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THE DIARY OF 
A FORTY-NINER 



Edited by 
CHAUNCEY L. CANFIELD 

II 




BOSTON AND NSW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 



1920 



V 



/t V V 






^'.^^ ' 



COmUOKT, 1906, BY MOM«AN SBBPARO COMrAMT 
AU. KlOHTt KSSKMYBO 



•'W45t m^ f 



• •••• ;•"*. -• • 



TO MT WIFE, MT CHUM FOR 
A QUARTER OF A CEOTTURT, 
THIS BOOK It LOVINGLY 
DEDICATED 

Cbaun CBT L. Cakfield 



444026 



PREFACE 

Now and again there cx>mes out of the dim past 
something which opens up an hitherto unknown or 
forgotten page in history, A copper implement 
from a lake midden, a chipped arrow head from a 
cave, a deciphered hieroglyphic from the face of a 
granite rock, a ruined temple in an overgrown 
jungle by means of which we rescue a chapter that 
tells of men's works and men's lives, former gen- 
erations, who cumbered the earth for a brief time 
and passed away and of whose existence even tra- 
dition is silent. There are fascinating revealments 
that excite a momentary interest only, for, barring 
the scientist, we live in the present, and how our 
remote ancestors throve or what they did gives us 
but little concern. The long ago is vague, the cave 
dwellers and the temple builders existed in fable 
land, and, while we concede the importance of the 
discoveries, we leave the study to the specialists and 
magazine writers and do not burden our mind with 
ancient history. This indiflFerence not only ob- 
tains with reference to the tribes and peoples who 
have disappeared off of the earth; it is equally true 
of comparatively recent events. 

Probably no one thing has had a greater influ- 
ence upon the progress and expansion of our own 
country than the discovery of gold in California 
in 1849, following the material wealth that it added 
to the world's store. Figures of billion gold produc- 
tion have been recorded and preserved, but beyond 

.. 
vu 



PREFACE 

that there is no authentic or truthful record. That 
unique period is without its liistorian, and in only 
a vague way is it comprehended. The present gen- 
eration is content to adopt Bret Harte's tales as 
veracious chronicles of life in the foothills and min- 
ing camps of the "Fifties," yet every old pioneer 
knows that his types were exaggerated, the miners' 
dialect impossible and unknown ; but he illumined 
his pages with genius, he caught the atmosphere, 
and neither protest nor denial are sufficient to re- 
move the belief that he was writing real history. As 
for the latter day romancers, who attempt to re- 
produce pioneer times, they are usually mushy imi- 
tators of Harte who romance without knowledge 
or understanding. ^ Those old, free, careless days 
were and are without parallel. The conditions that 
created them vanished with the exhaustion of the 
shallow "diggings," and when in creek, gulch and 
ravine the golden harvest had been gathered life 
became prosaic and dull, with the dullness pro- 
priety asserted itself, the conventions of a more 
exacting social order crept in and the amazing foot- 
hill day^ of the "Fifties" existed only as legend and 
tradition. 

Perhaps it was best. Men were getting danger- 
ously close to Paganism, yielding to the beckoning 
of "the wild," the insidious climatic influence of 
the pine-cloUied hills, and it was well that the 
shackles of civilization should again fetter them. 
A great empire demanded development, fertile val- 
leys invited cultivation, and the "cow counties" 
(as the plains were contemptuously termed by the 
miners), with the decay of mining, began to assert 

their importance and supremacy. In the "Sixties" 

... 
viu 



99 



PREFACE 

new conditions sprang into existence and finis was 
written to the characteristics of the days of "'49: ' 

To write understandingly of that period one must 
have lived in it; to catch the spirit one must have 
been a part of it. In these prosy days of railroads 
and trusts it is a fable, resting on no better au- 
thority than the romancers' creations or senile 
maunderings of the belated pioneer. And yet the 
half has not been told. Then fact was romance 
and romance fact. To be rich was not to be envied, 
to be poor brought no reproach. Brawn and muscle 
counted for more than brains; health and strength 
was a more available capital than a college educa- 
tion. 

There lately came into possession of the editor 
of the text that follows this preface a stout, leather- 
bound book of some three hundred pages, contain- 
ing a jumble of accounts and records of happenings 
and incidents ranging from the cost of provisions 
and supplies to notes of the doings of mining chums 
and neighbors. Bearing every evidence of genuine- 
ness, it purported to be the experiences of one 
Alfred T. Jackson, a pioneer miner who cabined 
and worked on Rock Creek, Nevada County, Cali- 
fornia. In the lapse of the fifty odd years since 
it had been written, the ink had faded and turned 
yellow, many of the lines were barely legible, and 
a dozen of the first leaves of the book had been 
torn away. Fortunately, the remainder was intact 
and the, subject matter proved to be of vital his- 
torical interest. Here at last was a truthful, un- 
adorned, veracious chronicle of the placer mining 
dajrs of the foothills, a narrative of events as they 
occurred; told in simple and, at times, ungram- 

ix 



^^ PREFACE 

matical sentences, yet vivid and truth compelling 
in the absence of conscious literary endeavor. One 
speculates as to the motive that impelled the author 
to persist in his diary. He was not a Pepys, his 
naive confessions do not always give the real state 
of his mind or the true reasons for his actions. He 
was inclined to self-deception, ^as not frank with 
himself while pretending that its pages were in- 
tended only for his own eye. It is reasonable to 
believe that he entertained a lurking idea that it 
might see the light and this, with the relaxation 
it afforded him from a contemplation of his hard- 
ships and sordid surroundings, made it a pleasant 
Sunday evening task. At any rate, it is a unique 
contribution to the history of the era subsequent 
to the discovery of gold on the flanks of the Sierra 
Nevadas. It sets forth graphically the succ essive 
)ld mining, from the can and rocicer to the 



steps in gold mmmg . f rom tne pan and rocfcer to the 
ground sluice and flume, and the quaint beliet of the 



ioneers that tne placer ggCT deposits woujd soon 



givgTyiit7"th« the sojourn was but^a ^traasknt one 
a nd that nothing then rema ined but a retuna to 
^e "States.'' Equally interesting is The gradual 
evolutfejir of the diarist, from the Puritanical New 
Englander, bound and shackled with the prejudices 
of generations, narrow and limited in his views and 
opinions, morally uncontaminated and unsophisti* 
Gated in his experiences, to the broader and more 
typical Califomian whose mental growth was stim- 
ulated by the freedom of his environment and asso- 
ciations. He becomes tolerant, worldly wise, more 
charitable to his fcllowmen, convinced that over 
and beyond the horizon of tht Litchfield hills, from 
whence he came, there was a world worth knowing 



PREFACE 

and a life better worth living. The sUy in the 
foothills made the at first alluring prospect of a re- 
turn to his old home, even as the richest man in 
the village, not only irksome to contemplate, but 
impossible to endure. 

That he was deeply indebted to "Pard,'' who was 
at one and the same time his mentor and friend, the 
x-ecord gives ample proof. Who among the old Cali- 
fomians that does not recall the instances of those 
ivonderf 111 friendships, resulting from like associa- 
tions? ^They cabined together in the Tif ties' "; 
that sigxiified a relationship, intimate and more self- 
sacrificixxg than that of brothers, a love that rose 
superior and forgave the irascibility resulting from 
toil, ejcp^osure and fatigue; that overlooked Uie ex- 
asperating repetition of sour bread and a scorch- 
ing in tlie bean pot, and condoned the irritating 
effects of hard fare and rude shelter. Our hero 
convincingly illustrates the growth and strength 
of the aflFection that bound each to the other with 
^^hooks of steel" and the interdependence their dose 
companionship created. 

No less fascinating is the romance interwoven 

in the pages of the diary. Its culmination, leaving 

the man.^ on the threshold of a new life, while tan- 

talizing in the vagueness of what the future might 

be, docs not admit of a doubt that this sturdy, self- 

reHant American was equal to a successful grapple 

ivith lifers problems in whatever path he might take. 

As a final word, the inside of the front cover bore 

the name of Alfred T. Jackson, Norfolk, Litchfield 

County, C:^rm.,October 10,1849. The entries range 

over a period of two years and the people referred 

to ^virere persons who actually existed, not only in 

xi 



PREFACE 

Nevada Cbunty, California, at the time covered by 
the diary, but also in his New England birthplace. 
The editor can add that the many incidents and 
happenings so simply noted, tragic and otherwise, 
have been verified, both by local tradition and the 
testimony of old timers still living, and that the 
diary gives a veracious, faithful and comprehensive 
picture of the pioneer miners' life in the early 
"Fifties.^ 



xu 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I I 

The Hardships of a Miner's Life — Letters From 
Home — The Express Rider and His Welcome Call — 
The Beginnings of Nevada City — Tapping a Monte 
Bank — A Fascinating Twenty-One Dealer — Wing- 
daming the River — An Indian Funeral Ceremony — 
The Ups and Downs of Mining — The Advent of the 
Long-Tom on Rock Creek. 

CHAPTER n IS 

Bunking With Pard — A Rich Claim — The First . 
Ground Sluice — Siestas Under the Big Pine — Nam- 
ing the Town — A Dog Fight and a Purchase — The 
Grass-Widow Secures a Mate — A Shivarec and Its 
Consequences — Banished From Selby Flat — Ander- 
son's Eccentricities. 

CHAPTER III 25 

A Rattlesnake on the Trail — Claim Jumping and a 
Tragedy — Miners' Courts and the Alcalde — Raising 
the Anti-Debris Question — The First Sermon and a 
liberal Collection — A Welcome Storm — Pack Mule 
Load of Coarse Gold — lUparian Rights — An Expen- 
sive CUcken Broth — Begging Letter From NortL 

CHAPTER IV 35 

The Forest in Autumn — A Sluice Robber and the 
Whipping Post — North as a Monte Dealer — An 
£nc9unter With a Highwayman — High-Priccd Hajr 

— Another Meeting With the Frenchwoman — Men- 
cans Discover a Big Bonanza — An Eviction by Force 

— Recognition of the Rights of Foreign Miners. 

..« 
Xlll 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER V 45 

Weather Contrasts — Anticipating the Exhaustion of 
the Placers — A Lively Dance at Selby Flat — The 
Fight Between the Jackass and the Ferocious Bear — 
Decamping Showmen — The Town Celebrates the 
Event — A Foothill Ditty — The Murder of Henry 
North — Following the Channels Under the Mountain 

— The Growth of Nevada City, 

CHAPTER VI 55 

A Real Estate Speculation — Encounter With a Road 
Agent — Discovery of Rich Quartz Veins at Grass Val- 
ley — A Valuable Specimen — Madame Ferrand Vis- 
its Rock Creek — Rich Diggings on the North Yuba 

— Generosity of the Pioneers — The Twenty-One 
Dealer's Fortune* 

CHAPTER VII 65 

A Trip to San Francisco — Speculating in Sandhill 
Lots — High Living — Hetty Breaks the Engagement 

— Back in the Qaim — Nevada County Organized — 
Drawing Money From a Gravel Bank — More Gold 
Discoveries — The Rescue of a Party of Unfortunate 
Immigrants — The "Lost Grave." 

CHAPTER VIII 75 

Murder on the Trail — A Pursuing Posse — Wanted, 
a French Dictionary — Caring for the Distressed Im- 
migrants — Jackson's Confession — The Jolly Crowd 
at the Saleratus Ranch — A Midnight Concert and a 
Row — Haying in the Mountains — Letters From 
Home — The Old Folks Taking it Easy — A Peace 
Persuader — Pard's Disposition Changes for the Better. 

CHAPTER IX 87 

Women Arriving in the Country — Our Hero Wrestles 
With the French Language — A Waiter Who Could 
Not Undersund His Native Tongue — The Rival 
Fourth of July Celebration at Selby Flat — Qose to a 

xiv 



CONTENTS 

Lynching Bee — Pard Gets a Surprise — Forming a 
River Mining Company — The Sandhill Speculation 
Prospers — Anderson's Revelation, 

CHAPTER X 97 

Fascination of the Sierra Foothills — An Ideal Friend- 
ship— Lousy Level — Jack and the Mountain Lion 

— The Burning Pine — Sawmill Invasion of the For- 
ests — Mounting a Broncho — Cruel Punishment 
Dealt to Petty Thieves — Departure for the River. 

CHAPTER XI 107 

Fluming the South Yuba — In the Bed of the Stream 

— A Picturesque Camp — Guarding the Gold Dust — 
Elztending the Real Estate Sjpeculation — Jackson 
Forms the Reading Habit — The Fascination of the 
"Three Musketeers" — A Reformation at Selby Flat 

— An Experimental Vegetable Garden on Rock Creek 

— The Biggest Poker Game to Date. 

CHAPTER XII : . • . 117 

A Trip to the Mountains — An E:q)erience in a Sierra 
Snowstorm — Perils of. the North Fork Canon — An 
Opportune Find of a Deserted Cabin — Entertain- 
ment For Man and Beast — The Return to Rock 
Creek — Hospitable Miners — Discovery of the Big 
Blue Lead — Opening the Ancient River Channels. 

CHAPTER XIII 129 

Setting Sluice Boxes — Promised Christmas Feast at 
Sclby Flat — The First Newspaper Established — 
Hermit Piatt Tells His Story — A Pioneer Overiand 
Expedition Across the Arid Arizona Deserts — Perils 
and Dangers of the Journey — A Welcome Oasis — 
Arrival at Don Warner's Ranch — Sad News Awaits 
the Argonaut at San Francisco. 

CHAPTER XIV 137 

A Sensation on the Flat — The M3rsterious Disappear- 
ance of the Turkeys —The No^Sobbler Betters Wm 

XV 



CONTENTS 



Their Wagers — An Angry Landlord — The Saleratus 
Ranch Under Suspicion — Just a Plain, Everyday 
Dinner — The Rendezvous and a Feast Down the 
Creek — The Sweetheart Delays Her Return — 
The Jackass Escapes a Serenade. 

CHAPTER XV .-145 

Strange Disappearance of Carter and Ristine — A De- 
serted Shanty — Ristine's Death — Revelations at 
the Inquest — Who Stole the Turkeys? — A Rich 
Streak on the Bed-Rock — Pard Bars the Banjo — 
Hetty has a Change of Heart — The Interior of a 
Miner's Cabin — A Sentimental Picture — Friend- 
shipi Prosperity, and Contentment. 

CHAPTER XVI ISS 

The Raging Yuba — A Visit to the River — Bad Case 
of Jim-Tams — A Swarm of Tin- Jacketed Imps — Sun- 
day in Nevada — Food Famine in the Mining Camps 

— Rattlesnake Dick Shoots Up the Town — A 
Quartz-Mining Speculation and its Failure* 

CHAPTER XVII 163 

A Formidable Indictment of the Turkey Thieves — 
An Old-Time Legal Document — Haled into Court — 
The Trial, the Verdict, and the Penalty — A Safety 
Valve for the Wild Spirits — The Jackass Not For Sale 

— Pard's Tender Heart — His Consideration for Bird 
and Beast and Affection for His Cabin-Mate — The 
Donkey's Correct Principles. 

CHAPTER XVIII I7« 

Jackson Visits the Neighboring Mining Camps — 
Pocket-Hunting at Rough and Ready — A Puzzle for 
the Theorists — A Section of a Dead River — Specula- 
tion on the Genesis of Gold — The Old-Timers' Dic- 
tum — First Visit to the Theater — Pard Returns 
From San Francisco — A Profitable Investment — 
Jackson Decides to Marry His French Sweetheart. 

xvi 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER XIX i8i 

Pard Brushes Up in His Profession — No Deference 
Paid to Wealth — How Fortune Favored Jenkins — 
When You Have Got the Luck, It's With You From 
Start to Finish — Jim Vineyard's Hard Streak — A 
Moving Tale of a Missed Opportunity — One Man's 
Loss Another Man's Gain — Trousers Pockets vs. 
Money Belts. 

CHAPTER XX 189 

The Unsociable Couple on Round Mountain — Good 
Fellowship Among the Pioneers — The Tax-Collector 
Passes the Miners By — A Woman in Breeches — 
Marie Returns From France — Adoption of a New 
Method of Sluicing — The Dog and Donkey Strike up 
a Friendship — Frank Dunn and His Eccentricities — 
Posing as a Horrible Example. 

CHAPTER XXI 199 

A Successful Experiment — A Joke on the Visitors — 
Road Agents Hold Up a Stage — Unchivalric Treat- 
ment of the Woman Passenger — Meeting of the Lov- 
ers — Jackson's Word Picture of the Beauties of the 
Landscape, Viewed From Sugar Loaf — The Reconcili- 
ation of Anderson and his Wife — Marie's Comments. 

CHAPTER XXII 207 

A Placid Life — Marie Observes the Proprieties — 
Pard Plans for the Future — The Progress of a Love 
Idyll — Reelfoot Williams and His Gang — Jack's 
Warning — Robbery of the Blue Tent Store — A 
Fruitless Pursuit — Negotiating the Sale of Mining 
Properties — Shallow Placers Worked Out and Deep 
Diggings Taking Their Place. 

CHAPTER XXIII 217 

A Combination to Work Rock Creek — Extracting 
Gold From Blue Cement — The Critical Cats at Selby 

xvii 



CONTENTS 



Flat — French Cooking in the Old Cabin— The In- 
flux of Chinamen into the Mines — A Joint Visit to 
Round Mountain — Marie Predicts an Explosion — 
No Cause for Interference. 

CHAPTER XXIV 225 

The Partners Sell Out the Creek Claim — Jackson's 
Reputation in His Old Home — Providing for the 
Jackass's Future — The Slocum Farm Has No Attrac- 
tion — Loafing the Days Away — Rushes to New- 
Localities — Trouble on Roimd Mountain — Scandal- 
mongers' Tongues Let Loose — Chinamen Show Fight 
and are Run Off of Deer Creek. 

CHAPTER XXV 233 

Sad Termination of the Round Mountain Mystery — 
A Suicide's Cynical Farewell — The Intrusion of the 
" Eternal Feminine " — Pard's Remarks — " Let There 
Be No Clack of Idle Tongues" — An Impressive Cere- 
mony and a Solitary Grave — The Partners Grow 
Sentimental Over the Old Log Cabin and Their Mu- 
tual Experiences — Preparing for a Leave-Taking. 

CHAPTER XXVI 239 

Distributing Personal Effects — Pard's Farewell Din- 
ner — "Zey Are Ze Good Boys" — Champagne and 
Its Effects — The Last Sitting Under the Old Pine 
Tree — Voices of the Night Chorus a Melancholy Fare- 
well — Wind-up of Jackson's Diary — The Fate of 
Hetty and a Last Word in Regard to the Actors Who 
Have Figured in the Old-Time Record. 

EPILOGUE 249 



XVIU 



CHAPTER I. 

THE HARDSHIPS OF A MINER'S LIFE- 
LETTERS FROM HOME— THE EXPRESS 
RIDER AND HIS WELCOME CALI^THE 
BEGINNINGS OF NEVADA CITY— TAP- 
PING A MONTE BANK— A FASCINATING 
TWENTY-ONE DEALER— WINGDAMING 
THE RIVER— AN INDIAN FUNERAL 
CEREMONY— THE UPS AND DOWNS OF 
MINING— THE ADVENT OF THE LONG- 
TOM ON ROCK CREEK. 



THE D I A R Y = 6^ 
A FORTY-NINER 

CHAPTER I. 

MAY 19, 1850.— The pork I bought in town last 
night is the stinkcnest salt junk ever brought 
around the Horn. It is a hardship that we can't 
get better hog meat, as it's more than half of our 
living. We fry it for breakfast and supper, boil it 
with our beans, and sop our bread in the grease. 
Lord knows we pay enough for it. When I first 
settled on the creek it was a dollar a pound and 
the storekeeper talks about it being cheap now at 
sixty cents. I believe that if it were not for the 
potatoes that are fairly plenty and the fact that 
the woods are full of game, we would all die of 
scurvy. There is plenty of beef, such as it is, 
brought up in droves from Southern California, but 
it's a tough article and we have to boil it to get 
it tender enough to eat. There is a hunter who 
lives over on Round Mountain and makes a living 
killing deer and peddling the meat among the 
miners. He charges fifty cents a pound for venison 
steaks and he told me he made more money 
than the average miner. I paid seventy-five cents 
apiece in town yesterday for two apples and did not 
begrudge the money. I was told that they were 
grown in Oregon, which seemed strange, as I did 
not know that country had been settled long enough 
to raise fruit. 

Will sell no more dust to M . . He allowed 



^^ rTlmit/:,OD 1 A R Y OF 

only $17.00 an ounce and then blew out two dol- 
lars' worth of fine gold ; said it was not clean. Jerry 
Dix, who is only two claims above me on the creek, 
gets $18.50 for his at the store, but it always weighs 
short. They are all in a ring to rob us poor miners. 
Sent an eleven dollar specimen home to dad. 

I Sack of flour $H.0O 

Ten lbs. pork 6.00 

I One lb. tea 2.50 

j Ten lbs. beans 3.00 

Two cans yeast powders 1.00 

Five lbs. sugar 2.S0 

Codfish 2.00 

Twenty lbs. potatoes 6.00 

Five ihs. dried apples l.SO 

Pcdr boots 16.00 

Can molasses 3.00 

Duck overalls 2.50 

Shirt 2.00 

Shovel 2.50 

Pick 2.50 



$67.00 



I was charged four dollars for delivering the lot 
at the creek Sunday morning. Forgot to get some 
powder and shot. Paid four bits apiece for two 
New York Heralds. 

There is another man who is making money. All 
of our letters come by mail to Sacramento and are 
then sent by express to Hamlet Davis, the store- 
keeper on Deer Creek, who acts as postmaster, al- 
though he has no legal appointment. He is the 
big gold dust buyer of the camp and can afford to 
do the work for nothing, as it brings most of the 
miners to his store. Johnny Latham, the express 



A FORTY>NlNER 

rider, contracts to carry letters and papers for two 
bits each and rides the trails and creeks for miles 
around delivering them, beside selling newspapers 
to such as want the latest news from the "States.** 
We are always pleased when his mule heaves in 
sight and would gladly give him the weight of the 
letters in gold if we had to. How heartsick we get 
for news from the old home way off here out of Uie 
world and there is no disappointment quite as bad 
as when he passes us by without handing over the 
expected letter. My folks are mighty good; they 
never miss a steamer. 

Everybody on the creek gone to town and it's 
pretty lonesome. I had to answer letters from Nor- 
folk and that made me more homesick. I wonder 
what mother would say if she saw my bunk. Have 
not put in fresh pine needles for three weeks. I 
know she would like my bread ; the boys all say I 
am the best bread baker on the creek. Wrote her 
a good long letter and sent dad the "Miners' Ten 
Commandments." 

Wouldn't I like to be with them just for a day! 

MAY 26, 1850. — Rocked sixty buckets each day 
during the week and got 7 1-2 ounces. Only worked 
half a day Saturday. Did not go to town. Sent 
over by Jim Early for some tobacco — five plugs for 
two dollars. Went hunting this morning; killed 
seventeen quail and four pigeons. They make a 
good stew if the rotten pork didn't spoil it, but it's 
better than the bull beef the butcher packs around. 
Took a snooze in the afternoon till the squawking 
of the blue jays woke me up. I don't mind them so 
much, but when the doves begin to mourn it seems 



THE DIARY OF 

as if I couldn't stand it. I get to thinking of dear 
old mother and dad and the old place, and won- 
dering what they were all doing. I know. They 
went to church this morning, and then set around 
and did nothing until chore time. I'll bet they 
didn't forget me. 

I hear there are three women over on Selby Flat. 
Selby's brother, keeping a boarding house, and a 
grass-widow from Missouri, a skittish old woman 
who is looking for another husband. The camp has 
more people than the settlement at Caldwell's 
store on Deer Creek. 

What we miss more than anything else is that 
there are no women in the country, or compara- 
tively few. Barring out the greasers and the 
squaws, I don't suppose there are twenty in all of 
Yuba County, outside of Marysville. With few 
exceptions they are of no particular credit to their 
sex. To one who was bom and brought up where 
there were more women than men, it is hard to 
realize what a hardship it is to be deprived of their 
company. To hear some of the miners talk — ^the 
married ones — ^you would think their wives were 
angels, and maybe they were, but I guess it is be- 
cause they are so far away. Still, when I recall 
Hetty North, it seems as if she was the dearest girl 
in the world, and, although we used to have lots of 
quarrels and tiffs and broke off our engagement a 
dozen times, I don't believe we would have a cross 
word if she were here with me now. 

JUNE 2, 1850.— Claim paying pretty well. 

(Note.— The camp at Caldweirs store grew into the present Nevada 
City.) 

6 



A FORTY-NINER 

Washed out over five ounces, besides two nuggets, 
one nine and one eleven dollars. Could do better 
if the water did not bother so much. Got two long 
letters from home. Thank God, they are all well, 
or were a month ago. Dad got the two hundred I 
sent him ; says I mustn't stint myself to send money 
home. The neighbors think I am making a big 
fortune and many of the boys are planning to go 
to California this summer. Henry North has sold 
a yoke of oxen and his three-year-old colt, and starts 
next month. That is this month and he must be on 
the way. I like Henry, but I care more for his 
sister Hetty. I wonder if she will wait as she 
promised, until I get back. Baked enough bread 
to last until Saturday. Anderson spent the evening 
at the cabin. He is crazy on river mining. He and 
friends have located claims on the Yuba and are 
going to turn the river when the water runs low. 
He is certain if he can get down on bed-rock he 
will take out gold by the bucketful. Wants me to 
join the company. 

JUNE 9, 1850.— Went to town yesterday after- 
noon. With last week's washings I had eighteen 
ounces besides the nuggets. Spent $27 at the store 
and deposited $200. Had two bully meals at the 
hotel ; first pie I have eaten since I got here. The 
town is full of drunken miners. Have kept my 
promise to mother and have not touched a drop 
since I started. Went into the Bella Union gam- 
bling saloon. The place was full and running over 
with gamblers and miners, and the latter seemed 
to be trying to get rid of their money as fast as 
possible. At some of the tables they were playing 



THE DIARY OF 

for high stakes, as much as one hundred dollars 
on the turn of a card. Monte was the most popu- 
lar game and while I was there "Texas Bill" tapped 
one of the banks for two thousand dollars and won 
on the first pull. Then he took the dealer's seat and 
the banker quit until he could raise another stake. 
There was a young French woman dealing 
twenty-one. She was as pretty as a picture. Began 
betting just to get near her and hear her talk. I 
lost seventy dollars and she did not notice me any 
more than she did the rest of the crowd. What 
would Hetty say if she knew I gambled ? Four days* 
hard work gone for nothing! 

JUNE 16, 1850.— Worked but three days last 
week. Had the cholera morbus pretty bad, but 
some Jamaica Ginger fetched me around all right. 
Took out just two ounces. Henry North wrote me 
a letter from San Francisco. He was broke and 
wanted enough money to come here. Sent him fifty 
dollars, ni be glad to see him. Got a long letter from 
dad. He says mother is grieving about me being 
so far away and is afraid I will fall into temptation. 
She knows from what she sees in the papers that 
California must be an awful wicked place. Dad 
tells her that I come from old Connecticut stock and 
he isn't afraid of his boy not coming out all right- 
Wonder what he'd say if he knew about my losing 
money in a game of chance. 

I hear that Anson James and his partner took 

(Note. — ^*Tapping the bank" was the wagcrmg by an outsider of an 
amount equalling the cash backing the game. Bets were usually limited 
to fifty dollars a single bet, but flush gamblers would often dare the dealer 
to accept a wager decided by a single deal of the cards, which if won 
doubled the bank's capital or broke iL) 

8 



A FORTY-NINER 

out fourteen hundred dollars on Brush Creek last 
week. That beats Rock Creek, but Brush is all 
taken up. Anderson is after me to go river mining 
with him. He is getting up a company of ten men ; 
has seven now and they will put up two hundred 
and fifty dollars apiece for capital. They want that 
for lumber, whidi costs one hundred dollars a 
thousand, and they need twenty thousand feet for 
wingdam and a flume, whatever that means. If 
my claim gives out before August, may go with 
them. Saw two deer on the hill back of the cabin 
and Anderson says a grizzly was killed up at the 
head of the creek last week. There are thousands 
of wild pigeons in the woods, but they are not fit 
to eat.^ The acorns they feed on make their flesh 
taste bitter. 

JUNE 23, 1850.— Have not heard from Henry 
North. He ought to have been here last week. I 
have been fairly homesick all the week, working in 
the claim alone, and I am so dead tired when night 
comes that it's a task to cook supper, although 
there isn't much to cook. There is always a pot 
of cold beans and I fry a piece of pork for the grease, 
to sop my bread in, and make a cup of tea. I roll 
up in the blankets and go to bed at eight o'clock 
and try to get to sleep just to keep from thinking, 
although I can't always do it. Thoughts of the 
old home will come into my head and it brings up 
everything that has happened since I was a boy. 
The frogs croak down in the creek just as they did 
on Norfolk Pond, and it's the lonesomest sound on 
earth, barring the doves. There is a sort of a dog 
here that the greasers call a coyote, and you would 



THE DIARY OF 

swear when night comes on that there were a thou- 
sand of them yelping in the hills and around the 
cabin. Sometimes I get up and go outdoor, out 
under the stars, and wonder what Hetty is doing 
and whether she will wait. If she saw me sniffing 
and the tears rolling down my cheeks she would 
think I wasn't much of a man. I wish Henry 
North would come — ^it wouldn't be so lonesome. 
Rich diggings have been found on Kanaka Creek 
and a lot of miners have gone over to take up 
claims. Took out a little over five ounces for the 
week. 

There is an Indian campoody up on the ridge 
above Brush Creek, where about two hundred 
Digger Indians are camped. They are the dirtiest 
lot of human beings on earth. One has to be careful 
going near the place, or he will surely get the itch. 
They will eat anything, acorns, grasshoppers, or 
seeds, and I have seen an old squaw pull a rotten 
pine jog apart hunting for a white grub as big as 
my little finger, and, when she found one, swallow 
it alive with as much relish as if it were a fat oyster. 
There are two white men who have taken squaws 
to live with them in their cabins down on the river, 
but it is looked on as a disgrace and no decent 
miner will associate with them. The Indians bum 
their dead and I went over to the ridge with Jim 
Gleason to a buck's funeral Friday night. It was 
a queer ceremony. They piled up a cord or more 
of pine limbs, wrapped the buck in a blanket, de- 
posited his body on the pile, together with his bow 
and arrows, clothes and small belongings, and set 
it on fire. The bucks of the tribe set around outside 
in the shadows, glum and silent as ghosts. The 

10 



A FORTY-NINER 

squaws joined hands and kept up a stamping, first 
with one foot and then the other, wailing together 
in a mournful chorus, which sounded like "wallah 
tu nae'^ and which they repeated over and over 
as long as I stayed there. Others replenished the 
fire with fresh pine knots and limbs. The main 
attraction was an old, ugly squaw, who, I was told, 
although no relation to the buck, was chosen chief 
mourner. She went into a frenzy, howling and 
screeching like mad, contorting and twisting her 
body and spinning round and round until she ex- 
hausted herself and tumbled to the ground. Then 
she would come to and crawl to the fire, get hold 
of a piece of wood Qtit of which the pitch was frying 
and daub it over her head and face until her hair 
was saturated with tar. They say that she never 
washes herself or tries to get the pitch off, and the 
buck's wife can't take another man until the tar 
wears away. It got to be monotonous and disgust- 
ing and I came away by midnight, but the Indians 
kept it up two nights, or until the last vestige of 
the body was burned up. ^ What heathens they are 
to dispose of their dead in such a barbarous way 
instead of burying them decently in the ground! 

JUNE 30, 1850.— This last week was my lucky 
one. Wednesday I struck a crevice in the bed- 
rock on the rim of the creek and it was lousy with 
gold. It took me two days to work it out and I 
got almost twenty-nine ounces, which with three 
ounces rocked the first two days raised the week's 
work to more than five hundred dollars. Sent dad 
seven hundred dollars last night. That makes 
twelve hundred dollars that he has of my savings. 

II 



THE DIARY OF 

The Strike helped me to get rid of the homesick 
feeling that has made me miserable for two weeks. 
Seems to me old Litchfield is nearer than it was, 
and I may fetch it before the rains come. The 
only thing bothering me is that the claim is almost 
worked out and FU have to hunt new diggings soon. 
Strange I haven^t heard from North since I sent 
him that fifty dollars. I got a letter from Hetty, 
however, the first I have received, asking me to look 
after him. Said he was weak and easily led. This 
is no place for weaklings, but I'll take care of him 
for her sake. Had two square meals in town yes- 
terday. They put me out of face with my regular 
grub. 

JULY 7, 1850.— Been in town all day. The citi- 
zens had a celebration Thursday, but it did not 
amount to much. Lawyer McConnell made a speech 
and another fellow read the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. Then everybody fell into line, marched 
up and down the street, hurrahing and firing off pis- 
tols, and that was all there was to it. The town was 
jammed with outsiders and the hotels and restau- 
rants ran short of grub. The saloons and gambling 
houses were chock-a-block and half the men in 
sight were full of rot-gut whiskey. Went in to see 
the pretty French woman, but could not get near 
the table where she was dealing. She's a handsome 
woman and the boys say she's straight as a string. 
That may be, but it is strange, considering the com- 
pany she keeps and her occupation. Went home 
early, as I couldn't get a meal. It was so hot it 
was just simmering and I took a snooze under the 
big pine in front of the cabin. There was a fellow 

12 



A FORTY-NINER 

picking a banjo and singing a song in town to-day 
and it kept running in my head. It was about "Joe 
Bowers from Pike." The second verse was: 

I used to love a gal there, they called her 

Sally Black, 
I axed her for to marry me, she said 

It was a whack; 
But, ses she to me, Joe Bowers, before 

We hitch for life. 
You ought to have a little home to 

Keep your little wife. 

If I can save enough money to buy the Slocum 
farm next to our place and Hetty says "yes," I'll 
have that "little home and little wife" and that will 
be about all I want on this earth. I would like to 
have enough capital so that I would not have to 
slave from sunrise till dark as I did on dad's farm. 
I don't know as the work was any harder than 
what we do here, but there is a difference. There 
all we got was just about a bare living, at the best 
a few hundred dollars put away for a year's work, 
but here one don't know what the next stroke of 
the pick, or the next rocker full of dirt, may bring 
forth — an ounce or twenty ounces it may be. That 
is the excitement and fascination that makes one 
endure the hardships, working up to one's knees in 
cold water, breaking one's back in gouging and 
crevicing, the chance that the next panful will indi- 
cate the finding of a big deposit. That's the charm 
and it would be a great life were it not for the 
nights and the lonely cabin with only one's thoughts 
for company. It brings up to my mind a piece I 
used to recite at school. "Oh, solitude ! where are 

13 



THE DIARY OF 

the charms that sages have seen in thy face?" It's 
deadly lonesome and there are times when it seems 
as if I just could not stand it any longer. Baked 
two big loaves of bread in the Dutch oven. That 
will last through the week. 

JULY 21, 1850. — ^Two weeks since I took up my 
pen. My hands are all calloused and I can do 

(better work with a shovel than writing diaries. 
Have had bad luck; only cleaned up a little over 
four ounces and the claim is pretty near played out. 
Anderson offers me a share in his claim. He's 
working on a dry gulch just about half a mile north 
of the cabin. It's rich on the bed-rock, but he has 
to strip oflF about ten feet of top dirt and then pack 
the gravel down to the creek a couple of hundred 
yards. He offers me one-half a share in the ground 
if I will help him cut a ditch from the creek to the 
claim to carry the water to it. We will have to 
dig about a quarter of a mile. He says there is a 
new way of taking out gold by a machine called 
a Long Tom. He saw it working at Kellogg's claim 
on Brush Creek and as much dirt can 'be put 
through it in a day as one can with a rocker in a 
week. I will go over and look at it to-morrow. 
Anderson is a good fellow and the only one on the 
creek I care much about. He is from Syracuse, 
New York, and has a good education. If I take 
his offer we will cabin together and it won't be so 
lonesome. Haven't heard a word from North and 
I don't know where to write him. 



14 



CHAPTER II. 

BUNKING WITH PARD— A RICH CLAIM— 
THE FIRST GROUND SLUICE— SIESTAS 
UNDER THE BIG PINE— NAMING THE 
TOWN— A DOG FIGHT AND A PURCHASE 
—THE GRASS-WIDOW SECURES A MATE 
—A SHIVAREE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES 
—BANISHED FROM SELBY FLAT— AN- 
DERSON'S ECCENTRICITIES. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER II. ' 

JULY 28, 1850. — I went over and saw the Long 
Tom working. It will revolutionize mining if it 
will save the gold. Took plans of it. I'm handy 
with tools and knocked one together without much 
trouble. The Nevada blacksmith charged me four 
dollars to punch the holes in the sheet-iron plate. 
Set it up on the claim Friday and took out about 
two ounces that day. Worked a strip eight feet 
square. That is as much as I did in a week with 
a rocker. All the miners up and down the creek 
came to see it working. I had offers of two ounces 
apiece to make three of them, but IVe promised 
Anderson to begin work on the ditch as soon as 
I get through with the claim. Had a letter from 
daa that gave me the blues. Dear old mother is 
ailing and pining to see me — afraid something will 
happen to me. Well, I am way off out of the world, 
but IVe got the best of health. I wrote her a long 
letter cheering her up and promising I would come 
back as soon as I got six thousand dollars together. 
Dad says Hetty is a good girl and I could not pick 
out a better wife and that she comes over to the 
place regularly and asks them to read to her my 
letters. Some of the married miners are planning 
to bring their wives out from the States. About 
the only thing holding them back is the certainty 
that it will not take long to clean up all the gold . 
there is in the country and then there would be 
nothing left to do except to go back again. A lot 
argue that they can go to farming in the valleys; 

17 



THE DIARY OF 

but with the mines worked out and the miners gone 
out of the mountains, where would they have a 
market for what they raised? 

AUGUST 4, 1850.— Had a great streak of luck 
last week. Worked out the claim and before I 
moved the Tom, tried some of the rocker tailings. 
They were as rich as if the dirt had not been washed 
and I took nineteen ounces out of the riffle box 
beside a nugget that weighed nearly an ounce. IVe 
taken out of the claim about one hundred and 
twenty ounces and have sent dad fifteen hundred 
dollars. It^s cost me about five hundred dollars 
to live and IVe got six ounces in the yeast powder 
box under the big stone in front of the fire place. 
Am worried about North. I don't care for the 
fifty dollars, but it's singular that he doesn't show 
up or write. 

AUGUST 11, 1850. — ^Anderson moved his traps 
over to my cabin and we are living together. It 
makes a lot of difference having a pard with you, 
somebody to talk and tell your troubles to, although 
he laughs at me, swears that I have no troubles 
and don't know what troubles are. I have told him 
about the old folks and Hetty and about my plan 
to buy the Siocuija farm, and he says : "Don't worry 
about the girl, she will wait for you fast enough 
as long as^you are sending home money; and as 
for troubles, when you are married then you will 
be^n to know something about them." I asked 
him if he was married and he said "yes" and then 
shut up like a clam. We have dug more than half 
the ditch and will finish it this week. There are a 

i8 



A FORTY-NINER 

couple of gray squirrels that frolic around in the big 
pine tree near the cabin. I got the shotgun out, but 
Anderson said: *Why kill God's creatures? Let 
them live their lives." He's strange in some things. 
He laid there half the afternoon, watching them 
scampering around the limbs or setting up on their 
hind legs eating pine nuts, and said there was more 
satisfaction in enjoying their antics than eating 
squirrel stew. 

AUGUST 18, 18S0..-We finished the ditch on 
Thursday and turned in the water. It carries a lot 
more than we need and when we ran it into the 
gulch, Anderson got a new idea. We put a trench 
down through the middle of the ravine and there 
was a pretty heavy fall. The top dirt is nothing 
but red clay and he began picking the dirt and 
watching it run off into the creek and then he said: 
**What is the use of shoveling this all off when the 
water will do it for us?'' Sure enough, it worked 
like a charm. We pulled off our shoes, turned up 
our overalls, jumped into the trench and worked 
away like beavers, and the water did more work in 
one day than both of us could have stripped shovel- 
ing in a week. 



By Saturday noon we had cleared off a strip 
forty feet long and ten feet wide, and will set the 
Long Tom to-morrow and clean it up. It looks 
like pretty good ground, as we could pick up lots 
of pieces of gold, some of them weighing two bits. 

The weather is awfully hot; believe it is warmer 
than summer in the States, but it don't bother us 

(Note. — ^Anderson had stumbled on another great step in mining, vk., 
ground sluicing, and without doubt was one of the first to adopt this 
method.) 

19 



THE DIARY OF 

much to work when it's the hottest and I have 
not heard of anybody being sunstruck. It's curious 
how quickly it cools off after sundown. A breeze 
starts and blows up the creek strong enough to 
sway the tops of the pine trees, and the noise it 
makes through the Branches sounds like a lullaby. 
Since Pard came to camp with me, we spend an 
hour or two every evening after supper sitting out 
under a big sugar pine that grows just in front of 
our cabin, smoking our pipes, but we don't talk 
much. It is all so solemn and still, that is, it seems 
so until you begin to hear what Pard calls "voices 
of the night"; the frogs, the owls, the rasp of the 
tree toad, or the howl of a wolf way off in the moun- 
tain, and if it was not for the glimmer of a light in 
Piatt's cabin, down the creek, we would think we 
were two castaways lost in a wilderness. I believe 
it is that sort of feeling that drives so many of the 
boys to drinking, or carousing around the saloons 
hunting excitement. 

AUGUST 25, 1850.— This last week was fine. 
, We set the Tom Monday morning, put a box at the 
head of it and w^re three days and a half washing 
out the ground, which was about two feet thick; 
cleaned up the bed-rock and we got sixty-three 
ounces. We stripped off about thirty feet more by 
noon yesterday and will begin washing to-morrow. 
Anderson insisted on my taking half. I thought 
I ought to pay him something for the share in the 
claim. He wouldn't listen; said we were partners 
and he was bound to see that I got that Slocum 
farm and Hetty, just to teach me that there was 
trouble in the world. He gets letters from home, 

20 



A FORTY-NINER 

but they don't seem to give him much comfort. He 
reads them, swears under his breath, tears them 
in bits and sulks for the rest of the day. I sent a 
draft for five hundred dollars to the old folks last 
night. That is two thousand dollars IVe saved in 
less than six months. 

A woman who kept a boarding house at Selby 
Flat was killed yesterday. She got tangled in a 
lariat and was dragged to death by a mule. 

We walked down to the Yuba River yesterday. 
There are about 200 miners working on the bars 
and banks, and they are doing pretty well. None 
of them have been able to get into the bed of the 
stream, as there is no way of turning the water. 
Anderson says there is no use of trying it now, as 
the rains would come before we could get to work, 
but he believes there is gold by the bucketful if he 
could get it. We bought about a hundred dollars 
worth of grub Saturday. There is a little beast 
here they call a woodrat and he plays the devil with 
anything left exposed about the cabin. 

SEPTEMBER 1, 1850.— Washed up two days 
and sluiced top dirt the rest of the week. The 
ground is still rich. We got forty-one ounces. That 
is as well as they are doing over on Brush Creek. 

I bought a new suit of clothes yesterday, black 
broadcloth ; two white shirts ; a Peruvian hat and 
a pair of fine boots. The hat cost sixteen dollars, 
the boots twenty-one dollars, and the whole outfit, 
with necktie and handkerchiefs, one hundred and 
five dollars. I put them on this morning and went 
to town. Pard said I looked like a sport. It*s so 
long since I wore decent clothes that I felt like a fool. 

21 



THE DIARY OF 

I was told that the people living round CaldwelFs 
store held a meeting and called the place "Nevada 
City/' Nevada is Spanish for snow. The French- 
woman is still dealing twenty-one, I went in to see 
her and started to make a bet when she said: "You 
can't play at this game. Gamblers are barred." I 
stammered out that I wasn't a gambler, but she 
said: "You can't play that on me," and I quit. 
She's got a voice like music and just her speaking 
to me in that way put me all in a flutter. There 
are a few women in the town, mostly Mexicans. 

There was a dog fight down on the bridged and a 
lot of money bet on it. The losing dog was pretty 
badly chewed up, his forelegs bitten through and 
through, but he never whimpered. His owner was 
disgusted and swore he would kill him. I asked 
him what he would take for the dog, and I got him 
for two ounces. He could not walk and I had to 
carry him. My new boots hurt me like sin and by 
the time I got to the top of Sugar Loaf hill I had 
to take them off and walk over two miles in my 
stocking feet carrying my boots and the dog. When 
I got to the cabin my new clothes were a sight, but 
Anderson never laughed. He set to work washing 
the blood off the dog and binding up his legs. When 
I told him the story he said I was a good fellow and 
that the look out of the dog's eyes and the way he 
licked my hand was worth more than I paid for 
him. 

SEPTEMBER 8, 1850.— We took out only thirty 
ounces this past week. The gulch is getting narrow 
and there is a scant fifty feet more before we reach 
the ditch. There is a flat of about half an acre 

22 



A FORTY-NINER 

where the gulch runs out into the creek, and Ander- 
son says the channel must run through it. If it 
does, we will have at least another month's work. 
There was some fun over on Selby Flat last week. 
A young fellow got stuck on the grass-widow and 
they went to town and got married. She is at least 
thirty years older than her husband, and when the 
boys got wind of it they gathered and gave the 
couple a shivaree. He got mad and turned loose a 
shotgun at the crowd, peppering some of them with 
bird shot. Then they corraled him and come pretty 
near lynching him. The boys say they would for 
sure, but the old woman got down on her knees 
and begged them to spare her dear husband. She 
prayed so hard that they agreed to let him go pro- 
viding both would leave the camp the next morning. 
They skipped at night and now there is only one 
woman left on the flat and about three hundred 
men. Anderson says one woman is enough to keep 
the camp a-boiling. I can't make Anderson out. 
He's as good a chap as ever lived, kind-hearted, has 
no bad habits, always ready to do twice his share 
of the work if I would let him ; but he doesn't seem 
to have any faith in anything or anybody except 
me. He gets letters from home regularly, reads 
them, swears and tears them up, and never talks 
about his life or his people. The dog is nearly well 
and Anderson is making a regular baby out of him. 
He says dogs are not like folks ; they never go back 
on a friend. There is something on his mind that 
he broods over, but I do not see that I have any 
call to put my nose in his affairs, so I take no notice 
of his queer moods. 



23 



CHAPTER III. 

A RATTLESNAKE ON THE TRAII^-CLAIM 
JUMPING AND A TRAGEDY— MINERS' 
COURTS AND THE ALCALDE— RAISING 
THE ANTI-DEBRIS QUESTION — THE 
FIRST SERMON AND A LIBERAL COL- 
LECTION—A WELCOME STORM— PACK 
MULE LOAD OF COARSE GOLD— RIPA- 
RIAN RIGHTS— AN EXPENSIVE 
CHICKEN BROTH— BEGGING LETTER 
FROM NORTH. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER III. 

SEPTEMBER IS, 1850.— Claim is nearly played 
out. We cleaned up fifteen ounces last week and 
will work it out by Thursday. Sent five hundred 
dollars more to dad yesterday and I have got about 
three hundred on hand. I get the nicest kind of 
letters from dad. Mother is better because she 
thinks I will soon make enough to satisfy me and 
come back. Hetty says I ought to be there by 
Thanksgiving, but that is foolishness. If I am 
there by the next one I will be satisfied. Fm not 
so homesick since Anderson came to live with me. 
He is better educated than I am, has been through 
college and has had more experience, but he doesn't 
put on any airs and we get along together like 
brothers, although he has his blue spells. He never 
answers any letters that he gets, so far as I know, 
and those he receives are forwarded to him from 
San Francisco instead of coming here direct. He 
never goes to town, nor spends a cent except for 
grub. We killed a big rattlesnake on the trail to 
Qie claim Wednesday. It was coiled up under a 
bush and struck at and hit me on the bootleg. I 
jumped about ten feet and Anderson smashed its 
head with a stone. He was white as a sheet and 
called me a dam fool for not looking where I was go- 
ing. I got mad and told him he need not worry 
about my not being able to take care of myself, then 
he put his arm around my neck and said he did not 
mean it; but I had come into his life and he did not 
want me to go out of it just yet. He's a character. 

27 



THE DIARY OF 

SEPTEMBER 22, 1850.— We finished up the 
claim last week. It about petered out. We got 
only five ounces. We are going to try the flat and 
if that don't pay we will go off prospecting. There 
was a fight on the creek last week. Donovan, an 
Irishman, jumped a claim, and when the rightful 
owner warned him off he drew an Allen's pepper 
box and shot Tracy, to whom the claim belonged, 
in the leg. Tracy beat the Irishman over the head 
with a shovel and left him for dead, although he 
did not die until yesterday. Tracy was taken over 
to town and tried before a fellow who sets himself 
up for an alcalde and was then turned loose, as it 
was a clear case of self-defense. This is the first 
death on Rock Creek. The miners are indignant 
over Tracy being taken to Nevada. There is no 
more law there than on Rock Creek. Some fellow 
claims to be a sort of judge, but he's got no legal 
authority and a miners' court is just as binding 
here as in town. We held a meeting of all the 
miners along the creek, and Anderson made a 
speech. Said it was an unwarranted usurpation 
and an invasion of our rights, and we resolved that 
we would not permit it to happen again. We buried 
Donovan on the hill, and sold his tools and traps 
at auction, including his cabin, for $140. Nobody 

(NoTE.7-An Allen's pepper box was a pistol much in vogue in the earl]r 
days, a singularly ineffective gun, more dangerous to the possessor than 
anyone else. It got its name from its fancied resemblance to the old- 
fashioned pepper box. It had six barrels which revolved, and was a most 
clumsy piece of mechanism, although thousands were sold in the East to 
the early gold-seekers. A joke of the times was a standing reward for 
pnx)f that any one had been hurt or wounded by its discharge. In a trial 
of a mmer for assault with a deadly weapon and intent to kill, held before 
a sapient justice of the peace in Mariposa in 1851, the prisoner was dis- 
charged, the justice ruling that an Allen's pepper box could not be con- 
sidered as falling under the head of deadly or dangerous.) 

28 



A FORTY-NINER 

knows what to do with the money, as it is not known 
where he came from. Anderson was made cus- 
todian of the proceeds in case any claimant should 
turn up. 

SEPTEMBER 29, 1850.— We have worked on 
the ditch all the week, making it twice as large. The 
dirt on the fiat is twenty feet deep and the more 
water we have the quicker we can sluice it off. I 
haven't much faith in its paying, although the bank 
on the creek prospects pretty well. I think Jack — 
that's our dog — is mighty ungrateful. I bought 
him and lugged him to the cabin when he couldn't 
walk and now he has got no particular use for me, 
but he just worships Anderson. Sleeps on the foot 
of his bunk nights, follows at his heels every minute 
of the day, or makes a bed of his coat alongside 
the claim; and if Anderson happens to get out of 
sight, howls and runs around like a crazy beast. 
When I mentioned it to Anderson he looked serious 
and said: "Don't get jealous, old fellow; you've 
got the folks at home and Hetty — I've got nothing 
but Jack, and a dog's love is better than none," 
and he walked out with the dog at his heels wagging 
his stump of a tail. I was completely upset. An- 
derson sat out under the pine tree for an hour with 
the dog's head in his lap and then came in cheerful- 
like, slapped me on the back and said: "Don't mind 
me being grumpy, I've got you too ; but white man 
is mighty uncertain." 

OCTOBER 6, 1850.— We turned the water into 
the ditch Monday and sluiced out the flat until 
Thursday. That aftemoon a deputation of miners 

29 



THE DIARYOF 

from below us on the creek came to the claim and 
notified us that we must quit. The mud we were 
sending down the stream buried them under slum- 
guUion, and the water was so thick they could not 
use it in their rockers. Anderson said that was 
reasonable and that we would hold up until we 
could think of some scheme to remedy it. 

We have talked it over and I don't see how we 
can avoid it unless we wait until the creek below is 
all worked out. The nights are cold and we have 
to keep up a fire in the fireplace. Kellogg was over 
from Brush Creek to look at our ditch. Says he 
is going to make a survey this week to bring the 
water into Brush Creek and if it is feasible he will 
give us four hundred dollars for the piece we have 
dug. They say he has made a pile of money and 
has bought up a lot of claims on Selby Hill. 

OCTOBER 13, 1850.— There has not been a drop 
of rain, nor has there been a cloud in the sky since 
May last; but it thickened up early in the week and 
Tuesday night when I awoke the rain was pattering 
on the roof — a regular old-fashioned storm. Ander- 
son woke up, too, and we got up and started a big 
fire and sat and listened to the gusts of wind blow- 
ing through the pine tree tops and sheets of 
water slapping up against the south side of the 
cabin. The rain sounded good. The whole country 
was dusty and dried up, and I felt as if I wanted 
to go out and stand bareheaded in the storm. It 
rained all day Wednesday, and Anderson, who 
went up to the claim in the afternoon, came back 

(Note.— This is the first record of the raismg ol the anti-debris 
queation.) 

30 



A FORTY>NlNER 

laughing and said he did not think the miners 
would bother us for a while on the slumguUion ques- 
tion. There was four feet of water in Rock Creek 
and rocks rolling down it as big as a bushel basket. 
It did not quit until Thursday afternoon. It washed 
out the head of the ditch and we have not fixed it 
up yet. Jack is in disgrace. He ran down a skunk 
Friday and we just couldn't stand him in the cabin 
until Anderson used up all of our soap washing him. 
He smells yet. We haven't made a dollar for two 
weeks. 



OCTOBER 20, 1850.— We got the ditch repaired 
and the water turned on the flat by Thursday and 
have been running off the top dirt. It's amazing 
the amount we move and it astonishes all our neigh- 
bors. A lot of them are looking out for side hill 
diggings below us and will try the same process. 
Anderson says it will be a good idea to extend our 
ditch and sell the water to the miners who might 
want to use it, but I don't see what righfwe have 
got to it more than anybody else. Anyway, he 
has put a notice at the head of the ditch claiming 
all the water it will hold, and as there is no law in 
the case he says he will make a law out of the prece^ 
dent. 

Had a letter from Henry North from Sacramento. 
Says he has been working there and has a great 
chance to make money if he had the capital. Asks 
me to loan him a thousand dollars. Anderson says 
to "go slow." I'd do it for Hetty's sake, but he 
ought to have written before this. A lot of miners 
have gone about forty miles north of here on an- 

(NoTE.— The first claim to water rights on record in Nevada County.) 

31 



THE DIARY OF 

Other branch of the river where they say rich, coarse 
gold diggings have been discovered. A padk mule 
load of gold was brought into town from there last 
week and there was one piece worth three thousand 
dollars, and lots from an ounce to twenty ounces. 
Many of the miners think this is the discovery of 
the source of gold; that is, where it grows. There 
is one fact that bears out this theory. The higher 
the miners get up in the mountains, the coarser the 
gold. Around Nevada County, so far as I know, 
it is seldom that a nugget is found that weighs over 
an ounce, while up on Kanaka Creek one has been 
found that weighed twenty-one pounds and several 
from five to fifteen pounds, and I am told that there 
is very little fine dust in those diggings. I hope 
they won't find the fountain head until I have 
turned my gold into some kind of property. 

OCTOBER 27, 1850.— We have had a great 
week. There is a streak up through the middle of 
our flat that is lousy with gold. We took out one 
hundred and eleven ounces and only worked a small 
portion of what we uncovered. We had a meeting 
of the miners at our place yesterday afternoon to 
decide in regard to ditch and water rights, and it 
was a hot one. Some of them claimed that water 
was as free as air and no one had a right to monop- 
olize it, and they would have carried the day, but 
Anderson proposed as a compromise that all inter- 
ested should pitch in and build a ditch on shares. 
As there were only a dozen or so who had any 
use for the water outside of the creek bed, this was 
agreed to. These are the ones who have taken up 
flat claims like ours and are anxious to prospect 

32 



A FORTY-NINER 

them. We give our ditch to the company and have 
a one-sixth interest in the extension. I don't see 
what good it will do, but Anderson says common 
consent makes law and the action will establish 
our rights. Have had two good letters from home. 
Mother wants me to return for Thanksgiving and 
I'd like to be there, but the chances to get rich are 
too good to leave now. Dad writes that he has bar- 
gained for the Slocum Farm for four thousand dol- 
lars, and if I have another lucky week I will send 
him the balance. Somehow I don't feel so eager to 
go back and live on it as I did three months ago. 

NOVEMBER 3, 1850.— Another fair week, al- 
though not so good as the previous one. We are 
working the flat about forty feet wide and the sides 
do not pay as well as the middle streak, but we 
took out sixty-five ounces. The miners have been 
driven out of the creek bed by too much water and a 
great many have left for other diggings. There are 
two men cutting the extension to our ditch. Spent 
the day in Nevada City, as they call it now. There 
are over two thousand miners working in the vi- 
cinity of the town and most everybody doing well. 
My little Frenchwoman has gone away. I asked for 
her and they told me she was dealing over at Center- 
ville. 



There is no particular reason why I should be 
so much interested, although I was disappointed in 
not seeing her. 
. A minister preached in the United States Hotel 

(Note. — The Grass Valley of to-day was first named Centerville because 
it was midway between the two more important mining towns of Rough 
and Ready and Nevada City.) 

33 



THE DIARY OF 

dining room and the place was filled, but there were 
only three Women in the crowd. I was told he took 
up a collection and raked in four hundred dollars. 
That is as good as mining and not as hard work. 
Our minister in Norfolk would be satisfied with that 
much for a year. 

NOVEMBER 10, 1850.— Anderson was taken 
sick Thursday and has been out of his head for 
two days. 1 got a doctor from town and he says 
he has a bilious fever and with good care he will 
come out all right. I Ve got to like Anderson mighty 
well and I should feel bad if anything should hap- 
pen to him. His crazy talk in his delirium was 
mostly about his wife. I guess they had a flare-up 
about her extravagance and other foolishness, and 
that's why he left and what makes him so grumpy 
about home matters. Poor old Jack has been mis- 
erable, licking Anderson's hands and face and whin- 
ing like a sick baby, and I had to tie him up. The 
boys around have been very good, offering to set 
up nights and bringing in quail and squirrels for 
him, but he has not eaten a morsel. Doctor says 
to make him some broth. IVe managed to get 
along, but I'm nearly dead for sleep. 

Another begging letter from North. I don't see 
what right he has to ask me for a thousand dollars 
and without any explanation as to what he wants 
it for. 



34 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE FOREST IN AUTUMN — A SLUICE 
ROBBER AND THE WHIPPING POST- 
NORTH AS A MONTE DEALER— AN EN- 
COUNTER WITH A HIGHWAYMAN- 
HIGH-PRICED HAY— ANOTHER MEET- 
ING WITH THE FRENCHWOMAN— MEX- 
ICANS DISCOVER A BIG BONANZA— AN 
EVICTION BY FORCE— RECOGNITION 
OF THE RIGHTS OF FOREIGN MINERS. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER IV. 

NOVEMBER 17, 1850.— Pard is all right again, 
thank the Lord, although not able to work yet. I 
hired a man to rustle for some chickens and he 
found three after a two days' hunt. He paid $24 
for them and with his horse hire and time they cost 
me $50, but I don't begrudge it for I made chicken 
broth and Pard said it went right to the spot. We 
have had another big storm. It rained three days 
steady. The grass is coming up, the hill sides are 
all green and it looks like spring instead of fall. 
While it is mighty pretty, it isn't like autumn back 
in old Litchfield where the sumachs and the maples 
are all ablaze at this time of the year. I worked 
in the claim alone for three days and cleaned up 
fourteen ounces. After dividing with Anderson I 
have got over two thousand dollars on hand and 
will send it to dad next week. Pard says I would 
do better to buy land in California, but that's fool- 
ishness. The gold will all be dug out after a while, 
and after that I don't see what there is to stay in 
this country for. 

NOVEMBER 24, 1850.— We both worked this 
week and took out eighty-nine ounces. When I 
think of how much money I am making it seems 
like a dream. I used to work for a dollar a day 
in haying time, and our hired man on the farm gets 
twelve dollars a month and found. The regular 
miners' wages here are eight dollars a day and very 
few men will hire out. I sent the two thousand 

37 



THE DIARY OF 

dollars to dad and tx)ld him to buy the farm for me^ 
so whatever happens I will have that, but the more 
I think of it the less I feel like running it. I don't 
suppose I could make more than five hundred dol- 
lars a year oif of it at the best, and then have to 
work four times as hard as I do here, but then 
this is not going to last always. We caught an 
Indian cleaning up our riffle box Saturday night. 
When the miners found out about it they insisted 
on his being punished and it was decided to tie him 
up to a tree and give him fifty lashes on the bare 
back. Nobody would volunteer to do the whipping, so 
we drew lots and Dick Stiles got the job. He used a 
double half-inch rope, but the Indian after the first 
half-dozen strokes made such a howl that we let him 
go, although there was not a red mark on his back. 

DECEMBER 1, 1850.— Although there was 
nothing to show it, we observed Thursday as 
Thanksgiving, as that was the legal day in the 
States. All we did was to lay off and eat quail stew 
and dried apple pie. I thought a lot about the old 
folks and would like to have been home with them, 
and I guess I will be next year, although Slocum's 
farm doesn't seem to be as enticing as it was when 
I first started out to buy it. Ddd writes that Hetty 
blames me for not looking up her brother, who 
don't write any letters home. I think she is un- 
reasonable. I didn't take any contract to look out 
for him and he is as old as I am. Pard and I talked 
it over and he says why not take a holiday and a 
' trip to Sacramento, and then I can decide what to 
j do. We worked four days and cleaned up forty-one 
/ ounces. 

38 



A FORTY-NINER 

DECEMBER 22, 1850.— This is the first I have 
written in three weeks. IVe been to Sacramento. 
Pard insisted on my going; said that after nursing 
him through his sickness I needed a rest, so I 
bought a mustang and saddle, paid sixty dollars for 
the horse and seventy-five for the saddle and bridle. 
Sacramento is the liveliest place I ever saw. There 
are over five thousand people living there, mostly^ 
in tents, and not more than a dozen wooden houses 
in the place. Hundreds of people from San Fran- 
cisco are coming up the river every day, and the 
bank is piled up with all sorts of goods and pro- 
visions for the mines. About every tent is a gam- 
bling house and it made my head swim to see the 
money flying around. I had a big job hunting up 
North and then only found him by accident. I 
was almost sorry that I came across him, for I 
discovered that he had turned sport and was dealing 
"monte." He pretended to be very glad to see me 
and then let out that what he wanted the money 
for was to start a game of his own, sure that he 
could win a fortune. Gracious, what would Hetty 
and his folks say if they knew he had become a 
gambler. He got very diilly when I wouldn^t let 
him have the dust, but made me promise diat I 
would not write an)rthing home about it. He is 
living with a Mexican girl and I don't think they 
are married. 

I thought a lot about Pard while I was away. 
We were strangers a few months ago, and now I 
couldn't love an own brother any better. He was 
just as glad to see me as I was to see him, and Jack 
pretended he was overjoyed. The old dog is so fat 
he can hardly toddle and with Pard petting him he 

39 



THE DIARY OF 

certainly h^s a good time. Pard took out of the 
claim one hundred and twenty-two ounces while 
I was gone and insists on sharing it, and I could 
not argue him out of it. He is mighty set when 
he wants to be. 

Jim McCord, who lives about half a mile down 
the creek, was held up by robbers on the divide 
about a week ago while on his way back from town. 
He showed fight and one of the highwa3anen shot 
him in the knee, shattering the bone. Dr. Hunt has 
been attending him and says mortification has set 
in and his leg will have to be cut off. That's pretty 
rough on Jim. 

The widow who married the young fellow at 
Selby Flat has shook him and come back to the 
Flat again. She says he was "no account," but the 
boys think he was glad to get rid of her. 

DECEMBER 29, 1850.— We decided to keep the 
horse, as it would be handy to ride to town and 
over the country. Green feed is plenty, but no 
oats or grain to be had for love or money. We had 
to have some feed in case of snow, so Christmas 
day I rode down to Centerville and found a man 
who had cut some wild oats in a valley below that 
town. He wanted two hundred and fifty dollars a 
ton and fifty dollars more for delivering it on Rock 
Creek, and I bought it at that figure. That would 
cause dad to hold up his hands, but then they don't 
make thirty dollars a day on an average in old Con- 
necticut. 

(Jackson's figures are verified on the authority of one Johnson, who, in 
1851, sold ten tons of hay, which he had cut on a tract of land he had 
settled on in Penn Valley, at two hundred and fifty dollars a ton, delivered 
at Rough and Ready, a distance of four miles.) 

40 



A FORTY-NINER 

While at Centerville I hunted up the pretty 
Frenchwoman. She knew me and asked where I 
had been and what game I was running. I could 
hardly make her believe that I was a miner and not 
a sport. Her pretty French accent was very fasci- 
nating. She says she is coming back to Nevada in 
a little while and then she will ride over to the 
claim some day. I don't believe she will, but if she 
does it will cause a sensation on the creek. 

The doctor cut off McCord's leg the day before 
Christmas and he died the next day. We buried 
him on the hill along side of Donovan. He had one 
thousand two hundred dollars in dust, which we 
sent to his wife, who lives in New York City. It 
was pitiful to hear him mourn about her and his 
children before he died. 

Only worked three days this week and took out . 
fifteen ounces and a half. Our claim is as rich as 
those over on Brush Creek, and that ground has 
been considered the best of any around this section. 
There are lots of miners tramping over the country 
from one locality to another and we hear stories 
of the big yield of gold everywhere in the foothills. 
I have talked with men from Mariposa and Tuo- 
lunme Cbunties who claim to have left ounce dig- 
gings because they had heard of better places North. 
It is strange what a restlfcss, discontented lot of 
gold seekers roam around from one county to an- 
other. They can't make money fast enough at an 
ounce a day, but are prospecting for some spot 
where they can take out a bushel or more of gold 
in a week, and as there have been plenty of such 
strikes made it keeps them excited and continually 
on the tramp. I was chatting yesterday with a 

41 



\ 



THE DIARY OF 

miner from Mariposa County and he was telling 
me of the discovery at a camp called Bear Valley 
that had set the country wild. It seems there are 
a lot more Mexicans in that part of the State than 
here and they do a good deal of mining. It was 
noticed that for a couple of weeks the "greasers" 
had been very flush, selling lots 6f dust at the store 
and playing "monte'' for high stakes. Some of the 
miners put a watch on them and found them pan- 
ning on a flat about a mile from the town, and 
they soon found out that the Mexicans had struck 
the biggest kind of a deposit. It made them mad 
to think that a lot of "greasers" were getting the 
benefit of it, so they organized a company and drove 
them away by threats and force and then worked 
the ground themselves. Out of a space forty feet 
square they took out two hundred and ten thousand 
dollars and that was the end of it; just a big pocket 
of gold mixed in the rocks, specimen gold he said, 
that is, jagged and rough and not rolled and water- 
worn as the dust is in the creeks and ravines. It 
was an outrage on the Mexicans, but the jumpers 
justified their action on the ground that California 
had been ceded to the United States, and that white 
men had superior rights to the mines. Anyway, 
they got away with the gold. 

JANUARY S, 1851.— Another year and I have 
been away from the States twelve months. I was 
desperately homesick for a while, but since Ander- 
son and me became partners I am fairly well recon- 
ciled, although at times I long to see the old folks. 
I have not done so badly, for I have sent father 
four thousand five hundred dollars, have about a 

42 



A FORTY-NINER 

thousand dollars on hand and we have been offered 
and refused ten thousand dollars for the claim. 
We will probably work it out in three or four months 
and then hunt another one. Pard still wants to 
go to river mining, and maybe we will. We had 
another big week working up the center of the claim 
and cleaned up ninety-seven ounces. If it only 
holds out I will soon be a rich man. Our neigh- 
bors have finished the ditch and it is over a mile 
long. We share the water, each using it for one day, 
and as it carries twice as much water as when we 
first dug it, there is enough to sluice off top dirt and 
keep us five days cleaning up the gravel and bed- 
rock. Kellogg, of Brush Creek, has started to cut 
a ditch taking the water out of the creek a mile 
above us, but we have notified him that he must 
not interfere with the amount we want in pur ditch. 
We do not propose to allow the water to be taken 
to another creek to our injury. 

JANUARY 12, 1851.— It's been raining all the 
week and the creeks are running bank-full. Over 
on Deer Creek it drove all the miners out and filled 
their claims with rock and gravel. They have struck 
the richest kind of diggings up on Nigger Hill above 
Nevada, in deep ground, and they have to coyote 
to get the dirt. They say that they are maki ng a 
hundred dollars a day to the man. A dozen French- 
men own one of the richest of the claims, and a 

(Note.— **Coyoting^ was a local descriptive term of a mining method 
which meant the sinking of shafts, and running small drifts from the 
bottom in the bedrock in all directions until the excavated banks became 
dangerous, when the shaft would be abandoned and another sunk close by. 
It was dangerous work and many a miner lost his life by caving banks. 
It was the direct precursor of xegular drift mining, when the tunneb wer^ 
systematically timbered.) 

43 



THE DIARY OF 

party of roughs drove them out and jumped the 
ground on the pretext that the Frenchmen were not 
American citizens and could not legally hold mining 
claims. There was a big excitement and a miners^ 
meeting called, which decided that the Frenchmen's 
titles were as good as anybody else's and so the 
foreigners got the ground again, which shows that 
we have more regard for other people's rights than 
the Mariposa miners. We got our hay over last 
week, but the fellow swore he would not deliver 
another ton for five hundred dollars. I don't blame 
him, as there was no road farther than Selby Flat, 
but we cut away the brush and helped him to get 
through. Selby Flat is getting to be quite a place. 
Three families, who came across the plains from 
Missouri and Illinois, have settled there in the last 
month. One of the "Pikes" has two daughters, so 
that there are now seven women on the flat and 
they talk about giving a dance there next week. 

We had a poor week on the claim. Only took 
out eleven ounces. The pay seems to be in a streak 
about four feet wide up the center; still, eleven 
ounces is not so bad after all. I get the nicest 
letters from home; think I may go back in the 
spring. I sent dad a thousand dollars for himself 
and told him I did not want him nor mother to 
work hard any more. Wrote him to get a hired girl for 
her and if he bought the Slocum farm to just lay 
back and boss the two. We can stand hired men 
at twelve dollars a month. Some of the claims 
down below us are doing very well, but none are 
paying as much as ours. 



44 



CHAPTER V. 

WEATHER CXJNTRASTS — ANTICIPATING 
THE EXHAUSTION OF THE PLACERS— A 
LIVELY DANCE AT SELBY FLAT— THE 
FIGHT BETWEEN THE JACKASS AND 
THE FEROCIOUS BEAR— DECAMPING 
SHOWMEN— THE TOWN CELEBRATES 
THE EVENT— A FOOTHILL DITTY— THE 
MURDER OF HENRY NORTH— FOLLOW- 
ING THE CHANNELS UNDER THE 
MOUNTAIN— THE GROWTH OF NEVADA 
CITY. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER V. 

JANUARY 19, 1851.— Have not written much 
about Pard lately, but he is a great comfort. He is 
a diflFerent man than when we joined fortunes, 
doesn't sulk and get moods as he did at first, and 
I notice he doesn't tear up his letters any more. 
He says it is all on account of our dog Jack who 
came along just at the right time, but that is all 
nonsense, alUiough it is wonderful how much they 
think of each other. The rain is over, the nights 
are cold and frosty, but the grass is growing and 
wild flowers are blooming. When I think of the old 
Norfolk place, which at this time of the year is 
buried under big snowdrifts, I don't feel as if I cared 
to leave this country. It seems a pity that when 
it is all worked out there will be nothing to stay for. 
Pard has a different opinion. He predicts that they\ 
will grow wheat and fruit in the valleys and Cali- 
fornia will be a rich and big State, and he tells me 
that he is thinking of investing five thousand dollars/ 
in real estate at the Bay. The claim paid eighteen 
ounces this last week. 

JANUARY 26, 1851.— There was a lively time 
over at Selby Flat Wednesday night. The landlord 
gave a ball at the hotel. All the women were there 
— seven of them — and about two hundred men. 
They had a fiddler — ^Mart Simonson; one of the 
best I ever heard. It was great sport for a while, 
but towards morning some of the men got too much 
gin aboard and a quarrel started about the right 

47 



THE DIARY OF 

to dance with one of the Missouri girls. Pistols 
were drawn, the lights put out, at least a hundred 
shots fired ; but, funny enough, only one man was 
hurt — Sam Creeley, who was hit in the leg. I went 
out through a window and did not wait to see the 
finish. It was too exciting for me. y 

Had a long letter from dad. He l^as bought the 
Slocum farm in my name, but now it's mine I 
would not go back and work on it as I did on the 
old place under any circumstances. I couldn't con- 
tent myself. Pard laughs at me and says how about 
that little song I used to sing: 

"A little farm, a little wife, 
A dozen babies, a happy life.*' 

A foot of snow fell last week, but it soon melted 
oflF. Claim still paying well. 

FEBRUARY 2, 1851.— The town went clean 
crazy this afternoon. I would not have believed 
that white men could have made such fools of them- 
selves if I had not been there. When I was over 
in Nevada yesterday I saw on the front of Cald- 
well's store a big poster which said there was going 
to be a grand fight between a ferocious grizzly bear 
and the champion fighting jackass of the State, the 
scrap to take place Sunday afternoon in a valley 
just beyond the ridge on the trail to Centerville 
(Grass Valley). The bill claimed that the jack 
had whipped two bulls and killed a mountain lion 
in previous fights at Sonora, and was expected to 
be a fair match for the grizzly. Most everybody 
thought it was a sell, but we found out that a ring 
had been built and preparations made for the fight. 

48 



A FORTY-NINER 

I was curious to see it and rode down to the valley 
in the afternoon along with about all the rest of 
the population. 

Sure enough, there was a stockade about forty 
feet in diameter, made of split pine stakes driven 
in the ground and bound together around the top 
with strips of rawhide. It looked pretty weak to 
hold^ a big grizzly, but one of the showmen said 
the jack would keep the bear too busy for him to 
think of breaking away, so we concluded to chance 
it. A large cage held the beast, a trap door opening 
into the ring, and we could hear the bear growling, 
although the chinks were stopped up so that nobody 
could see the prisoner. The fighting jackass was 
hitched to one of the stakes and for looks he didn't 
show to whip a sick pup, let alone a fierce grizzly; 
but the boss was willing to take odds in his favor, 
although no one wanted any bets on the game. A 
rope about two hundred feet from the ring stretched 
around the stockade. It cost a dollar to get inside« 
and as at least two thousand rustled for logs ana 
stumps to stand on and paid the money it was a 
pretty profitable speculation. After waiting an 
hour or more the crowd grew impatient and yelled 
for the show to begin, but the boss would not start 
it until a lot of outsiders, who had climbed trees 
and were trying to see the fight free had put up 
the same price as the rest of us, and, as we all 
thought that was fair, they had to pungle. 

The jackass was turned loose and started in 
nibbling grass as if he were not particularly con- 
cerned in the pr6ceedings. Then, after a lot of 
fiddling around, two men pried open the trap door, 
and we all held our breaths, expecting to see a grand 

49 



THE DIARY OF 

rush of a ferocious beast and a dead burro. The 
bear wouldn't come out until they poked him with 
a pole, and when he finally waddled into the en- 
closure there was a roar from the crowd that made 
the woods ring. Instead of a fierce, blood-thirsty 
grizzly it was only a scared little cinnamon bear 
that didn't weigh over four hundred or five hun- 
dred pounds. He sat on his haunches for a minute, 
frightened almost to death by the noise and the 
crowd, and then walked in a friendly way toward 
his opponent. The donkey wasn't making friends 
and when the bear got close enough the jackass 
whirled and gave him a couple of thundering kicks 
in the ribs, and then went on eating grass as if 
bears were nothing to him. The bear picked himself 
up, made a break for the fence, went over it in two 
jumps and started for the chapparal. 

The crowd scattered in every direction, except a 
few who banged away at the beast with revolvers, 
but it got safely into the brush and that was the 
last seen of Mr. Bear. Everybody began yelling 
to hang the showmen, but in the excitement they 
had taken to their horses, lit out of the country 
and there was nothing left but the jackass. A pro- 
cession was formed, the animal in the lead, and 
we all tramped back to town, shouting, singing and 
banging away with pistols. When we reached Cald- 
well's store the place went mad. The crowd would 
drive the burro into a saloon, insist on pledging 
him for drinks, then redeem him by taking up a 
collection for the bill, and repeat at the next saloon. 
The town was in for a grand drunk, but I soon 
got tired of it and rode home. I told Pard about 
it and he remarked that as we could not make the 

SO 



A FORTY-NINER 

jackass drink he was the only sensible one in the 
outfit. It was a pretty good trick and the fellows 
cleaned up at least two thousand dollars and got 
away with it. I noted one queer thing and that 
was the song in which everybody joined. A half 
dozen would sing the verse : 

**There was an old woman had three sons, 

Joshua, James and John. 
Josh was hung, James was drowned. 
And John was lost and never was found. 
And that was the end of the three sons, 

Joshua, James and John." 

Then the crowd shouted out the chorus, which 
was: 

"John I. Sherwood, he's a going home.*' 

Nobody seemed to know who Sherwood was, or 
why he was going home. Pard says he heard the 
same song and chorus over at Hangtown and 
Spanish Dry Diggings before he came here. 
^ Prices of all sorts of grub are down one-half of 
what they were six months ago and everything is 
getting pretty reasonable. Flour is only eight dol- 
lars a sack, pork and bacon twenty-five cents a 
pound, and tobacco retails at fifty cents a plug. 

The daim is still holding out well ; we have taken 
out one hundred and twenty-one ounces in two 
weeks. It is the best anywhere around Rock Creek, 
but our ditch partners are doing pretty well. I hope 
to clean up about ten thousand dollars beside what 
I have sent home; then I shall be pretty well fixed. 

FEBRUARY 9, 1851.— I have had a shock this 

SI 



THE DIARY OF 

week that has made me feel bad. Wednesday the 
expressman brought me a letter and a package from 
Sacramento, addressed to me. The letter was 
signed Brant Phillips and said that Henry North 
had been stabbed and killed in a gambling house 
last Tuesday night in a row with a Mexican. He 
lived only a few hours after being stabbed, and 
had asked that I should be written to as I knew his 
folks. The Mexican has escaped and they had 
buried North outside the town. There were no 
letters or papers and he had no money or property 
except the ivory-handled pistol which Phillips sent 
along in a package with the letter. It makes me 
feel grieved and conscience smitten, as it seems as 
if I ought to have persuaded him to come here. 
Pard says I am not to blame, that he was just one 
of the weak kind that was bound to go wrong and 
I could not have influenced him any different if I 
had had the chance. After talking it over we agreed 
it was best not to write the truth, as it would do 
no good and make his folks feel worse, so I wrote 
father that a bank caved on North at Mormon Bar, 
where he was mining, and to tell his people that 
the accident caused his death. It would be an 
awful disgrace in their eyes if the real facts should 
come out; but I don't see how they can, as nobody 
knows anything about North except myself. 

The claim is still paying well; and to think that 
Henry might have been alive and sharing in it if 
he hadn't been so foolish ! I want to write to Hetty, 
but don't feel capable of telling her a string of 
lies. 

FEBRUARY 16, 1851.— Strong and his two 

52 



A FORTY-NINER 

partners made a big strike last week. They are 
working in the creek bank a quarter of a mile below 
us and it leaked out that they took out over three 
thousand dollars in six days. Nobody begrudges 
them their luck for they are good fellows. The 
news has brought a lot of miners to the creek, pros- 
pecting along the banks, but no more discoveries 
have been made. 

I was over on Selby Flat yesterday afternoon 
and found that while the bed pf Brush Creek is 
about worked out the lead seems to run into the 
hill. Several companies are following it, sinking 
shafts and running drifts, and all getting good re- 
turns. Kellogg has taken out over twenty thousand 
dollars and several others are doing as well. They 
have got the same kind of dig^ngs on the other 
side of Sugar Loaf and there is no telling how 
much gold there is in this country if the channels 
run into the hills. Pard says we had better follow 
our streak up past the ditch, as it may develop the 
same ^s the Brush Creek leads. 

I got a long letter from home and dad says he 
thinks I ought to be satisfied with what I have made 
and come home to comfort nupther and him. It 
does not seem as if this was the right sort of a life 
for a man — ^no women, no church, nothing of what 
there was in Norfolk, but then there is a lot in 
this country that Norfolk hasn't got. One isn't so 
cramped and it seems as if there was more room 
to turn around in. I used to think Squire Battell 
was the richest man in the world, and he ain't 
worth more than thirty thousand dollars. If I can 
go back with that much I would not mind; but 
I never could settle down again to farm work. 

S3 



THE DIARY OF 

FEBRUARY 23, 185L— It's been no such winter 
as '49 and '50. About a quarter as much rain and 
only a foot of snow, which melted nearly as fast 
as it fell. The nights are frosty, but the middle of 
the day is warm and the grass is up six inches. 
Nevada is getting to be quite a town. There are 
more than one hundred frame buildings beside a 
lot of tents and log cabins and they are talking 
about building a theater. There is another town 
down the ridge, called Rough and Ready and it's 
as lively as Nevada. They hung a nigger there 
last week for stealing. It's a queer thing how well 
we get along without any courts or law. Over in 
Nevada the miners have elected an alcalde, but 
his decisions are not binding, only as they are ac* 
cepted by the people. Most of the cases are mining 
disputes and a miners' jury decides these. Stealing 
is punished by a whipping and banishment. Out- 
side of a few cutting and shooting scrapes among 
the gamblers there have been no serious crimes, 
and it is a fact that we are more orderly and better 
behaved as a rule than the eastern towns from which 
*' we came. 



54 



CHAPTER VI. 

A REAL ESTATE SPECULATION — EN- 
COUNTER WITH A ROAD AGENT— DIS- 
COVERY OF RICH QUARTZ VEINS AT 
GRASS VALLEY— A VALUABLE SPECI- 
MEN—MADAME FERRAND VISITS ROCK 
CREEK — RICH DIGGINGS ON THE 
NORTH YUBA— GENEROSITY OF THE 
PIONEERS — THE TWENTY-ONE 
DEALER'S FORTUNE. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER VL 

MARCH 2, 1851.— In the last month we have 
taken a little over four thousand dollars out of the 
claim aod it will take us considerable longer to 
work it out than we expected, as the flat seems to 
pay pretty well all over. I have got over two thou- 
sand dollars on hand beside what I have sent home, 
so that I have made more than my mark; still I 
am not going to quit as long as it pays as it does 
now. Pard tells me that with what he had before 
we joined fortunes and what he has made since, 
he has over ten thousand dollars. He has not sold 
any of his dust, but has it buried, nobody knows 
where but himself. He thinks it is too much money 
to lie idle and has made up his mind to invest it 
in San Francisco lots. He wants me to join him 
in the speculation and argues that some day it will 
be a big dty. I haven't got much faith in it and 
neither has anybody else to whom I have talked 
about it; but as I owe to him the most of my good 
luck I did not feel like refusing, so agreed to put in 
what I have saved. He says we will make a trip 
to the Bay in a month or so from now and look 
over the ground together. One thing is certain. 
We are all fooled in the quantity of gold there is 
in this country. We thought a year ago that the 
rivers, creeks and gulches contained it all, although 
somewhere there would be found the source of it; 
an immense deposit of pure gold from which all 
the dust and nuggets were broken off and washed 
down the streams. Several parties have hunted 

57 



THE DIARY OF 

for this, but they haven't come across it yet. We do 
find that the gold streaks run into the banks and 
under the hills and, in some places, as at Rough 
and Ready, on the tops of the ridges, and instead 
of being played out there are more and richer dig- 
gings (fiscovered every day, I would not be sur- 
prised if it took three or four years before it will 
all be worked out. 

MARCH 9, 1851.— Rode over into Nevada this 
morning and loafed around all day. Took dinner 
at. the Hotel de Paris and who should I meet there 
but my little French girl. She recognized me and 
apologized for calling me a gambler. Said she had 
mfade a lot of money dealing Twenty-One, most of 
which she had saved and sent back to France ; but 
she was tired of the life and thought she would 
quit soon and go back to her own country. She 
asked me a lot about myself, where I was working, 
and said if I didn't mind she would ride out and 
see me some day during the week. Of course I 
replied "Come along"; but I have said very little 
to Pard about her and I guess he will be surprised 
if she should come. Still, I don't think there is a 
chance of her making the trip. This is about as 
pleasant a day as I have passed since I have been 
in California. Had quite an adventure on my 
way home. It was after dark, although the moon 
was shining, and as I struck into the trail beyond 
Selby Flat some fellow grabbed the bridle and or- 
dered me to get off the horse. My foot at his side 
had slipped out of the stirrup. Without thinking 
I gave him a kick in the head which made him let 
go. Then I jabbed my heels into the horse and 

58 



A FORTY-NINER 

Started off at a gallop, but I hadn't gone forty 
feet away when he turned loose his gun. Luckily 
he didn't hit me and I was soon out of shooting 
distance. Pard called me a fool for taking such 
chances and I guess I was, but I got off all right 
anyway. 

The town is all excitement over the discovery of 
go4d inside rocks. Over in Grass Valley (Center- 
ville it seems had been discarded) they found veins 
of a white stone which we call quartz and some of it 
has great masses and leaves of gold mixed in. It 
is the samje sort of rock that most of the pebbles in 
our gravel is made of and we have found in our 
claims several of these pebbles that had gold in 
them. We thought they were curious and had no 
idea that there were solid streaks of it. I saw one 
piece in Hamlet Davis' store to-day that had been 
brought up from Grass Valley. It was as big as 
my head and all covered over with gold. Davis 
said there was as much as five hundred dollars in 
it. There was a big crowd looking at it, discussing 
its origin, and a great many were of the opinion 
that this was the source of the gold we had been 
looking for. Others agreed that if there was much 
more like it there would be so much gold taken out 
that it would get to be cheaper than iron. 

MARCH 16, 1851.— Sure enough, Madame Fer- 
rand — ^that's her name — came over to Rock Creek 
Thursday. We were eating dinner and when I 
went out and helped her off her horse Pard came 
near falling off his chair. I introduced her and 
she began laughing and said her ride had given 
her an appetite and would we please invite her to 

59 



THE DIARY OF 

dinner. Of course we asked her to eat; it was 
mighty poor grub : tea, beans, bread and dried apple 
sauce, but she seemed to like it. She talks fairly 
good English; but imagine my surprise when An- 
derson began to jabber away in French to hen I 
was out of the running and was a little provoked, 
especially as it was the first I knew that Pard could 
speak any foreign lingo. She wanted to see us 
working, so we took her up to the claim and showed 
her how to pan out dirt. Pard saw to it that she 
had a rich pan, and with our help she washed out 
half an ounce. Then she sat on the bank chatting 
until pretty near sundown, when we went back to 
the cabin and had supper. She was.n't very com- 
plimentary about our shanty. Said she would come 
over some day and tidy it up, and Pard whispered 
to me: *The Lord forbid." I saddled up the horse 
and rode to town with her. So far as I know she 
is the first woman that has ever been on Rock 
Creek. She told me that she had come to Cali- 
fornia with her husband in H9 ; that he learned her 
how to deal Twenty-One. After making a lot of 
money in San Francisco they went to Sacramento, 
where he was taken sick and died of cholera. Then 
she came to Nevada with some Frenchmen and won 
a lot more money here, but she had got sick of it 
and refused to deal any mdre. She had an eighth 
interest in the French claim at Coyoteville and as 
soon as she sold that out was going back to France, 
as with what she and her husband had made she 
had money enough to live on the rest of her life. 
I got back to the cabin about ten o'clock. Pard was 
asleep and Jack didn't make any fuss, so I slipped 
into bed without waking him up. 

60 



A FORTY^^NINER 

MARCH 23, 1851.— I have had to stand a lot 
of joshing from Pard over the Madame's visit, 
especially as she has made two more trips out here 
since last Sunday. Of course, I told him she was 
only a passing acquaintance and he laughed and 
said: ^^She is a fascinating little devil, and if she 
wants you she will land you sure/' That is all non- 
sense. It is pleasant to talk to a pretty woman, 
particularly if she is decent. So far as I can learn, 
nobody has a word to say against her except her 
gambling, but she is no more to me than I am to 
her and that is nothing. 

It looks as if our flat is going to turn out to be 
a much bigger claim than we expected. The gravel, 
which is from; two to four feet deep, pays pretty 
well and there are rich streaks on the bed-rock that 
pan out big. If it holds out we will have at least 
four months' more work. We average about forty 
ounces a week, and at that rate ought to take out 
eleven or twelve thousand dollars more. 

If we do I will be about fourteen thousand dollars 
ahead for a little over a year's work. That is more 
than most of the miners are making, but there are 
lots of richer diggings. Brush Creek has paid a 
hundred dollars a day to the man and on Coyote 
Hill they have taken out as high as two and three 
thousand dollars a day. A couple of miners came 
down from the North Fork of the Yuba and brought 
forty-three thousand dollars with ^them — a pack 
mule load. They took it from a bar called Good- 
year in less than two months' work. They say 
there are a lot more claimls just as rich. There has 
been quite a stampede of miners from here. It's 
a curious thing that our gold is mostly fine, very 

6i 



THE DIARY OF 

few nuggets, and the gold from there is coarse. 
They say there was one piece found which was 
worth six thousand dollars. As near as we could 
make out the new diggings are about fifty miles 
north and farther up in the mountains. There is 
still a lot of excitement about quartz, although it 
has simmered down some. A general search has 
been made for these veins and many found, but, 
contrary to expectation, the majority have no gold 
in them or so little that the stone is not worth 
pounding up. 

MARCH 30, 1851. — It is astonishing how many 
people are coming to California. The hills are 
crowded with miners and prospectors and we hear 
good reports everywhere. Dozens pass by our 
cabin every day, bound for the streams farther up 
the mountains, and as many more on their way 
back. It don't seem possible, but it is strange the 
number of hard luck stories one hears, for there 
are many who are disgusted with the country and 
are tramping their way back to Sari Francisco. 
There was a big fire in Nevada last week and all 
of the principal stores, hotels and houses were 
burned down. 

We have had a sad case on the creek. Allen 
Talbot, who is little more than a boy, has been ail- 
ing all winter and has been struck with paralysis. 
He is completely helpless and the doctor says the 
only chance he has is to go to a hospital. He had no 
money, so we raised a subscription. Pard and I gave 
a hundred dollars and altogether we raised seven 
hundred and fifty dollars. The lad was taken away 
yesterday and it is a question if he ever recovers. 

62 



A FORTY-NINER 

As a rule, considering the exposure and hard- 
ships, the most of us are in the best of health. It's 
a queer sort of life we lead; back-breaking work all 
day; doing our own cooking and washing; no 
amusements, except a friendly game of euchre and 
an occasional trip to town. There is nothing there 
worth while, except the gambling saloons and the 
Mexican girls at the fandango house. We long for 
the company of decent women, and while there are 
a few scattered around and more coming, still the 
miners do not get much chance to associate with 
them. I am looked upon as particularly favored, 
because Madame Ferrand rides out to the claim to 
see me, and it is a pleasure to be with her, but that 
will all end shortly. Pard and I are going to the 
Bay next week and she is going along, and will 
leave for France shortly after. She sold her share 
in the French claim for seven thousand dollars and 
tells me she has got about forty thousand dollars 
put away. That is a pretty good stake for a woman. 
I have learned quite a lot of French and can talk 
a little to her in her own language. 

Sam Carter was bitten by a rattlesnake last week 
over on Round Mountain. He was out hunting 
and set down on a log and the snake struck him in 
the leg. He cut out the bite with his knife, rushed 
to town and the doctor brought him through all 
right, but it was a narrow squeak. 

Kellogg has finished his ditch to Brush Creek. 
It is about three miles long. He has agreed not 
to interfere with us, but there is plenty of water 
for everybody. 



63 



CHAPTER VII. 

A TRIP TO SAN FRANCISCO— SPECULAT- 
ING IN SANDHILL LOTS— HIGH LIVING 
—HETTY BREAKS THE ENGAGEMENT 
—BACK ON THE CLAIM — NEVADA 
COUNTY ORGANIZED — DRAWING 
MONEY FROM A GRAVEL BANK— MORE 
GOLD DISCOVERIES— THE RESCUE OF 
A PARTY OF UNFORTUNATE IMMI- 
GRANTS—THE "LOST GRAVE." 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER VII. 

APRIL 6, 1851.— Pard, the Madame and I are 
off for the Bay to-morrow. It was a question what 
we would do with our claim, as under mining law 
a day's work must be done every week to hold it. 
iFinally Tom Gleason and Jack Fisk agreed to strip 
top dirt for us once a week, we to pay them an ounce 
apiece a day for their work. They are good friends 
of ours and will keep the jumpers off. Pard is the 
leader and the most popular man on the creek and 
we are not afraid of any of our neighbors, but some 
outsiders might take a notion to the ground. ^ We 
live up to our home-made law strictly and it is 
understood that unless the specified amount of work 
is done the claim is open to location, even when 
the tools have been left in it. We have had one case 
on the creek of a young fellow from Maine, who 
has been laid up with the rheumatism pretty nearly 
all winter. He had a good claim and in order to 
hold it for him the boys have taken turns working 
it for him, putting in one day a week. We have 
taken out nearly enough to pay for his grub and 
now he is back working it himself and doing well. 

Pard dug up his dust; it was under the chimney 
back of the cabin. I gave him two thousand five 
hundred dollars to go along with it and he has sent 
it down to the Bay by Freeman & Company's ex- 
press. He says it will almost break his heart to 
part with "Jack,** but Gleason has, promised to take 
good care of both the dog and the horse. We have 

67 



THE DIARY OF 

engaged seats and paid passage in Bower's stage 
to Sacramento and will take boat from there down. 

APRIL 27, 1851.— Back after a three weeks' trip. 
We have had a great time and it has been a holiday 
that both Pard and I have enjoyed. It was like 
getting back into civilization again, although San 
Francisco is not the same sort of place as most 
eastern cities. There is a rush of people going and 
coming, men from the mines with their pile and 
men from the States on their way to make it. We 
lived high while we were there; our meals averaged 
about two dollars each, but we did not begrudge it 
after a year's steady diet of pork and beans. The gani- 
bling houses were a sight and it was good for sore 
eyes to see so many well dressed and good looking 
women. Pard made his investment, buying about 
twenty fifty-vara lots about half a mile out on the 
Mission road and six over on North Beach. The 
madame insisted on putting in some money and 
took eight fifty-varas at four thousand dollars. I 
n^er had less faith in an investment. Our land 
is nothing but a pile of white sand and, while there 
is some chance for North Beach to grow, the dty 
will never get out to our Mission lots in a hundred 
years. 

The neighbors were all glad to see us back and 
Jack went wild. I don't know which was the hap- 
piest — ^Pard or the dog. Nobody had bothered our 
claims; Gleason and Fisk had kept their contract 
and we will begin work again to-morrow. 

MAY 4, 1851. — ^Am not in the best of spirits. 
Things happened at the Bay that I did not tell 

68 



A FORTY-NINER 

Pard about and I have got a couple of letters from 
home that are not pleasant. Father writes that 
mother's health is failing and advises me to quit 
and come home. Believes my being there would do 
her more good than any medicine. If I thought 
it was anything serious I would go, but while I am 
doing so well here it does not seem right to drop 
the chance to make a fortune. Anyway, I will 
wait until I get another letter. Henry North's 
death has been a great shock to his folks, but it 
would be worse if they knew the truth. Hetty wrote 
me the meanest kind of a letter, blaming me for not 
looking out for her brother, while it was a fact that 
I never knew where he was until I hunted him up 
in Sacramento. His murderer has not been cap- 
tured. I guess nobody tried very hard, as it was a 
gambling row anyhow. Hetty throws me over, says 
' she can't trust her happiness to me. That's like a 
woman, but I don't know but it's for the best and 
I am not taking her decision very much to heart. 

After three weeks' rest mining comes hard for a 
time, but we are both getting used to it again. We 
cleaned up the ground that Gleason and Fisk had 
sluiced off and took out fifty-four and one-half 
ounces. That more than pays our expenses for the 
trip. 

MAY 11, 1851. — ^Nevada is all built up again 
since the fire; better and more substantial than it 
was before. They have also built a Methodist 
Church on the hill west of the town and have a 
regular preacher. It was pleasant to notice eight or 
ten women in the congregation. The Legislature 
made a new county and called it Nevada, and an 

69 



THE DIARY OF 

election was held while we were gone to the Bay. 
Caswell was elected judge and Johnny Gallagher 
sheriff, so that now we have a regular law outfit. 
Gallagher has appointed Anderson deputy for Rock 
Creek district and we have a peace officer here with 
legal authority. If we get along as peacefully as 
for the past year, Pard won't be very busy. 

Showed Pard Hetty's letter and he said, "Give 
her time; she don't mean it." He seemed to think I 
was not worried over it, which is true. I have got 
nothing to blame myself for and why should I let 
her play see-saw with me. I answered her letter 
and told her she was the best judge, and, although 
she had been very unjust, it was for her to decide. 
Pard don't know how matters stand between me 
and my French sweetheart. I have not told him 
that she wanted me to marry and go back to France 
with her and I was almost persuaded to do it, and 
that she finally decided to make a visit to her home 
and come back in the fall and then we should come 
to some agreement. I believe I would have made 
the jump had it not been for fear of what my folks 
would say and now I am half sorry that I did not 
go. She wrote me just before she left on the 
steamer, but it is in French and I can't read a word 
of it and am ashamed to ask Pard to translate it. 

MAY 18, 1851. — ^We put in a steady week's work 
and got forty-one and three-quarters ounces. It's 
like drawing money out of a bank and we have three 
months more ahead of us if it all pays. The bed- 
rock is nearly level, but rises up on both sides of 
the flat and there is no gravel on the hill. The water 
has gone down in Deer Creek and the miners are 

70 



A FORTY-NINER 

getting back into the bed, but it was pretty well 
worked out last year and isn't paying very well. 
The best diggings are up on Nigger Hill and Man- 
zanita Flat and there is another place called Gold 
Run and a flat at the head of it that is rich. Amos 
Laird & Co. have most of the flat and I heard that 
for the past month they have been taking out on 
an average of one thousand dollars per day. There 
are three or four companies on the head of Brush 
Creek that are doing well. They are working 
ground that is from thirty to fifty feet deep, coyoting 
and drifting. Kellogg is blasting out a rock cut 
fifteen or twenty feet through the solid granite to 
drain the channel. He and his partner have taken 
out over seventy thousand dollars in the past year. 
Good diggings have also been found on Shady Creek 
and Badger Hill and there are four or five hundred 
nwners working in that vicinity. It seems as if there 
was no end to it; we hear of strikes every day and 
in every direction and we are sometimes tempted 
to go prospecting, but our claim is too good to quit 
just yet. The miners generally agree that one 
should be content with ounce diggings. 

Early in the week a miner came down from 
Sailor Ravine and told us that up on the ridge 
where the emigrant road comes through the moun- 
tains a party was camped and were in distress and 
that he was going into town to get relief for them. 
Pard, who is always first when aid for the sick or 
sore is wanted, volunteered to go with him and hurry 
along the supplies and suggested that I should take 
the horse, ride up where they were and hearten 
them: up a bit by letting them know that a relief 
party was coming. I found them camped about 

71 



THE DIARY 9 F 

eight miles up the ridge and they were certainly 
in a bad fix. There were three families, men and 
their wives and five children, one baby not a month 
old that had been bom on the Humboldt desert. 
The mother was nothing but skin and bone, a young 
woman, and she could scarcely walk she was so 
weak and worn out. It was pitiful to see her cling 
to and try to nurse the baby, so forlorn that the 
sight would have melted a heart of stone. The rest 
of them did not look much better and one, a young 
girl fourteen years old, was sick to the point of 
death. They had four yoke of oxen, who were 
walking skeletons, and, to look at them, it was a j 
miracle that they had succeeded in crossing the 
mountains, as they were in deep snow all the way 
until they reached their last camping ground, where 
they had got out of it and in a place where there 
was some grass feed for their cattle. Their grub 
had given out and they did not have enough pro- 
visions on hand for another meal. It was one of 
the saddest plights I ever saw, but I cheered them 
up and told them they need not worry any more 
as there would be plenty for them all before sun- 
down. Sure enough, Pard, Lawyer Dunn and Tom 
Buckner rode into the camp before dark, driving a 
pack-mule loaded with all kinds of grub. It wasn't 
long before a good hot meal was prepared ; there were 
willing cooks, and we assured the emigrants that 
their troubles were over. The poor girl was too 
sick to eat; in fact, was almost unconscious. Her 
sufferings were too much for Buckner and he swore 
he would have a doctor there by midnight, if he 
had to bind him hand and foot and bring him by 
main force. Buckner is a good fellow if he is a 

72 



A FORTY-NINER 

gambler and we knew he would keep his word. The 
girl's mother coaxed her to swallow a couple of 
spoonfuls of brandy — Frank Dunn luckily had 
brought a flask along — and that seemed to revive 
her. They all felt better after the meal and we built 
up a big camp fire and set around it listening to 
the story of their adventures and hardships until 
Tom got back. Sure enough, he brought Dr. Hunt 
along with him, who after examining the girl said 
that it was a case of exhaustion and prostration for 
want of proper nourishment and that the brandy we 
had given her was exactly what she needed. Her 
father broke down completely and sobbed like a 
child when the doctor told him there was a chance 
for her recovery. We left them in good spirits, 
promising to send them up some more grub the 
next day. Pard advised them to stay where they 
were for two or three days, until their oxen re- 
cruited, and then to come into town and we would 
see that they got a fair start. This is a land of 
plenty, but the snowline and starvation is not very 
far away. We all thought about the Donner party, 
and it was a coincidence that not half a mile from 
where these emigrants were camped was the grave 
of a young girl who was brought out from Starva- 
tion Camp by one of the rescuing parties that went 
to the relief of the Donners, and who died and was 
buried on the ridge. A pen of logs has been piled 
around it and it is known as the "Lost Grave." 



73 



CHAPTER VIII. 

MURDER ON THE TRAIL— A PURSUING 
POSSE— WANTED, A FRENCH DICTION- 
ARY—CARING FOR THE DISTRESSED 
IMMIGRANTS-JACKSON'S CONFESSION 
—THE JOLLY CROWD AT THE SALER- 
ATUS RANCH— A MIDNIGHT CONCERT 
AND A ROW— HAYING IN THE MOUN- 
TAINS-LETTERS FROM HOME— THE 
OLD FOLKS TAKING IT EASY— A PEACE 
PERSUADE R— PARD'S DISPOSITION 
CHANGES FOR THE BETTER. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER VIII. 

MAY 25, 1851.— On Thursday last a fellow rode 
up post haste to the claim and inquired if one of us 
was an officer, and when Pard answered that he 
was a deputy sheriff the man said he was coming 
in on the trail from Kanaka Creek and just after 
crossing the river found two men dead ; both shot 
and evidently murdered that morning as they were 
not stiff yet. Pard left me to clean up while he 
went down the creek to summon a posse, and the 
man went on to town to inform the sheriff. By 
the time he got back with his men, five beside me, 
I was ready and we started for the place. When 
we got to Blue Tent we learned that a party horse- 
back — ^two Mexicans and a white man — ^had been 
seen before noon skirting the hill and making 
through the woods for the ridge. It was five o'clock 
in the afternoon before we got to where the men lay 
and there was everything to prove that they had 
been murdered. One was shot through the head 
and the other three times in the back. They were 
Americans, and as there were no arms or money 
on them there was no doubt they had been robbed. 
The sheriff arrived about dusk, but there was noth- 
ing to do except set a watch to guard the bodies 
from the coyotes and send a man up the trail to 
find out who the murdered men were. Our party 
tramped back to the creek tired out, but we were 
lucky enough on the way to get some grub and 
coffee from the miners at Blue Tent. We learned 
a couple of days later that the men were miners 

77 



THE DIARY OF 

from New Orleans Camp; that they had cleaned 
up about seven thousand dollars between them and 
were on their way to Nevada and the Bay when 
they were killed. We buried them down on the 
bank of the river, as it was impossible to pack their 
bodies in to town. Pard with my horse is oflF with 
the sheriff hunting the murderers and has been 
away since Friday. I cleaned up yesterday after- 
noon and got twenty-seven ounces. Have not been 
able to read my letter yet; tried to get a French 
dictionary in town and found that books were as 
scarce as hens' teeth, so had to send to San Fran- 
cisco for it. Think I will study French. Pard 
would help me out, but I hardly like to ask him as 
I do not exactly know how he would look at it. If 
I can screw up my courage I think I will tell him 
all about the madame. What with the starving 
emigrants and the murderers we have had an ex- 
citing week. 

JUNE 1, 1851. — ^We are certainly having glorious 
weather. The days are getting a little warm, but 
the nights are cool and one, to be comfortable, has 
to sleep under a blanket. We gather up the fresh 
pine needles occasionally and renew our mattress 
filling, and the pine sn^ell is not only very pleasant 
but also seems to be a regular sleeping tonic. The 
longer one lives here the more the country grows on 
one. When I was at San Francisco, where it was 
foggy, windy and disagreeable, my thoughts turned 
to the mountains and I longed to get back to Rock 
Creek again. Pard has his theory about it and in his 
learned way says the main charm is that we go back 
to nature, where we belong ; throw off our artificial 

78 



A FORTY-NINER 

civilization and turn Pagans, and that the closer 
we get to Mother Earth the more we are in accord 
with what the Great Cause intended for us. This 
all may be, but pork and beans get monotonous just 
the same as having none but the society of men 
makes one wish for the sight of and companionship 
with a woman. Still, I am afraid I am getting 
spoiled for I do not feel as if I could take up again 
the drudgery and hard work of my old life, and if it 
was not for the old folks I should care very little 
about going back to New England again. 

We heard from our emigrants and they are all 
right. Two of the men have hired out to the boss 
of the saw mill on Deer Creek and with the oxen 
are going to snake logs this summer for the mill. 
The family with the sick girl came over to Blue 
Tent and have settled down there. The miners in 
that vicinity have done everything to make them 
comfortable and are putting on airs because a white 
family is living there. The sick girl is well again 
and as lively as a kitten. 

I have made a clean breast of it to Pard and 
showed him Marie's letter. He read it carefully 
and before translating it to me said that it was 
written by a good woman. There was not very 
much to it and some parts of it made me blush, 
although it was all very simple and nothing to be 
ashamed of. Said she was first attracted by my 
fresh young face and her wonder that anyone so 
innocent looking could be a gambler, and when she 
found out her mistake and heard about me buying 
the crippled dog and packing him home she was 
interested. There was a lot more and I guess I 
must have been pretty soft when we were together 

79 



THE DIARY OF 

at the city. I don't believe she will ever come back, 
but Pard insists that I don't know an3rthing about 
women, their whims and inclinations, and I can 
make up my mind that she has come into my life 
and will not go out without a struggle. The "old 
boy" was mighty good, did not laugh or make fun 
of me or Marie, but said I would have to choose 
between her and Hetty and that I better quit moon- 
ing around like a sick calf and when the crisis came 
make my choice like a man. He does not know 
that the engagement with Hetty is off. Pard says 
it is a romance of the pines, although there is noth- 
ing very romantic in a hero in a flannel shirt and 
overalls. 

The claim pays regularly and it is almost certain 
that we will clean up ten or twelve thousand dollars 
apiece. 

JUNE 8, 1851. — ^After doing our washing yester- 
day, one flannel shirt and the dishes, and baking a 
batch of bread in the Dutch oven I went over to 
Selby Flat. There is a young fellow living there 
called MacCalkins, who has been to our claim sev- 
eral times until we got pretty well acquainted, and 
he told me what a jolly crowd he cabins with, what 
good times they have together and has asked me 
and Pard to come on a visit some Saturday evening. 
I coaxed Anderson to go along; said he did not feel 
like having a stag blowout; rather have a pasear 
with Jack over on the river, but for me to make 
the trip and pick up some new friends, it might cure 
my melancholy. Pard gets sarcastic occasionally 
about my sweethearts. 

Well, I went and stayed until three o'clock Sun- 

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A FORTY-NINER 

day morning and it was a noisy old time if nothing 
else. There are six young fellows living together 
in a big log cabin they have built near the flat and 
all are working on Brush Creek, As I remember 
their names, there were John Dunn, MacCalkins, 
Charlie Barker, Henry Shively, Delos Calkins and 
John HalL They have christened their cabin Saler- 
atus Ranch and they are certainly the wildest bunch 
of boys on the creek. Barker had killed a buck 
down on Myers ravine and they prepared a regular 
blowout of a supper: Baltimore cove oysters, veni- 
son steak, fried potatoes and dried apple dumplings 
and it was well cooked. After supper we sat under 
an old oak tree, smoked our pipes and exchanged 
experiences. They were all doing well on their 
claims. There was not a foot of Brush Creek that 
was not rich and, like everybody else, they were 
working to make their pile and go back to the 
States. I could see in spite of all their joshing that 
some of them were lonesome and discontented. 
After a while they struck up some old songs. Bar- 
ker had a sweet voice and sang Scotch airs : 'The 
Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon," '^Highland 
. Mar/' and 'The Auld Wife of Alder Valley." The 
Callans' swore these were too solemn and started 
a nigger song with the lively chorus : 

Did you ever see a gin sling made out of brandy? 

Johnny am a lingo lay. 
Did you ever see a yaller gal suckin* lasses candy? 

Johnny am a lingo lay. 

We joined in until the woods rang. The bottle 
circulated pretty freely, but I wouldn't drink — I 
have not tasted liquor since I left home ; told stories, 

8i 



THE DIARY OF 

some of them pretty rocky, and along about eleven 
o'clock they proposed to serenade the folks up on 
Selby Flat. Each one took a gold pan and a stick. 
That was the band and the boys paraded around 
the flat singing a lot of verses they had made up. 
Every miner they could find was routed out of his 
cabin and it was not long before there was at least 
a hundred in the crowd, banging on the pans and 
shouting the chorus : 

On Selby Flat we live in style; 
We'll stay right here till we make our pile. 
We're sure to do it after a while, 
Then good-bye to Califomy. 

Of course, the hotel barroom was doing a great 
business and some of the men got uproariously 
drunk. One big fellow by the name of Bob Odell 
began to pick on me because I would not drink 
and sneer at me oa account of the French girl. By 
and by he called her a name I couldn't stand and 
I knocked him head over heels and would have 
hammered the life out of him had not the boys 
dragged me off, and that broke up the party. I 
went back to the cabin, bid them good-bye, went 
home, woke up Pard and told him about the things 
and he advised me to shake Selby Flat. Said they 
were good fellows, but lack of home ties and re- 
straint made them reckless. I guess he is right — 
whiskey and deviltry seem to go hand in hand. 

Some rich diggings have been struck over on Blue 
Tent above Illinois bar, where the trail crosses the 
river. I hear that at Gopher Point they are taking 
out two and three ounces to the hand. We cleaned 
up last week forty-two ounces, but we keep it quiet. 

82 



A FORTY-NINER 

It's no good blowing your horn when there is noth- 
ing to gain. 

JUNE IS, 18S1,— I did some work last week that 
brought back old times. We have kept the horse I 
bought to ride to Sacramento and there is plenty 
of feed for him now. The hills are covered with 
grass, but later in the year it all bums up and then 
we have to provide fodder. There is a clearing up 
on the mountain of some dozen of acres where the 
grass grew pretty rank and we concluded we would 
cut it and stack it for fall and winter use. I had a 
dickens of a time finding a scythe and rake and 
had to ride down to a valley below Rough and 
Ready before I could get them. The owner would 
not sell, but agreed to loan them for a week provided 
I would pay ten dollars for their use and deposit 
thirty dollars for the safe return, which I did. It 
took Pard and me three days to mow and cure it 
and we stacked about three tons. Counting two 
days going and returning the scythe and rake and 
two men three days] cutting, Pard says our hay 
stack cost us about six hundred dollars. After all, 
we don't look at it that way; we both enjoyed the 
change of work, although it was harder than mining. 
We certainly do live an irresponsible, free and easy 
sort of a life. Every day on the claim counts for 
a hundred dollars, but we don't mind skipping a 
day, laying off for an afternoon, or quitting work 
sun two hours high. Pard says the claim is a treas- 
ure house and it doesn't make any difference 
whether we draw out our gold in one month or three, 
as long as we know it is there. 

Letters from home came yesterday. Dad says he 

83 



THE DIARY OF 

doesn't blame me for wanting to stay while I am 
making so much money. He writes that mother is 
better and that since I sent the thousand dollars 
they are playing rich folks. He is bossing the two 
f araos and mother has a hired girl. She has bought 
a new black silk dress for church and he a new 
buggy, and that is all they have used of it. Bless 
them! I suppose they think that is awful extrava- 
gant. Hetty has not been to see them but once 
since she heard of her brother's death, but he thinks 
she will come out all right. There are wonderful 
tales going round old Norfolk about my getting 
rich and half the town is California crazy. I would 
not have believed a year ago that Hetty's thoughts 
or actions would be of so little interest to me. 

I rode over to Nevada yesterday and bought a 
revolver from Zeno Davis. I hear that the fellow 
I had a fight with at Selby Flat has threatened to 
do me up when he meets me and Pard says that a 
good pistol is a great peace persuader. I won't 
hunt any trouble and I won't run from it. 

Last week was an off week, but we are going now 
to put in steady work until we clean up our ground. 

JUNE 22, 1851.— We put in good licks all the 
week and took out thirty-eight ounces. It's as- 
tonishing how steadily the claim yields. Another 
thing that makes it pleasant is the change in Pard's 
disposition. Instead of moping around and sulking, 
as he used to, he has brightened up and is as cheer- 
ful as a robin. Then he doesn't get into the dumps 
when he gets letters from home, and they come reg- 
ularly. He got one last night and after reading it 
he said: "It may not be so in Hetty's case, but there 

84 



A FORTY-NINER 

are instances when absence makes the heart grow 
fonder." Then he whistled to Jack and they went 
out under the big pine and had a great romp. He's 
a good fellow and I suppose some time he will tell 
me more about his life. I know he went through 
college and hung out his shingle as a lawyer. He 
can recite poetry by the yard and quote from all 
sorts of books. We both went down on the Yuba 
River to-day and we have about agreed to try river 
mining when the water gets low. We will form a 
company of ten men, each putting in three hundred 
dollars or more, if necessary. We have got to look 
around for somebody to whipsaw out a lot of lum- 
ber, as we cannot haul any from the mills and it 
will have to be cut on the river banks near the 
claims. 



8S 



CHAPTER IX. 

WOMEN ARRIVING IN THE COUNTRY— 
OUR HERO WRESTLES WITH THE 
FRENCH LANGUAGE— A WAITER WHO 
COULD NOT UNDERSTAND HIS NATIVE 
TONGUE— THE RIVAL FOURTH OF JULY 
CELEBRATION AT SELBY FLAT— CLOSE 
TO A LYNCHING BEE— PARD GETS A 
SURPRISE— FORMING A RIVER MINING 
COMPANY— THE SANDHILL SPECULA- 
TION PROSPERS— ANDERSON'S REV- 
ELATION. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER IX. 

JUNE 29, 1851.— They are going to have a 
Fourth of July celebration and barbecue at Selby 
Flat in opposition to Nevada. Half a dozen more 
families have settled there in the last month. Both 
of the Missouri girls are married; women can't 
stay single long in this country. Anderson has been 
asked to deliver the oration and although he bucked 
at first he finally accepted. It's astonishing how 
everybody looks up to Pard: he seems to be a bom 
leader. I hear the Saleratus crowd are going to 
have a burlesque entertainment in. the evening. 
Pard asked me to spend the day in Nevada, as if 
I would consent to stay away and he making a 
speech. He is afraid I will have trouble with Odell. 
Delos Calkins was over here last week and said 
the fellow was only a big bully and that the ranch 
would stay with me. I told lum I would look out 
for No. One and did not need any backers, although, 
of course, I was pleased that they sided with me. 

Another letter from Marie. Pard read it for 
me, although I have been studying French with his 
aid, an OUendorf grammar and French dictionary. 
If any one should hear us around the cabin he would 
think we had both gone crazy. Of all the fool 
questions and answers that grammar takes the 
prize. Pard asks me in French if "I have the tree 
of my Uncle's garden?" and I say "No, J at ne pas; 
but I have the rosebush of my cousin," and we keep 
up this lingo for an hour. I don't believe I will 
ever learn to speak it. I thought I was getting along 

89 



THE DIARY OF 

fine and a couple of Sundays ago I went into the 
Hotel de Paris at Nevada. I told the French waiter 
what I wanted for dinner and in his own language. 
I repeated it to him twice and then he shrugged his 
shoulders and said: ^^I talk ze French and ze Italian 
and speak of ze English a leetle, but ze Dutch I do 
not understand," I was so hot that I walked out 
without my dinner. I told Pard and he said he 
must have been an homme de la campagne and did 
not catch on to my Parisian accent. I think Pard 
was joshing me, but he kept a sober face and maybe 
that was the reason. 

Marie says she bought a chateau — ^that's a house 
— ^just outside of Paris, but that she is coming back 
on a visit to California this winter. It makes my 
heart jump when I think of seeing her again. 

JULY 6, 1851. — I have had an exciting time this 
week. Everybody in the neighborhood went over 
to Selby Flat for the Fourth. Kellogg read the 
Declaration of Independence and Pard made one of 
the best speeches I ever listened to. The crowd went 
wild over it and I was mighty proud of him. There 
was at least a thousand people on hand. Along 
toward evening the barbecue came off, an ox roasted 
whole and a half a dozen sheep. The Saleratus 
Ranchers and their friends organized a company 
called the "Rag, Tag and Bobtail Rangers," dressed 
up and paraded in the most ridiculous costumes 
they could invent and marched around the fiat, 
singing, yelling and shouting until they were so 
hoarse they could not whisper. I was looking on 
peaceably, not interfering with anybody, when I 
heard a shot and felt a sting in my shoulder. I 

90 



A FORTY-NINER 

whirled around and saw Pard wrestling with OdelL 
He wrenched a pistol away from him and beat him 
over the head until he was insensible. Then he 
ran to me and said: "B6y, are you hurt?" but I 
wasn't — ^just a little graze on my collarbone. I 
never saw anybody quite as excited as Pard until 
he found out that there was no harm done. The 
fellow came to by this time and the crowd wanted 
to hang him, but Pard interfered, saying it would 
be a disgrace to the camp, so they agreed to banish 
him, giving him twenty-four hours to pack up and 
leave with penalty of hanging if he ever came back. 
That was enough Fourth of July for Pard and me 
and we went back to the creek and I got lectured all 
the way home about getting into scrapes. I didn't 
kick back for I knew he was making believe so I 
wouldn't think he cared much and was trying to 
hide his real feelings. When we got to the cabin 
we let Jack out and sat under the tree, the moon 
shining, the wind sighing through the pine boughs, 
the dog at our feet, and we got as sentimental as 
two old maids. He told me what a lonely man he 
had been until we began cabining together and how 
luck had turned and fortune had favored him in 
many ways since then. He looks on me as a sort 
of younger brother and I am sure I could not like 
an own brother any better. Jack wagged his tail 
as if he understood it all, and I enjoyed the evening 
better than the celebration ; but Selby Flats knocked 
the spots off of Nevada all the same. 

JULY 13, 1851. — It was Pard who got a surprise 
this week. We had a special invitation to come 
over to Selby Flat Wednesday night and, although 

91 



THE DIARY OF 

Pard did not want to go, a delegation came over 
for us and we could not very well refuse. We did 
not know what was up and they would not let on, 
but when we got there we found a crowd of about 
a hundred miners gathered at the hotel. Of course, 
it was drinks all around ; you can't do anything in 
this country without setting 'em up first, and then 
Henry Shively made a talk. Said that the miners 
of Brush and Rock Creeks and the residents of 
Selby Flats were proud of the fact that they had a 
man among them who, as an orator, laid over any- 
thing that the town of Nevada could produce as 
was demonstrated by his Fourth of July speech 
and that the Nevada City lawyers were not to be 
mentioned in the same class as Anderson. Then he 
produced a big gold watch that weighed about a 
pound and presented it to Pard as a token of the 
boys' appreciation. Pard was so taken back that 
for a while he couldn't speak, but he finally caught 
on and gave them a nice talk. Then he set up the 
drinks again and we left for the cabin. When we 
got there we looked over the watch by candle light; 
it certainly was a stunner and must have cost three 
or four hundred dollars. There was an inscription : 

"Presented to L. T. Anderson, July Fourth, 
1851, by his admiring friends and miners 
of Brush and Rock Creeks. He made the 
eagle scream." 

For some reason Pard did not seem to be very 
chirrupy and when I asked him what ailed him he 
said: "Alf, I've been playing it pretty low down 
on you boys. My name ain't Anderson and I never 
can wear this watch where I am known." 

92 



A FORTY-NINER 

I nearly fell off the bench, but he kept on talking: 
*There is nothing wrong, Alf ; I am as straight as 
a shoe string. There were reasons that when I 
came here made nxe change my name, but matters 
are coming out different than I expected and it 
won't be long before I will be the man I was before 
I left Syracuse. When the right time comes I will 
tell you the whole story and you will not be 
ashamed of your pard/' 

Then, as usual, when he got to feeling off, he 
whistled to the dog and they went out into the dark. 
You could have knocked me down with a feather, 
but I had sense enough not to follow. It's a puzzle, 
but I'll bet my pile there is nothing wrong about 
Pard. 

JULY 20, 1851.— We formed our river com- 
pany ; eight of us, and we let a contract to a couple 
of Maine men to whipsaw out twenty thousand feet 
of lumber at one hundred dollars per thousand. 
Pard is engineering the scheme and says that about 
the last of August it will be low water and then we 
will do some lively work wingdamming the stream. 
He is sure that the bed of the river will pay big if 
we can get at it and stay in it long enough to clean 
up a good sized strip of it. I don't know a thing 
about it except that it does seem reasonable that 
with gold all along the banks and in every creek and 
gulch that runs into it the gold ought to find its 
way into the trough of the river. That's the way it 
is along Deer Creek, and we were told by some 
miners who came down from the North Yuba, which 
seems to be a branch of our river, that in the fall 
of '50 they managed to get into it in a half-dozen 

93 



THE DIARY OF 

places and that two oi" three of the companies 
cleaned up fortunes. One thing sure, all our old 
theories about gold don't amount to much. Instead 
of the deposits petering out, the miners are strik- 
ing it richer in every direction and in places where 
we did not think of looking for it a year ago. On 
Selby Hill there is a deep channel running into 
the mountain and there is more gold in it than 
there was on Brush Creek. On the other side of 
Sugar Loaf, way up on the hill, there is another 
big streak that seems to run in the same direction 
as Deer Creek, only it is five hundred feet higher 
up. Then down at Grass Valley they are taking 
out chunks of gold from quartz. Since this dis- 
covery the miners have got it into their heads that 
these rocks are the most likely source of the gold 
and some parties have built a crushing machine 
which pounds up the rock and leaves the gold free 
to catch in sluices. 

JULY 27, 1851.— Our claim is pretty nearly 
played out. There may be a month's more work, but 
the bed-rock raises up on each side of the flat along 
the hill and there is no gravel in that direction. Pard 
thinks we had better work together for a couple 
of weeks and then he will go down on the river to 
get things ready, leaving me to clean up. If we 
take out three thousand dollars more I will have 
made altogether twelve thousand dollars, counting 
what I have sent home and invested witli Pard at 
the Bay. He got a letter from John Perry, his 
agent who is looking after the lots, and he tells him 
he can double his money if he wants to sell, but 
Pard sjays: ^^Let's hold on and make a big stake 

94 



A FORTY-NINER 

or nothing.*' One night last week after supper, 
we were sitting out under the old tree, when he 
spoke up suddenly and said : ^^Alf , there is no reason 
why I should not tell you part of my story and my 
real name. I am not ashamed of it and there is no 
reason why I should conceal it.'' Then he went on 

to say that his true name was 

-and that he was bom at Syracuse, 



went through college, studied law and practiced in 
his own town until he came here. He did not build 
up much of a business and while he was as poor as 
Job's off ox he married a girl who had considerable 
money in her own right. He loved her dearly, but 
she was extravagant, fond of society and luxury, 
which he could not afford from his own income, 
and she would not settle down until he could make 
his way. Then they began quarreling and she 
nagged him about her money and her family until 
he could not stand it any longer and, the gold fever 
breaking out, he left for California. He made up 
his mind never to go back until he had as much 
money as his wife, and, if he failed, why then he 
would disappear for good. She thought lie was in 
San Francisco, wrote to him there and the letters 
were forwarded by a friend to Nevada. For some 

(NoTB.— While Jackson's frank revelations concerning himself, his 
experiences, loves and adventures can with safety be given to the world, 
as he and his kin have vanished mto the unknown, the name that he 
reveals as the rightful one of his partner is another matter. It is that of 
one who stood among the foremost at the San Francisco Bar and high in 
the councils of the State; famous and successful as a pleader in many of 
the noted cases before the courts, an orator of persuasive eloquence and, 
withal, a man of fortune. He has been dead xnany years, but his immed- 
iate descendants are living in California, enjoying the fruits of his wealth 
and the benefits of his honorable name. While there is nothing disgrace- 
ful m the episode, still it is a chapter in his domestic affairs in whidi the 
hero must remain unidentified.) 

95 



THE DIARY OF 

time past she has been coaxing him to return or 
let her come here, and he had promised to go to the 
States next spring. That is all there was to the 
story. He did not say much about what she was 
writing, but I knew from the change in him that 
things were different from what they were when I 
first met him, and he was pretty happy over it. Of 
course, he would have to keep the name of Ander- 
son until he left Nevada, as he could not explain 
the situation to anyone but me. I can see now why 
he used to be so sarcastic about the troubles women 
could make. I hope it will come out all right. 



96 



CHAPTER X. 

FASCINATION OF THE SIERRA FOOT- 
HILLS—AN IDEAL FRIENDSHIP— LOUSY 
LEVEL-JACK AND THE MOUNTAIN 
LION— THE BURNING PINE— SAWMILL 
INVASION OF THE FORESTS-MOUNT- 
ING A BRONCO— CRUEL PUNISHMENT 
DEALT TO PETTY THIEVES— DEPAR- 
TURE FOR THE RIVER. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER X. 

AUGUST 3, 18Sl.-^hat a funny kind of life 
this is. While I think it all over it seems as if I 
was dreaming and must soon wake up. And yet 
the old life in the Connecticut hills is as far away 
and vague as if it were on another planet. Then 
I was content to jog along on the farm working 
from sunrise to dark for eight months in the year 
and usually snowed up for the other four months. 
To be sure, we had our fun, the singing school, the 
sleigh rides, the husking bee, skating on Norfolk 
pond and I was pretty well content, but I could 
not stand it now; it looks dull beside what I have 
gone through since I have been here. If it was not 
for dad and mother I don't believe I should care 
to go back/ Now I am easily worth ten thousand 
dollars an3 perhaps more, which two years ago 
would have seemed to be a pile of money, but it 
doesn't look very big to me now I have got it. Not 
that I do not have to work hard, but the harness 
does not gall me as it used to. The country is not 
more beautiful than the Litchfield hills; it is all 
burned up, dry and dusty, our grub is bad and our 
cooking worse, but when night comes round and 
we have had our wash and supper and go out under 
the big tree, Pard and I smoking our pipes, Jack 
nosing around and answering the bark of the coyote 
or sprawled out at our feet, cocking his ears at our 
talk, the wind singing through the pine trees, the 
frogs croaking in lie creek, it seems as if only one 
thing was wanted to make it perfect — a good woman 

99 



THE DIARY OF 

for a companion to enjoy it with you. Pard says : 
"You remember what happened when Eve came 
into Paradise? She would make you move into 
town, put on store clothes and wear a collar. You 
could not get her to sit out under the tree for fear 
of snakes." Then he laughed and said: "Make the 
most of it — ^it won't last forever.'' It would puzzle 
anyone if they should overhear us. Wo talk in 
French until my jaws get twisted, and then we plan 
what we are going to do in the future. Pard is 
going to the Bay and will open a law office and I 
don't know what I will drift into. He says that 
in later years he will meet me on the Paris Boule- 
vards and that I will be so Frenchified that he will 
not know me. That's all fancy, although it is not so 
bad a prospect if things turn out as I would like. 

(Note.— The reader who ha< followed Jackson and his communinga 
criticaUy will note a change both in his style and thought. The insidioas 
climatic influence of the Sierra foothills b working in nis veins. A New 
England future becomes more and nioie impossible, and it is safe to predict 
that his old home will never claim him again, except as a visitor. Romance 
has come into his life through his association with the Frenchwoman. 
Although he hesitates to acknowledge it to himself, there is no question 
that he is infatuated and poor Hettv b out of the running. The fascinat- 
ing part of the diary is to watch the gradual broadening of the hero^is 
emergence from the chrysalis state to that of a man of the world. This 
no doubt was due to Anderson's influence. Pard was an educated man, 
whose after career proved his exceptional brain power and gifts. He found 
Jackson in a plastic state and moulded him after his own pattern. Their 
companionship banished the old note of homesickness and unrest, stimu- 
lated Jackson's dormant, but by no means limited, abilities, and totally 
unfitted him for a return to the Puritanical environments of his old home. 
It will also be noticed that the diary is taking on a literary aspeci. At first 
Jackson was contented to jot down what to him were the most important 
Items, such as the price of provisions; the weekly yield of the claim, the 
doings of his neighbors and his yearnings for his former surroundings. His 
style has expanded; hb language b more copious; hb thoughts take a wi^r 
ran^. There b even a touch of poetrv in his divagations. He notes the 
music of the wind in the pines ; the dog s answering bark to the coyote; the 
peaceful night, under the shadows of the bough, and, above all, the wonder- 
ful friendship between himself and Anderson; that tie of 'Tartners" sur- 
passing m tenacity and byalty the love of brothers. What old pioneer 

100 



A FORTY - .N.:l::N-^E * 

Pard is snoring in bed, with Jack curled up on the 
foot of the bunk, and it is time to turn in. I am 
writing a lot more in this diary than when I started 
it and saying things I would not care to have any- 
body read. I think I will bum it up soon, although 
I like to go over it and see how it all happened. 

AUGUST 10, 1851.— Pard is spending his days 
down on the river, and as it is only about four miles 
he rides over and back, morning and evening. I 
have not paid much attention to it as it seems to me 
it is going to be a hard job, but Pard has figured 
it all out from ideas of his own and hints that he 
has picked up from the fellows who did the same 
sort of work last fall up on the North Fork. He 
broke out laughing at supper last night, and when 
I asked him what made him so good natured he 
said: "What do you think they call the bar below 
our claims on the river — ^*The Lousy Level.'" 
There are some pretty rough names to the gulches 
and flats around here, but that is the worst of all 
of them. The bar is really a flat and about a dozen 
men are working on it, all doing well. The river 
is very low now, and Pard thinks we will be able 
to get into it in a couple of weeks. He will take 
down five men to-morrow and begin to lay out the 
work. We pay these men ten dollars a day. We 
will not have to build any cabins, brush shanties 
will do, as we have to quit at the first storm. I 
ordered a bill of grub at Caldwell's yesterday, about 

who does not recall manv mstances of similar lo^al and lovmg relations 
between those who jointly occupied the log cabin, shared the common 
purse, worked together in the old claim and ate their pork and beans in 
dyspeptic harmonv? I trust the reader will pardon the digression, but the 
psychological study of the growing of a human soul, as evidenced in these 
yellow and worn pages, has been of absorbing and intense interest to the 
compiler and, I believe, will be the same to the thoughtful reader.) 

lOI 



A^/.^i-E..:/ i> I A R Y OF 

two hundred and fifty dollars* worth, which will be 
packed down this week, beside sledge hammers^ 
nails, saw and some other tools. There will only 
be four of the company to lend a hand, as the rest 
are doing too well on their creek claims to leave 
them for the river, so we will hire eight men to 
help us, if we can get them. It's lonesome working 
alone^ although I have Jack for company, as Pard 
won't let the dog go to the river — ^it's too long a 
tramp. Jack had a narrow escape Friday. I heard 
him barking furiously up the gulch above the ditch 
and went to see what the trouble was. It was 
lucky I did, for I heard a spitting and snarling up 
in an old oak tree and there on a limb was a big 
mountain lion, lashing his tail and getting ready 
for a spring. I think he heard me coming, or it 
would have been good-bye Jack! I banged away 
at the beast with my six shooter and think I hit 
him. He jumped from the tree, made for the brush 
and that was the last of him. Pard saw a she 
grizzly and two cubs on the river trail last week, 
but he had not lost any bears and gave her the 
go-by. Mountain lions are plenty, although this 
is the first one I have seen. Think I can clean up 
the rest of the claim this week, and then we have 
decided to nail up the cabin and go down on the 
river and stay there until the rains. 

AUGUST 17, 1851.— Finished up the old flat 
and abandoned the claim. Brought the "Tom'' and 
sluice boxes to the cabin. We may want to use 
them later. I figure out that with the five thousand 
five hundred dollars I have sent home, the twenty- 
five hundred dollars invested at the Bay and the 

lOZ 



A FORTY-NINER 

dust I have on hand I am worth over eleven thou- 
sand dollars, not counting any increase in the 
Frisco lots. That is doing pretty well for eighteen 
months' work ; still, there is nothing extraordinary 
about it, as many have made ten times as much. 
On the other hand, a lot of the boys are just where 
they started, but in the majority of cases it is by 
reason of their improvidence rather than bad luck. 
It is easy come and easy go, and it makes spend- 
thrifts out of the careless, happy-go-lucky fellows. 
As Pard don't need me I am going to lay off 
for a week and loaf. We want another horse, and 
I will try and pick up a broncho somewhere. Got 
a long letter from home yesterday, which I answered 
last night. Mother's health is better and the old 
folks are taking it easy. I guess it is all up between 
Hetty and me. Dad says she does not visit them 
any more and she is telling everybody that she has 
given me the mitten. All right, I won't contradict 
her, and if Marie should come back this fall there 
won't be any strings on me. If, by any chance, I 
should marry a Frenchwoman, what a buzz there 
will be in old Norfolk. A couple of the Saleratus 
Ranch boys were over to see me this afternoon. 
They are curious about our river scheme, but have 
not much faith in it. I hear there are two other 
companies who are going into the same; sort of 
mining on the river above Rose's Bar. The weather 
has been blistering hot for the past ten days and 
the air is full of smoke from mountain fires. The 
dry needles bum like tinder. An old dead sugar 
pine over on the mountain caught fire last night, 
and it was a great sight to see it bum. The flames 
shot up in the air at least four hundred feet and 

103 



THE DIARY OF 

although it was two miles away I could hear the 
crackling and roaring plainly. This is a great tim- 
ber country. There are several kinds of pines, but 
what they call the sugar pine is the finest of the 
lot. Some of them are twelve feet in diameter and 
two hundred and fifty feet high. It seems a pity 
that there should not be some use for it. There 
is a sawmill at Grass Valley, which is kept busy 
turning out lumber for houses for the towns round- 
about, and what little the miners need for boxes, 
and another one up on Deer Creek, just started, but 
it doesn't look as if there was demand enough to 
keep two of them going. Twenty sawmills could 
not use up the supply in a thousand years. 

AUGUST 24, 1851.— I have lazed around all 
the week between the cabin and town. I picked up 
a pretty good mustang in Nevada, paid eighty 
dollars for him, and the first time I rode him I 
wished mustangs had never been invented. He 
bucked me all over Main Street. The town turned 
out to see the fun and I could hear them yell: "Go 
it, Yank ; go it, broncho !" but I stuck to him until 
I got up on the trail and then I got off and made 
a few remarks so hot that they burned up the chap- 
paral. Gracious, my backbone still aches ! Queer 
thing that when I led him up on the flat and got 
on again he loped off as steady as a plow horse. 

While I was in town Thursday the crowd tied 
up three men to the bridge over Deer Creek and 
gave them twenty-five lashes apiece, on the bare 
back, then turned them loose and banished them 
from the place with a threat to hang them if they 

(NoTB.— And yet fifty years have almost deforested the foothills.) 

104 



A FORTY-NINER 

came back. All three were petty thieves, who had 
been caught stealing. I could not help pitying the 
poor devils. Two of them howled for mercy, but 
one gritted his teeth and cursed the crowd with 
every stroke. There were but a few miners there 
and it would be hard to get together a worse lot 
of savages than the ones who stood around gloating 
over the wretches. The chances are that nine out 
of ten of the lookers-on, if they got their deserts, 
deserved the same sort of punishment that was be- 
ing dealt out to the culprits. The trouble is that 
most of the men are too ready to set themselves up 
as judges and, swayed by theii' passions, inflict 
penalties, even to sentences of death, on insufficient 
evidence. Only three weeks ago the mob hung a 
Chilean at Rose's Bar for horse stealing and the 
next day the horse he was accused of stealing was 
found in the hills above French Corral. 

We have packed our pots, kettles, tin plates and 
Dutch oven down to the river camp, and I will 
nail up the old place and join the crowd in the 
morning. I sort of hate to leave it, although we 
will come back in the fall when we get through with 
our new enterprise. Looking back on the year past, 
I have had a pretty good time on the creek and 
have been more than lucky. There is no better 
companion than Pard, we have made money, our 
neighbors are mostly good fellows and, while it has 
been hard work and rough living, we have had 
health and appetites that would breed a famine. 
I have spent the day writing letters, one to Marie 
and a long one home to the folks. Won't have 
much time for writing for the next month or two. 



lOS 



CHAPTER XL 

PLUMING THE SOUTH YUBA— IN THE 
BED OF THE STREAM— A PICTURESQUE 
CAMP— GUARDING THE GOLD DUST- 
EXTENDING THE REAL ESTATE SPEC- 
ULATION—JACKSON FORMS THE READ- 
ING HABIT— THE FASCINATION OF THE 
'THREE MUSKETEERS"— A REFORMA- 
TION AT SELBY FLAT— AN EXPERI- 
MENTAL VEGETABLE GARDEN ON 
ROCK CREEK— THE BIGGEST POKER 
GAME TO DATE. 



FORTY-NINER 



f/i^^ 



CHAPTER XI. 



OCTOBER 19, 1851.— I certainly have put in 
eight weeks of about as hard work as ever mortal man 
did, but am through with it and have made some 
money. It cost us for material, including every- 
thing, three thousand dollars, and we paid out four 
thousand dollars for labor. We took out twenty- 
nine thousand dollars in twenty-one days' work for 
fourteen men, or nearly fourteen hundred dollars 
a day. We worked both day and night, eight men 
in daylight and six men at night. We will divide 
twenty-two thousand dollars, or about twenty-seven 
hundred and fifty dollars for each one of the com- 
pany. That is not bad, but it did not pay as much 
as the flat on the creek. Pard is disappointed, but 
I am very well satisfied. It was great work. First 
we built a flume close up on the north side of the 
river and about three hundred feet from the head 
of our claims, five hundred feet long, eight feet 
wide, and sides three and one-half feet high. We 
put up a dam diagonally from the head of the claim 
to the head of the flume, turning all of the water 
in the river through the flume. Then we built an- 
other dam at the foot of the flume to keep the back 
water out, and that gave us a stretch of five hun- 
dred feet of the river bed fairly dry. We ran two 
Toms and three rockers steady, wheeling dirt to 
the Toms and using the rockers wherever we found 
gravel. There were a lot of big boulders on the 
bed-rock, and it was around these and in the crevices 
that we got most of the gold. There was one big 

109 



THE DIARY OF 

pot hole that we thought would be full of dust, 
but we did not get an ounce out of it. The richest 
spots were down stream in front of the boulders. 
We got one pan under a five-ton rock that had four- 
teen ounces. The most of the gold was fine. The 
biggest piece we found weighed a little less than 
an ounce and quite a lot from a dollar to three 
dollars. At night we built big wood fires and used 
pitch pine torches to work by and the canon made 
a pretty picture, lit up by the blaze. On the 14th 
it began to cloud up and looked like it was storm- 
ing up in the mountains and on the ISth it rained 
hard. The river began to raise and we got our tools 
out and by night the water was coming over the 
dam. At midnight she was booming, and in the 
morning it was a rushing torrent and there was no 
sign of dam, flume, or anything else to show where 
we had been at work, so we broke camp and took 
the trail for town. We packed the gold in on the 
old horse with four of us to guard it, and deposited 
it in Mulford^s bank. I was mighty glad when we 
got it there for it has been a trial ever since we 
started to take it out, and the more we got, the 
more worry. Pard took charge of it during the day, 
slept on top of it — ^he worked nights — and I did the 
same at night. There was not much danger, how- 
ever, as there were fifteen of us, including the cook 
— a pretty big gang for thieves to tackle. We have 
agreed to lay off for a couple of weeks, and what 
we will do then is uncertain. Pard talks of taking a 
trip to the Bay to be gone about ten days, to look 
after matters there, and wants me to go along ; but 
I don't believe I will. If he finds things favorable 
he will buy some more real estate and I am willing 

no 



A FORTY-NINER 

to invest some more on his judgment. He tells me 
many of the coast valleys are settling up with farm- 
ers, who are raising hay and grain and are getting 
big prices for their crops. It may be a good farming 
country, but it looks pretty uncertain to me where 
there isn't a particle of moisture for seven months 
in the year. 

OCTOBER 26, 1851.— The rain has settled the 
dust and washed off the trees so that they are bright 
and clean. Sitting in the cabin door and looking 
out in the woods, one can't help noticing the dif- 
ferent shades of green. It is not like our October 
woods back home, a blaze of color; but all the 
hues from the almost black of the firs to the almost 
yellow of the alder and every intermediate shade. 
It certainly is restful to the eye. The days are per- 
fect and so are the nights, only it grows chill at 
simset and I pile up the logs in the big fireplace 
and enjoy the warmth until bedtime. The morn- 
ings are frosty and cold, but the sun soon warms 
it up. The sunsets at this time of the year are 
grand, especially on clear days. Just as the sun 
goes down the whole western sky is a vivid crimson 
red, and seen through the pine trees it looks as if 
the world was on fire. Pard went to Frisco early 
in the week to be gone a fortnight, and I am laying 
off and having a lazy time until he comes back. We 
bought a lot of books along during the summer 
and some pretty solid ones, among them a set of 
"Chambers' Encyclopedia of English Literature" 
and a few novels. I have not read very much as 
I was generally too tired after supper to do any- 
tiling but sleep, but since Pard went away I started 

III 



THE DIARY OF 

in on the 'Three Guardsmen," written by a French- 
man by the name of Dumas. I never realized be- 
fore how much pleasure there was to be had in 
reading. There are seven volumes, and I have 
read them by the firelight until I could not hold 
my eyes open any longer, and tackled them again 
after breakfast, lying on my back under the old 
pine tree, so interested that I forgot when dinner 
time came around. There are four heroes : Athos, 
Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan, and they surely 
had most surprising adventures. I like D'Artagnan 
best, although Porthos is a great fellow. It's won- 
derful how in reading so interesting a romance one 
forgets everything around him and lives in another 
world. 

Have ridden over on Brush Creek a couple of 
times visiting my old acquaintances. They were all 
busy, and it was pleasant to sit on the bank and 
watch them work. They are curious about the 
results of our river mining. It has got round that 
we took out a hundred thousand dollars and I did 
not say yes or no, as some of the partners might 
not want the facts given. Selby Flat is getting 
to be quite a place. There are at least a couple of 
dozen women living there. The wives of some of 
the wildest boys on the creek have come out to join 
their husbands, and it has sobered them down con- 
siderably. Jim Peters was drowned last week. He 
was a hard worker, but would go on a big spree 
occasionally. He got full on the Flat at one of 
the saloons and started for his cabin after dark. 
He must have stumbled and fallen while crossing 
the creek for they found him face downward, dead, 
in less than a foot of water. 

112 



A FORTY-NINER 

Rode over to the river yesterday. The water 
has gone down and there is no trace of our work left, 
except the brush shelters on the bank. I hear that 
the two companies below us did as well, if not better, 
than us. I have changed my ideas a good deal 
about this country. I thought a year ago that by 
this time there would not be any gold left and that 
the foothills and mountains would be as deserted 
as they were when we first came. But it isn't so. 
More and bigger deposits are found every day and 
there seems to be no end to it. If it keeps on, gold 
won't be worth much more than lead. 

NOVEMBER 2, 1851.— Pard got back yester- 
day. I did not know him when he struck the cabin. 
He had shaved his beard all off, except his mustache, 
and was dressed up in a "biled shirt" — ^the first I 
ever saw him wear — and a suit of black broadcloth, 
but he soon shed his good clothes and got into 
woolen shirt and overalls. Jack was as badly fooled 
as I was and started to eat Pard up until he got 
a smell of him, and then the old dog went crazy. 
Pard tells me that he has invested eight thousand 
dollars more, of which three thousand dollars is 
for me, if I want it, and that he was offered eighteen 
thousand dollars clear profit on our first invest- 
ment, but did not take it as he was satisfied that 
by next spring he could sell out for from forty to 
fifty thousand dollars more than we put in. If this 
is so, I am worth fifteen thousand dollars.^ We 
have been planning what we will do this winter, 

(It kept on and has added a billion or more to the world's stock of the 
precious metal, and. notwithsunding Jackson's fears, it is about as valu- 
able and much harder to get than in the ^Fifties.") 

"3 



THE DIARY OF 

aBBBSB999B9S!BS9SBBB^B99aSB9BBSSSS=SSBB^Ba=aSS=9 

but have not come to any conclusion yet. Pard 
thinks we had better try the gulch above the ditch 
and see if the rich streak runs into the hill. It 
paid up as far as the ditch, but the bank is thirty 
feet deep and we will have to prospect it by drifting. 
He has fully made up his mind to go to the Bay to 
live next spring, and if he leaves I do not think I 
will stay here. Our neighbor, Piatt, who lives in 
the cabin below us on the creek, has been experi* 
menting this summer with a garden. He enclosed 
and spaded up about a himdred feet square and 
planted beans, peas, com, tomatoes, lettuce, pota- 
toes and melons, and all but the melons turned out 
fine. He sent us up some string beans and tomatoes 
some time ago and yesterday, in honor of Pard's 
return, he brought over a dozen ears of com, a 
peck of potatoes and a lot of lettuce. We had a 
grand feast. It was the first mess of green vege- 
tables we have had on the creek, although there has 
been some for sale in town. Piatt talks about put- 
ting in an acre or more next spring, as he believes 
he can make a lot of money raising garden truck. 
We can also get a quart of fresh milk occasionally. 
Scott has taken up a little ranch on the head of the 
creek and has four cows. He charges a dollar a 
quart, but it is worth it. ^ I also got a couple of 
pounds of fresh butter of him last week. It did not 
taste like the stinking, strong firkin butter brought 
out from the States. Grub of all kinds is getting 
to be pretty reasonable. The storekeepers in town 
are stocking up for the winter. I counted nine 
twelve-mule teams unloading yesterday on Main 
Street. These teams are a sight, from six to eight 
span of big mules hauling three wagons. They 

"4 



A FORTY-NINER 

load eight and ten tons, charge forty dollars a ton, 
and make the round trip from Sacramento to 
Nevada and return in about a week. The mules 
are mostly from Kentucky, and I am told that some 
of the outfits are valued at ten thousand dollars. 

Barker was over to see us to-day and told us of 
a big poker game that has been running at Coyote- 
ville this week. There were four partners in one 
of the richest claims on the hill and they got to 
gambling together. They started in playing five 
dollars ante and passing the buck. Then they raised 
it to twenty-five dollars ante each, and Jack Breed- 
love, one of the partners, cleaned out the rest of 
them, winning twenty-two thousand dollars. Not 
satisfied with this they staked their interests in the 
claim, valuing a fourth at ten thousand dollars, 
and, when the game quit, Zeke Roubier, another 
of the partners, won back eight thousand dollars 
and held to his fourth interest. The other two went 
broke and Breedlove ended by owning three-fourths 
of the claim and winning fourteen thousand dollars 
in gold, so that altogether he was thirty-four thou- 
sand dollars ahead. He offered his old partners 
work in the mine at an ounce a day, which they 
refused, packed their blankets and started out in 
search of new diggings. They surely were a couple 
of fools and, as it was a square game, they can only 
blame themselves. The gamblers over in Nevada 
City play for high stakes, but this miners' game is 
said to be the biggest one that has been played any- 
where around this section. 



"5 



CHAPTER XII. 

A TRIP TO THE MOUNTAINS-AN EX- 
PERIENCE IN A SIERRA SNOWSTORM- 
PERILS OF THE NORTH FORK CANON 
—AN OPPORTUNE FIND OF A DESERTED 
CABIN— ENTERTAINMENT FOR MAN 
AND BEAST— THE RETURN TO ROCK 
CREEK — HOSPITABLE MINERS — DIS- 
COVERY OF THE BIG BLUE LEAD- 
OPENING THE ANCIENT RIVER CHAN- 
NELS. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XIL 

NOVEMBER 9, 1851.— Pard and I have loafed 
around all the week, not doing much of anything. 
It rained a couple of days, but has cleared oflF and 
is pleasant, although cold, and we keep a fire going 
in the fireplace about all of the time. Pard suggested 
that we take a trip ofif up in the mountains and 
see what they are like. We have often stood up 
on the ridge, looked off at the range and snow peaks 
miles away and agreed that some day we would 
explore them, but we have been too busy working 
to spare the time. We are now in the mood and 
to clinch it Pard bought a jackass from a Mexican 
in town and brought him over here. We will use 
him to pack our grub and cooking outfit and we 
have planned to start to-morrow or next day. Piatt 
will take care of Jack until we get back. 

I have had a sober talk with Pard about our 
futures. I got another letter from Marie — I can 
talk pretty fair French and read it — and^ she says 
she is surely coming back by the first of the year, 
if not sooner. Pard says he doesn't want me to go 
wrong and it is time to quit fooling or else take it 
up seriously. He argues that I have no right to 
lead her on unless my intentions are honorable, I 
had to confess that I had made her a partial promise 
before she went away but did not have much faith 
in her coming back. Now it all seems like a dream. 
I never liked another woman as well. She is 
straight, and I think I am willing to marry her, 
but what will the old folks say: a foreigner and a 

119 



THE DIARY OF 

Catholic, and I brought up a strict Presbyterian. 
Norfolk will set me down for a lost sheep. Not that 
I care what their opinions or criticisms may be, as 
I have about made up my mind that I will never 
go back there except on a visit. To all of which 
Pard says that I am hit hard — and he thinks by 
the symptoms that I will make her my wife if all 
of New England objects and that it is in her favor 
that she has seen more or less of the world. He says 
it's proof enough of her feelings if she is willing 
to come five thousand miles to join me and that she 
would make me a truer and more agreeable com- 
panion than some little, sniffling, narrow-minded 
Puritan brought up on Calvinistic doctrine and 
mince pie, predestined to dyspepsia and doctrinal 
doubting. That is a mean fling at Hetty; but then 
Pard likes Marie and is prejudiced in her favor. 
Oh, well, I have got a month or more to decide 
and I won't worry until the time comes. 

NOVEMBER 30, 1851.— Back from our trip. 
Got home Thursday and we were gone eighteen days. 
It was in the main a pleasant journey, although 
we had a snowstorm experience that I do not care 
to repeat. We camped the first night on the ridge 
above Illinois Bar and then went on to New Orleans 
Flat and from there to Alleghany and over to La 
Porte and Port Wine. All of these places were 
rich and most of them coarse gold camps, and we 
he^rd some big stories of the amount of dust the 
miners were taking out. The richest place we found 
in our travels was at Goodyear Bar on the North 
Fork, and the ravine that leads down to it. We 
were told for a fact that the bed-rock in this ravine 

I20 



A FORTY-NINER 

was bare for a mile; that the gold lay along it in 
piles and that it was picked and scooped up with- 
out panning or washing. They swear that it yielded 
over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ; one 
piece weighing four hundred ounces and a lot more 
from five up to a hundred ounces. The claims 
on the bar were only twenty-four feet square, and 
as high as twenty thousand dollars had been taken 
out of some of them. That beats Brush Creek, 
although there are claims on Coyote Hill that paid 
nearly as well. After leaving Goodyear Bar, we 
went over on to Canon Creek and followed it down 
past Brandy City diggings to the river. It had been 
pleasant weather up to that time, but it clouded 
up after we left Brandy diggings and when we got 
down to the mouth of the canon it was snowing so 
hard that we could not see twenty feet ahead of 
us. We followed up along the north bank to Slate 
Creek, stumbling along in the snow, which by this 
time was two feet deep, and nearly lost one of our 
horses which slipped off the bank. Luckily the 
brute fell into the river and by hard work we got 
the animal back on the trail. We were soaking 
wet and half frozen, and it was almost dark when 
we reached the mouth of Slate Creek. By good 
fortune we found a big log cabin on the flat, locked 
up and nobody home. It was no time to stand on 
ceremony, so we broke open the door and took 
possession. I rustled up a lot of wood — ^there was 
' a dead pine tree close by and some oak logs along- 
side the cabin — and built a blazing big fire in the 
fireplace. That was the most comfortable and 
cheerful blaze I ever experienced. We could not 
leave the horses and the jack out in the storm, for 

121 



THE DIARY OF 

they would have perished before morning^ so we 
cleared away the truck from one end of the cabin 
and brought them inside; the shanty was big 
enough for all of us. Then we rummaged aroimd 
and found a sack of flour, a bag of corn-meal, some 
pork and beans of course, and a canister of tea. 
Best of all there were two bunks with mattresses 
filled with dry grass, which we ripped open. We 
gave the fillings to the animals and they tackled 
it as if it had been the best of timothy hay. It did 
seem as if Providence interfered in our behalf. Our 
pack of provisions was soaked through and without; 
shelter we certainly would have perished in the 
storm. Instead, we had plenty to eat, a good fire, 
a tight shanty, roomy enough for us all, and we 
knew it could not be very far to some inhabited 
miners' camp. A wilder night there never was. 
We were down in the bottom of a deep canon, at 
least three thousand feet below the top of the ridge 
and seemingly completely out of the world. The 
snow fell in flakes as big as my hand, the wind 
shrieked and howled and blew in gusts liiat rocked 
the cabin, and every once in a while we could hear 
the crash of a big pine tree blown down by the 
gust. A dozen times during the night Pard and I 
fought our way out into the storm, breaking oflF 
the dead branches of the pine log for our fire, as 
we did not dare to let it go out, and then fought 
our way back again. There was no sleep for us 
that night, and yet through it all the horses and 
the jack munched away at their fodder contentedly, 
not seeming to mind the rumpus a bit. That is the 
difference between animals and men. We were 
worried over the prospect and they apparently 

122 



A FORTY-NINER 

shifted the responsibility on our shoulders and the 
tempest had no terrors for them. The storm kept 
us in all the next day. We confiscated the corn- 
meal, mixed it with about half flour and made a 
mash for the animals, which they enjoyed hugely, 
and I managed to chop off a lot of yoimg alder 
branches on the creek for them to browse on. There 
was plenty of grub for Pard and I, but there was a 
question of how long we would be forced to stay 
there. We would have given a few ounces to have 
been back in our old Rock Creek cabin. However, 
that night the storm let up and the next day the sun 
was shining bright. We knew that Oregon Creek 
was not very far away on the south side of the 
stream, and as it was mined all along its course 
we would be sure to find help. Pard wrote a note 
to whoever owned the cabin giving our names, ad- 
dress and why we burst it open, and about nine 
o'clock we started out. By taking advantage of 
the bare spots where the wind had blown the snow 
away and breaking trail through the woods — ^in 
places it was four feet deep — ^we managed by three 
o'clock in the afternoon to climb out on the top of 
the ridge. Here again we were in the biggest kind 
of luck, for we came out within a quarter of a mile 
of a station and packers' stopping place where there 
was plenty for man and beast. We stayed there 
two days resting up and then left for home and 
had no more trouble. That day we crossed the 
Middle Fork and put up at the Ford and the next 
day traveled through Cherokee, crossing our own 
river at the north of Rock Creek, and were soon 
back on our old stamping ground and safe and 
sound. All in all, we enjoyed thfe trip. We saw a 

123 



THE DIARY OF 

lot of wild country, some grand scenery, and wher- 
ever we went we found men hunting and digging 
for gold. I guess we stopped at forty cabins on the 
way: never failed to get an invitation to grub, never 
were allowed to pay a cent, and I want to put it 
down right here that bigger hearted, more generous, 
or more hospitable men than there are in these 
mountains never lived on earth. Pard says yes — 
and deeper cafions, higher peaks, nor wilder tem- 
pests cannot be found anywhere else. It makes us 
both pretty sober when we think of our two nights 
and a day down on the North Yuba river gorge. 

DECEMBER 7, 1851.— Now that we are capi- 
talists I believe we have both grown lazy. At least 
since we got back from our hard trip to the moun- 
tains we have done nothing much beside riding 
around the country to near-by localities and loaf- 
ing about the cabin projecting and planning as 
to what we will do this winter. 

One of our friends is working a claim on Gopher 
Point, just below Blue Tent, which he seems to 
think is rich. He offered us a quarter interest for 
$2,000. We rode over to look at it and concluded 
we did not want to buy. It is different from any 
other diggings in this part of the country, and is 
a puzzle to all of the miners. A bed of blue gravel 
lies! about six hundred feet above the river, on a 
steep side hill, and seems to run into the moun- 

(NoTs.— The Gopher Point miners had struck into the ancient river 
channel since known as the Blue Lead, now definitely and distinctly 
located a distance of forty miles from Smartsville on the west, where it 
debouched into the ocean that then washed the shores of the Sierra Nevada 
foothills, to Dutch Flat on the southeast, where it had its watershed in 
the high mountains. At least fifty million dollars in gold have been ukea 
out of this old channel from the many openmgs along its oourae.) 

124 



A FORTY-NINER 

tain. All of the gravel down on Rock and Brush 
Creeks and on the Nevada side of Sugar Loaf is a 
loose mixture of quartz pebbles and sand easily 
washed, but this deposit has neither sand nor quartz 
and is as hard as a rock. The miners have to use; 
blasting powder to blow it up and then it comes 
out in great chunks and has to be broken up with 
sledge hammers before it can be washed. There is 
no question that it is rich, as we could see the gold 
sticking to the rocks ; but the men are not making 
very good wages on account of the difficulty of 
separating the dirt from the cobbles. I remember) 
now that MacCalkins, who went to Walloupa and 
Gouge Eye last summer when there was an ex- 
citement over the discovery of bench claims in that 
locality, described this same sort of gravel that 
had been found where Greenhorn Creek cut through 
it. As that is on the south side of the ridge, it 
looks as if the streak ran clear through underneath 
the mountain. 

Friday we rode over and along Deer Creek to 
learn about a new method of mining being done 
there. The miners put in a long string of sluice 
boxes, dovetailing into each other with a lot of 
riffles in the bottom, then shovel all of the dirt in 
from both sides, forking out the cobbles and stones 
with a long handled, six-tined fork. A lot of dirt 
can be handled in this way, and although the creek 
bed had been worked over before with rockers and 
Toms, they say they are making more going over 
it the second time than when it was first mined. 
Rock Creek has all been worked out and abandoned 
and if Deer Creek pays to work over it ought to 
do the same. We decided to try it and will start 

"5 



THE DIARY OF 

in next week. First, however, we had to call a 
miners' meeting and adopt a new law to the effect 
that in a creek that had been previously mined, 
under the old twenty-four foot rule, the ground 
could be taken up and held in claims of three hun- 
dred feet in length and from bank to bank. We 
located two this morning for ourselves and got 
Piatt, Dixon, McManus and Ames, our neighbors, 
to take up four more and transfer them to us by 
purchase, we agreeing to give them one hundred 
dollars each if the ground paid. That gives us con- 
trol of eighteen hundred feet. Then the same 
crowd repeated the deal, so that each one holds 
fifteen hundred feet and among us we have over 
a mile of the creek bed. 

Another letter from home and I received a box 
of things that mother made and sent. The dear 
old mother, what a queer idea she has of the climate 
out here. There were in the box a dozen pair of 
thick woolen socks, two pairs of mittens and a heavy 
worsted comforter. She said she thought they would 
be useful this winter and that I would like them 
because she knit them herself. God bless her! Here 
I am going around in my shirt sleeves. Best of all 
were daguerreotypes of her and father. She wrote 
that they had ridden over to Winsted to have them 
taken and that she wore her new black silk dress. 
Dad looks as spruce as a banker and mother is a 
beauty if she is fifty-two years old. Down in the' 
comer of the box was a Bible. She said she knew 
I had the one she gave me when I came away, but 
maybe I had thumbed it until it was worn out. I 
would not tell her for a thousand dollars that I 
had not opened it for six months. Gracious ! how 

126 



A FORTY-NINER 

it brought the old farmhouse back to mind. I can 
see her sitting by the fireplace, the knitting needles 
flying and she and dad talking about their only 
son three thousand miles away. Pard was as soft 
as I over the letter and the box and his eyes filled 
with tears, although he tried to disguise it by furi- 
ously blowing his nose. I wrote them to-night that 
no matter what happened I was going to start home 
in the spring to see them, I have been away nearly 
two years and can afford to go if I don't make an- 
other cent. It is some comfort to think I have made 
life easier for them. 



127 



CHAPTER XIII. 

SETTING SLUICE BOXES — PROMISED 
CHRISTMAS FEAST AT SELBY FLAT— 
THE FIRST NEWSPAPER ESTABLISHED 
—HERMIT PLATT TELLS HIS STORY— A 
PIONEER OVERLAND EXPEDITION 
ACROSS THE ARID ARIZONA DESERTS 
—PERILS AND DANGERS OF THE JOUR- 
NEY—A WELCOME OASIS— ARRIVAL 
AT DON WARNER'S RANCH— SAD NEWS 
AWAITS THE ARGONAUT AT SAN FRAN- 
CISCO. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XIII. 

DECEMBER 14, 1851,— We bought enough 
lumber in town last week to make a dozen sluice 
boxes and had it hauled out here. There were about 
five hundred feet and the mill charged twenty-five 
dollars for it and fifteen dollars extra for delivering. 
We have got the boxes made and, if it does not 
storm, will be ready to set them in the creek next 
week. If it's a wet winter we are not going to do 
very much, as a steady rain raises the water so 
that it would wash out our sluices in no time. In 
the meantime we will drift into the bank at the 
head of our old claim and see if the rich streak runs 
into the hill. Our neighbors down the creek have 
all got pretty fair claims and are doing well. Piatt 
tells us that he and his partner have taken out over 
five thousand dollars since they started in and they 
have got considerable ground left. 

Henry Shively was over to the cabin last night 
and brings the news that there is going to be a grand 
ball at Selby Flat Christmas Eve, and that the land- 
lord of the hotel promises a turkey dinner on Christ- 
mas. Henry says that the boys are betting that it 
will be turkey buzzard, as nobody ever heard of 
turkey in this country. He wants me to come over 
to the dance, but I don't think I will. The last 
ball I went to on the Flat I came away through 
the window instead of the door and it was alto- 
gether too lively for me. Nevada is putting on airs 
lately. The citizens are figuring on building a 
brick courthouse and the town has a weekly paper. 

131 



THE DIARY OF 

It is not much of a newspaper, but we subscribed 
for a copy at twenty dollars a year to help it along. 
There are about thirty families settled down there 
and the moral people have got up a petition re- 
questing the storekeepers to close on Sundays. That 
is asking too much, however, as everybody^ comes 
to town on that day to do the week*s trading. 

DECEMBER 21, 18SL— It has rained more or 
less all the week and the water is so high in the 
creek that there is no chance to get our sluice boxes* 
in place. Our neighbor at the next^ cabin, "Silent 
Piatt,'' as we call him, stuck a pick in his foot and 
has been laid up for a few days. He's a queer stick 
in some ways, rarely goes to town or anywhere 
else except to his claim, and does but little talking; 
doesn't seem to be interested in anything. That's 
why we call him "Silent Piatt." We were surprised 
Thursday when he came up to our cabin and spent 
the day and evening with us, and then we found 
out why he had become almost a hermit. We made 
him feel at home and then he told his story. It 
seems that he was foreman in a clock factory in 
New York, making a pretty good living, but not 
getting ahead very much, so when the California 
fever broke out he and his chum, who worked in 
the same shop, made up their minds to seek their 
fortune together. He was married and had one 
baby, a little four-year-old girl, and he fixed it for 
his wife and child to live with his wife's mother 
on a farm she owned near Hartford, Cbnnecticut. 
He had saved about five hundred dollars and it 
took about all of this to outfit himself for the. trip. 
He joined a company of fifty adventurers that was 

132 



A FORTY-NINER 

formed in New York City, and instead of cx>]ning 
around the "Horn," as most of these associations 
did, the members planned to go to Texas and then 
overland until they reached California. They char- 
tered a bark to take them to Galveston and there 
outfitted for the journey. Each member of the 
party bought two mules, one to ride and one to pack, 
together with grub and cooking utensils, and were 
even foolish enough to pack along picks and shovels 
and other useless truck, which, however, soon be- 
came burdensome and were thrown away. A cap- 
tain and other officers were selected, and it was 
agreed that they would all stand together until they 
reached Southern California. They knew nothing 
about the country between Texas and California, 
except by vague report, as there was no road and 
no white man had ever traveled it, with the excep- 
tion of a company of United States Dragoons, 
which had gone through in 1846. They heard 
stories of long deserts, heat and hostile Indians, 
but they were all young and adventurous and had 
gone too far to turn back. They got along all right 
until they had journeyed through the north of West- 
em Texas, and then their hardships began. From 
what Piatt related, it seems that from there on 
imtil they reached this State the whole territory is 
nothing but a vast, hot, arid region with only here 
and there a patch of grass and a dried up river bed. 
They had to make long marches under a burning 
sun to reach water and forage and, when found, 
lay for a week to recruit their animals. They were 
ambushed twice by Indians, nine of the party were 
killed and two died from the effects of heat and too 
much mescal that was procured at various Mexican 

133 



THE DIARY OF 

villages* At these places they managed to buy a 
small stock of com and beans and finally fell in 
with the Pima tribe of Indians on the Gila River, 
who were more than friendly and did all that was 
possible to help and succor the party. After stay- 
ing with the tribe for ten days they pushed on for 
the Colorado River, two Indians going along as 
guides. Here they had to build rafts to cross and 
swim the mules, and one of the party was drowned 
in crossing. The next one hundred and fifty miles 
were the worst of the journey. They were forced 
to travel nights, as the sun was too hot in the day 
time, and they found water in but two places. On 
the moming of the second day Piatt lost his partner. 
They had not had a drop to drink for twenty-four 
hours, but were expecting to find a sink hole which 
the Indians had told them about, when his partner 
jumped off his mule and started to run into the 
desert. He had gone clean crazy. He ran about 
a mile when he fell and died in a fit. The best they 
could do was to cover Him with a little sand and 
leave him in his lonely grave. Piatt said that long 
before they saw any indication of water the mules, 
which had been barely crawling along, pricked up 
their ears and broke into a lope, and, sure enough, 
around the turn of a spur of the hills they came to 
a perfect little oasis, about half an acre of green 
grass and willow trees and a pool of fresh spring 
water, fifty feet across and four feet deep. The 
mules were frantic and rushed into it with their 
packs and saddles on, drank their fill and then 
laid down and rolled over and over. They had 
but little grub left, but they stayed there two days, 
in order to strengthen up the animals, as this was 

134 



AFORTY-NINER 

the first good feed they had had since leaving the 
Gila River. Here they turned off into the San 
Jacinto mountains and rode seventy miles to War- 
ner's ranch, where their troubles were over. Piatt 
says that Don Warner was the most hospitable 
man on earth. The party stayed at the ranch a 
week, the men and the mules were given all that 
they could eat and drink, and at the end Warner 
refused to accept a cent for it. From the ranch they 
went to Los Angeles, where the party broke up 
and scattered. The trip consumed six months and 
eleven days from New York City to Los Angeles. 

Here the sad part of Piatt's story came in. He 
was anxious to hear from home and knew that 
there should be letters for him at San Francisco, 
He had written from Galveston and San Antonio, 
but, of course, nothing had reached him on the trip 
and he hurried on as fast as possible, eager to get 
the home news before striking for fortune at the 

(NoTB.— In simple words, Jackson calls up a graphic picture of an over- 
land journey in which the pbneers encountered hardships and adventures 
of sufficient interest to fill a volum^ and it would be an historical con- 
tribution well worth having. There is a striking coincidence oonoborating 
fully Piatt's narrative. Singularly enougk the father of the compiler of 
this diary, a pioneer, was a member of tfiis same party, and, as a boy, 
the writer has often listened to the relation of the mddents, hair-breadth 
escapes and sufferings of these pbneer gold hunters.^ And what splendid 
courage it illustrates!^ Plunging into a terra incognita^ at that time less 
known than the interior of Africa, these Argonauts, with superb self-con- 
fidence and magnificent daring, alhired by tales oi the 'Kjolden FleeGe,** 
undertook the journey with as little hesitation as a Native Son, nowadays, 
projects a Pullman car trip across the continent. And of such mental 
and physical make-up were the majority of the 'Torty-nmers." 

The compiler can add to Piatt's story that the par^ did not break up 
at Los Angeles. Two or three stayed in that town and Piatt followed 
the coast to San Francisco. The majority kept on, crossing into the 
San Joaquin VaUey, through Tejon Pass, finallv settling in Mariposa 
County, the first mining region reached from that direction. What a 
sturdy lot of old boys they were, these typical American adventurers, and 
bow little the present generatbn knows of or cares about them.) 

135 



THE DIARY OF 

mines. The letters were there, all from his mother- 
in-law. His wife had sickened and died in six weeks 
after his departure. Piatt says that for a week he 
was out of his mind and that half a dozen times 
he went down to the wharf, fully determined to 
jump oflF and end his misery. Then the memory of 
his little girl came to him and held him back. After 
the first acute agony was over he realized that he 
still had something to live for, and resolving to 
devote himself to the baby he sold his mules, for 
which he got four hundred dollars, sent three him- 
dred dollars to the grandmother and started for 
the mountains. He fell in with Dixon, his partner, 
on the boat bound for Nevada, and finally settled 
down on Rock Creek. They had both done well 
and were in a fair way to be independent. The child 
was healthy, well taken care of, and he was in hopes 
in a year or so to bring her and her grandmother 
to California. He had neither inclination nor de- 
sire to see the States again. 



136 



CHAPTER XIV. 

A SENSATION ON THE FLAT— THE MYS- 
TERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF THE 
TURKEYS— THE NO-GOBBLER BETTERS 
WIN THEIR WAGERS— AN ANGRY 
LANDLORD—THE SALERATUS RANCH 
UNDER SUSPICION— JUST A PLAIN, 
EVERYDAY DINNER — THE RENDEZ- 
VOUS AND A FEAST DOWN THE CREEK 
—THE SWEETHEART DELAYS HER RE- 
TURN—THE JACKASS ESCAPES A SERE- 
NADE. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XIV. 

DECEMBER 28, 1851.— Selby Flat has had a 
sensation which has furnished the boys no end of 
fun. There was no turkey dinner Christmas, that 
is, at the hotel, although the landlord swears that 
his birds furnished a private feed to somebody and 
he is vowing vengeance on those he suspects of de- 
priving his boarders of a grand blowout. The ma- 
jority were skeptical as to there being any turkeys 
procurable and they backed their opinions with 
their money, while a few who were in the secret 
took all of the bets offered, knowing that the land- 
lord had made arrangements a month previous 
with a peddler from the valley, who assured him 
that he was going to bring a load from a flock 
that had been raised on a ranch below Marysville 
and had agreed to deliver to him a dozen fat birds. 
Sure enough, a week before Christmas, he arrived 
with six coops full — a hundred altogether; had no 
difficulty in selling them at from eight to ten dollars 
each, and the landlord got his dozen, as agreed. 
Those who bet on a turkey dinner wanted to be 
paid their stakes then and there, but the wagers 
were on a Christmas feast and the stakeholders, 
decided to wait until that day before giving up the 
money. It was a sure thing, so no objection was 
made. The birds were cooped up and stuffed with 
all they could eat, the landlord advertised the feed 
at two dollars and a half a head, and was rash 
enough to promise mince pie for dessert. Two days 
before Christmas the dreadful word went around 

139 



THE DIARY OF 

that the turkeys had disappeared, and the Flat was 
all torn up over the news. The landlord was frantic, 
but had no clue as to the thieves, although he, as 
well as everybody else around the Flat, suspected 
the Saleratus Ranch boys, they being usually at 
the bottom of any deviltry going on. He even went 
so far as to demand that Pard, who is the deputy 
sheriff, should search their cabin, but Anderson 
declined unless a search warrant was sworn out, 
which the landlord, who had nothing to go on be- 
yond his suspicions, could not very well do. The 
women pronounced it a shame and the men said 
it would be unhealthy for the occupants of any 
cabin near which turkey feathers or bones ought 
be found. 

It was just a plain, ordinary dinner at the hotel, 
except for the mince pie, and was followed by a 
Christmas dance. After the dinner the guests — 
about fifty of them — decided that they would pay 
a visit to the Saleratus Ranch and see what sort 
of holiday grub the boys were having. ^ If they ex- 
pected to find turkey they were badly disappointed, 
for there was nothing in sight but the regular old 
pork and beans and boiled beef. The ranch boys 
said that they had fully expected to eat a turkey 
dinner at the hotel, which, of course, was not to be 
had, so as they had their mouths made up for a 
taste of the bird, they were all going over to Nevada 
for supper, as turkey was plenty in that town, and, 
sure enough, about three o'clock they all started 
for that place. After that nobody suspicioned 
them, and it was the general belief that some thiev- 
ing Indian from the campoody, over the ridge, had 
robbed the turkey roost. I was saddling up my 

140 



A FQRTY-NINER 

horse to go into town when Charlie Barker came 
over to the creek and asked me and Pard to meet 
a lot of the boys down where Brush and Rock 
Creeks come together, about two miles below Selby 
Flat. He was grinning and chuckling over some 
great joke and wouldn't let on what it was, but 
teased us to go with him to the rendezvous. Pard 
suspected what was up and said that as an officer 
of the law he guessed he had better stay away, 
but just for curiosity I went along. The cabin 
we were bound for was Jack Ristine and Carter's 
place. The rest of the boys went up the road to 
Sugar Loaf, as if on the way to Nevada, but instead 
branched off down the ridge and hill, and when 
just before dark we reached the shanty, there were 
about twenty of them gathered there and, shame- 
ful to tell, the turkeys were there too. It seems 
that all of those who had bet on there being no 
turkey dinner were in a plot. They had stolen the 
birds, taken them down to the creek, killed and 
picked them, throwing the feathers into the run* 
ning water, and then half a dozen, who were not 
suspected, had slipped away Christmas day and 
helped Ristine and Carter prepare the feast. It 
was a bully good supper and I must say I enjoyed 
it. The boys were full of fun, and as whiskey 
was more than plenty, they were soon full of that 
too. They sang and told stories until about eleven 
o'clock, then gathered up the bones and remnants 
of the supper, dug a hole in the bank of the creek 
and buried the remains three feet deep. They all 
stood around the hole, or grave, as they called it, 
bareheaded, while Arthur Brooks delivered a fu- 
neral oration over the "dear departed." As they 

141 



THE DIARY OF 

were getting uproarious I slipped away and came 
back home. I told Pard about it and he laughed 
and said that the boys did not mean any harm 
but it was just a little rough on the landlord. 

JANUARY 4, 1852.— I had a disappointment 
for my New Year. I have been expecting every 
day to hear that Marie had got back to San Fran- 
cisco^ but instead I got a letter saying that unless 
I insisted on her coming at once she would wait a 
couple of months more before starting for America. 
She was looking after her investments and visiting 
her people — she had a mother and two sisters living 
in Paris — and as she did not know when we would 
go back together, was staying longer than she 

flanned. The letter gave me a fit of the blues and 
almost made up my mind to take a plunge, leave 
the country and go to. Paris myself. Pard hurt me 
by jokingly suggesting that some Frenchman had 
cut me out, and maybe he is right; but if that is 
true what would be the use of me making the jour- 
ney for nothing. I wrote her a long letter, telling 
her that I was in earnest, and if she intended to 
keep her promise she must come back without delay. 
It doesn't look as if we were going to get into 
the creek very soon with our new mining scheme, 
as it keeps on raining just enough to raise the water 
to a flood level. In the meantime we have got tired 
of loafing and have started to drift on our old 
claim. It is not paying very big. The streak of 
pay dirt is only about two feet wide and a foot deep. 
We have to shore up the ground with timber and it 
takes us a lot of our time cutting it. We drifted about 
eight feet last week and took out eleven ounces. 

142 



A FORTY-NINER 

Our jackass is getting to be a nuisance and is 
almost as much of a pet as Jack, although we don't 
let him sleep in the cabin, a liberty which, judging 
by his actions, he seems to think should be allowed 
him as well as the dog. He gives us a concert in 
the early morning that wakes up the woods ; follows 
at pur heels to the claim; when we visit our neigh- 
bors, trots along as if social duties were in his line, 
and "he-haws" and brays whenever we are out of 
sight. Pard says that with the exception that he 
is too fat, he has all the symptoms of being in love. 



143 



CHAPTER XV. 

STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE OF CARTER 
AND RISTINE-A DESERTED SHANTY— 
RISTINE'S DEATH— REVELATIONS AT 
THE INQUEST— WHO STOLE THE TUR- 
KEYS?— A RICH STREAK ON THE BED- 
ROCK— PARD BARS THE BANJO— HETTY 
HAS A CHANGE OF HEART— THE IN- 
TERIOR OF A MINER'S CABIN— A SENTI- 
MENTAL PICTURE— FRIENDSHIP, PROS- 
PERITY, AND CONTENTMENT. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XV. 

JANUARY 11, 1852.— The country is stirred 
up over a mysterious tragedy that nobody seems 
able to solve. Neither Ristine nor Carter, the two 
miners at whose cabin we ate our Christmas sup- 
per, have been seen by anybody since that night. 
No attention would have been paid to this, as the 
boy^ do not keep track of each other to any extent^ 
had it not been that Simday, a week ago, Henry 
Shively went down to their place to pay them a 
visit. He found the door of the cabin open, and 
no sign of the men around. This would not have 
seemed strange had not the inside of the shanty 
looked as if no one had been there for a week. The 
fire was dead in the fireplace and a pot of beans 
that hung on the hook had been there for days, aa 
the contents were sour and mouldy. The flour sack 
had been gnawed open in places and flour was scat- 
tered over the floor — ^no doubt the work of coyotes 
and mountain rats. Nothing else seemed to have 
been disturbed. Shively went down to their claim, 
which was close by, and found their Tom and tools 
in place, the picks and shovels and the Tom iron 
were rusty, proving that they had not worked in 
the mine for a week or more. Thinking it queer 
he concluded to come up and tell Pard the circum- 
stances, which he did, meeting Anderson on the 
trail coming back from town. Pard turned back 
and went with him to their cabin,^ taking Piatt 
along. They found everything as Shively had told 
them, noted that the best clothes were hanging over 

147 



THE DIARY OF 

their beds, a shotgun and rifle on pegs over the fire- 
place, and a six-shooter imder one of the pillows. 
On a little shelf by the window, where the gold 
scales stood, there was a yeast powder can with 
about five ounces of gold in iL It was certain from 
the looks of things tLat the men had no intention 
of leaving, and it was also sure that they had not 
been near their cabin or their claim for a week 
or ten days. Pard came home and told me about 
it and next morning early we rode down to Selby 
Flat to see if anything had turned up to explain 
the mystery. Nobody there had seen anything of 
the missing men since Christmas. After talHng 
it over it was agreed that a delegation should go 
over to Nevada and find out if they had been there, 
or had left by any of the stage lines, while about 
twenty of us formed a searching party to look the 
country over in the vicinity of the cabin. In the 
middle of the forenoon we heard some of the boys 
shouting up on the hill and, on going to them, 
found out that they had discovered Ristine's body 
under a manzanita bush. It was in bad shape and 
the coyotes had torn off both arms, but the face was 
not touched. A watch was left, the coroner notified, 
and that afternoon an inquest was held. Outside of 
the fact that Ristine was dead, nothing was de- 
veloped and the jury returned a verdict of "died 
from unknown causes.*' Then a thorough search 
of the cabin was made and inside of the mattresses 
a big buckskin purse was found, which contained 
about eight hundred dollars in dust. In a box 
under the other bunk there were three yeast powder 
cans that were full to the top with gold. We buried 
Ristine close to where we found his body and it 

148 



A FORTY-NINER 

f 

was a sickening job. From letters in the box it 
was learned that both men were married. One 
came from Reading and the other from Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania. There is no suspicion of robbery, 
for there was nothing stolen, and it doesn't look 
like murder, for if one had killed the other the 
murderer would certainly have hidden the traces 
of his crime and not have left the gold dust behind 
if he intended to quit the country. The general 
opinion is that Carter is dead and that his remains 
will be found somewhere around. 

Even a tragedy generally has its funny side. At 
the inquest it all came out about the turkey supper, 
and now the landlord says he will sue the crowd 
for damages, prosecute them for petty larceny, and 
the sinners are wondering if he will carry out his 
threat. 

We worked in the drift the rest of the week, but 
it is not panning out very well. We cleaned up 
seven ounces, but that is more than grub money, 
and we will stay with it until we can get into the 
creek. I bought a banjo when I was over in town 
Tuesday and am learning to pick it. Pard says 
that as a nuisance it is a toss up between me and 
the jackass. 

JANUARY 18, 1852.— It rained, snowed, and 
has been disagreeable weather all week. The drift 
is slow work, as it takes about half the time to cut 
timbers and put them in place. Timbering is not 
a greenhorn's job and we made a poor fist at it 
until we went over to Coyoteville and took notes 
of the drift mines there. We struck a rich little 
streak in the tunnel, not more than three inches 

149 



THE DIARY OF 

wide and right on the bedrock. It looked as if it 
had been poured out of a bag, it was so regular. 
We panned it out and as far as we followed it we got 
an ounce to the pan. Altogether, we took out over 
twenty ounces. That is like old times. 

Pard struck a bargain with me. If I would agree 
not to practice on the banjo when he was around — 
I don't see why he don't like it for I can already 
play "Old Bob Ridle/' and "Camptown Giris" 
pretty well — ^he would read aloud to me a new 
novel that he had bought: "Nicholas Nickleby," 
by an Englishman named Dickens. I had already 
read his "Pickwick Papers" and it was a great book, 
so I agreed and the consequence has been that we 
have not gone to bed a night this week before mid- 
night. Some of the chapters are very funny and 
some pathetic, but it is all interesting. I am not 
very sentimental, but as I stretched out on the bunk 
listening, the big drops of rain pattering on the 
roof, the wind whistling through the trees and the 
firelight flashing on Pard's handsome face, I thought 
this was a pretty good old world after all, and I was 
lucky to be in it. Pard's voice was like a lullaby 
and I got to thinking of Marie and dreaming of the 
future. Perhaps some day I might see London and 
Yorkshire and follow D'Artagnan's road through 
France. Then Pard shut the book with a slam and 
said I was a lunkhead and he would not read any 
more to such an unappreciative fellow. He did not 
know what dream pictures I was conjuring up. 

There have been no more discoveries about Ris- 
tine and Carter and it seems as if it would always 
be a mystery. 

ISO . 



A FORTY-NINER 

JANUARY 25, 1852.— It turned out cold and 
there has been a big snowstorm. The whole cx)untry 
is covered with snow three feet deep. It was a 
pretty sight, the spruce and fir trees loaded with 
snow, and when the sun comes out they sparkle 
like diamonds. It put me in mind of the hemlock 
woods in old Litchfield. 

I got a long letter from Hetty, the first she has 
written in months, and now I am up a tree. She 
says that when the news came to her of her brother's 
death she was nearly crazy with grief and did not 
realize how harsh a letter she had sent to me. Now 
she is sorry for it, admits that she has been unjust 
and if I will forgive her we will forget all about 
it and be the same to each other that we were before 
it happened. I wish she had not changed her mind, 
for I do not have the liking for her that I did when 
I started for California. Marie is in my mind all 
day, I dream of her nights and I never can go back 
to my boyish love. I have not shown Pard the 
letter yet, and don't think I will. Somehow I am 
getting so that I do not like to have him ridicule 
me. In a great many ways I am a different man 
than I was when I left the States. I thought I was 
a pretty smart fellow around the old neighborhood, 
and was chock full of conceit. Now I can look 
back and see what a greenhorn I was in many re- 
spects. I had a fair schooling, for beside the district 
school house I went three terms to the academy. 
After that I worked on the farm steadily until I 
started for California. The farthest I was ever 
away from home up to that time was to Litchfield, 
the county seat, sixteen miles. I never read any- 
thing but the New York Tribune and the Litchfield 

151 



THE DIARY OF 

Inquirer, two papers that dad subscribed fon 
Mother was dead set against novels and the only 
books we had in the house were "Pilgrim's Prog- 
ress," "Fox's Book of Martyrs," "Pollock's Course 
of Time," "Young's Night Thoughts," "Calvin's 
Institutes of the Christian Religion," "Jonathan 
Edwards' Sermons," and the Bible, of course. That 
was pretty dry stuflF and I did not take to it I 
knew less about the world than I did about Heaven, 
for, from what I could hear, I had an idea that 
New York was the biggest city on earth. I knew 
better, but that was my narrow way of thinking. 
Pard drew a diagram, which he said expressed my 
mental and geographical ideas, as follows, and I 
guess he was right: 



o 



o 



Norfolk United States The World 

Well, I have outgrown that, and while I don't 
set up for a traveler, or claim much experience, 
I certainly see everything in a different light- Our 
old cabin is not much to look at outside or inside ; 
dad wouldn't keep his hogs in such a place, yet 
one could not be more comfortable or more con- 
tented than I have been for the past year. I have 
been lonesome at times and have had blue spells, 
but they did not last very long. There is nothing 
but a dirt floor, which we wet down every day 
to keep it hard, a couple of bunks filled with pine 
needles where we roll up in our blankets and on 

152 



A FORTY-NINER 

which we sleep like logs; three-legged stools for 
seats; a plank for a table; an open fireplace five 
feet wide; an iron kettle and a coffee pot; a Dutch 
oven and a frying pan to cook in; it used to be 
tin plates and cups until we got high-toned and 
bought crockery; grub stored away most any- 
where; a shelf full of books — ^we have bought about 
fifty volumes altogether — ^and that is about all. We 
put a big oak-back log in the fireplace, pile up 
big chunks in front and the wind can howl, the 
snow fall and the rain beat on the roof, what do 
we care? The flames leap up the chimney and 
light the old cabin, the dog stretches out in front 
of the fire and grunts with contentment or dreams, 
for often his legs twitch, he whimpers and barks 
softly, his eyes closed, then wakes up, looks at 
us in a foolish way until he realizes his surround- 
ings, and goes to sleep again. Pard grows senti- 
mental and quotes poetry and gets down a book, 
reads a chapter or two and we are off in our minds 
to England, France, or Spain (we are reading Irv- 
ing*s **History of Granada"). Then we turn into 
our bimks, the fire dies down to coals, and as they 
sputter and sparkle I lie and watch the glow and 
see all sorts of pictures until my eyelids grow heavy, 
and I don't know anything more until I get a dig 
in the ribs and Pard says : "Get up, you lazy whelp, 
and help get breakfast." 

I suppose we are contented because there is no- 
body to boss us — ^**Not even a woman," puts in 
Pard — ^have money enough so that we need not 
live this way if we don't want to, no scandal, no 
gossip, and nobody to criticise us as long as we 
keep off of other people's corns, a jolly good lot of 

153 



THEDIARY OF 

neighbors who live as we do, and our friendship, 
which is the thing that counts more than all the 
rest. Naturally, I don't want to live this way for- 
ever and we have our plans for the future; but 
in the meantime and until things ripen, we are 
satisfied with the old cabin. 
^ The snow is so deep that it is difficult to cut 
timber and we did little work during the week. 
The rich streak held on for about four feet, and 
from that and the rest of the gravel we made seven- 
teen and one-half ounces. It has rained or snowed 
steadily for almost two weeks. We bought a couple 
of pairs of rubber boots and two tarpaulin coats 
to tramp between the cabin and the claim. Luckily, 
we had laid in enough grub to last a month ; there 
is plenty of hay for the horses and the jackass, 
and they are as fat as butter, so none of us are 
suflFering any hardships. 

(NoT8.—J[Ack8on draws a graphic sketch of the miner^s life and touches 
partially on its fascination. Of course he had his plans for the future; 
they all had, but in many cases the plans bore no fruitbn, and the foothills 
held them to the end.) 



IS4 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE RAGING YUBA— A VISIT TO THE 
RIVER— BAD CASE OF JIM-JAMS— A 
SWARM OF TIN-JACKETED IMPS-SUN- 
DAY IN NEVADA— FOOD FAMINE IN 
THE MINING CAMPS— RATTLESNAKE 
DICK SHOOTS UP THE TOWN— A 
QUARTZ-MINING SPECULATION AND 
ITS FAILURE. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XVI. 

FEBRUARY 1, 1852.— We had a glimpse or 
two of the sun last week; but it rained most of 
the time, carrying off the snow with it. I rode 
down to the Yuba River yesterday afternoon and 
it was a sight to see. The river is more than bank 
full, all of ten feet deep, and a madder, wilder 
rush of water was never seen. I could hear the great 
rocks grinding and crushing against each other 
as they rolled over and over, big logs and pine 
trees swirling down the stream or tumbling end 
over end as they butted against some obstruction, 
and the noise was deafening. It was a grand sight 
and did not look much like the place where we 
mined last fall. 

We very nearly had another tragedy on the creek 
early in the past week. Andy Collins, an Irish- 
man, who has lived alone in his cabin, about a 
mile below us, for a year or more, has been a hard 
drinker ever since we have known him. He bought 
his rum by the gallon and kept soaked all the 
time. Tuesday night he had a bad attack of the 
jim-jams, and his nearest neighbor, O'Neil, heard 
him yelling and shrieking like all possessed. He 
rushed down, opened the door and found Collins 
cowering in one comer, striking at imaginary 
swarms of imps in the air. "Don't you see them?'* 
he yelled; "little devils with tin jackets on. Look 
at them coming down the chimney and through the 
window, hundreds of 'em!" With that he rushed 

157 



THE DIARY OF 

through the door, out into the rain and darkness, 
and O'Neil lost sight of him. He at once roused 
everybody up and down the creek, but we might 
as well have looked for a needle in a hay mow. 
We kept up the search until one or two o'clock and 
then quit until daylight. The general opinion was 
that he had jumped into the creek and had been 
drowned, as there was four feet of water in it, 
and running like a mill race. He was not bom 
to be drowned, for we found him next day over on 
Round Mountain, nearly dead with exposure and 
cold. It was a job to pack him back, as we had 
to make a litter to carry him. We got him into 
his cabin, warmed him up, and when he came to, 
dosed him with strong tea. He was in his right 
senses, too, and had forgotten all about his little 
tin devils. Now we have got to nurse him and sit 
up with him nights until he gets on his legs again. 
No whiskey for me. We have never had a drop in 
the cabin since we have lived here. 

It has been a poor week on the claim. While 
there is plenty of gravel, it is almost barren. All 
we got for our week's work was a little over an 
ounce. That isn't even grub wages. Still, we are 
not as unlucky as we might be. 

Anderson received a letter from Perry, our 
agent, saying that he could sell out our holdings, 
including North Beach, at an advance of twenty- 
two thousand dollars. It was a tempting price to 
me, as I would get in all, with what I put in, over 
ten thousand dollars. Pard said, "No, let's hold 
on until we clean up fifty thousand dollars." I 
think he is making a mistake, but I am bound to 
stay with him, and trust to his judgment. 

IS8 



A FORTY-NINER 

FEBRUARY 8, 1852.— I spent the day over 
in Nevada. It is getting to be quite a big town. 
What a contrast it is to our poky, slow New Eng- 
land villages. There are half a dozen stores which 
carry all kinds of provisions and hardware, two 
jewelry shops, two bakeries, a gunsmith store, 
butcher shop, five hotels, and gin mills too numerous 
to mention. Saturday night and Sundays — I for- 
got, one church — are the lively days. Then there 
are two or three thousand miners in town, the ma- 
jority drinking, gambling and carousing. Woolen 
shirts and duck overalls are the fashion, and if you 
see anybody dressed up it's a sure thing he is either 
a gambler or a lawyer. What beats me is the craze 
the miners have for gambling. Every saloon has 
some sort of game running, and the big ones have 
a dozen. "Monte," "Red and Black," "Chuck-a- 
luck," "Twenty-one," "Rondo," and "Fortune 
Wheels" are the banking games, and they play 
poker and "Brag^' for big stakes. The fool miners 
work hard all the week and then lose their dust 
at these games of chance. There does not seem 
to be much chance about them, for nobody ever 
heard of a miner winning anything. Of course, 
the miners don't all gamble; in fact, a lot of them 
do their trading, get a square meal at the hotel, 
and go back to their claims. Still, enough waste 
their money to keep the sports slick and fat. I sup- 
pose they are looking for excitement — anything to 
break the monotony — and this is the way they 
get it. 

Charley Donaldson, who had a rich claim on 
Brush Creek, worked it out last fall and left for 
the States with six or seven thousand dollars. In a 

159 



THE DIARY OF 

couple of weeks he was back again hunting for 
new diggings, and it leaked out afterward that he 
lost every cent in a Frisco gambling helL I have 
never tried my luck but once, and then I lost seventy 
dollars in half an hour. I don't regret it, though, 
for then it was when I met Marie and it was more 
than worth the price. 

It looks as if it were going to be as wet a season 
as Forty-nine. It has rained or snowed almost 
every day for a month. Teaming has quit and the 
stages don't make regular trips. Provisions have 
jumped up to double prices. Flour is scarce and 
the storekeepers are asking thirty dollars for a hun- 
dred pound sack. Last winter they all put in big 
stocks. It was a dry season and they lost money. 
This year they thought they could team the same 
as last and did not lay in heavy supplies, and, as 
a consequence, if the rains don't let up, there is a 
prospect of a famine. I am told that there are 
eight big team outfits loaded with flour, stuck in 
the mud, between here and Sacramento. Rattle- 
snake Dick, a sport and a desperado from Auburn, 
was chased out of town last week. He shot up a 
fandango house, held up a monte bank and then 
abused Stanton Buckner like a pickpocket, making 
the old fellow go down on his knees and beg for his 
life. About this time the citizens began to gather 
with shotguns and Dick took to his horse and struck 
out for some other camp. Buckner is a nice old 
fellow, a lawyer, prides himself on his Kentucky 
breeding, and swears that nothing but blood will 
wipe out the insult. I guess he won't hunt Dick 
very far. 

A prospector found what is supposed to be Car- 

i6o 



A EORTY-NINER 

tei^s hat and coat down in Myers Ravine. Outside 
of that there have been no developments. Some 
think that Carter is still alive and has left the 
country, but the majority believe he is dead. It is 
a strange aflFair. 

We worked a little in the tunnel and found nothing 
worth while. The weather is too bad to do any 
prospecting and there is no telling when we can 
get into the creek. Mining is almost suspended, 
except where they are drifting and coyoting. At 
Grass Valley they are working several big quartz 
veins and it is said that they are very rich. At the 
Rocky Bar claim over seventy-five thousand dollars 
have been taken out in the last four months. They 
have found two or three quartz veins along Deer 
Creek that pay pretty well, working them by the 
Mexican arrastra process. A scientific cuss in 
Nevada has formed a company to get the gold out 
of the quartz by a new method and is selling shares 
like hot cakes at ten dollars a share. He is going 
to build a furnace and melt the gold out of the 
rock. It may be all right, but I don't know any- 
thing about quartz mines and have not bought any 
stock. I hear, as a rple, miners have fought shy 
of the investment, as the majority are skeptical 
and don't believe in any new-fangled process for 
getting gold out of rocks, but the business men 
don't feel that way. I am told that the mer- 
chants, lawyers and a great many sporting men 
have put money into the scheme and the inventor 
has raised about forty thousand dollars. He is 
grading oflF a site for his furnace on Deer Creek, op- 
posite the town, has sent below for fire-bricks and 
machinery, and is burning a kiln of charcoal for 

i6i 



THE DIARY OF 

fuel. His idea is to raise a sufficient heat in the 
furnace to melt the rocks, run it off at a spout, con- 
tending that the gold, being so much heavier, will 
sink to the bottom and can then be taken but 
pure and solid. It is all right in theory, but I have 
not much faith in its success. To hear the investors 
talk, however, you would think they were already 
millionaires. 

iNoTB/— It did not work. He oonld not separate the gold from the slag 
the forty thousand dollars was a clear loss.) 



162 



CHAPTER XVII. 

A FORMIDABLE INDICTMENT OF THE 
TURKEY THIEVES — AN OLD-TIME 
LEGAL DOCUMENT — HALED INTO 
COURT— THE TRIAL, THE VERDICT, 
AND THE PENALTY— A SAFETY VALVE 
FOR THE WILD SPIRITS— THE JACKASS 
NOT FOR SALE — PARD'S TENDER 
HEART — HIS CONSIDERATION FOR 
BIRD AND BEAST AND AFFECTION FOR 
HIS CABIN-MATE— THE DONKEY'S COR- 
RECT PRINCIPLES. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XVII. 

FEBRUARY IS, 1852.— The boys over on Selby 
Flat are having a bushel of fun in these slack times. 
When the inquest was held on Jack Ristine, it 
leaked out that there had been a turkey supper 
at his cabin. Two or three of the witnesses, who 
were on oath, gave it away under pressure, and the 
landlord, who has not yet got over being mad, ap- 
plied to the justice of the peace for warrants for 
as many of those as he learned were at the feast. 
As he could not swear as to who stole the birds, 
he wanted them arrested as accessories to the crime. 
The judge refused to issue the warrants and the 
miners got hot and leagued together to quit patron- 
izing both the hotel and barroom. This brought 
him to his senses, he apologized and agreed to drop 
the matter. It gave the boys a hunch, especially 
these who had lost their bets, and for deviltry they 
called a miners' court, preferred charges against 
the lucky ones who had won their money, on the 
theory that they must have had guilty knowledge 
of the larceny or else they would not have been 
so anxious to bet. The charges were drawn up 
in mock legal form and were as full of "whereases," 
"whereins,*' "aforesaids" and "be it knowns'* as a 
lawyer's brief. As I recall the document, it runs 
about as follows: 

"Whereas, Before, on, about, or preceding Christ- 
mas Day, some party or parties unknown to the 
complainants, but by strong and corroborative dr- 

i6s 



THE DIARY OF 

cumstantial evidence, suspected to be [here fol- 
lowed about twenty names, including my own and 
my Saleratus Ranch friends], and 

^Whereas, We believe these aforesaid named 
parties did feloniously, surreptitiously, not having 
the peace and dignity of Selby Flat, its hitherto 
untarnished and unstained name and reputation' 
at heart, enter, break into and force open a certain 
coop known to have contained one dozen gobblers, 
and did abstract, take away, carry oflF and levant 
with the said birds, the aforesaid turkeys, being; 
the property of the proprietor of the Selby Flat 
Hotel, and 

"Whereas, Said gobblers having been provided, 
bought and procured for the delectation, comfort, 
sustenance and happiness pf your petitioners, it 
being understood, agreed and promulgated that the 
aforesaid and before-named ^ birds were to be 
roasted, stuffed, cooked, garnished and served to 
the denizens of Selby Flat, a town situated and 
being in and about Brush Creek, Nevada County^ 
State of California, U. S. A., irrespective of pre- 
vious condition, sex, or color, at the rate of two 
dollars and fifty cents per capita, with mince pie and 
fixings thrown in, and 

"Whereas, Said felonious abstraction wrought 
upon your petitioners great mental and physical 
anguish, disturbing their peace of mind as well 
as the dignity of Selby Flat, and 

"Whereas, The above-named and aforesaid 
parties did, contrary to the Statutes of the Com- 
monwealth (See Randall on non sequitur, vol. IV, 
page 32), enter into a conspiracy, based, founded 
upon and made possible by their guilty knowledge 

i66 



A FORTY-NINER 

of the intended forcible and felonious abstraction 
of the previously mentioned gobblers, wheedle, en- 
treat and coax innocent bystanders, to wit, your 
petitioners, to wager, hazard, and bet certain sums? 
of money in regard to the presence of the aforesaid 
turkeys at a Christmas dinner, and 

'Whereas, It is a well known and deep founded 
principle of common law, as well as an obiter dicta, 
in all well regulated sporting circles, that no man 
can take advantage of or profit by betting on a 
dead sure thing; 

"Therefore, your petitioners respectfully pray 
this court, taking into consideration the heinous- 
ness and enormity of the offense, to adjudge the 
aforesaid and before-named parties of the first part 
guilty of foul murder, and that if the court and 
jury be inclined to mercy and should hesitate to 
impose capital punishment, that the least penalty 
to be meted out to these outlaws and disturbers of 
their neighbors* turkey roosts be the return to your 
innocent and defrauded petitioners of the monies 
they were induced to put up, chance, and risk on 
a game where the cards were stacked *agin 'em/ " 

There was a lot more to it which I can't remem- 
ber, and it was a gay afternoon consumed in taking 
testimony, swearing witnesses and making mock 
speeches. It was nearly dark before the trial was 
finished and the case submitted to the jury, which 
brought in a verdict without quitting their seats, of 
"Rape in the first degree." The sentence was drinks 
ad libitum for the town, and the landlord got even 
as the crowd patronized his bar with a free hand 
and purse. 

After I went home and got to thinking it over 

167 



THE DIARY OF 

it all seemed childish and foolish, but Pard differed 
with me. He argued that the lives we led were 
dismal enough and that anj^thing that would break 
the monotony and furnish amusement was a safety 
valve. I guess he is right, for, nonsensical as it 
was, I enjoyed it as much as any of them. After 
all, there was a damper to it, for even at our wildest 
we could not help tiiinking of the mysterious fate 
of Ristine and Carter, and that the last we ever 
saw of them was when we were eating supper in 
their cabin. 

FEBRUARY 22, 1852.— It has been fairly pleas- 
ant all the week, but we have done very little, as 
the water is still up in the creek and the drift is 
played out. Pard thinks he will make a trip to the 
Bay, and wants me to go along, but I don't feel like 
it just yet. We are both tired of loafing, and I 
think we would pull up and leave if we had not 
set our minds on working Rock Creek. We have 
our interests in our river claims, but we can't get 
into them before next August, at the earliest, and 
as our partners are willing to buy our shares, I think 
we will sell out to them. We have a fourth interest, 
and have been offered six thousand dollars for it 
by outsiders. 

I have not answered Hetty's letter yet. It is a 
puzzle what to say to her. If she had not broken 
the engagement I should feel bound to stick, even 
if my feelings have changed, but she cannot expect 
to play fast and loose with me. To be honest, I 
love Marie more than any other woman on earth, 
and if she comes back and is in the same mind as 
when she went away, the chances are that we will 

i68 



A FORTY-NINER 

make the match* The only hesitation I have is 
as to what the old folks will say, but I will take 
her back to them, and Marie is sure to win them 
over. 

Pard is^ always growling about the jackass dis- 
turbing his rest and making him look foolish by 
trotting aroimd after him like a dog, so I proposed, 
as we had no particular use for him, that we sell 
him. Gracious ! he flared up and wanted to know 
if he did not have a right to associate with a jackass 
of his own choice, when I was running with a dozen 
or more. This was a fling at the crowd over at 
Selby Flat. I have been going over there two or 
three nights in a week not thinking that I was 
leaving Pard alone or that he cared much for my 
company. If it had not been for the twinkle in 
his eye I would have snapped back, but I saw he 
was not in earnest, so I replied if the beast and I 
were not enough jackasses for him he was welcome 
to get more. He said that he would acknowledge 
that the jack didn't have a very tuneful voice and 
his song was not as melodious as that of some of 
the birds but he preferred his note to that of the 
blue jay, and insisted that he was an animal of 
good principles. He did not associate with bad 
company, drink whiskey, or break any of the com- 
mandments, and if he, die donkey, was jackass 
enough to put trust in a man he was not going to 
abuse it. *The fact is, Alf ," he said, " ^ack' [that's 
the dog] and he are great comforts to me. I have 
told them in confidence all about my past life and 
it doesn't seem to have lowered me in their opinion 
a bit. Under the circumstances I can't go back on 
either of them." 

169 



THE DIARY OF 

Pard is a queer stick. When I think it over I 
have never known him to kill animal, bird, or 
reptile, with the exception of the rattlesnake that 
struck at me on the trail, nor have I ever heard 
him say an unkind word of a living souL He has 
been a big brother to me, and I can look back and 
see how happy we have been together, but still he 
insists that the obligation is on his side. The only 
thing in the future that troubles me is the possibility 
that our partnership will break up when we leave 
here. 



170 



CHAPTER XVIIL 

JACKSON VISITS THE NEIGHBORING 
MINING CAMPS— POCKET-HUNTING AT 
ROUGH AND READY— A PUZZLE FOR 
THE THEORISTS-A SECTION OF A 
DEAD RIVER— SPECULATION ON THE 
GENESIS OF GOLD— THE OLD-TIMER'S 
DICTUM— FIRST VISIT TO THE THE- 
ATER— PARD RETURNS FROM SAN 
FRANCISCO— A PROFITABLE INVEST- 
MENT—JACKSON DECIDES TO MARRY 
HIS FRENCH SWEETHEART. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

FEBRUARY 29, 1852.— Pard left for San Fran- 
cisco Monday, and I have been wandering over the 
country all the week. I rode over to Rough and 
Ready Tuesday and found a lively camp. The dig- 
gings have been very rich all around it and they have 
found on the ridge, near Randolph Flat, claims that 
have paid big. A peculiarity is the number of rich 
pockets that have been struck. A miner named 
Axtell uncovered one two weeks ago, from which 
he has taken out fourteen thousand dollars, and 
there have been any number that yielded from five 
hundred to five thousand dollars. There are miners 
who follow pocket mining exclusively, and there 
certainly is a fascination to it. They will work for 
weeks without making grub and then come across 
a pocket from which they will take out hundreds or 
thousands. As one of them said to me: "It*s like 
playing a number on *Red and Black.' You may 
make a hundred bets without winning a cent, but 
when it does come up you get a hundred for one.*' 
I guess we all like to gamble. There is a place 
below Nevada City that is like Rough and Ready 
in the way of deposits, and that is Red Hill. I am 
told that they find the gold there in little narrow 
clay streaks and when they discover one it is sure 
to be rich. It's a peculiar sort of gold, not nuggets 
or ordinary dust, but flaky and in thin leaves, and 
so light that a yeast powder can full will not weigh 
more than four or five ounces. It has been a puzzle 
to the mining sharps, as it knocks out all theories 

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THE DIARY OF 

of gold coming down from the high mountains or 
out of the quartz veins exclusively. No one can, 
after seeing these flakes of gold, sometimes two 
inches square and as thin as a wafer, stuck in the 
clay, dispute that it grew there. And here is an- 
other puzzle. I was over to Red Dog Wednesday 
and stayed there all night. The miners told me 
that for a couple of years mining there was about 
the same as around Nevada. Greenhorn Creek and 
the gulches and ravines were rich, but were all 
worked out. Last fall they ran into blue gravel 
cemented, which had paid well, and they are work- 
ing along this streak for three miles or more. The 
queer thing is that the majority believe that their 
claims are in the bed of an old river, and to prove 
it they say that the bed-rock rises on both sides 
of a well defined channel, that all of the rocks and 
boulders are smooth and water-worn, and that they 
find petrified logs and impressions of leaves that 
floated down the stream when it was running. 

This may all be, but how did it come that there 
are two hundred feet of clay (lava) on top, and how 
is it that a river could run up on the side of a moun- 
tain? 

At the hotel that night there was a lot of discus- 
sion and argument as to how the gold came there, 
but none of them was very convincing. An old 
fellow said to me: "Never mind these scientific 
cusses. rU give you the right one. Gold is just 
where you find it and you are as likely to come 
across it in one place as another.** The next day 
I crossed over the trail to Grass Valley and had a 
look at the quartz mines. There is something that 
upsets all of our notions. In two or three places 

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A FORTY-NINER 

they have followed these veins of whit6, glassy rock 
down into the bed-rock for seventy-five feet and 
they don't seem to pinch out. I did not find any- 
body to explain how gold got inside this hard rock, 
and I guess nobody knows. I saw on my way home 
that in the valley where we had the bear and jackass 
fight, the timber had been cut off, a race track 
laid out, and on Sunday night there is to be a quar- 
ter of a mile dash for two thousand dollars, be- 
tween 'Wake Up Jack" — a horse that belongs to 
the Nevada postmaster — and "Come Along 
Johnny" — a Marysville horse. I have never seen a 
race horse and believe that I will ride over to it. 
I'm getting to be real sporty. They built a theater 
in Nevada, down over Deer Greek, and a company 
from Sacramento has been playing there all the 
week. I had never been to a play, so Friday night 
I went over and took it in. They played a piece 
called "The Stranger," and at first I could not see 
where the enjoyment came in. It was so ridiculous 
to see a lot of people upon a raised platform making 
believe something was happening that was real, 
when anybody in his right senses knew better, but 
before I realized it I was that interested in Mrs. 
Waller's troubles [what old-time theatre-goer does 
not recall the weepy Mrs. Waller?] that I forgot 
where I was, that these were only play actors, and 
the tears rolled down my checks over the heroine's 
trials and sufferings. It came out all right and 

(Note. — ^Jackson touches on a subject that in pioneer days furnished 
matter for elaborate discussion. The geologist and expert had not invaded 
the field at that time and in the early ''Fifties" there were many theories, 
absurd and otherwise, as to the genesis of the gold deposits. The one gen- 
erally accepted was that which^ attributed its origm to a huge vem or 
deposit high up in the mountains and thu ignis fatuus luxed many to 
long, weary and fruitless search e s.) 

175 



THE DIARY OF 

I must admit that the performance was worth the 
money. 

Had a letter from Marie, which makes me feel a 
lot better. She says that she will surely come back 
in a month or two and that I must remember that 
the only reason for her return is to see me, as what 
little money she has invested in San Francisco 
would not be sufl&dent inducement for her to make 
a long, tiresome voyage. The letter was written 
the latter part of January, and it may be possible 
that she is now on her way. I have fully made 
up my mind that if she wants me she can have me, 
no matter what anybody thinks about it. 

MARCH 7, 1852.— Pard got back from the Bay 
Monday night and came straight over to the cabin. 
We have done nothing during the week but talk 
over our own aflFairs and plan for the future. He 
says San Francisco, in his opinion, is bound to be 
a large city, and that, even if the gold is all dug out 
I of the country, it has resources enough to get along 
f without it. We can clean up a profit of twenty-four 
thousand dollars on our land investments, but he is 
not going to sell out at that figure. If I don't want 
to stay he will give me fourteen thousand dollars 
for what I have put in, which includes principal 
and profits. That makes me worth over twenty 
thousand dollars, but I am not going to accept his 
offer for a while yet. We are both tired of the hard 
work and the hard fare of a miner's life. It was 
different when we were taking out of our claim 
forty or fifty ounces a week ; but it is worked out, 
and, outside of our interest in the river claims and 
our project to wash over Rock Creek, there is noth- 

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A FORTY-NINER 

ing ahead. Pard says that his wife has agreed to 
join him in the spring, and would come at once 
if he would say the word. He has made up his 
mind, however, to brush up a little on the law (he 
brought a lot of law books back with him), and the 
old cabin is just the place to do his reading. Then 
in the spring he will go to San Francisco, provide 
a home for his wife and open an office. There is 
plenty of litigation, principally over the Spanish 
land grants and titles, and he is confident that he 
can work up a good practice. He has enough to live 
on now without touching his wife's money, so that 
that trouble cannot come between them again. Now 
he can see that he was unreasonable, and the greater 
part of the fault was on his side in asking her to 
live a poor man's life when she had plenty of money 
of her own, and was not brought up that way4 He 
wants me to go along, and says that I can study 
law with him, but frankly tells me that he doesn't 
believe I will ever make a good lawyer, not that 
I have not got brains enough, but he doesn't think 
I have a legal mind or inclination. That is true. 
I never had any hankering to be a lawyer, doctor, 
or preacher. 

On my side, I made a clean breast of it and con- 
fessed that there was an understanding between 
Madame Ferrand and myself, and when she came 
back from France we would visit the old folks to- 
gether and then get married, but that neither she 
nor I had any idea of settling down in my old home. 
Pard said that it was that sort of a situation that 
any advice from him would be impertinent. He was 
most favorably impressed with the madame, if she 
returned it was proof of a sincere attachment, and 

177 



THE DIARY OF 

that she was capable of a great, unreasoning love. 
It was not my money that she was after, for she 
had more than I. Beside, she was taking as many 
chances as I was, I showed him Hetty^s last letter, 
and he said it was up to me to decide, although 
he knew without me telling him what the decision 
would be. If I had not come to California and 
had lived my life out on the farm, Hetty would 
have. been the right sort of a helpmeet, but I had 
got out of the leading strings and would never be 
contented to fall back into that old rut. Not that 
I was not unsophisticated and anything but worldly 
wise, still I had grown too big for the Litchfield 
hills. Then he got sarcastic and remarked that, 
anyway, the woman I married would boss me, and 
that the madame would probably make the yoke 
easier than the little Puritan. All he asked was that 
after I had seen a little of the world I would come 
back to San Francisco, where we could be together, 
and he would keep us both straight.^ Dear old boy! 
He does not like the idea of our parting, and neither 
do I. Well, our talk settled it. We will stav here 
until spring, not bothering to work very much, and 
then leave to carry out our plans. 

I went over to the race at Hughes' track this 
afternoon. There was a big crowd and a lot of ex- 
citement and reckless betting. There were a half 
dozen Marysville sports on hand and they backed 
their horse without stint. *Wake Up Jack,'' the 
Nevada horse, won the race by ten feet in a dis- 
tance of a quarter of a mile, and they say the home 
gamblers were ahead more than twenty thousand 
dollars. Just for fun, I ventured a hundred dollars 
on **Wake Up Jack," and gained that much. I have 

178 



A FORTY-NINER 

said nothing to Pard about it, as he would surely 
give me a lecture on the folly of it. I note one 
thing, whenever I am around where gambling is 
going on I have an inclination to join in and I 
can now understand why so many miners are in- 
veterate gamblers. The best way is to keep away 
from it and out of temptation. 

The remains of Carter's body were found last 
week near the head of Myers Ravine, about a mile 
from his cabin. There was nothing but the skull 
bones, gnawed clean, and his shirt, overalls and 
boots; but the hair was the same color, and in the 
pocket of the overalls there were a knife, pipe 
and tobacco pouch that were known to have be- 
longed to him. No sort of theory as to their deaths 
fits the case. It was not robbery. If it had been 
a quarrel and they had killed each other, their 
bodies would not have been found a mile apart. So 
far as known, they lived on the best of terms, and 
they were good fellows who had no enemies. It is 
not likely that both went crazy and wandered off to 
die. Some think that they may have accidentally 
poisoned themselves; but it is all guesswork and 
a great mystery. 

(NoTBv— It may be added that it was a mysteiy that was never solved, 
and in those stirring times, when incident followed mcident so rapidly, the 
memory of it soon faded from men's mmds.) 



179 



CHAPTER XIX. 

PARD BRUSHES UP IN HIS PROFESSION- 
NO DEFERENCE PAID TO WEALTH- 
HOW FORTUNE FAVORED JENKINS— 
WHEN YOU HAVE GOT THE LUCK, IT'S 
WITH YOU FROM START TO FINISH- 
JIM VINEYARD'S HARD STREAK— A 
MOVING TALE OF A MISSED OPPOR- 
TUNITY—ONE MAN'S LOSS ANOTHER 
MAN'S GAIN— TROUSERS POCKETS VS. 
MONEY BELT. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XIX. 

MARCH 14, 1852.— When we thought the rain 
over and a few weeks of good weather due, it began 
to storm again, and it is now worse than ever. My 
companion does not mind it, as he has settled down 
to studying his law books, and the rain is an excuse 
not to budcle to hard work again. In fact, if we 
carry out our project to work Rock Creek, he pro- 
poses to hire a substitute, as he pretends to be rusty 
in his profession and needs all the time he will have 
to spare to brush up before we go to San Francisco. 
I have no profession to study up and the hours 
hang heavy on my hands. I have written the old 
folks that I will be home early in the summer, and 
they are delighted. So am I, with the exception 
that I am not certain exactly how they are going 
to take to Marie. A foreigner and a Papist — ^what 
a shock that will be to mother, saying nothing about 
the gossip of my boyhood friends and neighbors. I 
will trust Marie to win her way with the old folks, 
and don't care a snap of my fingtfr about the rest 
of them. On the otJier hand, what a big man I 
will be back there, returned from California with a 
sack full of gold, and the richest man in the village, 
with the exception of old Squire Battell! What 
little difference it makes to us here whether a man 
has money or not. I know half a dozen men on 
Selby Hill who have taken out in the past year 
anywhere from forty thousand to sixty thousand 
apiece, and a dozen more who have made still more 

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THE DIARY OF 

than that from mining ground on Gold Flat, 
Coyoteville and Manzanita Hill. They don't put 
on any airs and nobody envies them. We don't ask 
what a man is worth or how much he has got. The 
only question is, is he a good fellow? If he is, he is 
one of us ; if he isn't, we let him alone. Even brains 
and education do not count for very much and some 
of the most ignorant are the most prosperous. Min- 
ing is not a complicated process, and, as far as I 
can see, is more a question of luck than anything 
else. A miner from Auburn was telling me the 
other day of a case that happened there last sum- 
mer. A man named Jenkins was working at the 
head of Missouri Gulch, "tomming." His diggings 
were just fair, about half an ounce a day. He had 
built a little dirt reservoir to catch what water 
there was, which was very scarce. The gulch headed 
in a flat and up at the end of it, where it rose up 
to the hills, there was a running spring, the water 
seeping into the flat and going to waste. In order 
to make his own supply hold out, he dug a narrow 
trench and ran the seepage into his reservoir. It 
worked all right for a few days and he paid no 
further attention to it, not even going up on the 
flat for a week. One morning he noticed that the 
water was not running in the ditch and, supposing 
that a gopher had tapped it, he put his shovel on 
his shoulder and walked along the trench to see 
what the trouble might be. When about half way 
across he was astonished to see that the bottom 
of his ditch for twenty feet or more was one yellow 
mass of gold. It was an immense rotten quartz 
deposit, and inside of a month he had taken out 
forty-one thousand dollars. That was surely blind 

184 



A FORTY-NINER 

luck ; still, there was another phase of it that was 
luckier. The flat was unclaimed ground, open to 
location by anybody. The gold must have been 
there in plain view day and night for a week or 
more. Miners were tramping around in every direc- 
tion hunting diggings, yet by pure chance not one 
happened to cross the flat that week. Fortune 
started in to favor Jenkins and did not make any 
half work of it. As my friend said, "It just shows 
that when you've got the luck, it's with you from 
start to finish." Then he rounded off with what he 
called a hard luck story. The moimtains are full 
of miners tramping around from one section to 
another, wandering over the country, men leaving 
with their piles or hunting better diggings, and 
there are numerous hold-ups and murders on the 
trails that become known only when somebody runs 
across the bodies. As we are all strangers to each 
other outside of our inmiediate neighborhoods, the 
identity of the murdered man is rarely discovered 
and but little interest is taken in apprehending 
the murderers. Jim Vineyard, who was mining a 
bar on the Middle Fork of the Yuba, [Vineyard 
was father-in-law of Cherley De Long of Marys- 
ville, afterward Congressman from Nevada and 
U. S. Minister to Japan] was ui> to the store on 
.Kanaka Creek one Sunday, having a good time 
with a crowd of the boys, and remarked that he 
had a streak of mightjr hard luck during the week. 
**What's the matter, Jim, isn't the claim paying?" 

asked one of his friends. "Oh, h ^I, the claim is 

all right; it was this way, you see. I was working 
on the mine Thursday afternoon, windlassing 
gravel, when I saw a floater (a drowned man) come 

i8S 



THE DIARY OF 

bobbing down the river and it drifted on to the 
upper edge of the bar. It was some poor miner who 
had fallen in somewhere up the stream. I went 
through his pockets to see if there was anything 
that would reveal who he was ; but found nothing 
except a knife, plug of tobacco and a buckskin 
purse with three hundred dollars of dust in it. Of 
course, I kept the purse, as somebody might recog* 
nize it and prove his identity." Jim paused to 
take another drink and the crowd did not seem to 
catch the point. 

"I don't see anything very unlucky about that," 
interjected his friend. *Tfou don't," retorted Jim. 
"Wait until you hear the rest of it. I was too 
busy and too tired to haul the body out and bury 
it, so I just gave it a shove and let it float along 
down stream. Jack Batterson is fluming about 
a mile below my bar and the fool corpse had to 
jam into the head of his flume, instead of going on 
down the river to the plains. If it had, then I 
would never have known how mean fortune could 
be. Just why Jack stripped its clothes off, I don't 
know; any sensible, sympathetic man that had the 
interest of the corpse at heart would have dug a 
hole and put it under ground, clothes and all, but 
he didn't; maybe he wanted the clothes for an 
extra suit; anyway, he took them off and I'm 

d d if he didn't find a money belt around the 

waist with twelve hundred dollars more in dust 
inside, and now he is crowing over me because I 
was not smart enough to make a better search. If 
you don't call that hard luck, then I don't know 
what the article is." 

The crowd agreed that it was pretty tough on 

i86 



A FORTY-NINER 

Jim and proceeded to help him forget it by order- 
ing drinks all around. 

I must say I was a little shocked by the heart- 
lessness of the incident, although my friend con- 
tended that it was a good joke on Jim, and it was 
so regarded by everybody on the Middle Fork. 



187 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE UNSOCIABLE COUPLE ON ROUND 
MOUNTAIN — GOOD FELLOWSHIP 
AMONG THE PIONEERS— THE TAX- 
COLLECTOR PASSES THE MINERS BY— 
A WOMAN IN BREECHES— MARIE RE- 
TURNS FROM FRANCE— ADOPTION OF 
A NEW METHOD OF SLUICING— THE 
DOG AND DONKEY STRIKE UP A 
FRIENDSHIP— FRANK DUNN AND HIS 
ECCENTRICITIES— POSING AS A HOR- 
RIBLE EXAMPLE. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XX. 

MARCH 21, 1852.— There is a queer couple 
living up on the slope of Round Mountain at the 
gap where it breaks off into the Rock Creek Canon. 
All sorts of stories and rumors about them and 
their doings have been in circulation, although 
nobody had any acquaintance with them or knew 
any facts about their operations. It was noticed, 
however, that they never were away from the cabin 
at the same time, that they made no friends or 
visits and that when anyone came around their 
neighborhood they were gruff and unsocial. As this 
is a great country for everybody minding his own 
business, no attention would have been paid to 
them if their manners and customs had not been so ' 
different from the general rule. If there is one 
thing above another that prevails, it is the good- 
fellowship among us all. If a man is taken sick, 
is hurt, or in bad luck, there is not one of us that 
is not ready to nurse him or put our hands into our 
pockets if necessary. We don't ask who he is, where 
he came from, or what is his religion. On the other 
hand, men are coming and going all the time. You 
may have known a man for a year, then you miss 
him, see a stranger at his cabin, and ask what has 
become of the old occupant and the answer will 
be, ^^Oh, he has made his pile and gone back to 
the States,** or, "His claim petered out and he's 
off prospecting,'' or, "He went with the rush to 
Gold Bluff, or the Kern River excitement," and 
then you forget him. It's all a hurly-burly with 

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THE DIARY OF 

nobody making plans to live here permanently. We 
were talking about this over at Selby Flat the 
other night and the crowd was unanimous in de- 
nouncing the extravagance of a project that was 
being agitated to build a brick courthouse at Nevada 
City. No matter how much gold is discovered, it 
cannot last always — ^not more than a few years at 
most — ^and when it is gone what will there be to 
keep up a town, or to live for, and then all of the 
money spent on stone buildings and courthouses 
will go to waste. 

I don't suppose I ought to growl about it. So 
far as I know, the tax-collector does not bother 
us miners. Our log cabins are not worth taxing, 
our claims are exempt, and if the town people want 
to pay for these follies, it is their privilege. The out- 
side towns — Grass Valley, Rough and Ready and 
Selby Flat — are doing some lively kicking over the 
courthouse scheme, and there is talk of a fight to 
take away the county seat from Nevada City. 

Out of curiosity I rode over to see the couple 
who live on Round Mountain, and I made a funny 
discovery. If one of them is not a woman dressed 
in men's clothes, then I don't know a woman when 
I see one. The cabin is a queer sort of shanty, 
about thirty feet long, built into the bank so that 
the roof comes down even with it. There are two 
doors, one narrow and the other five feet wide. 
There is a wheelbarrow track leading out of the 
wide door to a dump-pile of waste dirt and a Tom 
set in the ravine below, where, evidently, the pay 
dirt is washed. I could see at once that they were 
tunneling into the hill from the back of the cabin, 
although if it had not been for the dump-pile. Long 

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A FORTY-NINER 

Tom and wheelbarrow track no one would have 
suspected that any mining was going on in the 
vicinity. While I was sitting on my horse taking 
in all this, a slight young fellow came out wheel- 
ing a barrow of dirt. He seemed startled to see 
me, turned his head away, dumped his dirt, pulled 
his hat down over his eyes and went back through 
the door without even saying good morning. I 
started to ride away when another man appeared 
at the door — a long-whiskered, stout-built fellow 
who did not seem to be at all pleased at my being 
there — and asked me roughly what I wanted. I 
replied that I wanted nothing, was riding around 
the country, happened to come across the place, had 
halted a minute and that was all. He turned to 
go back, hesitated, then looked around and asked 
me to get down and hitch the horse. I was so 
curious that I accepted the invitation and in a few 
minutes we were sitting out on the dump-pile in 
the sun chatting away like old friends. I think he 
is a Western man by his accent, not that I asked 
any questions, not having the chance. He did the 
questioning, and kept me busy answering, not 
seeming to know anything about what was going 
on anywhere, neither in his own neighborhood nor 
abroad, and although he did not appear to be an 
ignorant man in a general way, he certainly lacked 
information on current happenings. The young 
fellow failed to show up, and, after an hour or so, 
the man excused himself for a minute — ^it was past 
noon — came back and asked me if I would not stop 
for dinner. I was dying to see the inside of the 
cabin and accepted. Well, you never saw a neater 
place. Twenty feet of it was partitioned oflF. There 

193 



THE DIARY OF 

was a board floor, swept and clean, a curtain to the 
window, paper, the edges cut in scallops, on the 
shelves, a home-made double bed nicely made up, 
and pillows. The table was covered with a table- 
cloth made of flour sacks sewn together, but white 
and clean, and the crockery all washed since break- 
fast. I wondered what sort of finicky miners these 
could be, so different in their housekeeping from 
the rest of us, when the young fellow began to put 
the grub on the table. That settled it. He had 
his hat off, and ^^he" was a woman dead sure. If 
there had been nothing else, the cooking would 
have proved it; hot biscuit, fried quail with a thin 
strip of bacon wrapped around them, beans, of 
course, but not greasy beans, a fine cup of coffee, 
and doughnuts. Gracious! That was 'the first 
doughnut I had eaten since leaving Connecticut. 
He just introduced her as his partner without any 
explanation and I did not ask for any, although 
it looked funny to see a pretty, black-haired, black- 
eyed woman dressed up in a woolen shirt, overalls 
and boots. I had sense enough to keep my mouth 
shut on the subject and we ate our dinner as if 
there was nothing strange in the situation. After 
it was over and we had smoked our pipes, she in 
the meantime clearing off the table and washing 
the dishes, he asked me to come in and look at his 
mine. He had run a tunnel into the mountain from 
the back of his cabin and was in a hundred feet 
or more. He said he had stumbled on it by acci- 
dent, built the cabin as I saw it, just for a notion, 
that it had paid and was still paying very well and 
he would stay with it until it was worked out. He 
came out with me when I got ready to go away, 

194 



A FORTY-NINER 

shook hands and asked me to ride over again, and 
then said that he knew that he had the reputation 
of being unsociable and eccentric; that maybe he 
was, but if I got acquainted I would find out he 
was not a bad sort; that while it seemed as if there 
was a mystery there really wasn% and there was 
not much to telL If I made him another visit he 
would explain, not because he had to, but that he 
could understand how it looked queer to an out- 
sider. Then he got sort of gruff and said it was 
nobody's business but his own, and I rode away. 
Pard and I talked it over and we agreed that the 
woman was without doubt his wife, who preferred 
to live with her husband in this way rather than 
be separated. If they wanted to lead hermit lives 
they had the right. Really, the only strange part 
of it is her dressing in men's clothes and working 
in the mine. I would not let any wife of mine do 
that sort of thing. 

MARCH 28, 1852.— After all my doubts and 
fears Marie arrived in San Francisco by the last 
steamer, and I got a letter from her yesterday. She 
says she will spend a week or ten days there and 
will then come to Nevada, and that I am not to 
come to meet her, but wait until she arrives. Pard 
says I am too absurdly happy to be in my right 
mind, and I guess I am, although a week is a long 
time to wait and I have had a notion to go down 
after her anyway. Instead, however, we began 
setting our sluices in the bed of the creek, the water 
having run down so as not to interfere very much, 
and Pard is as tired of reading as I am of loafing. 
It has taken us all of the week to get the boxes in 

I9S 



THE DIARY OF 

place and we will begin sluicing in the dirt to-mor- 
row. We are going to try the same plan on the 
creek that we did on the flat, ground-sluice the dirt 
and let it run through the sluices. We found out 
that on Deer Creek they have adopted another plan, 
doing away with cross riffles and forking out, and, 
instead, paving some of the boxes with cobbles and 
the rest with heavy slats and Hungarian riffles. If 
this works all right we can put a lot of dirt through, 
as there is plenty of water and fall for a tailrace. 

The country is looking fine. Since the rain quit 
and the sun shone, the grass is up three inches on 
the hillsides and the oaks and sycamores are leav- 
ing out. The horses and jackass are rolling fat, and 
even Jack seems to like the coming of spring time. 
He has got to be a very sedate and serious dog. 
He and the jackass have struck up a great friend- 
ship and wander over the hills together all day 
long, but invariably bring up at the cabin when 
night comes on. We stake out the horses, as they 
might feed off too far and be stolen, or lost, if we 
let them run loose. Mother writes me that she 
surely expects me home in June and that I must 
not break my word. I don't think I will go back 
on it. It will all be decided as soon as I see Marie. 

Another miner lost his life through whiskey. Bill 
Grace, who had been having a night of it over in 
Nevada, started for home about midnight on Tues- 
day. He disappeared, and his partner, who could 
get no trace of him in town, or elsewhere, found 
his body Thursday in an old shaft on Selby Hill. 
There was about ten feet of water in the shaft and, 
of course, he was drowned. There is a good deal 
of complaint about these old abandoned shafts and 

196 



A FORTY-NINER 

there is talk of the miners taking some action to 
compel the claim owners to cover them up. It is 
dangerous even for sober men to walk around dark 
nights. 

Frank Dunn, of Nevada, was over to see Pard 
yesterday. He is one of the brightest lawyers in the 
State, and liked by everybody, but he has a bad 
failing. He will go on long sprees and is so un- 
certain in his habits that his clients lose faith in 
him. He made a proposition to Pard to form a 
partnership and practice together, but Pard de- 
clined ; he is set in his determination to go to San 
Francisco. 

They tell many amusing stories of Dunn and 
his habits. They found him one day sitting in the 
street in the sun, his back against the liberty pole 
on the Plaza, owlishly viewing the surroundings. 
One of his friends remonstrated and tried to per- 
suade him to seek the obscurity of his room. "What 
for?*' said Dunn. "Is there anything in the statutes 
of the State of California contrary to my occupying 
the small space which I have so preempted on this 
highway.^ Is there any reason, if I am so minded, 
that I should not teach my fellow citizens the great 
moral lesson of the overthrow and debasement of 
genius by the Demon Rum.? Am I not better em- 
ployed than if in a stifling, tobacco perfumed court- 
room, beating law into the skull of a thick-headed 
judge, who don't know Blackstone from white 
quartz? No, I will not remove myself from the 

(Note.— Dunn was all that Jackson says, a bright lawyer and a leader 
of the early Nevada bar. In the old days his witty sayings, idiosyncrasies 
and queer bibulous fancies were talked of and repeated by everybody in the 
county. He died, I believe, in 1856, and is buried in the old Pine Tree 
Graveyard.) 

197 



THE DIARY OF 

public gaze unless/' — ^here he hesitated and winked 
his eye at his friend — ^**unles8 you should happen 
to have four bits about you and should ask me to 
join you. That would be a moving and persuasive 
argument not to be resisted. Ah! you have, help 
me up" — and he was persuaded. 



198 



CHAPTER XXI. 

A SUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENT— A JOKE ON 
THE VISITORS— ROAD AGENTS HOLD 
UP A STAGE— UNCHIVALRIC TREAT- 
MENT OF THE WOMAN PASSENGER- 
MEETING OF THE LOVERS-JACKSON'S 
WORD PICTURE OF THE BEAUTIES OF 
THE LANDSCAPE, VIEWED FROM SUGAR 
LOAF— THE RECONCILIATION OF AN- 
DERSON AND HIS WIFE— MARIE'S COM- 
MENTS. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XXL 

APRIL 4, 1852.— We buckled down to sluicing 
the creek Monday morning, and as we had plenty 
of water we put through a pile of dirt. It was 
working in the dark, for neither one of us knew 
whether we were saving any gold or not. I had my 
doubts and Pard was not sure, as the stuff ran 
through with a rush and it did not seem as if the 
riffles would catch the gold. It began to rain Friday 
night and we cleaned up the best we could Saturday 
morning, as we knew the creek would rise and carry 
out our sluices unless we got them up on the bank. 
We were agreeably surprised to find that we had 
caught fourteen ounces. Most of it was very fine, 
but there was a little coarse gold the size of pumpkin 
seeds and one nugget that weighed nine dollars. 
While not wonderfully rich it will pay pretty good 
wages. It will take three or four days to get our 
boxes set back in the creek, and, as it is liable to 
rain more or less during April, we have concluded 
not to try it again until the first of the month. By 
that time the winter rains will be over. 

We had a good joke on John Hall and Delos 
Calkins this morning. I have got so I can speak 
French fairly well, and when the boys dropped over 
on a visit Pard and I jabbered away at each other 
in that language, throwing in a little English to 
Delos and John occasionally when they broke into 
the conversation. They listened awhile, but got 
more and more disgusted, and finally Delos said: 
**You think you are smart, but I think you are a 

20I 



THE DIARY OF 

couple of d ^n fools. What is it, Choctaw or 

Greek?" We told him it was French and that it 
was our custom to converse with each other in that 
polite language, and he said we were a pair of 
galoots, who didn't know the difference between 
French and Patagonian. He offered to bet us an 
ounce apiece that we could not tackle the proprie- 
tor of the Hotel de Paris in Nevada and throw 
that lingo at him for five minutes without being 
taken for lunatics and chucked out into the street. 
Then he began to grin as if he had caught on to a new 
idea and said: "Why, of course, he's going to talk 
to her in her own language, Tarley vous Fran^ais, 
Madam?' " How they got on to it I don't know, 
but the bovs all know that Marie is coming back 
and that there is something in the wind; so part 
of the joke was on me after all. 

We had a talk with them about our new method 
of mining on Rock Creek, and they have taken 
the pointer and are going to work a portion of Brush 
Creek the same way. .We told them part of our 
plans and that we arc going to leave the country 
early in the summer and they were genuinely sorry 
to hear it. They like me, but are specially fond 
of Anderson. He has been a sort of umpire in all 
of the disputes that have arisen and a peacemaker 
in the neighborhood of quarrels. They made up 
their minds to run him for the Legislature next 
election, but our going away spoils their plans. After 
they left Pard said that before he went away he 
intended to get them all together, give them a blow- 
out and then tell them his real name and why he 
had sailed under false colors. He felt that he had 
to do it, both in justice to them and himself. 

202 



A FORTY-NINER 

The country above and all the trails have been 
infested with a gang of highwaymen for the past 
three months and it has not been safe to travel, as 
they robbed and murdered right and left. It is 
Reelfoot Williams' gang and he and his followers 
do not seem to be afraid of anything or anybody. 
Wednesday morning they held up the Nevada stage 
near Illinoistown and they got away with seventy- 
five hundred dollars. There were only two passen- 
gers aboard, a man and a woman. He gave up two 
hundred and thirty dollars, all that he had. She 
swore she did not have any money, but they were 
mean enough to search her and, although she fought 
like a tiger cat, it did not do her any good. Sure 
enough, they found six slugs (fifty dollars each) 
in her stockings, which they confiscated, and rode 
away laughing. The man said that she came pretty 
near getting even in the tongue lashing she gave 
them, and that, until her tirade, he did not known 
that the English language had such possibilities. 

APRIL 13, 1852.— I went over to Nevada both 
Monday and Tuesday afternoons to meet the stage, 
thinking that possibly Marie might be aboard, but 
she wasn't. I swore I would not go again until 
I heard from her, but I guess I would if she had 
not saved me the trouble, for about three o'clock 
Wednesday afternoon Pard and^ I were sitting out 
under the tree, and I was^ thinking about saddling 
the horse and taking a ride, when Jack began to 
bark, and here she came riding down the trail as 
pretty a sight as ever I saw. My heart beat like a 
trip hammer, my head felt dizzy, and I did not 
have sense enough to help her oflF her horse. Pard 

203 



THE DIARY OF 

saved me the trouble, for which I didn't thank him^ 
but she paid no atten^tion to him; she just flung 
her arms around my neck and began laughing and 
crying and calling me "mon chere," I was mightily 
embarrassed for a minute, until I saw out of the 
tail of my eye Pard and Jack disappearing up the 
trail. Then I gave her as warm and loving a 
welcome as she had me. Wasn't it lucky that we 
weren't working, and I had on clean clothes? I 
hitched her horse and then we sat down on the 
clean pine needles holding each other's hands, and 
if I lived a thousand years I never could write 
down half we said in the next hour. Gracious! 
Isn't she pretty with her crinkly brown hair, her 
laughing eyes and her white teeth. I never realized 
before how handsome she is. I sprung my French 
on her and she just laughed and said I spoke it 
so well that she could understand some of it. 
After a while Pard strolled back, patted her hand 
and told her that to see me happy was to make him 
the same; all that I wanted was a good wife, and 
he was sure that she would make me one; that he 
loved me as well as if I was his own brother; and 
then he choked and whistled to Jack and started 
for the trail again, but we would not let him go. 
We discussed all of our plans and came to a mutual 
understanding. Pard got supper — I was too busy 
talking and had no appetite anyhow — and about 
ten o'clock we both rode to Nevada with her, for 
the sake of the proprieties, as Pard put it. That, 
to me, was the happiest evening of all my life. Since 
then she has been over every day, generally getting 
here about nine o'clock in the morning — she has 
a room at the Hotel de Paris — stays until after 

204 



A FORTY-NINER 

supper and then I ride back with her in the twilight. 
I don't think there is any other place on earth where 
the evenings are as beautiful as they are here. We 
ride up to Sugar Loaf gap and look off on the 
country, the sky all aglow with the setting sun, a 
great ball of red fire dropping down behind the 
Yuba ridge. Deer Creek winding down the canon, 
the pine trees on the opposite slope standing out 
like black giants against the background, and as 
the darkness falls the lights twinkle and flash in the 
town lying at our feet, a breeze stirring as soft and 
caressing as — ^well, I am at a loss for words, but 
it is just good to live. When I tell Pard of it he 
says: "Yes, you're in love and every prospect 
pleases.'' Poor old Pard, he watches us as if we 
were a couple of children. She has petted, played 
and fondled Jack until the old dog has about thrown 
off the rest of us. Pard says he used to have a 
dog and two jackasses, and now he has only a single 
jackass left. Marie has coaxed him into telling 
his story and she says : **You poor man, you tried 
to throw away the best thing on earth, a good 
woman's love." He pleads guilty, but insists that 
he repented in time. It is settled that Pard's wife 
will meet him in San Francisco in June. 

We had a marriage up at Scott's^ ranch last week 
and Marie and I went to it by invitation. Lou 
Hanchett, the boss miner on the ridge, has been 
courting a pretty girl at Selby Flat. They were 
friends of the Scotts, and the wedding was held 
at their place. About twenty of the boys from 
Selby Flat were there, as well as all of the miners 
from Rock Creek. Lou provided a big blow-out 
and ended up with a dance, which we kept up until 

20S 



T H E D I A R Y OF 

midnight and then scattered. Hanchett is one of 
the best fellows in the country, but the boys are not 
exactly pleased with his capturing the belle of the 
county and taking her away from the Flat. 

(NoTE.-^HancIiett and wife settled at the camp afterward known as 
Moore's Flat, where he diaoovered and opened one of the richest mines in 
the State. A girl baby was bom to them in 1853, who passed her girl- 
hood in that pretty mountain town. She married George Crocker, son of 
Charles Crocker, one of the original projectors and buil<fer8 of the Central 
Pacific Railroad, and died m Paris two years ago. Lou Hanchett and wife 
still survive and are living in San Francisco at the present time.) 



206 



CHAPTER XXII. 

A PLACID LIFE— MARIE OBSERVES THE 
PROPRIETIES— PARD PLANS FOR THE 
FUTURE— THE PROGRESS OF A LOVE 
IDYLI^REELFOOT WILLIAMS AND HIS 
GANG — JACK'S WARNING — ROBBERY 
OF THE BLUE TENT STORE— A FRUIT- 
LESS PURSUIT — NEGOTIATING THE 
SALE OF MINING PROPERTIES— SHAL- 
LOW PLACERS WORKED OUT AND DEEP 
DIGGINGS TAKING THEIR PLACE. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XXIL 

APRIL 18, 1852.-^It'8 a queer life we are lead- 
ing, but it could not be pleasanter. I have given 
her my horse to ride and Pard lets me use his 
animal. Mine is the gentler one and I would not 
trust Marie on a bucking horse. Pard^ says that 
in the present state of affairs a j admass will do him. 
The landlady of the Hotel de Paris and Marie are 
countrywomen, and are great friends, which makes 
it very pleasant, as she has a companion to live 
with and it stops talk. Marie gets her breakfast 
at the hotel and then rides out to the cabin. Then 
we sit around in the shade until dinner time. Marie 
calls it dijeuner d la jourchette, and says dinner 
time doesn't come imtil six o'clock. We've himted 
the town for dainty things to eat and have a regular 
picnic cooking our meals. It's astonishing to see 
how neat we have got to be, beds made up, dishes 
washed, cabin tidied up as clean as we can make 
it, and we have even swept the dooryard. , Marie 
rubs her finger over the plates and shows us the 
grease on them and says : **We have not used of ze 
soap plenty enough" and "ze dish cloths, they are 
so dirty." Pard calls her a little tyrant, but he 
is as pleased as a boy, and Jack has gone daffy. 
Some of the afternoons when it is not too hot we 
ride together over the hills, but generally sit around 
under the pine trees chatting and planning the 
future. Pard is set on my going into some kind 
of business at San Francisco. First of all, though, 

209 



THE DIARY OF 

we will visit the old folks, although not to settle 
down there. Marie says: "Perhaps ze fazzer and 
ze muzzer zey will not like it t'at I take zeir boy, 
but I t'ink I will make zem to love me,'* and Pard 
says she is a pretty witch whom nobody could help 
liking. Then she wants me to visit Paris and meet 
her mother and sisters and then, "if San Francisco," 
shrugging her shoulders, *Svell, what ze husband 
he desire, ze good wife she should do ze same." Pard 
roars at this and says good doctrine before mar- 
riage, but wait until afterwards. 

We rubbed pretty close to a nasty adventure 
Thursday. Reelfoot Williams' gang has been raid- 
ing the trails and roads for the past month. Posses 
have been raised to chase and capture them, and 
there was a fight two weeks ago between the rob- 
bers and a Marysville posse down below Rose's 
Ban A deputy sheriff and one of his men were 
killed, but the thieves got off scot free. We have 
heard of them around Nevada County, and they 
held up the stage near Illinoistown a couple of 
weeks ago. We had just finished dinner when 
Jack growled and Pard went to the door to find 
out what the trouble was. He saw a lot of men 
coming up the trail about fifty yards away, and it 

(NoTB.-*It will be seen that Jacksoa's diary has degenerated or risen, 
as the reader is pleased to view it, into a love romance, pure and simple, 
and the prosaic tacts of his existence do not get the same detail as^ before, 
but the situation is idyllic. That this hard-headed Yankee and vivacbus 
Frenchwoman should drift together from opposite ends of the earth and 
form a mutual attachment that ignored family- ti^, opposing religions and 
contrary views from almost any sUndpoint, braving the sneers and criti- 
cisms of the world, each with an abiding faith m the other's affection, con- 
stitutes a romantic episode, and, I was about to add, a strange one. ^ I 
qualify this, however, for I can recall dozens of instances that were quite 
as unreasonable from a commonplace standpomt. Love has no reasons, no 
excuses, and the sexual instmct will not be denied.) 

210 



A FORTY-NINER 

popped into his mind that they were the highway- 
men. He jumped back and grabbed his rifle and 
I followed suit with the shotgun and pistol. We 
both stood in the door and when they rode up 
they saw^ we were heeled and had the advantage 
of being inside. They halted, hesitated a minute, 
the leader fell back and said something to one of 
the men, and then asked if they were on the Blue 
Tent trail. Pard answered, "Yes, keep right along 
and you will get there." The spokesman, a good- 
looking fellow with long, light hair and mustache, 

wanted to know if we took them for a lot of d n 

robbers, and Pard replied: "Never mind what we 
take you for, move along*'; and they went. After 

(Note. — ^Reelfoot Williams, who u credited with being the leader of 
the gang of highwajrmen mentioned in the diary, was a notorious desperado 
of the eariy days, and, so far as known, the first to organize a gang of 
murderers and thieves for systematic predatorjr work on the roads and 
trails. He first became locally known at Downievillc^ Sierra County, as a 
gambler and suspected robber, his chief source of mcome being derived 
from holding up miners on the traib and relieving them of their coin and 
gold dust. He was arrested in 1851 for hishwajr robberyj and escaped 
conviction after a hard-fought legal battle. In this connection, a story is 
told of his encounter, shortly after his trial, with the judge before whose 
court he had been arraigned. When Sierra County was organized in 1850^ 
one Chap Schaffer secured the appointment, an all-round good fellow, 
as eood telbws were estimated in those dajrs. He had a smattering of law, 
and occupied the bench to the satisfaction of the people, who did not 
demand too mudi learning or profundity. It was not held a^inst him 
that he would at any time adjourn court to participate in a lively poker 
game, or that his salary and fees were dissipated at the faro banks. The 
day after the acquitul in Schaffer's court of Reelfoot Williams, the judge 
had business in one of the adjacent mmmg camps and, mounting his mule, 
turted on his journey. When half way up the Shig Canon trail a man 
stepped out of the chaparral and ordered hun to throw up his hands and 
deliver his vahiables. 

The judge obeyed without hesitation so far as elevatmg his hands, but, 
recoenizmg the highwajrman, exclaimed in perturbed tones: "Good Lord, 
Williamsl I haven't got a cent, the bosrs cleaned me out in a little game 
last night." 

Williams bwered his pistol with a 'HeUo, judge, is that you? I didn't 
know you or I wouldn't have hekl you up. I knew I had no chance against 

211 



THE DIARY OF 

they were out of sight Paid said I had better take 
Marie back to Nevada and he would go along and 
raise a posse. Marie was as courageous as either 
one of us and kept as quiet as a mouse while they 
were at the cabin, but on the way to town tried to 
coax me not to go with the party, said that thief 
catching was not my business, and so did Pard, but I 
was not going to let him take any chances that I was 
not willing to share, even if he was a deputy sheriff. 
So I went. We might as well have stayed at home 
for all the good it did, although we found out we 
were right in thinking them highwaymen. An 
hour after they left us they robb^ the Blue Tent 
store of a lot of provisions and eight hundred dollars 
in dust. It was five o'clock before we started and 
dark by the time we reached Blue Tent. We pushed 
on to Humbug [now North Bloomfield] but they 
had not been seen there and we figured out that 
they had gone down the ridge toward Cherokee. 
We went there the next day, but they had kept out 
of view and we heard no more of diem. I got a 

those pownieville sports. But say, judge, do me a favor, win you? Hurry 
on, tKere's another fellow coming up the trail and I've got to get out 

of this d country somehow." ^ 

The judge, much relieved m mind if not m pocket, stood not on the order 
of his going and, digging his sptirs into the mule, started o£F at a livdy gait. 
The other fellow was duly halted and Williams secured seven hundred 
dollars. It was after this exploit that he associated himself with Rattle- 
snake Dick and three others and started out as a full-fledged "road agent."* 
The band held together until 1853, when three of its members were kUled 
in an encounter with a sheriffs posse near Forbestown, Yuba County, 
Williams and Rattlesnake Dick escaped and fled to the southern country. 
Dick was stabbed and killed by a rival desperado at Spanbh Diy Diggings 
in '54. Williams disappeared from view tor several years, but turned up 
m die "skties" m that paradise of roughs and bad men, Virginia City, 
Nev., where he flourished as ''chief," to the annoyance of other aspirants 
to that coveted title, one of whom poked a shotgun through a sakxm 
window and emptied a charge of buckshot into his carcass, bringing hit 
career to an abrupt termination.) 

212 



A EORTY-NINER 



good sight of the party at the cabin. There were 
five of them, three white men and two greasers. 
The fellow who did the talking was without doubt 
the leader, Williams, the other two were Rattle- 
snake Dick and Jim Mosely, and the two Mexicans, 
Alverez and Garcia, We have not the least doubt 
that they had intended to rob us, and would have 
done so if Jack had not given us warning. Good old 
Jack, he showed right there that he is worth all 
the trouble he ever gave us. 

APRIL 25, 1852. — ^It has not rained for ten days 
and we will be able to get back into the creek again 
if we do not have any more showers. Neither Pard 
nor I are very anxious to continue mining and we 
have an offer from some of the Brush Creek boys 
which we may take up. ^ We told them the result 
of our first week's washing and they proposed to 
come over and work with us a week, and if it yielded 
as well as in the beginning they would form a com- 
pany to run it on shares and give us twenty per 
cent, of what they took out. We have agreed to 
their proposal and will begin putting in the boxes 
as soon^ as the water runs down a little more. I 
am anxious to get away, but Pard says he will not 
leave until the time comes to meet his wife. She will 
start from New York the 21st of May. I asked 
Marie what we should do and she says that while 
there is nothing to keep her here except my con- 
venience, still, after all Pard had done for me, and 
considering what our relations may be in the fu- 
ture, we had better postpone our complete happi- 
ness for a little while. Pard is much pleased over 
our decision. 

213 



THE DIARY OF 

^ We have bargained to sell our interests in the 
river claim to the other members of the company 
for six thousand dollars. If the creek turns out 
iwell, I will have pretty close to twenty-five thou- 
sand dollars, so I am comparatively a rich man. 
Marie tells me that she has twenty thousand dollars 
in French Rentes, which, as I understand it, are 
government bonds; the five thousand dollars in- 
vested in Frisco lots, and a country place near 
Paris, for which she paid fourteen thousand dollars. 
This place she wants her mother and sisters to live 
in, rent free, if I am willing, and they have enough 
income of their own to get along on nicely. As if 
I were going to have anything to say about what 
she does with her money ! I will never touch a cent 
of it, although she insists that when we are married 
it is mine. Pard says she has it well invested 
and not to disturb it, as I have enough of my own 
to go into business or speculate with. 

I notice that the miners now, instead of mining 
alone, or with a single partner, as was generally the 
rule at first, have got to forming companies of half 
a dozen or a dozen men and working their claims 
more systematically and extensively. Ounce dig- 
gings are not as easily found as they were a year 
or t^o ago and the creeks, gulches, and shallow 
placers are pretty well worked out. There are a 
lot of deep diggings, mostly operated by means 
of shafts, and some of these are down as much 
as one hundred and fifty feet. 

On Coyote and Manzanita Hills they have rigged 
up whims, and hoist the dirt by horsepower, and 
at Red Dog and its vicinity they have built water 
wheels, which they use both to pump and raise the 

214 



A FORTY-NINER 

gravel. There is a lot of improvement in mining 
methods since we first began and I suppose there 
will be a lot more before the gold is all taken out 
of the ground. 



215 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

A COMBINATION TO WORK ROCK CREEK 
—EXTRACTING GOLD FROM BLUE 
CEMENT— THE CRITICAL CATS AT 
SELBY FLAT— FRENCH COOKING IN 
THE OLD CABIN — THE INFLUX OF 
CHINAMEN INTO THE MINES— A JOINT 
VISIT TO ROUND MOUNTAIN— MARIE 
PREDICTS AN EXPLOSION— NO CAUSE 
FOR INTERFERENCE. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

MAY 2, 1852.— We got our sluice boxes back 
in the creek, finishing yesterday, and John Dunn 
and three of his partners will start in to-morrow 
morning. They are going to adopt the same plan 
that we tried, using as big a head of water as the 
boxes will carry, and ground-sluice all of the gravel 
through with as little handling as possible. The 
bed-rock will have to be creviced and cleaned by 
hand. If it pays they will make the same proposi- 
tion to Piatt and Dixon. They have enough 
groui;id of ours to keep them busy all summer. Dunn 
and his crowd are taking up all of the vacant ground 
on Brush Creek and will work it in the same way. 
It is a pity we did not know enough two years ago to 
wash the ground through sluices, instead of rock- 
ing it. We could have cleaned up a fortune in a 
month. We thought when the Long Tom came in, 
that it would never be improved upon. Now one 
rarely sees either rocker or Tom except in dry 
gulches and ravines where water is scarce. 

I was over on Gopher Point a short time ago. 
The miners are having lots of trouble getting gold 
out of the cement. They run some of it through 
sluices, but the water has but little eflFect on it, 
and half of it goes into the tailrace without break- 

(NoTB.^ack8on was speculating on the availability of gravel deposits 
that a few years afterward, when hydraulicking came into vogue, proved to 
be the most valuable hydraulic mmes in the world, as the subsequent opera- 
tions at North Bloomfield, Malakoff, Columbia Hill, Badger IfiU, etc^ dem- 
onstrated. Tackson and his Pard mi^ht have been tempted to a kmger 
stay IB the roothills had they had a glunmering of the poasibiUties.) 

219 



THE DIARY OF 

ing Up. The richest of it they spread out on the 
bare bed-rock alid let it weather slack, and then 
pound it up with sledge hammers. In spite of 
all this they are making money. Over on the other 
side of the river, at Humbug, they have struck 
some good diggings and quite a large mining camp 
has sprung up there. It is a loose quartz gravel, 
easily washed, and they say that there are im- 
mense beds of it covering three or four miles up 
and down the ridge. It doesn't all pay; in fact, 
there are only a few spots that are rich enough to 
work, but there is a little gold through it all. If 
there was only some way to wash big quantities 
of it cheaply, Uiere is lots of gold to be taken out. 

Marie and I have paid a visit to Selby Flat, but 
I think we will avoid that place in the future. The 
boys treated us nicely and as respectful as could 
be; but the women — ^they are a lot of cats. There 
is not one of them that can hold a candle to Marie 
for good looks; and as for reputation, well, the 
most of them are good women, but there were a 
few who sneered behind our backs and were in- 
clined to be very uppish, and those were the ones 
who had no reputation to speak of. All because 
she had dealt a gambling game and that is all they 
can say against her. I was inclined to give them 
a piece of my mind, but Marie laughed at it and 
said : "You foolish boy, never quarrel wiz a wdman. 
You cannot fight wiz her and her tongue is too 
much for you." Of course, she is right; but it is 
this sort of thing that makes me want to get away 
from here. We have jolly times at the cabin, how- 
ever. She always brings over some dainty to eat 
from the hotel or stores, and we get up all sorts of 

220 



AFORTY-NINER 

fancy dishes, that is, she does, and Pard and I do 
the rough work. She says cooking is an art in 
her country, and I guess it is, for she has about 
spoiled us and it would be a tough proposition to 
have to go back to our old. 'grub. We have got 
down to coffee and bread for breakfast and neither 
one of us can tackle fried pork and beans any 
more. It doesn't make much difference, as we do 
not get up until nine o'clock. Pard rolls out at 
daylight to fire rocks at the jackass, who insists 
on giving us an early concert every morning. We 
let Jack out to keep him company, and that seems 
to soothe his troubled spirit. It is a strange thing 
the attachment between the two animals. It's 
worth while being awakened to know that we have 
not got to crawl out, get breakfast and then tackle 
a hard day's work in the mud and water. Marie 
gets back to the hotel regularly before dark and 
won't let me stay later than ten o'clock. "It is for 
what ze people would say, my Alfred," and I strike 
out for die cabin. Pard is deep in his books, but 
he drops them and we chat and plan until midnight. 
We both wish the days would go by faster. The 
"old boy" is longing to see his wife and looking 
eagerly forward to the meeting. 

Dunn and his partners put in the week on our 
Rock Creek claims and are well satisfied with the 
retuftis. They took in MacCalkins and Barker 
on the lay and six of them tackled it. It doesn't 
make any difference to us how many are interested, 
as we get twenty per cent, of what comes out. They 
cleaned up yesterday afternoon and had fifty-one 
ounces. That will give us two hundred dollars for 
our rake off and they are averaging about an ounce 

221 



THE DIARY OF 

apiece per day. Dunn has an idea that he can do still 
better by increasing the size of the boxes. They are 
now using ten by twelve-inch bottoms and ten- 
inch sides. He has ordered at the mill two and 
a half feet bottoms and eighteen-inch sides of two 
inches thickness, and will set these in the bed of 
the creek, anchoring them down permanently so 
that flood water will not carry them away. He says 
he is convinced that if he can hold them down he 
can catch most of the gold in the dirt that is carried 
down when the water is high and then clean up 
the creek at low water. I do not see any reason 
why it should not work. Anyway, the experiment 
will cost us nothing. 

Oiinamen are getting to be altogether too plenti- 
ful in the country. Six months ago it was seldom 
one was seen, but lately gangs of them have been 
coming in from below. There is a big camp of 
them down on Deer Creek, below Newtown, and 
we found a lot of them getting ready to work on 
the bars on the Yuba River. Pard and I chased a 
dozen oflF of our river claims and warned them that 
we would shoot them if w^e found them there again. 
We called a miners' meeting and adopted a miners* 
law that they should not be allowed to take up or 
hold ground for themselves nor should they mine 
worked or unworked ground unless purchased from 
a white owner. Some were for driving them out 
of the country entirely, but the majority thought it 
would be a good thing to sell them claims, as it 
was an easy way to make money. Pard says it 
is a great mistake to let them get any sort of a 
foothold; but as we are going to quit mining, our 
objections were not as strong as they might have 

222 



A FORTY-NINER 

been. I understand that most of the camps have 
adopted the same sort of law. They are not looked 
upon as human beings and have no rights that a 
white man is bound to respect, except in protecting 
them in their titles to ground that they have regu- 
larly bought under agreed conditions. Their big 
camp on Deer Creek was raided a couple of weeks 
ago, it is said, by a gang of Mexicans, two of them 
were killed and the remainder scattered all over the 
country. Report says that the Greasers got away 
with over thirty thousand dollars. The Chinamen 
appealed for protection, but nobody paid any at- 
tention to them. There were over fifty living in the 
camp and they ought to have been able to protect 
themselves ; but they seem to be great cowards and 
will not fight under any circumstances. 

I told Marie about my visit to the couple on 
Round Mountain and she proposed that we ride 
over and see them. We found them at home and 
still working the tunnel, and the man, while not 
particularly glad to see us, was decent enough to 
ask us to get off of our horses and come inside 
the cabin. I don't think he liked the idea of Marie 
getting acquainted with the woman, although he 
made no objection. She was as shy as a deer and 
no doubt ashamed of her man's dress — she was 
still wearing overalls and shirt — and we left them 
together while he and I went outside for a chat. 
He was as curious as ever about what was going 
on outside and kept me busy for an hour posting 
him up to date on the news. Then we were called 
in to luncheon, which Marie had helped to get 
ready, and we had a nice meal. I noticed the 
woman's eyes were red and that she had been cry- 

223 



THE D I A R Y OF 

ing. Marie stepped on my foot and I had sense 
enough to say nothing awkward. When we bid 
them good-bye the women kissed each other and 
Marie promised to see her again soon. As soon 
as we were out of earshot she said indignantly : "Oh ! 
he is what you call ze great brute ; no, he does not 
beat her, she say he is not cruel, but she is all ze 
same as one prisoner and her heart it is for to 
break, she is so isolement — lonely you call it." They 
had had a long talk and, while the woman had not 
told her any of her history, or why she was leading 
so strange a life, she had learned enough to know 
that her solitude and isolation were not of her. 
own choice. She said her work was really only play, 
that her companion did not ask her to toil, that 
her masculine dress was donned for convenience, 
and that they were making money and would go 
away when the claim was worked out. *There 
is ze grand mistarie,'' said Marie. "Oh, no, she 
is not ze wife of ze man and they hide away from ze 
world; more I do not know; she is for to keep her 
mouth shut, as you say in Engleesh. Some time 
there will be ze explosion, pouf 1 and then we will 
see." It is a queer case, but there is no call for 
outside interference that I can judge. I think that 
Marie is mistaken about her being a prisoner, as 
she has plenty of chances to go away if she wants 
to. I warned Marie not to talk about it, as it might 
make a lot of trouble for the couple when there 
was no call for it. 



224 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE PARTNERS SELL OUT THE CREEK 
CLAIM— JACKSON'S REPUTATION IN 
HIS OLD HOME— PROVIDING FOR THE 
JACKASS'S FUTURE— THE SLOCUM 
FARM HAS NO ATTRACTION— LOAFING 
THE DAYS AWAY— RUSHES TO NEW LO- 
CALITIES—TROUBLE ON ROUND MOUN- 
TAIN—SCANDALMONGERS' TONGUES 
LET LOOSER-CHINAMEN SHOW FIGHT 
AND ARE RUN OFF OF DEER CREEK. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

MAY 9, 1852.— The creek claim panned out 
well for the week, the clean-up yesterday amount- 
ing to sixty-one ounces. Dunn and his partners 
have been at the cabin all the afternoon bargaining 
to buy the claims outright, and we agreed on terms. 
They are to give us three thousand dollars in cash 
and we turn the ground over to them. This suits 
both of us, as we will go away next month and 
do not want any interests left behind, as neither 
of us calculate on coming back. As we have already 
agreed to sell our interests in the river claims for 
six thousand and are to receive our money on June 
1, we will have nine thousand dollars to divide be- 
tween us, which is not very bad for a winter's work. 

I had some nice letters from home and a copy 
of the Winsted Herald, in which there is an item 
that Mr. Alfred Jackson, of Norfolk, had made his 
fortune in the California mines and would soon 
return and settle down in his old home. I guess 
the editor is mistaken about my settling down. Nor- 
folk is too small a village for me, although there 
was a time when I thought it was the greatest place 
on earth. I am beginning to believe with Pard 
that this is going to be a great State, and tne 
chances are that here will be my home. First, 
however, I am going to see something of the world; 
we will go to Europe and roam around for six 
months or more. Pard says it will be an ideal 
honeymoon trip and one that will expand my ideas, 
broaden me out, and that I will get rid of some of 

227 



THE DIARY OF 

my Puritan notions. It may be so, but I guess 
my bringing up has not been any great drawback. 
Come to think of it, he has got as many queer 
ideas as I have. He has asked me to give him 
Jack, which I am very glad to do. I like the old 
dog mighty well, but somehow he was fonder of 
Pard from the beginning, and besides, I could not 
very well take him to the States with me. Then he 
is going to take the jackass below with him; says 
he will turn him out on a ranch where he can get 
a good living without work. He explained that he 
could not bear to think of somebody packing him 
with heavy loads over the rough trails and beating 
him to death. So he is with all of God^s creatures, 
a tender heart for everything that lives. 

For the past month everything has seemed as 
unreal to me as a dream, and the thought comes 
once in a while that I may wake up and find such 
to be the case. It is not quite three years since I 
left home and the people wondered at my courage 
in venturing into an unknown country at the ends 
of the earth. Now it seems as if it was the center 
of the universe instead of the hub, and I have a 
sort of pity for those who are ignorant of its attrac- 
tions. I have become a reader and a student. 
Books, which at one time were a weariness, delight 
me. I came away engaged to be married to a good 
girl. Now, although she is the same Hetty, I am 
not the same man, and I know that we are not 
suited to each other. I was poor, now I am com- 
paratively rich, and I have ambitions and aspira- 
tions to push on in the world and carve out a 
career, where three years ago I would have been 
content to take the Slocum farm and vegetate on 

228 



A FORTY-NINER 

it the rest of my life* I have faith that Marie will 
not only make me a good wife, but also the com- 
panion I need as a stimulus to my ambitions. 
And then Pard, who has been such a comfort and 
aid to me, made me solemnly promise that when 
I get through with my wanderings I will come back 
to San Francisco and settle down there where we 
can still have each other^s friendship. He quotes 
Emerson, *When you are sure of your friend, hold 
to him with hooks of steel." Well, it is a great 
change in three years and who knows what the next 
three years will bring? 

MAY 16, 1852. — ^The days go by most pleasantly 
and we are almost as irresponsible as three chil- 
dren. The rains are over, the summer's heat has 
come and the foothills are an earthly paradise. We 
have even become too lazy to ride around the coun- 
try. I content myself with an evening gallop to 
town and back, and the rest of the time we loaf 
under the trees. Pard quotes some old Greek 
poet about the Elysian Isles, "Where Rhadaman- 
thus dwells, and pain and sorrow come not, nor 
rain or wind, and the never dying zephyrs blow 
softly oflF the ocean." 

That will do very well just now, but it would not 
be very apt during one of our winter storms with a 
gale blowing through the pines, the limbs breaking 
and crashing to the ground, and everything in an 
uproar. I have a copy of Byron and am reading 
aloud his "Childe Harold." It is a great poem. 

Nevada City is growing out of all bounds and is 
a big town. There are at least five thousand people 
living in and around it, and it is fast filling up with 

229 



THE DIARY OF 

families from the States; wives and children cx>me 
out to join their husbands. As a consequence, 
it is getting to be a much more orderly and decent 
community. 

They nearly had a famine during the winter 
rains, but the roads are all in good order again 
and prices of all kinds of supplies reasonable. They 
are talking of building a wagon road over Sugar 
Loaf, down Rock Creek to die river, bridge that 
stream, and then over the Yuba divide to Cherokee 
and San Juan, both of which having grown to be 
good-sized and prosperous mining camps. The 
upper end of Shady Creek has paid well and good 
diggings have been found on Badger Hill, but the 
best pay in that section has been taken out of 
Blind Shady, a gulch that empties into Big Shady 
Creek. I am told that there are a dozen claims on 
this ravine that have averaged a hundred dollars 
a day to the man. It does seem as if there was no 
end to the gold deposits. There has been a big 
rush to Gold BluflF, on the ocean beach above Trini- 
dad, but most of the miners have come back badly 
disappointed. There were marvelous stories of the 
waves washing up dust on the beach by the bushel, 
but it was all an exaggeration. While there was 
some gold found, it was difficult to gather and in 
no such quantities as reported. It is curious how 
restless the majority of the miners are and how 
ready to pack up and drift away on the strength 
of mere rumors. 

Marie is a prophet. There has been an explosion 
on Round Mountain and we can hardly get head 
or tail of it. Anyway, there was a shooting match, 
and nobody hurt, the woman has skipped the coun- 

230 



A FORTY-NINER 

^^■■^■^■^— — ————■■— ^^^^—M^ 

try with some other man and the one we thought 
her husband is back in the cabin alone, refusing 
to talk to anybody and more unsociable than ever. 
Marie saw the woman in Nevada with a stranger. 
They stayed there for a couple of days and then took 
the stage for parts unknown. From the little that 
the woman confided to Marie, the stranger called 
her companion out of the cabin and, after a few 
high words, drew a pistol and began shooting. He 
took to the brush and she did not think he was hit. 
Then she changed her dress, put on the clothes that 
belonged to her sex and came away with the new 
comer. She seemed to concede the stranger's right 
of possession, and was not unhappy. The sheriff 
went out to the cabin, the intruder having told him 
of the occurrence; expecting, possibly, to find a 
mortally wounded or dead man. On the contrary, 
he found the man unhurt and unwilling to give 
any details or make any complaint. There is a lot 
of gossip and talk over it and every man has a 
theory. The prevailing opinion is that the fellow 
had run away with some man's wife, or mistress, 
and sought seclusion and concealment in their odd 
cabin on the mountain ; that the wronged man had 
traced the guilty pair, tried to kill his wife's para- 
mour, and, not succeeding, had to forgive her, taken 
her back and had gone away without any further 
attempt to avenge his wrongs, that is, if he had any 
to avenge. It's funny to hear the "cats" over at 
Selby Flat talk about it. Not one of them has a 
good word for the woman and think the husband 
must have been a mean spirited fellow in consent- 
ing to take her back. . But, then, women have queer 
ways and don't see things in the same light that 

231 



THE DIARY OF 

men do. They do say that the one who talks the 
most and the worst is badly tarred with the same 
stick. She has poked her nose into my affairs and I 
should have called her husband down long ago had 
it not been that we were going away soon and Pard*s 
pleadings not to make a nasty rumpus over it. 

The miners on Deer Creek, below the town, 
turned out last week and drove all of the Chinamen 
off that stream. The heathen had got to be impu- 
dent and aggressive, taking up claims the same as 
white men and appropriating water without asking 
leave. They cut one of the miner's dams and, when 
he attempted to repair it, chased him away, brand- 
ishing their shovels and making a great hullabaloo. 
He passed the word up and down the creek, and that 
afternoon about fifty miners gathered together, ran 
the Chinamen out of the district, broke up their 
pumps and boxes, tore out their dams, destroyed 
their ditches, burned up their cabins and warned 
them not to come back under penalty of being shot 
if they made a reappearance. The miners* actions 
are generally endorsed and there is a disposition 
to bar the Chinks out of the district. It is said that 
they are coming to the State by thousands, and, if 
not molested, they would soon overrun the country. 
Below Newtown they have got possession of two or 
three miles of the creek and are not disturbed, as 
they acquired the ground by purchase from white 
speculators. I am told that they paid in the neigh- 
borhood of forty thousand dollars for the claims 
they are working. It is a sight to see them on the 
trails, packing two big baskets of stuff on the ends 
of a bamboo pole and carrying a load that would 
stagger a jackass. 

232 



CHAPTER XXV. 

SAD TERMINATION OF THE ROUND 
MOUNTAIN MYSTERY— A SUICIDE'S 
CYNICAL FAREWELL— THE INTRUSION 
OF THE "ETERNAL FEMININE"— PARD'S 
REMARKS— "LET THERE BE NO CLACK 
OF IDLE TONGUES"— AN IMPRESSIVE 
CEREMONY AND A SOLITARY GRAVE— 
THE PARTNERS GROW SENTIMENTAL 
OVER THE OLD LOG CABIN AND THEIR 
MUTUAL EXPERIENCES— PREPARING 
FOR A LEAVE-TAKING. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XXV. 

MAY 23, 1852. — It would seem as if we had at 
last got to the final chapter in the story of the Round 
Mountain couple and it has ended in a sad sort of 
way. John Hall, who was out hunting yesterday 
afternoon, passed by the cabin and, seeing no signs 
of life and receiving no response to his call opened 
the door, which was unlocked, and went in. He 
was shocked to find the man on the bed lifeless and 
cold. There were no traces of violence and Hall 
says the man looked more like one asleep than 
dead. The cabin was undisturbed and if it had 
not been for a letter left on the table there would 
have been no reason to believe that he had died 
from other than natural causes. However, the note 
and the traces of crystals of arsenic in a cup clearly 
indicated that he^ had committed suicide. The 
letter, which I copied, was strange and pitiful. He 
had written in a clear, firm hand : 

** Whoever finds my body, if U kas not gone back to its ori^mU 
''elements before discovery, will if it taxes not his humanity too 
**much, dig a hole and cover it with dean earth and there let it rot 
**without mound or stone to mark the place. It is only an atom 
*'that of its own accord goes back from whence it came. WhUe it 
"dwelt on earth, it found men rogues and women false. It inspired 
**hate and treachery, but could not compass love. Fearing its own 
"company, distrusting all men and despising all women^ it arrogated 
"the right to end an existence that was thrust upon it without its 
"consent. There is no one left to mourn or rejoice; and if there is 
"an unproved hereafter, of which no man knows, it will at least have 
"repose from the clack of idle tongues.** 

There was no signature and, singularly enough, 
there was not a soul who knew the man's name. 
Pard, to whom I read the copy of the letter, was 

^35 



THE DIARY OF 

quite affected and said that, while it was morbid 
and cynical, it showed, whoever he was, a man of 
more than ordinary intelligence, one who had drank 
the cup to the bitter dregs. "Be sure, Alf,*' he con- 
tinued, "it*s the eternal feminine; to some of us they 
are angels, to others — ^this poor fellow, for example 
—the reverse. I hope they will carry out his last 
wish, and I will go over this afternoon and see that 
they do." I went along and found quite a crowd. 
There was a coroner's inquest and a verdict of sui- 
cide, and then Pard proposed that we carry out the 
dead man's last request. We dug a hole on the 
hillside, about a hundred yards away from the 
cabin, rolled the body up in blankets and deposited 
it in the bottom. The crowd asked Pard to say 
something and he made a few remarks, in sub- 
stance as follows: 

"Boys, a sermon would be a hollow mockery, a 
eulogy pure invention, for of his virtues or his fail- 
ings we know nothing. He was a man, who having 
tasted life, found it unpalatable and pushed it aside. 
From what little we know, he loved, sorrowed, de- 
spaired and laid down the burden. The only tribute 
we can pay him is to not vex the^ air roundabout 
his old dwelling place, to quote his epitaph, ^with 
the clack of idle tongues.' " 

V Then we filled the grave, rolled a big rock on it 
and went away. It was a simple but most impres- 
sive ceremony and one could see that it had made 
an impression on the crowd. Happy, careless fel- 
lows, they went from curiosity, and came away 

-filled with great pity for the dead.x After we got 
back to the cabin we could not help speculating on 
it all. Marie, who had stayed away, was in tears 

236 



A FORTY-NINER 

over the story and the last letter. "Poor fellow,'* 
she said, "perhaps somewhere a muzzer she wait 
and she mourn for him and he comes not." I rode 
over to town with her, but we were both low spirited 
and melancholy and had but little to say to each 
other. "^ Altogether, it is about the saddest Sabbath 
day I have spent in this country, and it has set 
me thinking how little we know or care about the 
aflFairs of those other than ourselves or immediate 
friends.^ 

MAY 30, 1852. — In two weeks more we will bid 
the place good-bye and leave it, so far as I can see, 
for all time. I think we would go sooner, as we 
are all getting impatient and restless, but we will 
not receive the money for our river claims until 
the 8th of June and must wait to close that trans- 
action. Dunn and company, who have bought and 
paid for our creek ground, are doing well, and 
are satisfied with the bargain. They have got the 
lumber on the ground for their big flume, half of 
the boxes made and will begin to put it in this week. 
They have also succeeded in buying up the most 
of Brush Creek below the flat and will flume it in 
the same way. All of the Saleratus Ranch boys 
are interested and I hope they will make a fortune. 
They are a jolly lot of fellows and, excepting Pard, 
my best friends, and they don't like to hear of our 
going away. Pard has planned to give a farewell 
supper to them and about twenty others, including 
Piatt, Dixon, Gleason, and Fisk, our Rock Creek 
neighbors, and there he is going to carry out his 
intentions of telling them his right name and his 
reason for sailing under false colors, as he calls it. 

^37 



THE DIARY OF 

It will be a strictly stag affair, but even then Pard 
says men will tell their wives, wives will tell their 
neighbors, and there will be the ^'clack of idle 
tongues/' We are going to give our books to the 
ranch boys, the rest of our belongings to our neigh- 
bors, and leave the old cabin to rot, or to the chance 
shelter of some wandering miner. As Pard says, it 
is humble enough and rude enough, but there is 
many a costly house that cannot compare with it, 
for it has sheltered and fostered enduring friend- 
ship, unruffled peace, the miracle of content and the 
boon of prosperity; and I add a happy reconcilia- 
tion, a growing romance, the awakening of love, and 
we are a pair of soft chaps who grow sentimental 
over some rough pine logs and weather beaten 
shakes. I am sure, wherever we go, the old log 
cabin on Rock Creek will never fade out of our 
memory. 



238 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

DISTRIBUTING PERSONAL EFFECTS- 
PARD'S FAREWELL DINNER— "ZEY ARE 
ZE GOOD BOYS "—CHAMPAGNE AND ITS 
EFFECTS-THE LAST SITTING UNDER 
THE OLD PINE TREE— VOICES OF THE 
NIGHT CHORUS A MELANCHOLY FARE- 
WELI^WIND-UP OF JACKSON'S DIARY 
—THE FATE OF HETTY AND A LAST 
WORD IN REGARD TO THE ACTORS 
WHO HAVE FIGURED IN THE OLD-TIME 
RECORD. 



FORTY-NINER 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

JUNE 6, 1852.— Only a week more and it is 
good-bye to Rock Creek. We have arranged all 
our plans and will leave here on the 14th for San 
Francisco. Marie will take the stage and wait for 
us until we arrive, and will carry Jack along with 
her. The old dog will make no objection, as he 
is as fond of her as of us. Pard has arranged with 
a teamster to drive the jackass to Sacramento and 
we will ride that far on our horses and then take 
the boat. We calculate to reach the city by the 
18th at the latest, and may get there a day earlier. 
Pard expects to meet his wife about the 20th. She 
left New York, or was to, on the 22d of May. The 
old boy is as restless as a caged animal and paces 
up and down in front of the cabin imtil he has 
worn a path for a himdred feet or more, as well as 
wearing out Jack's patience. The dog started in 
to follow him, and it was fun to watcb him look 
at Pard when he made the turn at each end. Jack 
soon gave it up as a piece of foolishness, this walking 
all the time and getting nowhere. It was an idio- 
syncrasy that he pardoned, but refused to be a party 
to, preferring to curl up alongside of Marie and be 
petted. 

We have not got very much baggage to bother us. 
I have packed up all of the old letters and home 
trinkets and will send them by express. What little 
stuff we leave behind in the way of crockery, cook- 
ing utensils, etc., the neighbors are welcome to. I 
will give Calkins my shotgun and Charlie Barker 

241 



THE DIARY OF 

my banjo. I have a pride in keeping up this diary 
to the last, and will write in it again next Sunday 
and carry it with me in my saddle bags. We are 
going to have a blow-out at the Hotel de Paris 
Wednesday night, a sort of a farewell to those of 
our friends that we care to say good-bye to. Marie 
and the landlady are arranging for it, and we will 
surely have a good feast. 

JUNE 13, 1852.-— There are only six more blank 
pages in this book and I don't think I will fill 
them, neither will I start another one. I don't 
think I have written anything here that I would 
be ashamed to have my wife read. Pard has gone 
over it from start to finish and says that I ought 
to keep it until I am old and gray-haired. Then 
it will take on a new meaning and I will regret those 
glorious days when "youth was mine." ^ I don't 
exactly catch his meaning, but it is certain that I 
shall look back to the old creek and the memories 
of it and its surroundings, and it will be a pleasant 
remembrance. 

We had our dinner Wednesday evening and there 
were seventy-seven of us altogether, including the 
Saleratus Ranch boys and our neighbors. Marie 
looked in and helped the landlady awhile. There 
was real champagne, a couple of baskets of it, and 
before I knew it Pard had me by one arm and 
Marie by the other and the guests stood up and 
drank a toast to France and America and the pair 
whose prospective alliance would surely bring hap- 
piness to a representative of each country. I was 
too embarrassed to speak and the champagne 
choked me— it was the first time I had tasted it— 

242 



A FORTY-NINER 

but Marie bubbled over with glee and said, "Oh! 
zey are ze good boys, and in our hearts we will 
nevair, no nevair, forget zem,*' and then she ran 
away and was seen no more that night. 

After she had gone Pard got up and made what 
he called his confession. He explained why he had 
taken the name of Anderson and, while he regretted 
the deceit, still there was no man in the world that 
he was ashamed to look in the face and he could 
only beg their pardon and return them a watch 
that did not bear his name. You should have heard 
the shouting, everybody yelling: "No! No! Keep 
it and we will give you another one,'* crowding 
around and grasping his hand, and then MacCalkins 
yelled out: **What*s in a name, anyhow?" Barker 
struck up: 

"For he's a jolly good f ellow.*' 

And we made the old hotel ring. Then we 
marched around the table, singing: 

"For he was a dandy man, 
With his rocker, pick and pan. 
And it took him quite a while 
Before he made his pile.*' 

I don't remember much more about it. The 
table began to swim around, my head got dizzy. 
Pard took me out in the air, helped nie on my horse, 
and we started home. My! I was sick on the way 
and the next morning my head ached to split. If 
that is the way champagne makes one feel, I don't 
want any more of it. 

Pard and I sat out under the old pine tree to- 
night for the last time — ^we will be busy to-morrow 

243 



THE DIARYOF 

getting our traps into town — and neither one of 
us was in the best of spirits, although as far as 
we can see there is nothing but happiness ahead 
of us. The moon beams shimmered down through 
the pine needles, the frogs croaked in the creek, a 
coyote barked up on the hill, the echo of the hoot 
of an owl drifted up from the trail. We have 
listened to the same sounds every night for years, 
but somehow this evening it seemed as if they were 
all saying "Good-bye." 



244 



FORTY-NINER 



HERE THE DIARY ENDS. 

(So we bid good-bye to Pard and Jackson, Marie 
and Hetty, Jack, the dog, and the donkey, to "ze 
good boys" of Rock and Brush Creeks. The days 
of placer mining, as depicted in the diary, came 
to an end long ago, the glory of Selby Flat, that 
once "beat Nevada City in a Fourth of July cele- 
bration" has departed; even the patient Chinamen 
glean no more from the worked-out creeks, gulches 
and ravines. The romance and the sordid facts are 
but dim memories and the Argonauts have gone to 
seek the golden fleece in the land just beyond the 
sunset. 

They were good old days and when Jackson for- 
got to put his diary in the saddle bags he left for 
posterity a record unique and invaluable. We have 
had a surfeit of the stoic gambler, uncouth miner, 
draggle-tailed courtesans and impossible school- 
mistresses. These were inventions touched, dis- 
torted and illuminated by Bret Harte's genius. The 
later-day writers who attempt to reproduce this 
early life with their^ sentimental pathos are as 
far away from the spirit of the "Fifties" as mush 
and molasses from "Lobster a la Newburg." While 
Jackson's narrative may not rank high as litera- 
ture, he has given in his diary a faithful, accurate, 
and vivid picture, from the miner's point of view, 
of foothill mining life. As he was writing it for his 
own amusement and not for posterity, the weaving 
into it of his romance is to be pardoned. For my- 
self, I confess that to me this has been one of its 

245 



THE DIARY OF 

chief fascinations. Its great interest, however, is 
the details we glean of the everyday life, of how 
much yellow dust the claim yielded, the growth of 
mining camps, the queer theories as to the genesis 
of gold, the incidents and happenings in town and 
country, the comedies and tragedies; these con- 
stitute history not to be found elsewhere. Yet, to 
note the gradual development and mental growth 
of this New England Puritan, the intrusion of "the 
eternal feminine," the hesitation and doubt, the sur- 
render and final culmination of it at the point 
most novelists end the final chapter, the marriage 
altar, surely that was a romance of the foothills. 
However, all this had best be left to the reader. 
I trust that he has been as much entertained in 
following Jackson's fortunes as I in deciphering 
and transcribing them from the blotted pages and 
faded ink of his old diary. 

A final word. Nevada pioneers will recall many 
of the men who figure in the diary. John Hall, 
John Dunn, Henry Shively, Barker, the Calkinses, 
these were all Forty-niners, well known in local 
annals. Niles Searls, Tom Williams, Frank Dunn, 
Stanton Buckner — ^whose dignity was so badly ruf- 
fled by "Rattlesnake Dick" — ^were members of the 
bar, and Zeno P. Davis, the gunsmith, was a 
familiar character. The brick courthouse that was 
pronounced an extravagance because there would 
be no use for it after the gold gave out is replaced 
by a still more costly one. The "Hotel de Paris" 
flourished until late in the sixties, and the quartz 
veins, so quaintly described as white rock with gold 
in it, are still yielding treasure. Rock and Brush 
Creeks are overgrown and choked with growth of 

246 



s 



A FORTY-NINER 

alder and willow, the pines that towered above the 
rude log cabin were felled long ago and a second 
growth takes their place, the old trails replaced 
by dusty highways ; yet the coyotes bark, the frogs 
crdak, and the owls hoot in chorus, as when Jackson 
interpreted it all as a "good-bye." The flourishing 
mining camps that he visited, the euphonious "Red 
Dog,'* Cherokee, Humbug, Rough and Ready, You 
Bet, Coyoteville, and Blue Tent are but travesties 
of the old times ; even "Lousy LeveF' is kno\m no 
more. I am sure we are indebted to Jackson in 
so far as his diary gives us a glimpse of those golden 
days. 

Moved by a spirit of curiosity as to the later 
career of Jackson, I made inquiries by letter at his 
old home, Norfolk, Connecticut. I did not get 
much information from my correspondent — 
woman, by the way — ^but enough to determine that 
Jackson did not return to tarry in that placid vil- 
lage. She said that a family of Jacksons lived 
on Pond Hill, about a mile from Uie town, on a 
farm; that they had sold the property just before 
the war, left the State, and it was said that San 
Francisco was their destination. They had a son 
who had made a fortune in California and had 
come back on a visit, accompanied by his wife, a 
foreign woman (mark the contempt of the phrase), 
and that was all she knew of the Jacksons. She 
devoted a dozen pages to that interesting girl, Hetty 
North, which I will try to condense into as many 
lines. The Norths were prominent people of Cole- 
brook township. Hetty was accomplished, her 
education was finished off in the Hartford Semi- 
nary, she played the melodeon, was a handsome, 

247 



THE DIARY OF 

black-haired, black-eyed beauty, and had taught 
school at Colebrook Center. In 1860 she married 
a prosperous farmer and then went, not exactly 
crazy, but eccentric; embraced spiritualism and all 
the other "isms" of the time. Some four years 
before her death she took to her bed, although af- 
fected with no malady, and there she resolutely re- 
mained until her dying day. In the light of this 
I think Jackson is to be congratulated on his escape, 
and I doubt not that he was far happier with the 
"foreign woman.*' ^ As for Anderson, it has been 
explained in a previous note that he became a leader 
in the State as a lawyer, politician, orator, and 
millionaire, and that for various reasons it is better 
that his identity should remain undisclosed.) 



THE END 



248 



FORTY-NINER 



EPILOGUE, 

The publication of *THE DIARY OF A 
FORTY-NINER'' was interrupted and delayed by 
a catastrophe that for a brief time put aside all inter- 
est in literary matters. On the morning of April 18 
occurred the violent earthquake and the beginning 
of the fire, that within three days reduced San Fran- 
cisco to ashes. When the conflagration ceased the 
dty had reverted almost to its original conditions, 
when, as the pueblo of Yerba Buena, it was a cluster 
of adobe houses and had not reached sufficient im- 
portance to be dignified by location on a map. The 
compiler of *The Diary*' had watched it from its 
earliest beginnings, through all its growth and 
transformation into an important city. As the out- 
lines of the hills and valleys that formed its site 
came into view and its desolation was realized, it 
came to the few left of us, old pioneers, how much 
we loved the place and with what sentiment we 
regarded it. We did not mourn the destruction 
of the modem fourteen-story buildings, the 'big 
business blocks of later years, or the fine residences 
of the Western Addition ; but there were old shacks, 
dilapidated houses, one-story shanties that had not 
given way to modem progress, and that told of the 
life of the old days. When they were built we 
were young men, who in all of the ups and downs 
of the town, the fires that devastated it, the exodus 
to other fields where new gold discoveries had been 
made and which threatened to depopulate the dty, 

249 



THE DIARY OF 

the wane of gold products, wet seasons and dry 
seasons, had kept our faith in its ultimate grand 
destiny, and we saw our courage justified and our 
predictions close to fulfillment, when, a little rock- 
ing of the earth, and behold! it was blotted out. 

In that fateful forty-eight seconds, numbed and 
paralyzed by the crash and wreck, the dull, sinis- 
ter roar that seemed to be nature's threat to 
end all things, the menace that some malign power 
added as a dirge to the death throes of the world, 
there flitted through our brain the questioning 
thought as to whether it was a continental cata- 
clysm, or a mere local disturbance. Were the old 
Sierras shaken to their foundation and undergoing 
a remoulding such as characterized the era when 
her mighty rivers were buried a thousand feet deep 
in lava? Was it another upheaval of the more re- 
cent Coast Range, or a new mountain-making pro- 
cess ? There was a tinge of regret, even in that mo- 
ment of supreme peril, that the works of the 
upbuilder should come to naught. It was local and 
the foothills are still there. At least, us old boys, 
who counted in our memories as the red-letter days 
in our lives those we spent in the "Fifties" on the 
western slopes of the Sierra Nevada range, had a 
harbor of refuge and it would not be much of a 
hardship if we were driven back to our early haunts. 
To be sure, tht ounce diggings were gone, the cabins 
had rotted away, the unsightly scars we had left 
when we had overturned the flats, bars and hillsides 
in our search for gold had taken on a new aspect, 
for nature, ever laboring to restore the original 
condition, had renewed ^e soil and replanted the 
barren wastes. The balmy air, the swajdng pines, 

2S0 



A FORTY-NINER 

the spreading oaks invited us to peace and the 
simple life. Would it not be better to gather to- 
gether what remained to us, get back to the foot- 
hills and pass the remainder of our days in idle 
contentment? Of course, it was only a dream, 
although an alluring one, and none will desert the 
city in its extremity. 

Sturdy Jackson and his old "Pard" are resting 
in Lone Mountain Cemetery and the overturning 
and shattering of their monuments did not disturb 
their slumber. The city they helped to build is 
ashes and debris, but their pioneer spirit still lives 
and animates their descendants, and doubtless the 
same steadfast purpose that created a prosperous 
commonwealth will be equal to the reconstruction 
of the destroyed city. It will not be the "Bay,** as 
we miners used to term it; that will live only in 
our memories for the brief time that we linger 
and in the legends and traditions passed on to our 
descendants. The hurly-burly of the "Fifties," that 
strange mixture of discordant elements, that^ life 
that had almost resolved itself into its primitive 
beginnings, that levelling of social standards that 
put us all on an equality, the freedom from the 
thousand vexatious trammels of our modem busi- 
ness methods, the days of the circulation of the 
slug (a locally-coined gold piece valued at fifty 
dollars) and when our smallest coin was a two-bit 
piece, when strength and muscle counted for more 
than brains, when the scarcity of good women ele- 
vated them in our esteem to goddesses, to whom 
we paid a profound and sincere deference very 
much modified in these modem times — all of 
these characteristics vanished in the long ago and 



THE DIARYOF 

with the atmosphere that made San Francisco 
unique. 

Since the earthquake it has been current com- 
ment that the city had reverted to "Forty-nine" 
conditions; but we old fellows know better than 
that. There is not the least resemblance, except 
in one or two disastrous fires in 'SO and *S1 when 
we took on sackcloth and ashes for a brief time. 
The ruins are picturesque in their desolation, but 
they are a mass of twisted iron beams, fallen brick 
and stone, tangled electric and telephone wires — 
all betraying modernity. When we were burned 
out in the "Fifties" there were no debris problems 
confronting us, there was nothing but ashes and 
the gentle trade winds that swept them into the 
bay. Those who allude to the resemblance to a 
'49 camp are of the ilk that we term "Pullman Car 
Pioneers," who make their sightseeing pilgrimage 
on the restored trolley-car lines, or dash over the 
paved streets in automobiles where we plodded in 
mud ankle-deep or rode a bucking mustang across 
the drifting sandhills. . 

Glory be ! the foothills are as firm on their granite 
base as in the days when, served by youth, we built 
our cabins beneath lofty sugar pines, baked our 
bread in the Dutch ovens, ate our primitively cooked 
meals on rough planked tables, smoked our pipes in 
the gathering twilight while we discussed witii our 
neighbors the luck of the day, or took the trails for 
the nearest camp in search of relaxation and dis- 
traction from the monotony of our toil. We fancied 
then that we were martyrs ; that we were enduring 
hardships, exposure and wearisome banishment; 
that there were no compensations except "striking 

252 



A FORTY-NINER 

it rich/* not realizing that we were having the "time 
of our lives/' and that, in future years, we would 
like Jackson, evoke from out of the past pleasant 
recollections of the log cabin, the claim in the gulch 
and ravine, the care-free hours, when we accounted 
to no one either in the matter of our habits or our 
pleasures, when hospitality and good-fellowship 
were the rule, when nobody fawned on the rich or 
flouted the poor — ^yes, they were golden, unmatch- 
able days, and when we old boys get together we 
are prone to grow garrulous and rather pity these 
young fellows, our descendants, who know nothing 
of that era of steamer days, of Broadway Wharf 
and the tide of sturdy humanity that gathered there 
every afternoon on its way to the mines, crowding 
the Sacramento and Stockton boats ; of that favor- 
ite hostelry, the What Cheer house, where the ma- 
jority of the visiting miners put up and which 
would not accept women as guests ; of the hundred 
landmarks that have been swept away. With them 
has gone all that made San Francisco dear to us ; 
and, while we admire their courage, energy, forti- 
tude and optimism, — concede that they inherit the 
spirit that possessed and was tjqjical of the "Argo- 
naut," — ^we shake our heads and bid good-bye to the 
Utst link of the golden age. Our memories were 
of "when the water came up to Montgomery 
Street'* ; now our successors will date from the time 
"when the fire reached Van Ness Avenue.'* 

C. L. CANFIELD. 
San Francisco, Col., August i, igo6. 

^53 ; 



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