 although some estimated it at three times that amount.
Nevada is supplied with water from four different canals--"The Coyote Ditch"--"Deer Ck. Ditch"--"Rock Ck. Ditch" and "Snow Mountain."
Land diggings on "Lost Hill" are rich & extensive. The diggings first attracted attention here from the discovery of gold in "Gold Run"--running by Adams & Co.'s express on the east side of Deer Ck. by the bridge.
"Shelby's Flat" at the head of Brush Ck. about a 1¼ [mile] from its junction with Rock Ck. at the "Rock Ck. Ranch"--this is about 1½ miles from Nevada.
North of Shelby Flat is "Thomas' Flat" about ¾ [of] a mile from "Shelby's." Round Mountain House or Daw's Ranch is 4½ miles on the stage road between Nevada & Forest City.
October 9, 1854
Cloudy--rained hard for 2 hours.
This afternoon started from Nevada down Deer Ck. passing among shafts and deep cuts of hydraulic worked diggings, sluices, flumes and ditches--and a small dilapidated-looking village called Coyoteville--distance from Nevada about ¾ [of a] mile and upon what is generally known as "American Hill." Here there is a very deep open cut on both sides of the hill.
One claim known as "Laird's diggings" must have paid considerable money for the expenses have been about $27,000 and they have paid all expenses and "a little over." We had just reached this place when it began to rain a little but on we went and after getting about 2 miles from Nevada we had to return as it rained.
What a vast amount of labor seems to have been expended in opening diggings after they have been discovered. Sluices around here are remarkably long. First comes American Hill, next comes "Wet Hill"--next Oregon (next is "Lost Hill," lying south of Oregon Hill)--next is "Buckeye Hill"--next is "Buckeye Point"--"Pontiac Hill"--next is "Williams Hill" & next is "Coyote Hill" next is "Manzanita Hill" next is "Bourbon Hill"--asking a man about these he gave me the above names and said, "That's all I know--it's as far as my knowledge runs."
October 10, 1854
Nevada to Kentucky Flat. 7 miles.
This morning "bright and early" we started again down Deer Creek to the "Riffle Box Falls," passing several companies of men at work on the creek and who are doing remarkably well--
There is one thing that strikes a man from a more southern locality more systematic than he has before seen. The overshot water wheel from 4 to 6 feet in diameter and from 2 to 3 ft. wide by which the large body of water gathering in the hole is entirely pumped out--these working day & night the hole is at all times ready for men working it.
5 miles from Nevada on the north side of Deer Ck. is a small old-looking, "shaky" village with few houses and fewer men known as "Newtown"--but it looks very old. There are however 2 stores--to whom they sell is the mystery!
1¼ miles below Newtown is Kentucky Flat--a flat about 3 miles in length with here & yonder a house--and although everything now looks dead and dried up--it is said that in the winter there will be a large number of miners from the Yuba & Deer Ck.
We are now staying for the night at a "public house" known as "Bates'." They seem like [a] pretty good sort of folks--but they are from "Arkansas"--the butter upon the table would be good no doubt [for] "drawing" purposes it is so remarkably strong--I thought at first that I had by accident put a piece of old cheese and three or four "ants" on my bread--but--yes--it was BUTTER!!
Had a bed stuffed with reeds or something that felt like it and a pillow of assorted reeds of a bigger kind--one's face looked in the morning as though we had pillowed our weary heads upon a washerwoman's scrubbing board--and in spots like the coarse side of a flag bottomed chair. "Sich is life."
October 11, 1854
From Kentucky Flat to Pleasant Valley, Gold Flat back to Newtown.
How hospitable are miners when they know you are far distant from any spot where the calls of a hungry stomach can be reasonably satisfied. Whatever they have is yours with a welcome and hearty good will that does a man as much good as the food.
Went down this morning to "Gas Flat"--here there is quite a little settlement and some of the "female species" adorning it with rosy faces and lips that are truly tempting as though they were made expressly to [be] kissed and the return such as to be delicious!!!!!!
Saw the worthy name-giver of Gas Flat who seemed full of fun and his comrades also.
Journeying up the creek (Deer Ck.) I passed up the ridge towards Rough & Ready by way of Rich Flat--a place nearly deserted and perfectly dried up and by all I could learn it has never been worthy of its name. Following the canal along I was again brought to the "Riffle Box Falls" on Deer Ck.
From one of the company I learned that in '52 a tunnel was cut through the hill by which to drain the ck. and which is 300 feet in length--through solid rock and cost $20,000 to put it through and the machinery to work the falls and pump the "riffle box" dry cost $7,000 more--and they took out the sum of $200--all told. This is frequently the way the miner labors and his money, time, health and all he possesses are embarked in an undertaking and he gets comparatively nothing.
January 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
But recently this work has been turned to account--a canal [is] being cut to "Sucker Flat" and numerous other places below and is now paying a small return.
October 12, 1854
Cloudy--almost 5 o'clock p.m. began raining heavily.
Nevada [City] to Daw's Ranch 4½ m.
This morning I received 2nd Commandments from H. R. Stiles of Nevada.
Running about all the morning selling sheets by wholesale &c.
About 3 o'clock p.m. we left Nevada, passing to the west of "Sugar Loaf Mountain" crossing 4 different canals which supply Nevada and the country around with water--the first canal put in was the "Coyote Ditch" (named from the Coyote lead running along the base of the several mountains)--next the "Deer Ck. Canal"--next "The Rock Ck. Canal"--next the "Arrow Mountain Ditch."--
After crossing the "divide" we reached Shelby's Flat situated at the head of "Brush Ck." and is called 1¼ miles from Nevada. A little further north is "Thomas' Flat."
Next point is the junction of "Brush" & "Rock" creeks and called "The Rock Ck. Ranch" 3 miles from Nevada.
Then we reached "The Round Mountain House" or "Daw's Ranch." The road to this point is hilly but tolerably good for a mountain road.
Saw some men fencing in a hillside. Why men will be so simple as make fences on land that is not only unproductive but liable to be dug up by the miner at any moment I cannot conceive.
It is now half past seven p.m. and it rains in earnest--California does most things in earnest--whether rain, sun, window, labor, pleasure riding, walking or aught else--it is done in earnest.
Heard a good remark at supper (bread & ham for supper!). "Big lumps of gold] get into the papers, but not the hard work to find them nor the big rocks to be removed to find but small quantities of gold."
October 13, 1854
Cloudy with occasional showers.
Round Mountain House to Emery's bridge, Middle Yuba 8¼ m.
Leaving the Round Mountain House about 8 o'clock a.m. we journey on almost a mile and came to Shady Creek Robinson's bridge on the South Yuba by a very good mountain road.
The South Fork of the Yuba is a deep river--from the mountain top to it--but now there is not a very large stream in it--there seems to be but little mining around the bridge the sides of the river being "adorned" with large heavy boulders of granite and the sides of the mountain are tolerably steep. The bridge at Robinson's is a good substantial structure and is well worth the toll paid when the length of road made--running round the steep declivity at an easy angle for wagons--toll for 1 horse wagon $1.
Ascending the road north of the South Yuba it was very difficult from the rain that has been falling in showers all the morning. [Edward] Jump and I had to push with all our strength to reach the top. Arriving at the top of the hill (distance 1½ miles) we came to a small town called "Montezuma." It is a "town" if a few straggling cabins and a store or two can be called a town--yet they have lately discovered diggings of great richness running through the hill in the "Wish Cut." They are blasting through solid granite for 23 feet deep. At this place we had a miserably poor and cold meal for which we were charged $1 each and with the horse feed came to $2.50. I again remark that whenever we have the worst "feed" we pay the largest price--this was the Montezuma House.
2½ miles from Robinson's Bridge we reached Shady Creek. The road has been very slippery hilly and hard for our poor horse--and it being rainy was very unpleasant. Could anyone have seen both of us pushing with all our might at the wagon they certainly would think that we were in pursuit of knowledge under difficulties--sometimes our feet slipping and down we fell. Yet we have only traveled 8½ miles today. We went to "Cherokee"--a small dried up place with but few people around and those not far from broke--they look and act like so many loafers. This "town" is called 4 miles from Robinson's Bridge.
The distance from Robinson's on South Yuba to Emery on Middle Yuba is 6¾ miles by the road.
The Middle Yuba is very low--there is a squaw here with a perfectly white child. Had a good rat hunt.
October 14, 1854
From Emery's Crossing of M. Yuba to Cold Spring House.
Emery's is but an indifferent place to tarry--the table is very good--but sleeping very bad and dirty.
From this bridge to the junction of Middle and North Yuba it is 7½ miles--and 2½ miles above to the boundary line of Sierra Co.
Leaving the bridge we ascended a very long hill not less than 2½ miles in length and very slippery in places from the rains of the past few days--and it is as much as two men pushing with all their might to assist the horse that we reached the top which we did about ¼ past 11 a.m.
The Nevada road joins the Marysville & Downieville road at the "Oak Tree Ranch."
We dined at Franklin House on the road and then passed on a tolerable road until we reached the "Big Hill" where from the steep ascent and slippery surface we had to unload most of our "traps" [i.e., "stuff"] and after pushing with all our might and the horse drawing with all of his we made the "first pitch" and loading up again we moved on to the next--where we again unloaded and carried them onward a short distance and then fetched up the wagon by main trouble of the three of us--horse & 2 men--and then leaving the wagon would fetch up the luggage--by these hard attempts just as the sun had set we reached within a short distance of the top--when my horse was attacked with a violent colic and dropped down as though he were shot, breaking the wagon shaft. Here was a dilemma. We soon liberated him from the wagon and by hard rubbing eased him sufficiently for him to stand up--but here we were--two miles from any house--a broken wagon and a sick horse--and both of us ready to lie down with fatigue. We eventually got ourselves and our horse to the Cold Spring House--leaving our wagon and our goods by the roadside. By & by the horse grew easier, and as we were weary & hungry we satisfied the inner man first and then laid the outer man upon the soft side of a pine plank and under a few blankets and--being too fatigued we caught no fleas but were all the night dreaming of their biting without the power to catch them.
The forest is very dense about Cold Spring.
Sunday, October 15, 1854
Cold Spring to Forest City, 4½ miles.
The horse being in a wet stable and all the accommodations proportional--we decided that it certainly [is] the part of true Christians to look after No. 1 as well as our horse and consequently started for this place--which we reached in time for dinner.
Met Mr. Eastman of San F.--the artist for my commandment who was taking a sketch of this place for Sam Langton of Downieville.
The town all of an uproar with the arrival of Yankee Sullivan. How small a thing will miners catch at for any change--or amusement--all old feeling of a precious sabbath forgotten.
At night heard Mr. Douglas of the San F. Pacific who preached to us a good honest sermon--but with little interest to the people. He came to Cal. in the year 1848 established "The Pacific" a religious newspaper in 1851 and continued it with good success up to the present time.
What a contrast between preaching and sparring--while we are listening in the dining room of the "Henry House" to the word of life--the hurrahs of a crowd at the "Reed House" are witnessing a sparring exhibition between Yankee Sullivan and some three others engaged taking lessons in the manly art of self-defense.
Last fall the bears were very numerous here--strolling through the town during the night, "expressing" provisions from the cabins of the miners to a shady retreat of privacy without express charges. One aged growler was appropriating a piece of meat for the 20th time from a butcher's shop--and received the present of ½ lb. of lead in return for his voluntary services when he immediately lay down and (no doubt from gratitude) would not move away--and the butcher to assist his departure sold him at 25 cts. per lb.
October 16, 1854
September 1858 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
This is a singular town lying deep from the hill at the junction of two forks of Oregon Creek (this creek although 16 or 17 miles in length has no place on a map).
As you descend by a steep road down the hill you look in wonder at the distant houses--here and there indistinctly seen through the trees of the forest hill you are descending and winding your way--to the right the creek is crossed--occasionally passing a house or cabin until you find yourself in a narrow street of houses and striking the attention first are the "Henry" & "Reed" houses. (We were hungry, so that is easily accounted for and numerous other signs extending across the street of "The City Stable" "The Forest City Stable" &c. &c.)
This town is about 90 miles from Sacramento City and 60 from Marysville. There is a daily stage running to Nevada and a triweekly stage to Marysville.
This town was first settled in the fall of 1852 by a Dutch company who began first to work in the creek and made good wages and afterwards in Decr. 1852 commenced the first tunnel here, and now there are over twenty different tunnels all of which are paying. Some of these are named the Dutch Co. No. 1, No. 2 & No. 3--"Live Yankee" tunnels No. 1 & No. 2--"Buckeye" tunnel--"Empire" tunnel--"New World" tunnel--"Enterprise" and a number of others.
The Live Yankee tunnel is now 750 feet in the hill--there are 6 men in the compy. and they have averaged per man (since striking the pay dirt) $272 per week (now more than twelve months since)--but they worked over 9 months before finding pay in putting in their tunnel about 500 feet through solid rock--most of the way.
"The Buckeye Co." tunnel is next above and--this is 600 ft. long--6 men in the co.--have averaged about $360 each per week or $2000 per week divided amongst them. They have made as high as $4,000 per week to the six men.
It is estimated that there are about 2500 persons who get their supplies of provisions &c. from Forest City. There are about 90 families--about 5 marriageable ladies--poor chances for bachelors here.
This town is situated on Oregon Creek (on the south fork of) a creek about 17 miles in length, yet not named on the map.
There is now a small steam saw mill--which blew upon Aug. 7th, 1854 injuring several men, but killing none. Are about erecting a church. There are about 70 "Sons" an order of Odd Fellows who have the hall on the hill as shown in the sketch. Also an order of Masons. Snow falls almost 8 feet deep--sometimes considerably more.
October 17, 1854
Forest City to Smith's Flat 2 miles and Chip's Diggings 3¾ m.
This morning we ascended the hill from Forest City and crossing the ridge made Smith's Flat about 11 o'clock a.m. and by a steep trail descended & crossed Kanaka Creek ascending a steep hill to Chip's Diggings--here we tarried for the night.
October 18, 1854
November 1856 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
From "Chip's" to Minnesota 1 mile and Orleans Flat 3 miles.
After a good night's sleep left Chip's and crossed over the divide between Kanaka Ck. and the Middle Fork of Yuba River and descended a long and difficult hill to German Bar--crossed and ascended the hill--steep, long and difficult--passing through Snow Point to Orleans Flat one mile west of Snow Point.
Snow Point is situated upon an elevated flat or what is more generally known as a "slide" about 900 feet above Middle Yuba--and on the great Sierra County "lead." It contains 3 stores, two boarding houses and as near as I could judge about 15 loafers and 7 working men!!! They lay about--I mean the loafers--and look with a large stock of impudence upon every stranger who passes through as though they would say, "What have you got there, stranger? If you'd just show us you'd 'obleege' us mightily." Just as this was going on about my humble self up rode the expressman to the tavern store, and in the twinkling of a mousetrap there was a general stampede towards him to inquire the news--and see if there were any letters for them (as the mail had arrived below and the expressman is the connecting link between the valleys and the mountains and is an invariably welcome visitor). Just to see how some countenances sparkle with delight as they hold in their hand the welcome treasure received from dear ones at home. I am a neglected individual now--even by the loafers--who, if they receive for a few hours an inspiration to exertion that they may the sooner reach their friends--it is soon over--and indolence again triumphs.
October 19, 1854
From Orleans Flat back again to Minnesota, Chip's, Smith's and Fred's upon the hill to Downieville 7½ miles.
How worn and weary do I feel after this day's labor, crossing those deep mountain courses--those furrows deep in the face of Nature from the top of the ridge to the deep below 1000 feet and up again. Orleans Flat stands upon an elevated bench of the mountain on the south side of the Middle Yuba and consists of a population of about 600 persons a large number of cabins and a goodly number of stores. These diggings similar to "Chip's," "Minnesota," "Forest City"--"Last Chance" and a number of others are upon the great lead of Sierra County.
There are in this place about 19 tunnels, 17 of which are paying splendidly--although at the present time there is little doing for the want of water.
October 20, 1854
This is the county town of Sierra County from Sac. City __ miles and from Marysville __ miles. It is situated at the junction of the north and south forks of the North Yuba. From Galloway's Ranch it is four miles down the hill and must lie not less than 1,300 feet from the ridge down which there is a good wagon road now although everything was packed down on mules until within the last year. This place seems supported principally by river mining, although there are extensive bank diggings--the town literally stands upon timber as there are tunnels underneath the whole town or nearly--
Mining in the rivers is commenced as soon as the water is turned through the flume, when water wheels are fixed in the flume by which pumps--rotary pumps--are worked & by which the diggings are kept consistently dry. By means of these wheels all the wash dirt is elevated from 8 to 20 feet and unloaded in a box prepared to receive it--after which it is shoveled into the sluice and washed.
By the North Fork there are now extensive diggings washed upon the "hydraulic" plan.
The people of Downieville seem to possess much enterprise but I have heard more "rowdyism" than for a long time. It appears that the dist. attorney is one of the rowdy leaders--taking down signs and putting them up in some ludicrous connection with the articles sold--frequently drunk. There is certainly less order than in any other town I have yet entered--and you hear the grating brogue of drunken Irishmen above all. A Jew told me that one of his countrymen & religion had a quarrel and fisticuff with another--when the latter went for a warrant to have the other arrested; when the case was tried they were both found guilty and had to pay costs to the amount of $26 each. This may be justice but it is certainly rather dear. Another was sitting at his door when John Chinaman passed and to whom he said, "How do, John" and put out his hand to shake hands--not observing that he had a penknife open and which accidentally cut "John" just about enough to bleed slightly--when John complained to the "justice" and the man was brought in "not guilty" but had to pay the costs $26--rather hard luck--when nothing was intended.
October 21, 1854
Sunday, October 22, 1854
Rainy all day.
October 23, 1854
From Downieville to Cox's, Snake, Goodyear's, Hoodoo & Rantedoddler [Ranty Doddler] bars 6½ m.
Journeying down the North Fork of Yuba this morning from Downieville--the whole course was one of floating spars, lumber, wheels &c. The heavy rains of yesterday had swollen the river and washed down flumes, wheels and tools--here you could see the drum of one wheel had floated down and caught upon another which other seemed more securely fixed. Here again were men busily engaged, rescuing pumps, derricks and timbers from their insecure places and removing them "high and dry" to prevent their floating away.
There you could see others standing with their hands thrust low into their breeches pockets looking discouragingly upon the havoc made and prospects ruined. Holes that took several days to pump out were filled with water, in several could you see the end of a rotary pump still attached to the wheel-shaft--but buried beneath the rocks and sand was the end below. Further on some were engaged in packing & propping up their flumes and where the water had left a flume in undisturbed possession of its former situation, round flew the wheel and worked as if in earnest to pump it out as fast as water could run in--at these places long pines were lashed across the river to prevent any floating materials from injuring the pump.
Further on we met numbers of men with their blankets at their back "putting out" for the dry diggings--
Others again seemed just as busy and just as successful as though no rain had fallen--these were in good high places and as a general thing had bank or tunnel diggings.
It is surprising to see the number of tunnels as low as the stream running in for several hundred feet under the immense and lofty mountains that guard the Yuba River.
How beautifully bold is the scenery of the Yuba River.
October 24, 1854
Cloudy & rain for 1 hour (3 p.m.).
Goodyear's Bar is situated on the North Yuba 5½ miles below Downieville at the junction of "Goodyear's" and Rock creeks with the North Yuba. It is named from a gentleman who first settled here and who employed a few Indians in the fall of '49 to work for him. He died here and was buried underneath that green oak tree standing on that ridge (as shown in the view).
We had great sport with a German named Julius Meinhardt--postmaster. We had sketched his likeness with some others and he was shown with his coat out at the elbows and a Dr. at the Exchange showed it to him when I was out and he offered "almost any money" to be taken properly. He would not like his friends in "Ghermany" to see him with so bad a coat as it certainly was what might be termed "shocking bad"--for, said he, "I have friends in Ghermany what are rich, and I will give you letters of introduction to them when you take your panorama to Germany if you will, but put me a good coat on." I assured him that we would put him as good a coat on as he could get, and we were remarkably cheap tailors, for we would do it without charge. The little fellow came up after dinner "dressed within an inch of his life"--for, said he, "I've come to make sure--now sketch me"--so we sketched him.
On several of the bars here the diggings back in the bar are lower than those in the stream and frequently you see 10 or 11 levers attached from the pump to the wheel thus
Some of the cans of dirt are drawn out by a rope attached to a wheel.
October 25, 1854
Cloudy with occasional showers--cold.
Downieville to Cold Spring 12 miles.
This morning we ascended the long and difficult hill from Downieville to Galloway's 4½ miles in length. This hill must be not less than from 14 to 15,000 feet above Downieville. On arriving near the top we found that the snow had fallen about 2 inches in depth.
This road--although called good--is far from a good road and the snow and rain had made it slippery--some ox teams with both hind wheels locked had great difficulty in holding back the wagon. Stages do not attempt to go down it. This morning I saw a trunk or rather box in Layton's & Bros. Express--4 feet long 2 ft. 2 wide 23 inches deep and full of clothing or something heavy--and was the one I saw coming down the Goodyear hill in company with another having a wheelbarrow.
The road from Galloway's down is a passable mountain road although it [is] hilly in places and rocky nearly the whole distance down--from Galloway's to "Ford's Ranch" 4 miles to Cold Spring 8 miles--
At Cold Spring they have a miserably filthy and wet stable and have to be watched in the amount of feed given to your horse or in the morning his sides would be rather hollow.
The French Ravine "chunk' of gold-bearing quartz found near Downieville has lately been crushed and assayed and yielded $9,102.14 of gold.
October 26, 1854
Rain--rain--rain all day--all night.
Cold Spring to Plum Valley--4 miles.
As we were unpleasantly located at Cold Spring I thought that we would brave the storm of wind and rain & sleet and seek good quarters for ourselves and horse by going to Plum Valley--but alas we didn't mend the matter much. The horse alone improved by the change. This place is kept by some Germans who have no remarkable genius for peeling potatoes or "melting down" lean and tough beefsteak. It is true they had some stew--but that was burnt--and some butter but that was strong--and tea--made from leaves and straw--I only judge the decoction by the taste--the coffee would have been better if they hadn't forgot to boil the water and grind the berries--I am not a good swimmer or I might have risked the difficult task of diving my mouth underneath the floating fragments on the top--
In the "bar room" there were about a dozen teamsters who, like myself, have [been] weatherbound--and some joined me in looking at the heavy clouds of fog rolling through the pines or occasionally exclaiming "Bless me, don't it come down in earnest."
In a corner were a party of "poker" players (teamsters generally seem to be inveterate "poker" players)--
In one would come with streaming clothes, leaving his team a moment while he took a "prospective" look at the amount of comfort to be enjoyed in the shape of good company or a hot stove--and it was kept hot all day--no doubt as a temptation to outsiders who were wet and cold--"George I guess we'll put up the mules and stay, eh?" "Yes," and they "stayed."
The road from "Cold Spring" to Plum Valley is much better than it is from Plum Valley to Cold Spring--the latter being up one of the worst (the worst) hills upon this road. Yet in coming down this hill we came very near upsetting the wagon. The rain had washed a very low gutter just below a large rock and the upper wheel had to go over the rock and over tipped the wagon. I felt it going and was just in time to get my shoulder to it and a large log being close to the wheel it did not fall to the ground--and by hard lifting up we fetched it and although the rain was falling fast--on we went--
The road is very slippery now on the red clayey hills.
October 27, 1854
From Plum Valley to Franklin House, Indian Springs & Camptonville.
This morning being bright and fine and breakfast being ready by sunrise we started early--but found the road slippery and difficult--yet it is a very good mountain road. Leaving Plum Valley we came to a new "stand" called the "Franklin House" 2 miles from P.V.--1 mile further brought us to another--family-built log cabin with a large team of mules standing at the door--1 mile further brought us to the junction of the "Emery's Crossing" and "Foster's Bar" roads--a shriveled sallow looking man from Arkansas told us that Indian Spring lay "down thar" one mile. Reaching "Indian Springs" found that fire had taken one building and energy was building another. On we went down a gentle declivity until within ½ [of] a mile of Oregon Creek when it became steeper although good. The water running down Oregon Ck. is more like floating mud. This creek joins the Middle Yuba about 1½ miles below the road. There is a garden on the bottomland--or alluvial--of this creek, near the rude bridge.
We ascended a hill upon a good grade although very difficult for our "one horse concern" and 1½ miles from the creek came to the "Junction House" by E. Bogardus. Here the Camptonville road joins the Downieville road to Foster's Bar and here we dined while the landlord's wife smoked her pipe and the landlord with his hands in his breeches pocket profoundly observed, "Help yourselves."
From the "Junction House" to "Camptonville" it is called 2 miles and there are two very bad hills in that two miles--I don't intend to forgive! the Camptonville people for allowing poor travelers to go up a hill--a difficult hill--and then go down nearly as far when a good road at small cost could be made around it. This is nearly true of the second hill.
In town met Mr. Langton & Mr. Eastman just arrived from Downieville.
October 28, 1854
Camptonville, Yuba Co.--
The approach to Camptonville is picturesque although situated upon a ridge and the houses are built among the trees--one standing opposite to the "Garcey" house is a cedar trimmed of all its branches but a few just at the top--it is a cedar.
Camptonville and its vicinity contains a population of about 1,300 persons among whom are 35 families-most of them living in cabins--comfortably--while the husbands and sons work at mining--there are 9 marriageable women (one being a widow of only 45 years of age considers herself among the number!!)
This place is remarkably quiet and orderly being composed chiefly of persons who contemplate a permanent residence, many of whom have been home and returned to settle.
This town is situated upon a direct course from Marysville to Downieville 40 miles from the former and twenty from the latter.
It was first called "Gold Ridge" being pleasantly situated on the dividing ridge of Oregon & Willow creeks--but has since been named Camptonville in honor of Robert Campton, a blacksmith and "forty-niner" who was one of the first settlers here.
These diggings were discovered in October 1852 by a party of prospectors. The gravel or pay dirt varies from 10 to 100 ft. in depth and being supplied with water (by canals) from Oregon & Willow cks. the "hydraulic" method of washing has become generally adopted--and the gold being very fine is saved by means of quicksilver and false bottoms in long sluices.
Capital being required to "open" a claim but few can succeed who has not been provident and an invariable reward being the result it makes the population more select and permanent, and many years must elapse before the diggings can be worked out.
There is a Masonic lodge also a division of the Sons of Temperance--no church--no school house--
In the immediate vicinity of Camptonville is "Galena Mill"--settled chiefly by lead miners from Galena, Illinois--and--"Young's Mill"--Mr. Young having first prospected the hill and successfully marked it--then there is also "Weed's Point"--& "Railroad Hill"--named from the method of running the pay dirt to the water of Willow Creek.
Sunday, October 29, 1854
Nothing going on to amuse or instruct on Sunday here--it went rather heavy as I had no convenience for my usual Sunday's employment when there is no church (writing home).
In the evening I heard singing and thinking it a church of some kind I followed the sound up some stairs and seeing some persons sitting there I went in--but--found it was a choir of Welshmen & women singing psalm tunes in their native tongue--soon "vamoosed the ranch."
October 30, 1854
Fine--neither cool & windy.
From Camptonville to White Maple Spring House.
Leaving Camptonville we descended by a good road to Foster's Bar 5½ miles below. This bar is situated on the North Yuba and contains about 200 inhabitants. It is on the direct road from C. to Marysville. River mining has not been very profitable this year at this point but owing to its position upon the road--people manage to live (Langton & Co.) [and] Rumrill & Co. express offices--the latter running with Wells F. & Co. & the former with Adams & Co. There's a number of Frenchmen here. There is a post office also--money scarce--
Leaving this bar we ascended a very bad hill--the grade being too steep and winded around a hill on a gradual declivity to Oregon Creek (there are two creeks of this name near here) & here I was astonished to find a little town that has sprung up within a few weeks--they think that good and extensive diggings are in the flats and hills around--most of them are people who have crossed the plains this year.
It was now half past four (the sun setting about 5 o'clock) I wanted to reach the Key-Stone Ranch and ascended the hill which although very long is very gradual, but before reaching the top it was dark--or rather moonlight and then descending towards the Maple Ranch we stopped for the night.
The wind blowing down the clothes of the forest trees or rather their leaves and as it whistled through them it sounded a melancholy blast that told of winter being on the way--
The White Maple Ranch set a passable table but very flea-y accommodation. My stars--one--if we got to sleep--dreamed of fleas without the power of catching them.
October 31, 1854
From White-Maple Spring House to Lincoln's Ranch 22 miles.
This morning we left the White-Maple Spring House passing down an easy grade to the "Key-Stone Ranch" 1½ miles--still down to the "Oregon House" __ miles and at noon we reached the Stanfield Ranch House and dined. From this point we struck across towards Bidwell's Bar--crossing the South Honcut River about 4½ miles from Stanfield's and there making a bend north we struck the Marysville and Hansonville road on the top of the hill ½ mile from Lincoln's Ranch.
This house seems well kept and well patronized for several large teams stand (as shown in the sketch) around it--the mules feeding &c.--is distant from Marysville __miles.
November 1, 1854
From Lincoln's Ranch to Bidwell's Bar 14 miles.
The cross road to Bidwell's is very good. We passed through Wyandotte--a small dried up town--everybody looking discouraged--saw several prospecting--they looked like many others--surprised at our singularly shaped wagon.
Bidwell's Bar is the county seat of Butte County and is a central point for American Valley &c. &c. The people here (about 500) depend upon the surrounding mines for support--it seems dull. This place was first settled in '48 by a young man (from Missouri I believe) after whom the bar is named. It is 37 miles from Marysville. Rich Bar worked last year--the principal claim of which was the one known as the "Sailor Claim" out of which $240,000 were taken.
November 2, 1854
From Bidwell's Bar to Forbestown--about 16 miles.
This morning we left Bidwell's Bar and after ascending a long and gradual ravine for about 2½ miles we reached the Miners Ranch. My wagon having caused us considerable trouble on the Downieville road I determined to leave it behind--with every unnecessary article it contained and borrowing an old saddle--packed our "duds" and "put out" for the mountains. We had not journeyed far before we were well satisfied that had we the wagon our old trouble would recommence with several difficult hills to climb--our wagon was "stuck" and there it would have remained for some time had we not "put our shoulder to the wheel" and started it. Our experience having taught on bad roads that a "friend in need is &c." Up up we went and then by a gradual descent reached the Buffalo Ranch and kept upon a good road for several miles. About 9 miles from Miners Ranch we passed a steam saw mill--and a fine spring of water--2 miles further another mill (Robinson).
From this point we look "over the hill" and kept upon the ridge until we reached Forbestown--descending for 1½ miles and reached it.
Forbestown is an oddly shaped little town situated on the northwestern slope of the divide between the Yuba & Feather rivers, about 2 miles south of the South Fork of Feather River and 39 miles from Marysville--by which city it is supplied with its provisions, tools &c. at all seasons of the year. This town commanding a small circle around including some bars on the rivers is quite a busy little place and contains about 900 inhabitants 80 of whom are females. In its vicinity there are several rich ravines and gulches &c. named "Perkins Ravine"--"New York Ravine"--"New York Flats"--"Ohio" & "Dickson's Gulch" &c. &c. This place was first settled in '49 and was then and for a considerable time afterwards known as "Toll's Old Diggings" from Mr. Toll who was the discoverer of gold here. On the ravine that bore his name there has been $10,000 taken out to 30 feet square of ground. During the summer of '52 this place was nearly abandoned--like many other old places--but the following winter brought the "prospectors" back again and remaining here have mostly done well. This place was called Forbestown from a man named Forbes who built the first store here. It is 12 miles from Foster's Bar, Yuba River--& 45 miles from Gibsonville--so sad. There are quite a number of Indians in this vicinity and the tribe--generally known as the "Feather River Tribe" numbers about 8 or 900 although divided into several different bands.
There are quite a number of naturalized citizens here coming from all countries. When I was here a son of "The Green Isle of Erin" had been "prospecting" a ravine and had found a dollar to the pan--and considering it a good "prospect" he thought that he would secure that claim--when--to his astonishment he saw a notice on a stump at a short distance and which specified that "We the undersigned claim so many feet from this and that point and have duly recorded the same." Seeing some men at a short distance he began to make some inquiries like the following--"I say misther who hounds thim claims?" "We do" (replied the men). "Will thin by gorrah yous have no right to thim." "Yes (they replied) "we have a right, for we have had them recorded all summer." Now the Irishman became a little wrathy. "Oh the divil recard yes--divil an auld stump within tin miles of Forbestown that hasn't a plasther of paper as big as a winder stuck on it with 'Recorded' in big words all over the paper from the tap to the bottom--to the divil with the recorder--the beast." But Mr. Paddy couldn't gammon them out of it they said--nor he didn't.
November 3, 1854
From Forbestown to Frey & Foster's Fall River House 18 miles.
Wishing to have a view of the magnificent waterfalls on Fall River and Forbestown being considered a good place to start from this morning we started on our visit over.
Before starting however it was necessary to know the trail, as road there was none--and as those who informed us knew about as much of it except by hearsay as we did--we were to cross at "Bingham's Bar"--but we took the wrong trail and went almost endways in part of the hill down--but how my poor horse kept from turning a "somerset" I wouldn't like to say--for the best of considered reasons--didn't know--we however reached "Randolph Point" and taking our way downstream--over and around big rocks tumbling over one and sliding down another--horse still following--until we saw some men at work who told us that the trail to so and so took in this direction and--there it forked and here it didn't--describing on the sand "exactly" the course we had to take. Off we started and made sure that we could see the whole thing "as clear as mud" and going straight up--oh! an awful hill--we reached a trail and followed it until it "run out"--now here we are so many miles from "nowhere" and nobody knowing where anybody lived or where we were--for we couldn't see a soul--there was one vast forest of stately pines--to some of which the Indians had "not long since" attached some long slender poles by which to climb the great sugar pines--but the poles couldn't tell us aught and the Indians had "vamoosed the ranch"--on, on we went in the direction indicated by our informants--but no trail. Walking and riding on on on--but where? that was the question--the sun was fast sinking and we wished to break our fast but beyond a few pieces of sugar plucked from the heart of the burnt pines we got nothing.
On, on we plodded not much relishing the idea of sleeping out, without blankets nor making dinner and supper out of nothing--we crossed this ravine--worked our way through that chaparral and as we were going through one piece of heavy brush we saw--no it was not a grizzly bear--no--but--a man--a real live man--a "prospector"--joy, joy keep down, "Don't write me down an ass--but I was pleased I was." He hunted round until he found a dim trail and pointing to some sticks or rotten wood set up against trees, said, "When the trail gets dim--look ahead for them." We soon reached the main trail from Bidwell's Bar to the upper bars, and about an hour after sunset reached the "Fall River House"--here I need not say we put the inner man to work and rested the outer man by sleep.
November 4, 1854
December 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Fall River House to the waterfall of Fall River & back.
This morning early we were soon on our way down the ridge towards the falls--about 5 miles from the house--about 10 o'clock we reached the Middle Fork of Feather River and although we had been climbing round here and there to avoid a supposed abrupt side of the hill--and made the 5 miles about 9--the direct course would be straight down the main ridge. Thus to avoid only a supposed difficulty--that of getting down to the river--we spent two of the best hours of the morning unprofitably and very fatiguingly--at length by "dint" of climbing and sliding and scratching through the bushes we reached the Middle Fork of Feather and following up--on the south side (too much water to cross) we made our way and where the bold mountainsides stood close to the water--as we couldn't get past we climbed up around them and down again to the river when a view--a beautiful--an awfully majestic view rewarded our labor.
What language or pencil can picture the sublime magnificence--the bold and lofty grandeur the towering heights of rocks upon rocks that encircles the scene around and astonishes the beholder--
On either side of the leaping sheet of spray stand the granite sides of two immense mountains--their tall summits covered with lofty pines and from all the interstices or seams between them grow the stands [of] live oak--like fragments or patches of an uneven brand upon the face of Nature--the pines appear but little larger in proportion than good sized walking canes. In the center before you and from the bed of the Middle Fork of Feather River where we are supposed to stand 700 feet above the stream--there we see the rim or ledge of rocks over which falls the stream and which with one bold leap clears 400 feet of perpendicular height--dashing itself to millions of liquid atoms and throwing up a volume of rolling mists that are gilded and colored by the noonday sun with every variety of tint--a rainbow of beauty on an arid summer's day.
On on it rushes--unheeding the huge boulders that the giant mountains above have thrown down in their puny efforts to obstruct its course--but on it goes and if it cannot roll them on before it--it dashes past or climbs their shoulders and leaps before them--sometimes into a gurgling eddy--at others on the bald-crowned granite of its would-be tyrant--and within a quarter of a mile from its high leap it mingles with the larger stream and flows on contentedly [in] its course. It is [a] pleasant pastime to listen to the varied melody of water as it rushes or leaps, or gurgles, or rattles, or boils or foams or creeps, or ripples, or splashes in its course to the sea. On the projecting sides of this fall there is one stream of spray from the top to the bottom.
Sunday, November 5, 1854
Fall River House to Forbestown.
When I started over here it was told me to be not over 9 miles and I thought that we could go one day and take the view and return yesterday--and as the horse was upon poor fare I thought that I would quietly return, enjoying the Calvary season of rest to everything that labors (or ought to be) and think of home and friends--and this way I spent this day until noon--and when we arrived the town was in an uproar. "What's up?" I inquired. "Oh only a bull and bear fight." I was very weary and this made me [glad] that I had kept away.
November 6, 1854
From Forbestown to Oroleva 6½ miles.
After taking a view of Forbestown we journeyed upon an excellent road up the ridge. It has been very pleasant--as on either side was one continuous forest of pines & cedar open and clear from brush wood underneath--it was shady. There was one long hill to climb, with a good grade--and in the evening we reached Oroleva--
This is a small town of empty houses and stables and derived its name from "oro" the Spanish word for gold and "leva" the Indian for creek--"Gold Creek." (It is astonishing how all the Indian is mixed with Spanish--they seem almost incapable of originating anything--but children.)
This town originated from a quartz mining company which commenced a mill for crushing quartz--and built outbuildings for stock etcetera, and others came and began to build stores and boarding houses &c. but as the chief capital of this company was labor and that labor was required to work claims that most of them had in the river--and by which they intended to finish their works at Oroleva--and which claims proving an entire failure--the company was broken up and the works being altogether abandoned the town became a "deserted village."
Just as this company had complete their flume which had cost them twenty thousand dollars--the early rain came and swept it completely away. How many poor fellows are disappointed the same way.
July 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Now this town stands in utter desolation having one public house called "The Eagle Hotel" an excellent house for travelers or teamsters.
November 7, 1854
Oroleva to the Lexington House 18½ miles.
It certainly is delightfully pleasant to travel this road at this season of the year--and I should judge much more so in summer. For just the same as yesterday we have been traveling among lofty pines--some of them over 8 feet in diameter--sugar pines--one of them we measured at the ground and it was 12 ft. 6 in diameter. These magnificent trees edging in one's pathway and scattering their decaying foliage around makes one think of the autumnal months of a colder clime.
From Oroleva to "Strawberry Valley" (more generally known as the "Columbus House") it is called 6 miles--pretty long ones I think--thence to the "Buckeye House" 2½ miles. This is the southern corner of Plumas Co. From the "Buckeye" to the Lexington House the road is heavy and hard and is 10 miles.
Strawberry Valley contains several scattering stores and a population of about 300 persons a number of whom are ladies. It derives its name from the number of strawberries growing near.
November 8, 1854
Fine all day. Windy & cloudy at night.
From Lexington House to Gibsonville.
We are now very high above the sea [level] and in the winter snow falls tolerably deep.
The road is difficult--the stages never attempting to get higher than the Lexington and after the rains in Oct. has not run past the Columbus House--Strawberry Valley and [omission?] didn't like that very well.
By mistake we went round by "Grass Valley" and found it a very small place can scarcely be called a town--as it contains but 3 stores & 1 hotel. Goods are brought to this point by wagons and are thence packed to Nelson Creek--Onion Valley--American Valley and other places--so that the stores are merely storehouses--the business is packing and plenty of mules and a few donkeys are to be seen.
It is a good valley for grass I should judge in the season.
Leaving Grass Valley we came upon the right road again about 11 o'clock near the Mountain House opposite St. Louis--
The road now towards Gibsonville descends towards Slate Creek--
November 9, 1854
November 1856 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Fine. Windy at night.
As one enters the precincts or outskirts of Gibsonville there is one striking feature observable in the cabins that I have not seen elsewhere--the larger part of a kind of double cabin is filled with firewood--snow in the winter falling from 12 to 13 feet in depth makes wood chopping business dull in the winter.
This town is situated upon the northern side of the North Fork of Slate Creek about 70 miles from Marysville--contains an average population of about 700 persons--among whom are 20 families--3 marriageable young ladies--and about 29 children.
These diggings were discovered in the fall of 1850 by a Mr. Gibson from whom the town received its name. The gold is generally round or what is more generally called "coarse" and one lump of pure gold weighing 20 lbs. was found here--also a large quartz rock weighing two tons having gold interspersed all through it and when ground there were $2,500 worth of gold taken from it.
There is about an average of 3,000 ounces per week during the business season--yet not over 100 ounces in the dry--per week.
Water for washing among the hills is brought from Slate Creek and the main ditch from Feather River--this latter ditch is 8 miles long and is brought through a mountain by tunnel for 300 yards. These diggings have gold from the surface to the rock although it pays nine-tenths of the gold from just on the bedrock. There are 7 boarding houses--neither worth a crooked dollar for accommodations--8 stores (the storekeepers look hungry)--3 livery stables (oh dear! what stables--an old cabin without a floor--no manger--no hay rack--and not much hay)--1 gambling saloon (everybody talks of cards at night, in the morning before breakfast--and as you meet them in the street they look as though they were making a gloomy mental inquiry: "If hearts were trumps, who had the 'ten-spot'?")--2 shoemakers--1 clothing store--1 jeweler's & book store. Then there are "Everts & Co.'s Express" and "Rumrill & Co.'s Express" & banking houses. There is also a newspaper published here called The Gibsonville Messenger edited by a gentleman of sober deportment (he would make an excellent Presbyterian) but withal a man of good information and learning.
November 10, 1854
Fine--beautifully fine & warm.
From Gibsonville to Pine Grove, Chandlerville & St. Louis 4½.
This morning we crossed Slate Creek (both forks) to "Pine Grove." It is said that mine was the first horse that had ever crossed by this trail (I took it by accident) and found it rough enough for any reasonable man to travel or good horse--
"Pine Grove" is called 2½ miles from Gibsonville--
Here as in the latter place men were busily employed cutting and splitting firewood. A large train of pack mules of about 53 in number had just arrived from Marysville.
From P. Grove to Chandlerville it is one mile--upon the same ridge or flat extending for several miles on the south bank of Slate Creek.
At Chandlerville I saw the boys I met with across the mountains to Carson Valley--with the "Hall" family in '53. From C.ville to St. Louis one mile--diggings or signs of diggings all the way.
November 11, 1854
Sunday, November 12, 1854
November 13, 1854
November 1856 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
From St. Louis to Gibsonville--Onion Valley & Nelson Crk. 10 m.
Onion Valley lies 4 miles a little east of north from Gibsonville crossing a very high ridge. This place derives its name from the upper part of the valley being literally green with wild onions--looking nearly as green as a valley of grass. It was settled in the spring of 1850--and in 1851 was a large business center and contained 13 hotels besides stores of different kinds and had a population varying from 2,500 to 4,000 persons. Business was done here and was the headquarters for "Hopkins Creek," "Poor Man's Ck.," "Nelson Creek," "Dickson Creek," "Rich Bar," "Hottentot," & "Shasta City" (these three latter towns are on the Middle Fork of Feather River), "Gibsonville," "Pine Grove" and "Whiskey Diggings" and even the city of 76 did its trading here at first although over 20 miles distant--but it gradually melted away as a town as new ones were built and stores established at more convenient distances--so that now it only contains one store and one boarding house--chiefly for the accommodation of "packers." The largest house shown in the sketch is the store of Mr. Timberman, and in the winter of 1852 snow fell to the depth of 25 feet--entirely covering the building--shortly afterwards the snow thawed a little and left the highest corner of the house 6 inches out of the snow and every night the wolves would come and stand howling upon this one warm spot to their feet. The "Liberty Pole" tree stump of which is shown in the sketch (or should be) was cut down, and drawn inwards to prop up the roof. During this snow the inhabitants cut a passage from Timberman's house (or Miner's Retreat) to the "Golden Gate Hotel" opposite as a means of visiting each other.
Pilot Peak (said to be 13,000 feet high from the sea but I don't think it can be as high by 1,500 or 2000 feet) stands on the eastern side of Onion Valley--I climbed to the top in company with several residents of the valley where we found that the fragments of the national banner were still hanging to the flagpole. This was erected this year on the 4th of July when a party of citizens celebrated the anniversary of their country's birth (or independence) by a spirited "picnic" party.
January 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
We saw several tracks of a large grizzly bear whose huge paw must have made the prints a few hours before.
Onion Valley is said to be the highest point settled in the world--from the top of Pilot Peak we could see the Crater Mountain above Rich Bar on the Middle Fork of Feather River.
November 14, 1854
November 1856 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
From Nelson Ck. to American Valley Ranch 10 m.
The mouth of Nelson Creek (Nelson Point) is one of the most romantic mining "towns" in the state--lying as it does just underneath the hill and as you descend from Onion Valley (about 10 miles from the latter place) it is not seen until within a few yards of it.
This place is a mining point of considerable celebrity on account of the rich mining in its neighborhood and being a suitable point upon the main pack trail from Gibsonville to American Valley.
At the election of Septr. there were 240 votes polled here but the number of inhabitants is very much regulated by the season for in summer it is about 600 and in the winter only 150. There are 8 families residing here and one marriageable lady.
This place was first settled in 1850 and named after Mr. Nelson, the first miner who worked on this creek. The town is just at the junction of Nelson Creek with the Middle Fork of Feather River and is from Marysville 80 miles.
The gold here is generally coarse and there is about 1000 ounces weekly taken out upon an average and including gold dust purchased at Henpeck City (about ¾ mile up the creek) 1,500 ounces. It pays and is worked up to the mouth of Hopkins Creek (about 7 miles above). Poorman's Creek empties into Hopkins Ck.
From the mouth of Nelson to Rich Bar it is about 3½ miles--at the head of Rich Bar stands Crater Mountain. This crater at the top measures 8 feet in diameter--no bottom has yet been discovered although large rocks have been rolled down by one party while another has placed his ear to the opening (or top)--from the river bed to the top of the crater it is said to be over one mile of perpendicular height.
From Nelson Point to the head of American Valley is 6 miles but it is 10 to American Ranch the county seat of Plumas Co. A.Valley lies about west of north of N. Pt.
Leaving Nelson Point a slight hill is ascended and then one descends by a long ravine many hundreds of feet within the six miles of distance to American Valley. On reaching this valley I was pleased by the rapid and extensive improvements that have taken place within about a year--grist mills are erected--saw mills are building and everything denotes a bustling business--
From the Illinois Ranch to American Ranch it is 4 miles--of valley.
November 15, 1854
From American Ranch to Elizabethtown 2½ miles & back again.
November 16, 1854
Left Mr. Russell's Ranch American Valley to Ward's Indian Valley 19 m.
About ½ past 10 o'clock this morning we left Russell's Ranch A.V. myself E. Jump and Mr. J. J. Cooper--a volunteer who wished to accompany us to see Honey Lake Valley. We started in a little east of a northern course for Indian Valley and ascending for several miles--and occasionally descending we reached the ridge and about 2 miles to the west of us there is a lake just on the top--we soon descended towards Indian Valley--which is from American Valley about 11 miles from "American Ranch."
The descent was more rapid to Indian Valley--but a good trail all the way--
Indian Valley is a beautifully picturesque and fertile valley lying within about 15 miles from the top of the main ridge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains--like most of the valleys here it lies east and west in length--it is (including some arms) about 23 miles long by 6 miles wide in the widest place. It is surrounded by high and pine covered mountains although on its southern side the bold granite mountains over eleven hundred feet in height from the valley are nearly perpendicular and present a magnificent scene to the eye.
We reached Mr. Taylor's ranch about 3 o'clock--here he showed us some very fine wheat he had raised--and we partook of some of the bread made of the flour with some very finely flavored fresh butter. We then crossed over the valley--here about 1½ miles wide--in a northern course and kept up the northern ride--passing three or four ranches in about 7 miles we reached Wards Ranch--
Here we were kindly met and hospitably entertained by the judge and his family--and I can assure you, Judge, that I shall long remember the pleasant songs of home sung by your amiable daughter Mrs. Gates--and the genial flow of conversation enjoyed--I was again in imagination listening to the sweet and soothing melodies of a home left behind--for gold--now over 5½ years.
My heart gratefully thanks thee Mrs. Gates and thy gentle & worthy husband for the tender chords struck within my heart by the dear old songs and the "light guitar" played in thy mountain home--to me comparatively a stranger. May heaven long and kindly smile on both the husband and the wife.
Here we met with Major Bidwell of Bidwell's Ranch and the namesake and name giver of Bidwell's Bar--a gentleman about 38 or 40 years of age--of active habits and ruddy countenance--and a young lady--singular looking--named Blodgkins.
November 17, 1854
From Ward's Ranch Indian Valley to Lassen's Meadows 15 miles north of west.
This morning was spent in preparing our pistols and rifle--hunting up frying pan--coffee pot &c. and getting a stock of flour, bacon, sugar, coffee &c. duly packed ready for our dangerous trip to Honey Lake Valley by way of Lassen's Meadows.
All "armed and equipped" (thanks to thee, Isadore), Jump, Cooper and myself and an Indian guide left Judge Ward's about noon and going in a course a little north of west towards Lassen's Meadows. Our Indian guide had received part payment before starting--and very reluctantly left the entrails and offal of an ox that had just been killed at the Judge's house--he kept all the time behind us (singular way of guiding us) and when about 2 or 3 miles away from the house he was missing--and we have not seen him since. He is called "The Doctor" and is brother of a fine old man the chief of this tribe (the ________). Being left without a guide we had either to return and obtain another (which might be as good as the last) or guide ourselves. The country around "Noble's Pass" we wanted to examine and as we were well armed (considering) and had plenty of ammunition for our stomachs as well as our shooting irons, for 6 or 7 days, we decided that our course was onward. From Judge Ward's our ascent for about 8 miles was so gradual that we could not tell which way the water run (except by looking at it). 4 of these miles were good valley land--then some very low hills or swells of land. The other 7 miles was descent also gradual and about ½ past 5 o'clock p.m. we reached the Lassen's Meadows--and seeing the smoke of an Indian encampment among the willows of the river we made towards them. We soon reached the eastern fork of Feather River and saw an Indian standing in his canoe. He asked me to get in. I directly did so and Cooper followed, while Jump with the horse went further down--Mr. Indian took us downstream about a third of a mile and crossed us to the opposite bank--then returned across for Jump--we swam the horse and he managed the cold swim finely. I gave the Indian a dollar and as it was nearly dark we turned across a timbered point on the North Fork of Feather River and camped--
July 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Now this is the first time of camping out for years. We looked for a large fallen tree against which to kindle a fire, and then collecting a good supply of dead timber to keep us warm through the night we mixed and fried our flapjacks & bacon and soon satisfied the stomach--we spread our blankets and beneath the sheltering branches of a lofty pine--through the branches of which the stars twinkled--we lay ourselves down to sleep--
July 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
November 18, 1854
June 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Cloudy in morning--afternoon began to rain at 5 p.m. and continued to 12 night.
From the falls at Lassen's Meadows in a northerly course up valley 9 m.
Nothing of any importance occurred last night--we slept well--except occasional "piling" up of wood to keep a good fire and the hootings of an owl--and the howlings of a wolf--joined with the "ky, hie, ky, hie" of some coyotes--near morning and as the Indians didn't scalp us--and the cold didn't keep us awake--we all had a good time and awoke well refreshed and after a good breakfast of "flapjacks" &c. we prepared ourselves for exploration. First took a view of "Lassen's Butte" from "Lassen's Meadows"--then a view of the falls of the East Fork of Feather River at the meadows.
The falls as shown in the sketch are about 40 feet in one hundred & fifty yards. A large stream of water about fifty feet wide and from 4 to 10 feet deep sleeps and eddies along just above the falls--but booms over the falls with considerable force and volume.
Lassen's Meadow looking towards the "Butte" is about 5 miles to the edge of the timber shown in the sketch.
Sunday, November 19, 1854
Cloudy in morning. Fine afterwards before noon.
From Lassen's Meadows in an easterly course to Mountain Meadows &c. 18 miles.
November 20, 1854
From the extreme eastern arm of Mountain Meadows to Honey Lake Valley 15 m.
November 21, 1854
Honey Lake Valley up towards the eastern end of lake 22 miles--and back 8 miles.
November 22, 1854
Cloudy snow & rain & snow--
Crossed the mountains in a southwesterly course 22 miles.
November 23, 1854
From Lost Camp to Ford's and thence to Ward's Indian Valley 21 miles.
November 24, 1854
From Ward's to Taylor's Indian Valley & Judkins' American Valley 17 miles.
November 25, 1854
From Judkins' Ranch American Valley to Elizabethtown & Meadow Valley 15 m.
Sunday, November 26, 1854
Meadow Valley Ranch--Mr. W. S. Dean's.
November 27, 1854
From Meadow Valley to the Peavine Ranch 30 miles.
November 28, 1854
From Peavine Ranch to Bidwell's Bar & Miner's Ranch 29 m.
November 29, 1854
From Miner's Ranch to Marysville 32 miles.
November 30, 1854
December 1, 1854
Cloudy. Showers of rain in evening.
December 2, 1854
Sunday, December 3, 1854
Cloudy and rain nearly all day.
December 4, 1854
Cloudy in morning. Fine afternoon.
December 5, 1854
Fine--but foggy in morning.
December 6, 1854
Fine--but foggy in morning.
There are now residing in "Indian Valley," "Lassen's Meadows," "American Valley" & "Mountain Meadows" about 400 Indians belonging to a tribe called the "Sasicum" tribe the chief of which is called Sevillicum.
Mrs. Ward of Indian Valley related to me some anecdotes of some of the Indians who worked for them.
A young Indian of fine stature and disposition having fallen from a horse and being taken up senseless--was eventually restored by four young mahalas first opening a vein in the temples and sucking out the blood until he recovered sufficiently to be taken away from the house to their camp where they tended him with the greatest kindness for about six weeks when he was sufficiently convalescent to resume his usual duties about the farm. This was a rather singular method of "cupping."
These Indians are very much afraid of a rattlesnake and should anyone be bitten they run away from him and leave him to his fate--such is their dread of being infected by its poison.
These Indians call "Lassen's Butte" "Ahmanhim."
December 7, 1854
Fine & foggy in morning.
February 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Peter Lassen's Life
Mr. Peter Lassen (generally called "Uncle Peter") is a native of Copenhagen in Denmark and landed in Boston from his native country in the year 1828--and is a blacksmith by trade--
From Boston he emigrated to Charlton County, Missouri in the year 1834 where he remained until the year 1839 in which year he started across the plains for Oregon. From here in the same year he started for Santa Cruz in Lower California where he built the first saw mill ever created in this country. Shortly after it was completed he traded his interest in the mill for 100 mules. He still continued working at his trade making spurs for each pair of which he received 2 cows--for making a bridle bit a mare and colt. By these means he accumulated 600 head of cattle and 200 horses and mules. In 1841 he worked for "Sutter" and was paid for his labor in horses &c.
About this time he received his grant of land at the mouth of Deer Creek--to which he removed taking his stock with him.
From his ranch he accompanied Col. Fremont in his expeditions in California and fought in the battle against Mexico in 1846. He has very often fought the Indians--and is remarkably cool and determined--
"Isadore" a Russian who accompanied him in several of his Indian battles told me that he saw "Uncle Peter" reach his rifle and he asked him "What is wrong?" "I see the varmints," was his reply--and without taking his pipe from his mouth "Crack" it went and he saw an Indian fall dead--again his rifle was loaded in a few seconds--"Crack" it went again and down fell another--and another without even taking his pipe from his mouth!! The Indians seeing some of their number falling couldn't understand it--and--run.
Capt. Banwell in 1832 crossed the plains and with 69 men in company spent their 4th of July at the "Independence Rock" and were the name-givers to it.
Of the 69 men Mr. Lassen said that he knew but 3 that were living in 1839--all had fallen at different times from the hostile hands of the Indian--
December 8, 1854
Heavy fog & drizzling rain until 1 o'clock p.m. Fine after.
Marysville to Colusa--25 miles.
We packed the duds in the wagon and crossing the bridge over Feather River at Yuba City--¾ miles from Marysville we struck across the Sacramento Valley, leaving the "Buttes" enveloped in fog on our right--beneath one broad avenue of trees--with here and there a house we journey for about 12 miles when broad before us with the distant belt of trees lay the Sacramento Valley--not a tree for many miles--and cattle grazing in the distance their outlines defined in places on the horizon.
How beautifully diversified--with broad plains and timbered patches or wide strips is the Sac. River Valley.
Hundreds of flocks of wild geese were passing every hour--and some hours after sunset the flocks of geese were quork-quork-ing their passage homeward.
Yuba City is a well laid out but empty-housed place of but few inhabitants--although much larger three years ago than now. It was intended to be the commercial city of the Yuba and Feather rivers--but--it failed in that--for Marysville takes it.
About 4 miles below Colusa we crossed the Sacramento by ferry--charge $1. The river here is about 100 yds. wide and 35 feet deep--an eddying rolling current.
In Colusa men follow the business of wildfowl shooting. Colusa is the county town of Colusa Co. containing about ___inhabitants ___females ___marriageable ladies & children.
The place is supported altogether from this being the head of steamboat navigation on the Sacramento River during low water--
As teamsters frequently have to wait for freight they resort to card playing--and on that account there are an unusual number of gamblers and loafers here.
December 9, 1854
Heavy fog until noon. Fine afterwards.
Colusa to 16 Mile House--
About 1 o'clock p.m. (we couldn't take a view for fog before that time) we left Colusa journeying on the banks of the beautiful Sacramento passing farm houses of a very small and inconvenient construction--yet built on some of the finest land in the country--here and there you see a small part of a quarter section fenced in--and the whole claim is one heavy farm of timber--with notices stuck up--"This Ranch for Sale."
Teamsters on this road seem to camp out--whether with ox or mule teams--and cook their own food. The public houses are small and very poorly built. Every section of road in California differs from others but nearly every house upon any particular section is built like the next one--imitation is the cause.
On some roads tavern keepers build a magnificent hotel--if they run partly in debt to do it--and their neighbors in the same line must build a large house also and if unable sell out to those who are able. The houses on the Colusa & Shasta road are very poor.
Land in this valley brings from 45 to 51 bushels of wheat to the acre--good and plump.
Sunday, December 10, 1854
Light fog early & frost. Fine.
From 16 Mile House to Moundeville 20 m.
Last night we were well cared for--getting fresh butter & fixin's and sitting with the family spent a very agreeable evening in general conversation--
When wishing to retire I was shown to a fine feather bed on the other corner of the room--opposite to the one occupied by the landlord and his lady--between their bed and mine was one for the son about 10 years old and another for the daughter about 14 years old. I was taken aback--for it was the first time in all my traveling that I had had the honor of sleeping in the same room with two ladies--and that two without curtain or screen of any kind--moreover we continued the conversation sometimes afterwards--of course begun by the people--not I--after I was in bed.
But the rustic simplicity and lack of civilized "airs" put on my sham modesty struck me as remarkably openhearted and unsuspecting honesty. Under other circumstances I might have prospected on the same plan as the hero of Coventry [i.e., Lady Godiva]--and went one eye on what could be seen--but as it was I thought no more about it than though I was in company with my sex only--except as a very singular circumstance.
How beautifully calm and deep flows on the Rio Sacramento the most beautiful stream I have yet witnessed. Then to see the thousands of wild geese that float upon its placid surface or fly in numerous flocks (upon the same principle as the English King Harold fought his enemies--namely the wedge) there alighting in different companies at one spot as though about to hold a general council--as no doubt they do--whether if such cold mornings continue they ought to emigrate further south or--with the myriads of their fellows still linger on this noble river--
Moundeville is one house--a large public house badly kept--is a place where freight and passengers for this valley are landed during the winter or high water months--
This morning saw a splendid view of "Mount Shasta" covered with snow--and a little to the right was "Lassen's Buttes."
December 11, 1854
From Moundeville to "Tom's Creek" 25 miles.
I was glad to leave this morning a house so uncomfortable and table so poor and like past experiences the worse the table the higher the charge.
Journeying on now at the banks of the Sacramento River--or now passing through groves of leafless oaks or taking across a stretch of valley without a tree--saw but one public house between Moundeville and Edwards' Ranch where we dined. The road up the valley becomes a little more broken by hollows or watercourses--one called Stone Creek is 4 miles from Moundeville upwards--today also there were some slight risings on the road scarcely worth calling hills--but gentler rises--
At Reager's Ranch there are a number of Indians residing on the banks of the river within 300 yards of his residence. The tribes around here call themselves the "Mem-pon-ways" or water Indians--the language of each tribe is different although for 40 miles up the river the Indians belong to one particular tribe. The mountain Indians from the Coast Range frequently sally down upon the valley Indians--who being small in number place themselves under the protection of the whites and call themselves after the ranch belonging to the whites. These--shown in the sketch--call themselves "Reager's" Indians. The huts here are different from any other I have yet seen and are built of tules, leaves and brush and not only turn water very well but are very warm and comfortable.
The Indians are diminishing in numbers rapidly--one-half at Reager's having died off within three years--there is not a child living under nine years of age. At the early settlement great numbers of young men who brought with them the diseases of the white man and they now have no more children in this tribe.
Every Indian I have yet seen in the Sacramento Valley although they are taller and stouter--have not the pleasant looks of the mountain Indians--they seem to have a settled melancholy brooding upon them. I have not seen a laugh from one since I have been in this valley.
December 12, 1854
From Tom's Creek Ranch to Tehama 3 m. and the Indian Reservation 25 m.
There is but poor accommodation for man or beast at this point so cannot say anything in its favor.
Tehama is three miles--good road--from Tom's Ck. and 60 miles from Colusa--but few houses in it. The stage stops here and crosses the river--took a view and started for the Indian reservation and traveling 25 miles in a due west course from Tehama on a good road and passing several ranches we reached it about an hour after dark. Took up an Indian who was tired out--he had been to Tehama & back (50 miles) for some dried mackerel and salmon--
Capt. Ford--the gentleman in charge here--received us kindly having had a letter of introduction to him from his brother in law Mr. Malayer [Maciejer? Macaiyer?] Wilson. Took a walk round the Indian [reservation]--saw that they keep themselves warm by sitting round the fire in the open air in a group both men and women all entirely naked (for even the women remove the tule coverings worn in the daytime--to get a better warmth at the fire)--while some had "turned in" for the night and lay partly covered with a blanket and partly exposed to the fire. Some of the men women and children were romping and turning each other over in the greatest glee inside their huts and all in a state of nudity.
Most of the "houses" or rather huts are made of sticks set on end and covered with tules or long wild-oat grass--
These huts with the fires inside, having a hole--a large hole--in the top--shone brightly through the darkness as we journeyed over the recently plowed land to the reserve--for night overtook us before reaching the reserve.
This Indian Reservation consists of about 10,000 acres & taking the reserve buildings as a center it occupies the whole of the land lying between "Tom's" and Cedar creeks--some of the land is fine although some of it looked clayey and heavy.
There is now about 250 acres of land plowed for wheat--although not any work of any kind was attempted until the 27th of Septr. of this year 1854--there is one two-story house and another called the granary--with an office at the eastern end. There has been also about 6 low houses built which will each hold about 30 Indians--then there are about 120 Indian huts and all told there are about 800 Indians.
These depend chiefly upon their own supplies as the agent gives but little except in return for labor expended to entice and encourage them to work. There is 60 oxen, 15 plows, several horses--10,000 bushels of wheat--besides blankets, boots and several articles of utility to be given as rewards for services rendered--yet the superintendent of this station Capt. Ford informed me that labor--houses tools grain &c. &c. &c. had cost under $20,000. There is a physician employed--also hunter and several mechanics--the Indians doing the plowing and other kinds of labor.
This morning walked over to "Storms'" house--another branch of the reserve--situated about 3 miles from the other (or general one)--passed through several small valleys where the grass & wild oats were up to my middle--saw several Indians perfectly nude gathering some of the straw with which to cover their huts--there were also several women similarly engaged--these had a tule covering about their loins--and several children all dressed like "Pa" (viz--naked).
Just after I had arrived I heard a "hoo-pah" "hoo-pah" and looking in the direction saw a number of Indians who having gone out in search of the cattle that had strayed some distance away during night--were just returning with them--they drove them into the corral and commenced putting on the yokes and when they were on--out they drove them with all the pride and system of a Pike County teamster firing his revolver (the whip) and with a loud "whoa haw" cracked their whips and were on the road to plow. I was pleased with the encouraging prospect that eventually to prevent extirpation by idleness & sickness they might be made to live by the plow rather than the stick or bow. They all seemed cheerful and happy although these have but recently been removed from their mountain home in Nevada Co.--
December 13, 1854
Fine--cold night & morning--warm midday.
From Indian Reservation to "Storms" House & back 6 miles.
December 14, 1854
Cold in morning--fine & warm.
From Indian Reserve to Tehama--25 miles.
Having taken several views and sketches yesterday--this morning we started on our journey towards Tehama--
The valley (the corner of which is shown in the sketch) we entered and traveled along it for 1½ miles then crossed over towards "Tom's Creek"--there are three or four houses on the road.
We reached Mr. Warren's and dined--I cannot speak too plainly in commendation of the kindness and courtesy of this gentleman and his lady who not only hospitably entertained us with substantial comforts for the inner man but gave me a lucid description of the manners and customs of the Nomlaki Indians--some of which see on another page in Septr. [2, above].
December 15, 1854
Fine--warm in day--and warmer in evening.
From Tehama to Red Bluffs 14 miles & Prairie House 10 miles.
Today the sameness of traveling has been changed by some rolling hills and apparently we are in the foothills of the Sacramento.
Leaving Tehama in a mile & [a] half we reached Elder Creek and 10½ miles further we reached Red Bluffs Creek--three miles further we reached Red Bluffs.
This is a town of larger proportions than any I have yet seen on the Sacramento River above Sac. City--and on account of its being the head of navigation on the Sacramento River it bids fair to be a substantial town--
The road from the Red Bluffs to Prairie House is mostly up a long creek upon a good and gradual road for about 5 miles when it became a little more hilly until we descended towards the Prairie House--
December 16, 1854
Fine & warm--thermometer at 63 at noon.
From Prairie House to Shastas City 30 miles.
Population of Shasta County
Americans and other whites 6,500
No. of votes polled in county 1,700
Sunday, December 17, 1854
July 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Fine--with light clouds.
This is a town of considerable importance not so much from the rich or extensive mining near it as from its being at the head of "wagon navigation." It is situated among the foothills at the head of the great Sacramento Valley and within about 3 miles of the town the Sacramento River issues from its mountain cañon and spreads in the valley below. It is __ miles north of Marysville and __ miles north of Sac. City. From this point all the mining camps northward or around are supplied with goods of all kinds--generally taken out on pack mules (see page [of] March 7th).
This place first originated from Major Reading in the spring of 1849 having discovered gold and successfully employed a number of Indians & others to work here and was generally known as Reading's Springs--and Reading's Dry Diggings.
In 1850 a meeting of citizens was held when it was changed & called Shasta. "Shasta" is supposed to be from the Russian word "Schatsa" signifying white or white mountain--
Since that time the town has moved down the hillside a little and grown immensely--although it has been visited by that great destroyer of California towns--fire--once (June 14th, 1853) the whole business portion of the town was consumed to the value in property of ____dollars. Again Nov. 28th one-third of the town was burnt. From that time brick buildings were erected--the first one was built by Bull Baker & Co. and now there are 25 brick buildings. This town now contains the following--2 churches (1 Methodist & 1 Catholic)--Masonic lodge--1 school house--2 saw & 1 grist mills--(In the county there are 2 grist & 8 saw mills)--1 court house & jail--14 merchants stores--1 book store--6 hotels--3 restaurants--2 private boarding houses--8 clothing and dry goods stores--4 butcher's shops--6 blacksmiths--2 barbers--4 bakers--2 tailors--3 livery stables--2 drug stores--2 tin shops--2 cooper's shops--4 carpenter's shops--3 cigar stores--1 shoemaker's shop--1 gunsmith's shop--1 buckskin tailor's shop--1 paint shop--1 banking express and 1 express (Cram Rogers & Co.)--1 soda water manufactory--2 lager beer breweries--4 houses of ill fame--& 60 private dwellings--1 printing establishment and well conducted weekly paper (The Shasta Courier). Besides there are 8 lawyers--6 practicing physicians--2 dentists--about 800 white population (& 500 Chinamen)--95 ladies--10 of them marriageable. Note, Mr. Roman says he wishes that I were taking down names to supply them with marriageable women!! poor bachelors!--21 prostitutes. No women living with men not their husbands--3 grass widows--170 children in county.
December 18, 1854
One night in the St. Charles Hotel--Shasta
Retired at nine o'clock--bedbugs smelt--save a few--ventured into bed, only one pair of blankets--in other places three pair. Ten minutes in bed--scratching commences--now one place--now another--itch all over--keep scratching--see now why only one pair of blankets are needed--keep one's body warm by scratching--eminently successful. Voice from a man near--"I'll be d____d if there isn't something in my bed besides myself"--he scratches. One man snoring--one body in peace thank goodness. Two hours scratching--begin to doze a little--"Hulloa, what's the matter--a horse coming upstairs?" No, it's a man--maybe a gentleman--very improbable--no, it's two men with iron-heeled boots experimenting on acoustics--a muttered "D___n that noise" (from underneath the blankets)--snorer snuffles--wakes up--damns such a row as they are making--men turning in their beds--a scratching chorus--yawning--"Oh dear"s--silence ensues for ten minutes--several snoring--glasses heard jingling, and snatches of songs mixed--one sleeper again awakes--would like to get a light to see his bed--has felt something--looks--"Bugs, by G_d--damn their souls!"
Now some voices heard--and footsteps on the stairs--a light enters--a man's arm follows--then a man, then two more--"You take this bed--and you that." They begin to talk--one evidently is a little tight--they talk louder--and soon snoring is heard--that's a wonder--after considerable thick talk they are in bed--soon asleep--bugs don't affect them--that's one comfort of getting tight--a pause--all nearly asleep--one man not asleep--turns over--turns out of his bunk--never can sleep somehow when he comes here--gets up--goes out--I begin to cool off a little. I take his blankets--just going to sleep again--heavy boots again on the stairs--"Who wants to go by stage?" is bawled out--three men turn out--voices inquire "What o'clock it is"--"Three o'clock" is the answer--turns over again--mutters in disappointment--"Oh I had hoped it was daylight"--All soon are asleep--at least I am--another light enters--money has been dropped out of pantaloons--finds it--goes. Two Frenchwomen and their spouses--going by the pack train to Yreka--talk very loud in French--"Oh damn that noise"--cries a stentorian voice--"Dry up"--"Hush, hush" and they cease talking for a few seconds except in loud whispers--now as loud as ever--now "Hush" is said as though they had thought of annoying someone--no sleep--no rest--one annoyance after another--a cook is called or a waiter is wanted--and how little good breeding is there manifested in a hotel. It is nearly general in this country--self, not others is the main consideration.
December 19, 1854
From Shasta City to Middletown 4½ miles.
Towards evening I put my saddlebags on my horse and journeying in a southwest course for 4½ miles arrived at Middletown. This is quite a bustling & busy little town containing about 500 inhabitants within a circle of a quarter of a mile and there has been nearly 1,400 persons here, and would again if the rains--so long tarrying--should revisit us. There are 9 families--5 marriageable young ladies and 13 children--also 4 stores, 3 hotels--2 carpenter's shops--2 butchers--1 blacksmith's shop--1 shoemaker--1 bakery--1 bowling saloon--1 barber's shop--no school--no church--
From Shasta Courier of Oct. 21st, 1854
"We have been furnished by Mr. Isaac Roop who has been residing in Honey Lake Valley during the summer with the following statement in regard to the present year's emigration over the Noble's Route.
"Up to the [time] of his departure from his ranch in Honey Lake Valley 2 weeks or more since, there had passed 2,136 men, 716 women & 376 children--total 3,228 persons.
"Those emigrants brought with them 510 road wagons, 33 spring wagons and upwards of 33,000 head of cattle, horses and mules. Mr. R. also informs us that the valley was visited during the summer with refreshing showers on 24 June, 14th, 27th & 28th of July--13th & 21 Aug., 28th Sept. & 4 Oct."
From Mr. Roop I learned that last spring he took 40 cwt. of provisions &c. to Honey Lake Valley from Shasta City with two yoke of oxen. He says there are eleven boiling springs at Honey Lake Valley.
The Wintoons (or Trinity Indians) 300 in number passed through Shasta Decr. 27, 1854.
December 20, 1854
Fine--cold in morning.
From Middletown to Horsetown 4½ miles.
This morning upon a good wagon road went to Horsetown. This is a small town on Clear Creek 9 miles south of west from Shasta City. It is thus named from an old pioneer who coming in weary and finding but little accommodation said--"This is a one-horse town"--and his companions used that name whenever alluding to this town. Since a post office has been established it is called Horsetown.
This place looks rather dull although there seems to be more general intelligence among its people. This town with Bricksville & Texas Springs included numbers about 650 persons. They polled 240 votes last Septr. election--
There are 8 families, 2 marriageable ladies, 15 children, 1 post office, butcher, baker, 1 hotel (Spencer Hotel), 9 stores, 1 blacksmith, 2 doctors! 2 justices of the peace--no church--no school house--
This evening there was a numerously attended miners' meeting--the purpose of it seemed to be about some water company from Georgetown, El Dorado Co. had offered to bring in water if a right of way could be obtained from a company which had taken it up and obtained a charter and held it for speculation, thus (it was represented) keeping away water from them, and the meeting was expected to express an opinion--and it did--"That any company which brings the water the speediest to these diggings shall have our best support!"
What "sappys" miners generally seem--one couldn't speak and the other waited to be asked and the next one declined because he had nothing to say--and the chairman would explain the object of the meeting if he could find it out. The secretary had put up the notices and supported that someone or a friend of somebody else would certainly have been present to address the meeting--"nix cum rouse" [i.e., it was a "no go"]
Miners everywhere wanting water--picks and shovels lie sleeping in the sun--and the strong arm hangs lazily down, the able body is wanting for some exercise--but all things are at a standstill--like a ship becalmed--or soldiers in peace--or a workshop full of men with nothing to do. This miner hunts the pockets of his old pantaloons to see if he can find a quarter dollar--others take to the cradle to live--but--say they--if we had water we could make our 6 or $8 per day.
December 21, 1854
Cloudy--wind east--cold in morning.
Horsetown to Bricksville 1 mile--Texas Springs 1½ m. to Middletown 2½ m.
There are about 600 Chinamen in this vicinity of Horsetown and down a little way on Clear Creek--
Saw at Texas Springs a large grizzly Mr. J. M. Hunter had killed a few miles distant--he gave me the skin of his head and one of his paws. He goes home across the plains--I agreed to see him again and talk over some arrangement to raise a small company for the purpose--and I might join him.
September 1856 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Texas Springs--embraces a circle of over a mile of low hills--with cabins dotted about in numbers of places.
Had money been "comestible" I should have taken a good sum today--but everybody is downhearted for want of rain--
Bricksville is only a mile below Horsetown on Clear Ck. about 3 stores and two cabins--the balance Chinamen's and Indian huts. The Chinamen camp on the creek--the Indians near the stores (partly to get any odds and ends from the whites and partly as a protection from the Chinamen--the Indians being small in number and the Chinamen large)--
December 22, 1854
Cloudy--wind from northeast--
From Middletown to Shasta 4½ miles.
December 23, 1854
This past night has been as warm as a summer's night--the wind having turned round we may now get some rain--that "balm for every wound" the miner and merchant needs--
Went to take a view of Lassen's Butte but found its lofty head enveloped in clouds--so with Mount Shasta.
Sunday, December 24, 1854
This morning went to church to hear the Rev. Shelton preach. Being too busy carpentering and papering the church--he couldn't prepare sermons for that day--so read us one from Mr. Wesley. Mr. Shelton has a distinct delivery--but in his manner there is a flippancy and harshness that grates upon the ear to anyone who gives out the bread of life. He may be a very good man but as the audience was only seven in number I should judge that he is not an acceptable preacher to this people--and by his style I should think that he would make a very good clerk for the sale of dry goods--
Spent the afternoon thinking of the loved ones at home while sitting in sight of Mount Shasta and Lassen's Peak--wrote a letter there. How few are dear friends--but how their dear images nestle around one's heart.
The peaceful solitude of a mountainside to me in this land is my church, and dear ones at home more the objects of my worship--I deeply regret to say than the "King of Kings"--that is, I think more of them, and oftener--indeed it seems my greatest comfort, and solace among worthy, dollar seeking strangers.
Evening--I went again to church--heard a poor sermon Methodistically delivered--I wonder why they will pronounce "Lord" "Loard"--
There were perhaps 30 persons present this evening out of a population of 1,500 persons--"What are they among so many"
December 25, 1854
Cloudy--rained 1½ hours this morning--
Shasta. Christmas day.
Had a good--yes a splendid dinner for California or any other country--every variety of meats--fowl--vegetables, salads, pies, puddings &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c.--
This evening went to the "Christmas tree" being an invited guest the same as all the company.
This is a very pleasant way of spending an evening where people are well acquainted with each other. It is of German origin and this being the first time I had seen it I will describe it.
The church including the windows was brilliantly illuminated--at one end was a large manzanita tree fastened to the floor & on this tree hung toys--jewelry, books, &c. &c.--the whole illuminated by wax tapers and a large camphene lamp in its lower branches--so that it was a tree of light. At the other end there were spread every dainty of cold meats, fruits, sweetmeats &c. &c.
Around the sides were seated the children and their mammas except when engaged in a good frolic with each other on the floor--some promenaded--some in groups were talking--while all the youngsters--bless them and their youthful love of sport--were enjoying themselves in high glee.
Then came eating the good things--oranges were dropped from juvenile hands too small to clasp it--sweetmeats were sown about--"kisses" were read from sugar plums--amid laughter and fun--then those who liked good things among the "old folks" took tea or coffee and what else they wished until satisfied. One poor fellow I should think could not have had anything to eat lately--he seemed noticed by everyone--he began with the first and did not leave off with the last--but was himself the last--now for some fun--his pockets are filled with cakes (by other hands), neat fruit, orange peel and any rubbish in the shape of small pieces of left meat &c. &c.--then papers got pinned to his coat--everyone (or nearly so) took delight in showing him that they appreciated a hog--even at a free party.
Then all being over in eating--a young girl was chosen to distribute the presents--named and hanging upon the tree. A doll for this, a book for that--a ring for this lady, a silver bird pincushion for that; this gentleman had a letter--that a handkerchief--another (one exceeding good on a joke) a little apple-headed whistle, amid great laughter. All seemed to enjoy the whole arrangement--
It appears that a committee of ladies is first chosen to make the arrangements and receive the presents of cakes, fruits, meats, toys, jewelry &c. &c. &c. &c. &c.--and they are not only well received by the gentlemen but receive from some quite valuable donations the donor invariably buying the right to name the donee.
December 26, 1854
Cloudy in morning. Cleared up--and clouded again later.
This morning I and Mr. Jump--my artist--settled and he leaves in the morning for Sacramento City. He has been with me four and a half months. As I am nearly through with my views for my panorama I was anxious to save every dollar I could to devote to getting home and the painting of my panorama. I wish him well--may he steer clear of his old companions.
His father is English--his mother French and now lives in "The Rue des Batailles Paris." Ned seems a thoughtless fellow--
People are today returning from balls &c. given in the country--some thirty miles distant--look sleepy and dissipated.
I copied the Guide by Noble's Gap to the Humboldt River, from the Shasta Courier. [Hutchings copied the guide onto the page later used for the March 7, 1855 entry.]
December 27, 1854
Fine with light clouds.
Shasta to Churntown 9 miles.
This morning Jump took the 3 o'clock stage for Sac. City. I had one favor to ask of him--"to feel and act the man who had a home and friends to welcome him--and think upon that every time he was about to throw himself away."
Last night people returned noisily and drunk to bed but little sleep or comfort in a California hotel.
From Shasta I took the upper ferry on the Sacramento River from Shasta 3 miles. The river at this point is about 90 yds. wide and about 18 feet deep--below 100 yds. [sic] it is about 100 yds. wide and only 5 ft. deep on the riffle (rope is 387 feet to posts). This is the highest ferry on the Sac. River--below there are nine to Red Bluffs--including this and Red Bluffs ferries.
From the ferry to Quartz Hill it is 3 miles--this place has a public house and a few cabins (I only saw 3).
From Quartz Hill to "Buckeye" it is 1 mile. This is quite a little town--a number of families--perhaps the population is altogether here about 100.
From Buckeye to Churntown it is 2 miles--
Churntown is about the same size as Buckeye--it is thus named after a rock shaped like a churn. (So they say. I didn't see it.) I thought the town might have been built first, and on account of its resemblance in size to a churn was duly named accordingly.
All of the people here (or nearly so) crossed the plains this present year and several are surprised that they have not made their pile yet--
Everything is very dull for the want of water--any man there (even here, now) can with a cradle make $2 or $3 per day and to live (pay their board bill). They just work enough.
The road is good--there being but a few low hills to cross--I see that most of the people here have an Indian or two to wait upon them as servants.
I couldn't find a hotel at which to stay for the night--I at last stumbled upon a boarding house kept by an Irishman. There was a pile of beds in one end of a long shed upon the floor--and any quantity of fleas--for my bed is spread by the side of the fire upon the floor. Himself, wife and Indian occupy the other end of the building--while outside the pigs are holding a public meeting on the state of their stomachs and having resolved to be like Oliver Twist and ask for more they have come as a committee of the whole and besieged the door making a loud demonstration. The night is cold.
December 28, 1854
Fine--white frost--light clouds.
Churntown to Shasta 9 miles.
Leaving Churntown I took down Churn Creek to Mankinsville 1½ miles below on the creek. Here I met with a family who gave me a guide book across the plains--a good one being very correct. Mrs. Parker I hope we shall meet again--I think you a good jolly Scotchwoman--
This place (Mankinsville) has 1 boarding house and about 7 cabins (that I saw)--
Below this on the same creek is Newtown ¾ mile from M. The people are poorer--worse dried up the diggings--than any place I have yet entered--they have all crossed the plains this year--
The country here is the head of the Sacramento Valley and the little towns are situated among the low foothills of the Shasta Mountains.
May 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
I see that nearly every family in these towns has a young Indian to wait upon them and they seem to take hold of things very well--just for their board--but few value money--except for food or gambling.
December 29, 1854
Shasta to Tower's House--Yreka road 12 miles.
This morning saw a number of pack trains just starting and also the busy scene of saddle mules preparing for the journey to Yreka 112 miles on Mule Creek.
Starting at noon I was surprised to see a large party of Indians--over 300--just coming down the hill on their way to the Tehama Reserve--some in wagons accompanied with their baskets, children, bows and pups. The greater number being upon the fashionable procession generally called "Indian file." This had on some unmentionables--the other hadn't. Now one would carry his bow, and his mahala would carry the baskets and provisions and old clothes and the papoose. These Indians are a little better looking and stouter built than most--the women have fine limbs and "orful" sized milk "ornaments." No matter what people from the rudest of mankind to the most cultivated woman invariably has the modesty to cover her nakedness--and although the body from the waist upward was in the "love" style of dress--the balance to the knees (or nearly) was covered with tules. These Indians call themselves Wintoons--the Trinity Indians.
I met several returning pack trains of mules from Yreka.
When about 4 miles from Shasta--my horse took a notion to go off the road to where he saw a smoke and turning him away from it he threw off one part of his pack--then another--breaking this and scattering that--kicking and plunging until nothing remained but the saddle. I run to catch him and when I laid hold of his bridle he reared up on his hind legs and with his fore ones struck me with one foot on my jaw--and the other on my wrist--luckily my beard saved my chin and my coat my wrist so that beyond a severe bruise no harm was done. I caught him and jumping on him I paid him liberally for his "trouble." I gathered the fragments of my boxes and baggage and lashed them together with ropes and made him carry me in addition on top. As I think that his extra energies may as well be used in saving mine as being fooled away at my expense!!!
December 30, 1854
Cold in morning--clouding up for snow--I think--
From Tower's House to mouth of French Gulch 3 m. & back 3.
This morning I followed up the main fork of Clear Creek to the mouth of French Gulch (3 miles)--just after leaving the Tower House I saw a large number of Chinamen as busy as bees mining underneath a bank--they use the cradle nearly exclusively. There is one good wide bottom (or flat) this far up (to French G.) which is partly ruined and will soon be more extensively so--as it pays very well and in this region they possess an advantage that others do not for they have plenty of water--all the year.
There is quite a busy little town at the mouth of French Gulch containing 3 stores, 1 boarding house (the F.G. Hotel), 1 butcher's, 1 bakery. There are still a number of Frenchmen around after whom the gulch I presume was named--and they can speak English very well and seem to be like most of their countrymen very courteous and polite. And all around the little town are cabins--surrounded with evidences of mining industry.
This evening I saw Mr. Roop of "Honey Lake Valley"--he very kindly informed me of several interesting items among others that the distance from Honey Lake to Pyramid Lake is 5 miles 7 chains as surveyed by the government surveyor on the railroad survey (preliminary). Mr. Roop has a good dwelling house there and returns in April to put in a crop of wheat and barley &c. He thinks he [will] make it his permanent home--
The Black Butte he describes as rising abruptly to the height of 1,500 feet and as being one of the boldest and most beautiful scenes in North America. He very kindly promised to "cruise" round a week or two with me if I would go out there in the beginning of May next.
Mr. Roop took 40 cwt. of provisions and stores from Shasta to Honey Lake Valley with two yoke of oxen on the Noble's Pass route.
Sunday, December 31, 1854
Snow & rain all day.
At the Tower House.
Here I sit in a nice warm room looking upon the flakes of snow as in great rapidity they are falling--now it rains--now it snows--in the garden before me there are green peas growing--some in blossom--some just ripe.
What country in the world offers such a contrast?
Pack trains are returning from the mountains covered with snow--some are dripping with rain. The poor mules have a hard and daily task allotted them.
I have spent the day in company with Mr. Tower and Mrs. Metcalf--both from New Bedford--being brother & sister--Mr. T. told me that he had been the subject of one occurrence--alas too common in California--that took away his wife by another man (Tracy--agent of Adams & Co.).
It appears that she crossed the plains in 1852, kept house for Mr. Towers (she was from Iowa) she loved finery and untoward homage by gentlemen, wanted her husband to neglect business to take her out riding on fast and splendid horses--run out of a large amount of money--went away with her "gentleman." How often has this occurred in California. Women being scarce have much attention paid them by gentlemen--they begin to think themselves angels--ornament their heads with costly bonnets and their backs with 40 or 50 dollar mantillas--accept of presents of rings from gentlemen and eventually surrender all discretion--then comes a divorce.
This is the last day in the year. How precious would be the moments spent if with those I love. This year begun and it ends with a sabbath--an occurrence that occurs not for the next fifty or more years. This has been a year of change. I have to enable me to pay my board at the end of the week--hired out at mining for $3.50 per day--yet one month afterwards I cleared over $1,000. Such is change in Cal.
January 1, 1855
Rain in morning.
From the "Tower House" to Mud Valley. 17 miles.
The new year has introduced itself a friend to miners by raining until about ½ past 10 o'clock this morning--when as it did not rain or snow I started up the west fork of Clear Creek on the Weaverville trail. Five miles brought me to the forks of the creek, where the trail continued up the North Fork. Six miles from the Tower House is the "Tower Mountain House." Four miles further is the Upper Mountain House--both do not look very inviting for comfort, although when traveling upon a mountain trail the smoke from any house is a welcome sight. One-third of a mile further I reached the summit of the Trinity Mountains. Only one foot of snow, but as I looked towards the Sacramento Valley I perceived that the purple air and heavy clouds of immense size and blackness were rolling up the cañon. These indicated a hard snowstorm. I hastened onward as rapidly as I could, but it soon overtook me, and as one trouble seldom comes alone, night overtook me some distance from a house. But I made it--covered with snow--in less than an hour after dark.
What a beautiful sight is a forest covered with snow. Every bough--every bush--laden with the heavy and white burden. Then the beautiful tint the evergreen pines when their spiral tops and feathery boughs are covered with snow.
In coming up Clear Creek I crossed the stream on the trail about 18 or 20 times, the hillsides being steep and rocky. Although the trail is well worn and the footsteps of the mules have worn out the ascent and descent of the worst places to a kind of staircase, it is with difficulty an animal can keep his footing.
January 2, 1855
Fine in morning, clouds low in distance. Snow all the afternoon.
From Mud Valley to Weaverville, 10 miles.
As every prospect of a fine day opened with the morning, I went down to the Trinity River over by Lewis' Bridge about 1½ mile below which a company of men are building a bridge across the Trinity River to take water over to the opposite side, where there are said to be good diggings.
This is a considerable stream. I tried to ford it on the rapids but finding my horse stumble I, like Jack Falstaff, considered discretion the better part of valor and returned. I should think the water is about 2 feet deep upon the average on the ford or rapids and about 100 feet wide.
After dinner at Mud Valley I started to Weaverville.
What could be the meaning of so many horses strewn along the road and in some places not half a mile apart? Here stood a couple of men trying to warm themselves by a fire built for shelter beneath a pine tree, for it snowed hard again. By them stood a couple of saddled horses, there another couple and two more horses, and a fine snow keeps deepening fast. "What's up today?" was my natural enquiry, and I was answered by another question, "Have you seen anything of the express?" "No." "Well, we are having a race today. Rhodes & Lusk are racing with Cram, Rogers & Co." This solved the difficulty.
Down this hill, up that, this covered with ice. My horse unavoidably became religious and was several times upon his knees. I walked, yet found myself measuring my length upon the snow, no sooner up than my horse was down. What a road for expressmen to ride a race, thought I. Snow came faster and faster. Night overtook me 4 miles from Weaverville. Now on the trail (snow had covered it up), now off it. Now I, being off the trail, hailed a cabin where a cheerful light followed the smoke through the chimney. "Cabin ahoy!" "What's the matter?" "A man lost." "I'll find you the road." A half mile and it was found. There was a Chinaman lost, and, when he saw me trudging through the snow, inquired the way. I told him to follow me, for I was upon the trail. He pointed to another Chinaman lost in the woods. Now in came the expressmen full of life, riding past--but they had the horses only. They had given up the expressman coming and had grown tired of waiting--mud, snow and cold. I found the way in easily afterwards, for I hastened before the snow should cover up their tracks and about ½ after 7 p.m. I reached Weaverville--cold, self & horse covered with several inches of snow.
January 3, 1855
Snowed & rained all last night. Held up for 6 hours and continued [in] the morning.
Weaverville, Trinity County.
Last night on my arrival here went to the Independent Hotel, the best in town--good meals--nine "bunks" in a room 12x10. Saw lice in the bed--no alternative, turned in between blankets. Woke in the night by a Frenchman underneath my bunk with "Your bunk is breaking at the side--you'll soon be through." I replied, "Let her break--I don't care if you don't!!" "Yes, sure, but you fall top of me." "Well, I can stand it if you can!!" "Yes, sure, but me no care you fall on me." "Well, when you see me coming through, you just roll out of the way--I shall want a bed if this breaks through--certain!!!" "Well, well, sacre damme that is cool--I no give you my bed." "All right, then, when I get down to your bunk I shall be halfway towards the floor, and if you decline giving me yours, why, when this breaks I must get another--please to wake me up again when I do fall through." "Well--sacre damme that is cool." But it didn't break. This morning there was considerable mirth from snow balling. Roofs had "collapsed their flues." Chimneys had broken down and shush-slush went your feet at every step. Sleighs are used for hauling wood &c. in place of wagons that could not move.
Cram, Rogers & Co.'s express in connection with Adams & Co.'s arrived in Weaverville at 20 minutes to 12 o'clock last night, having started from Marysville at 15 minutes to 10 o'clock a.m.--arrived in Tehama (a distance of about 93 miles) at 2 o'clock p.m. (90 miles in less than 4 hours) and from Tehama by Shasta to Weaverville 92 miles more over mountains, some with 3 ft. of snow upon them in 9 hours and 40 minutes while the weather was snowing--freezing and blowing. Yet accomplishing the 185 miles in within 14 hours. It cost the winners in horses and other expenses over $1,000--and probably the losers more, although no wager was made. Expressmen are some of the most useful of men in Cal., for neither weather, time nor money is a consideration, and with scrupulous exactness they bear the tidings from the cities below to the far inland and mountain districts.
When the expressman (Mr. ______) arrived he was a lump of cold humanity and had to be lifted from his mule and rubbed by a hot fire for 1½ hours before he could move any other members than his tongue.
January 4, 1855
Snowed last night about 6 inches and snows at times all day.
House-bound, yet by the kindness of Mr. Norcross I have a comfortable room (that which I could not get at an hotel) and can look out upon the snowy scene with considerable satisfaction.
Weaverville is the county seat of Trinity County, situated about 6 miles from Trinity River on Weaver Creek. It was settled early in the spring of 1850 and named from the discoverer of the diggings--Mr. Weaver.
Within the township (which is large) there are about 1,300 inhabitants, although in the town there is not more than 800 persons, among whom there are 53 families, 40 children--and one marriageable lady (the only one in the county). This town contains the following
22 stores--2 banking and express houses--one is Rhodes & Co.'s under the superintendence of Mr. Blake--the other is Cram, Rogers & Co.--in connection with Adams & Co. under the superintendence of Mr. Henderson--late Mr. Roan--2 drug stores--6 saloons--3 bakeries--1 post office--4 meat markets--3 blacksmith shops--6 hotels. Principal ones are the Independence, Austin House and St. Charles--4 restaurants--3 carpenters--1 shoemaker's--3 livery stables and corrals--7 lawyers--4 physicians--and a large number of gamblers. 1 daguerrean saloon (Mr. Norcross)--2 watch makers--Belcher & Stanmore keep the Independence Hotel, Weaverville.
January 5, 1855
Cloudy until 3 o'clock p.m., when it became fine & froze.
To the left of Sydney Town is a shaft 630 feet in depth sunk by a miner named Sykes--it is generally called "Sykes' Hole." He had been busily engaged on it for over two years and [a] half--Mr. Foulke of Baltimore, Maryland and Abram Sykes of Tippin, Ohio were in company in sinking it. Mr. F. worked in it 604 days. It took 6 hands 700 days each to sink it--or 4,200 days labor--and paid nothing.
This is the deepest shaft known in California.
January 6, 1855
Cloudy in morning, fine in afternoon--froze in shade.
From the Shasta Courier of July 22nd, 1854:
Weaverville, July 19th, 1854Friend Courier,
We told you in our last communication that the Chinese were preparing for a general fight. The cause for such preparations is the same here as in other parts of the state, a sectional hatred and clannish difference brought from their native land; from day to day these differences have increased, although numerous attempts have been made by their leaders and Americans to settle them, but all endeavors were in vain. Patience with them ceased to be a virtue on Saturday last (July 15th), when they met to fight out "their pent-up wrath"--and a bloody fight it was.
The parties met in all of their accustomed modes of warfare; their banners, shields, lances and helmets, the same as used in their wars at home. On Saturday morning both parties were out skirmishing and drilling; they were designated by the "small party" and the "large party"; the former consisting of one hundred and forty men, the latter of about four hundred. At about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the small party charged upon the other--the conflict was short, but destructive; the small party were victorious, killing eight of the large party and driving them from the ground and capturing their flag as a trophy of war; the small party had two men killed. Some ten or twelve on both sides were severely wounded. One white man, who was interfering with the fight by discharging his pistol at one of the parties, was shot dead by some spectator, of which there were about one thousand.
All day the greatest excitement prevailed throughout town; some were for, others were against their fighting. Our sheriff done all in his power to stop the difficulty, up to the very latest hour, but he could accomplish nothing--fight they would and fight they did. But their differences are in no better condition now than they were before. Neither dare go to work; one is afraid of the other. Consequently both are idle. So matters stand at present.
On Sunday the large party collected their dead together and burnt them, in the same manner as do the Indians of this country, and then buried their ashes. The small party buried theirs with all the imposing ceremonies of war. They all turned out in funeral procession and followed the bodies to their graves, accompanied with music, as white men would.
The white man killed was also buried the same day. It was a day of funerals. Long will it be remembered by the people of this town.
Signed--Adobe. (Mr. Rowe, now Assemblyman for Trinity Co.)
Sunday, January 7, 1855
Cloudy and very dull and cold.
Church held in the court house by the Methodists and in the Catholic Church adjoining (of course by the Catholics)--the latter was by far the best attended.
January 8, 1855
Dewy & cloudy and fine rain in the morning--snow & rain evening.
Today [has] been wet, sloppy, dull and supremely miserable as any day need wish to be. Too wet to work, too cold to be idle, and too dull to talk--except about the weather, a theme always open for introducing oneself or one's conversation to any gentleman who--shut up within himself--shuts out the largest share of the warmth from the stove who immediately takes the hint and gives you a chance to warm the body at the stove. But you can't do the same with the mind by conversation. Everybody--meaning oneself--is dull, mopish, sulkish and selfish. While big clouds roll down the mountains, curling among pine trees, block up the whole valley--and "mizzle."
Today received maps and sheets from Barber & Baker, Sacramento City--found fault with the map (as who wouldn't on such a day), but there are numberless mistakes and inaccuracies in it for a new map. Having traveled nearly all over the state I have seen most of the places named.
January 9, 1855
Foggy & cloudy--small rain at times.
January 10, 1855
Very dull & cloudy. Thawing.
This afternoon visited the prison of Trinity Co. (no prisoners), over which there is a room in which is stored several hundred weapons taken from the Chinamen after their great battle on "Five Cent Gulch" near Weaverville June 1854. There are two-handed swords; the blade about 3 ft. 6" long and the handle about four feet long. There are three pronged forks--about 10 ft. long and about 14 or 15 inches across the tines--hand swords, dirks, lances, shields, all of a rude description--see drawings (the shields were covered over with tin or sheet iron and from 2 ft. to 2 ft. 9" long and 20 to 24 inches wide).
This battle took several weeks' preparation and one blacksmith cleared (it is said!) over $1,500 in making the weapons.
The two contending parties (one about 125 Chinamen, the other about 450) met just out of Weaverville, and one party occupied one, the other the opposite side of the gulch and about 100 yards apart. When arranged in battle array they taunted each other with cutting sarcasms and one party invited the other to come down to them, the other to come up to us. The large party chose out a detachment of about 90 and sent them down to dare the others to a fight.
Large numbers of Americans went to see the battle, and a large majority were with the smaller party of 125, that is, in feeling. This party began the fight by one man advancing with sword and shield and setting about him right and left--but, poor fellow, he was hooked in and speared by the detachment of the large party, when the 124 remaining rushed in with a bold charge and put the other to flight--and as the Americans interfered when the main body of the large party were about to charge they sought safety in flight, but not before 11 Chinamen on both sides were killed. One American fired a revolver several times among the Chinamen, and someone behind shot him through the head and he was dead in a moment.
Had the parties been more equally divided it is thought that the sympathies of Americans with the Chinamen of either party would have been the cause of a fearful battle among the Americans--as it was, over 40 shots were fired and some wounded, but none killed (except the one named).
January 11, 1855
Foggy until 2 p.m.
From Weaverville to Bates', on Stewart's Fork of the Trinity River.
This morning about ½ past 9 o'clock I saddled up with the intention of making my way to the Yreka & Shasta trail on my way to the former place. A very heavy fog (like small drizzly rain) made it so thick that one could not see more than a few yards in any direction. I started--this man knew the trail, the other didn't. Went a short distance and came to where several trails met. Now which was the right one? Waited for a few minutes; a man came along--enquired the right trail to Yreka. "No sabe" was the answer--another came along and I put the same question. "Non parlez vous anglaise" was a second reply. Third enquiry--"I don't know" was the answer-- "nor couldn't tell anyone that did know"--"didn't believe the trail was broken anyhow after the snow fell." Question 4th "Oh, yes, good trail--keep straight on, then take the first right hand trail--keep up the flat--see wagon tracks--follow them (so I did, but in the opposite direction to what I should) then you take the left hand trail--which brings you to the forks of two other trails--you take the left hand one, and--and--before you get far--if you ain't lost I'll be d----d." Clear and comforting to a stranger.
At length I took one--went about a mile--enquired--"Oh, bless you, it's the opposite direction"--took it--got on three other trails, all wrong--here I came to a log across a stream. Horse don't walk logs--go round towards a lower bank, snow up to the knees--deep, this ditch. Pass round these diggings and--yes--at last I get upon the right trail--on--on--snow from twenty inches to four feet deep--now slip on one side [of] the trail--now on t'other--trail poorly broken--horse gets down, up again--down again--and so it continues for fifteen weary miles without a house to warm your feet. Your body is warm enough, but your feet you can't tell anything about--believe you had feet when you started--haven't felt them since--now about sundown reach Montgomery's Ranch--ask for brandy--bad whisky is the only liquor kept--where bad liquor is kept, an invariable sign of bad accommodations every way--and although I am worn out and excessively weary--still drive my horse on before me for 2½ miles and reach "Bates'" ranch--
Here before a good log fire--in a brave, old-fashioned fireplace I warm the outer and attend to the calls of the hungry inner man (for I have had nothing since morning).
January 12, 1855
The Miner's Ten Commandments, copyright 1853 by James Mason Hutchings.
Foggy in morning, blew through most of night.
From "Bates'" ranch to Chadbourne's Ranch 18 miles.
Moist and soft, the trail was better than yesterday and had the appearance of being better broken by being more traveled--not so--after leaving the valley around Bates' the trail was not much improved from yesterday's experiences--went on--at one o'clock reached a cabin--had nothing to eat--nothing to drink. A mile further came to another cabin--one man outside in the snow chopping wood, a camp of Indians near. Seeing me stop at his door he came--told him my wants--"All right, such as I have &c." was his reply--in ten minutes he had some cold potatoes peeled--tea water boiling and bacon frying--gave horse some hay--had a good, hearty dinner--what's to pay--the invariable inquiry--"Nothing--you are heartily welcome" was the spontaneous answer--and so it is with the miner--he is frank, hospitable and generous to a fault. This man had his little cabin "away in the woods," lived by himself. Oh, no, by the bye, that's not right! For he had a young Indian squaw, one of the party of Indians near, who, as he observed, was "kind of company" in the day time--and kept him warm nights--had few wants--never expected to be able to go home again--had got used to his present mode of living--"mined" a little, "farmed" a little and did the best he could and cared for nobody. He said there were 8 men not many miles away from each other who had a good Indian woman to live with and were very comfortable!!!
I jogged along (after, of course, making a present of letter-sheets and envelopes) and had a hard time getting along, for as night overtook me at the Norwegian Ranch (no one living there) and hard frost having begun the trail, but poorly broken at the best, was now very slippery, and I was two hours making three miles--now down, now up--now backward, now forward--crossed a branch of the Trinity River.
Some cattle having passed over a part of the trail and spread out in several directions in the dark, I took the wrong trail--was soon in 2 ft. 6" of snow--couldn't get along--found a trail afterwards--reached Chadbourne's. Here found a number of miners who have been in California for 4 or 5 years, are flat broke--have good claims as soon as snow will enable them to work them. If they had much push--with plenty of water (as there is) they would soon shovel off the snow and go to work.
January 13, 1855
A few light clouds only. Fine--cold in evening.
From Chadbourne's to Thompson's, 16 miles.
This morning about ½ mile from Chadbourne's had to cross by fording the main Trinity River--about 40 yds. wide, 16 or 18 inches deep--a mile further on crossed--2½ miles further had to ford again--and, three-quarters of a mile further had to reford it again. This last fording is rather dangerous--for the current being strong and narrow, and the water deeper--and, moreover, the rocks or boulders in the bottom being large and smooth, I felt the water running into my boots and my horse scarcely able to withstand the current. I found him slipping and had I not instantly given him the spur I believe I should have had a cold bath. If I hadn't [we would] have flushed downstream. The spur made him literally leap over the rock on which he was slipping and--we reached the bank in safety. In any place of danger, upon any horse, I would never ride without a spur.
How beautifully white are the mountains covered with the snow on either side dotted over with pines--evergreen--in places the bold and rocky mountaintops tower to the height of from 12 to 15,000 feet above one's head--with here and there a clump of pines--and at small intervals between a few stunted ones growing from a seam in the cliffs.
The frozen breath of morning had silvered leaf and tree, and as the sun broke forth it was a pleasant sight. I saw one solitary bird whose little throat poured forth a song of gladness for the few stray sunbeams that found their way upon the frozen face of nature and that poor thing seemed to rejoice in the prospect of the springtime coming; how like (thought I) to the hope of home that springtime of the heart when seated round the dear old, old hearth we see the sunlight of a smile from the pleasant countenances of those we love--so long to us Californians postponed--will it ever come? I often ask myself--and silence, deep and sorrowful, is the only--"Yes, it may" that in hope escapes these stony lips of Time.
I reached Thompson's early--by 4 o'clock--and as it would take me until midnight to get to the next house I here "cast anchor" for the night.
----------January 18, 1855
A correspondent of the Empire County Argus says that while tunneling on Mameluke Hill, near Georgetown, El Dorado Co., the rafters of a building were found in a perfect state of preservation, one hundred and fifteen feet below the surface.
Sunday, January 14, 1855
This is Sunday, and amid the mountain solitude of this spot I spend the day in thinking of my dear old home and my aged mother--yes--and "the lass I left behind me." These are long, long sabbath days to me. Will they ever be spent as during days past?
This morning I watched the movements of a pack train that reached here about 8 o'clock last night.
The invariable custom of "packers" is for each mule to stand in a line, side by side, with their heads in one direction. The "aparejos" are then taken off and the saddle blanket thrown on top. Each mule then is at liberty, and the aparejos stand as shown in a sketch taken at Shasta in one line or forming a square angle--and afterwards the Mexicans build a fire in the center to cook supper & sleep.
In the morning the drove of mules are taken towards the aparejos and each mule smelling his pack forms in a line in the same order as while unpacking. It takes two men to "girt" the aparejos on--while the mule grunts and winces until it is fixed. I should say here that each mule is blindfolded first.
Mr. Thompson informed me that barrels, window sashes, buggies, carriages, billiard tables, handcarts, furniture of all kinds are packed on mules to Yreka.
In the summer of 1854 Mr. Robert Woods, a horse "packer" for Tomlinson & Woods of Yreka, was crossing the Scott Mountain when a shot in the neck from behind a rock took down his mule. He fixed his revolver and shot the robber who fired on him, who leaped up and exclaimed to his companions "I am shot. I am a dead man," when two other men came out from behind a rock with their rifles--but while they were seeking someplace from whence to shoot and be in safety Mr. Woods succeeded in making his escape, leaving his mule, saddlebags & money amounting to about $1,400. They afterward recovered the mule--who soon got well.
Commandments to California Wives 1855, by James Mason Hutchings
Fine & cold. Hard frost.
Thompson's. Trinity River to Callahan's, Scott's Valley, 20 miles.
At starting this morning I had a "blowup" for mine host--for he had charged me the large amount of $15.75 cents for myself & horse during Saturday night and Monday morning--or $9.75 for my horse for two nights' feed & 3 lbs. of hay at noon yesterday & $6.00 for myself. This last item I had no fault to find with. I told him it was an exorbitant and dishonest charge. I wanted to get up his "dander" for a "shindy," but he wouldn't "come it." I never felt better inclined for a "row"--would like to "cowhide" him. I rather think that he and his lady felt rather sore from an observation I made while we were all sitting in conversation round the stove--but I did it in ignorance. Women in this country was the topic--their unfaithfulness to their husbands &c.--and I made the remark that "If my wife (if I had one) was tired of me, the best and only remedy was a divorce., but if she while having my name dishonored it and me by living with or having illicit connection with another man, I would kill her first and him immediately afterwards"--and I learned that Mrs. Mary Gyant was her name and A. J. Thompson his. While her husband was mining she left him to cohabit with Thompson. Had I have known it I should not have made the remark, for then it would have been rude and untimely.
I find that nearly every woman who leaves her husband is a western woman and "goes off" with an eastern or southern man. But--great God--how few honorable among California women--not more than one-third I believe in this northern section of the state.
There still remains in this valley of the main Trinity River about 20 inches of snow--forded the river four times before reaching the "Scott Mountain." Scenery bold and beautifully grand with here and there the evergreen pines peering through the snow. The crossing of the "Scott Mountain" is good for so long and high a dividing ridge. I reached the summit about half-past two o'clock--about four feet of snow--
Turned the Scott Valley and continued down it to "Callahan's Ranch" about 3 miles from where the trail strikes the valley. This I find is a general place of rendezvous for several points. Here arrives the stage from Yreka upon a good road up Scotts Valley. Here too the passenger trains take mules for crossing the mountains to Shasta City.
There seems to be a large population (for a small hotel) of Irishmen. Here I met with a man from "Pike Co." who worked for me on Weaver Creek in 1851--near Pinchem Tight.
January 16, 1855
Fine, bold & freezing.
From Callahan's Ranch to Godfrey's Ranch, 20 miles.
The road today has been as pleasant as could be expected with snow, snow, snow. Snow among the pine trees, snow beneath the oaks, snow upon the side hills, snow all across the valley, snow "slish slosh" where the snow is melted and "crinch cronch" where it's not. Soon after leaving Callahan's Ranch the valley widens and becomes more generally settled. The first house I reached below was a log cabin (good [illegible] that) built this fall and inhabited by a man who crossed the plains this season with seven or eight nearly grown and lively looking sons & daughters--their faces round and plump--red as "cherry-cheeked" apples. Some really pretty--their ages from 9 to 21 years. They look as though they were just the kind of "stock" a man should bring to help on our young state. May they be virtuous, and then there will be no doubt of their "marrying well" (in the fashionable language of the day).
I saw three families that crossed the plains this year that unitedly house 20 children (good sign).
Further on met a man who had been here in Cal. for 7 years--a good, jolly, open-hearted fellow who would make me stay dinner with him, when we chatted over the early history of this country.
On, on I went; the valley (Scotts Valley all the time) opens wider and wider.
There are several thousand acres of good land for grazing or agricultural purposes, but owing to frequent frosts in the summer people are afraid that peach & apple trees will not raise fruit.
I reached Godfrey's about an hour after sunset.
There there seems a noisy gambling set of men--
A gent told me in confidence that Mr. G. has been a preacher and like alas too many has run into great wickedness. Once--so I was told--he made a bet of drinks for all in the room that he could pray better than another man (who bet with him) and, kneeling down, made a fervent! and eloquent! prayer, and rising asked the man if he could beat that. The man answered "No--God forbid that I should try--I lose the drinks and am ready to pay for them!!!" When Mr. G. (addressing the crowd) called out, "Walk up boys, and take your drinks," (he kept the bar) and they did so.
Between the wickedness and impudence--and lack of "hard sense" of alas too many preachers in California, "religious people" and religion "are become a byword and reproach among men."
There is not half a dozen men in the mountains who "preach the gospel" that are acceptable to an audience--and are respected by the people--throughout this state--from Mariposa to Yreka.
January 17, 1855
Fine--light clouds morning, heavier clouds & low in evening.
From Godfrey's Ranch to Mountain House (Scott V.), 11 miles.
At Godfrey's Ranch the Scott Valley is about 7 miles wide. This valley is about 40 miles in length and will average about 4 miles in width--2,000 acres will be under cultivation this year. There are about 21 families, 7 marriageable women and about 38 children under 12 years of age. This valley lies nearly due north & south. About 1½ miles below Godfrey's stands "Fort Jones"--a military post belonging to the U.S.--having 35 soldiers stationed here. Their only amusement seems getting firewood and attending to their animals. Nearly all Irishmen.
About 2½ miles below Godfrey's the road to Scotts Bar turns westward while the Yreka trail runs northerly.
The lower one goes down the valley, the deeper is the snow. Lost my way and stumbled on a saw and grist mill--here they put me right again.
There are three sawmills in this valley.
At the lower end of the valley off the Yreka trail each house keeps fresh butter--a great luxury to me--Mr. Pattison told me that he preferred to put his money in cows instead of kegs of butter, and it became like the widow's cruse of oil--never failed to supply butter while kegs were empty. Reached the Mountain House about ½ past 4 p.m. and it being eleven miles over a high mountain to Scotts Bar I put up here for the night.
This seems a very popular house, as a large number of men are around it. Upon three different cots in the bar room there are three different men with frozen feet. It appears that after the late fall of snow they attempted to cross the mountains from Scotts Bar. They were drunk at starting and the night cold. They left the bar after nine o'clock at night. They nearly lost their lives. One could not move and had to be left in the deep snow on the top of the mountain, and the others were unable to reach the mountain house, so called at the top of their voices for assistance, and in the stillness of the morning (6 o'clock) the cook heard a voice up the mountain and awoke the men, who immediately dressed themselves and went out to see what was the matter and brought them in nearly frozen to death. They will lose nearly all of their toes, except one man who had a long woolen sock over his boot. That foot was uninjured.
Scotts Bar 1855, by James Mason Hutchings
Cloudy. 11 miles.
From Mountain House, Scott Valley, to Scotts Bar on Scott River.
Leaving the Mountain House, I ascended the mountain by a tolerably good trail--but the descent towards the river and the bar is long, steep and in many places slippy from so much of the melting snow having frozen in the trail. It is called 7 miles from the Mountain House to the river. Forded the stream--full of large pebbles and is difficult. The other 4 miles to the bar I thought rougher than the hill. Coming down the mountain there is a fine view of the hills beyond the river. I reached the bar about ½ past 1 o'clock p.m. and was rather surprised to find it so small and "wooden" a place. There is no hotel in the place--you get beds here and meals at the restaurant. Several gambling saloons.
The Scott River here is remarkable for its richness. During the summer of 1854 there was as high as $6,351 taken out of the Jackass company's claim in one day--and that only a portion of the Scotts Bar company's claim.
Anecdote of the Rogue River War (Herald of Nov. 5th, 1853)"While Capt. Lamerick's company were stationed at Bates', on Grave Creek, to keep the trail clear and guard the pack trains that were hurrying supplies to the forces of Table Rock, an incident took place too good to lose.
"The night was extremely dark, and a strong guard was placed round the house in order to protect a large amount of supplies of groceries, liquors &c. that were stacked immediately near the house. A Mr. D_____, who was not very comfortably situated to sleep, from the fact that the night was very cold and he had only one blanket to go to bed to, knew that there was some good old rum piled up just across the road and thought if he could only secure a bottle he could make sufficient spiritual heat to make up for the deficiency of blankets.
"He knew the risk he would incur, but determined to run all chances. He started off cautiously, with a big black bottle, and succeeded in passing the night key.
"On his return the guard hailed him with 'Who goes there?' 'Friend,' replied D_____. 'Advance, friend, and give the countersign,' cried the guard in a fierce and firm tone. D_____'s great presence of mind suggested to him at this moment of critical silence the dangerous predicament he was placed in. 'Advance, friend, and give the countersign,' again cried the guard, in a trembling and confused tone of voice, as he raised his rifle to a present-fire.
"D_____, unwilling to run any further risks of his 'har' [hair], advanced a couple of steps towards the guard and spoke in a low, but pleasing undertone, 'Rum.' 'Pass on, friend--pass this way--all right.'
"Can't imagine for a moment that the guard took a drink."
January 19, 1855
Cloudy. Rain & snow. Rained about ½ an hour last night. 11 miles.
From Scotts Bar to French, Lytle and Johnson bars--and back to Patterson's House.
Today has been showery--afternoon settled in for rain. Scotts Bar is about 5 miles from the mouth of Scotts River where it enters the Klamath--about a ¼ of a mile below Scotts Bar is French Bar, a place that bids fair to be a rival to Scotts Bar.
Diggings were first discovered on Scotts Bar July 1850. It was no uncommon thing on Scotts Bar during this summer (1854) to see from 6 to 10 lbs. [sic] of gold taken out to one pan of dirt.
The Indian War of Siskiyou Co., Cal.A continuous loss of animals and goods on the part of the settlers in this county determined the citizens to send out a party of men on Wednesday the 20th of July 1853 for recovering the property stolen. They struck the trail of stolen animals near Milletts' Ranch in Shasta Valley and following it in a southeasterly direction between "Sheep Rock" and "Shasta Butte" to a small, pretty valley they named "Elk Valley." They then traveled through timber and brush for about 10 or 12 miles when they struck a large and beautiful valley about 30 miles in length by 7 in width--with a river supposed to [be] "McCloud's" or "Pitt's" running through it.
Traveling down this valley about 12 miles in the evening they came in sight of the Indian camp. They found the Indians employing themselves in testing the relative speed of the animals stolen. The whites remained in sight of the Indians unobserved by the latter until dark. Five of the whites then reconnoitered the Indian camp. They then removed their camp to within a quarter of a mile of the Indians, and here secreted themselves until daybreak, when they prepared for battle. Armed with "Colt's" large-sized revolvers and rifles, they posted themselves unobserved by the Indians, and a volley of rifle balls took down a number of the Indians when the whites rushed in with their revolvers and out of 28 or 20 Indians but 5 escaped. The animals were retaken, but only 4 remained unkilled by the Indians for food.
These animals were stolen from a ranch in Shasta Valley. Packers on the Sacramento route have been plundered--sometimes of their whole trains and cargoes. Eleven men started in this party.
About July 20th, 1853, two white men were killed by the "Rogue River Indians" about 4 miles south of "The Kanyon." The Indians attacked the house, shot the men, then set fire to the house, leaving the dead bodies to be burned in the flames. They also destroyed Mr. Evans' trading post and wounded Mr. E.
These depredations, with others that had been previously committed, aroused the citizens who began to rally for punishing the Indians and if possible exterminate the Sauwash [Siwash--Chinook for "Indian"] tribe. Large gatherings of men took place at Jacksonville O.T. [and] Yreka when resolutions were passed calling upon all men to come to the work of extermination. This was soon responded to. Meanwhile, white men were shot down from behind trees--haystacks were burned by the Indians. The Yreka Herald extra of Aug. 7th, 1853 has the following--
"Business in the valley has ceased. The miners and farmers are collecting together at different points in the valley for protection. It is believed beyond a doubt that the Rogue River, Cow Creek, Grave Creek, Applegate Creek, Umpqua, Shasta and Klamath Indians--and probably the Pitt Rivers and also the Indians about the Klamath and other lakes--have united and declared an open and general war against the whites. We are indebted for the above information to Mr. Ish and Mr. Davis, who arrived here this morning. They bring a petition to the officer in command at Fort Jones in Scott Valley, signed by a majority of the most respectable citizens of Rogue River Valley for such aid either in troops or arms as can be procured. We understand that there are but few troops at the fort but what they will be able to furnish arms and ammunition.
"As our informants were coming up the valley they were informed that a battle had just come off near the Mountain House [apparently Cole's Mountain House]. Five or 6 Indians were killed. Mr. Carter had his arm fractured by a rifle ball and received an arrow wound in the shoulder.
"Now that general Indian hostilities have commenced we hope that the government will render such aid as will enable the citizens of the north to carry on a war of extermination until the last redskin of these tribes has been killed. Extermination is no longer even a question of time--the time has already arrived. The work has been commenced, and let the first man that says treaty or peace be regarded as a traitor to his country and a coward."
Aug. 9th. Mr. Wilson brings the following petition from Fort Wagner--The citizens of Rogue River Valley ask the citizens of Yreka in the name of humanity to assist in subjugating the Indians of this valley who are daily and nightly murdering our citizens and killing our stock.
January 20, 1855
From Patterson's to Deadwood, 12 miles.
Sunday, January 21, 1855
Cold. Damp and cloudy.
From Deadwood Gulch by Greenhorn Gulch to Yreka, 9 miles.
January 22, 1855
Fine--cold and hazy.
Today I heard of an Indian called Fattey [?--barely legible] who has been a great friend to the whites.
Continued from the Mountain Herald of Yreka extra
"Between four and five hundred Indians are in the vicinity of Table Rock. The citizens are not sufficient in numbers to guard the different points at which the families have collected, and go to fight them. We are poorly armed and ask your assistance in men and arms.
"Seven white men were killed while eating their breakfast near Willow Springs.
"The main body of the Indians are encamped at and about 'Table Rock.' The chief 'Sam' says he will fight till he dies or have the valley back again.
"A company of 15 soldiers from 'Fort Jones' and between 20 & 30 volunteers well armed from Yreka and Greenhorn Creek left this place yesterday. Another large party of volunteers leaves today.
"This morning about 2 o'clock signal fires were seen upon the side of the 'Butte,' which is no doubt their signal to the Pitt Rivers & Modocs to commence and join those of Scott Valley to begin a war there. The Yreka Battalion was under the command of Capt. Goodall.
"Camp Stuart, nine miles from Jacksonville Aug. 14--3 o'clock
"For the last 3 days, the entire force here has been scattered in detachments, repelling Indian depredations in the valley. My company consists of 90 men; Capt. Miller's of 70; Capt. Lamerick's of 40, Capt. Elliff's of 25 & Capt. Rhodes' of 30: more than 250 men are in the field. A scout brings in word that Sam & Joe's & the Umpqua chief Jim are willing to come in and meet. &c. &c.
Capt. Goodall."About 300 men under the command of Capt. Alden U.S.A. with several captains &c. under him."
Battles were fought. Men killed--cattle killed--Indians taken prisoners--besides great numbers being killed. They were reduced to the necessity of suing for peace by the beginning of Sept. 1853. (Gen. Lane distinguished himself considerably.)
The Indians did not attend the treaty ground. On the 10 Sept. horses were again stolen on Applegate Creek and consequently another battle was fought, the Indians routed.
Sept. 12th a treaty was at last made by which $60,000 were to be paid the Indians for the land and $15,000 was to be deducted for damages, besides horses & firearms &c. to be returned.
January 23, 1855
Yreka 1855, by James Mason Hutchings
Fine-but hazy until 3 o'clock p.m.
Went to Greenhorn Gulch & back to Yreka.
The ground was hard this morning with frost, and ice an inch in thickness could be seen. The snow would bear a mare very well.
About a mile and a half south of Yreka comes the Greenhorn Gulch into the valley. This gulch, running in an east and west direction, is about 7 miles in length and has perhaps a hundred and fifty miners upon it. Few have done anything for many months for the want of water, and now a partial melting of the snow has not afforded but sufficient water for a few men. There are four stores upon this gulch and several women (I believe) as I saw one, and some female garments fluttering upon a line in other places--although their residence was a miner's log cabin.
The Yreka Water co.'s ditch crosses this gulch.
This evening had a beautiful view of Mount Shasta--oh, it is a magnificent sight, covered with snow--except at the low hills around its base--here and there a few black rocky projections the sun has bared of its white raiment. Numbers of miners on this gulch seem like their class very hospitable.
January 24, 1855
Gen. Joseph Lane at the request of Col. Alden took the command of the soldiers in the Rogue River war.
----In January 1854 cattle, mules & horses were stolen by the Indians of the Cottonwood district. On the 11th of this month (Jany.) a party of whites started from Cottonwood to "The Cave," situated about 12 miles above the ferry and on the Klamath River. Here the Indians of the Shasta & Tipsy bands to the number of about 100 here assembled. Owing to their numbers and the strength of the "Cave" as a fortress the Indians were the victors, killing 4 men and wounding a number of others--and taking all of the provisions--a number of guns and pistols--six horses and all of their blankets, being utterly defeated. The Indians had surrounded them--and those that escaped charged the enemy and made their escape by cutting their way through them.
Capt. Judah, commandant at Fort Jones, Scott Valley, proceeded to the "Cave" with 26 soldiers. At Cottonwood his force was increased by 30 volunteers, making it 56 men, well armed. Men were also sent to Fort Lane in Rogue River Valley for a mountain howitzer. Capt. Smith, the commandant, accompanied the howitzer, taking with him 12 soldiers and an Indian named Swill (generally disliked for his unfaithfulness). By this time about 40 additional volunteers had arrived. The balance is best told by the affidavit of Russell A. Eddy, before the county clerk for Siskiyou Co.
AffidavitRussell A. Eddy, being duly sworn upon his oath deposes and says that he is a citizen of Siskiyou County, that he has resided in Yreka in Shasta Valley and at Cottonwood for about 3 years last past, that from his business and pursuits he has become intimately acquainted with most of the Indians belonging to the Shasta tribe as well as many other Indians in this part of the country, that he speaks both the Chinook and Shasta Indian languages--the latter not very well--and hence has been frequently called upon to interpret, that for some time past the Shasta Indians have manifested a disposition of reserve and hostilities towards the whites; that he is well acquainted with the localities of the Cave, the place of their present retreat, it being about 16 miles from any white settlement on the north side of Klamath River, above the ferry, that he knows of stock being in their possession, that after the fatal encounter in which the Indians fell upon a party of the citizens of Cottonwood who sent there for the purpose of recovering their stolen stock and murdered and robbed four of their number, wounding six others, and taking and holding possession of their horses, blankets, provisions and guns, when Capt. Judah of Scott Valley hastened with his small command to the scene of action to assist the people of Cottonwood in punishing these Indians, deponent was called upon to accompany the force as a guide. He accordingly went and was with the party when Capt. Judah first went up to the Cave and fired upon the Indians. Finding the Indians could not be drawn out, and after reconnoitering their position and the ground adjacent to it, Capt. J. withdrew to camp about 5 miles below and dispatched a messenger to Fort Lane in R.R. to get a mountain howitzer. Upon receiving the intelligence Capt. Smith, the commandant at Fort Lane, came over with the howitzer, 12 soldiers and an Indian known by the name of Swill, who formerly lived in this valley and had a wife in the Cave among the Shastas--notorious here also as being the same Indian who tried to betray Capt. Wright and his party at Klamath Lake in the fall of 1852, whose business and character had rendered him obnoxious to the people of this part of the country although on good terms with the Shastas who were now at war.
Capt. Smith assumed command and proceeded with the joint force and a company of volunteers from Cottonwood to the Cave, where he found the Indians still ready for fight, and after making such disposition of the forces as he thought advisable tried the howitzer without much effect. Firing with small arms soon became pretty general, also without much effect on either side except the loss of another of our valuable citizens, Capt. Geiger, it was kept up nearly all day, and in the evening our forces drew off and encamped near by. After dark three squaws came to camp and said the Indians were willing to have a talk the next morning. In the morning Capt. Smith asked deponent if he would go to the Cave with him; to which deponent replied that he would. They started and after having got within gunshot Capt. Smith proposed to turn back, when deponent expressed the opinion that there would be more danger then in turning back than in going forward. They then went up to the mouth of the Cave. Indian Swill was there when they arrived. Capt. Smith told the Indians that he had been sent to see and provide for them, that he wished to protect them and that he did not want to fight with them. He praised his soldiers to the Indians, proposed to make a treaty with them. Afterwards he told them that he lived in Oregon, but he would have a treaty made. He would see the agent at Yreka. The Indians replied that they would make a treaty when warm weather comes. He told them that he had heard that they had taken some stock. This they did not deny, or acknowledge, and finally he told them that he would go home and not fight them any more. The Indians seemed mad and had not much to say. Capt. Smith and deponent then came away leaving Indian "Swill" still there, and deponent verily believes that before Swill left he succeeded in trading one U.S. Cavalry musketoon in good order and the cartridges for one old broken rifle, wholly useless.
(Signed) Russell A. Eddy
Sworn to and subscribed before me Jany. 31st, 1854
H. G. Ferris, County Clerk.
About the 20th of Feby., 1854, another outbreak was expected. A negro from the Mountain House was suspected of taking firearms and ammunition to the Indians. He narrowly escaped being hung. A rope having been put round his neck, he made the following statement. The Indians said that some Kanakas below Yreka who had some of their squaws brought them powder. They had 3 flour sacks full of cans of powder, four to five hundred pounds of lead, and a good supply of caps. They had 25 U.S. yagers, I saw them. They say they can get all the powder they want from the whites of Yreka. A Scott Valley chief was with them when I was there. We brought them provisions. They say the Modocs will join them this moon. They are now industriously engaged in hunting, making arrows and other extensive preparations for a general outbreak. Tipsy will attack Applegate, Joe and Sam the R.R. Valley, attacking all the ranches to the Modoc country, &c.
Cloudy--but cleaned up towards evening.
Greenhorn Gulch & back to Yreka.
Heavy fog until 11 o'clock a.m. Fine afterwards with light clouds.
Greenhorn Gulch & Yreka.
This evening went into a billiard saloon and as I was watching the players, voices rather noisy were heard at the other end of the saloon. There was a scuffle--and retorting--and sideling round, then they "clenched" in and kicked and wrestled--and one took hold of the other's arm with his teeth--and the other cried "He is biting me!" "Knock his jaw out!" cried one. "Give it him!" cried another--but "Enough!" cried the one with the bitten arm, and the biter was the conqueror!!! Any kind of fighting seems "fair"--either "biting" or "kicking" or "gouging" or "choking" or hitting when down or kicking when down or any other way--conquer if you can, never mind the way--conquer!!! Oh, dear--
Doc Kelly told me of a deer that he found a "Pawnee" had killed and partially dressed--and although Kelly was alone, the Indian ran from his prize as soon as he saw Kelly cross the river (the Vermillion). He immediately took the deer upon his saddle and as fast as possible rode into camp, and he was warmly welcomed, as that was the first fresh meat they had yet eaten.
January 26, 1855
January 27, 1855
Fine, yet a little hazy.
Greenhorn Gulch. Yreka.
Found nearly every man on the north branch of Greenhorn Gulch working on in hope of water--one company has been working nine months without taking out gold--another lower down managed for a day or two to get water and found their diggings didn't pay--the sad lot of many, truly--
I am never anywhere near miners at dinner time but they cordially invite me to "take such as they have."
Heard today of men in Oregon splitting rails at six bits a hundred--thought of going there, but it is a dull show. Diggings first found on Deadwood Gulch spring of 1852, Cherry Ck. ditto, Greenhorn Gulch Feby. 1851.
Black Butte--Near Shasta Butte
This butte never has any snow remain upon it, when the other heights around are covered with snow--singular.
Early Settlement of Yreka
Diggings were first discovered by some greenhorns going from Oregon in March 1851. When the news reached Scotts Bar (it was then being worked) that spot was nearly deserted. The mining was found upon on the flats towards Humbug Gulch--about a mile from the present city of Yreka. Mr. Henry Shurtleff (now of Shasta) built the first house in Yreka.
Sunday, January 28, 1855
What a singular and painful contrast is a California sabbath to any other in a Christian land.
Last night men began to drink--have been drinking for three nights before. I went to bed about 10 o'clock--soon awoke by loud oaths--kept awake for hours--just dozing again when out the oaths broke afresh. This was kept up with slight intermissions until daylight--and this has been the experience of three nights.
This morning took a walk to get a fine view of that king of California mountains--Mount Shasta.
At eleven heard Revd. Mr. Stratton--pretty good sermon. Afternoon a foot race--of course I didn't go. This evening was opened by a fight--then came a second and a third--stores all open--gambling saloons all full of men. Church time came again, and while we were engaged in the peaceful and elevating pleasures of the sanctuary three pistol shots were heard--some left the church to see the cause. There was a rush and a murmur of voices followed. After church I enquired the cause. It appears that two men--one named Rodgers--the other Williams--both miners--have within the day had a quarrel concerning a Spanish prostitute. Tonight they again met and Rodgers fired three shots at Williams and running away as he fired fell down--when Williams, although badly wounded, rushed up and lookers-on thought that he was striking the fallen man with his fist several times, but instead--every blow was with a knife--and four times the knife was drove right through the body--besides 9 other stabs he died immediately--how sad a close--Williams is not expected to live as the three shots all took effect in his right side.
January 29, 1855
Heavy clouds in morning. Fine towards evening.
From Yreka to Humbug Gulch, 6 miles.
Leaving Yreka and striking northward, crossed Canal & Long gulches and struck Humbug Gulch about 5 miles from its junction with the Klamath. Was told it was 3 miles to Humbug City, took down the creek instead of up--hard trail--up and down, very steep and rocky--reached a store upon a "point"; told me there was no town that way--that that store was the last. Took piece of pie--started back--above where I first came upon the creek and about a mile from the forks in crossing a ditch--the upper bank steep--the horse slid backward into the water and I [was] forced to dismount more speedily than convenient--not hurt though.
Reached Humbug City about an hour after night--everybody playing cards in the hotel--soon quit--then they took a fancy to my dog. One man--"Gawd, what a head he has"--whistled--"Look at his teeth--wouldn't like to offend that dog. Is he mastiff? or bull?" "Both," said I, "damn fine dog--tell by the look of his eye." "I suppose he wouldn't allow anyone to touch you." "Try him." "Guess not, stranger, wouldn't pay to the pan." "Will he fight?" asks another. "You damn fool," says another by way of answer, "did you ever see a dog like that that wouldn't?" "Guess old 'Tig' would have his match there." "'Bull' would give him a good tussling." "Oh, no," cried another--not he--"Why, Sand's beat Bull." Then, after sundry opinions passed, the question was put--"Stranger, will he fight?" "You can touch me and see if he wouldn't fight for his master." "I'll be damned if I do." "But will he fight dogs?" "I don't keep a dog to fight. I teach my dog the principles of his master--to 'go in' in self-defense--never for fun."
Diggings were first found on the Klamath River in the spring of 1851, Red Cap's Bar on Klamath ditto, Salmon Creek Diggings ditto, Bestville on Salmon Creek ditto. Sailors Diggings, Illinois Valley is 50 miles from Crescent City. Bunkhouse Crk. empties into Klamath R.
January 30, 1855
Fine--cloudy at times.
Humbug City--Humbug Gulch.
Mining here is generally heavy from large granite boulders lying on top of the pay dirt. They generally ground sluice the top dirt off by all the water in the stream.
The diggings around here are very extensive and what are already discovered will take many years to work out.
Miners are badly off--some not having done any paying work for six & eight months. Those who have the precedent claim upon the water are doing very well--from $10 to $15 per diem.
Diggings were first discovered here in May, 1851.
January 31, 1855
Warm, light showers.
This has been the most satisfactory day for several weeks to miners, as water has increased from the thaw of snow, the light showers very much assisting the thaw.
Met with Mr. & Mrs. Craig, with whom I spent the evening.
The Indians pronounce the name of Shasta Butte Y-leka. The name is of Indian origin.
Mr. Wm. H. Rusk (from Schuyler Co., Mo.), now working on Humbug Gulch, has crossed the plains five times--the last one coming by the Noble's route, and he told me that the Noble route was worth all the others put together by selecting all the lowest hills of the different passes and putting them together--leaving out all the high ones could not then be compared to the Noble for its level road--good grass--and heavy timber.
The different routes taken by Mr. Rusk are the following--once by the Smoky Hill Fork of the Kansas by Bent's Fort and three times by the "Old Spanish Trail" through Santa Fe--twice came on the north side of the Platte to Lassen's Meadows and from that point has diverged once by Carson Valley & once by Noble's Pass.
Three days ago as he and company were mining on this (Humbug) creek they took out a frog 25 feet from the surface and thirty feet from their shaft--embedded in solid clay. It was in a torpid state, but after being out they put it into an old shoe and it shortly afterwards (3 hours) opened its eyes and began to crawl away--and has since made its escape.
This company have been four months drifting a culvert to drain their claim and were just completing it--it pays them very well.
Mr. Rusk went home in '51 with about $5,000 with which he erected a mill--fenced in his farm with sawed lumber--built him a good house, and last spring came again to Cal. to raise money enough to stock his farm.
24 miles south of Coos Bay and about 5 miles from the mouth of the Coquille River--timber from 3 to 5 ft. in diameter has been discovered 105 feet from the surface and partially petrified.
February 1, 1855
Fine all day--cloudy evening.
February 2, 1855
Fine but rather cool.
From Humbug Gulch over the mountain to Yreka, 6 miles.
Leaving the main gulch I passed up the South Fork of it and climbed a very high hill, over which the trail runs--being the nearest to Yreka. From the top of the hill there is a splendid view of Mount Shasta, even to the low foothills--sat to take a sketch, but from the cold air could get scarcely an outline before I was too cold to continue.
February 3, 1855
Fine in morning, cloudy in evening.
From Yreka to Cottonwood, 18 miles.
This morning, being anxious to see Oregon, I left Yreka about 1 o'clock a.m. on my way to Jacksonville, Oregon, and passing some low hills from Yreka entered the Shasta Valley. Saw before me in full view to the very foothills that king of California mountains "Shasta Butte," its white head and timber-covered base forming an inexpressibly magnificent scene of sublime grandeur.
There is also as soon as we enter a good view of Sheep Rock--though what there is either to give it the name or make it remarkable except as a small hill like any other I have yet to learn.
Saw however several little companies of sheep further down the valley, most of which had two lambs each that were skipping about--which reminded me of my own loved home. The grass is good in this valley--the snow having melted off except here and there where the sun could not reach it.
Forded the Shasta River about 2 miles from Yreka. This is a swift stream about 30 feet in width and about 3 feet deep in the middle--will average about 2 feet deep all across. I was afraid my horse would be taken off his legs and prepared myself for a scramble--one couldn't expect to swim--but "fortune favored the brave"--and luckily, for a cold bath on a cold day makes one's teeth "chatter" at the very thought of it.
There is a large amount of quartz in this valley and several "leads" at the base of the low hills around which you pass.
Took dinner at the Eagle Ranch--"Price's"--a Welshman. My horse rolled and broke his stirrup!!!
There are some good farms near Price's--men very busy plowing.
Leaving the Shasta Valley, we ascend a low divide between the Shasta and Klamath rivers. On this divide had a fine view of the Siskiyou Range of mountains--a prominent point of which is "Pilot Knob"--a bold and singular rock standing alone, high above the range. Descending the sloping hills towards the Klamath found the road heavy and muddy with a sort of thick clay. Reached the Klamath River--16 miles from Yreka. Here at the upper ferry this river is about 300 ft. wide and about 15 ft. deep--as large a stream as the Sacramento at Shasta. This ferry is about 150 miles above the mouth of the river and about 60 miles below the Klamath Lake where this river takes its source or rise. There is a good house, but badly kept. About 1½ miles from here crossed the Cottonwood Creek, a stream about 15 feet wide and 18 inches deep.
Sunday, February 4, 1855
Light floating clouds and warm.
Cottonwood to South Mountain House, 8 miles.
The people here being busy playing quoits (or horseshoes) and noisy, I thought I would seek retirement out of town, so I accompanied a miner around the adjoining hills.
I have always thought that some sea current has set from northwest to southeast over the whole of Cal.--in what is known as "the mining region"--as large quartz and other boulders of immense size--and water-worn--interspersed with smaller gravel of immense depth--and also wood has been found on the highest mining hills. Today I saw petrified sea shells in large quantities forming a conglomerate rock--also some oyster shells in the same state! Yet this cannot be less than 4 or 5,000 feet above the present level of the sea.
There is large quantities of quartz gravel all around here.
"Cottonwood" is the name of the neat little mining town in the valley of the creek of the same name about ½ a mile distance from the creek, being 18 or 20 miles north of Yreka and about a mile from the Klamath River.
There is a large number of men around here, nearly all "broke." After dinner is [omission] I could not endure the noise. I rode on, and the day is warm and pleasant, resembling a spring day.
Between the head of Cottonwood Ck. and "Cole's" or "Mountain House" there is plenty of mud in the trail--or rather sticky clay, especially where the recently melted snow has saturated the ground. The road in the summer I should think very good, being without any hard hills to cross.
Didn't meet a soul--until about 6 miles on my way, when I overtook a man with a train of animals he was ranching. I learned from him that mules are generally more cunning and intelligent than horses. "A few days ago," said he, "I rec'd. that poor horse you see yonder"--pointing--"and the other animals, especially the mules, look down upon him--kicking and biting and striving to drive him out of the train."
I thought a mule is not the only animal that looks down upon poverty. One mule does not follow the scent to find out where the band is grazing, but ascends the hill yonder in the center of the valley, and then when he see them starts off full gallop to join them.
All the animals, he thought, displayed considerable mind--a favorite theme of mine--as I believe that we do not give God credit for making his works as perfect as they really are.
The Cottonwood men pitch horseshoes as their only "pastime" on Sundays.
February 5, 1855
Cloudy & warm.
From South Mountain House to "Eden" School Dist., Rogue River Valley, 22 miles.
Had pretty good quarters last night at Cole's (M.H.) [Mountain House]. Hughes' [Hugh Barron's] Bear Valley is two miles north of [Cole's] Mountain House. From Cole's to Rogue River Valley--a distance of about 14 miles--the road is very heavy and clayey mud. The horse feet when drawn out go off like corks from large bottles, such is the suction of the mud; at other times the water from an old hoof hole would squirt 6 or 8 feet above one's head when on horseback. Plug! plug! plug! would be the music.
From Yreka to the Siskiyou Mountains there is but little timber (except in the distance), but having reached the summit in descending towards the Rogue River Valley the forest timber is very heavy and dense. How a stage gets over that road I can't say upon oath. I know that it was as much as my horse wanted to do to get along without my riding. When you get a distant view of the Rogue River Valley you are struck with the beautiful green slopes and clumps of oaks and pines on a rounding knoll here or there with the smoke curling up from one of those woody dwelling places. The mountains too (although on the northeastern side of the valley are without heavy timber) are beautiful from their singularity of shape and greenness of surface. The climate of this valley must be more moist than in California, as I see the grass roots do not die here from excessive drought, while every hill has a number of animals grazing on the top, for the grass is good although the snow has not been off the ground over a month.
Met a lady sitting astride her mule the same as the two men with her. She didn't exhibit much of the beauty or ugliness of her understandings. I must say I like to see a neat ankle on a woman! She had one, and I of course had to admire--consequently, looked! The Siskiyou Mountain is easy and gradual of ascent and not very high. Met several pack trains laden with goods for Yreka--they having come by way of Crescent City and Jacksonville.
Now, as the Rogue River Valley opens to the view, how beautifully diversified is the scene--now fine clear openings of rich, black soil just turned up by the plow--now the young wheat fresh and green peeping from the soil; here and there a small stream running down from the timber-clothed mountainside that would turn a mill or color the flower or give vitality to crops--here a small swell of land covered with oaks--there one of pines--yonder another with that beautiful evergreen the "manzanita" and other bushes.
February 6, 1855
Cloudy--rain & cold in the morning--not much better evening.
From "Eden" (or "Rockfellow's Tavern") R.R. Valley to Sterlingville, 12 miles.
Was only charged $3.00 for myself and horse for last night!!! Good.
Kept threading my way round fences and houses for about 4 miles further down the valley, when I left it following a trail towards Sterlingville--a much higher and more difficult mountain to climb than coming over the Siskiyou Range.
Grass on every hill--good grass--and on the distant hills could see cattle grazing.
Reached Sterling about 2 o'clock.
This is a small town that has newly sprung up, the diggings not having been found more than 7 or 8 months, but there are now in the vicinity about 550 miners--about 20 families--no marriageable women--about 35 children.
It is a busy little spot--the hillsides and gulches are alive with men at work either "stripping" or "drifting" or "sluicing" or "tomming" or draining their claims by a "tail race." Yet the water is thick with use--being very scarce--as a large number of men are using it. Here you see a prospector with his pick on his shoulder and a pan under his arm, and his partner coming along with the shovel upon his shoulder. That man yonder with the blankets at his back has just got in--he is now asking if you know anyone who wants to hire him. You tell him where you think he may live for a few days, and when that fails he will have money enough to buy himself some tools and set himself to work.
There as everywhere the cry is water--water--"will it never rain"--yes--"they feel dull enough" for they can't make their board for want of water. They ask you "if the people at Yreka are doing anything yet?" "No," is your answer. They want water--the canal not being finished yet, things are duller there than here. "Had I seen anything of a man named Brooks who was coming to see if he couldn't bring in Applegate Creek to set the men doing something with the water?" No, I hadn't. "Well, he was a-coming." That's the talk, said I. This town is situated on Sterling Creek about 5 miles from its junction with Applegate Ck. The creek is about 8 miles long.
February 7, 1855
Methods of Mining circa 1855, by James Mason Hutchings.
Cloudy & a few drops of rain
Down Sterling Creek to its mouth called Bunkumville [Buncom], 5 mi.
Left Sterlingville to go down the creek--for about a mile and quarter down--on the hillsides men are very busy the same as in town; many are doing remarkably well with the little water they now have.
There is but little mining in the creek.
Then further down you go for 2½ miles before you see anything being done--not a man to be seen--then a prospector or two, then a couple of men at work, then a company, then more prospectors. Then cabins are seen and in the distance a flag--perhaps a piece of old canvas tied to a pole (although sometimes the stars and stripes are floating proudly as if to say "walk in--there's liberty here--to get drunk if you have money or credit"). At all events it indicates a trading post. Opposite to that the rocks and the water and the pick or the shovel or the fork are rattling in or about the sluice boxes--people are all hard at work. What a contrast to some places.
As I was looking and thinking how much these diggings resembled White Rock in El Dorado Co., a voice hailed me, "Why, how do you do Mr. H!" and a hearty grip of the hand from Jim Lamar, a man who worked for us at White Rock. It was rather a singular coincidence.
The gold here is generally rough--not having been washed smooth by rolling as in some districts.
I prophesied good hill diggings here same as at White Rock.
February 8, 1855
Cloudy and dark. Rained ¾ an hour last night.
Last night it rained for about ¾ of an hour, and as I felt it pattering on my head I didn't approve of such an unfeeling course. I however moved further down in bed and covering my head with the blankets told it to rain on--but it didn't for long. Still it is an unpleasant situation, sleeping in the best hotel! of the place to find that when the rain can get at your head you feel its cold "fingers" down your back. Such is hotel accommodations here. There is moreover two women to cook--yet nothing fit to eat--went without dinner rather than go to eat it. But then "they are from Oregon!!" The majority of the men here are those who crossed the plains last summer to Oregon and utterly disappointed had come on towards California.
An inquisitive fellow inquired from me what state I was from. I told him I was a native of Pike Co. but had been raised in Oregon. "Oh! damn, damn, that must be hard," groaned he--but looking into my face he said, "I don't hardly believe you; it can't be." At this I burst out laughing and remarked that he must be from those "parts" to know that I was not!!! He then laughed & said "Git out!"
Oregon people do not seem to be in good favor anywhere north--they are generally called "Wallah Wallahs," as a large portion talk the jargon of the Hudson Bay Co. ["Wawa" is Chinook jargon for "talk."]
On Mr. Anderson's farm, Bracken Co., Kentucky--just on the banks of the Ohio River--a young lady named Miss Nancy Weimer was near the banks of the river milking when a furious bull ran violently towards--and when within a few yards of her--yet she was unable to escape in time. A large bulldog which had been lying down within a few feet of the cow--evidently seeing the danger Miss W. was in--instantly took the bull by the nose and threw him down--when Miss W. immediately threw herself over an adjoining hedge. The dog looked that way and seeing her out of danger loosed the bull and jumped over the hedge and rubbed and fondled with his young mistress, but the bull meanwhile being foiled run at a wagon standing on the banks of the Ohio--threw it with one toss into the river. This was related to me by Mr. Anderson's son Thornton A.
February 9, 1855
Jacksonville 1855, by James Mason Hutchings
Rained lightly all the morning, but held up at noon.
From Sterlingville to Jacksonville, 8 miles.
This morning it was rather unpleasant traveling in the rain; the road, however, is of a very gradual grade--but a large portion being through a timbered country, the roots across the road and on the ruts make it rather hard I should judge for wagons--there are so many soft places near the roots and stumps a wagon has to cross.
One fellow had taken himself up a ranch and was fencing up [i.e., across] the road--without in any way indicating any other way--and I accordingly got from my horse and threw down the fence at the trail. Men must be "darned" fools to suppose that strangers will spend their time hunting for a new trail when the plain one--with a fence across it--is just before him. I'll bet that fellow was from either "Pike" or "Oregon." It is too general sometimes turning teams a mile or two round and up a bad hill. About noon I reached
JacksonvilleThis is the county seat of Jackson Co., Oregon and was formerly called "Table Rock City."
Diggings were first discovered near here in Feby. 1852 by Messrs. Clugage & Pool, who being on a prospecting tour found their labors rewarded by the discovery of good diggings. There were but three log houses in the Rogue River Valley then--for farming purposes.
Messrs. C. & P. were digging a ditch to take water to the diggings. They had disc'd [discovered gold] and seeing some other men around discontinued work for about a month, but seeing the strangers about to locate they resumed their work and one and another would come and set to work and stay, hence arose the town so that now the population is about 700--22 families--and over 200 families in the Rogue River Valley. There are 53 marriageable [women] within a circuit of 12 miles of Jacksonville--9 within Jacksonville--35 scholars attend a day school kept by Miss Royal. Couldn't find the number of children in the valley. There are 10 stores, 3 boarding houses, 1 bowling alley, 1 billiard s. [saloon], 3 physicians (and 300 men called Doctor!), 1 tin shop, 1 meat m. [market], 1 livery stable--shame on it--1 church--1 schoolhouse.
February 10, 1855
Rain at intervals all day until evening--when it rained heavily 2½ hours.
This town is supported by the mines around and the wants of the agriculturalists. It is beautifully located in the Rogue River Valley about 10 miles above Table Rock. The houses seem mostly built of the tumble-down style of architecture. There is, however, one good brick store, built of lime [mortar] as it was dug out of the ground--natural lime.
There seemed to me to be more Drs. by title than any other class. There seems a number of long-faced religionists--how blue and mean they look--they want credit, "hum" and "hah" and rub their hands and hang their head on one side as if deprecating their unworthiness to be a man--and so I should think they might, for a hog might suit their grubbing tastes better than the dignity of true manhood.
I tarried at the Robinson House--the best building by far in town--went to bed about 1 o'clock--awoke by 3 men coming into my room. One lifted up the blankets to look in my face. "What's up?" I wished to know. "Oh, nothing." "Then don't you poke your nothings or your nose under my blanket anymore." "I was a-lookin' for a man." "Then why didn't you say so." Then in came 3 other men--all "liquored up." "Joe," said one, "hulloa, what do you want?" "I believe I am drunk--don't think I ought to be--do you, Dr.?" (Everybody is Dr.) "Only had four 'cocktails.' I'm tight, sure I'm tight. Here, take my money." In the morning a gold watch was missing from another of the trio. They couldn't make it out. "Do you remember" (said he) "Dr. So and So offering to bet me his watch against mine that the sorrel mare would win? And I said, oh, no, mine is a better watch than yours. One of those fellows at the table must have taken it. Who were they? Why, there was Mr. _____ and Dr. _____ and Doc. _____" Every inquiry was made from them and the barkeeper Dick and several others--but no gold watch or gold chain was forthcoming. By this time the one that confessed to being drunk found it underneath his hat upon the washstand--when downstairs he goes with the watch in his hand and saying that he thought that he was tolerably tight but he be blamed if the watch loser mustn't have been more so not to remember where he had put it. They then treated each other and were beginning to get a little tight again. This is the common failing of too many in Cal.
Sunday, February 11, 1855
Rain in morning, cloudy all day--except a few gleams of sunlight.
From Jacksonville to North Mountain House, 22 miles.
Anxious to avoid being rained in so far away from any point easily reached from our larger cities I started this morning and made along the Rogue River Valley, admiring its beautiful green slopes and timbered knolls.
There are so many versions of the origin of the name of this valley, but I conclude the roguish disposition of the Indians is the true one--as seems more generally admitted. It is, however, a beautiful valley about 35 miles long and from ½ a mile to 20 miles wide and will average about 7½ miles in width.
About 10 miles below Jacksonville is "Table Rock," a level and solitary elevation--or rather elevations, as there are two, about 700 feet above the valley. Its length is about 350 feet by about 200 feet in width, at the base of which is situated the U.S. military post of "Fort Lane." It contains about 70 soldiers, and these have astonished and awed the Indians by throwing a shell to the top of Table Rock from the fort. This rock is a little east of north from Jacksonville.
Apples grown in the Willamette Valley, O.T. were brought to Jacksonville in quantities and sold wholesale at 90 cts. per lb. The small ones were retailed at 25 cts. each & the larger ones at 50 cts. each--but the largest sold at a dollar. These were bought by Brown & Fowler of the El Dorado Billiard Saloon. These gents seem fond of fun, and they exhibit a small pistol--old-fashioned and rusty--to the "Wallah Wallahs" or greenhorns of Oregon as a pistol said to have been given to Raousset de Boulbon for self-destruction on the morning of his execution. They also exhibit an old broken and rusty cutlass as the knife with which the head of Joaquin Murietta, the California bandit and robber, was cut off with!!! and point out some deep rust as blood that has eaten into the blade!!! These old "fixin's" were picked up in Crescent City and brought on here for a frolic by the express boys--who also brought some printed notices with an expressman with the latest news on tap!!!!
Represent the Indians receiving their bounties from the Indian agent--in this valley--of blankets, beef, flour and trinkets allowed by [the] government [apparently a reminder for a future illustration].
February 12, 1855
Cloudy. Rain in evening.
From North Mountain House to Cottonwood, 29 miles.
Oh, horrible--horrible has been the road today. The road over the Siskiyou Mountains, bad enough before, is now from the recent rains much worse. Mud mud mud; horse drawing long corks for 10 miles--now he would only be up to his knees, now again he would be up to his belly, almost pitching you over his head by the suddenness of the descent, or throwing you over his tail backwards when his forelegs are out and his hind ones are in the hole. This may have been a good stage road, but I wouldn't think so now--it is the worst road I ever traveled.
This journey today was in company of a full-blown Oregonian from the Umpqua Valley, who had been in the Hudson Bay Co.'s employ--but now having sold out a farm he bought after leaving them is now on his way to see how he likes Cal. He seems to understand the jargon taught the Oregon Indians by the Hudson Bay Co. I learned from him too that there are about 2500 persons in the Umpqua Valley, 700 of whom are females. Farms are, however, fine and fertile. Passed some pack trains as usual.
San JoseMr. Brown of Jacksonville informed me that in May last he was traveling in the San Jose Valley with a friend named Reed (who was a true Yankee) who owned a "hog ranch" of about 600 hogs and who fed them on potatoes--because, said he, they are cheap. I bought them delivered in the town of San Jose at 12½ cents per sack of potatoes--and sold the sacks at 13 & 14 cents each after using the potatoes.
In one place Mr. B. saw a group of about 30 tents and inquired from the coachman what town that was. "Town!!" said the coachman, "That is no town; those are potato stacks."
Large quantities could be had for carrying away.
A farmer offered a grain merchant of San Francisco to sell him the whole crop of grain then growing upon his farm at 1½ cts. per lb. for the wheat--but as the land put into potatoes in 1853 was put into wheat this year, the merchant reasoned that wheat would be as cheap as potatoes were. But there he missed it--and the farmer "hit" it by his offer not being taken up.
February 13, 1855
Cloudy--rained all last night.
Cottonwood to Yreka, 18 miles.
February 14, 1855
Population of Siskiyou County About 7050
Population of Yreka City 1,300March 7, 1855
" " valley including city 3,000
Greenhorn Gulch included in the above 250
Humbug Creek abt. 2000
Shasta Valley " 250
Scotts Valley " 500
Deadwood " 300
Indian Creek " 150
Scott River--below valley 500
South Fork of [Scott River] 50
Barkhouse Ck., Buckeye Bar on Klamath,
McKinney Ck., &c. 200
Rattlesnake Ck. 50
Add ones scattering & traveling 100
No. of females in Yreka 125
No. of females in Yreka Valley 175
(This does not include prostitutes 47)
No. of women in Scotts Valley 75
No. of women in Shasta Valley 30
No. of women in Cottonwood 10
No. of women in Scott River 4
No. of women on Humbug 2
No. of women in Deadwood 3
No. of women in Indian Creek 1
No. of women in Greenhorn 7
No. of females in Siskiyou County 354
No. of children over 4 & under 18 yrs
Yreka Township including all around 43
Scott River " " " 76
Cottonwood " " " 13
Children under 4 years in county 75
Whole number in Siskiyou County 257
No. of votes polled in Siskiyou Co. (1854) 2,200
February 15, 1855
Took some views of Shasta Butte & Yreka today.
I admire this every time I see it.
There is a hot spring or rather three hot sulfur springs on the top near the crater, within about 15 ft. of each other. The thermometer stood in them at 180 degrees. Boiling and foaming below a snowbank flows the headwaters of the Sacramento River.
Temperature of the Boiling Springs 200 feet from summit was 180 degrees Fahrenheit--the sulfur burns readily. The water is highly sulfurous. Part of the lava or rock is a reddish-colored sandstone.
Table showing the temperature as indicated by the thermometer
while ascending Mount Shasta Septr. 20th, 1854 by F. G. Hearn
starting from the last of the timber where they had encamped.
February 16, 1855
Yesterday there was a great time among the Chinese, who were firing crackers--shouting and chattering all day and all night, keeping--as they say "Fort o' July John"--or New Year's Day with them.
Diggings were first found on Yreka Flats in March 1851, but diggings were first discovered here in fall of 1850.
Table of Distances from Yreka &c.
Yreka to state line by survey of Aug. 1854 over 25
(6 miles south of the Siskiyou Mountains)
From Yreka to bridge on Shasta River 3
" " Price's Eagle Ranch 10
" " DeWitt's ferry on Klamath 18
" " Cottonwood 20
" " state line & O.T. 25
" " summit of Siskiyou Mountain 31
" " Russell's Ranch, Rogue River Valley 38
" " Ashland Mills, " " " 46
" " Jacksonville, " " " 61
" " Table Rock, " " " 71
" " to the head of Umpqua Valley
" " Humbug Forks 6
" " Humbug "City" 6½
" " Freetown--Humbug Gulch 9
" " mouth of Humbug--on Klamath 10
" " mouth of Barkhouse Ck. " 12
" " Buckeye Bar & Metheney's Ck. " 15
" " Pickle's ferry " 23
" " mouth of Scott River " 33
" " Hamburgh " 35
" " Reeve's ferry " 49
" " mouth of Indian Ck. " 53
This last is the county line of Klamath
" " or Happy Camp " 55
" " mouth of Salmon River " 115
" " Red Cap Bar " 121
" " mouth of Trinity River " 128
" " mouth of Klamath with sea " 170
" " To Trinidad " 200
The trail leaves Klamath at Trinity River, passing through the redwoods" " mouth of Greenhorn Ck. 2
to Trinidad--so that the distance from Yreka to Trinidad is about 168
" " head of " 7
" " Deadwood 10
" " Scotts Bar, Scotts River by a new trail 22
" Deadwood Ck. to Indian Dk. 2
" Indian Ck. to Rattlesnake Ck. 3
" Scotts Bar to mouth of Scotts River 4
" Yreka to Shasta Butte 40
" " Sheep Rock 26
" " Table Rock & Soda Springs in Shasta Valley 18
From the DeWitt's ferry on Klamath to "The Cave" by the trail is 10
From Yreka to foot of mountain towards Shasta 7
" " to summit of Shasta 9
" " Fort Jones, Scotts Valley 16
" " Godfrey's Ranch, Scotts Valley 18
" " Hart's, Scotts Valley 25
" " Ohio House, Scotts Valley 29
" " Callahan's (or Lytle's) ranch, Scotts Valley 37
" " Noyes (Mountain House), Scotts Valley 40
" " Summit of Scott Mountain 45
" " Thompson's, Trinity River 54
" " Sawyer's, Trinity River 64
" " Chadbourne's, Trinity River 70
" " Lehigh's, Trinity River 72
" " Gibbe's ferry 78
" " Summit of Trinity Mountains 84
" " Mountain House, Clear Creek 92
" " French Gulch, Clear Creek 99
" " Tower House 102
" " Shasta City 114
From Callahan's Ranch, Scott Valley to foot of Salmon Mountains 6
Callahan's to North Fork of Salmon River 18
" Bestville, North Fork of Salmon River 28
" to Forks of Salmon River 44
" Mouth of Salmon River 98
February 17, 1855
Yreka to Long Gulch & Canal.
"Lost River" heads in the same mountain range as the Klamath River--running a southeastern course and emptying into Tule Lake. (Here the Indians murdered 8 white men in 1852.)
Sunday, February 18, 1855
Cloudy & cold.
This morning heard Rev. Stratton, who preached a good, sensible sermon.
After dinner wrote home--evening heard Mr. S. again. There was quite a "sprinkling" of ladies and a good congregation. Mr. S. is the best preacher--as adapted to Cal.--that I have yet heard from any stationed preacher in the mining districts of Cal.
While writing this afternoon, cries of "$90, am I bid $95? Thank you--100--105 am I bid--for a good mule, a good saddle, and (when it was new) a good bridle. 105, who says 100--110, $100--who says 15--115 dollars--now, gentlemen, this is a good mule"--&c., &c., &c.
Then I heard a laugh and looking out I saw a number of Indians--some two on horseback. I went down--they talk the Oregon jargon--one of them wears an old, bruised, whitish-edged battered "stovepipe hat"--and at his back he carried a U.S. rifle. One fellow (a gambler) cocked the rifle and as it was upright and at the Indian's back--he snapped it, but it wouldn't go off--then came another laugh. Men came in from all around to spend Sunday--ready for anything that offers "fun."
At night while sitting in church--a bell was ringing all through the sermon and crying a ball that had "only a few more tickets left!" It must be very annoying to a preacher.
February 19, 1855
Snow showers at intervals all day--and cold.
Yreka to Canal Gulch and Long Gulch.
These gulches empty into Yreka Creek about 2 miles below Yreka City. They are mining localities literally alive with men--who for the most part are waiting for the water. They drift--cut tail races--the piles of dirt are lying in every direction--rich with gold but are waiting for water with which to be washed: in consequence nearly every man and every company is in debt waiting for the elements to turn their dirt into gold and smiles of pleasure by being again out of debt--but alas how long do they tarry in vain. It seems as though the rain kept away because it was wanted here--had it been of the feminine gender I should very ungallantly have hazarded the remark.
Today I met with a Mr. B. Taylor, who wished me to go to his cabin to hear a poem he had nearly finished on mining life. There is considerable merit in the interweaving of technicalities of mining and sayings of miners. It is called "A Peep at the Mines." I think it however too wordy and too long. Mr. T. has been engaged in literary pursuits in Portland, Maine, and his lady is now either editress of the Portland Eclectic or is an extensive contributor. She formerly wrote for the Portland Transcript.
He informed me that he had contemplated starting a literary paper in Siskiyou County and with his lady to have encouraged literary pursuits among miners and sought to give a good paper suitable for and interesting to the miner--but his lady declined coming. He wanted to ascertain also the cost of engraving, printing &c. in Cal.
February 20, 1855
Cloudy & cold.
Yreka to Lower Town (or Hawkinsville).
This Lower Town, as it is called, is a new town sprung up during last summer--lying between "Canal Gulch" & "Long Gulch." Most of the houses are either empty or closed--money being scarce.
Today I saw part of a mammoth tusk. This tusk when found was taken out in parts and measured 12 feet in length and 24 inches in circumference--the piece I saw was only 6½ inches in diameter--and is slaking from exposure to the air. This wonderful specimen of a tusk of an immense animal was found embedded in gravel about 20 feet from the surface. Its shape resembled an elephant's. There was also a single tooth found that weighed 1 lb. 12 oz. avoirdupois. These were found by a German named Geo. Heller in the month of Sept. 1854.
Today too I saw the gentlemen that found a lignum vitae necklace threaded on fine gold wire thread--beautifully finished--and attached to it was a gold cross also beautifully chased and finished. These were discovered by the gent, whose name is Fouts, on Weaverville Creek near to the town. There was a pine tree growing over them that measured four feet in diameter--found in 1850.
Many years must have elapsed since they were placed there.
A short distance from Knight's crossing of the Stanislaus River at Hepperman's Ranch while sinking a shaft they found at the depth of 154 feet--in the solid rock--a live frog.
February 21, 1855
This city is finely located on a small branch or bend of the Shasta Valley--and is built upon the banks of a small creek called Yreka Creek, and is situated nearly northwest from Shasta Butte.
In the fall of 1850 it is thought that Gen. Lane & co. first discovered diggings on a bar on Shasta River about 4 miles below the present city of Yreka--which has gradually increased so that now there are 47 brick buildings--about 400 wooden ones including cabins--2 express companies--Cram, Rogers & Co. & Rhodes & Co.--41 merchant stores--8 boarding houses and restaurants--3 livery stables--9 blacksmith's shops--7 carpenter's shops--2 carriage & wheelwright shops--4 jeweler's & watchmaker's shops--4 barber's shops--1 bookstore & trinkets--3 drug stores--post office--1 church (Brown says "mit a shteeple")--1 jail--full of prisoners--1 courthouse (in an old shanty!)--the county court no sooner over than the district court begins--3 billiard saloons--6 drinking houses, and any number of "bars" you like to mention where liquor is sold--2 gambling saloons--9 houses of ill fame, besides those on the sly (including whites, Chilenos and Chinese)--4 bijou stores--2 tailor's shops--2 shoe shops--2 gunsmiths, 1 auction & commission house, 1 Daguerrean [studio], 2 painter's shops (house & sign painters), 1 private hospital--1 public school--6 saw mills--2 canals (one from Greenhorn, 1 from Shasta River), 3 butcher's shops, baker's shops--several wash houses (2 Chinese)--1 newspaper (the Yreka Herald) and printing office--2 tin shops--Odd Fellows hall--9 lawyers--7 doctors--
There has been gold dust bought in one week by Cram, Rogers & Co. alone to the amount of 1,600 ounces--the average reward for labor in claims is from 6 to 8 dollars per day--the coaches leave daily in the summer season for different points--
A large train of saddle mules leaves Shasta and Callahan's Ranch every morning in the summer--starting from Shasta they cross the Trinity Mountains--following up the main fork of Trinity River to the Scott Mountain which is crossed down to Callahan's Ranch (now Lytle's co.), Scott Valley--thence they take stage for Yreka. It takes passengers 3 days to travel from Shasta to Yreka--a distance of 125 miles. Cram, Rogers & Co.'s expressman, when racing with Rhodes & Co., ran the whole distance in 13 hours, 20 minutes.
February 22, 1855
Clouds, sunshine, light showers of snow--and cold.
From Yreka to Tim Oldham's Ranch, Shasta Valley p.m. & back.
Today Yreka is full of excitement--everybody is talking about a foot race for $5,000 a side that was to come off--but didn't. Early in the morning every horse, carriage, buggy, coach or wagon that could be obtained were in requisition. Around the Yreka Hotel about eleven o'clock a.m. were gathered the motley group--for a start to see this grand race. Bets were offered of hats, horses, new coats, pants, boots, yokes of cattle, wagons--to several thousand dollars in money. Thinking to take a Daguerrean view I went [and] reached there before the time set for the race. Men besiege the doors, horses are tied in every direction--buggies on the flat--all of a sudden horses are untied and mounted. "What's up?" cries one; "No race," cries another. "All's over," cries a third--now to know the cause. Sim Oldham gives up the forfeit of $2,500 and declines running his man (Connor). The other, John T. Asbill (versus Dunbar) being challenged by an outsider--strips and runs a short race--the other man "nowhar." "What a fine built fellow," cries one. "What beautiful skips or springs or leaps he takes," cry several, and all is over.
Building stone and limestone of the finest quality abounds here with which some of the substantial fireproof buildings are built--or the door pillars formed of it.
The post office here sends out weekly from 8 to 900 letters. There are about 10 beef cattle killed daily in Yreka, 3 sheep & hogs & calves.
In Siskiyou County there are about 20 beef cattle killed per day. This city has suffered several times by fire--and on the 12th of May 1854 nearly the whole city was consumed and the loss estimated at ____ dollars.
In the fall of 1852 there were two fires within a month of each other.
February 23, 1855
Fine--but hazy--clouds low.
About two or three weeks before Christmas in the winter of 1852, generally known as the starvation winter, the stock of provisions was very small--as more of the inhabitants had not contemplated having any harder winter then than any other time--but two weeks before Christmas snow began to fall--but "everybody thought it would soon leave off"--but still it snowed until snow was four feet deep on the level of the valley and street of Yreka.
One week before Christmas provisions began to grow scarce as a train that was expected had been caught in the snow and on Christmas Day there was not a pound of flour in town to be found, although $5 per lb. was offered for it to make a pudding with--but none could be purchased. Articles rose in price, those only of the following articles could be had at any price--beef--which from every particle of feed being covered up by snow, except a few green bushes, the tops of which could be eaten by them--was very poor and very tough and was generally called sheet-iron beef--60 cts. per lb.
Salt (only 1½ lb. in town) $16 per lb.--as long as flour lasted it was sold from $1 to $1.50 per lb.--potatoes had been grown near and the fortunate grower made his fortune out of them that winter, although he sold them at the same price as before the snow--were sold at 30 cts. per lb.
None could go out--none come in--soon a famine was approaching. They could stand it no longer. Some started and did not return--this encouraged others to start--about a week after Christmas Mr. Van Choate and several others started and crossed over to the head of Scott Valley. Several having been thus far, there was a trail partially broken, and when this latter party reached "Very's Ranch" they were surprised when on opening the door they found all those men who had started previously. When Van C____ entered he exclaimed, "Is there any bread here?" "No," was the answer in a surly tone. Men were strewn upon the floor, some asleep--for it was night--some could not find room to lie down and were sitting up to wait for their turn to lie down.
One day more was borne with--provisions were getting short here and rather expensive, $3 per meal--early on the following morning 23 men started towards Shasta--they had first to cross the Scott Mountain--"Who knew the way?" Now snow was from 4 to 9 feet deep. One knew it--the other knew it--so, armed with a couple of axes and their blankets off they start.
The party start--no trail--snow everywhere--one leads the van--snow comes up to his middle every step--others follow in his footsteps--in one hundred feet he is tired out--steps out of the track, another takes the lead--he soon "gives out" and thus the whole party try it--give out--and fall back--soon the first leader's turn comes round again--thus it again goes the round. By noon they make 3 miles--by night they make five miles from starting. "Where is the road?" inquires one--it clouds up--nobody knows exactly which way the road does go--they stop to consult--an old packer thinks he can find it. Now it begins to snow again--they go this way--now down--now up a little--this can't be the trail--they are too low down the mountain--too much to the right--too much to the left--they are traveling all night--morning comes--now they certainly can find the way--they traveled all day--just as the sun was setting they had the sight of Mount Shasta for a few moments--they are several miles out of their course--now they know it--take it--reach a stream about noon after traveling all night--fall a tree and cross it--one being numbed falls off--is taken down the stream 100 yds., another does the same--they both get out--none wait to see if they can get out--push on hungry--weary, some frozen--night comes on, no house yet--but joy, joy, they have reached the trail--old mule dung is seen near a small stream--now they shall soon be there--on, on they go--snow still deep as ever. "Let's camp," cries one, and another, "Oh, no," cries another, "I shall freeze to death before you can make a fire." Now night overtakes them, but one is confident that the house is just round that point but midnight comes--no house yet--this is the third day out and the third night without anything to eat, without any sleep. "Let us camp," is the general cry, only a few oppose it--on they go a short distance--a shout loud and long of joy and exultation. Those about to camp hear it--they all get up, follow on to know the cause--sparks are seen coming out of some snow--the house is covered up--but there is a fire. On, on they go--they reach the spot--but alas! alas! it is only an old tree on fire smoldering and burning beneath the snow--an object is seen--it is the house not 3 hundred yards--off they go--but how disappointed--it is the house--but the roof has fallen in from the weight of snow--and is deserted--the lower end of the rafters (or foot) were still upon the sides of cabin and formed a hollow--there was a fireplace--good, good, how acceptable--a fireplace!!! good, good, cries all!
A fire was kindled--one came in, another came in--two men were missing--after being warmed a little a party start after them, find them nearly frozen to death--bring them on--meanwhile while one was looking round they found a few pounds of barley, the only eatable thing they had seen for 3 days--they divide it and some eat it raw--some parch it in an old frying pan one man had found--now they were comfortable. They slept a little--but now they were on the right way, knew exactly where they were--there was another house 16 miles below--while they had strength they had better go than stay there to starve. Those that are able start--by this time others had come on from Yreka numbering about 70 persons in all. They start (after one day's rest). This is the 4th day without any food except the barley--about 9 o'clock p.m. of the fifth day Van Choate was ahead--they reached "Very's Ranch"--oh, what joy--to see the house, and a light in it--men were sitting round a huge fire, others lying on the floor, didn't move for the newcomers--"Have you any bread?" inquired Van. "No," was the answer--"we have venison." "I want supper for 70 men." "Supper for 70 men!" inquired the landlord. "Yes, supper for seventy men--seventy men who have had nothing to each for five days." Gammon looked the landlord--he's crazy--by and bye in comes one, now another, now 3 & 4 more--all inquired eagerly "Anything to eat here?" "Yes!" cries Van, "I've ordered supper for 70--for all hands." But no supper seemed to be cooking. About 40 had reached the house, and voices were heard outside--so then the landlord concluded that he was not mad--supper was got of "sheet iron beef" and venison--and potatoes and pickled beets--how good were these to hungry men--even though there was no bread--how hard all looked--all out--some were sick. But where were the men who were found frostbitten? They were left in the house by a good fire--two men volunteered to stay there and take care of them. Men were sent back to them with food; 1 ounce per day was to be the wages. They started, found the men nearly dead--toes had fallen off--the heels of one had dropped off--at length by warm brandy gruel they were sufficiently recovered to sit up a little while more was administered to them in small doses at intervals--the men recovered, all but their feet--eventually after crossing more snow to Stewart's on Trinity River in about 9 days they reached a place of safety--and bread.
February 24, 1855
Fine--a little hazy.
Sunday, February 25, 1855
Fine morning. Clouded up in the evening and about 7 o'clock p.m. began to rain.
About 3 o'clock this morning I was awoke by the sound of a pistol shot near. I jumped out of bed and hearing bang, bang, bang still breaking upon the stillness of the air intermingled with voices--and as I looked I can't see by the fire issuing from them that I was not exactly in range with them--although I heard the balls strike the houses (luckily, brick) opposite--the one I was in being only ½ inch board outside and canvas inside offered but a poor protection to 30 to 40 sleeping within should those firing shoot this way.
I dressed quickly and went down--when I found three men wounded who were just going home from a ball--one Mr. R. Brothers, whose likeness I had sketched in the morning, was shot in the arm--had it have been four inches to the right it would have entered his heart. Another was shot twice in the hand--another in the leg--(I heard 11 shots fired). It appears that this like most other rows originated with a number of gamblers who being at a masquerade ball--and being "tight" also--were offended at some language used when they went out of the house quarreling.
I think that a law should be passed severely punishing the man who upon any provocation fired the first shot (except it was when his life was in danger from another's knife) or club or other weapon.
Dog fights, jumping for wagers, jumping for amusement, betting, talking about the races--drinking--shooting &c., these have been the pursuits of many for today--Sunday.
This evening I saw a lump of pure gold weighing 187 ounces and worth at $16.50 per ounce the nice little sum of $3,085.50. This fine breastpin! was taken out of Wade & Hesley's claim on Whitney's Hill--about a mile below Scotts Bar & opposite to Lytle's Bar on Scotts River yesterday, Feby. 24th, '55.
February 26, 1855
Rain in morning. Fine, with low clouds at intervals.
This morning when I looked out of [the] window at the Yreka Hotel I saw about 2 inches of snow.
Happened on going downstairs to find that Adams & Co. had suspended payment in their express offices--a messenger in all haste having arrived last night--but another had preceded him sent by a friend of Scaggs the gambler, who immediately went to Cram, Rogers & Co. to draw out his money, several thousand dollars, which they immediately paid him--meanwhile, their messenger arrived bearing the unpleasant tidings. Men rushed to draw out their deposits and every paper that was presented having the signature of Cram, Rogers & Co. were paid just the same as though it hadn't happened to Adams & Co.
From Mr. Van Choate, one of the owners of the Yreka Herald, informed me that their press cost them $600 in San Francisco and cost them $900 freight, making $1,500 as its cost to them--being 31 cents per lb. from San F. to Yreka. The "bed-piece" weighed 397 lbs., was packed upon a very large, heavy mule--and with the aparejos the whole weight carried was over 430 lbs. Coming down the Scott Mountain at a steepish place he slipped a little and the pack threw the mule over and broke his neck in a moment--many a poor mule lies in the ravines near steep places where they have slipped and "fell, to rise no more."
About a year ago they bought some new type--common newsletter type--costs in New York 33 cts. per lb.--in San Francisco it costs 75 cts., the freight up 25 cents per lb.--costing $1.00 per lb. in Yreka. Freight then was 8 cts. to Shasta & 15 cts. from Shasta to Yreka--besides boxes &c. in which the type came.
Remember to put a "safe" among the packed mules in snow storm--there was one taken from Shasta to Weaverville weighing 350 lbs.--it was about 3 ft. 3 inches square. The mule after the load was taken off lay down--and--died a few hours after.
February 27, 1855
Light rain all the morning--dull and heavy clouds all the afternoon.
From Yreka to Hart's Ranch, Scott Valley.
This morning I made a start from Yreka about 10 o'clock a.m., passed up a very good mountain road over a low mountain the summit of which is about 8 miles from Yreka. On my way to Shasta part of the road in Scott Valley is muddy--public houses are a long way apart--and as I didn't mean to go back to Godfrey's, which would have been at least 2½ miles out of my way--as I took the trail over a second rise by Hamblin's Ranch, saving thereby about 3 miles I did not reach here before ½ past 7 o'clock p.m. Not having reached any tavern, about noon I had to go without my dinner and having eaten but a very light breakfast I found myself with a violent headache.
February 28, 1855
Steady & heavy rain.
From Hart's Ranch to Noyes' Ranch, Scott Valley, 6 miles.
A little before midnight last night it commenced raining, right hard, fast and steady--more so than any day before this winter. I am this morning at Hart's Ranch--a very good house but dirtily kept: the towel has not I think been clean for at least a week; the spoon in your teacup slipped up and down on your fingers while stirring--apples--dried apples--those infernal nuisances upon every table (or nearly)--nobody eats them--so they are placed there for economy's sake and to keep up appearances of fruit--and as I don't eat meat for supper very [often] I can't eat their fruit. I did find some peaches on the table at the Robinson House, Jacksonville, O.T., but they were never washed, and the dust upon them grated too much between the teeth to eat them.
It has been raining all the morning. At noon it cleared up a little. I started--no sooner fairly on my way when it began again to rain, rain, rain. Passed the "Ohio House," saw the river was high. 3 miles further on I met two men--they had returned--couldn't get to Callahan's--river too high for fording. I thought that perhaps I could get to Noyes', 3 miles above Callahan's. I started on again.
Now I reach the fording place. It is unpassable--it is nearly night--I jog on over the points of hills above the river--I come nearly to Callahan's. Just below Callahan's Ranch on the opposite side of the river is a very high and abrupt rock standing near to the water's edge. I have to pass it--high up there is an old trail. Whew! What an awful place for an animal to go--I don't like to pass it very much--but--I--I must--so must my horse, or stay out all night. I took off my saddlebags &c.--and as good luck would have it we got over safely, but it was the most dangerous rock I have ever passed with a horse in Cal. Had we have fallen or slipped we must have fallen 200 feet--nearly perpendicular--while high above towered the bald head of this rocky point. As soon as my horse was in safety I went back and carried the things over in safety. Now it was night--a moon there is--but the heavy rain and clouds make light very dim. I grope my way along as well as I can--water here, water there, and the river booming yonder. I edge my way along as well as I can along the foothills--at length I thought I must be wrong--and taking the packs off the horse I went on "prospecting" the road--or rather where I could take the poor horse--drenched as he was, poor fellow, with rain. Came among a cluster of rocks--couldn't get along--I then retraced my steps--but alas there was no house--where was I to stay? In the distance I saw a light, went to it--found two Mexicans standing by a fire--they "no sabe Americano." Pointed to a piece of canvas spread out and a little raised from the saturated ground. "Anyone speak English?" I inquired in a loud voice, and that awoke a man who said "Yes." I made some inquiries concerning my getting to Noyes' Ranch. A voice from low underneath the canvas answered, "Yes--you can get there, but you'll have a devil of a time of it." I wanted to know if I could get across to the house. "Yes," he believed so, "if the bridge hasn't washed away." I took off everything from the horse and left him to pick a little, for he was hungry--and leaving my "traps" in care of the owner of the English voice and about 9 o'clock after crossing sloughs--stumbling over stumps--slipping down rocks--I reached Noyes'. Here I found a large stream running between me and the bridge.
I immediately hailed the house--and in a few seconds several men came to the bridge. I inquired, "Can I get across?" "Yes," was the reply, "if you can stand that current" (running between me and the bridge)--"but be quick, as the bridge is moving." I was immediately in the stream, and it did not quite reach my middle. I, however, stood the current and reached the bridge. I was no sooner in the house than I inquired, "Who will earn $5 and fetch my horse & packs?" I felt too tired and wet--a man volunteered--and about 2 o'clock a.m. he returned with the horse and packs--money hard earned enough! I treated him to the drinks (one before, and one after he returned!!), and as he was satisfied, I ought to be.
March 1, 1855
Light showers & wind.
At the Noyes Ranch--all day.
March 2, 1855
Light showers in morning--afternoon set in a very heavy rain.
From Noyes' Ranch--head of Scott Valley to Sawyer's Ranch on Trinity, 28 m.
This morning I was sitting in Noyes'--feeling the bonds of a voluntary prisoner kept here because rivers are too high to ford and nearly every bridge washed away. About 9 o'clock Greathouse came along with his train of saddle mules and several passengers--one of whom was a woman and 2 children. Well, I thought, I can go if they can, and soon I was on my road after them. I reached the top of the Scott Mountain about noon. This mountain is one vast pile of rocks with some of the largest of them drawn out of the way to make a trail. It is called 9 miles over it and I think it all of that. On the top there is a rude cabin--the floor wet and covered with boughs on which some 18 men had slept--entirely covering the floor, counter & table. They had nothing but bread to eat, and nothing but gin to drink (except water)--looked very hard--
When I reached the foot of the mountain I found a very large stream of water--very swift--the bridge had been washed away--cross I must--and so must my horse--yes, and my packs too. Some logs floated down, dancing like feathers on the current, but it must be crossed. I took off the packs & saddle and turned my horse's head towards the current--he didn't like exactly to face it--but he had no sooner put his feet in the stream than the force of the current lifted him from his feet and took him on its foaming and downward course. We'll be drowned sure, said I--his head now up--now down--as he struck his feet against the large boulders that lay in the bottom of the creek--still he gets nearer the opposite shore--he gets into a small eddy--he swims--he feels bottom--good--hurrah! He's safely over! Three cheers for "Jim"!! This was said aloud in private exclamation to myself--for somehow or other, it matters not how dangerous may be the road, it is always my luck to be alone--so that if a man gets drowned nobody knows who it is or where he came from, unless he floats somewhere among a pile of driftwood--there his pockets are ransacked and in his papers the name (or some clue to it) is found--and--and--he is buried--without a coffin--and--forgotten. But now the question arose, how was I to get across--I saw a tree lying across and as it was too slippery to walk I "cooned it" across--first taking this, then the other, and I am all right--and all safely over. Passed "Trewack's Ranch" (a new house just building) 10 miles from Noyes' Ranch. 4 miles below Trewack's is Thompson's. Now it began to rain very heavy. I would have stopped at Thompson's but he charged me $5.50 more than anyone else and I would walk all night and in the rain too rather than stay there.
Now I crossed one creek booming high, driving my horse all the while before me--and where I could not find a tree across--I followed my horse.
March 3, 1855
From Sawyer's Rancho to Gibbe's ferry--Trinity River, 14 miles.
Last night--how it rained--pitter, patter, clatter, clatter, how it rattled upon the roof--how hateful ought I to feel that I was not compelled to remain beneath a tree in my wet clothes without any shelter after being worn down by traveling 18 miles --walking 7/8ths of it and 11 miles of it in a heavy rain--crossing this and the other creek &c. I was well housed at last--
Being very much fatigued, and everything I had literally soaked with rain, I spent the morning in drying my papers &c. and resting myself, and about 1 o'clock p.m. I started for the ferry across main Trinity. From Sawyer's to Callahan's it is about 6 miles--a very good trail--from Chadbourne's to Swift Creek 1 mile--from Swift Creek to Lehigh's Ranch 1 mile--here the passenger trains of saddle animals stay all night.--from Lehigh's to Gibbe's--the upper ferry on Trinity River, it is 6 miles and part of the trail--rocky--but tolerably good.
---------Creek after creek--not less in number than 14 or 15--were crossed--the rains falling in torrents--now I came to a soft place and the poor horse went one-third up his sides in soft mud or mire--got him out--every little hollow had a stream of water running through it--and every big stream or creek rushing down its steep course became higher and more impetuous--and to add to my troubles it is night--fortunately there is a moon and it is not quite dark. Now about 6 miles below Thompson's I came to a steep rock that came down to the water's edge--I never can get past that, thought I--I took the packs off the horse and I led him up--now down--a slanting rock with here and there a small ledge on which to place his foot. I held him tightly by the bridle--now had he slipped he must have got into the foaming current of the main river whose angry waters were beating and dashing up in hoarse and almost deepening tumult against the rock--the poor horse was almost inclined to be frightened, but--he is in a difficult place an excellent horse for "presence of mind" and coolness--now we had to pass by a point of the rock that projected into the river--I tried its depths--good, it was not past my middle as far as I would have to go in--I went in--coaxed my horse--he didn't like to venture--but, at length he tried; we got out again--went up some other steep rocks, where had either have slipped the river would have taken us to--"Davy's locker." Now one by one I fetched my packs--I daren't overload myself--for fear of being encumbered and thrown over. After much of wading and climbing we saw the cheering friend, a light in the distance--it was Sawyer's Ranch--reached it at ¼ past 9 o'clock. I have not seen house or man for eleven miles--and on such a night too. Eagle Creek 6 miles above Sawyer's--Coffee Creek 1 mile--the others, although large, have no name.
Sunday, March 4, 1855
Fine--cloudy towards evening, rain at sunset.
From Gibbe's ferry, Trinity River to Tower House on Clear Creek, 25.
Although today is Sunday, I felt it my duty considering myself and horse and the poor accommodations here to take a quiet journey towards Shasta--strong butter and ham and apples were the feed, but I had a good bed--so slept well--
The Trinity River here is about 80 yds. wide and tolerably high--the boat went across the stream (being worked by the current) in a few seconds--the dog swam it--and did it well.
Leaving the river we ascend the Trinity Mountain (a large pile of dirt and rock to cross over) by a good trail (no rock on it to mention) and very gradual--took until ½ past 1 p.m. to reach the Mountain House (13 miles). Here I dined--here too I found the saddle-mule train, taking dinner.
From this point kept down Clear Creek to the Tower House, passing "French Gulch" three miles before reaching Tower's.
This Tower House is excellently well kept, and is the best roadside house in California--I had a good room to sit in and read the news. Heard a squabble in the bar room underneath me--one man pushes another down--loud words--"What does all this mean" inquire Sam Francis and Jason Lowery in a breath. "Why," says one, "why, I have drunk with John here four times and he wanted me to drink again. I told him that I didn't want to drink any more, and have just taken supper--and says this drunken Irishman 'John'--'You have got to do one of two things--either drink or fight!'--and as he was stripping to fight I pushed him down--and pretty hard too, as I don't want to fight--but I'd sooner fight than drink when I don't like." This all ended in a laugh. The drunken man, "John," as he is called, has a wife and family in the East--yet is always getting drunk at intervals--will work well for a week or two mining, makes money fast--"for he's a lucky man" and then gets on a "bust."
March 5, 1855
Rain, rain, rain all night and all day.
Here am I today, a prisoner by the incessant rains. A train of 21 "donkeys" went past today.
March 6, 1855
From Tower House to Shasta, 12 miles.
After dinner today I started in a heavy rain,the water of Clear Creek being very high, so that the water came into the road in places to a depth of 3 ft. 6". Had at last to take to a trail above--horse mired down several times--raining all the way.
Redding 1855, by James Mason Hutchings
Rain--in showers--heavy. Thunder showers at times.
From Shasta to Middle Town
This morning (and all last night) it rained heavily--in heavy showers--there was some thunder, an unusual thing in this country. About 10 o'clock started for Middletown.
No. of Mules Used in the Shasta "Pack Trade"
From the Shasta Courier of Nov. 11th, 1854.
"From the memorandum book of Bull, Baker & Robbins we have made out a list of the number of mules now employed in packing from this place (Shasta) to the various towns and mining localities north of us. We make the number eighteen hundred & seventy-six.
"This estimate does not include those used by individual miners--nor is our list of regular pack trains complete, hence it is altogether safe to place the number at a figure considerably above two thousand. With this data a very fair estimate of the amount of freight packed from Shasta may be formed. Each mule load will average 200 lbs. A trip to the most remote point to which goods are taken will never occupy above two weeks--in many instances three or four days less. It is a very moderate calculation, then, to average the trips of the entire 2000 mules at 2 weeks each. This will give a result of 100 tons per week as the aggregate amount of freight packed from Shasta--which, at the very low figure of 5 cts. per lb. would yield the sum of twenty thousand dollars per trip to the packers."
March 8, 1855
Cloudy--but little rain.
From Middletown to Texas Springs--and Shasta.
Went to see Mr. James M. Hunter of Texas Springs, who has desired to join my party across the plains--the Indian difficulties among the Sioux nation are not adjusted yet. Got a grizzly bear skin from him--for Muchlers.
March 9, 1855
From Shasta to Cary's, 7 miles.
And a good time I didn't have--the ground soft--wagons going up to the hubs--the road washed down on one side made the other too high and nearly tipped my wagon over. [Hutchings had been on horseback until now. He'd apparently retrieved a wagon--with his photographic equipment--that he'd left at Shasta or Yreka.]
March 10, 1855
From Carey's to Clear Creek--__ miles--Clear to Cottonwood--__ miles to Prairie Home.
The road is miry in places--but my wagon being small and light I get along tolerably well.
Sunday, March 11, 1855
From Prairie House to Red Bluffs.
Spent the morning at Prairie House.
March 12, 1855
Rain all day.
From Red Bluffs to Sacramento City, __ miles.
About five o'clock this morning our boat--the Cleopatra--threw off her hawser--myself, Jim and wagon all aboard.
On leaving Red Bluffs I noticed the water 12 ft. lower than it was three days ago--but before we reached Colusa it was to the very top of the river's bank and in many places overflowing--the want of fall in the river here backing up the water.
It is very pleasant to notice the change in vegetation from the sterile and snow-covered mountains to the green budding trees that stand on and above the banks of the Sacramento--the country being lower than the waters in the river banks there was a prospect of overflow. Cabins on the river's bank were deserted--some being higher are better off, yet the cattle cannot rise high enough to avoid being drowned, and several hogs were up to their bellies in water.
A man coming from one of these cabins in a small boat to get aboard the steamer came very near being drawn under by the wheel--it was a very narrow escape.
Cattle here deep going towards the higher ground but are up to their knees.
The change of light green in the rich bottom lands just budding looked beautiful.
March 13, 1855
March 14, 1855
March 15, 1855
March 16, 1855
Fine--cool towards evening.
Bargained with Barber & Baker for engraving six views--Shasta, Yreka, Jacksonville O.T., "Scotts Bar," Shasta Butte & Weaverville.
March 17, 1855
Sunday, March 18, 1855
Morning heard Rev. Luck--the Chinese minister and editor of "The Oriental" or Chinese newspaper. He was short and explanatory in his address--nothing very forcible or well informed.
Afternoon took a jaunt on the banks of the "Rio Sacramento," that most beautiful of streams--with its edges decorated by the light and beautiful foliage of the "buttonwood tree." The water was high--one garden was flooded--peach trees are in full blossom and every green thing looks full of strength. Went to Sutterville--a deserted town--here there are several fine brick buildings, two stories high, empty--but here and there a melancholy-looking man--sad, sad is the speculation, yet this was to have been the great depot for the middle and northern mines in place of Sacramento City, and several attempts had been made to revise it as such--but you might as well believe in a dead dog coming to life by means of a galvanic battery as for such a result to happen here--the stream of trade will follow its first lead as long as it is profitable to do so, and is not easily turned into a new channel--
There are a number of steamboats lying on the Washington side of the Sac. River. Opposite city--such as "The Senator, "Confidence," "Kate Kearney," "Daniel Moor," "Clara," "Marysville," "Shasta," & others. These are opposition boats (bought off, most of them) by the Cal. Steam Nav. Co.
March 19, 1855
March 20, 1855
From Sac. City to Daylor's Ranch, Cosumnes River, 18 miles.
Left the city this morning--prairies covered with flowers--stock feeding in all directions--met a man with a pail full of mushrooms--had salmon for dinner--just in season.
The above is wrong, I being in Sac. City Tuesday--so thought it should be entered on Wednesday, as seeing Sac. City for Daylor's Ranch & Co.--yet Tuesday was fine and warm, although a little cloudy towards evening.
March 21, 1855
Cloudy in morning but warm.
From Daylor's Ranch to Live Oak City--& Katesville.
This morning I took a view of Daylor's Ranch. This place was settled in the summer of 1841 by Wm. Daylor and Jared Sheldon, being a grant from the Mexican government. Was very frequently visited by trappers of the American Fur Company and of the Hudson Bay Company. The old adobe house as shown in the sketch was one of the first buildings created here--although recently improved by the present proprietor, Mr. Grimshaw--and was erected about 2 years after Sutter's Fort. This latter and Daylor's were the only buildings in the Sacramento Valley--although several were built shortly afterwards on the American [River].
Mr. Sheldon was a carpenter by trade and first obtained a number of cattle, mares &c. and afterwards sent them to Mr. Daylor while he worked at his trade to pay for them.
The California way of doing business then was Mr. S. would go to the Spaniards with whom he was well acquainted and bargain for work to be done, then saying "Give me the stock now and I will stay and work it out." This was all the agreement necessary--no writing of any kind. Most of the early settlers first hired out to Capt. Sutter for stock as payment--who wanted interest for them with the Mexican government for a grant of land--and Capt. Sutter made the fortunes of every settler in the Sacramento Valley, including Major Reading, John Bidwell, Saml. J. Hensley, Hiram & Eliab Grimes, ______ Johnson on Bear River--generally known as "Bear River Johnson"--he got his grant direct from Sutter--______ Chamberlain (next grant above Daylor) was a black[smith]--Michael C. Nye worked for Sutter at Bockhauser (bought his grant from ______) on the forks of Yuba & Feather River--now partly occupied by the city of Marysville--Nicholas Allgeier on Feather River--John Smith had also a grant as wages for Sutter, but has squandered it all away--Theodore Cordua, a Canadian Frenchman, a trapper employed by American Fur Co.--Mr. Lyon also.
The first settlers could go any time among the timber and kill deer & elk--they lived principally on game--never killing cattle.
In Live Oak City I met my old friend O. D. Freeman, who would have no refusal to my accompanying him to Katesville. This is a small town that has sprung up within a few months and contains a population of about 110--all waiting for water. The claims are considered good--Mr. F. told me that they had tested each end of their claim and could get from a dollar to a dollar and a half to the pan on the [bed] rock. He showed me a piece of the dirt taken out and gold was sprinkled nearly all over it.
March 22, 1855
March 23, 1855
Fine and warm.
From Katesville to Live Oak City, 1½ miles.
This has been a lovely day--balmy and warm and pleasant--what a wide contrast to the cool temperature of the northern and elevated counties of Siskiyou and Shasta--indeed it is now more like summer weather. Saw a man and house near Katesville--the man, being about entering the holy! state of matrimony with a tall lady of tall ideas and wishing to put a tall construction upon his circumstances, had expended all his money and credit in building a fine house--not being able to furnish it nor to fence or stock his farm--so that the whole looks gloomy enough. What a lack of common prudence--the windows are partly curtained by mattresses, partly by table covers and partly without any curtains. Mr. F. introduced me to the tall lady!
My friend F. is Recorder for this Katesville district and gets $1.50 per claim for his fees.
Live Oak City is one of the most picturesque little villages in the mining district of Cal., situated among the rolling hills--commonly called the "foothills"--and near the banks of the Cosumnes River about __ miles above Daylor's Ranch and __ miles from Sacramento City.
It has grown up within a year and now contains about 400 people--25 families--10 marriageable ladies, 52 children.
In April 1854 the diggings were first discovered and a trading post built by Valentine & Calvin--and two tents were the whole of the buildings--now there are 9 stores, 7 hotels, restaurants & boarding houses, 4 saloons, 1 bakery, butcher's, blacksmith's & carpenter's shops, bowling alley, shoemaker's shop--school house with about 25 scholars--used to be 50--preaching every other Sunday by J. B. Fish. All these buildings are shaded by a grove of "live oaks," and with the Cosumnes Valley in the distance with fine forms in good order makes a beautiful view.
March 24, 1855
Fine & warm.
From Live Oak City & Cook's Bar to Michigan Bar, 1½ miles.
Diggings are beginning to be found deeper than formerly so that not only the surface of diggings [is] worked but a strata of gravel beneath a layer of cement.
How beautiful is the scene around as the plains, rolling hills and clumps of oaks are here and there diversifying the landscape--men with their sluices are on every hillside and water gurgles down the little ditches dug by miners to convey the water from the main ditch to their sluices.
Michigan Bar has improved in its buildings since I took the view last year. The Michigan Exchange--now the best hotel in town--has been built by Mr. Fulton and several others have been improved--Messrs. Hamilton & Wayne have built a large two-story store with a temperance hall over it. Last Thursday too Mr. H. received the appointment of postmaster for this township.
During the past summer two "leads" were found on the bar north of the river (the Cosumnes). The town opposite to Michigan Bar is now called "North Michigan Bar."
Deeper diggings of greater richness than the surface have been found recently.
Sunday, March 25, 1855
Fine & warm.
I have spent the day in conversing with old acquaintances from White Rock. it is agreeable indeed that not every face you meet is owned by a stranger, and the warm greeting of welcome is a pleasing testimony that the sight of me is not unpleasant--as it might be.
Everything is very quiet here--men busy themselves on Sunday in writing home--a pleasant employment, and one that which it elevates their morals, diverts their attention from the degenerating influences of a California-kept Sabbath.
Good diggings were yesterday disc'd. at Indian Hill--4 miles east of this place--
March 26, 1855
Hunting horses and getting back my money for the horse I bought here but had prodded away from me at Grass Valley, Nevada Co.
March 27, 1855
From Michigan Bar to the Antelope Ranch, 12 miles.
March 28, 1855
From Antelope Ranch to Sacramento City, 14 miles.
March 29, 1855
Fine--a little cloudy.
From Sac. City to Placerville, 52 miles.
The fare of the California Stage Company now to Placerville is only one dollar--on account of an opposition stage that has been running for about 3 months.
We kept along very well--first on the "plank road" for 9 miles, then entered the gently rolling hills--flowers of all colors and many kinds blooming all around--trees putting forth their leaves and the song of the meadowlark swelling in liquid and rippling notes from nearly every tree. There was one passenger--a lady--who had been residing for 3 days at the Orleans Hotel, Sac. City, and while at the theatre in company with her husband her trunk was broken open and her leather valise cut from one end to the other--and every article of jewelry with money and other valuables taken out and an impudent note left upon the table. She was going to Placerville to reside--and as she had never seen any mining she made many inquiries as we passed miners at work and I of course as in duty bound found great pleasure in her company by explaining the variety of processes--kind of dirt &c., &c.!!
When about descending a hill near Shingle Springs the opposition stage upset and spilled all the passengers just about 50 yards ahead of our stage. Of course we instantly stopped and by lifting up the stage assisted the passengers underneath to get out and fortunately no one was seriously hurt--except a Chinaman who was badly wounded in his feelings, and would have fainted but for an opportune thought--I could see that beyond a little skin that had been rubbed from his shin he was unhurt, although badly frightened. I gave the wink to one of the men near and said run, run for your lives and fetch a saw to saw his leg off! He understood this enough to shake his head and cry out No, no, and after we had lifted him up he could walk very comfortably and even got into the stage again without inconvenience. Meanwhile a Chinese gentleman or gambler the moment he got from under the stage--being neither hurt or scared, and seeing his apparently "killed" countryman lying prostrate--with considerable "sang froid" quietly walked off, leaving his countryman to the tender mercies of we "barbarians." I was just starting after him and would soon have brought him back by his "pigtail" to assist his countryman, but the well-known sound of "All aboard" "fetched him up with a round turn" and being soon inside the stage again off we go. Now for the mean criticisms of the coachman branding his fellow "Jarvey" as asleep and so forth--but I insisted that "accidents will happen in the best of regulated families"!!
March 30, 1855
December 1857 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Rain, rain, rain.
I just reached here in time for shelter and spending a wet day to the advantage of my business. For I posted my ledger--and in the evening I received that great comfort--a letter from the loved ones afar. By one I learned the painful intelligence of the death of an old sincere friend, Mrs. Homer. How many years has that home been "a house of mourning" and affliction.
March 31, 1855
Rain, rain, rain.
What a benignant blessing to this country are the showers of heaven in their season--and although there is only the rainy season, how great the disappointment when (as it has done this year) it postpones its generous visit to the springtime--then became discouraged--their hearts were heavy--the dear word "home" was written on their hearts and now from the long tarrying of the fine weather many will have to struggle through another year in hope. While the weather-beaten and sunburnt countenance tells how deeply that dear cluster of loved ones at home are in his noblest aspirations and unswerving labors that he may join them. Few indeed of the dear ones who so anxiously watch for his return, how he struggles with misfortune, and how bitter the sadness of his soul as he finds the good angel of his hopes receding as he with toiling hand advances to secure the golden goal that shall restore him to the distant dear ones.
Sunday, April 1, 1855
Rain, heavy until evening.
Today is the first Sunday I have spent among my Placerville friends for about 10 months. It seems pleasant to meet with them and receive the hearty welcome. Absence is sometimes a good, as a proof of their feelings.
Heard Revd. J. Pierpont in morning--he is improving in his elocution.
Spent the afternoon in writing to the dear ones at home.
Evening about ½ past 8 I went to visit my old acquaintances Mr. & Mrs. Haderman, thinking to take tea there--but we sat chatting about old times and the pleasures of intellectual pursuits--especially at the East and no sign of tea appearing, I made up my mind there was none coming--and I should have been wrong had I guessed any other guess--but as fasting of the body is frequently an invigorating feast to the mind, I sat until about 10 o'clock--and certainly enjoyed myself as although Mrs. H. is a visionary kind of lady, she is intellectual and well educated.
Mr. H. informed me that there were three quartz mills now at work in Placerville--all of which were paying from 70 to 100 dollars per day--above all expenses. I was pleased to hear it--that they had given a gent one-seventh interest in their lead to provide a mill and set it in running order all at his own cost--and he had succeeded in doing so and it was working very well and profitably although they did not save over half the gold, as they can clear $100 per 24 hours over [and] above expenses.
April 2, 1855
Went to Coon Hollow near Placerville.
As some men in a claim adjoining Mr. Baudtely had thrown their pebbles upon his claim I accompanied him over. They agreed to throw them off again. Coon Hollow was first worked in the summer of 1851 when diggings were discovered in the hills of immense richness, and although the gold is very black & unsightly looking it is of great fineness. In the year alluded to old Zumwalt the Jew made many thousand dollars by ascertaining its value--yet purchasing it at less than the market value of other gold although the brighter-looking gold about Hangtown assayed less.
This place has changed much since the gold was first found--when its better buildings--quite a town--were erected upon the hill, and shortly afterwards the best diggings were found underneath the town--shafts were sunk and tunnels made under the entire place & now--as shown in the sketch the hill is nearly all washed down by the "Hydraulic" method of washing and buildings have been erected in the ravine at the foot of the hill.
April 3, 1855
April 4, 1855
Placerville to Union Town, 13 miles.
Took the stage this morning for Coloma--fare $2.50.
Every hill is now green, trees budding, and as one rides beneath these forests of stunted oaks and the "fruit-bearing pine"--threading our way among sluices and ditches and men busily employed taking out the glittering "oro"--it is gratifying to see the change from the deep solitude of its earlier history when--but don't get prosy.
Saw a man who was rather tight riding ahead of us in a buggy--the tire came off his wheel unperceived and bowled down the hill--and pieces of his wheel began to drop off also--unperceived. I said as we came up to him--"Sir, the tire is off your buggy wheel and two pieces of the felloes are off also"--he looked up and replied, "That's hic none of your damned hic business--hic, hic."
Passed through "Cold Spring" & Gold Hill--both of which places remain "as they were in the beginning is now" and so forth.
Coloma has very much improved--new houses built, old ones newly painted and a new Episcopal Church is in course of erection--I was pleased to see that the strong efforts of the Placervillians to remove the county seat from its original place to our town was defeated--for as Coloma was the first place where gold was found I venerate it as such and without the county business it would soon be "a deserted city."
May 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
It appears that this bridge stood the last heavy freshet--although the Union Town bridge was swept away.
I learned from Ed Blundell that when Adams & Co. failed, a "colored person" who had gathered a little fortune of about $4,000 by the honorable calling of "boot black"--and deposited it for safety! with that firm--he exclaimed, "Dar you goes, sixteen tousan pairs of boots blacked--all gone--at one smash. I'se a poor old nigger I is."--A Dutchman who had about $200 deposited in dust with Wells Fargo went and drew it out and putting it into the pocket of his woolen shirt began to take some sluices out of the river (as the water was then rising). By some accident it fell out of the pocket into the stream. He waited patiently without ever mentioning the loss until the water went down, when he worked faithfully every day for six days--trying to find it, without success--when someone inquired what he was doing when he replied--"Mine Gott I ket mine monies from te office, and koes town to te water to ty mine tail race, and I lose mine monies, and if I lets um be in the office I lose um anyhow." Meaning that if he hadn't have taken it out of the office he would have got it safely at any time "mitout losin'."
April 5, 1855
From Coloma to Placerville, 11 miles.
The journey today as pleasant as yesterday--took a view of Coloma, also a separate one of the old mill. I see that some Chinamen have taken full possession and I wanted to sketch them, but they would not stand--they were very shy of being sketched--I think they have an impression that it is from some penal offense or other that faces are sketched.
Today I saw Mr. Weimar--who has the first piece of gold discovered in California, also the gold, and with his lady seem very pleasant kind of people--Mr. Weimar said to me, "Marshall brought up the gold to me--I was making soap--and says he, 'I believe I've got something like gold; I believe it is gold; will you make some strong lye and test it'--as I was making soap I put it in and boiled it for one day and two nights and it was the same when it came out and we all said it is gold surely!" They crossed the plains in 1846. The piece of gold weighs about $5 and contains a little quartz. It is about 7/8 of an inch in length, 5/8 in width, & about a quarter of an inch thick in the thickest place, the edges rounding and rather rough. Was introduced also to Mrs. Winters, who came to Cal. in 1848.
----------The following will illustrate one trait of character among some of Californians. A German who had been remarkably fortunate at Mameluke Hill near Georgetown grew tired of mining and thought he wanted to become a merchant. For this purpose he went to San Francisco--where he bought a very large quantity of onions. These he kept for about six weeks, when more than half of them were rotten and the balance growing badly--he concluded to sell the remaining (the growing ones)--and did so at half the cost per lb.--but--he went into another speculation much worse, for he was at some strange house and saw a daguerreotype of some young lady and found that she was the daughter of the lady where he was staying. He remarked that he would like to see that lady, and marry her--but what was to be done; she was in the eastern states--"Oh, he would pay for her passage out and the balance of the family." He did so--and in due time the article bargained for was consigned to him. They were immediately married and they lived together one whole night, parted and have not seen each other since. This with the onion speculation cost him nearly $18,000. Men sometimes are surely mad. He now owns one of the best claims on the same hill, and on one day last week in 3 hours they took out of his claim 19 lbs. of pure gold.
April 6, 1855
From Placerville to A. T. Taylor's--my ranch--& Diamond Springs.
Went with A. T. Taylor to his ranch--and as we entered Mrs. Taylor was busily employed weeding an onion bed. "There," said Mr. T., "there is my gardener. She is always at work." She soon joined us in the sitting room, and no one would have thought that the same person a few seconds ago was in the garden.
From here I went to my old ranch and found everything going to ruin--peach trees, rhubarb roots, chickens &c. belonging to myself and Mr. Blake have been sold--How few honest men there are comparatively.
From here I went to Coon Hollow & Diamond Springs. At this latter place I visited my esteemed friends Mr. & Mrs. Wadsworth--who, at a time of great necessity loaned me $250--and by which timely accommodation I have been enabled to take several thousand dollars. I shall ever remember them with the warmest gratitude. I spent the night here and returned--
April 7, 1855
Fine & warm.
Diamond Springs to Placerville.
In the "Table Mountain tunnels" there have been performed by "The Table Mountain Tunnel Compy." in the upper drift up to May 1st, 1855--1878 days labor--500 feet has been drifted into solid rock--and 400 feet in gravel, making 900 feet of tunnel.
The new or lower tunnel is 900 feet in solid rock upon which 3,756 days' work up to May 1st, 1855--the entire distance in bed rock.
Sunday, April 8, 1855
Fine & warm.
This morning heard Mr. Pierpont preach. In the afternoon saw a few scenes of the new panorama of [George M.] Weaver's--It don't amount to a very large sum.
Evening heard Mr. Brayton of San Francisco: a good sermon.
April 9, 1855
Cloudy in morning. Rain afternoon, fine evening.
Placerville to White Rock.
This morning I went over to White Rock and sketched the newly invented guyaskutus for saving gold by means of patent riffles, without throwing out a rock.
Today is a great day among the Chinese called "The great feast of Hee Jowles."
This evening Mr. Brayton anxiously desired to buy into my panorama--and would pay to the amount of $5,500 and pay entirely the cost of painting, fixing machinery &c.
I am to think about it.
Took tea with Rev. J. Pierpont, in company with Mr. I. Brayton & A. P. Brayton.
April 10, 1855
Fine--but dull & cool--rainy night.
Placerville to Sacramento City, __ miles.
April 11, 1855
Rainy in showers
April 12, 1855
First thing this morning I went aboard the Urilda to see after my little dog--I have lost her for nearly a year and through the kindness of Dr. Loher of Moke Hill I ascertained where she was, and upon the doctor telling the negress who had her that he knew the owner and would inform him--she replied that "anyone who took that dog should take her at any risk." I expected to have "a scene," but when I entered the cabin of the Urilda and began explaining to the captain my business there the dog heard my voice and came running and whining and smelling--and the moment she saw me and when I pronounced her name she sprung upon my lap and put her "arms" upon each shoulder and passionately commenced attempts to lick my face--moaning and rubbing her head against my cheek. I never saw such demonstrations of joy from any dumb animal before. "Just see," exclaimed [the] captain and stewards (and stewardess too), "Why, who could have believed it."
It appears that when I lost her on my last visit to San Francisco (a year ago) that missing me in the street she had gone directly back to the steamboat and took possession of my stateroom--evidently expecting me back. The stewardess informed me that upon every voyage she had gone all around the cabin and smelled and looked and listened as if trying to find out someone by the smell or voice--and every day went to the stateroom that I occupied and looked around. Seeing the attachment of the dear dog she couldn't have a word to say against my taking her. (Said the stewardess) she "would never have another pet"--her heart was full at giving her up to me. I was heart glad again to find an old friend, for from having her at the age of eight days (in 1851) and she having been my companion by night and by day for that long I was much attached to her--and feared that I had lost her--but again she is mine--may it only be the forerunner of the union of other dear old friends from whom I have been separated alas too long--among others and find upon the list is her namesake (Clara) and my ever dear and aged mother.
April 13, 1855
Dull early in morning--rain all day afterwards.
April 14, 1855
Rain all day.
Bargained for a new letter-sheet of "every method of mining" [shown above] with Mr. Boyd.
Sunday, April 15, 1855
Cloudy & dull.
It rained hard all last night--today it is dull, but the wind is to the northward--so [there] will be no rain until it runs round.
April 16, 1855
San Francisco to Sacramento City.
This day I sold to John F. Larrabee my right & engravings of letter-sheets & envelopes for his use in the state of California. The following is a copy of the bill of sale.
San Francisco, April 16th, 1855This is to certify that I, James M. Hutchings, have this day sold to John F. Larrabee the following engravings and designs of letter sheets and envelopes for his sole use and publication in the state of California for the sum of One Thousand Six Hundred and Eighty Five Dollars ($1,685)--to wit, the following letter sheets.
"The Miner's Ten Commandments"--"Crossing the Plains"--"The Mammoth Trees"--"The California Indians"
With the following envelope engravings
"The Expressman"--"The Prospectors"--"Panning Out"--"Rocking the Cradle"--"In a Tight Place"--"The Traveling Miner"--"California Coat of Arms"--"Ups & Downs"--"Weighing the Dust"--"Writing Home"--"Up Hill Work"
This sale of engravings, letter-press and designs mentioned above for the sole use of the purchaser in the state of California shall not be construed as to control in any way the right, title or use by the aforesaid James M. Hutchings in any way he pleases out of the state of California, providing they shall not be published on letter-sheets and envelopes elsewhere and then sent by wholesale for circulation in California--except by written agreement of the purchaser John F. Larrabee or his authorized agent.
Signed this sixteenth day of April (16th April) in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty Five (1855).
James M. HutchingsThis afternoon I left the Rassette House and the coachman was but about 5 minutes driving me to the steamboat landing--she was just casting off her lines--"Heave" cries a hand aboard, and I threw a box of tea which he caught--then my carpet sack and by the railing I got aboard a slow tub, the Helen Hensley.
Off we go, threading many vessels at anchor--leaving the forests of shipping behind us and leaving a foaming track in the water that we left behind us--Now to look upon the city and see its outlines less and less defined--and looking eastward to see the beautiful green slopes of Contra Costa, with its wooded ravines and verdant hills.
April 17, 1855
Fine but dull.
How beautifully pleasant and balmy is a California spring.
Leaving San Francisco for Sacramento City
To see some of the little islands of the bay dotted with the homes of fishermen or others--passing the entrance of the "Golden Gate" saw some ships just entering the harbor--North Beach--the northern extension of San Francisco--then to look before S.F. and see the broad-bottomed forest of masts--the shipping of all nations--I like too to watch the foaming track of the steamboat as we cleave the brine across the bay--then, vessels going all ways with the same wind--still are seen the round, green islands as they dot the bay, ascending towards Sac. City.
As we leave the bay of San Pablo and enter the Sacramento River it looks as though we were turning right up to the steep banks, but as we get nearer we round a point a little and we are surprised at the great width of what a few minutes ago seemed so narrow but when we are fairly round the point after leaving the bay of San Pablo we come in sight of Benicia--its pretty houses built around the hills and down the green slopes towards the water's edge--then the steamboat just seen stopping or departing--just above the wharf are the steamships belonging to the Pacific Mail Steamship Compy.--an odd and rusty-looking set of boats are some of the old ones--but those lately arrived and those ready to depart are newly painted and look very gay.
June 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
On the right side (opposite Benicia) just beneath a hill stands the pretty village of Martinez.
April 18, 1855
I settled with Barber & Baker and found 2300 sheets coming to me.
April 19, 1855
Today I visited for a short time the Presbyterian Conference--not very much edified in any way! Too prosy and complimentary! Went to the Chinese department of the city (I St.).
This is an odd admixture of Chinadom and Americanism--on one side you see little rows of dwarf jars, with hieroglyphics without and as crooked and odd an appearance within--no doubt--but I didn't see the inside--so it is only a guess--there next were little things we should call sausages, but they were small chunks of fat and black balls stuffed in a thin gut that looked really much like something that occasionally falls from beneath the tail of a dog--then there were all varieties of Chinese preserves and sweetmeats, arrayed beneath a little glass case on small--very small--plates--more jars, black--a varied colored [illegible--'"concoction"?] with cabbages and carrots and turnips and "pig tails" and pigs--little pigs--hanging up for sale--and cigaretas.
April 20, 1855
This morning being nearly empty pursed I took one check that I had drawn via Adams & Co. at Jacksonville for $100 and another drawn on Adams & Co. from Yreka for $50 and sold them at 15 cents on the dollar! So that I got $22.50 for $150.00. It is truly trying to one's patience after working so hard by day and even night to make the money and lose it through such a spendthrift villain as I. C. Woods who would have a party at Pulgas Rancho that would cost from $10,000 to 12,000--and thus defraud poor hard working men of their hard savings. May he become poor for his villainy--all of the subordinates too nearly followed the expensive example of their principal and wine--women--fast horses--and fancy details to match were the rule in nearly every office throughout this state. It is true there were an occasional exception!
April 21, 1855
From Sacramento City to Prairie City, 22 miles.
Passed several loads of Chinamen--several were on foot with heavy packs upon their sticks across their shoulders.
At dinner time where we took dinner--a man came riding up and eagerly inquired if we had seen a band of horses--we had, just ahead, there, pointing at them--"Well," said he, "I have rode all over creation after those." I simply inquired if he had had a change of horses, and it required a change, and often, I thought! He laughed and rode away. After we had rode to the turning off place, Mr. L. invited me to take a glass of ale with him--I said I would--The ale upon this road is kept in half-point soda bottles which contain a glass full--the barkeeper cut the wire with the "chop" of a big knife and out flew the cork and ale at the same time, flying all over me (or nearly)--I told him that I wanted the ale to drink! and not upon my clothes. He looked "daggers" and apologized--but didn't fill the glass over half full (all that was in the bottle)--I told him I would take a glass of ale if he pleased, well, this tormenting "sang froid" was almost too much --but he did bite his lip and keep what he thought within him. I have no doubt he will be a little more careful--at least I hope so.
The roads were tolerably good until I reached Alder Creek--here a team nearly went over--but in five minutes afterwards was "stuck," so irregular were the roads and deep the mud.
There are great numbers of Chinamen working on all hands upon this creek--some with hats (from the narrow-brimmed "felt" to the broad umbrella-shading made hat)--and some were working in the sun without a hat.
Reached Prairie City at 5 p.m.--met B. Quigley, my old acquaintance on Weaver Creek.
Sunday, April 22, 1855
Fine--with light clouds and a cool wind.
Spent this morning as usual on sabbath days--a quiet walk around to think upon my home and the dear ones there.
Prairie City is rather a pretty but singular little town of canvas and dilapidated buildings (many of them empty) situated upon Alder Creek and just among the foothills--the houses are very well shaded by oak & live oak trees--It looks a picturesque village in a hollow--and contains a population of about 150 (although about 400 get their supplies here yet live in their cabins near their diggings around here). They are mostly a moral kind of quiet people--yet not remarkable from appearances for their hard labor--the gold is fine--the diggings pay about $5 per day to the hand. There are 15 ladies here (2 marriageable). One circumstance is rather singular (although it is nearly a rule in California), that 7 out of the 13 ladies have married [don't] have any nor have had any since their residence in Cal.--any issue--they doubtless wish it not--lest it should keep them slavishly at home--now they can ride out with any young man who invites them, and they like to enjoy a long ride on fast horses while their husbands are toiling in sun and sweat to be expended in fine "rigging" for them--and frequently the poor fellow has to cook his own supper, "his wife being engaged," "riding out a little"--and that too after he is weary with the day's toil. It is no wonder that married life has so few charms in Cal. or that so many husbands have brought their wives to this country--[only] to "go" with other men (only to think that in Yreka alone--out of 125 "ladies" 60 are "living with other men" not their husbands). Women are too dear in California at any price--there being so few women compared with the men--they think themselves more "valuable" than they prove to be either to themselves, their husbands or their "lovers."
This afternoon I heard a Mormon sermon--Like all that I have ever heard it was something without beginning--or aim--a jumped up jumble of self-evident "facts" no one pretends to deny--a mysterious allusion to something that don't exist or that does or might--or would if it could--or did if should, or should if it didn't a something that might be something else if didn't happen to be nothing!
The only drift I could get at at all was to assert that he was called to preach the gospel--and that a revelation was daily needed--I thought so indeed in his case--for it would require more revelation than his brains were capable of understanding--and more light to enlighten the darkness of his revelations than either divine or natural he possessed.
I thought that before the Mormon doctrine of several wives were practicable in California--we all ought to have a chance for one first!!
April 23, 1855
Dull & cloudy morning. Fine evening.
From Prairie City to Mississippi Bar 4½ m. & Negro Bar 3.
Leaving Prairie City, crossed the track of Sac. Valley Railroad.
The American River at Mississippi Bar is about 285 feet wide & 18 ft. deep--ferry 50 cents--I recrossed, finding I was on the wrong road--Mississippi Bar is almost a deserted place--a few canvas houses--occupied by Chinamen and women chiefly--from Sac. City 20 miles.
The same may be said of Negro Bar--__ miles from Sac. C. There is here however a pretty good hotel & store & 2 other stores--Chinamen are on every hand--
The railroad crosses the American River upon the rocky rapids about ½ a mile above Negro Bar.
A man was here with a petition for the pardon of a murderer--men opposed it--yet like many others it is supported--for Bunkum--Gov. Bigler will pardon him--He has done so with several.
April 24, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
From Negro Bar to Mormon Island 3 miles--From M.I. to Negro Hill ½ m., N.H. to Massachusetts Flat ½ miles.
Leaving Negro Bar on the American River--passed to Mormon Island--this is called 26 miles from Sac. City.
It has been a place of considerable importance and was very early settled, in fall of 1848, by the Mormons and here Sam Brannan dug his gold to give him the start in life and make him a rich man--gold was measured by the ½ pint & pint, as they had no scales to weigh with--It was the "Island" that was worked & proved very rich. It now has fallen off in population and trade--but owing to its central position is a place still of importance--It now contains a population of about 250 inhabitants--about 10 families--no marriageable women--15 children between the age of 2 & 10 years.
A new suspension bridge is now in course of erection, and will be about the highest and widest suspension bridge in Cal.
The North & South Forks come together about a mile & ¼ below at Beals Bar--this bar is on the southwest side of the river. From Mormon Island you cross the South Fork and around a low hill upon which is built "Negro Hill," a town of considerable size and contains a population of about 400 persons--including whites, Portuguese & Negro--there are many of the latter two classes.
The canal of O. Jennings & Frazier first made this place so large--which getting its supply from the South Fork at Salmon Falls (__families). From here I went to Massachusetts Flat--distant about 1½ miles from N. Hill and 28 m. from Sac. City. This is a striving little town--but the population is principally Portuguese & Negro (about ¼ white)--3 white women (none marriageable)--5 children.
Just south of this place towards the junction of forks of American River there is a little place called "Jenny Lind Flat"--has been rich--as high as $90 to the bucket--but most of those who have claims here live at Massachusetts Flat.
April 25, 1855
August 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Massachusetts Flat to Beals Bar 1 mile & back. Then from M.F. to Condemned Bar 2 m.
In crossing the North Fork of the American River this morning--the strength of the current came near swamping our boat--a small rowboat.
Beals Bar is a mining town on the west bank of the North Fork just below the forks and contains about 70 people--chiefly American--but having a few Portuguese--the diggings are "hill diggings" and like Massachusetts Flat, Negro Hill &c. lie in a kind of basin--the outer rim of which has to be cut through to get fall for the sluices--some costing as high as 5 or $6,000 to get the "cut" put in.
Condemned Bar--is not now as flourishing as it has been, but still the population seem tolerably permanent that remains--the diggings too are permanent, and rather sandy and loose and full of good sized boulders. They have to watch narrowly the bank that it does not "cave" upon them. This town is on the south bank of the North Fork of American R. and between the forks.
On the opposite or northern bank there is another town which although formerly called the Condemned Bar--lately it [is] called Carrolton & on account of the introduction of water has grown rapidly--six weeks ago there was but about 3 houses--now there are 6 boarding houses, 5 general stores, 2 clothing and fancy stores, 2 billiard saloons, 2 bowling alleys, 2 butcher's shops, 2 blacksmith's shops, livery stable, barber's shop, shoemaker's ditto, private school house and about 25 scholars, 17 families--and a number of private dwellings--and--any quantity of hogs squealing and running round.
April 26, 1855
From Carrolton to Doten's & Kettleman's Bar--thence across to New Castle.
Leaving Carrolton this morning my road lay up the river's bank a short distance from the river to Doten's Bar--2 miles above Carrolton--Doten's Bar is a pretty little town, now very busy on account of the introduction of water from the North Fork--called the "North Fork Canal"--there is an air of neatness about this place that recommends it to the stranger--I left my horse grazing on the slanting hill above the town and he must have a roll--with his packs on, one little pack falling off--the dog, untaught, went and lay beside it until I returned--not allowing anyone to venture near it!!
From here I visited my old ranch--"The Rock Spring Rancho"--and found the same old house still standing--&c. It appears that the whole affair was sold for $200--and a month afterwards sold for $400--the following year it was again resold for $3,000--and the year afterwards it was let for $3,000 per year--with 15 cows. The owner was offered then $7,000 for ranch & cows but declined it--and owing to speculations in cows &c. he had to sell to pay debts for $2,200.
From here I went to New Castle, a little dried up town on the Auburn road, distance from Sac. City 30 miles.
April 27, 1855
From Newcastle to Ophir & Andersen.
Leaving this little gathering of old lumbering shanties called a town where dried apples half-cooked and bread yellow with saleratus, beef dried to a cinder--and hash just in a qualifying process for becoming pickles--with bad tea & coffee--for the eatables, and a flea-y bed too short for stretching full length, and too narrow to lie "in a heap"--your toes on one side--your knees on the other--and with a creaking "swe-sway" endways as though it meant to "run aground" on the first sign of your moving--it was constantly threatening--but that was all--for a wonder.
From here I went to Ophir about 3 miles distant--here I found a number of empty houses and stores--hotels that were closed, and yet at one time Ophir--or "Spanish Corral" as it was called--was a flourishing mining town on the "Auburn Ravine." There I had a good dinner at a German house--the only place now in town where a meal can be had. Several men are looking about there as though they were waiting for some stranger to come along to whom they could "sell out"--others like Mr. Micawber "waiting for something to turn up"--but waiting in vain. One store has a notice that "All persons knowing themselves to be indebted to the undersigned are requested to come immediately and settle, as he will go to the East on the steamer of May 15th--certain."
How very uncertain is the investment of money in the mining towns of California--as a general thing.
From Ophir I took the trail to Auburn--a place that I have not seen since the fall of 1850.
The Indians were very troublesome--but in the fall of 1850 the gent named Davis built the first store.
One man whose cognomen was generally known as "Old Giles" was the name-giver to Ophir.
In this township (No. 2) includes Ophir & Gold Hill. There are 81 children over 5 years of age and under 21. Salaries paid to teachers--at Ophir $100 per month--Gold Hill $133.33 per month.
How pleasant it is to see the hillsides and ravines dotted with white tents or snug cabins here and there--they are the stopping places in this land the miner (for courtesy's sake) calls his home, who digs and delves beneath the ground or in ravines from Monday morning until Saturday night in searching for the precious "oro" and as he throws down his pick or his shovel, weary with his week of toil and after "washing up" goes to town to see what is going on--and hear the news.
April 28, 1855
Fine--although last night considerable rain fell.
This is a bustling place--not from its rich or profitable mining around--but from its central position in the county and being the county seat. Its distance from Sac. City is about 38 miles. It is situated among the hills just about 1 mile north of the North Fork of the American River--on the Auburn Ravine.
Auburn was originally named Wood's Dry Diggings by a prospecting party consisting of _____ who crossed the American River about 4 miles from Sac. City and "prospected" different points upon the journey up the north bank of the river--without much success until they reached what is now termed the Auburn Ravine and having camped for the night--while one part of the company cooked supper, the others "prospected"--and finding good pay--about __ to the pan--they concluded to stay here a while and by this party the name was given of "Wood's Dry Diggings" "on the North Fork of American River" in April 1849--cabins were erected for trading &c. (tents being the most popular "sleeping apartments"). Messrs. Smith, Gwynn, House, Walkup & Wyman and a man generally known as Dutch Phillip &c. were among the first settlers--Mr. House informed me that he and a Mr. Holliday having lived together in Ohio--and when leaving their native state passed through Auburn--and paid a visit to the state prison. After residing in "Wood's Dry Diggings," Cal. for a while Mr. House liked it very much--but Mr. Holliday wished to go elsewhere, saying that it seemed as gloomy as the state's prison must be--to him--when Mr. House jocularly replied "Then call it Auburn, after the one belonging to our old state"--and in two weeks afterwards it was generally called Auburn. Now it is the principal town in Placer Co.--and the county seat. There are 4 stages arrive & 4 depart from Auburn & Sacramento daily--3 stages arrive & 3 depart to Grass Valley & Nevada--from Auburn--3 stages arrive & 2 depart from Auburn & Illinois Town--& Iowa Hill (In the winter months passengers take saddle animals from Illinois Town to Iowa Hill.)--1 stage arrives & 1 departs from Auburn to Yankee Jim's and Michigan Bluffs (during winter passengers take saddle animals from Yankee Jim's to Mich. Bluffs.)--Then there is another stage runs every other day during the summer between Auburn & Coloma--also 1 stage every other day between Auburn & Marysville--also 1 stage every other day between Auburn & Rattlesnake Bar, Doten's & Andersen Bars. This will give some idea of its central importance.
Sunday, April 29, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
Today as usual I spent in thinking of my friends. Couldn't find any service going on although I could find a church.
Hill diggings are now being opened around Auburn with some little prospect of success--the ravines around have been very rich and one lump of gold weighing 14 lbs. 2 ounces avoirdupois--another piece weighing over $400 was taken out of a ravine only 8 inches from the surface. Gold is generally coarse around Auburn.--at Spanish Flat (½ mile from Auburn) one piece was taken out weighing $720.
Gold Hill--8 miles below Ophir on the Auburn Ravine--was discovered in 1851 during the fall season--as high as $5.00 to the pan has been obtained here--yet the diggings are not remarkably rich. It is now called Ohio City--
38 white families in Auburn
8 Spanish or Chileno "
5 Negro "
April 30, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
Today I took views of the town of Auburn.
This town now contains the following buildings &c. 2 hotels (The Empire & National)--2 hotels & restaurants (the "Orleans" and the "Gem")--also 2 boarding houses--6 clothing & boot & shoe stores--8 general provision & grocery stores--2 drug stores--1 book store--1 hardware & tin shop--1 jeweler's & watch maker's--2 bakeries--2 butcher's shops--1 bowling saloon, billiard room & brothel (all kept in one building)--1 billiard saloon (The Temple)--2 weekly newspapers & printing offices (The Placer Herald & Auburn Whig)--5 blacksmith's shops--2 wagon shops--4 carpenter's shops.
Brothels: 1 Chilean &c. (__women), 1 Negro, 2 American (11 women), 14 Chinese houses (37 women).
There is also an order of "Odd Fellows," "Masons" & "Love of Temperance," hook and ladder compy.--a theater--also a church (Methodist E.)--a school house (of about 30 scholars)--courthouse & jail. There are some new brick buildings about to be erected on the Plaza.
There are several towns around--within 8 miles--Ophir, 3 miles (on Auburn Ravine), Gold Hill 8 m. (Auburn Ravine), New Castle 8 m., Virginia, Mugginsville (both near Gold Hill), Miller Town 2 miles--Spanish Flat ½ mile--Taylorsville (near Newcastle). Then there are small towns on bars, named Rattlesnake 7 miles, Lacey's Bar 6¾ m. (several small bars between Lacey's & Oregon Bars), Oregon Bar 2½, junction of North & Middle Forks of American (between Oregon B. & forks there are China Bar, Little Oregon Bar). Above forks there [are] Cape Horn Bar __ m., Calf Bar--
There was a tusk found about 5 ft. 9 inches long and 6 inches in diameter on Cape Horn Bar by Capt. Williams & party--near Tamaroo Bar. It was much decayed at the lower end and its bend was about 16 inches in the 5 ft. 6.
The bridge to Yankee Jim's is across the North Fork of A.R. is the principally traveled road to Yankee Jim's, Todd's Valley, Michigan Bluffs and all points between North & Middle Forks of American River.
May 1, 1855
Fine & cool.
From Auburn to Illinoistown 18 miles.
Started after dinner from Auburn and traveled upon a good road to Illinoistown--After about 3 miles I was overtaken by a Portuguese who accompanied me to town. In the course of our conversation--for he could talk broken English--he related to me the following facts concerning a dog [sic].
Illinoistown was first settled by traders in 1849. There was no mining near then--but was the head of "wagon navigation." Emigrants on the "Truckee route" tarried here to recruit.
In the month of Oct. 1849 some miners joined the traders for a grand dinner at this town of four houses when over the invigorating influence of whiskey this town received its present name. There is one thing remarkable. The number of fruit trees planted out between here and Auburn--some of them with great care--this town however has increased to a town of goodly size--containing 5 hotels--butcher's, blacksmith shops, trading stores, packing houses--&c. &c. also a number of ladies. Still it is mainly supported by its saddle and packing trade to other towns.
May 2, 1855
Fine with cool wind in morning. Cloudy at noon and rain & hail in evening.
From Illinoistown across the North Fork of American River to Iowa Hill 10 m.
This journey today was romantic from the beautiful scenery. There is a bridge across the North Fork--and near it there is a fine waterfall from a canyon.
This whole scene was rough and wild and mountainous--the bold rocks projecting--I took an outline sketch and would have finished it but it commenced raining. Coming up towards Iowa Hill one is struck with the difficulty of making a road up a mountain of nearly solid slate rock--in some places the "bank" is 40 feet high to get the width of a wagon road on a level. It cost $35,000 before a wagon could go over it.
It was a great undertaking but it pays a large percentage as I met about $25 in passengers and wagons while going up within 1½ hours.
I had scarcely reached the top of the hill when it began to rain and hail in torrents and before I could get shelter I was perfectly drenched with rain.
May 3, 1855
August 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Fine but cool.
Iowa City or Iowa Hill.
Is the name of a flourishing mountain village situated upon the divide between the North Fork of the American River and Indian Canyon about 63 miles from Sac. City and about 28 from Auburn--It was first worked in 1852 when the Jamison claim proved remarkably rich and even now pays from 50 to 120 ounces of gold per day--they use about 100 inches of water washing chiefly by hydraulic process, also the bank pays wages from the top to the pay dirt--
The "Hazle Green" claim is next on the same lead and bids fair to be as rich as the other.
The following table will give some idea of a few of the claims here in 1853. Many more now.
May 4, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
From Iowa City to Independence Hill ¾ mile--Roach's Mill ½ mile round Indian Canyon to Bird's Flat.
This morning when leaving Iowa City I received (from Mr. Creamer of the hotel) the news of 3 Chinamen being killed & 2 more dangerously wounded by being shot by American robbers for their money on Shirttail Canyon.
Leaving town I saw ditches on the point of Independence Hill, gurgling and rushing came the water--on the top is a small town of about 200 inhabitants who have mining claims in the vicinity--some of course keep stores--there is also a saw mill belonging to Mr. Oxendine of Placerville formerly. About ½ a mile further up the divide is Roach's Hill, which is supposed to be richer than even Iowa Hill--its sides are perforated with tunnels in every direction--near the mouth are their cabins about half way down the hill from the road to the canyon. Yesterday some miners near the upper saw mill had a narrow escape from being covered by a large sheet of falling bank that fell unexpectedly--their tools were buried, and had they not have had a light warning of a small piece of dirt first--they could not have escaped in time.
From some men at the saw mill (upper one on Indian Canyon) I was informed of a beautiful view where the river forms a canyon with one bank not less than 900 feet nearly perpendicular. I went down "an awful hill" to find it and it was truly a wonder. I took a rough outline sketch; and, when I had climbed the hill again it was nearly sunset. This was just about Pickering's Bar on the North Fork of the American.
How many of these high hills did I climb in 1850 but I did it with much greater ease than now.
I saw one hemlock tree measuring 24 ft 6 inches in circumference--also a sugar pine that measured 29 feet in circumference. There is a splendid assortment of very fine timber on this divide--also plenty of plum bushes.
This morning I saw Mr. Sheaf--a gent who boarded in the same house with myself in New Orleans--he was to come with me but he was taken sick with cholera in St. Louis.
May 5, 1855
Fine--a little hazy.
From Bird's Flat to Wisconsin Hill 2 miles & Baker's Ranch 14 m. further.
This morning I left the pleasant little village of Bird's Flat and the pleasant flavor of fresh butter and quiet people and journeyed around the point past Richardson Hill 1 mile from Bird's F. and on the point is situated Elizabeth Town--further down about ½ mile is a large--pretty--but poorly prosperous town called Wisconsin Hill. It was built in a hurry before the diggings were fairly prospected and many are now engaged and nearly discouraged while trying to finding pay dirt. Some go as far as they can stand it--from the length of their purse--and sell out for $25 what has cost them $200. Many poor fellows looked sad and dispirited--but as one strikes pay dirt, and another, they will take heart and begin afresh. From here I took up the main "divide" and as I was rising the hill I saw a little fellow crying. Said I, "My boy, what is the matter?" "I'm lost." "Where do you wish to go?" "I want to go to the saw mill, and I can't find it, bu hu hu-o-o-o-o-o-o." "Oh well," said, I, "don't cry, but be more of a little man." "But I do so want to find it--I want to jump in the sawdust!!" I, of course, had to laugh and then inquired if he couldn’t find his way home. “Yes”, said he, his eyes full of tears, “but I want to jump in the saw dust”!! I, of course, showed him the way to the mill!!! Kept on the ridge among the large and beautiful and lofty pines that overshadowed my pathway--it is very pleasant! I met 3 Chinamen who wanted to know (by counting on their fingers) how many Chinamen were killed in "Shirt." (They couldn't say Shirttail Canyon.) I told them & they shook their heads and said, "Bad, bad--goo-bye John."
I crossed 5 different forks of Shirttail Canyon--and for 8 miles I did not meet a man until I reached Baker's Ranch--
Sunday, May 6, 1855
Fine, but few floating clouds.
Baker's Ranch--on the "Divide" between Shirttail Canyon & Middle Fork American R.
There have I spent this day enjoying the hospitalities of Mr. J. Hull Baker, who has resided here since 1850--the time we became acquainted with each other.
Distances from Michigan Bluffs.To Sage Hill (west) 1 miles--to Deadwood (n. east) between El Dorado Canyon & North Fork of Middle Fork 4 m.--Last Chance (east) between North & Middle Forks of A.R. 15 miles--Antoine Canyon (n. east) 20 miles--Canada Hill, 27 miles--Oak Grove (at junction of South & Middle Forks A.R.)--Drummond's Diggings 4 miles--El Dorado Hill, 4 miles--Grass Hill 5 miles--Forks House (on main Divide between N. & M. Forks of A.R. 10 M.--Gass Hill 2 miles.
In the spring of 1850 Tichenor Gulch & Dutch Gulch were found to be very rich--and the head of those gulches now stands Mich. Bluffs, and the diggings were disc'd. on [the] "Flat" in 1852.
May 7, 1855
From Baker's to Michigan Bluffs 2 miles and back and to Sarahsville, 6 m.
This morning I visited Michigan Bluffs, a town singularly located upon a projection or kind of flat just above the Middle Fork of American R. It is built about the junction or heads of Tichenor & Dutch gulches about 70 miles from Sac. City. The hills are washed from the top chiefly although some have drifted out their dirt--they suffer for the want of a steady supply of water through the summer season and consequently they are now washing the hills into a circular or basin-shaped front so that they can drift their dirt during the summer.
Here I met Pat Davis, one of our old White Rock Co.--He informed me that they generally made out 8 to 12 dollars per day to the man, but they hadn't fall enough to their sluices--and would require to put in a tunnel through the bed rock--much lower down.
Some of these claims have paid, and some now are paying remarkably well--the strata of pay dirt is chiefly from when the large rocks commence among the dirt--I saw one large boulder that weighed not less than 20 tons--yet it was water-washed and smooth--the flat diggings were first worked in 1852 in spring.
I saw also a piece of gold weighing 37 ounces--taken out of a crevice in "Ladies' Canyon"--all solid & pure from quartz.
How much everything has changed around here since the spring & summer of 1850, when we spent several months of excessively hard labor without earning one solitary dollar. We walked over the rich deposits of gold that have since partially been taken out.
Bird's Valley now contains 3 houses--but in 1850 there were not less than 3,000 persons in and around the hillsides here--and the camp fires stretching around the valley and up the sides of the hills looked picturesque and bright at night as the unearthly glare of fire gilded the forest pines with a blazing hue.
A pistol would be fired and then a large number would generally follow until a whole volley broke the stillness around by its ringing echoes--there would succeed yells and hootings in great plenty & variety.
I passed Mr. Baker's ranch on my return and then went towards Yankee Jim's--but did not get any further than Sarahsville about 3½ or 4 miles from Baker's.
Sarahsville is on the banks of Volcano Creek and Middle Fork of A. River--it is quiet and industrious--several families live here and they have water all the year. Here I met with Mr. Metcalf, who kindly invited me to stay the night with him. He has his wife here and they seem well settled and hard-working people who are prepared to work on quietly until they have made their pile--and then they think to live in the valley somewhere.
May 8, 1855
From Sarahsville to Yankee Jim's 3 miles.
Yesterday & today my road had been in one perpetual forest of pines, firs, cedars & oaks which cast their shadows over the road with refreshing coolness to the traveler.
Is the euphonious name of this town after one of the most notorious horse thieves of California--who discovered diggings here in 1850 in the ravines--but the diggings were discovered by Melvin S. Gardner & Charley Jinks except on one hill which was found by some Georgians (from the state of Georgia). (Yankee Jim was an Irishman.)
This town is important for its hill diggings--where men are generally repaid. It is about 16 miles above the junction of the North & Middle forks of the American R. In June 1852 a fire consumed half its buildings with a loss of about $55,000--some men became penniless--and in one day was rich and poor--but it was rebuilt in six weeks. The forests around are covered with heavy timber.
May 9, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
From Yankee Jim's to Todd's Valley, 3 miles.
Todd's Valley is a picturesque little town surrounded by hills upon which grow the lofty mountain pines.
This place was first occupied in the fall of 1849 as a ranch by a gentleman named Walton Todd who now in 1855 still holds the ranch and lives upon it. The mining around [here] is surface, of which there are about 85 claims now being worked, besides hill diggings which would swell the number to nearly 300. Most of the men are doing a good business--and have the advantages similar to Yankee Jim's of having water all the year.
The conversation though is chiefly concerning cards in the hotel. There is a church & Masonic fraternity.
This place has been built up chiefly within a year--and the "Long Island House" by Mr. Seaman is one of the most substantial and neatest houses in the state. It is about 60 miles from Sac. City, from Georgetown 10 miles--from Paradise 3½ miles--southwest.
May 10, 1855
Fine--but cool with floating clouds.
From Todd's Valley to Paradise 3½ miles & to Spanish Dry Diggings 7½ m.
This morning after a good bed, good breakfast and pleasant treatment I left Todd's Valley on my way to Paradise! and after about 3½ miles of journeying upon the ridge I came upon that delectable place called--Paradise. This is the heavenly name of a dried up village of shake houses and log cabins on a ravine opposite to the mouth of Canyon Creek on the North and Middle Fork "divide" about 5 miles above Spanish Bar & 2½ from Canyon Ck. bridge.
I am desirous of making the way to this place particularly plain as many seek "Paradise" but lose their way and never find it again. It is a kind of "Germano" "Chineseo" "Americano" settlement of who 3/5ths are German, and one other fifth Chinese, and another fifth of Americans, French, Irish, Scotch and Chileno put together.
It first received this beautiful name under the following circumstances. All who lived here were men--mostly unmarried men--and one of their number had the courage to get a California wife--a lady of good education and agreeable manners--and he brought her to settle here--and as the sight of a woman in the early settlement of Cal. was looked upon as something angelic and heavenly--and moreover as this couple lived very happily together and indeed by a kindly smile to every acquaintance as they perchance might pass that way made everyone feel happier from passing and some would take the trail to their cabins past this house even though they went a little way round--and from this pleasant state of things they were led to call a "town's meeting" and it was named "Paradise." Good women little know how genial and civilizing is a smile in Cal.--but, did half the women here know the extent of the influence of a good, sensible woman they would blush for their course in making wedded life in California a byword among her citizens, although there one may good--but realize.
I passed the Middle Fork of American River at Canyon Ck. bridge and by a good dry trail to Spanish Dry Diggings--but on I passed and when half-way to Georgetown I missed my portfolio--and instantly turned back, and found it on the flat at Spanish Dry Diggings--my horse had been rolling while I was trying to find out something about the place--I had now to stay all night, as it was sunset.
May 11, 1855
Foggy in morning. Cloudy afternoon and steady raining all afternoon & night.
From Spanish Dry Diggings to Georgetown 5½ miles.
"Oh, my eye," what a splendid pine plank with a blanket over it formed my bed last night--in a little room by itself too. Here I was told I should get a good bed--well, well, I had to turn a little oftener through the night which prevented my sound sleeping, giving me a headache in the morning--so that I suppose the "good bed" was intended "medically," not "comfortably."
These Spanish Dry Diggings were worked in 1849 when I passed through them, but were not very extensive, and the lead was discovered by accident--a greenhorn (as most of us were then) came along and an old miner--of about 3 months--told him to go and set in "there"--pointing upon the hillside--and at it Mr. Greenhorn went at the no small amusement of "the old miner," who thought--well, he must be a fool to think of setting in there--but at [it] he pegged and in about 2 hours he took out one piece that weighed $7.13!!! Now Mr. "Old Miner" had to cave his fun--and--yes, he did--he wanted to jump the claim, but it "couldn't be did," Mr. Greeny was too many for him.
These diggings are remarkable from the entire absence of gravel, yet in spots they are immensely rich--as high as 41 lbs. of gold having been taken out in a single day from one claim. This lead runs in the general course of most quartz leads, and there can be no doubt that the quartz being more perishable--vastly so--than gold the quartz has decayed and the gold has fallen out--while the great bulk of gold yet remains in the quartz beneath that machinery & time will doubtless develop.
This town now is a "dried up" "broken down" "forsaken" "poverty stricken" town (of a few old "tumble-downs" of houses) and the people downhearted & dispirited except when drunk.
This morning there was a heavy fog brooding over the houses and pine trees around--it was cool too for riding--an occasional glimpse of sunshine--like a smile from the face of Nature--would break forth, but after I had reached Georgetown it clouded up and I was just starting for Bottle Hill when it began to rain "wettingly"--rain, rain--how gently, yet how fast it falls--raining, raining now in "clusters" now in "wee small drops," but on, on it rains--and how cheery and glad do the countenances of the miners become--yes, and the farmers too. It was as utterly unexpected but not the less welcome to all men in the mountains--it will defer the "dry up" time a couple of weeks--even that is a great boon. The time may come when property holders will see it to be to their interest to lay aside a portion of their profits to invest in water ditches that men may have a steady year of labor--even though it should not directly pay a California rate of interest.
May 12, 1855
Fine in morning. Cloudy towards noon and a wet afternoon after 4 o'clock.
From Georgetown, Butte Hill to Placerville, 15 miles.
This morning I went to "Georgia Slide" on Canyon Ck. 1¾ miles from G. Town, crossed the creek and ascended a moderate hill to "Butte Hill" town, 3 m. from G. This is a town, though small, is a business little place place but I think very much overdone in every branch of trade--miners are doing very well--those that have paying claims--the old Butte Hill sluicing diggings paid yesterday morning before it rained the neat little sum of $300 to 4 men. The Eureka tunnel on Cement Hill (adjoining) take out a weekly average of $1000 to six men, and the number of tunnels around are giving good prospects of success.
Mameluke Hill near Georgetown has been very rich--March 25 there were taken out of Klipsteen & Hiser's claim in three hours the large amount of 20 lbs. pure gold.
Leaving Georgetown after noon I passed along (having clouds & little showers) and find the diggings on Dry Creek about as much worked as formerly and pay as poorly & Winchester & Compy. have put in 1,400 days labor and have only taken out $2,300!!
American Flat (8 m. from Placerville) is the same about as last year--many of the same men around and as poor as last year.
Spanish Flat still continues to pay well, so does Kelsey. I had scarcely left Spanish Flat before it began to rain and wet me considerably (as I stayed with Mr. Caswell & Co., Spanish Flat until nearly evening) and as it came on to rain so heavily when I reached Kelsey's I went on and the rain and darkness so much increased that I could not see any way before me so that I did not reach Placerville until eleven p.m.--I had to feel my way--my horse too was unwilling to walk fastly. Down from Texas Flat the Messrs. George have made an excellent road round the hill--the easiest graded road in this state, with a good substantial bridge across the South Fork. Here a number of the miners were having "a good time" and getting slightly tightucated by drinking brandy punches and taking a "stag dance" between the drinks.
As I found all were nearly closed in Placerville I stayed for the night in "Jones Hotel" instead of going home.
Sunday, May 13, 1855
Fine morning--wet afternoon and showery evening.
After all my wanderings and even aspirations after my home in Merry England where my mother and _____ lives I feel pleased in getting back to Placerville, as it is my Cal. home and I like to wander as in '49 among its hills, and think of the absent and dear ones, on a sabbath day. God bless them, but how much more dearly would their presence become to me. Well--patience--the time may come--who can tell! This morning I heard friend Pierpont--same as usual.
May 14, 1855
Fine in morning--cloudy at noon, a shower about 4 o'clock & a wet night.
This morning about half past 10 o'clock Mr. Bartlett came to me and inquired if I would like to witness a "mourning party" of the Indians. I said I would and as it was just above my Placerville home only three hundred yards, on the adjoining hill, I went.
As I drew near I could hear (as usual upon these occasions) the mourning cry--groups of Indians were scattered around--one party of squaws cooking, others were walking about--here sat two white men (said to be) dealing "monte" to the Indians. I thought that every comfort the poor Indian could get with any odd change he might by chance collect, was not a very large store, without being swindled out of it by low gamblers.
I went onward, and came to an enclosure formed of bushes on one side and their tents on the other--in which were seated about 45 or 50 Indians--nearly all with painted faces--similar to their regular mourning--but most of them had mixed the black water instead of pitch, and as the tears coursed down their cheeks they left behind a light streak--but how saddening was the sight, old men and women weeping for their sorrows--the fast disappearing Indians from the hunting grounds of their fathers--by sickness and death.
Here would be seen 3 or 4 sitting in a group--there another group, one standing up and moving around with arms stretched straight out, with mourning and sorrowful wailing. They moved now towards this side--now towards that side--sometimes stamping with their feet. Outside were children at unconscious play--dog growlings and fightings--loud talkings of Indian men.
I went outside the enclosure and three Indians with old rifles in their hands and a whiskey bottle among them--one of the three named "Bill Man," an Indian from Newtown, was very much excited by whiskey and some supposed insult and first moved here then shot off in another direction, then wheel round--all the time cocking and uncocking his rifle. We were all afraid lest by his excitement his finger might slip off the hammer and kill some of us unintentionally.
The two other Newtown Indians were equally excited--and by their demonstrations seemed to follow up the movements of "Bilman." It appears that "Bilman" about seven weeks ago had intermarried with the Hangtown Indians and after the ceremony was over his new squaw would not return home with him--this very much enraged him--being the worse for liquor too--and he tried to force her to go--still she refused, when he immediately shot her--and about four days afterwards she died of her wounds--he broke then and there and run and in the dark had escaped--but as the Hangtown tribe had talked of some revenge, Bilman felt aggrieved and thought it to be every Indian's duty in such a case to kill his squaw. Still several weeks had elapsed and to appearances all was quiet and satisfactory--apparently forgotten--but Bilman having got from [some] damned villain on Weaver Creek a bottle of whiskey, he and his companions began to drink this morning and under its excitement he remembered the old threat and repaired to the Hangtown tribe to know what they meant--and the loud talking going on outside was between Bilman on the one side and his two companions, and the brother of the squaw that was killed on the other--squaws were moving hither and thither--muckamuck [Chinook for "food"] was carried away to a place of safety--now was a general commotion between men and women and dogs and children--bows and arrows were got in readiness and motions made, first this way then the other--now they would run round the point of the hill, now wheel round and flourish their rifles and bows--Bilman still swinging his rifle round, cocking and uncocking it--when I proposed that we go and take the whiskey bottle and musket away from him. I called the Chief John--who said, "Yes--do so--he killum somebody--soon um fight--you take um away." I went to the whites around and invited them to do it--but, said they--don't let us interfere we may get killed. Well, I replied that we may get killed accidentally, by the excited way he was cocking, uncocking and swinging round his rifle--and said moreover that were white men thus likely to conduct themselves we should all try to prevent it--but they would not interfere--Captain John now came up to me and said, "Indian fight um soon--white man go away--Indians no like to kill white man." We directly fell back and I got behind a tree for a moment, but was soon out again to see what was going on when I saw Bilman fire--twice--and run--but "Kilmano" (the killed squaw's brother), who was shot by Bilman--before he fell planted an arrow seven inches in the back of his murderer--now one of the three fired another shot, and all run. The air was literally filled with flying arrows--after the retreating Indians. Now I heard another shot fired as they were descending the hill--this was at another of Kilmano's sisters and she fell down and died almost instantly, being shot through and through, just above the hips, from side to side. Kilmano fell apparently dead--now the hill was literally alive with Indians under excitement now running here now there. I forgot entirely in the melee that I had run to the tree for protection--and stood on the exposed side of it!! Still I was safe, as it happened--as the firing was over I walked up to the wounded Indian who was weltering in his blood and I thought him dead--but never did I witness in any Indian's countenance before such an agony of grief as was depicted in that of one of his squaws--he had four--but all were almost beside themselves with excessive grief--mourning, wailing--loud exclamations, covering their heads with ashes, striking upon their chests--moving their bodies backwards and forwards--stamping the ground with their feet--but--unheeded were these--onward passed the warriors--and their arrows fatally reached the murderer for in ten minutes I heard the wailing of another group of women and I instantly repaired thither--when I saw five arrow shafts taken out of Bilman (some were in 8 inches) but the glass arrows were yet buried in the flesh of the dying Indian. Oh, my heart sickens at the sight of so much blood--all caused by whiskey. They put him in a blanket and carried him away, but before they reached the foot of the hill he was dead. I now returned to the Indian camp and such a sight of mourning and dirty faces my eyes saw never.
The women were bathing the wounds of Kilmano--a ball had passed through his thigh and penis--he was suffering much but was not dead. His mother stood wailing near the entrance to his hut while his wives were soothing him with praises and comforting him with kindnesses.
I retired from the spot with a full heart--
About 3 o'clock p.m. I saw several pass on and I followed to the scene of this morning's murders--every hill had eager watchers--runners were in motion--all was excitement among the Indians--they were upon the watch for the Newtown tribe coming to avenge the death of Bilman--but--when evening had dropped its curtain over them none had come--yet--still they watched in expectation.
May 15, 1855
Fine with light clouds.
Today the alarm was sounded that the Newtown Indians were coming in force--and whites went out to see the fight--but it all resulted in a party of whites returning from a funeral of a white man on Spanish Hill.
But no Indians came last night nor yet today. Dr. Hall wished me to go with him to examine the wounded Indian. I did so--but it had mortified.
May 16, 1855
Fine & warm--a few clouds.
I had scarcely finished my breakfast this morning when I heard that the Indian wounded was dead and that they were then burning him. It appears that he died last night about 9 o'clock--when his body was prepared as usual and by daylight this morning the funeral pyre was ignited--I was there about ½ past 6 but the body was half consumed
before I reached there. This was burning, and stirred as usual--about 43 Indians both men and women were dancing around the burning corpse--occasionally stirring it up--or rubbing off the charred pieces--the women moved forward with the men--holding handkerchiefs and cloths before them--and waving them from side to side as they turned backwards and forwards--still dancing around--crying "my child, my child," "my husband," my brother--and rent the air with their unearthly grief and howlings--groups of men Indians were seated here or there leaning upon each other as the tears coursed down their features--there were groups of women--some accompanied with men--all mourning the loss of their companion--when all but the blackened stump was consumed it [was] taken off the fire and rolled in a blanket--to cool it a little--when the four squaws--his wives--laid hold of it--one wrenching the remaining stump of the thigh from its socket--now the other--now some other portions were severed by knife and by muscular hoistings of the woman--all are in pieces--around each piece a long string of beads was wound and placed in a basket beaded (see drawing) for the occasion--all the valuable ornaments were also bound in with the unburned portions of the body and thrown into the basket--every particle being carefully put into the basket. This being done, and the fire rebuilt, the basket and its contents were placed upon it--now the blankets were thrown upon it--clothes &c. everything the dead body had touched--all the while through the burning--skirts & dresses--dresses--shirts--beads--arrows--knives--pocket handkerchiefs &c. were added to the flames and consumed--
When it was burned--each unconsumed log was carefully brushed as it was rolled off the fire--that particles of the precious body remain on them--then the ashes and cinders were carefully scraped & brushed together towards the center and an armful of weeds thrown on top and saturated with water until the whole was extinguished--when every relic unconsumed, ornaments, bones &c., &c. were carefully picked out and placed in another basket and then covered over with the best ashes--the balance were put into sacks and carried to the place of burial--beside a former squaw and papoose--a hole--round about 3 ft. deep--was dug, and the basket (cone-shaped) at the bottom and additional beads and ornaments were added, then the sacks of ashes--well trod down, and covered up with earth.
May 17, 1855
Fine and pleasant.
Engaged today in writing "Commandments to California Wives"--also--"Articles in a Miner's Creed" for two new letter-sheets--if they take as well as the Miner's Commandments, I shall have money enough to go home with--and that my soul longs for.
May 18, 1855
Fine--but cloudy and cool.
Placerville to Diamond Springs, 3 miles.
This morning I took a quiet ride from P. to Diamond where I have spent an agreeable day with my friends Mr. & Mrs. F. Wadsworth whose kindly hospitality is ever welcome to a stranger among strangers as I have been during my wanderings for so many months. And the contrast is great--Mrs. W. and I had a good game of chess--and afterwards I had the pleasure of playing with Miss G.--but oh me it is a dangerous thing for bachelors to sit so near a young and pretty lady while playing a long game of chess--I could not watch her moves as much as her eyes--and mouth, that seemed so lusciously to ask to be kissed--and one so near it too. I dare not play another game lest------
May 19, 1855
Cloudy all day and rain--heavy rain all evening.
From Diamond Springs to "El Dorado" and back to Placerville.
After enjoying the social pleasures and hospitality of my friends Mr. & Mrs. F. Wadsworth of Diamond Springs I went to El Dorado (formerly called "Mud Springs") to see C. P. Jackson of the Pacific Express, who was indebted to me about $23.60 and who had the paltry meanness of placing it as an account of Adams & Co.--because they had failed--I told him my mind freely and that I considered him responsible not Adams & Co.--for they were bankers & express agents--not letter sheet and paper dealers.
I believe him to be dishonest--and I shall be much surprised if he and his cunning wife don't prove to be so before long--I don't care for the paltry amount but I do care for the smallness of the operation. It would puzzle any man to know how he has made 8 or $9,000 and since 1852 when he has been working most of the time upon a salary of $100 per month.
While going to Mud Springs today I saw a large pile of sluices burning to get the gold out of them--it seems very wasteful of good lumber at first sight--but when--as is frequently the case--but when the product of one length of sluice burnt will buy a whole slew of boxes you commend them for ending them.
The wavering sounds I heard at the burning on Wednesday last were something like this--"Ne kum"--"ne kum" --"ne kum la wo ooooo um" "ne kum ne woooo we" "Ne quam wa" "ne quam wa" my child, my child.
When the child of an Indian dies it is completely covered with beads--a long string of beads being wrapped completely over it--before it is burned that it may have plenty of ornaments in the other world.
When an Indian wants to marry, the female runs and hides, and if the male succeeds in finding her within a given time they are made one.
Some Indians have several squaws--"Tom" has two and "Pueblo Jim" four.
Indian children are strapped or rather laced to a board with a handle at the top with which to carry them while the board is to make them straight and develop their chest.
Sunday, May 20, 1855
Rain--in heavy showers all day and all last night.
How naturally does the heart turn to home and its remembrances--indeed "Home" is the magnet of the heart that draws it towards it in whatever clime or country or weather it works in all weathers and at all seasons.
Today has been a delicious day of remembrance of my early days--I have lived again in those halcyon pasts--I have sat at the family table--I have read in the family Bible. I have heard the music of those "church going bells" and I must say that in all the varied notes of human voices or the songs of birds I have never heard music that touched my heart as deeply as the chimes of our village church in remembrance.
Ah how I long to hear their music again, and with my ever dear and loving mother by my side, again to enter the village church--how grand will my soul feel to support her weary and aged body--as with tender care in childhood she cared for and cherished me. God bless her.
This has been a thorough wet day--especially so for the season--and cool withal.
May 21, 1855
Cloudy and cool.
May 22, 1855
Rainy and cold in morning. Fine & cool after noon.
May 23, 1855
Dull in morning. Fine afternoon.
May 24, 1855
Dull--looked like rain. Cleared off in afternoon.
From Placerville to Mormon Tavern, 22 miles.
I packed up my duds on my horse and left Placerville--and dining with Mr. & Mrs. F. Wadsworth at Diamond I took my departure towards Sac. City. On the road met three couples--for there has been a wedding today I believe and they were enjoying themselves with a ride.
The green and flowery hills are alive with grasshoppers jumping up in clouds as your dog runs among them.
Woodpeckers were boring away as industriously as ever after grubs in old trees--magpies were chattering "Chinese"! The meadowlarks were chirping--how beautiful the plumage of their throats--I saw one small bird about the size of a bullfinch with his breast completely covered with orange color from the edge of his throat to his tail and parts of it were covered with black wings with a streak of white on them in this shape [teardrop shape] and a black & white head.
There are several "toll roads" by which the distance is made longer and the roads easier.
In passing through "Buckeye Flat" it is astounding how lonesome and deserted it appears--"houses to let" is everywhere almost.
When I arrived here--the Mormon Tavern--I found the barroom full of teamsters and others--very noisy--and a squeaking violin. This place until with[in] a few months has been closed since 1851. The Carson River House on account of having some pretty girls--the Miss Aldrichs--having drawn away the custom--and then the proprietor of the Mormon Tavern kept a poor house--how they keep a good table and what their sleeping accommodations are I can tell better in the morning.
Morning of 25th--Whew--for fleas--8 of us were in a small room and fleas were tolerably thick--I like clean sheets but didn't get any, and whenever I see sheets "flea marked" I very naturally conclude there must be fleas to match and fleas that bite too--Therefore I took advantage of my flea powder (provided me by my friend Brayton of P.) and all those fleas that at the first "smell" didn't hop off were numbered in the morning among the dead or in the "last agonies of death" for I found several "dead corpses" and dying in the morning.
May 25, 1855
Fine and pleasant.
From Mormon Tavern to Sac. City, 29 miles.
But oh my eye am I not tired tonight.
Still I have had a pleasant ride today--I met no less than three parties of ladies--not "dressed up" in holiday attire--but in their Sunday go to meeting garments--riding in wagons.
May 26, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
From Sac. City to San Francisco.
This morning I sold my horse, wagon and harness for $137, took the boat for San F. at two o'clock p.m.
The voyage down the river by daylight is always pleasant and as the city is left behind and the ships, boats and steamboats lessen by distance you watch the beautiful and feathery branches of the buttonwood tree--sometimes bathing in the beautiful river--here and there a clump of willows--and here and there an oak or a clump of oaks--while the tendrils of the wild vine first climbing up the trunk and creep along the branches hang down in beautiful festoons.
Downstream we go--yet the snow-top'd and pine-covered mountains are white and green--covered by purple distance--all the while seen until near about Diablo.
Now we met a schooner freighted with women and children--who they were--where going--or where they came from not being a Yankee I could not learn--however when the swell from the steamboat Antelope struck her and lifted her up like a feather several feet the women could be heard screaming, as they believed that they were all "gone in."
October 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Here and there you pass a cottage and a cultivated spot there you pass a "snag" that root and branch have fallen into the river--being undermined by the river and overthrown--a little further and you see men in boats casting out their seines.
Sunday, May 27, 1855
Pleasant in morning
Fine until noon then windy, dusty and choky!
This morning and evening heard Dr. Scott--the preacher--some good sermons--and has the large congregation.
It is here like all other cities--a day more of relaxation from business than intellectual and religious exercises.
May 28, 1855
Fine, pleasant until noon--windy and dusty afterwards.
This has been an unpleasant day to me--I came down expecting to receive $1,151 due me from Mr. L. and when I reached here he had not as many cents--still there were engravings to be paid for--the subjects I had prepared for him and he was to have the benefit--the engravings are done yet there is no money with him to pay for them. A pretty kettle of spoiled fish is this--if I pay for them then I don't get the money out of them or him--he can't pay for them so I suppose there they may lie--for if I pay for them I will keep them certain. Like all my business arrangements with other men they invariably turn out to my disadvantage no matter whatever the motive.
May 29, 1855
Pleasant in morning--cool and windy afternoon.
Busily employed all day in preparing new letter sheets--
In evening went to theater to see the "Midsummer Night's Dream"--was highly delighted with the scenic effect--especially of a beautiful moonlight scene with a tall palm tree with its drooping foliage tip'd with moonlight--and the mountains part in shadow part in light--and the full moonlight slightly falling on the rippling water--the waves or ripples were moving and made the effect of the moonlight playing upon the water very effective. Fairchild must be a very good scenic artist.
May 30, 1855
Fine, warm & pleasant.
From San Francisco to Mare Island, Benicia, Martinez & Benicia to San Francisco.
This morning, as there was a pleasure excursion to Mare island, Benicia and Martinez, and as I had never been to Martinez or Mare Island, I paid my $8 and went.
We started at eleven o'clock a.m. having a fine band of music aboard, with flags flying. The Surprise plowed her way across the bay going round nearly to "Meiggs' Wharf," North Beach and giving us a fine view outside of the Golden Gate with the magnificent ship all sails set and nearing us--crossed the bay towards Sausalito--a beautiful little village down by the water's side at the foot of some mountainous and redwood covered heights. Now we pass "Bird Island" [i.e., Alcatraz] which is being strongly fortified--men are busy hauling stone on low wagons with mules--others drilling--others running preparatory to the "blast" going off.
There is a range of cannon frowning down upon you--there some temporary buildings for the workmen--but on our boat plows its way near to the land, that we might see every dwelling house or farm--or quarry--or the myriads of wild geese squatting upon low projections of land--on on we go--the spray flies from the wheel buckets, the white foam frets behind in the "wake" of the ship--onward--upward we go. "What place is that?" inquired one. "Oh, that is where they are getting 50,000 'ties' for the Sac. Valley Railroad" and that-- "That is the old capital of the state at Vallejo"--that large building is now used for a hotel--this to the north is the government works of Mare Island--we pass by the site of Vallejo, then make a beautiful curve and turning round pass by the government floating docks, war vessels &c. The men and officers wave their hats in honor and welcome to their visitors--on we go and soon we come to the light brown streak in the bay formed by the mining-muddied waters of the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers and all their numerous tributaries--that looked a little singular in contrast to the green waters of the bay. Now we reach Benicia, we stop five minutes--and while there passengers land who wish to do so here. I look at the frowning top of Mount Diablo--now we sail across the river ¾ of a mile in width here (as we have passed through the straits of Carquinez). Now we reach the wharf and can see the pretty picturesque little agricultural town of Martinez--its groves of oaks, its deep green wild oats on every hill--the white and tree-shaded cottages. Went to the Morgan Hotel--took dinner--a good one too--rode out horseback to get a full rear view of Mount Diablo--and also the Pacheco Valley--a beautiful spot--visited Col. [William Wirt] Gift--like to have been too late for the boat, rode as fast as a good horse would carry me--just in time--called again at Benicia and made San Francisco about dark--a good day of enjoyment.
May 31, 1855
Weaverville 1855, by James Mason Hutchings
Fine--windy--and warm. Evening cool--night warm.
Waiting part of the day--running round another part and bargaining for engravings for a new letter sheet of "Commandments to California Wives"--and views of Shasta, Weaverville, Yreka, Shasta Butte, Scotts Bar and Jacksonville, O.T. with Mr. Butler of S.F.
June 1, 1855
Cloudy at times--and wind.
People may say what they please in extolling San Francisco but I don't ask to live where in the morning it is warm, in the afternoon very windy and in the evening bitter cold.
You no sooner get fairly going at business in the morning than you begin to perspire freely and if by chance your business is not through with, that takes you out[doors]--why, up comes a cloud of dust and sand which fills your eyes, fills your pockets, and if you should gape why of course it fills your mouth--it also leaves but little less than a "tolerable considerable quantity" upon the brim of your hat and makes a storehouse of your hat crown outside and as for your coat--perhaps you might tell the color perhaps not--and what is worse when your face is covered with small "globular exudences" generally called sweat--why of course you have a kind of stuccoed face--besides the surplus falling down your neck and back.
Today, the John L. Stephens and the Nicaragua and the Pacific sailed for Panama and San Juan.
Saw Mrs. J. W. Hooker and family on board the Pacific. She was crying, and immediately asked me if I could try to find Mr. H. The sheriff had arrested him for debt--but he managed to get away in time for the steamer before her starting. George M. was with them.
There are many gamblers going out by this month's steamers--since the gambling law took effect they are thrown out of "work."
The John L. Stephens had to put back today for some repairs in machinery but will start by daylight in the morning.
Went home with Revd. I. H. Brayton, ed. of Pacific, he seems to have a common-sense kind of lady--yet I did not much like her on the "first impression."
Spent the evening in pleasant conversation with Mr. Ayres on pictures, artists and drawings--he has some beautiful views. I ordered one view of his sketching of the Golden Gate (entrance to San Francisco Bay)--for which I am to pay $75--and have the right to publish it.
How did my heart sadden to see the many happy faces "homeward bound" yet I not amongst them--I did not grudge the pleasure to them but regretted that I was not among them.
June 2, 1855
Fine & pleasant but as usual--windy in afternoon.
Running about chiefly employed in doing nothing but looking after and arranging for my new letter sheets.
Sunday, June 3, 1855
San Francisco 1855--Washerwoman's Lagoon middle distance, left,
Fort Point and the Golden Gate in the distance far rigth.
Fine and pleasant although breezy in afternoon.
From San Francisco to the Presidio--Fort Point, Seal Rock & back.
This morning Mr. Ayres invited me to take a walk towards the Presidio which I accepted--not expecting to be long away--
Went up Pacific Street--passed the "Lagoon" the place of "washerwomen"--saw three full rigged clippers entering the harbor.
How calm and pleasant is it in a land of strangers to go by the seaside and listen to the deep rolling notes of praise from the surging billows as they break upon the rocks or sandy beach.
Passed Fort Point--here the government is busy having about 300 men employed fortifying the harbor of San Francisco--several of the carriages were ready to receive their guns while a wall of immense thickness covered the embrasures.
Now we sit still and listen to the sea or watch the varying tints of the distant landscape or listen to the song of birds--now we walk on with strawberries in wild profusion at our feet--of course we didn't get any--oh no certainly not--over to Kelsey's--on over the left--they were finely flavored and grow on any bare and sandy knoll. On on we go--there on the opposite or northern side of the Golden Gate is Point Bonita (where there is a lighthouse)--now we come to the inner telegraph--strawberries everywhere--now we pass down by the sea where the waves froth and fret against the cliffs--one of which was hollow--saw a man who lives alone here--he attends the "fog signal" or bell--now we see the wide wide sea--yes and a clipper ship just coming in, in full sail--there too is the pilot boat--now tacking this way, and now skimming that way--a thing of life--yonder to the right are the Farralones--distant from San Francisco 30 miles--round further still we walk--we have reached Point "Lobos"--what a beautiful scene--how the sea heaves up a sheet of water at a rock and it falls down a sheet of spray--the wild geese and sea gulls ride in unconcern upon its angry waves--on on we go--communing with the beautiful and grand in God's own temple. My heart responds in grateful praises--I have become weary with commonplace preaching and feel it good to break through the manacles of restraint--or church going exhibitions of vanity and new dresses to cultivate the loftier employment of meditation upon the vast, the wonderful and sublime in nature. Now we reach "Seal Rock" or "Arched Rock" and upon this and some others of the group--about 200 yds. distant--favor us--in the sea lay several hundred sea lions--some were moving clumsily to a higher part of the rock--others were sleeping in the sun, others were diving and playing in the water--a singular sight. They are in size equal to a cow--with a pointed head in shape something like a weasel, their feet and eyes like large fins--when we fired a [not finished]
June 4, 1855
Fine and pleasant in morning, winds afternoon.
Been waiting and arranging for publishing a view of the Golden Gate--the entrance to the bay of San Francisco.
Sold my dog to E. Smith for $25.
Got up a new sheet out of old engravings & called it "Wayside Scenes."
June 5, 1855
Fine, pleasant & windy.
June 6, 1855
Fine & windy.
June 7, 1855
Fine & windy.
June 8, 1855
Fine & windy--although not quite as windy today.
Went out this evening with Mr. Ayres down towards the "North Beach" where men and boys were bathing beyond the sand hill. There are cart loads of old oyster tins lying upon the beach that have been collected all over the city by poor men to burn and extract the solder from them so sell to the tinners in town.
There stands still the old ship [the Euphemia] that was used in 1849 for a lunatic asylum.
Blackberries were growing among the hills here but the children have worn paths in picking them as they ripen.
The sand seems to encroach upon the vegetation in places on hillsides--covering it up.
Most of the houses are empty in this quarter of the city and Irish, French and Spanish chiefly occupy the other part.
Saw two schooners racing.
June 9, 1855
Fine & windy.
Sunday, June 10, 1855
Cloudy morning--fine afterwards--wind as usual.
This morning opened up dull, foggy and clammy but about nine o'clock it cleared off pleasantly although all day there has been rather above the usual quantity of wind.
This morning at eleven I visited Dr. Scott's church on Bush St.--and heard a very good sermon--though nothing extra--yet he has a large and fashionable audience.
This afternoon I went to the anniversary of the San Francisco Sunday School Union held at the Congregationalist Church (Mr. Hunt's), corner of Dupont and California streets--at ½ past 2 o'clock. The meeting was opened by singing one of a sheet of hymns printed for the occasion. Mr. _____ the successor to Wm. Briggs of the M.E. Church on Powell St. engaged in prayer--neither eloquent, fervent nor adapted to the occasion--then another hymn--
June 11, 1855
A pleasant day, all but the wind.
Today I saw some ripe pears--there is no other country in the world that I know of can do this.
The new book entitled Annals of San Francisco came by the Flying Cloud last Thursday--written by Frank Soule, Dr. Gihon and ________. They are $8 per copy. It is beginning to create a sensation among the good folks--everybody talks about it--so I suppose it will sell, although I have not yet seen it. I suppose it is pretty good.
Just looking out of my window at the Rassette House I see the pretty town of Oakland just across the bay (10 miles) its white houses and green trees form quite a contrast.
Shipping lies sleeping on the placid waters of the bay--and little skiffs fly past in rapid passage through the briny water. Carts, water carts, drays, coaches, wagons, flies and buggies--each having a different sound as they jolt or rattle or rumble along the streets.
Busy men and busy bustling and beautiful women (besides plain or homely ones) pass you sweetly on business, some on pleasure, all full of life--
I have been conversing with Mr. Ayres the artist who feels almost discouraged--he says that all he makes out of one picture is spent by or before the time he gets an order for another.
Agreed with Hershel to give him $125 for lithographing "The Golden Gate"--and with Britton & Rey to print the first hundred for $60--all after that at $45 per hundred.
I believe that a view of San Francisco from the hill back of the city looking towards Contra Costa--about half an hour before sunset--when every hollow of the Contra Costa mountains throw a shadow and a beautiful purple tint.
June 12, 1855
Cloudy & foggy this morning but--clear--yet windy in afternoon.
This morning the Uncle Sam steamship came gliding in upon us with news from the eastern states and Europe. She has made the quickest trip and carries the latest news from New York & New Orleans of any yet made--her time was from New York by Nicaragua in 21½ days and from New Orleans in 19½ days.
Today I have seen and looked through the new book called Annals of San Francisco. It is very well written, and being the first it of course bears the impress of omissions of some things and imperfections in others--still it is a valuable book of reference and contains much historical and descriptive interest--given with a vigor and manliness that is striking and pleasing. There are but 4 steel portraits in it--and although I have no objection to them I think that it is not good taste to give a steel plate likeness of an actress--not of much merit either--and yet a wood engraving of our good old pioneers and gold discoverers Sutter & Marshall.
The view of the entrance through "The Golden Gate" or entrance to the bay of San Francisco is very imperfect and poor--as the Golden Gate is about 3½ miles across--yet in this engraving it is not over 100 yards at furthest!
June 13, 1855
Cloudy this morning until 9 o'clock--cleared off.
This morning between 2 & 3 o'clock--fire bells were ringing, engines whizzing and jingling past--and the cry of fire fire was carried upon the still air--and looking out there was a bright fire. Of course as this was not only an alarm but a real fire I had to see it--it was in the square bounded by Dupont, Clay, Washington & Stockton sts.--a place of all others the most disgustingly loathsome--a place for Chilenos, Mexicanos, Chinese-oes as well as French, Sydney and American prostitutes. Men were running out with an armful of clothes but in their shirttails--women showed all degrees of chemises, naked legs and bosoms--hair flowing, calling out in all ununderstandable languages--now running here now there--still the fire crackled and spread--furniture was being moved, engines playing, men swearing--loud "let out that hose" through a speaking trumpet--all was life all was excitement (but little sympathy)--here there is a pile of furniture just in the way of the fire--or the fire engine--and has to be removed. At 10 o'clock a.m. the smoking ruins were there and upon the spot not yet cold new houses were being erected--within a week it will all be rebuilt--they were all cheap buildings occupied by prostitutes.
This afternoon I took a quiet walk towards the Mission Dolores by the "new plank road" and returned by the old one. How great a change there is here--saw Stephen C. Massett (James Pipes of Pipesville) and his little cabin he lives upon the old plank road.
I like to look upon the old "adobe" and tile covered building of these missions and of the people who lived chiefly here--the native Californians--the old cathedral of adobes still stands well--in the church yard there are miniature flower gardens--badly dried up--upon the graves.
While reading in a hotel at the Mission I got into a discussion on the merits and demerits of the allies before Sebastopol.
After I was through--an Irishman who had been looking cunningly and knowingly into my face for some time--his mouth open--came up and said, "I want if yer plaze to ax yer onor if ye'd come and take a thrink widge me." I declined, saying that I never drink anything--stronger than brandy--"Och," says he, "I have not seen a man I like the looks on now for years as will as I do yourn." I laughed and thanked him for his good opinion of my face--he sidled up to me--and giving me a nudge asked, "How miny patents have ye's today with [you] now?"
June 14, 1855
Fine & pleasant--still windy afternoons.
Today nothing particularly has occurred that I know of.
Saw Mr. Larrabee off upriver--he and I had a long talk about money matters. He evidently expected that I was going to sit down and wait here until he had made money enough out of the letter sheets leisurely to pay me after all other expenses of printing paper, traveling expenses and little debts beside had been paid.
I told him that I wished to give him as good a chance as any reasonable man would ask--that if he pays me by the 30th of July at the latest he shall have the entire and the exclusive benefits of all sheets except the "Commandments to California Wives" and "Articles in a Miner's Creed." These latter I take one-half of the profits and sell as many as I can before I go besides--but the other sheets are his exclusively after he has paid for the engravings and taken up my note of $1,085. But I distinctly told him that if I saw that he was not going to pay me by that time I would advertise for young men with from $25 to $75 to travel in the mining towns--and crowd all my sheets into every county in the state providing it was necessary--that one thing I wished him to understand and that was that I meant to start on the 1st of Aug. certain--I gave him fair notice--so that he cannot complain--all I want from him is the money due me for my engravings sold him, and I want it by that time certain--no mistake about it. He weaved and pitched about it but--as he couldn't get round it I suppose he is clearly satisfied about my meaning and that if he expects the benefit he must meet his engagement.
I saw today the beautifully shaped clipper ship Flying Cloud--she has made the shortest of the passages to San Francisco as she arrived here on April 20th, 1854 in 89 days and 8 hours from New York. The last trip from headwinds took her 108 days. The Swordfish arrived Feby. 10th, 1852 in 90 days 18 hours from New York. The Flying Fish arrived Jany. 31st, 1853 in 92 days 4 hours from New York.
June 15, 1855
Fine & pleasant although a little hazy & windy.
I have nothing particular to notice today.
June 16, 1855
Fine--rather hazy & windy.
I feel moderately easy when I do not think of home and do not see others more fortunate than myself in being able to go--one would say--hah (when they saw me on the steamer) are you homeward bound too--I could only shake my head and say no--alas it is not my turn yet. Several of my old acquaintances were aboard--the Golden Gate--she is truly a noble vessel and lies like a duck upon the water and has a beautifully arranged saloon and cabin--when where will it be my happy time go to meet my aged and loving mother whose aged footsteps are near the grave; and when too will I see one who in patience and loving hope anxiously expects my return. The Golden Gate took 525, the Sierra Nevada (by Nicaragua) 482.
Last night the Sonora arrived with 740 passengers.
Went round by Rincon Point saw some steamboat repairing--old ships being broken to pieces for firewood--also a number of Chinamen who had been out fishing. They would make an excellent subject for a sketch, standing as they did in their singular shaped hats hauling or shoveling fish with a scoop shaped basket out of their boats into the baskets to carry them up on the hill to dry them in the sun and sell them to their countrymen above--in the mines. Others were cutting and cleaning the larger fish.
Sunday, June 17, 1855
Hazy--& moderately windy--as usual.
Took a walk--spent time in thinking of the happy part in my sabbath school or with I know whom--or with my friends--and gathered as many as I could eat of the wild strawberries and blackberries
In evening heard a beautiful forcible and explicit sermon on the sin of Achan--chiefly the sin of the eye--dwelt upon--exhorting young men to avoid books or prints or observation of the eye calculated in the least to lead him astray.
June 18, 1855
Cloudy this morning--hazy & windy afternoon.
This morning met with several Presbyterian preachers who asked me all kinds of questions about the northern portion of the state--with a view of setting a minister or two there who have recently arrived in the Sonora.
June 19, 1855
Cloudy this morning and hazy--cloudy & stormy looking evening.
Today I have been dunning N.R. I have met him now 8 times by appointment and each time he was to be sure and pay me the fifty dollars due me--but tonight he would certainly pay me in the morning with money he was to collect from the Mercantile Association--yet he wanted to make me a new note and destroy the old one--I don't understand what he's after yet.
June 20, 1855
Fine and pleasant and warm--but a little hazy.
Last night the fog rolled down from the hills in such immense cloudy masses I thought it was about to rain and said as much--"Oh no," said my friend, "this is San Francisco summer weather."
Have heard today that Mrs. F. Wadsworth of Diamond Springs has increased the population of the world by a daughter--good for them.
The "Hall" bell rung lustily out this evening the sound "fire fire" this bell never sounds unless there's a fire to be seen--although frequently the other bells ring to give a little excitement and exercise among the firemen.
Today too the "Monumentals" & "Howards" (firemen) have been in a body (by invitation) today to Stockton and will return tomorrow--they promenade in uniform with music and banners.
June 21, 1855
Fine and very pleasant--although a little warm.
At dinner today two Irishmen came in and sat opposite to me and displayed some finger rings to great advantage--the waiter went to them and spread before them the bill of fare.
"What have ye today me fine fellow? (from No. 1) The waiter pointed to the bill--"Have ye's soup? (from No. 1) "We have mutton broth, sir." "Oh, to the devil wid ye's mutton broth!" (No. 1) "I'll take some." (says No. 2) "Mutton broth, is it? Sure, I'll take some of that same." (from No. 1) He got through with that--waiter again inquired what he would take next--"Oh, the devil give me some more soup--broth I mane." He had some more--"I'll take some boiled mutton." (from No. 2) "Give me some of that," said No. 1 pointing to the mutton on the other's plate. "We have plenty of more like that!" said the waiter--"Oh ye have--have ye's, my fine fellow!" (looking up) "Ye have more like that, have ye's? Eh?" (getting annoyed) "Thin," (looking pompous) "bring me some of it quick now." (calling after waiter) "Bring me some ice with it now." (the waiter returned and inquired if he wouldn't like some vegetables--turnips--or cauliflowers) "I want some ice." (was the dignified answer) Ice and mutton! was brought--"Anything else you wish?" (from waiter) "Anything else did ye's say? Yes sor." (very dignified) "bring me some turnips, mash 'em now--d'ye hear?" (mashed turnips were brought) "Did ye's suppose now--" (looking important at the waiter) "Did ye's suppose now that I wanted that ice to eat with my mutton?" (his eyes twinkled upwards) Waiter, scarcely able to keep from laughing--again inquired--"Is there anything else you wish?" "Yes sor--be here when I want ye's next time!"--then nodding a look of supreme and annihilating contempt towards the waiter, replied to No. 2, "These waiters are the divil!" "This is good mutton," answered No. 2--"Oh yes but if I ever get where there's fish now--and pork--och--give me a chowther--a chowther's the thing."
June 22, 1855
Fine--the thermometer today stood at 100 in the shade.
Today the San Franciscans have been puffing and blowing and steaming--saying it is the hottest day they ever saw--they want to go up into the mines a few days just now. Now I didn't feel it only moderately warm--not hot by any means.
June 23, 1855
Fine and pleasant--a little warm.
This has been a lovely day but tonight--like last night--there are heavy clouds of fog rolling down upon us from the sea that resembles fine rain.
Sunday, June 24, 1855
This morning attended Dr. Scott's church and in an eloquent and beautiful sermon on the position and destiny of California--he remarked that he had traveled over many countries and every state in the American Union (but one) and the climate and gentility of California exceeded--far exceeded them all--and resembled--but excelled--the more favored spots of the Mediterranean Sea.
After the sermon the Dr. retired and the trustees of the church gave a report of the present financial standing of the church--it cost over $60,000--there was now a floating indebtedness of about $21,000 and a mortgage of $15,000--the bond and mortgage could remain at 1¼ percent per month--but the other indebtedness required clearing off. $13,000 had already been subscribed of that amount and a collection (or rather subscription) for the balance required was taken up and in the morning $5,000 was raised and in the evening the balance $3,000 more, making up the sum required of $8,000--that was a good collection I thought.
June 25, 1855
Nothing worth relating--
June 26, 1855
San Francisco to San Jose--by Alviso 50 miles.
About 10 o'clock a.m. I and Mr. Ayres got aboard the Sophia for San Jose for one dollar. Leaving San Francisco the wind was a little rough--soon we came beneath the shelter of a bluff and the wind seemed over for a short time, only however to begin again when we got fairly out from it. We reached Ravensworth about 1 o'clock p.m. then making a curve backwards to regain the channel steamed away for Alviso--the deep water is indicated by the color--yet here and there poles were erected with barrels upon them to show the shallow water--After entering the Guadalupe we followed its serpentine windings for about 5 miles before reaching the little embarcadero of Alviso where several coaches, wagons, buggies &c. awaited the passengers to take them the other 18 miles of land travel to San Jose--now came the tug of war--one man tumbling over another in his selfish impatience to get the best seat in the stage--even to the exclusion of the ladies--yet no sooner did they see that all the inside seats were occupied and some ladies still were unaccommodated--they of course allowed their selfishness to give place to gallantry.
Seven miles upon a magnificent road and passing the fields of waving grains--wild mustard--cottages &c. we reached Santa Clara--the dark green trees on the margin of the Guadalupe stood a contrast to the ripening wheat and other grain.
Santa Clara is a fine location for a town yet everything looked very dull and several idlers seemed and looked as though they would like to see anybody set them to work--from Santa Clara we passed through a long avenue of willows and cottonwoods that sheltered by their shade the traveler--these were planted by the missions and wide, Santa Clara to San Jose. On either side of this avenue especially on the east there are several neat dwelling houses and well cultivated gardens with here and there an artesian well boiling up--besides there are orchards, nurseries, vineyards &c. all looking flourishing--
We reached the pretty flat town of San Jose about 4 o'clock p.m. The pear trees laden with fruit--the mammoth cactus--the citron colored mountains--the dark and rich green of the shrubs and fields of wild oats made a pleasing picture with here and there a group of senoritas walking or indolently standing looking at us as we passed--here and there a
Looking towards San Francisco the heavy clouds of fog seemed rolling over the bay and through the Golden Gate--yet elsewhere now.
June 27, 1855
Fine--cloudy until noon.
San Jose to New Almaden 14 miles.
Last night on reaching San Jose I went to inquire at "Beatty's" (formerly the Mansion House) and their charges were $1 per meal $1 per bed--I thought that tolerably stiff for an agricultural town of such easy access as this so I inquired at another where it was 50 cts. each--as this was only half I chose it of course--
This morning looked around me to see cactus--artesian wells, strawberries pines and pretty farm houses and sleepy looking senoritas--yet to me things look rather dull.
After dinner Mr. A. and I walked about half way to Almaden--a fat old Californian rode up and sweating exclaimed to us "Mucho calor," to which we answered, "Si mucho"--he soon crossed the arroyo to his rancho, where several blooming and dark candle-colored daughters welcomed him. These people neither in their houses, fences, farms or persons improve any. The graceful buttonwood trees (or maple) in contrast with the live oaks are striking. After about two miles from San Jose we reach [a] clump of trees upon the banks of a small stream, (now however dry).
The stage overtaking us we took our seats were charged only 50 cts. for riding 7 miles--cheap enough. After a pleasant ride through groves of oaks we reached the new hotel and pretty cottages of New Almaden--or works of the quicksilver compy.
Our first thought was to wash off--and down--the accumulated dust of the journey and forthwith started to take a look at the works--their long smoke funnels--furnaces--peculiarly colored rocks--quicksilver "adobes"--&c. &c. &c. were strangely different to anything I had ever seen before.
Then we went down just below to the New Almaden soda water spring--this is a natural wonder that close by a good sized stream of pure cool water should boil up--as pure and pleasant a spring of soda that any man ever drank--we drank and rested and rested and drank and it was pleasant to sit in the cool of the evening and listening to the singing brook and drink of this wonderful spring.
I omitted to mention them--inside the coach there were two pretty good-looking Irish girls--one was the pleasantest good natured, merry hearted and chatty good looking lassie my eyes have looked upon this many a day--her lips--oh how they made mine to water--they invited a kiss so temptingly that--no I didn't! but "I wanted to!" I did. I hope someone I know won't grow jealous at my thoughts! before she knows them!
June 28, 1855
September 1856 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Fine and hot.
This morning bright and early we ascended the mountain to the mine--a distance of a mile and a quarter upon a good graded road and passing some wagons laden with the cinnabar or native quicksilver we reached the mine about 1,200 feet above the works and about 1,500 feet above the sea.
The first impression we received here--is like below--different in every particular to anything else I have seen.
First two Mexicans were standing upon a "car" of the railway and shoveling off the "ore"--these were naked all but a breech-cloth about their "center of gravity"--no hat on. Other Mexicans were upon other "cars" throwing off the heavy and larger pieces with their hands--others were putting it into sacks, others were sifting and picking it with their hands, others were loading the wagon with the ore--the foreman of the mine weighing it as it was loaded.
Clear the track here comes another car laden with the cinnabar--on its front sit two Mexicans dressed like the others and which gave an excellent opportunity to study the sinewy sturdiness of their limbs and full chests.
Now we'll enter the mine if you've no objections and having obtained a guide who from the kindness of Mr. Childs the foreman to whom we had made known my business and wishes instructed the guide to take us all over and take time--but as he was a Mexican I didn't know the meaning except by interpretation and after a suitable candlestick with a piece of a candle sticking at the lower end--off we started.
The tunnel is 10 feet wide and twelve ft. high in the center shaped thus [small sketch of domed cross-section] the opening--or open cut as it is called is about 200 ft. before reaching the tunnel--now Mr. Mexican led the way and we followed--and as there were others of the party who wished to go with us they were provided with lights--after walking in about 1,000 ft. there were lights in every direction at the end of the tunnel--some men were loading the cars--others were walking off with empty sacks at their backs--others were drilling for blasting--here a large hole--there a large hole. Hulloa--what have we here--a shaft--yes--a shaft about 70 ft. down--"Senor you like descender abajo?" "Si." He laughed as I entered the basket to be lowered down the shaft--at the bottom three men were drilling solid granite to have a lower opening by which all the lower "labores" can be worked to a common center and there elevated by the windlass--again I'm elevated to the tunnel--now we start at the side and reach an upright pole with notches in it and Mexicans are ascending and descending--again the guide inquires if we would like to go down there--I answered yes--"Not if I know myself intimately," replied one of the party--"Nor I"--"Nor I" went all round. "Well, gentlemen," I said, "this is a free country that a man may break his neck if he feels like it, and as I came here to see the mine I am going to see it from one end to the other if you'll please to excuse me." "Oh yes, yes, certainly," they replied, "but I dare not go down there for the world--if there were ladders or stairs or rocks to lay hold upon I wouldn't mind it--but--look at those poles and the deep dark holes below--ugh!" and out they returned and in went I and my Mexican guide--now ascending here, descending there--now holding our slippery footsteps onto narrow edges of rock or going up and down poles with notched steps in them. It took us about 2 hours to go over the mine--down and up--now this way now that--with here and there a party of miners blasting or picking--and between the dim lights from candles and smoke and dark holes and dark skinned Mexicans--moving and bobbing and flickering in all directions--it seemed an imaginary picture of a Mexican "Pandemonium."
September 1856 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
It appears that this mine has been worked for several centuries by the Indians purposely for vermilion with which to ornament their persons, and for this purpose Indians have come for several hundred miles--even from beyond the Columbia River--in Oregon--several making it a kind of business of trade. The mine was first worked above--as shown in the sketch--where the ore "cropped" out and was followed by Indians who with water washed and [with] hard pebbles broke off the rock--and as they had no other tools, and as they had moreover penetrated into the mountain for about 60 feet--it must have taken centuries to accomplish so much labor with such tools. After the establishment of the Mission of Santa Clara in 17__ the Indians having much of this about their persons and frequently bring little quantities in skins--the missionaries or priests ultimately found out its value and a company (chiefly English) was formed in Mexico--where 18 of the 24 shares are now owned. This mine was not successfully worked until 1850--and about three millions of dollars are said to have been expended before any return of profit from the produce of quicksilver--I think it doubtful.
September 1856 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
All the stuff separated from the ore, and not ore, is called [omission] 300 lbs. of ore is called a "carga": two wheelbarrow loads of ore is considered one "carga"--four wheelbarrow loads of dust is considered a "carga."
Socavon (pronounced sokabon) is the tunnel.
The labores are shafts. These are 250 feet above the tunnel and about 200 ft. below tunnel level.
The side drifts are called by Cornishmen "adits."
June 29, 1855
New Almaden to San Jose & Santa Clara--
June 30, 1855
December 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Fine & pleasant.
From San Jose to Oakland, 37 miles from Oakland to S.F. 10.
This morning having brought two dollar tickets Mr. Ayres and I found ourselves upon one of the Cal. Stage Co.'s stages on our way to S.F. Leaving the town and passing several large streams coming from artesian wells (one on the road to Alviso--and 3 miles from San Jose--rolls out 3,700 gallons per minute--it threw out the tools of the workmen--tubes--rocks &c. and now boils about 4 ft. above the ground and a stream over two feet in diameter--enough to turn a water mill) Passing for 17 miles over the valley--crossing the Coyote River (now nearly dry) we reached the "Agua Caliente" or hot springs--put my hand in--just warm enough to bathe--it is impregnated with sulfur--there were several patients living here for the benefit of its waters--Now in another mile and we reach the old "Mission of San Jose"--but little changed--a fine orchard of pears--vineyards &c. new vineyards and peach orchards are planted and are flourishing well--on we go through grain fields--tall mustard--in which "the birds of the air lodge"--as it was above the top of our coach--growing wild--reaping with the machine--by which a "cut" or "swath" about 5 ft. wide is cut as fast as four horses can walk--two men work it--on on we go passing this farm that ranch this stream the other settlement until we reached Oakland about ½ past 11 a.m.
Sunday July 1, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
This morning heard the Rev. Mr. Wyatt of "Trinity Church." He has a pleasant musical manly voice and good delivery but not much sound thought in the sermon.
Afternoon dined with Mr. Chittendon & his son in law Mr. Seyd. Spent an agreeable afternoon.
July 2, 1855
Busy--money hunting--without catching any--plenty of apologies but they pay no bills--no scarcity of promises but those don't circulate as a substitute for coin.
I have to pay everybody--nobody pays me--oh it's hard.
July 3, 1855
Cloudy until noon. Fine afterwards.
This has been a day for the parade of firemen--the Marysvillians are the guests of the San Franciscans and processions, with banners, fire engines and music have been the order of the day--crackers are now going off in all directions.
Everybody here seems about to go into the country--and I have no doubt of the country people going to town.
July 4, 1855
This is the "glorious fourth"--it was ushered in by extensive fireworks--one at North Beach broke out about ½ past 1 a.m. and about 4 o'clock a.m. the cry of fire and the sound of the "Hall Bell" run simultaneously--a bright light was reflected on the windows around and I found that it was on this [omission] (Bush--corner of Kearny)
Now the flames leaped and licking the high roofs around--set them on fire--several companies of firemen (some now here from Marysville & Sacramento as guests to the S.F.F.) were immediately on the spot--but having advanced too far and the wind coming down they had several times to retreat a little--now windows were broken in and the liquid streams poured through them--now upon roofs--now the fire becoming too hot down they would drop to the ground from some low roofs--on, on they go--in smoke and heat and falling timbers--now here now there--muffled orders from the foreman--clank, clank from the privates--she is checked here but is increasing there--on they move--and in a couple of hours the fire is subdued--one square only having been consumed--although others several times ignited--there other men single-handed are walking on the tops of houses throwing water upon the dry roofs--amid the glare of fire--the rolling volumes of smoke these men stood out against the moving and lurid sky.
Women & men were busy removing furniture--one man threw a chest of drawers from a three-story landing--to save! them.
Soon the booming of cannon ushered in the day according to programme (the fire was not included in it).
Now boys and firecrackers went off together--on a bust--and as the day advanced--processions of military were formed--every available horse I presume was engaged either by soldiers or citizens not at present in their ranks. At ½ past 1 p.m. Gen. Wool and Gen. Sutter reviewed them in front of the Oriental Hotel--the jolly good natured countenance of Gen. Sutter stood in contrast to the thin lipped narrow--yet firm--quick countenance of Gen. Wool--Neither I would not consider were above the medium in intellectual endowment. As Mr. Ayres & I were standing together--some officers rode up to the front of the hotel--with gilt and glitter of tinsel, and swords, and with an easy grace acknowledged the hour of recognition given to them by the Gen. Wool. "Look at that now," said Mr. A.--that man is my washerwoman! I looked incredulous--but he answered, "He is--he comes every week for my dirty linen!!!" Met Mr. Millard.
July 5, 1855
San Francisco towards Sacramento City.
Received the first impressions of the Com. to Cal. Wives today.
This afternoon I, Ayres & Millard took passage on that "fast sailing" craft Martin White. As we wanted to go to Sac. City we concluded that it was better to pay each $2 than $7 (by the combination) so took our passage on above named--reached the boat at 4 o'clock--kept waiting one hour--could find neither captain or clerk--at length the wheels move--an old Dutch built schooner, laden with merchandise is taken in tow--I engage three berths (for I found a clerk after starting) there were only 5--we had 3 out of the 5--70 passengers aboard--everybody grumbling--about 10 o'clock turned into our berths too hot to sleep--the cabin only about 10 ft. wide at the wider end and tapering to the gangway. About 14 feet in length. At 3 o'clock a.m. we reached "The Hog's Back [Shoal]" and got aground--waited until 8 o'clock started again--reached Sac. City 24 hours after starting--others do it in 7½ hours--now let us look at the economy of taking a cheap conveyance.
Fare $2 ) Fare $7
Berth $1 ) By combination Supper $1
3 meals $3 ) Steam Nav. Co. 8
1 day's wages $5 ) Balance in favor of this co. 3
$11 ) 11
Then there is the natural loss of detention from business, discomfort, filth and mosquitoes.
The meals were greasy, dirty and badly cooked--all meat--no fruit--the cabin was a perfect steam bath with human breath--the mosquitoes took a liking to me and after their usual serenade began to eat--or rather drink our blood--when aground on the Hog's Back they "put in a bid" to eat us up--one man said they carried a whet[stone] under their wings to whet their bills upon!
Then--on deck you had to sit on the tiller, or on the vessel side or flat on deck--or go without a seat for chairs or seats there were none--deliver me from another such a humbug.
July 6, 1855
San Francisco to Sac. City, 125 m.
Yes, verily, after the infection of the experiences of 1849 upon us up the Sacramento River--we have at last arrived--and as I walk the streets of Sacramento I feel pleased that I can go anywhere and get what I want to eat.
There too are watermelons to be had and many other kinds of fruit.
July 7, 1855
Fine & very warm.
Sacramento City to Ione Valley, 37 miles.
This morning I, Ayres & Millard took stage from Sac. City to Ione Valley--the ride was warm and dusty! I do not know of a more [dis]agreeable position for any man who don't smoke to be within a coach with eleven other passengers eight of whom are smoking cigars and the balance--like myself--taking a mixed succession of doses of dust and tobacco smoke and the hot confined air itself almost suffocating--this is the more agreeable when a man feels biliously qualmish and which is increased by the motion of the coach--it may be pleasant for those who like it! But I can't say that I do--"ne'er a time."
Reached Q Ranch Ione V. at noon--
After dinner went to the dried-up town and strapped parties of miners (poor fellows) at "Mule Town"--"Quincy"--and "The Boston Store"--the weather steaming hot--how the perspiration streamed down one.
The harvests are being rapidly gathered--the owners of the Q Ranch (Alvord, Barney & Tripplet) have sold out two-thirds for $24,000 to Mr. Green--the old stage proprietor--they have cut 250 tons of hay this year which at $30 per ton makes the snug little amount of cash of $7,500--besides grain and fruit.
There is considerable mining going on around--it was supposed that a coal mine was discovered near but it did not prove worth anything.
Sunday, July 8, 1855
Fine & hot.
From Ione Valley to Jackson, 14 miles.
This morning I spent around the Q Ranch and towards noon I grew tired of lying around--no melons ripe--no corn ripe--and in dust and heat I started for Jackson.
Here today the thermometer was 116 degrees in the shade at ¼ past 6 o'clock--this evening it stood at 102--at nine o'clock 90. This is an unusual heat for the cool night temperature of a California summer.
Jackson as you descend the hill appears like a large town on the ravine--and so it is--as you enter from the city the foreign appearance of the population strikes you as singular--Chileans & Mexicans and French and Chinese "harems"--Chinese stores and Chinamen and women stand around. Passing up further there are the busy bustling Americans--a striking contrast to the sleepy-headedness of the others.
This place was built in 18__
July 9, 1855
Fine & hot.
From Jackson to Volcano 14 miles.
This morning I & Ayres took the stage for Volcano.
July 10, 1855
This evening as I was lying sleepless between eleven & twelve o'clock--a shadowy light the form of a human face was at the foot of my bed and it changed to the pale deathly expression of a corpse--and afterwards to a likeness of C. Roberts--I make this minute now because I am under the impression that she died about this time and I wish to see if it were fancy only--We are many thousand miles separate and at least 6 weeks ere I hear. James M. Hutchings
[added later] The above did not prove true. H.
July 11, 1855
Volcano to Clinton 6 miles.
July 12, 1855
From Clinton to Slab-Town & Jackson 7 miles.
July 13, 1855
Fine & hot.
From Jackson to Butte City & Moke Hill 5½ miles.
July 14, 1855
May 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Fine & warm.
From Moke Hill to Cave City 14 miles.
Sunday, July 15, 1855
Fine & warm.
From Cave City to Mammoth Trees 14 miles.
July 16, 1855
Mammoth Trees [the Calaveras Grove].
This morning bright and early I sought the shadowy solitude of the mammoth vegetable giants of this forest. No language can adequately describe the immensity of their grandeur--and as one sits beneath their shade and looking upward to their stately heads enter upon a reverie of their parentage--and growth--whether Samson was busy running away with the gates of Gaza--or whether a civilized and educated people once occupied these slopes and by volcanic fire was inundated and every vestige of them swept from the earth.
It appears that Mr. A. T. Dowd of Connecticut was employed by the Union Water Co. of Murphy's Camp as hunter for the purpose of supplying fresh meat for their men--in the spring of 1852 and having wounded a bear followed it up and to his utter astonishment & surprise discovered the big tree. On returning to camp and telling the wonder he had seen they laughed at him and did not believe him--for a day or two he allowed the matter to rest and as usual pursued his hunting employment--and then returned to camp telling them that he had killed a large bear and wanted assistance to carry it to camp--where--instead of the bear he took them to the big tree and thus had witnesses who even exceeded the description of Mr. Dowd--
One of the party a Mr. Lewis (there were 3 went out) wished for Mr. Dowd to go in with him as partner for the purpose of taking off the bark and exhibiting it in the Atlantic states--this was declined--but while Mr. L. was hunting up a partner a Capt. Hanford to whom he had expressed his intentions--took a party of men and began removing the bark himself (after attempting to dissuade Lewis from doing so) this Mr. Lewis told me--he may be right--or not--I cannot tell.
There are 95 trees over 10 ft. in diameter--102 altogether--besides young ones not counted.
July 17, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
Today Mr. Lapham very kindly accompanied me throughout the grove and explained the few trees named &c. requesting me to publish a pamphlet of the trees and first to name the whole--But I of course could not think of assuming entirely this responsibility "we met in committee of the whole." Mr. & Mrs. Lapham, Miss Clara Selsbury, Mr. Ayres--W. Millard--"Bill" the intelligent cook and my humble self--christened all but about 13 trees.
July 18, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
Mammoth Trees to Murphy 15 miles.
This evening we had a pleasant walk from Big Trees to Murphy's--passing forests of pines--saw mills--and the Union Co.'s flume to Murphy in the cool of the evening we enjoyed it--we noticed the sugar pines covered with their long graceful burrs--and we thought it indicative of a hard winter approaching for Cal.
Mr. Lapham--the gentlemanly and good natured proprietor of the big trees--kindly allowed me to take a piece of bark from one tree about 19 ft. in diameter the thickness of the bark being 17½ inches--also a good large piece of the wood of the big tree with which to make a frame--When I asked him for my bill for self, Ayres & Millard--he said "Nothing. You are entirely welcome; you have done me more service in the letter sheet you published than twenty times your bill." I of course thanked him kindly--he and his lady have made this my second visit very agreeable--and they could not have added to their many kindnesses.
July 19, 1855
Fine & warm.
From Murphy's to Columbia & Sonora 12 m.
This morning from having been kept scratching and sleepless all night by bedbugs I felt very hard--started after making arrangements to "ship" my big tree wood & bark by team to Stockton--thence to S.F. We started by the trail
from Murphy's to Douglas Flat 2 milesIt is a hard walk from Murphy's to Columbia across the Stanislaus River by Abbey's ferry (2½ m. from Columbia & 1¾ from Gold Springs).
" " Vallecito 2 "
" " Columbia 9 "
" " Sonora 13 "
" " Angels 9 "
" " Carson's 12 "
Murphy's Camp is improved but little--Columbia has improved much and contains a large and flourishing population that has sprung up within the last 3 years--
July 20, 1855
Fine & warm.
From Sonora to French Bar (La Grange) 28 miles.
This morning we left Sonora about noon in the stage for French Bar having as traveling companions taciturn Chinamen, a chattering Mexican woman and two quiet ones--all prostitutes no doubt--a bully armed to the teeth and 4 white men.
The road for about 18 miles was as rough rocky and shaking as the most noisy advocate of gymnastics might desire--and what with cigar smoking--dust and smells of filth from Johns [the Chinese] (for they were dirty ones) it was not the pleasanatest ride that I remember--the cigars too being of different composition it made one feel almost sick--John had a little opium in his--the Mexican women had cigarettes and the smell of paper predominated--and as each of the men had different qualities of cigars the strong hot scent of the one was not redeemed by the fragrance of a true Havana.
The distances from Sonora are thus
To Jamestown 4½ miles
To Montezuma 9 "
To Belvedere Flat 10 "
To Chinese Camp 12 "
To Mound Springs 14 "
To French Bar 28 "
From French Bar to Hornitos 25 "
From French Bar to Mount Ophir 38 "
From French Bar to Agua Frio 41 "
From French Bar to Mariposa 45 "
From Hornitos to Rum Hollow 4½ "
From Phillips Ferry to Rum Hollow 5 "
From Phillips Ferry by river to Phillips Flat 9 "
From Phillips Ferry to Pleasant Valley 13 "
From Phillips Ferry to Horseshoe Bend 16 "
From Phillips Ferry to Coltersville 21 "
Coltersville to Don Pedro's Bar 12 "
Horseshoe Bend to Don Pedro's Bar 12 "
Pleasant Valley to Don Pedro's Bar 11 "
Don Pedro's Bar to Sonora 25 "
July 21, 1855
Warm--a little hazy.
It is not a comfortable or consoling thought that in consequence of the ignorance or neglect of the agent in Sonora that we have to lie over until tomorrow (Sunday)--the stage running to Mariposa only in alternate days--moreover we have but very poor accommodations at a miserably conducted (but the best) hotel. Here there is the most vicious looking--yet monkey-shaped countenance--of an Irish woman who waits at table that I ever saw. It is viciously repulsive and when one is eating such is the influence upon you that you feel uncertain whether or not she has bewitched! or poisoned the food!
This place has sprung into life within about the last six months, and like every other place would be very flourishing if they had but water. A few feeble efforts to raise water by steam pumps and water wheels have been feebly successful--but of very limited benefit. There is however a small ditch in progress on the south side [of] the river (upon which side the town stands) that may help a little--but it is too low for the bulk of the diggings, and nearly the whole of the pay dirt has to be carted--or carried by men upon their shoulders in sacks--to water.
The way dirt is raised from the holes in the flat above town is by means of a pole fixed upon a post with a bag of ballast at one end thus
and is somewhat after the Missouri way of elevating water from wells.
There has been several attempts to colonize this place with prostitutes but the attempt has not proved profitable--that is fortunate for the morality of the place--three however came down in the same stage as ourselves accompanied
In a tunnel near J. Town a pine tree measuring 4 ft. in diameter was discovered while tunneling 150 feet from [the] surface. Appearances seemed to justify the belief that this spot was the bed of an old stream--this tree was standing erect--yet, completely petrified.
Sunday, July 22, 1855
From French Bar to Mariposa 45 miles.
July 23, 1855
May 1859 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Fine & warm.
This day was spent chiefly in making preparations for our journey to the Yosemite Valley and making a sketch (by Mr. Ayres) of the town of Mariposa.
July 24, 1855
Fine and pretty warm.
From Mariposa to the Fresno River 25 miles.
July 25, 1855
Fine & hot.
From Hunt's Store on the Fresno to--Camp 20 miles.
July 26, 1855
Fine & warm.
From Camp to the South Fork of Merced River 18 miles.
July 27, 1855
Fine and a little more than warm--yet not very hot.
From South Fork of Merced to Yosemite Valley 22 miles.
July 28, 1855
Fine and warm.
Sunday, July 29, 1855
July 1856 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Fine & warm.
Explored the Yosemite Valley to head--10 miles.
July 30, 1855
July 1856 Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine
Fine & warm.
From Yosemite Valley to Camp--10 miles.
July 31, 1855
Fine & warm.
From--Camp--to--Camp 25 miles.
August 1, 1855
Fine and hot.
From Camp to Mariposa 20 miles.
August 2, 1855
Windy & warm--almost hot.
August 3, 1855
Fine & warm.
August 4, 1855
Fine--hot & dusty.
From Mariposa to Hornitos--20 miles.
Sunday, August 5, 1855
Hot--but a fine breeze.
August 6, 1855
Fine & warm.
From Hornitos to Rum Hollow on Merced by Jones & Clark's to Phillips' Flat.
August 7, 1855
Fine & warm.
From Phillips' Flat to Pleasant Valley 4 miles & Horseshoe Bend 3.
August 8, 1855
Fine & warm.
From Horseshoe Bend to Don Pedro's Bar on Tuolumne River 14 m.
August 9, 1855
Fine hot & dusty.
From Don Pedro's Bar by Chinese Flat to Sonora 26 m.
August 10, 1855
Fine & hot--a little hazy.
From Sonora to Stockton 65 miles & San Francisco from S. 125.
This morning about 4 o'clock we left Sonora before day began to break--the morning air was cool and refreshing--our stage had six horses and they dashed over the ground with considerable speed--almost unchecked by the driver at the roughest kind of place and the consequence was we were jolted and tipped and tossed now here--now there--two of us (the only passengers) being unable [i.e., not heavy enough] to keep it steady. As daylight began to dimly show in shadows on the horizon the tops of the trees we reached Jamestown (4½ miles). Here we were joined by the Columbia Stage and had an increase of passengers--also another stage. We waited nearly half an hour--on on we then dashed and over a rough road made Mound Springs (14 m. from Sonora) by six o'clock a.m. At this point we breakfasted and were joined by the stages from Coltersville and French Bar and moreover filled the stage tolerably well--on on we went in dust and smoke and smells. It may be a luxury but I enjoy it not to ride in a stage, with eleven other passengers, and nine of them smoking--one or two Chinamen smoke cigarettes with opium in them (I don't like that smell)--Mexicans (both male and female) smoke cigarettes too and of those [the smell of] paper is tolerably strong; then others smoke cigars of different qualities some very strong, some smell sickly. Yet if your next companion by any good chance should smoke a good Havana and you are to leeward you get a double benefit--the scent of his cigar--and the smoke to mix with all the other smoke and add dust in great plenty of which you take alternate doses, and then hear all kinds of languages from men of all colors and there you are.
We pretended to dine at the 12 mile house but the fare being poor and the stage in a hurry--some run before I had barely commenced--I of course (being an old traveler) took it moderately cool--says the landlord, "The stage is waiting for you, sir." "Thank you--let it wait, I came to dine, and hope to accomplish it--if I can find anything to eat." "Coachman calls, sir." "All right--he needs some exercise to clear his throat upon a dusty road with poor taverns!" He could almost have eaten me--but at last we were again upon our way and reached Stockton about 2 o'clock. Here I had a fine watermelon. Saw Ike Elwell an old Placerville acquaintance in the Pacific Express Office.
At four o'clock p.m. the Cornelia started for San Francisco. When leaving the levee and passing down the slough Stockton looks pretty in the distance--from the city to the mouth of the slough and junction with the San Joaquin River it is about 3 miles--on on we go and on the western bank of the San Joaquin--among the tules there are neat and flourishing garden spots cleared and planted with vegetables and vines--and before many years have passed away these will be no doubt one of the most beautiful and flourishing vineyards of any in this or any other country.
I believe the San Joaquin River to be the crookedest and the least inviting to the eye of any river in Cal.--upon its banks grow no trees--nothing but tules.
Now the supper bell rung and I went as usual and sat down--I will mention that being traveling for nearly a month and the weather in the mines being warm I had not put on a coat for nearly a month. I sat me down not even thinking of my coat--whether I had or had not on a coat--but I was no sooner seated than a clerk requested me to put my coat on. Being taken "all aback" I inquired the nature of his speech and it came again--"We wish you to put your coat on." "It is not convenient for me to put my coat on now." (It was with my carpet sack in the porter's charge.) "That is our rule." "Oh--is it? Well, then it is my rule to sit how I please if I pay for what I take and behave myself as a gentleman, either with or without a coat." Of course I left the table, and after supper went to the office and informed the clerk that I wished to take a steerage ticket. "Why you have a cabin ticket." "Yes, I know that well enough, but if I am not entitled the privileges of the cabin I of course prefer the steerage." "Why you are entitled to the privileges." "It does not appear [so] if because I have not a coat on I am not to sit to eat." "Well, you can eat at second table." "I don't choose to eat at second table--sir." I looked no doubt as I felt--pretty dark--yet he paid me back $3.
August 11, 1855
Fine all day & pleasant. Foggy in morning till 7 o'clock.
Sunday, August 12, 1855
Fine & pleasant. Foggy in morning till ½ past 7.
August 13, 1855
Fine & pleasant. Foggy in morning until 8 o'clock.
August 14, 1855
Fine & pleasant. Foggy in morning until 8 o'clock.
Siskiyou is a Russian word signifying pony--a party of trappers had a favorite pony which gave out, and they had to leave him behind--then they named it Siskiyou.
August 15, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
----------Guide from the Humboldt River--by Noble's Pass to the Sacramento River--taken from the Shasta Courier of November 19th, 1853.
As this pass is now attracting the deserved attention of the friends of the Pacific railroad we take new pleasure in laying before the public a correct and full description of the route from the pen of Mr. John A. Dreibelbis. Mr. D. has been over this road four times and is therefore better qualified than any other man to describe it.
These notes were taken on his return from the Humboldt this fall.
Humboldt to Cold Springs--14 milesCourse west, road level, water sufficient for 150 head of stock at a time; good bunchgrass on hillsides and heads of canyons.
Rabbit Hole Springs, 18 milesCourse north of west; now ascending about two miles through a low gap of mountain range; then descending slightly 8 miles; the rest nearly level to Rabbit Hole; bunchgrass southeast and southwest for 3 miles; on left hand in ravines, water for from one to two hundred animals.
thence toCourse northwest; road for first eight miles has a few gulches, the remainder is through an entire desert, perfectly level and hard; very little if anything growing on it; some good feed about the spring but not extensive; water hot--but cools somewhat in running off, and is healthy for animals; rye and salt grass in abundance 1½ miles north;
Black Rock--24 miles
thence toCourse south of southwest; road excellent over a perfect desert as smooth as a planed floor and nearly as hard, and not a vestige of vegetation on it for 22 miles. This stream comes out of a notch of the mountain range on the right hand, pretty well at the end, leave the desert by turning into this gap ½ mile for camp; bunchgrass on the foothills. It will be readily seen that between this point and Rabbit Hole a material cutoff could be effected so that 46 miles might be made in 30 with fully as good roads, but no water; the cutoff however would be but 6 miles longer than from Black Rock to Rabbit Hole.
Granite Creek--22 miles
thence toSouth of southwest, road level, distance 3 miles; grass all along on the left; boiling springs scattered all through which makes it dangerous to let stock on.
Shot Spring Point--3 miles
thence toNorthwest; road level; here you double the extreme south end of mountain range; grass and water in abundance of the very best quality; this is a good place to lie over a day or two.
Deep Springs--7 miles
thence toCourse west, road level; directly after leaving Deep Springs you enter a desert; after passing 8 miles over an arm of it, then 8 miles through sage, you come to the bed of a large dry creek, its banks covered with dry grass for some distance; some water in holes which does an injury to stock; one-half mile beyond this and about 200 paces on the right hand are the springs.
Buffalo Springs--16 miles
thence toCourse west, six miles level ground, then 4 miles over low hills to creek, then up creek through canyon 3 miles to camp. Here this creek forms an extensive valley from 300 yds. to 2 miles wide; its length is not ascertained; this valley produces clover, bunchgrass &c. of the most luxurious growth.
Smoke Creek Meadows--13 miles
thence toCourse west, you travel up Smoke Creek Meadows two miles, then over the point of a low ridge into Rush Valley. This valley is 2 miles long by ½ mile wide; excellent grass and water--the road here is on table land 50 to 75 feet above the level of the plains or desert, and is perfectly level.
Mud Springs, 9 miles
thence toCourse west--six miles southwest, and 3 miles west to camp. Emigrants should start early from Mud Springs as the road is covered with cobblestones, which makes it slow and tedious. It is nearly level until you descend slightly to the valley of the stream. This is a delightful valley, its soil of the most productive kind and is from 5 to 7 miles wide and covered with clover, blue joint, red top and bunchgrass in great abundance--the stream abounds in mountain trout which are easily taken with hook and line.
Susan River--9 miles
thence to theWest: you cross Willow Creek 2 miles after leaving camp on Susan River. This stream rises in the west, runs east out of the Sierra Nevada into the valley and about 20 or 25 miles down it, and there sinks and evaporates like the Humboldt R. and all the streams east of these mountains.
Head of this valley--14 miles
thence toImmediately after leaving the valley you enter open but heavy pine woods (not unwelcome to the sun scorched emigrant) and commence ascending the Sierra Nevada gradually; water 4 miles on the right, and some grass--and again 5 miles on the left, but no grass, somewhat stony in places--the ascent is so gradual that on slight observation it seems as much down as up; in fact a great part is level and enough timber on one mile on each side of the road from the valley to the summit to build a double railway track to the Missouri River--course west; grass & water.
Summit Springs, 18 miles
thence toCourse northwest to avoid a cluster of buttes, road level, grass and water.
Pine Creek 8 miles
thence toNorthwest 4 miles, then turning west to southwest; grass and water, road level. The country here and for 20 miles back must be considered the summit as it is impossible to ascertain the precise place, owing to the flatness of the country. The small streams that rise on the Buttes around and run down their sides all sink or form small lakes and marshes, there not being slope sufficient to run off their waters.
Black Butte Creek 12 miles
thence toCourse southeast; road heavy sand
Black Butte 6 miles
thence toCourse west; road level and good; water & grass
Pine Meadows 4 miles
thence toNorthwest; road gradually sloping; only about 100 feet where a wagon wheel need be locked.
Hat Creek--4 miles
thence toWest; road nearly level
Lost Creek--2 miles
thence toWest; the two first miles slightly uphill, 50 or 60 feet only of which is steep; after a distance of 40 miles, embracing the entire western slope of the Sierra Nevada it is almost a perfect grade to the Sacramento River.
John Hills Ranch (or Deer Flat) 14 miles
thence toMcCumber's Mills 8 miles; Shingle Town 3 miles; Charley's Ranch 4 miles--Payne & Smith's 6 miles; Dr. Baker's or Bear Creek 7 miles; Fort Reading on Cow Creek 4 miles--Sacramento River 3 miles.
There emigrants can take whichever way they choose if this part of the valley does not suit them--or if they prefer the mines to cultivating the soil--they are in the center of various mining localities, Olney Creek, Clear Creek, Shasta, Churn Creek and Pit River Diggings all within 5 to 25 miles of the emigrant ferry on Sacramento River.
My estimates of distances, the whole route through, overrun those of Mr. Kleiser's as measured by his roadometer this fall.
Signed John A. Dreibelbis
August 16, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
August 17, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
August 18, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
Today I took me an office in Armory Hall and furnished it--I like it.
Sunday, August 19, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
This (Sunday) morning I heard Rev. Mr. Wyatt Episcopal minister on Pine Street S.F.
Met my old acquaintance Ralph W. Emerson, who has just returned from Guatemala & Costa Rica with a cargo of coffee and sugar.
He was anxious for me to join him in a good coffee plantation in Guatemala.
There is native quicksilver (cinnabar) abt. 70 miles west of Fort Laramie on the north side of the Platte River.
From the Shasta Courier of June 19th, 1852:
Immigrant road across the Sierra Nevada Mountains--Mr. Noble's route--return of the prospecting party.
On Thursday morning last, after an absence of nearly six weeks the party that accompanied Mr. Noble across the mountains returned to our town.
We cannot give as full a report of the movement of the prospecting party as we could desire--not having sufficient room.
The distance from [end of newspaper transcription]
August 20, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
This evening I went to see a buffalo on exhibition and find that she was captured on the north side of the Platte River--near Fort Laramie--when about a year old. They had some difficulty to tame her enough to travel--but even now she is wild enough for any wild thing to strangers yet to her keeper is very docile permitting herself to be rubbed on the head and fed with cabbage leaves--the keeper holding the leaf and allowing her to bite about an inch and half off at a time--when anyone comes too near she makes a "butt" at them with her head--and her full round eye is constantly watching what those near her rump are about. She is a fine, fat and vigorous looking cow--about five feet six inches high--her body measuring from the brisket to the hump about 3 ft. 8 inches her legs are neatly formed and small compared to the heavy depth of body. The head is shaped very much like a cow only the horns turn inwardly--and underneath the jaw she has a beard--something like a goat only it is about 8 or 10 inches in length--there is also long hair hanging at the back and outward side of the foreleg--she is about 8 feet long and is said to weigh about fourteen hundred pounds (I think not as heavy) her feed consists of hay of which she eats only a bale of about 175 lbs. in three weeks--so that she must be considered a small eater--she is very fat--They merely feed her with a little beef while she is on exhibition.
This has been a glorious day in the progress of California, for the first and trial trip of the first railroad in California was made today on about 1½ miles of railway from the R. Street levee, Sacramento City to Sutter's Fort!
August 21, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
It makes one's mouth water to pass the fruit stands in the streets and see the large and fine assortment of peaches, apples, pears, grapes, plums.
August 22, 1855
Fine--pleasant rather windy.
August 23, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
San Francisco to Sac. City 125 miles.
About 4 o'clock this afternoon I started on the
I walked about awhile and went to bed about 2 o'clock a.m. I was no sooner in bed expecting a sound refreshing sleep for 2½ hours than my hopes were at an end by the presence of bedbugs--they never bite me--but if they have walked across a sheet, their poisonous footsteps leave (to me) an itching burning influence behind, and it is soon communicated to the skin and there becomes no more peace for the wicked throughout no quiet hour of that night--I was up long before the porter came to call me and waited until 5 o'clock a.m. before the stage started--
About ½ past 5 a.m. I took the stage to Nevada--fare $3. We breakfasted about 19 miles out. Dined at Auburn--this town although entirely destroyed by fire is now as large as before and with much finer buildings than before. Mr. House is rebuilding the Empire even larger than it was before--of wood too!
From Nevada we went upon a tolerably rough road to Grass Valley & Nevada (28 miles) arrived about 8 o'clock p.m. Nevada is very much improved and whatever supports so many stores I am at a loss to know. Several buildings are now in course of erection (fireproof)--
August 24, 1855
Fine & hot.
From Sac. City by Auburn (35 m.) to Nevada 63 m.
See preceding page.
August 25, 1855
Fine & hot.
From Nevada by Bear River House to Sac. City from Sac. City to San Francisco 70 m.
On Thursday afternoon Aug. 23 at four o'clock I took the boat for Sac. City--arrived there at one--talked & walked until 2 o'clock went to bed at two--scratched until half past four o'clock--that was time to arise to take the stage at 5 o'clock--(it didn't start until 6 o'clock) rode to Nevada--reached there about 8 o'clock p.m.--did my business--went to bed at eleven--was called at ½ past 1 a.m. took stage at Nevada for Sac. City--reached there at ¼ past 1 p.m. dined--took boat at 2 o'clock--reached San Francisco at ½ past 9 a.m. So that in 2¼ days I have traveled 370 miles--with 2½ hours sleep.
Sunday, August 26, 1855
Fine--a little windy.
This morning heard Dr. Scott. Evening I went to hear Madam Bishop sing at the turnverein. On entering I found that tickets were sold at the box office at 50 cts. the same way as in a theater. Inside there were groups of from 6 to 15 sitting around tables--upon which "lager beer" was in demand, wines &c. Towards the upper end of the room and around the orchestra the seats were regulated--the room was gaudily decorated with gay colors and evergreens--this place is well patronized by the ladies--but I cannot say that they sit and smoked cigars similar to the men--it seemed a strange medley for Sunday evening--on the orchestra there were about 21 performers who played several popular pieces--followed by Madam Bishop--whose delicious singing of "The Nightingale Song" was alone worth the admittance and partly seemed to atone for the drinking assemblage on such an evening.
August 27, 1855
Fine & cool towards evening.
August 28, 1855
Fine & very pleasant.
August 29, 1855
Plecker's plagiarized "Mammoth Tree."
Fine & very pleasant.
Today I discovered that D. A. Plecker of Jackson, Amador County had invaded my copyright of "The Big Tree"! Went to see lithographer--he says nothing can be done--copyright don't protect that. Went to my attorney he says--"It is unmistakably invaded--after consulting the technicalities of the law."
August 30, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
Mr. Stokes today informed me that between Shaw's Flat and Saw Mill Flat he saw a peach that measured 8¾ inches in circumference and from a tree only two & a half years old.
August 31, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
September 1, 1855
Fine & warm.
Sunday, September 2, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
Numlacka [Nomlaki]--(the western Indian) Indians west of Tehama
Nuehci--or southern Indians (called so by the Numlacka)
Puehi--or eastern Indians "
Weiehi--or northern Indians "
Wintoon means Indian
Chinnuck means food
The Numlacka Indian language is spoken by Indians north of Stony Creek (or 25 miles below Tehama) and south to Cottonwood Creek (or 35 miles north of Tehama).
This tribe (the Numlacka) is about 2000--all told--the Indians believe that the Indians die and after being in the ground three days--start upward--and become stars (& chiefs are "big" stars)--then they go westward to the "mem welst" or salt water.
Should a woman die in childbirth the child--though living--is buried with its dead mother--
These Indians bury their dead putting in all their trinkets acorns &c. with water in baskets--all into the grave. If they can bury their dead before the coyotes cry at night they believe them safe. They cover up the body--the body itself is made into a ball--the same as for burning--and build a fire over the grave to harden the earth.
Whenever the men are hunting for a wife they invariably play upon a small reed whistle--wherever they go [omission]
They frequently gamble away their wives when tired of them (a singular way of getting rid of them).
Their food is--acorns, wild oats, small seeds, cher-wow or small wild potato or onion--is mealy.
"Bock" is a small nut--similar to the coffee nut--grown upon a vine--and springs from the "man-root" growing by the side of rivers. They make their black stain from the oil of the "bock"--they tattoo with sooty rock.
The mountain Numlackas tattoo--but in the valley the chiefs & doctors only tattoo.
The clover seed (from swampy places) a three cornered small black seed is an antidote to poison oak--
The "ring-worm" is cured by putting on a ring of the milk of poison oak around the worm--it burns like caustic.
September 3, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
The [Indian] doctors are very exorbitant--and it is said that nearly every other one wants to be a doctor on account of living remarkably well & easy.
For pains of all kinds they scarify and suck the place and the doctors sometimes will put a straw or two or three grains of barley into their mouth and make the patient believe that they have sucked those out.
They also live on grasshoppers--putting them on a string and hanging them over the fire--afterwards eat them from the string--also eat mushrooms--which are plentiful after the first rains of the fall--spring & fall they catch salmon in quantities.
They will catch antelope in the rain by surrounding them in swampy places or rather where the ground is "miry."
In the spring they have a dance that they may have plenty of acorns--the same with wild oats--grasshoppers &c.--this dance is almost the same as a prayer for plenty.
During the eclipse of 1851 these Indians thought that the mice had got into the moon and were eating it.
September 4, 1855
Fine & pleasant.
September 5, 1855
Fine & pleasantly warm.
This is the day of the great political struggle between the Know Nothings & Democrats.
Today too I saw the steamers sail for the eastern states--still I'm not among the number.
September 6, 1855
Fine & warm.
This is said to be the warmest day of the season in San F.--they should go towards the mines for a few days--these days I call pleasant.
This morning on going to the Sun office I found that Mr. Larrabee had taken away my engravings. I am out of most kinds of sheets--and he has the engravings--I sold them it is true 3 months ago--but he has not paid me--he has used nearly all my sheets and I get neither money, sheets nor engravings!!!
I might be set down for a fool--and no doubt am--but I have not had dealings yet--with a down east Yankee but he has thievishly and knavishly taken me in. I may have been unfortunate in the men [omission]--for I know that they cannot all be so.
Today I got my new engravings for Northern California.
September 7, 1855
Fine & warm.
Today I received my first impressions of the Yosemite Falls--don't like the foreground--
September 8, 1855
Fine--cloudy in morning & cool.
San Francisco to Sac. City.
Went up on New World $1 fare, expenses $1.50.
Detained on the "Hog's Back" just above Cache Creek--about ½ an hour. Arrived in Sac. City at 2 o'clock a.m.
Met the governor elect J. Neely Johnson on his downward trip with his friends to Sacramento.
Sunday, September 9, 1855
Fine & warm.
Morning being sleepy-headed after going to church could not enjoy evidently a good sermon at Benton's church. Had my sleep out after dinner--
Spent evening with Mr. & Mrs. Hall & family corner of H & 13th streets--the eldest girl--one among others that I met on the plains in 1853--has recently married--
Saw an "ice plant"--blossom--leaves--stem & every part of it seemed covered with ice and crimped when pressed.
Col. Hall on H & 13th St. in 1854 had a beet weighed 95 lbs. and this year (1855) he has had another that weighed 98 lbs.
September 10, 1855
Fine & warm.
From Sacramento to San Francisco.
Went up to Sac. City to get about $70 due me--I got $5, good spec that (in a horn [home?]) got an order on a man named Beach in S.F. for $25--he couldn't pay it! and didn't owe it to Barber & Baker (those who gave the order).
Today the pioneers of 1849 celebrated the admission of Cal. into the union--I was invited to join them--but business prevented the pleasure.
September 11, 1855
Fine--cloudy in morning.
Today I got my first, last and unprofitable sale of engravings settled by my buying them back for $ what I sold--or nearly so.
The sale has been several hundred dollars out of my purse and detained me in Cal. longer than necessary.
I got my first impressions [i.e., printing proofs] of Northern Cal.
September 15, 1855
On Friday morning the Uncle Sam arrived after having had 214 deaths out of 600-odd passengers--and all these died between this port and San Juan. [Cholera claimed 104 passengers at sea; nine more died after arrival in San Francisco.]
Sunday, September 17, 1855
Wednesday 12th, Thursday 13th & Friday 14th warm & pleasant in San Francisco.
Saturday 15th was cloudy and in the morning a fine drizzling rain.
Sunday 16th cloudy--pleasant and clear about sunset. Heard Dr. Scott preach twice today.
Saw several Frenchmen loaded down with game--they had been shooting across the bay--Take a Frenchman for a gun and dog--they will shoot at snow birds and enjoy the sport.
Wednesday Oct. 31st 1855 (a really good joke)
Yesterday morning Mr. Chittenden (principal of the Trinity Grammar School, Post St.) and I went across the bay to Oakland to witness the exhibition of the College of California and to hear an oration from Rev. Dr. Scott and a poem from Frank Soule--
On the passage, a round hole was burnt in the brim of Mr. Chittenden's hat. "Now," said I, "you can say to your son in law (Mr. Seyd) that you have been fired at--and so you have--from the funnel of the boat! and make a good joke of it." When Mr. C. went home he sat down and very soberly looking over his spectacles, remarked to his son in law and daughter that he had been fired at! on the boat--and--escaped with his life! (showing the hole in his hat).
Mr. Seyd, supposing that Mr. C. (a warmhearted and enthusiastic Englishman) had been debating with someone on the boat about the fall of Sebastopol had quarreled with some American and the fellow had shot at him, was immediately anxious to know who it was and how it happened.
Mr. Seyd: (anxiously) "Who was it fired at you?"
Mr. C.: "Oh it was all an accident no doubt."
Mr. S.: "But how did it occur?
Mr. C.: "Oh well it is no use saying anything more about it."
Mr. S.: "But I insist upon knowing--any man that fires at you I'll see and know the reason."
Mr. C.: "Oh no--it better drop now; for it's all amicably settled. So I'll go to bed and please not ask me any more questions."
Very early in the morning Mr. Seyd and Mr. Lowades (tutor with Mr. C.) came to my office to know all about it. "Now" (I replied) "I cannot say anything about it--now--as it's all over and not much harm done!"
"Yes," said Mr. S., "but I believe some scoundrel has been trying to take advantage of him and if he can't give some pretty good reason for it--there will be trouble."
Seeing how anxious and troubled he was, I began very leisurely to tell him how we were sitting talking--that the sound of a pistol was heard (they were firing at ducks) and I looked round and saw Mr. C.'s hat on fire!--from a chip that fell from the funnel!!!
"Ah--neow--yeou get cout--I'm sold," was [the] delighted expression of Mr. S. "Now then I'll have a good joke with the Governor (Mr. C.)."
Off he started up home and when there told Mr. C. something or other, and he and Mr. C. came hurriedly down to my office. Mr. Chittenden in an excited and anxious state of mind--exclaiming--"I'll go and apologize--there must be a mistake--you saw how it was done Mr. H." "Certainly I did." "Yes--" (broke in Mr. Seyd) "Yes, but you see Mr. H. is out of the question now--I'll tell you--I went down to the Alta California office to make some inquiry there of a friend of mine about this matter, and he directly told me that he saw a Mr. Ferguson fire at Mr. C. He gave me Mr. Ferguson's address and I went to see him, when I told him that he ought to know better &c. &c.--words passed and he struck at me, when I drew my pistol and as it was not capped I struck him on the face.
"Now this is the long and the short of the story--what would you advise me to do?" (giving me the wink)
"Well," said I, "this seems to be a serious business--yet I should say if he struck at you, you have but one course to take--send him a challenge! and I'll see you righted!" "Oh--" (broke in Mr. C.) "Mr. Hutchings--how can you give Mr. Seyd such advice? I though you were a prudent, sensible man. Oh, I'll go down and apologize to him--I will do it." "Now," said Mr. S., "it's of no use your making yourself and I a pair of simpletons. I must fight him and [be] done with it." "That's the way to say it," I replied, "we'll settle his business."
"It shall not be," said Mr. C. "You young single men who have no wives or family to think of would throw away your life as cheaply as water--no it must not be. I'll go down and apologize." "Now," I replied, "Mr. C., you cannot now interfere in the matter--leave it with Mr. S. and I to settle--everything shall be settled honorably and satisfactorily!!" "Oh dear, dear, that it should have come to this," and his mouth twitched again with painful apprehension and every muscle of his face looked strung with agony.
"Well," said I, "Mr. Chittenden--you had better compose yourself and return home satisfied for I think that Mr. Seyd will say with me that from the one end to the other, it is all a joke"--and we bust out laughing. "But is it only a joke?" (his eyes sparkling with pleasure) "Nothing at all but a joke," we both replied. "Well, well, this is one of your practical jokes is it, Mr. H." and he rubbed his hands exclaiming "Well after all--it certainly was a good joke!!!!!"
San Francisco Nov. 2nd 1855.
This morning arose clear and bright--a very unusual style of rising in San F. It was soon followed by a strong north wind that played all kinds of pranks with the sails of shipping and rigging--blew off the hats of draymen--and all kinds of wild capers.
This evening the wild oats on fire on the hills of Contra Costa and every now and then as the wind blew it would leap high and rush with sweeping impetuosity among the dry oats.
Sunday Nov. 4th, 1855
The fire bells are all ringing, solemnly, for the death of a fireman. Today he is to be buried. Flags at each of the engine houses are half mast high, and the houses being in mourning. All over town processions of firemen are marching to follow his remains to the grave--with a white broad ribbon at the buttonhole & crepe at the elbow.
All women not positively ugly are called "pretty " in Cal.
Friday morning, Jan. 22nd, 1858, a severe storm of wind & rain, with thunder.
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FATAL ACCIDENT TO FATHER OF YOSEMITE
J. M. Hutchings the Victim of a Runaway.
The Pioneer Writer Who Popularized the Valley.
Once Guardian and Owner of the Sentinel Hotel.
YOSEMITE, November 1.--J. M. Hutchings, known to thousands as the father of Yosemite, met with a tragic death last evening on the Oak Flat grade almost 500 yards above where that road intersects the floor of the valley. Having retired from the management of the Calaveras big trees and hotel, Hutchings and his wife were on their way to San Francisco, via the Yosemite. They intended to remain here a week or more and were prepared to camp out.
Yesterday morning they left Crocker's and arrived at Gentry's, at the point where the grade begins its zigzag descent into the great gorge about 3:15 o'clock in the afternoon. They had passed most of the dangerous points and had reached a quite level stretch within 500 yards of the foot. Hutchings remarked to his wife that he had never seen the valley look so beautiful in its wonderful autumn coloring. Either the grandeur of the scene caused him to relax his vigilance or the almost level part of the road made him loosen a little on the lines of the team. Mrs. Hutchings says that one of the horses shied at a large rock above the road, jumped over the wagon tongue and then started to run. Mr. Hutchings told her the team was beyond control.
They had gone but a few yards when the wagon struck the side of a large rock and Mrs. Hutchings was thrown from the wagon. About twenty feet further down Mr. Hutchings was thrown headfirst upon a pile of rocks and expired within five minutes. "I am very much hurt," were the only words he uttered, and when Mrs. Hutchings reached him a moment later he recognized her and then passed over the last divide.
The accident occurred about 4 o'clock. By a supreme effort Mrs. Hutchings moved her husband to the upper side of the road, and then waited for help, hoping that the horses would be seen by someone, but no help came, and at dark she left him alone amid the wonders he had ever loved and started for aid. Dazed, cold, almost in a dream, she walked into the office of the Sentinel Hotel two hours later and told her sorrowful story.
In a few moments a party was sent out and the remains were brought back and put into the big tree room, where they will remain until laid to rest in the little cemetery where also repose a former wife and daughter, Florence. It would seem as if fate had ordained that his last hours should be spent here, and his last night be in the room he had helped finish back in the early sixties. It was always his wish that this should be so.
Mr. Hutchings was a native of England, and would have been 83 years old next February. He will be buried tomorrow.
----J. M. Hutchings was recognized as the father of the Yosemite. Not quite the first white man to set foot in the enchanted vale, he yet discovered it as truly for the world as Columbus discovered America. His lectures and talks and later his volume, "The Heart of the Sierra," have been the means of making known to the lovers of the grand in nature this most perfect of her wonders. He came to the United States from England when a boy of 15, and when 10 years afterward California suddenly became the goal of fortune hunters Hutchings was among those who crossed the plains in '49. His mining experience was marked with varying fortunes. But the failure of a San Francisco bank, with the loss of a large part of his savings at a time when he was on the point of completing the purchase of what are now valuable city properties, was probably instrumental in removing the chances of great wealth.
In 1853, when an effort was made to turn Sunday, then the principal business day among the miners, into a day of rest, the Placerville Herald published "The Miner's Ten Commandments," written by Hutchings, and so great was their popularity that nearly 100,000 copies of them were sold in the following year. It was not surprising then that their author conceived the idea of publishing the pioneer magazine of this coast. In 1855 he began to collect material for the first number, and in the early summer of that year, accompanied by Thomas Ayres as artist, he set out for the Yosemite Valley, which a militia company of cavalry from Mariposa had found in 1851 while in pursuit of a band of marauding Indians, and where they reported there was "a waterfall 1000 feet high." But no one could be found who could give directions how to reach the valley. None of those who had been of the party that went there to punish the Indians could remember the way well enough to even venture a visit on their own account. Fortunately it was learned that a few Yosemites were living on the Fresno ranch, near Hunt's store.
Two of these Hutchings and his two companions secured as guides. They set out on foot, with one pack animal and a horse to be used in case of accident to one of the party. Trusting unquestionably to the Indians to guide them across pathless mountain meadows, over talus-covered slopes, through what seemed to be interminable brush and wilderness, and across streams, they finally came in sight of the valley on the afternoon of the third day. After five days spent in looking and wondering and admiring, and in making sketches of some of the grander features of that granite-enwalled scenic wonder, with its towering cliffs and its mighty waterfalls, they started back to San Francisco, passing through Mariposa on their way.
Then the editor, sick and short of matter for that week's issue of the Mariposa Gazette, asked Hutchings to write a description of the valley he had just visited. It was that article, copied by all the prominent journals of the time, that first made the Yosemite known to the public. In July, 1856, the first number of Hutchings' California Magazine appeared, the leading article being on the Yosemite, and having illustrations from the sketches made the summer before--the first pictures ever made of the valley. In 1859-60 four consecutive numbers of the magazine contained illustrated articles on that little-known valley. After publishing the magazine for five years the health of the proprietor became so broken down in the work that his physician said: "If you don't give it up and leave the city you will have to leave the world."
No one had ever seen the valley in winter; so early in January of 1862 he tried to reach it and learn for himself whether it would be possible to live there in that season. But the heavy floods made traveling impossible and he gave up the attempt until March, when he again started, accompanied by Lamon, an old Yosemite pioneer, and Galen Clark, for many years the guardian of the valley. Everything was covered with snow to the depth of from two to ten feet, totally obscuring the trails and making progress uncertain and perilous and very fatiguing. His companions would not continue and urged him to return with them and await the melting of the snows. But his purpose could not be altered and he determined to keep on alone. For six days he floundered wearily through the snow, the crust of which continually broke, letting him down among snow-covered bushes from which he would have to clamber up to the surface. So great was the labor that he averaged only about a mile's progress a day. Getting free from the snow on the afternoon of the ninth day, he entered the valley and found comparatively little snow there.
If they were to make their home in the Yosemite some means of gaining a livelihood must be devised. Mrs. Hutchings suggested that they keep a hotel. There was a building in the valley already that had been put up for that purpose several years before, but it had not been patronized very much and was unfinished. It had two large rooms twenty by sixty feet, one above the other, but there were no windows or partitions. The hotel, with its possessory land claim, was purchased, and in April, 1865, the family effects were packed into the valley on mules for a distance of fifty miles over a rough and narrow trail that is now the Coulterville road. It was then the only trail. The four-horse wagon that had brought the things to Coulterville was taken apart and carried into the valley on muleback. Crockery, chairs, looking-glasses, everything had to be packed over the zigzagging trails on mules. The first four-horse stage that reached the valley was taken into the Yosemite in parts on the backs of mules.
The location of the hotel was such that in winter, owing to the narrowness of the valley and the great height of its walls, the sun only reached it for two hours in the day. Across the river there was a spot that got the sun for over six hours a day, and "over there" Hutchings built his log cabin in the fall of '65 and planted a small orchard of five acres, principally apples, but some pears. Now those apple trees yield 100 barrels of fruit a year.
Travel became so great that Hutchings had 109 saddle animals for use on this trail and in the valley at the time he surrendered possession to the state. After the winter of '75 the commissioners refused to lease Hutchings the cabin and the small plat of ground surrounding it, but leased it to another party because of his pronounced objections to the destruction of the trees of the valley and the change of any of the natural features. But when Bernard became the lessee of the hotel property in '78 he offered Hutchings the use of his old cabin, which he retained possession of up to the time of his death, despite efforts which were at one time made to remove him.
He was guardian of the Yosemite for three years, during Perkins' time, and did much to improve the road and with very little money. He was a member of the Pioneer Society, and highly esteemed.
San Francisco Chronicle, November 2, 1902, page 1
Last revised May 12, 2022