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Full text of "Historical souvenir of El Dorado County, California : with illustrations and biographical setches of its prominent men & pioneers"

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M. L. 






3 1833 01717 1973 




-^- O i^ ITS ^^- 








Compiled by P. SIOLI. 

To our patrons and the public in general we here- 
with present the Illustrated History of El Dorado 
County. The county in which the discovery of gold 
was made, which in consequence has given the im- 
pulse to set in motion an emigration, entirely unknown 
before in history, and which kept on coming here for 
eighteen or twenty years, thus gathering within her 
borders a population ranging from twenty to forty 
thousand, including all grades and classes of people, 
but constituting a community of pride and [>ower 
which made El Dorado to become the "Empire Coun- 
ty" of the State. Not only on account of the great dis- 
covery already mentioned that was made here, but also 
for the reason that she is one of the largest and richest 
counties in the mining district she was deservedly 
complimented with the name she bears. 

Though slumbering now since the completion of 
the Central Pacific Railroad across the .Sierra Nevada, 
she will come to life and activity before long to re- 
ward the energy and industry of her people and to 
place her in the rank which she always has deserved. 

From the beginning of writing tiie history of El Do- 
rado County it has been the most serious aim and 
design of the publisher and the writer to give in a 
most comprehensive and precise form the complete 
and exact history of geography, topography, climate 
and soils, of resources and productions as well as of 

wealth, spirit and enterprise of her people. The first 
twelve chapters have been devoted to the pre-Ameri- 
can history of California and the American conquest, 
preredin<> the disco\ery of gold at Coloma; while the 
following chapters treat the history of El Dorado 
exceptionally in her connection with the State as well 
as concerning her own affairs, and in particular care 
is given to the local history of her towns. Biograph- 
ical sketches ol many of the most prominent men and 
old pioneer^ fill another chapter of the work, which is 
illustrated with many portraits of well-known men, and 
a great number of attractive views of the pretty homes, 
the scenery, etc., throughout the county. If we have 
been successful in accomplishing these aims, as we 
hofje, we have to return our thanks to all who have 
rendered assistance to the work; in particular we are 
indebted to the courtesy of D. W. Gelwicks, Esq., of 
Oakland, for his files of the Mountain Democrat, the 
oldest paper in the county, as well as to W. A. Sel- 
kirk. Esq., and B. F. Davis, Esq., of Placerville, for 
generous use of their files of the Mountain Democrat 
and the Placerville Republican, respectively. Finally, 
we express our heartiest thanks to our patrons for their 
liberal support of the work and the interest they have 
taken in having it completed with illustrations, etc. 
But for their generous aid, no such book could have 
been published. 



Early Discoveries and Exploration of the Coast 

and Lower California 1-5 


History of the Missions in Upper California 5-10 


Civil Government in California under Spanish 

Regime 1 1-14 


California under Mexican Regime 14-18 


California under Mexican Regime (continued). 18-22 

The Bear Flag War 22-27 


American Conquest — Mexican War 28-29 


American Conquest — Mexican War (continued) . 29-32 


American Conquest — Mexican War (the end). .32-36 


California under American Regime 36-39 


Laws and Organizations of California 39-43 

Early Condition, Inhabitants and Exploration in 

California 43-47 


Early Condition, Inhabitation and Explora- 
tions in this Region 47-59 


Discovery of Gold 59-67 

The Routes of Immigrants, and How they 

Arrived - 67-70 


Organization of County and County Court Seat. 70-75 




El Dorado County, Geographically 75-80 


Mining Industry — River Mining 81-86 


Mining Industry — Dry Digging and Hydraulic 

Mining 86-90 


Mining Industry — Quartz Mmes, etc 90-97 


Mining Laws 97-104 


The Water Supply 104-1 10 


Farming Industry and Statistics 110-115 


Internal Improvements — Roads 1 15-123 


Internal Improvements — Bridge? — Stage Lines 
— Express Companies — Telegraph Com- 
panies 123-129 

Internal Improvements — Railroads 129-134 

Journalism 134-137 


Secret Societies 137-143 


County Hospital, Schools, etc 143-147 


Criminal Annals 147-157 


Indian Troubles 157-160 


General Election Matters 160-172 


Reminiscences and Anecdotes 172-176 


Coloma 177 

Uniontown 180 

Michigan Flat i8i 

Pilot Hill 181 

Hogg's Diggings • 182 

Murderer's Bar 182 

Spanish Dry Diggings 184 

Greenwood 185 

Georgetown 187 

Kelsey 191 

Spanish Flat 191 

Mosquito Valley 192 


Newtown 192 

Grizzly Flat i93 

Indian Diggings 196 

Saratoga, or Yeomet 198 

Latrobe i99 

Shingle Springs ^99 

Negro Hill 201 

Salmon Falls 202 

Cold Springs 204 

Diamond Springs 205 

Placerville 207 


Armstrong, Thomas Z 222 

Adams, Andrew Jackson 230 

Allen, Thomas 230 

Askew, James 230 

Bayley, Alcander John 223 

Brown, Provost D 231 

Beattie, George 231 

Bassi, G 232 

Benjamin, D. W. C 232 

Bingham, Lucien 232 

Bosquit, A. S 232 

Brown, Gilbert N 233 

Barette, Guillaume 233 

Brandon, Zar. P 233 

Baring, August 233 

Bennett, David 233 

Berry, Reuben Kelly 234 

Buchan, William 234 

Blundell, Joseph T 234 

Berry, Solomon Adams 235 

Bucknam, W. A 235 

Bryant, Freeman 235 

Chalmers, Robert 222 

Cartheche, John 224 

Currier, Ben C 235 

Connell, Alexander 236 

Carpenter, Caleb Gardener 236 

Crocker, James 236 

Carre, John 236 

Coffin, William H 237 

Colburn, Samuel Densmore 237 

Coe, William Franklin 237 

Cox, Eoger 237 

Chichester, D. W 239 

Donahue, James 224 

Dormody, Mrs. Sarah F 237 

Davis, Louis M 238 

Day, Ephraim Cooper 238 

Dickinson, David P 238 

McDonald, Charles 238 

Demuth, Reuben T 239 

Des Marchais, Simon 239 

Darrington, Levi 239 

Duden, Calvin W 240 

Dixon, F. R. J 240 

Davey, William 240 

Edmunds, Benjamin F 224 

Endriss, George 240 

Egger, Jacob 241 

Engesser, Frederick 241 

Euer, Sophary 241 

Fisk, Ira A 225 

Fowler, William J 241 

Fox, Daniel W 242 

Filippini, Rinaldo 242 

Fowler, Gus H 243 

Griffith, Maurice Griffith 243 

Gray, Allen T 245 

Grainger, Juan F 245 

Gallanar, George W 245 



•Gray, William H 245 

Griffith, William E. C 246 

Gait, Thomas Augustus 246 

Hartless, Benjamin W 225 

Hayes, Silas 246 

Haggart, John D 246 

Hakemoller, Henry 246 

Hart, Hugo T 247 

Hart, Powell F 247 

Hooper, William H 247 

Hogan, P. B 248 

Harris, Thomas -. 248 

Houx, John L 248 

Hopwood, John 250 

Harris, William 266 

Irish, Joseph 249 

Johnson, Thomas 226 

Jacobsen, Alexander 249 

Koch, John Bartholo 226 

Kramp, William Antone 249 

Killough, John Wesley 249 

Laumann, Jonathan 226 

Lawson (Larsen), Samuel 242 

Larkin, Henry 250 

Lowry, A. J 250 

Lyon, Joseph 250 

Lovejoy, L. H 251 

Long, Solomon Alexander 251 

Lyon, Jacob 251 

Lee, Alexander T 251 

Litten, Arthur 251 

Lagerson, Frederick 252 

Miller, James Harrison 227 

Meyers, Lewis B 252 

Mandes, J. A 258 

Mortensen, Ernest 253 

Mansfield, Nathan 253 

Manning, Munson W 253 

Miller, Samuel R 254 

Moon, James 254 

Mosely, Albert 254 

Miller, Nicholas S 254 

Meder, John 255 

Metcalf, Mrs. Elizabeth 255 

Martin, Michael 255 

Mahler, Henry 255 

Mette, Henry 256 

Miller, Moses 257 

Nicholls, Francis 257 

Nicholls, William 257 


Norton, David Edson 257 , 

Noble, Robert 258 

Nagler, Charles 258 

Norris, Robert ^ . . . 258 

Norris, Joseph Spencer 258 

Osborn, Oscar W 259 

O'Brien, James Garlen 259 

Poor, John 260 

Parker, Elias L 260 

Phillips, Joseph W. D 260 

Palmer, William Madison 260 

Pelton, Samuel B 261 

Pelton, Aylmer 261 

Perkins, Daniel R 261 

Rogers, Calvin S 261 

Ricci, Felix 262 

Rust, William Wallace 262 

Ramsey, George W 262 

Rasmussen, Andrew 262 

Roelke, George H 263 

Russell, Henry Warren 263 

Skinner, James 263 

Smith, Edward Hall 264 

Shepherd, Benjamin Franklin 264 

Sweeney, James 264 

Sandfoss, C. F 265 

Spong, Samuel W 265 

Smith, Thomas 265 

Sevy, Marshall 265 

Terry, Isiah T 265 

Tinney, Henry 266 

Trengove, William 266 

Veerkamp, Francis Joseph Arnold 266 

Vignaut, Pierre J 267 

Wagner, William W 267 

Worthen, H. W. A 267 

Worth, Gideon 268 

Winkelman, Jacob 268 

Wilton, Aretas J 268 

Watkins, David 269 

Wulff, Henry 269 

Weller, Elias W 270 

Wentworth, Nathan 269 

White, William 270 

Wagner, Henry and Horatio A 270 

Wrenn, John Q 270 

Young, Commodore Perry 271 

Yough, John Ge 271 

Zentgraf, Jacob 271 

Zimmerman, Sebastian 271 


Bassi, G., (residence) Facing page 

Bayley, A. J., (residence) " " 

Bennett, David, (residence) " '* 

Blanchard, Geo. G., (residence) " " 

" " " (portrait) " " 

Brandon, Zaf P., (residence) " " 

Brown, P. D., (residence) " " 

Carpenter, C. G., (i-esidence) " " 

Chalmers, Robert, (portrait) " " 

Day, E. C, (residence) " " 

Darrington, Levi, (residence) " " 

Des Marchais, Simon, (residence). . . " " 

Dormody, Mrs. Sarah (residence) .. . " " 

Duden, C. W., (portrait) " " 

Davis, B. F., (portrait) " " 

Engesser, Frederick, (residence) " " 

Fowlei, Wm. H. and Lawson, Sam'l, 

(residence) " " 

Fowler, Wm. H. and Lawson, Sam'l, 

(portraits) " '" 

Fowler, Gus, (portrait) " " 

French Mining Cl^ira, Greenwood, 

(view) : " " 

Gray, A. T. and Sons, (residence). . . " " 

Hakemoller, Henry, (residence) .... " " 

Hart, H. T., (residence) " 

Harris, Thomas, (store and residence) " " 

Hogan, P. B., (residence) " " 

Koch, John Bartholo, (residence) . . . Facing page 

Litten, Arthur, (residence) " " 

Mette, Henry, (residence) " " 

Mette, Henry and Mrs. Jennie 

Mette, (portraits) " " 

Miller and Fowler Mining Claim, 

(view) " " 

Manning, M. W., (residence, etc.). . . " " 

Mortensen, Ernest, (residence) " " 

Newell, W. H., (residence) " " 

Pelton, Aylmer, (residence) " " 

Placerville, a rose of " " 

Ramsey, G. W., (residence) " " 

Selkirk, W. A., (portrait) " " 

Skinner, James, (residence) " " 

Smith, Edward H., (residence) " " 

Smith, Thomas, (store and residence) " " 

Sutter's Mill, Coloma Frontisp 

Terry, L E., (residence) Facing page 

Veerkamp, Francis, (residence) " " 

Veerkamp, Frank J., (residence). .. . " " 
Veerkamp, Francis and Family, (por- 
traits) " " 

Worth, Gideon, (residence) " " 

Wulff, Henry, (residence) " " 

White, William, (residence) " " 

Yough, JohrtoGe, (residence) " " 





Vasco Numez de Balboa Discovers the Ocean Beyond America- 

Magellan Naming It the Pacific — Cortez's Account of An 
Island of Amazons — First Exploring Expedition in 1584, 
and Its Fate— Second Expedition'in 1536, and Establishing 
the First Colony— The Name of California Mentioned for 
the First Time— Exploration on the Coast, Further North; 
Cape Mendocino, Farallone Islands— Francis Drake in 
Search of the Straits of Anian— First Landing and First 
Possessory Claim to the Country — Discovery of San Diego 
and Monterey Harbors in 1602— King Philip III, of Spain, 
Urging to New Explorations; Wants a Supply Station for 
the East India Galleons — Admiral Otondo's Expedition : 
Founding La Paz— Father Kino Studying the Indians and 
Teaching them the Catholic Faith — The Military Govern- 
ment Abandons All Efforts of Occupying California by 
Colonization— Father Kino's .Scheme to Elevate the Indians 
by Religion and Industry — Gaining Assistance of Tierra 
and Ugarte— The King's Warrant for the Conquest of 
.Souls — Work Started and Possession Taken of Country 
October 25, 1697— Indian Troubles, and to Induce Them 
to Work — The Plan of Operation Proved to be a Success — 
The Jesuits Banished, the Franciscans Take Their Place, 
but Turn the Missions to the Dominicans — The Fr.anciscans 
on the Missionary Conquest in Upper California — Expedi- 
tion Fitted Up, Father Junipero .Serra, President— Arrival 
of Expedition at San Diego. 
It was in the eventful year of 1769, when on the 
Atlantic side of this continent, Boon and Croghan 
and kindred frontiersmen were looking from the sum- 
mits of the AUeghanies to the forbidden regions 
beyond J only a year after John Finley had reported 
that there was not a white man's cabin in all the 
enchanting wilderness of Kentucky; the satue year 
when two great men, both military heroes in their 
future lives, were ushered into this world: Napoleon 
and Wellington, whose names and acts have filled the 
most important pages in the book of history; when 
the seed of liberty, planted among the granite hills of 
New England, commenced to show some hope for a 
fine sprouting, and father Time wrote upon one of the 
mile-posts of eternity, "1769, the commencement of 
a brighter day for children of men.' It was on the 

1st of July, 1769, that Father Junipero Serro, a Fran- 
ciscan monk, and President of the e.xpedition, sent by 
Spain from Mexico, for the purpose of re-exploring 
and colonizing the territory of Upper California, after 
a journey of forty-six days overland, arrived at San 
Diego, and starting immediately to establish the first 
mission at San Diego as a permanent settlement of white 
men, did the first step to introduce the then almost 
entirely unknown country of Upper California, compris- 
ing our beautiful State, to be chronicled in the history 
of the civilized world. 

For a full understanding of the history of Upper 
California, however, we deem it our duty to recapitu- 
late in short, chronological order, the bistorical events 
of Lower California and of the coast generally; going 
back for a term of fully two and a half centuries from 
the aforementioned date, the first incident that attracts 
our attention: the discovery of the Pacific Ocean in 
15 13, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, a Spaniard, when 
guided by Indians to the place upon the heights of 
Panama, where he, the first white man, was fortunate 
enough to add to the great discoveries of his days one 
of the highest importance ; taking in the sight of the 
waters "beyond America," the great Pacific Ocean 
spread out before him. 

That the navigators of the sixteenth century did not 
keep in toward this great discovery, but tried 
to make it useful to navigation, proves the ill-fated 
Portuguese Magellan, who six years after, in 15 19, in 
command of the Nictoria, started on his famous voy- 
age, which solved the promblem of the long sought- 
for route to the Indies. It was he who gave to our 
ocean the name of " Pacific," after having entered it 
by the way of the " Ten Thousand Virgins," as he had 
called it — now Magellan Straits — where he had beenfor 
sixty-three days beating up through it against tempest 
and adverse currents, with the tide rising or falling 
thirty feet, it is easy to comprehend that the compara- 
tively quiet water that stretched out before him, urged 
him to the expression, "Pacific." This was the first 
European vessel that ever plowed the waters of the 
Pacific Ocean, the first to make the voyage around 


the world, returning to Spain three years after starting 
out, but her commander Magellan was not between 
the lucky circumnavigators, he died at the Philippine 

Fernando Cortez, the great Spanish conqueror 
and governor of the Spanish colonies in America, 
under date of October 15, 1524, sent to his mon- 
arch, Charles V, a letter in which he says to be 
on the approach of entering upon the conquest of 
Colima, on the South Sea (Pacific), Colima being now 
one of the Slates of Mexico. He further on gives 
notice of the existence of an island of Amazons 
abounding in pearls and gold, lying ten days' journey 
from Colima, he had been informed. In reference to 
this letter the Jesuit historian, Miguel Venegas, living 
about two hundred years later, says : " The account of 
the pearls inclines me to think that these were the 
first intimations we had of California and its gulf" 
In 1534 Cortez fitted up an expedition for exploration 
purposes. A mutiny headed by Ortun Ximenes, the 
pilot, broke out on board the vessel ; but after the 
death of the captain and some of his officers, the 
expedition under Ximenes' charge, continuing the 
search, discovered the Peninsula of Lower California, 
and made a landing somewhere between La Paz and 
Caoe St. Lucas. While on shore Ximenes and twenty 
of his men were killed by Indians, the remainder of 
the crew returned to Chametla, and reported to have 
found a country numerously peopled, along the shores 
of which valuable beds of pearls were seen. 

To test the news of the mutineers another expedi- 
tion was fitted up by Cortez in 1536, and sailed under 
his own command ; he landed on the ist day of May, 
at the same place where Ximenes had been killed. 
Here on a bay called by him Santa Cruz, he estab- 
lished a colony, and sent back his four vessels for sup- 
plies and the remainder of his party. But only one of 
the vessels ever returned, the whole other squadron 
had stranded on the Mexican Coast, a total loss ; as 
Cortez, going in search of them himself soon did find 
out. Returning to the colony with fresh provisions he 
found the latter in a most miserable condition, many 
had died of starvation or overeating from the pro- 
visions he brought with him. The historian Gomar^i 
says : "And Cortez, that he might no longer be a spec' 
tator of such miseries, went on further discoveries and 
landed in California, which is a bay." And Venegas, 
the already mentioned California historian of 1758, 
referring to the stated passage of Gomara says ; "that 
it likewise proves that this name was properly that of 
a bay, which Cortez discovered on the coast, and used 
to signify the whole peninsula " 

This is the first appearance of the name California, 
applied to any definite point on the Pacific Coast. 

Cortez soon left for Mexico, where impending 
troubles and the fear of a revolt made his presence 
necessary ; he gone, the colony, lacking the strong 
hand of its organizor, aiter a few months followed 
the same example, and Lower California was again 
left to the Indians. Of four more attempts of explor- 
ing the Pacific Coast north of Mexico made by the 
Spaniards during the century, but the one in com- 
mand of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, in 1542, was im- 
portant enough mentioning; on March loth, 1543, in 
latitude 44°, the coast of Oregon was reached, and 
then he returned. After Mendoza, viceroy of Mexico 
and a fnend of the commander, Cape Mendozino was 
named ; he also gave the name to the Farallone 
Islands, opposite the Golden Gate. 

For a long time it was believed in England and 
stated so in most all histories that Francis Drake, one 
of the boldest and most reckless English buccaneers, 
who afterwards was knighted on account of his being 
the most successful robber on the high seas, was the 
discoverer of the Bay of San Francisco, that in its 
waters he had cast anchor for thirty-six days. The 
fact is, that in 1578 he passed around Cape Horn into 
the Pacific Ocean, and was the terror of the Spanish 
shipping along the coast, plundering under pretext of 
existing war between England and Spain. He cap- 
tured the East India galleon on her way home, loaded 
with wealth, and sailed north with the intention of 
going home to F^ngland by passing through the fabu- 
lous Straits of Anian, thus avoiding to be attacked by 
the Spanish fleet, which he knew was waiting for him 
off Magellan Straits. That way following his course 
north, until he reached about latitude 48", though in 
midsimimer 1579, he experienced such cold weather 
that he was forced to abandon all hope of a north- 
eastern passage, and returning entered, on June 17th, 
1579, what the accompanying historian Reverend 
Fletcher called a "fair, good bay, within thirty-eight 
degrees of latitude of the line." This exactly corres- 
ponds with what is generally known as Drake's Bay, 
immediately behind to the south side of Point Reyes, 
where he anchored for thirty-six days, and after having 
made a landing, and taken possession of the country 
for England, Drake started away for home by way of 
the Philippine Islands and Cape of Good Hope. At 
all events it is now generally conceded that Sir F'rancis 
Drake never entered the Golden Gate, and never dis- 
covered that beautiful inland lake, the Bay of San 
Francisco, he only is entitled to having been the first 
of European race who landed on the coast of Upper 
California, as far as historial record is able to prove. 

Another expedition sailed from Acapulco on May 
Slh, r6o2, under command of Sebastian Viscaino, who 
anxious to cause the record of his name in history, 


north along the California coast and discov- 
ered the harbors of San Diego and Monterey, further 
on searching for other harbors that could be of use to 
supply the East India galleons, he kept his course 
close under the shore continuing north. But the 
mentioning that is made by the historian Juan de 
Torquemada, who writes in 1615, as follows; "He 
anchored behind a point of rocks called 'La Punta de 
los Reyes,' in the port of San Francisco," means un- 
doubtedly Drake's Bay, and to connect it with the 
bay of San Francisco is based on some mistake. He 
j-ust saw as little as Drake, or passed through thr 
straits of the (lolden (iate, that connects the Bay of 
San Francisco with the ocean, and — after our opinion 
— it remains doubtful whether the outlet channel of 
the Golden Gate was in existence at that time, or was 
formed since. Viscaino continued his voyage north 
and relumed to Mexico 1603. 

A message of King Philip HI, of Spain, to his 
viceroy in Mexico, dated August i6th, 1606, issues 
orders for further exploration of the coast and its oc- 
cupation, stating his reason therein as follows : 

" Don Pedro de Acunno, Knight of the order of St- 
John, ray governor and captain-general of the Philip 
pian Islands, and President of my royal audience 
there : — You are hereby given to understand that Don 
Louis de Valasco, my late Viceroy in New Spain, in 
regard to the great distance between the port of Aca 
pulco and those islands, the fatigue, hardships and 
danger of voyage, for want of a port where ships might 
put in and provide themselves with water, woodt 
masts and other things of absolute necessity, deter 
mined to make a discovery, and draughts, with obser- 
vation of harbors along the coast, from New Spain to 
these Islands." 

Thus Monterey was designated for a supply station 
to be established there, but the order was never exe- 
cuted, and no attempt to create any settlement on the 
coast was made until 1683, when an expedition under 
Admiral Otondo's command was fitted up to take pos- 
session of the country. A landing was made at La 
Paz, and this made the headquarters of the expedition. 
A church was erected and Father Kino, who was in 
charge of the religious part of the enterprise, studying 
the Indian language, had soon translated into their 
tongue the creeds of the Catholic Church. With 
much efTort this work was kept up for three years, 
during which time they were visited with an eighteen 
months' drouth ; but before the colony could recover 
from this blow, the commander received orders to put 
to sea and bring into Acapulco and safety the Spanish 
galleon that again was in danger of being captured by 
Dutch privateers. This was successfully accomplished. 

but resulted in the ruin of the colony and the aban- 
donment of the occupation of California. 

After all these failures to secure a colonization and 
final occupation of California, the Spanish Govern- 
ment was not discouraged at al!, having acknowledged 
the importance of the country, she still was determined 
not to give up, but only changed the base of aggres- 
sion, when soliciting the society of Jesu to undertake 
the conquest ; but the Jesuits declined though a pre- 
mium of $40,000 to be paid out of the royal treasure 
was offered to aid them in the enterprise And after 
all, losing this last hope, Spain was enforced to give 
up the idea to hold a country which for one hundred 
andiorty-seven years, since Cortez first took possession 
of it, had proved a source of expenditure ; millions 
had been spent and nothing realized through all these 
unsuccessful attempts to occupy a country which 
always was believed to be a rival to the legendary El 
Dorado. Spain, the proud Spain, had to acknowledge 
her defeat, and California was left again to her native 
tribes. To give the reader an idea of the vast treas- 
ures that Spain had spent in useless exploring and 
colonization expeditions of this coast, we give the 
figures of the first and last one in detail: the expedi- 
tion under Cortez, 1536, footed up to $400,000, and 
the last one under Otondo, 1683, had cost $225,400. 
But the idea of acquisition of the country on the 
Pacific coast did not die out ; it was not even allowed 
to rest for a long tmie. For this time it was a simple 
monk. Father Eusebio Franci.sco Kino, or Kuhn as 
his name in his native country was, who, working 
under a vow, undertook the task which Spain, then 
the first power on earth, with all her unlimited mean.s, 
had been unable to accomplish. Father Kino on his 
first visit to California, in 1633, when he was in charge 
of the religious service of the Otondo expedition, had 
made the question an especial study of his life, and' 
became convinced of the feasibility of his plan, which 
consisted in the conversion of the inhabitants, and 
saving their souls, but not the conquest of a kingdom. 
His plan was to go back to the country to teach the 
Indians the doctrine of the Christian faith, and culti- 
vate them by showing them how to support themselves 
better by tilling the soil, and to improve the race on 
the land and through the experience of industry ; 
thus gaining a rich province to final incorporation 
with the dominion of the Spanish crown. And with 
fanatical ardor immutable, notwithstanding tht un- 
cheering and fruitless outlook, which promised defeat 
and martyrdom as the probable result, he started on 
the preliminary work of his great undertaking on the 
2oth day of October, 1686, traveling over Mexico and 
preaching for the cause he represented. Fortune fol- 
followed his steps, and soon he met two congenial 


spirits, Father Juan Maria Salva Tierra, the one, and 
Father Juan Ugarte, another, who, uniting their execu- 
tive abihties with his own, the result was a subscrip- 
tion of sufficient funds to go on with the actual work. 
Between the time they had procured a warrant from 
the King for the Order of the Society of Jesu, to 
enter upon the conquest of California at their own 
expense, for the benefit of the drown of Spain ; and 
.after eleven years constant petitioning and urging this 
warrant, was issued February 5, 1697. 

On October loth, the same year, already an expedi- 
tion, made up of one small vessel and a long boat, 
loaded with the necessary provisions, and the rude 
structure and furniture for a small church, with this 
Father Salva Tierra, accompanied by six soldiers and 
three Indians, started from the Mexican coast for the 
point where to put in operation Father Kino's long- 
cherished plan, which point on the eastern coast of the 
peninsula, they reached on October 19, 1679 ; about 
the landing Venegas says : — 

"The provisions and animals were landed, together 
with the baggage ; the Feather, though the head of the 
expedition, being the first to load his shoulders. The 
barracks for the little garrison were now built and a 
line of circumwallation thrown up. In the center a 
tent was pitched for a temporary chapel; before it was 
erected a crucifix with a garland of flowers. " The 
image of our Lady of Loretta, as patroness of the 
conquest, was brought in procession from the boat, and 
placed with the proper solemnity." 

On the 25th of October, formal possession was 
taken of the country in " His Majesty';- Name," and 
has never since been abandoned. 

The work of conversion was immediately initiated 
with explaining the catechism, saying prayers of rosary 
and distributing boiled corn to the Indians afterwards. 
All went well until the Indians thought that they 
could have the corn without prayers; they formed a 
conspiracy to kill the garrison and have a great feast 
on the 31st, only twelve days after the landing. The 
Indians, numbering about five hundred, attacked the 
fort, but were set back flying so soon the little garrison 
opened fire on the masses, after all warnings and beg- 
ging to go away by the priest had been responded to 
by a number of arrows from the natives. The Indians 
having been taught respect by means of the soldiers' 
guns, begged for peace, and came to church regularly 
to get their lot of corn and Christianity. 

For seventy years those devoted fathers struggled 
on with their work of conversion, always usmg pa- 
tience and kindness, and teaching by their own exam- 
ple, clearing ground for cultivation, making trenches 
to convey the water for irrigation, digging holes for 
j_'lanting trees, and preparing the ground for sowing. 

"In the building part," says Venegas, "Father Ugarte 
was master, overseer, carpenter, bricklayer and laborer. 
For the Indians, though animated by his example, 
could neither by gifts nor kind speeches, be prevailed 
upon to shake off their unborn indolence, and were 
sure to slacken if they did not see the Father work 
harder than any of them : so he was the first in fetch- 
ing stones, treading the clay, mixing the sand, cutting, 
carrying and barking the timber, removing the earth 
and fixing materials." .\nd at some other place he 
relates : " He endeavored, by little presents and ca- 
resses to gain the affections of his Indians ; not so 
much that they should assist him in the building as 
that they might take a liking to the catechism, which 
he explained to them as well as he could, by the help 
of some Indians of Loretto, while he was perfecting 
himself in their language. But his kindness was lost 
on the adults, who, from their invincible sloth, could 
not be brought to help him in any one thing, though 
they used to be very urgent with him for pozoli and 
other eatables. He was now obliged to have recourse 
to the assistance of the boys, who being allured with 
sweetmeats and presents to come to work, were ani- 
mated by offered reward, and often enough the father 
had to make himself a boy with boys. This enabled 
him to erect his poor dwelling and church, and learn 
their language." 

This plan of subduing the Indians proved to be 
successful, and remittances for the support of the mis- 
sions were only received from Mexico, until the In- 
dians were Christianized and educated to work, and 
the mi.ssions, with the aid of the fathers, could support 
themselves. In the first eight years, there were six 
missions established, and fifty-eight thousand dollars 
expended therein, the who'e amount used for mission- 
ary purposes and the support of the Indians that were 
subject to them foots up to $1,225,000. 

In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish 
dominion, and forced to abandon their work in Lower 
California ; but they left behind them a record of hav- 
ing paved the way and solved the problem how to sub- 
due and control the savages ; they being the pioneers 
in the culture of planting grape and making wine, the 
first vintage having been sent to Mexico in 1706. 
They taught the Indians to work on the loom, and 
manufactured cloth as early as 1707, and in 17 19 
launched the first vessel, the Triumph of the Cross, 
ever built on California soil, this makes them the 
pioneer manufacturers also. Of their number two had 
to die the death of martyrs, at the hands of the na- 
tives. It had been a part of the original plan of the 
father Jesuits to extend the missions on up the coun- 
try along the coast, until the chain of connection had 
been formed from La Paz in the south to those fabu- 


lous Straits of Anian, lait ihcy were not permitted to 
perfect this plan ; at the time of their banishment they 
left for their successors, the Franciscans, sixteen flour- 
ishing missions and thirty-six villages, as testimonials 
of the wisdom of their rule. 

After the Jesuits the Franciscan order of the Catho- 
lic Church got possession of the missions established 
on the peninsula; but soon the Dominicans came to 
the front with a claim to a portion of them. The 
Franciscans not hesitating a long time declared it a 
class of property that should not be segregated, and 
for this reason their willingness to yield the whole 
rather than a part, and, eventually, turned it all over 
to the Dominicans. 

When the Franciscans declared, with such readi- 
ness, to give up the possession of the missions to the 
Dominicans, it was done with the purpose to start 
further north and take possession of the country, up 
to this time nearly entirely unknown, but always be- 
lieved to be the land where legend had placed the 
gold and silver mines from whence the Aztecs had 
taken their treasure. 

The Spanish crown, in full accord with this plan, 
it having been her object since the report of the discov- 
eries by Viscaino in 1603, issued an order for the dis- 
covery of the bays on the upper coast and an occupa- 
tion of the country ; in response to which order an 
expedition was fitted up and started in 1769, under 
the management of Junipero Serra, a Franciscan 
monk. The general object of this expedition is laid 
down by Joseph de Galvez as being : " To establish 
the Catholic religion among a numerous heathen people 
submerged in the obscure darkness of paganism, to 
extend the dominion of the King, our Lord, and to 
protect the peninsula fro.m the ambitious views of for- 
eign nations." The expedition, it was concluded, 
should be divided to be sent partially by sea, the re- 
mainder to go from Mexico overland, by the way of 
the most northerly of the old missions. On account of 
this, on January 9, 1769, the ship San Carlos sailed 
first from La Paz, followed on February 15th by the 
San Antonio; the San Joseph sailed last, on June 
1 6th, and that is the last that was heard from her, the 
ocean had swallowed her together with the whole 
crew. 'l"he vessels were all loaded with provisions, 
numerous seeds and grain to sow, farming utensils, 
church ornaments, furniture and passengers, and were 
destined for the port of San Diego. The San Anto- 
nio, after a trip of 24 days, arrived on the nth of 
April, having lost eight of her crew with scurvy. 
Twenty days later the San Carlos made her labori- 
ous way into port, having lost the whole crew, but the 
ca|)tain, the cook and one seaman left to tell of the 
ravages of that terrible scourge of the early navigators. 

That part of the expedition designated to go over- 
land was also divided into two companies: Fernando 
Revera Moncada commanded the one to start March 
_24th, and after a journey of forty-one days he reached 
the place of general rendezvous on the 14th of May, 
the first white man to cross the southern deserts of our 
State. Then Caspar de Portala, governor of Lower 
Califoinia, took command of the remaining part of the 
land expedition ; with him was the president, under 
whose charge the whole enterprise was placed : Father 
/•ranees jfunipero Serra, the pioneer of California; 
they set out on May 15th from the same point, where 
Revera had started, and reached San Diego on fulv 
I, 1769. 



Father Junipero Serro— Possession taken of the Country and 
first Mission founded — Ceremony of founding a Mission — 
Goveinor Portala going overland in search of Monterey — 
First battle in California — Portala passed Monterey to 
discover the Bay of .San Francisco— Traditional derivation 
of the name — The whole enterprise coming near to be 
broken up — The final arrival of the provision vessel saves 
the aljandonment^Two more expeditions to discover 
Monterey — Arrival in Monterey harbor, and possession 
taken of the Country, 1770 — Missions of San Carlos, San 
Antonio, San Gabriel and San Luis Obispo — First irriga- 
tion in California — Portala returning to Mexico— Father 
Junipero following, is reaping the harvest of Portala's seed 
— Capt. Bautista Anza laying down the road overland from 
Mexico to California— Father Crespi on the Sacramento 
River— Mission San Diego attacked by a large body of In- 
dians— The San Carlos the first vessel to sail into the Bay of 
San Francisco — Mission San Francisco de los Dolores and 
Presidio of San Francisco founded — Father Junipero Seira's 
death — Time and the Russians become the first factors to 
create some hindrances to the Missions — The Mexican 
revolution proves disastrous enough to bring in her conse- 
quences the 'downfall of the Missions. 

Father France.s Junipero Serra, or Father Junipero, 
as he was called, the pioneer of California, was born 
of humble parents on the Island of Majorca, in the 
Mediterranean Sea, on November 24, 17 13, and from 
his infancy was educated with the view of becoming a 
priest. After having completed his studies in the 
convent of San Bernardino, he went to Palina, the 
capital of the province, to get the higher learning 
necessary for the vocation, and at h'is own request, he 
was received into the Order of St. Francis; at the age 
of sixteen. He sailed from Cadiz for America August 
28, 1749, to bring the mission to the heathen of the 
New World, and landed at Vera Cruz, whence he 
went to the City of Mexico, joined the college of San 
Fernando, and was made President of the Missions of 


Sierra Gorda and San Saba. He was a man of 
eloijuence and enthusiasm, of strong personal magnet- 
ism and power ; possessing to a remarkable degree 
those peculiarities of character found with martyrs. 
He had gained a wide reputation among the Indians 
in Mexico, and was the great revivalist of his church ; 
frequently lie would arouse his congregation almost to 
a frenzy by his wild, enthusiastic demonstrations of 
religious fervor. He would beat himself with chains 
and stones, and submit to other tormentings, to sliow 
the apathetics the need of crucifying the flesh in 
penance for their sin. On this occasion his self- 
inflicted punishment was so great that one, whc beheld 
it, rushed up to the altar, and seizing the links from 
his hands, exclaimed, " Let a sinner suffer penance, 
father, not one like you," and commenced beating 
himself, not ce.ising until he fell to the floor in a 
swoon. Such was the man and his power over others, 
to whom was committed the task of a "spiritual 
conijuest " of Upper or New Calilornia, arriving 
with the last division of the expedition at San Diego 
Jul) I, 1769, just one hundred and fourteen years ago. 
to start a new era, from which dates the commence- 
ment of the history of the white race in our State. 

Of the whole e.xpedition, by vessels and overland, 
including the .converted Indians, who accompanied 
him, there were twe hundred and fifty souls on the 
ground, as Father Junipero calculated, men enough 
for the founding of the intended three missions — at 
San Diego, at Monterey, and one midways between 
both — for cultivation of the soil, grazing the land and 
exploring the coast; bvr. there was want of sailors and 
provisions, so many of the former had died on the 
voyage. .\.nd to make ui) this deficiency, the Sti// 
Antonio was ordered to sail for San Bias, to procure 
more seamen and supplies. She sailed on July 9th, 
and lost nine more of her crew before reaching her 

Between the time they had taken formal possession 
of the country for Spain, and went on with the work 
of establishing a mission at San Diego. I''ather 
l'"rancis I'alou's writing, published 1787, tells us about 
the ceremonies connected with the founding of a 
mission, as follows : 

"They immediately set about taking possession of 
the soil in the name of our Catholic monarch, and 
thus laid the foundation of the mission: — the sailors, 
muleteers and servants set about clearing away a 
place, which was to serve as temporary chiu-ch, 
hanging the bells (on the limb of a tree) and forming 
a grand cross. * * * * 'I'he venerable I'ather 
President blessed the holy water, and with this the 
rite of the church, and then the holy cross ; which, 
being adorned as usual, was planted in front of the 

( huich. Then its |5atron saint was named, and having 
chanted the first mass, the venerable President pro- 
nounced a most fervent discourse on the coming of 
the Holy Spirit and the establishment of the mission. 
The sacrifice of the mass being concluded, the Veni 
Creator was then sung; the want of an organ and 
other musical instruments, being supplied by the 
continued discharge of firearms during the ceremony, 
and the want of incense, of which they had none, by 
the smoke of the muskets." 

This done, the next thing in order of gaining con- 
verts was to fit out an expedition under Oovernor 
Portala's command, to go overland in search of the 
bay of Monterey, where the next mission was to be 
founded. This expedition started on Jul) 14th, with 
all but the six available military force, Father Junipero 
showing great confidence in the native.s, deemed by 
him these six soldiers sufficient protection for himself, 
and the mission, which confidence came very near 
proving disastrous. I'he practice of making converts 
being here about the same as in Lower California, 
after the first unsuccessful efforts the Fathers found 
that they had to get the Indians' confidence by learning 
their ways and language : they cared nothing for the 
food given them, but they were cjuite willing to take 
anything else, especially cloth. For this they would 
go out into the bay in the night-time, and cut pieces 
out of the sail of the vessel, and soon getting tired of 
getting things by rations, they united in conspiracy, 
like those Indians with Father Tierra ninety years 
before at La Paz, to overthrow the little garrison and 
di\ide the properry among themselves, to conclude with 
a great feast. 'I'his happened just a month after the 
tbunding of the mission, and one day, when one of 
the padres wirh two soldiers had gone on board the 
ship they tried to take by suri)rise the then lessened 
force of four soldiers, two padres, a carpenter and a 
blacksmith : but the latter, a brave and fearless man, 
led the defense by rushing upon the savages with the 
war-cr\-, " l^ong live the faith of Jesus Christ, and die 
the dogs, his enemies I" and the result was a defeat 
and a severe loss of dead and wounded to the Indians. 
The loss in the mission was not so considerable iis 
under the circumstances might be expected ; one of 
the converted Indians had been killed, one wounded, 
and a soldier, a priest, and the brave blacksmith, were 
among the injured. 

This was the first battle in California, so far as his- 
torical record is able to prove up, it occurred August 
15, 1769,* 

* The very same day in the old world was born, on an island in the 
Mediterranean Sea, a genius of war, whose word became rule all oyer 
Europe, and whose life's result was a tot.-*! change of history and geography, 
of the greater part of the civil world. 


In the meantime Portala, with sixty-five soldiers 
followed the route up the coast to Monterey where he 
planted a cross without knowing that it was the place 
he was searching for, but passed further on until he, 
after more than three months since his departure, on 
October 30th, arrived at a bay which Father Crespi, 
who was with the party and kept the journal; says: 
'•They at once recognized." This is the first unguest- 
ioned record of the San Francisco bay, no evidence 
being in existence that it ever had been seen before; 
but in 1742, on board of a captured East India gal- 
leon was found a sailing chart, or map of the Pacific 
coast, dated 1740, on which a bay resembling in any 
■way that of San Francisco, at or near the point where 
it is, was laid down. 

If the padre had knowledge of this chart, or if he 
simply means, they recognized it as that bay, miracu- 
lously led to by St. Francis, we are not able to state, 
because he forgot to do so, and supposed the bay had 
been found in 1740, then the name of the first dis- 
coverer is lost to the world. Portala and his followers 
believed, or pretended to believe, that only by the 
performance of a miracle St. Francis had led them to 
the place, and remembering that Father Junipero, 
before leaving Mexico, had been grieved on account 
of the visitor. General Galvez, not having put on the 
list of names of the missions to be founded, that one 
of their patron saint, and when reminded of the 
omission by the sorrowing priest his reply solemnly 
had been : " If St. Francis wants a mission let him 
show you a good port, and we will put one there." 
This good port — here it had been found and declared 
to have been led there by St. Francis, they called it 
"San Francisco Bay." 

The expedition under Portala, on their returning 
way to San Diego, started November 11, 1769, to 
arrive at San Diego January 24, 1770, and here he 
learned for the first time of the danger out of which 
the mission had escaped so unharmed. But only the 
smaller part of all the trouble and danger that awaited 
them had passed away ; more was coming, and brought 
the whole enterprise near enough to become a failure, 
for want of possibility to make it self-sustaining until 
sufficient crops could be grown. Taking an inventory 
of the supplies. Governor Portala found that there 
was only enough left to last the colony until March, 
and according to this it was decided that if no sup- 
supplies would arrive with the San Antonio before 
the 20th of March, to abandon the enterprise and 
return to Mexico. Preparations had already been 
made for "the abandonment, but just on that day a 
vessel was seen by all, on the ocean near the port, and 
it was postponed. The next day, however, the vessel 
was gone, but the faithful colonists believed then that 

help was coming, and really a few days after the San 
Antonio, with a full supply of provisions, etc., sailed 
into the harbor, in consequence of which two other 
expeditions were set out to go in search of Monterey 
harbor, one to go by sea, the other overland. Governor 
Portala himself again took charge of the latter, while 
the former was accompanied by Father Junipero, who 
writes from Monterey ; — 

" My Dearest Friend and Sir : — On the 31st day of 
May, by the favor of God, after a rather painful voy- 
age of a month and a half this packet, San Antonio, 
arrived and anchored in this horrible port of Monterey, 
which is unaltered in any degree from what it was 
when visited by the expedition of San Sebastian Vis 
caino, in the year 1603." 

He then states that the governor had reached the 
place eight days before him, and that they took pos- 
session of the land for the Spanish crown on the 3d 
of August, 1770, and the ceremony was attended by 
salutes from the battery on board of the vessel, and 
muskets of the soldiers. The mission was named San 
Carlos, and was moved afterwards to the river Car- 
melo. The third one of the first intended missions 
was located July 14, 1771, on the Antonio river, 
about twenty-five miles from' the coast and thirty-five 
miles from Soledad to the south. In the grain field 
grown on this mission the first trial with irrigation was 
made in the summer of 1780. The next mission 
founded in California was that of San Gabriel, for 
which a location was selected about eight miles north 
of Los Angeles, the ceremony of establishment was 
performed on the 8th of September, the same year, 
1 77 1. About a year later, in September 1772, the 
mission of San Luis Obispo, nearly halfway between 
Los Angeles and Monterey, was founded in the pres- 
ence of Father Junipero, who hereafter returned to 
Mexico to procure supplies. Sometime before this, 
already. Governor Portala had returned to Mexico, 
and being the carrier of so much good news, as : the 
rediscovery of Monterey, and the discovery of another 
and much finer bay, which they had named after St. 
Francis, and the report of three missions being estab- 
lished in the new land, the excitement in Mexico run 
high, guns were fired, bells were rung, congratulatory 
speeches were delivered, and all new Spain was happy 
over the success so far surpassing all expectations 
and giving hope for far greater result in the future. 

So when Father Junipero came to Mexico, about a 
year later, the excitement was still prevailing, and in a 
very short time he was able to procure over twelve 
thousand dollars worth of supplies. Dividing his 
forces he went, accompanied by several new missiona- 
ries and a few soldiers, with the vessel that had 
brought him hither, to arrive at San Diego March 13, 


1773, the other division consisting of soldiers under 
the command of Captain Juan Bautista Anza, had 
been sent overland by the way of Sonora, and the Gila 
and Colorado rivers, to open a route for better com- 
munication with the dominion of New Spain, as the 
treacherous sea had proved to be. Captain Anza, 
with company, finished their first pioneer overland 
journey by arriving safely about the same time with 
Father Junipero, at San Diego. Satisfied with the 
result of this route overland to Mexico, on which he 
thought to be dependent for the establishment of two 
more missions at San Francisco Bay and Santa Clara, 
Father Junipero immediately took the first steps to 
the realization of this long cherished plan, and a party 
under guidance of lather Crespi made its way from 
Monterey, passing through Santa Clara valley, follow- 
ing on along the east side of San Francisco Bay, fin- 
ally on the 30th of May, 1773, arrived on the bank of 
the San Joaquin river, where Antioch now stands, 
thus being the first white men to see the waters of this 
stream, which was named only forty-six years after, 
and to take in the view of the lower part of Sacra- 
mento and San Joaquin valleys, with their islands and 
many crooked water lines. 

In 1774, Captain Anza returned to Mexico to 
bring them the report of his success in laying out the 
overland route between Monterey and Mexico, with 
the intention of taking the same route back for the 
third time, so soon he would have procured the neces- 
sary means to found the northern missions. 

The same year, on the night of November 14th, the 
mission of San Diego was attacked by a large and well 
organized body of Indians, numbering about a thou- 
sand. Father Palou, in his accounts of this affair, 
says : "That the Indians were incited to the act by 
the devil, who used the two apostate converts as the 
means, causing them to tell falsehoods to their people, 
in representing that the fathers intended to put an 
end to the gentiles by making them become Chris- 
tians by force." Although the proposition of force in 
conversion is declared, according to Father Palon, 
(afterwards in charge of San Francisco mission) the 
devil's suggestion, but it has been practiced aftei-wards 
by the fathers. The Indians were thrown back with 
severe loss, and of the defenders one priest and two 
men were killed, and most all more or less wounded. 
This was the last attempt the Indians have made to 
destroy the missions. 

Up to June, 1775, there existed no knowledge, if 
the Bay of San Francisco had any communication 
with the ocean, or if it could be entered by vessel 
from that side, and Father Junipero, to settle 
this point, in anticipation of Captain Auza's return, 
dispatched the packet Sati Carlos Xo look after, a feat 

she accomplished on the above stated date; the pio- 
neer of the fleets that have still and yet will anchor in 
that harbor, being only a small vessel of about two 
hundred tons burden. She returned to Monterey 
with the report of her successful entrance into the har- 
bor, and further discoveries of San Pablo Bay, "into 
which emptied the great river of our Father St. Fran- 
cis, which was fed by five other rivers, all of them co- 
pious streams, flowing through a plain so wide that it 
was bounded only by the horizon." The time for ex- 
ecution of Father Junipero's most hearty desire 
drew near when Captain Anza returned from Mexico 
with all that could be required for the establishment 
of the missions on the great bay, and a packet-boat 
loaded with all the necessaries of the enterprise, left 
Monterey, while the Father President started from 
Monterey overland on June 7, T776, to arrive at 
Washerwomen's Bay on the 27th of the same month; 
the vessel did not come in before August 8th, and 
on September 17th the Presidio of San Francisco 
was located. The Mission San Francisco de los 
Dolores was founded on the loth of October, 1776, 
at San Francisco; then followed the Mission San 
Juan Capis'.rano, November ist, and after this Mission 
Santa Clara, January 18, 1777. With this closes 
the record of establishing missions in Upper Cal- 
ifornia by this justly praised, indefatigable Christian 
missionary priest. Father Junipero. He died at the 
age of sixty-nine years, in the Mission of San Carlos 
del Carmelo, near Monterey, in 1782, after having 
seen the development of the tree of civilization whose 
seeds to plant he had spent his whole life. 

Within the space of time from 1776, as the first 
settlement at San Francisco, to 1822, twelve more 
missions had been established in California, making a 
total of twenty-one, which after the original plan, 
formed a chain of occupied country to keep off all 
foreign' settlement. The situations of the missions 
were, of course, selected with reference to the soil : 
and where the boundary lines of one ended another 
began, so that the whole coast was owned by the mis- 
sions from La Paz to San Francisco, the interior being 
the storehouse from which to draw proselytes to the 
Catholic faith, in the beginning, in the end slaves 
to work the plantations. The continuation of this 
chain of missions north of the bay of San Francisco 
meanwhile had been interfered with by the Russians, 
who first appeared on the coast in 1807, to settle down 
at Bodega in 181 2, but the padres, not willing to give 
up their plan entirely, commenced to surround the 
invaders by a cordon of missions, so that they might 
not be able to extend their possession further on. 
This plan brought to light the mission of San Rafael, 
in 1817, and San Francisco de Solano in 1823; but 


all further pursuance of this plan had to cease on 
account of the natural progress in political as well as 
social life. The system had outlived itself, and the 
whole institution was on the incline downward, 'to 
give way to the next shock. 

This shock was nearer than expected, when in 1822 
Mexico revolted against the Spanish regime, and after 
more than three hundred years' submission, declared 
her independence of Spain, establishing a short-lived 
monarchy, which she threw off again in 1824, to 
become a restless republic. The same year the Mex- 
ican congress passed a colonization act which proposed 
fair inducements for settlement of the country. This 
was the first blow towards the missions. Then the 
secularization was ordered four years later, and grants 
of land were authorized as homesteads for actual 
settlers. Another blow followed : The Pious Fund — 
being the aggregated donations of the Catholic world 
for the maintenance of the missions in Lower and 
Upper California, invested in real estate in Mexico, 
the interest of which amounted to about fifty thousand 
dollars annually, and was paid out for salaries of the 
padres, were withheld and appropriated by the gov- 
ernment, and soon after, the fund itself confiscated 
by the Mexican congress, which ordered it to be used 

for State purposes. This was the shock that practic- 
ally ruined the missions. The white settlers followed 
the example of the government, took possession of 
land and stock belonging to the missions, the mission 
Indians having fled to the mountains in company with 
the wild tribes, opened a perpetual warfare against the 
settlers, robbing and stealing cattle and all movable 
goods, wives and children not excluded. Robbery 
and plunder and the highest degree of disorder seemed 
to be the order of the day, and the California Legisla- 
ture, in 1840, appointed administrators to take charge 
of the property of the missions. In 1843, General 
Micheltorena, the new governor, restored the property 
of the missions to the padres, and notwithstanding an 
interregnum of six years, things commenced already 
to improve again, when the government again inter- 
fered, and ordered Governor Pio Pico, in 1845, to 
dispose of the mission propert)', and whatever of 
this property had been left was finally sold at auction. 
Then the Mexican conquest broke out soon after, at the 
end of which the territory was fortunate enough to 
get embodied into the American Union. 

The table annexed needs no explanation ; it gives, 
in the smallest space, a full statistical history of all 
the missions, with population and property. 











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Robert Chalmers. 




The Military Organization of Occupation — Presidios — Castillos 
— Soldier's Life and Duties — Ranchos — Reglamento of 
1781 — Pueblos — Municipal Officers — Plan the Missions 
were built after— Life in the Missions— How the Mission 
Indians were dressed — Mission Lands — Agricultural Imple- 
ments and style of Farm Work — Threshing — Amount of 
grain used in Upper California in 1831— Vahie of Field 
Products— Flouring Mills — Stock Raising— Amount of 
Slock in 1836— Gleeson on the Missions— The first Grant in 
California — Increase of Population — Spain's Anxiousness 
of her Colonies— The Military Government Gaining Su- 
premacy over the Church — Earthquakes, some with Dama- 
ging Result, — The Russians in California. 

The Spanish Government fitting out an expedition, 
whether for exploration or occupation, used to send a 
number of priests of the Catholic Church along, so as 
to have the conquest of the country immediately con- 
nected and followed by the conquering of the souls 
for the Holy Church. Just so in California, the Gov- 
ernor in command of the military forces took possess- 
ion of the land for Spain, while the priests by making 
the Indians converts, who, bound by religious affinity, 
would become subjects to the Spanish Crown, able to 
defend their country against invasion of other nations. 
Side by side the soldier and the priest entered Califor- 
nia in 1769, establishing the first permanent settlement 
at San Diego. Seven years later, October, 1776, the 
Mission of San Francisco de los Dolores was founded, 
and the province incorporated into Spanish America, 
with its capital first at Arispe, afterwards at Monterey. 

The country, on account of occupation, was divided 
into military districts, each one provided with a garri- 
son place and headquarters for the commandant of the 
district, and as such the seat of the local government. 
Eventually there were four of them, called Presidios, 
in Upper California, located at San Diego, Santa Bar- 
bara, Monterey and San Francisco, close to the sea- 
ports. In order to serve the purpose of defending the 
country and giving protection to the missions they 
were built to resemble in some way a slight fortifica- 
tion; the outside walls made from adobe, about twelve 
feet high, with small bastions at each corner, mounted 
with eight twelve-pounder cannons; between these 
walls there was a space of three hundred feet square 
enclosed, and occupied with soldiers' chapel, barracks, 
commandant and officers' quarters and store house ; 
two gateways communicated the intercourse, being 
open during the day and closed in the night. For 
better defence each of the presidios had outside of it 
a fort, called the castillo, consisting of a covered bat-, 
tery, mounted with a few cannons; the location of 
the castillos was taken with a view to command the 

harbor. For each of the military districts were as- 
signed two hundred and fifty soldiers, which number, 
however, at no time seems to be attained, there being 
no inducement for men to enlist as soldiers to serve 
in California. The force was made up out of ship- 
wrecks, outcasts and criminals, and, eventually, as 
Forbes says : "California became the Botany Bay of 
America." Their duties consisted in guarding the 
coast, accompanying the fathers when abroad, and, 
last, but not least, to hunt up fugitive Indians, con- 
verts that had been reminded of their former inde- 
pendent life, when roaming around the forests in 
dolce far niente, for which purpose a certain number 
of them were stationed at each mission ; but rarely 
they were more than half paid. Their dressing was 
made up from heavy buckskin, supposed to be impen- 
etrable to arrows. In connection with each presidio 
was a farm, under charge of the military commandant, 
called the rancho, where the soldiers were expected 
to spend their leisure time in growing such products 
as would constitute a part of their living. 

Up to the year 1781 the soldiers, only in exceptional 
cases, with a special permission of the crown, were 
allowed to marry, which permission was never 
granted without recommendation of the priest. But 
this army, however small, became in time quite a 
severe tax on the home government, and a plan was 
thought of to lessen the burden. A reglamento issued 
in 1 781, ordered that towns — pueblos — be laid out, 
and each ex-soldier who would stay in the country, be- 
coming a citizen soldier, and as such holding himself 
ready to take up arms in case of any emergency, be 
entitled to a lot of 556^4 feet square, as'an unaliena- 
ble homestead ; for further inducement the ex-soldier 
was paid a salary by the government, for a given time, 
be exempt from taxation for five years, and was to re- 
ceive an agricultural outfit, consisting of cattle, hor- 
ses, mules, sheep, hogs and chickens; but were 
obliged to sell all the surplus of their produce to the 
presidios at a stated price. 

There were only three pueblos in Upper California: 
Los Angeles, San Jose and Branciforte, the last one 
near Santa Cruz; San Francisco or Verba Buena was 
not a pueblo. A sufficient number of settlers this way 
located on one place, were entitled to have an alcalde, 
or municipal officer, whose office duties included 
those of a justice of the peace. He was appointed for 
the first two years by the governor, thereafter elected 
by the community. The pueblos also were open to 
other settlers, but there were no extra provisions for 
their inducement made. Not so at the missions; the 
mother institutions of the whole were inhabited only 
and without exception by the natives, under religious 
treatment by the fathers ; no others were allowed to 


stay at these places, except on a short visit. All of 
the missions were planned alike, containing each a 
church, the monastery, store houses, barracks and the 
Father's apartments ; these buildings were constructed 
out of adobe walls, two stories high, formed a regu- 
lar quadrangle of about six hundred feet wide each; 
the church in Basilica style, taking in the 
height of both stories, occupied three-fourth the length 
of one quadrangle side. The thus enclosed court- 
yard was ornamented with fountains and trees, after 
the style of convents in the mother country, and a 
porch or gallery ran all around, opening upon the 
workshops, storerooms and other apartments, one of 
which was the monastery, where, under the care of 
the matron, the Indian girls were instructed in all 
such branches as were necessary for their future con- 
dition in life, and where they had to remain until they 
got married. In the schools, vocal and instrumental 
music was taught to those children who showed suffi- 
cient capacity and musical talent. The entire man- 
agement of all branches in the mission was under the 
care of the fathers. 

Six days in the week were spent in the mission in 
the following manner : With the ringing of the first 
bell at sunrise all had to attend church for morning 
prayers, followed by the celebration of the mass, at 
which they had to assist. This occupied about an 
hour. Then breakfast was taken and everybody went 
to his or her daily employment until noon. At noon 
two hours were spent for dinner and rest, then work 
was taken up again until an hour before sundown, 
repairing again to church for devotions in family 
prayers and rosary in general, adding extra devo- 
tional exercises on special occasions. Supper fol- 
lowed, after which chey indulged in innocent games 
and dances until bedtime. For the night the unmar- 
ried sexes were locked up separately, the married peo- 
ple occupying the barracks and small huts a short 
distance from the main building. These were made 
of adobes or rough poles, almost round or octagonal, 
the roof, tent-like, covered with grass. The style of 
dressing was something similar to that of the Indians 
in California or Nevada nowadays ; men wore linen 
shirts, pants, and a blanket, this serving for an over- 
coat The women got each two undergarments, a 
new gown and a blanket every year. After the mis- 
sions had grown rich and a good crop made, the 
Fathers distributed, as a reward for good conduct and 
a spur for others, money and other presents. 

Each mission was in possession of a tract of land 
fifteen miles square, appropriated for culivation and 
pasturing purposes. The cultivation of grain of 
the different varieties embraced were, Indian corn, 
wheat, barley, and a small bean friiole, which was 

in general use throughout Spanish America. The 
mode of agricultural work under management of the 
Fathers was still very primitive ; no improvement in 
any line of farming, no science to renovate the ex- 
hausted soil by the alternation of crops, or the utility 
of fallows, was either not known to them or they had 
no use for them. Was the soil of a certain piece of 
land not productive enough for a certain kind of grain 
it was the custom of the fathers to let it lie idle for a 
long time, as they thought it necessary to gain strength 
sufficient for another start. The same primitiveness 
has to be stated about the agricultural implements. 
The plow in use was formed out of two pieces of 
wood, one a crooked limb or root, had to give the 
shape for sole and handle both, to which the tongue 
beam was attached, the latter being long enough to 
reach the yoke of the oxen by which the plow was 
drawn ; a small upright piece fastened to the sole was 
mortised through the tongue, to be fixed with wedges 
in the position as the plowman needed it for deep 
plowing. A small iron share, equal on both sides, and 
thus unable to turn a furrow, completed the instru- 
ment. With this rude implement nobody could 
expect that the ground could be broken perfectly, 
although scratchine was done, crossing and recrossing 
several times, requiring a great number of plows for a 
large field. Harrows were not known, and in their 
stead a bunch of brush tied together by a pole, were 
drawn over the ground ; in some places a heavy log 
was drawn over the field for the same purpose, but 
this log did not roll, but only dragged part of the soil 
over the seed. Grain was sown by hand, Indian corn 
dropped in furrows, about five feet apart, and by use 
of the foot, covered with dirt. The sowing took place 
from November, according to the rainy season; the 
grain getting ripe about midsummer, was harvested in 
July and August. Threshing was done in open field, 
on somewhat hard ground ; the grain was laid in a 
large circle and a band of horses chased over it, 
stamping it out with their feet. After the straw had 
been removed the grain was taken up with a shovel 
and removed on ox-carts ; but as there was no cleaning 
done, it was mixed with dirt and stones, and a consid- 
erable part of it broken. The ox-cart was a most 
primitive and clumsy affair, the wheels formed solid 
out of two pieces, without spokes, working on a heavy 
wooden axle, the upper part above the solid bottom 
constructed out of upright set pickets connected with 
another piece on top. For carrying grain it had to be 
made tight with canes or willows. The oxen were 
yoked to this cart in a manner alike described at the 

In 1831, the whole amount of grain raised in Upper 
California, according to the mission records, was 


46,202 fanegas (a fanega being equal to two and half 
English bushels). Indian corn was then worth one 
and a half dollars a fanega ; wheat and barley, two 
dollars a fanega. The mills for making flour were still 
on an equally unimproved style. The power in use 
was water, working on a horizontal wheel fixed to an 
upright axle and located under the building, forming 
a primitive kind of turbine which gave considerable 
power. The millstone was fastened to the upper end 
of the same axle with the " tub-wheel " without any 
transferring machinery for gaining speed, the stone 
making an equal number of revolutions with the tub- 
wheel ; the manipulation of grinding flour will be 
considered a very slow one. 

There were three of these kind of gristmills at work 
in 1835, and of their possession the fathers were boast- 
ing as of a rare piece of machinery. 

About the same year the grain raised on mission 
lands began to attract the attention of the European 
market, and was considered equally good with that 
produced at the Cape of Good Hope. (History of 
Placer Co., Cal.) 

All other efforts concerning farming life concen- 
trated in stockraising ; the unlimited tracts of land 
afforded an unbroken range of pasture, requiring only 
very little labor. The stock that the fathers had im- 
ported from Mexico accumulated fast, and enabled 
them already in early times to send big droves of 
young bulls to Mexico for beef, keeping the cows for 
breeding. In 1836, the amount of stock on mission 
land is given to be three hundred thousand black 
cattle, thirty-two thousand horses, twenty-eight thousand 
mules, one hundred and fifty-three thousand sheep; 
the value of which was, five dollars for a fat ox or 
bull, as well as cow ; ten dollars for a saddle-horse, 
five for a mare, ten for a mule, and two dollars for a 
sheep. Says Gleeson in his valuable work," " History 
of the Catholic Church in California:' ''I'he mis- 
sions were originally intended to be only temporary 
in duration. It was contemplated that in ten years 
from the time of their foundation they should cease, 
as it was then supposed that within that period the 
Indians would be sufficiently prepared to assume the 
position and character of citizens, and the mission 
settlements would become pueblos, and the mission 
churches parish institutions, as in older civilizations; 
but having been neglected and undisturbed by the 
Spanish Government, they kept on in the old way for 
sixty years, the comfortable Fathers being in no hurry 
to insist on a change." The mission lands assigned 
for grazing and agriculture were held only in fief, and 
were claimed afterwards by the government — against 
the loud remonstration of the fathers, however. 

From the time of establishing the first presidio, in 

1776, for fifty-five following years, the historic events 
worthy of mention performed by the military branch 
of the spiritual conquest, were so scarce that we may 
refer to them in a chronological recapitulation; all the 
events connected with the military power during that 
time are absolutely a part of the missions, and so in- 
separable of the history of those institutions, that up 
to the founding of the pueblos, it seems no other his- 
tory was in existence. 

The first land grant ever issued in California is re- 
corded under date of November 27, 1775, being prob- 
ably the smallest grant made in this State, containing 
only 381 feet square. This grant, located at the mis- 
sion of San Carlos, was given to "Manuel Butron, a 
soldier, in consideration that he had married Marga- 
rita, a daughter of that mission, and Father Junipero 
recommended Mr. Butron and his Indian wife to the 
Government and all the other ministers of the King, 
because, as he says, " they are the first in ail these es- 
tablishments which have chosen to become permanent 
settlers of the same." 

As stated already, a reglamento was issued with the 
King's signature, in 1781, creating a system of pueblos 
for the settlement of ex-soldiers and settlers. To this 
reglamento, as we thir.k, has to be counted the in- 
crease of population — from 1,749, in 1781 the popula- 
tion rose in six years to 5,143, and in 1790 had 
reached the number of 7,748. 

With suspicion and jealousy was Spain watching the 
movements of other powers, always afraid for her col- 
onies. One instance having reference to the colonies of 
this coast happened in 1776, where under date of Oc- 
tober 23d, the viceroy of Mexico wrote to the Gover- 
nor of California that, " the King having received in- 
telligence that two armed vessels had started from 
London under the command of Captain Cook, bound 
on a voyage of discovery to the Southern Ocean, and 
the northern coast of California, to be on watch for 
Captain Cook, and not permit him to enter the ports 
of California." 

And thirteen years later the Governor of California 
wrote to the captain in charge of the presidio at San 
Francisco, as follows : 

" Whenever there may arrive at the port of San 
Francisco a ship, named Columbia, said to belong 
to General Washington, of the American States, com- 
manded by John Rendrick, which sailed from Boston 
in September, 1787, bound on a voyage of discovery 
to the Russian establishments on the northern coast 
of this peninsula, you will receive the same vessel with 
caution and delicacy, using for this purpose a small 
boat, which you have in your possession, and taking 
the same measures with every other suspicious for- 
eign vessel, giving me prompt notice of the same. 



May God preserve your life many long years. 
Pedro Faces." 
Santa Barbara, May 13th, 1789. 

To Josef Arguello : — 

The suspicious craft, "said to belong to General 
Washington," sailed north, without entering the port 
of San Francisco, and discovered the Columbia 

There is another letter preserved for the record of 
history, and, however brief, it shows that the time had 
come where the military power in the presidios com- 
menced to get independent from the missions, that 
this power was a good ways ahead in the concourse 
between Church and State, and, in the end, made the 
latter triumph. The priests t'aught the Indians to say 
the mass, to know the names of all saints, and to 
work under instructions. The schools at the presi- 
dios, encouraged by the governor, taught the chil- 
dren reading and writing. Here was sown the seed 
for the future harvest. The letter is written by the 
captain of the Santa Barbara presidio to the gover- 
nor of California, and reads : 

" I transmit to you a statement in relation to the 
schools of the presidios, together with six copy-books 
of the children who are learning to write, for your su- 
perior information. 

May our Lord preserve your life many years. 

Felipe Goycochea." 

Santa Barbara, Feb. 11, 1797. 

These copy-books are now in the possession of the 
State Library, having fallen into the hands of thfe 
government when California became a part of the 
United States. 

The nineteenth century was ushered in amid great 
irregularities of nature, characteristic of this coast. 
We take some information out of a letter of Herme- 
negildo Sal, captain of the presidio at Monterey, 
\yritten to the governor under date of October 31, 
1800, informing the latter that the mission at San Juan 
Bautista has been visited by severe earthquakes since 
the eleventh of that month, that Pedro Andriano Mar- 
tinez, one of the Fathers of said mission, had given 
the report of six severe shocks in one day, and that 
there was not a single habitation, though all built with 
double walls, but were injured, but that most all were 
threatened with ruin, so that the fathers were com- 
pelled to sleep in wagons and other outdoor places to 
avoid the danger awaiting them in the uninhabitable 
houses. Furthermore, he states of some cracks and 
openings observed near the rancheria and in the 
neighborhood of the river Pajaro, all caused by the 
earthquakes. In addition, he gives the report of 
severe earthquakes as witnessed by other persons. 

Olher heavy earthquakes were felt at the presidio of 

San Francisco, from June 21st to July 17th. Captain 
Luis Arguello told that all the walls of his residence 
at said place became cracked, and an antechamber 
was destroyed, and he was in fear for the safety of the 
barracks in the Fort (castillo.) 

Fortunately with these earthquakes, there was no 
great damage done either to property or to life. 
But the people of California were not always equally 
fortunate. While services were in progress on a Sab- 
bath in September, 1812, at San Juan Capistrano, an 
earthquake shook down the church, the roof falling 
in, killing thirty persons. The church at Santa Inez 
was also totally destroyed. 

Later, the church at the mission of Santa Clara was 
destroyed by an earthquake in 1818. 

The Spanish watchfulness of the former century had 
given away, or had become lax, when, in 1807, the 
Russians first appeared on the coast of California, show- 
ing unmistakably their intention to becomean interested 
party. The Czar's embassador to Japan, Count Von 
Rosanoff, in the month of May, came down from 
Sitka ostensibly for supplies, and attempted to estab- 
lish communication between Russian America and the 
Spanish settlements. The better to effect this pur- 
pose, he became engaged in marriage with the daughter 
of Luis Arguello, the commandant at the presidio of 
San Francisco ; but on account of their religious faiths 
— he belonging to the Greek, she to the Roman Cath- 
olic Church — and on his way home, to obtain the 
sanction of his emperor, being fully twelve days apart, 
he was thrown from his horse and killed. The lady 
assumed the habit of a nun, and mourned for her 
lover till death. The death of the Count put an end 
to further negotiations, and in a very different sense 
Russia took possession of the port at Bodega in 181 2, 
with a force of one hundred soldiers and as many 
Kodiac Indians. Soon they went on to build a fort 
and maintained themselves by force of arms until 
1 84 1, wheri the establishment was sold to Captain 
John A. Sutter, of Sutter's Fort, and they quietly 
moved away. In 1838, this .settlement at Fort Ross 
contained eight or nine hundred inhabitants, stockaded 
forts, mills, shops and stables. The farmers produced 
a great abundance of grain, vegetables, butter and 
cheese, which products were shipped to Sitka to sup- 
ply the northern fur stations of Alaska. 



Mexican Revolulion in 1822— California Officials Transfer Their 
Allegiance from Spain to Mexico— The Indians not Look- 
ing at it in an equally peaceful way, show an imitation of 


Truer Colors — Representation of California Under Ter 
rial System— California versus Moctezuma — Colonization 
Law— Secularization of the Missions — Value of the Wild 
Animals 'Found Out— The Trappers— J. S. Smith's Letter 
— Soliz Surprising Monterey — Governor Victoria to Con^ 
front Another Rebellion — His Resignation — Figueroa Gov- 
ernor — The Colony Under Hijar Arrives — Santa Ana— 
Pronunciamento at Los Angeles — Fourth Rebellion, Alva- 
rado, Castro— Alvarado Finally Accredited — Bestowing 
His Followers with Gratifications -The Discontented Ar- 
rested and Sent to San Bias, but Released on Appeal of 
their Countrymen— Quarreling between Alvarado and Val- 
lejo— Gen. Micheltorena Arrives to Remove Both — His 
Army— Commodore T. A. C. Jones at Monterey. 

But we must go back to one of the most important 
events in the history of California under the Spanish 

In 1822, Mexico declared her independence of 
Spain, and California follovred suit. 

On the 9th day of April, 1822, ten of the principal 
officials of California, including the Governor and his 
proxy, the father President, signed at Monterey a 
declaration of independence from Spain, 'transferring 
their allegiance to Mexico. Thus the province was 
changed over to a new master without a struggle or 
bloodshed, making hardly one more ripple on the 
political sea. 

When the Indians at San Diego received the news 
of the doings in Mexico they held a great feast, 
and closed the ceremonies and the day by starting a 
bonfire and burning their chief alive. When the mis- 
sionaries remonstrated, the savages logically answered : 
" Have not you done the same in Mexico ? You say 
your king was not good, and you killed him ; well, our 
captain was not good, and we bur>ied him. If the 
new one is bad we will burn him too !" 

In 1824, Mexico again changed from the monarch- 
ical system to the republican, similar in form to that of 
the United States, and California simply had to accept 
the situation, she not having population enough for a 
.State, had no vote in Congress. Thus she became a 
Territory, and as such she was entitled to one dele- 
gate in Congress, who had the right to speak but 
could not vote; to have a Governor whose title was to 
be " Political Chief of the Territory," and to have a 
legislature called the " Territorial Deputation." This 
deputation came very near making its name renowned 
on July 13, 1827, by entertaining the proposition of 
changing the name of California to " Moctezuina," 
but it failed. 

A colonization law was passed in Congress and 
issued in August, 1824, being in many respects 
so liberal that it served as a manifestation of 
the change in policy; that California was no 
Jonger estimated as a monastic province; that 

in the contest between Church and State the 
latter came near triumphing. This was even more 
clearly demonstrated when, four years later, Congress 
adopted some rules for the enforcement of the colon- 
ization law, one of which was the secularization of 
the missions. One year before the secularization, in 
1827, the Mexican government had taken out of the 
Pious Fund, the private property of the church, the 
sum of $78,000 ; and soon after the whole Fund, con- 
sisting of real estate investments, etc., was confiscated 
by the Mexican Congress. All this being the work of 
a new party having sprung up, and Governor Echean- 
dia elected by this party, commenced to enforce the 
secularization laws in 1830, but his term ran out too 
soon and his successor, Governor Victoria, put a stop 
to the attempt. The struggle between the two parties 
— one for maintenance, the other for the destruction 
of the missions — went on and was continued with 
varying success until 1834, when the attempts of the 
home government after actual colonization, which 
was formed with the purpose, on the part of the Mex- 
ican President, of placing the commerce of California 
into the hands of the colony, showing the final end of 
the contest in no far future. The purpose of this 
plan, however, was never reached on account of the 
change in politics. Santa Ana, usurping the pres- 
idency, he in haste sent counter orders overland to 
annul the whole plan ; and when Hijar, who had been 
sent thither to become Governor of California, landed 
at San Diego, September i, 1834, under this newest 
condition, entered since his departure from Mexico, 
he found himself only the leader of a disappointed 
colony which came with him to the country. This 
whole colony was sent to the mission at San Francisco 
de Solano, north of San Francisco, to show their 
ability in starting a colony without the aid of the 

We have to go back to the early time of the 
Russian occupation in California when the Cal- 
ifornia officials had been shown and taught the 
great wealth that was stored up in the rivers 
and lakes of the interior of the Territory, which 
could be made an important source of revenue. 
The furs of the different wild animals being of high 
value they sold licenses to trappers. And to the 
trappers, without any doubt, is due the better 
knowledge of the country, its value and resources, 
here and abroad. Roaming all over the country, they 
soon became better informed than the Spaniard ever 
had been, and a good many of them stayed here and 
became settlers, making up not the slightest part of 

The brie this colony arrived in, and which was wrecked on the 14th of 
October, in the harbor of Monterey was the "Natalia," the same that on Feb- 
ary 26, 1815, had borne Napoleon I on his flight from Elba. 


that formidable foreign element that took a foothold 
all along the coast. We have mentioned already that 
the missions were not in favor of the colonization 
settlement, but this foreign element was observed with 
far more mistrust by the church, and even the civil 
government of one party was not in favor of it, as we 
will show in the events a few years later. For illus- 
trating how the church watched these foreigners with 
all possible suspicion, we give an instance which hap- 
pened in 1827 : A company of American trappers, 
commanded by the first American that ever had set 
foot on California soil, from over the mountains, were 
encamped near the mission of San Jose, then in 
charge of Father Duran; the latter having got notice 
of the encampment, sent over an Indian to ascertain 
what for they were there. J. S. Smith, the leader of 
the party, sent the following letter as an answer : 

Reverend Father : I understand through the me- 
dium of one of your christian Indians that you are 
anxious to know who we are, as some of the Indians 
have been at the mission and informed you that there 
were certain white people in the country. We are 
Americans, on our journey to the river Columbia. 
We were in at the mission San Gabriel in January last. 
I went to San Diego and saw the General and got a 
passport from him to pass on to that place. I have 
made several efforts to cross the mountains, but the 
snow being so deep I could not succeed in getting 
over. I returned to this place (it being the only point 
to kill meat) to wait a few weeks until the snow melts, 
so that I can go on; the Indians here also being friendly, 
I consider it the most safe point for me to remain 
until such time as I can cross the mountains with my 
horses, having lost a great many in attempting to cross 
ten cr fifteen d_ays since. I am a great ways from 
home and am anxious to get there as soon as the nature 
of the case will admit. Our situation isquite unpleasant, 
being destitute of clothing and most of the necessa- 
ries of life, wild meat being our principal subsistence. 
I am. Reverend Father, your strange but real friend 
and christian brother, J. S. Smith. 

May 19, 1827. 

More serious troubles between the leading parties in 
California culminated in 1830, when, one night, a 
hundred armed men, under Soliz, surprised the terri- 
torial capital, Monterey, capturing it in a bloodless 
victory — no one was hurt. But only a few weeks 
later the right and lawful party of Governor Echeandia 
had gained strength enough to get their positions 
back, and nothing remained to give account of this 
insurrection except a clause in the Soliz' manifesto, 
declaring his intentions to "not interfere with the 
foreigners of the country." This evidently shows 
that the foreign element was not looked at m the 

same favor by both political parties ; that it became 
sufficiently strong, however, on the coast to refer to it 
in political operations. 

When Governor Victoria got in office, one of his 
first acts was to order a couple of convicted cattle 
thieves to be shot on the plaza. Cattle stealing was 
stopped lor a while, but his enemies declaring this 
shooting not to be authorized by law, took it up as a 
pretense leading to another little rebellion. The hos- 
tile forces met near Los Angeles, Victoria followed by 
about thirty soldiers and friends, called upon the rebel 
leader to surrender, and here he learned for the first 
time that his friend Portala, whom he had trusted 
most, was against him in arms. Observing such base 
treachery, Victoria was seized with fury, and drawing 
his saber attacked the enemy far ahead of his follow- 
ers, driving them almost single-handed from the field. 
The Governor kept up pursuing the enemy to the 
mission of San Gabriel, but his own numerous wounds 
forced him to halt, and in this state, not longer being 
ab'e to defend himself and his defenders, dead or 
wounded, his only alternative was to give his word to 
the opposing party, to resign as Governor and leave 
the territory. He kept his word as a brave man, returned 
to Mexico, entered a cloister and devoted the remain- 
ing years of his life to religious pursuits. In this 
conflict, and on the Governor's side, one of his bravest 
supporters, the grandfather of our late Governor 
Pacheco, found his death. 

After Victoria had left, California was given to mis- 
rule and anarchy, and when in January, 1833, Jose 
Figueroa was inaugurated as Governor, the country 
had the happiest day since a long time. He had quite 
a difficult standpoint, placed right in between the two 
parties. He was expected to deal justly between 
these two contending elements, and to render justice 
to either was to gain the ill-will of the other. More 
trouble arrived from the outside with a colony 
of three hundred persons, arriving under the leader- 
ship of Hijar, sent by the Mexican government to 
take charge of affairs in California. But before they 
reached it, Santa Ana, after having overturned the 
home government, and usurped the .presidency, sent 
ordeis overland which gave Figueroa control over the 
colony and its governor. He consequently sent them 
to the mission of San Francisco de Solano, but event- 
ually they became a great trouble to the governor 
and the country ; some of them, banded together 
in conspiracy, gathered a discontented element 
of more than fifty, and on March 7th, 1835 they 
started a pronunciamento at Los Angeles, but not 
having friends sufficient, and not getting the looked 
for encouragement, the affair ended with the day. 
Figueroa died six months later He had been an 



able statesman and conscientious ruler and over all a 
true friend. He finally got heartsick and discouraged; 
while living, his people gave him little peace, but 
loved and honored him when dead. He was the 
ablest governor Mexico gave to California. 

Another revolution, the fourth in all, broke out in 
1836, one Juan B. Alvarado, a clerk of the terri- 
torial deputation, on account of some difficulty with 
Governor Guitierrez had to leave the capital to avoid 
arrest, and with the help of Isaac Graham, a Tennes- 
see trapper, after a few days had put in the field an 
insurgent army of thirty American riflemen and about 
twice as many mounted Californians under command 
of Jose Castro, Alvarado being the commander-in- 
chief. One night in November they advanced on and 
took the territorial capital, Monterey; the governor 
and his seventy men having shut themselves up in 
the fort, surrendered with the firing of the first gun. 
Guitierrez with his officials was made to leave the 
country, and Alvarado usurped the office in his stead. 
M. G. Vallejo was appointed military Commander- 
General, and Jose Castro, Prefect of Police ; and on 
the 7th of November the country was declared a free 
and independent State, providing, that in the case 
the then existing Central Government of Mexico 
should be overthrown and a federal constitution 
adopted in its stead, California should enter the fede- 
ration with the other States. The commandants of 
Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, however, refused to 
acknowledge the new administration, and Alvarado 
with his army marched upon Los Angeles, where, in- 
stead of a bloody battle, an agreement was entered into 
between Alvarado and Castello that the former should 
recognize the existing Central Government of Mexico 
and be proclaimed political-chief of California, pro 
tern., while the latter was going to Mexico as deputy 
to Congress, to be paid an annual salary of three 
thousand piasters. 

This arrangement, however, not being satisfactory 
to the Mexican Government, did not get accredited, 
and Carlos Corilla, Alverado's uncle, was appointed 
governor. He accepted the appointment and declared 
war upon Alvarado, but was captured by the latter's sol- 
diers with the assistance of Graham's American sharp- 
shooters. Of this battle General Castro reported to 
Governor Alvarado under date of March 28, 1838, as 
follows: "I have the honor to announce to your ex- 
cellency, that after two days continued fighting with- 
out having lost but one man, the enemy took flight 
under cover of night, numbering one hundred and 
ten men; and I have determined to dispatch one 
company of mounted infantry, under command of 
Captain Villa, and another of cavalry lancers under 
command of Captain Cota, in their pursuit, remain- 

ing myself with the rest of the division and the artil- 
lery to guard the point." 

Alvarado, thus left master of the situation, was soon 
after, in 1839, confirmed as Constitutional Governor 
of California by the Mexican government, notwith- 
standing he had been the leader of the rebellion. But 
now in office, he did not forget his followers, by whose 
assistance only, he had been enabled tD reach the 
position his ambition had been striving after for a long 
time, but bestowed upon them as a gratification, large 
grants of land, money and live stock, all confiscated 
from the possessions of the missions. Thus Isaac 
Graham, Captain of the American sharpshooters, 
obtained a large tract of land and two hundred mules. 
Commandant-General Vallejo received the goods and 
chattels of the missions San Rafael and Solano; Cas- 
tro, the prefect of police, took possession of the prop- 
erty of San Juan Bautista, while the governor himself 
appropriated the rich spoils of the missions of San 
Carmel and Soledad. Many of the English and Ameri- 
cans, not known for modesty, and dissatisfied with 
their share of the paid reward, openly declared but for 
them Alvarado would not have succeeded, as well as 
he could not continue without ^hem in office, and 
conspired together, their final object being the admis- 
sion of California into the American Union. The 
conspirators, forty-six in number, twenty-five English 
and twenty-one Americans, all under Graham's com- 
mand, were surprised in a log hut near Monterey, on 
the night of April 7th, 1840; Alvarado having learned 
of their intentions, sent Castro with a party of sol- 
diers after them. The soldiers were ordered to fire a 
full volley into the hut, which disabled and crippled 
many of them. All the rest were taken prisoners, as 
such, sent first to San Bias but afterwards to Tepic, 
and got treatment like convicts. However, their suf- 
fering did not last very long, because on an appeal of 
the Americans and English in California to the Mexi- 
can government and president, the latter got alarmed 
at the view of some war with both these nations and 
hurried to order the exiled prisoners sent back to Cal- 
ifornia, and an indemnification of three piasters a day 
paid to them for their loss of time. After their return' 
home they immediately took to the old design with so 
much more energy and zeal, as they desired to revenge 
themselves on Alvarado and Castro for the outrageous 
treatment. And sure enough, they, and all those who 
had been befriended or influenced by them opposed 
everything Alvarado, Castro or Vallejo undertook. 
Finally a misunderstanding arose between the gov- 
ernor and Vallejo, growing wider and wider, until each 
one became anxious to get rid of the other. Both wrote 
to the home government asking for the other's removal. 
And the government promptly complied with both 



these requests, appointing General Micheltorena to fill 
the offices of general and governor. He arrived at 
San Diego in August, 1842, and was received 
princely style, because he was sustained by an arniy of 
three or four hundred veteran convicts from the Mex 
ican prisons. On his way from San Diego to Los 
Angeles he received the news that Commodore T. A. 
C. Jones, on October 20, 1842, had seized Monterey, 
hoisted the American flag, and declared that Upper 
California was the property of the United States. 
Micheltorena, after his arrival at the mission of San 
Fernando, issued the following brief proclamation to 
the people of California : "Drive all your horses and 
cattle from the seaboard to the mountains, and starve 
out the enemy." 

Jones between the time having learned that he had 
made a serious mistake in supposing that the United 
States had declared war against Mexico, the next day 
lowered his flag, and apologized by firing a salute as the 
Mexican flag was run up again, and sailed towards 
Mazatlan on October 21st. In a bill made out by the 
California government concerning this affair an hem 
of "$3,000" was figured, "for damages to the Mexi- 
can troops, because of their rapid march in the interior 
on receipt of the news of the seizure of Monterey." 


Micheltorena Restoring the Missions to the Fathers— Alvarado, 
Vallejo and Castro again United — Capture of the Mission 
San Juan, the Governor's Store of Ammunition — A Little 
Band of Foreigners on the War Path — Micheltorena Forced 
to- Surrender — Sutter Induced to Come to His Assistance — 
Captain Weber on a Visit to Sutter's Fort Taken for a Spy 
and Put in Irons — Captain Sutter's Force — Dr. Marsh's 
Views of the Policy Foreigners Had to Take— J. A. Forbes 
Warning Sutter not to go to Monterey — Sutter Meets Mich- 
eltorena on the Salinas Plains — Composition of Both 
Forces — Forbes's Letter — The Battle — Capitulation of 
Micheltorena — Pio Pico Governor. 

Under Governor Micheltorena's protection the mis- 
sions were restored to the Fathers, after an interreg- 
num of six years, but all diligence and exertion spent 
by the Fathers was in vain, for, when at the end of 
two years things began to improve and the outlook 
gave an idea of making the work of the Fathers pay 
in the future, just then Governor Pio Pico, who mean- 
time had succeeded Micheltorena in 1845, got orders 
from the Mexican government to dispose of the mis- 
sions either by sale or rental to white settlers, and the 
property was disposed of at public auction. 

The position Micheltorena took with his first acts 

brought dissatisfaction in the other camp and resulted 
in banding the native California officials, Alvarado, 
Vallejo and Castro together again, being all equally 
desirous to expel the new governor. They opened 
hostilities in November, 1844, with the capture of the 
mission of San Juan, where the governor had stored 
his ammunition, etc. After the capture of the maga- 
zine stores the insurrectionary army, under Castro's 
command, fell back towards San Jose and up on the 
east side of San Francisco bay to about the present 
site of Oakland. They were only a couple of days' 
march in advance of Micheltorena, and evidently 
afraid to meet him. 

Up to this time the foreigners had not openly ap- 
peared in the contest, although W. G. Ray, who with 
J. A. Forbes, was in charge of the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany's business in California, had become heavily 
involved in secretly aiding the forces under Castro to 
arm themselves. But about twelve miles from San 
Jose there suddenly appeared in front of Micheltorena's 
advancing columns a little band of brave men, the 
irrepressible foreigner, who caused them to halt in their 
march. The circumstances that caused this obstruc- 
tion in the governor's line of advance, as well as the 
results, are related in the history of San Joaquin 
county written by T. F. Gilbert in 1878, and were 
given him by Captain C. M. Weber, the leader of that 
little company of brave men, himself We quote only 
the following passages : 

"The Captain (Weber) was in business at the /z/^^/t' 
of San Jose when the war broke out, and was 
acquainted with and personally friendly with Michel- 
torena and Castro. He had a very large stock of goods 
in the place and was anxious on account of it, because 
he knew that the soldiers under Micheltorena were 
mostly convicts, turned loose from the prisons in 
Mexico, and were dependent on the meager revenue 
derived from forced loans and plunder for their pay. 
His goods would be a rich prize, and if they once 
entered San Jose they would be sure to help them- 
selves to what he had, conseqi;ently all his interests 
were opposed to the occupation of the town by such 
a body of men. As Micheltorena advanced, Jose 
Castro became alarmed, and leaving the village to its 
fate, retreated up the valley towards Oakland with his 
forces; therefore Captain Weber addressed a commu- 
nication to the commander of the advancing forces, 
stating that Castro had left there and asking him if 
he would not pass to one side of the pueblo and not 
enter it with his troops. Micheltorena replied that he 
found it necessary to pass through San Jose in pursuit 
of Castro. In the meantime the captain received 
proinpt information to the effect that the governor had 
lost control of his soldiers, who insisted on entering 


the village for plunder, whereupon he caused the toc- 
sin of war to be sounded through the streets. The 
people assembled and the captain presented the 
position of affairs, and told them that he believed 
with a force composed of citizens and foreigners in 
the place, the advancing army could be checked and 
forced to take a different route in their line of march 
after Castro. A company was immediately formed, 
placed under his command, and moved out to meet 
the enemy — a handful against a host. He sent a courier 
in advance to Micheltorena advising him of what he 
was doing, and that it was done not in a spirit of 
opposition to him personally or the cause he repre- 
sented, but with a determination to protect their 
homes from plunder. The forces met some twelve 
miles out from the village, and for several days the 
entire army, numbering several hundred,were held in 
check by the little band of daring men, under Captain 
Weber. Castro hearing of the fact, became ashamed 
of himself, turned back from his retreat, joined the 
captain with his forces, took command of the army, 
and forced Micheltorena to surrender and finally to 
agree to leave California and return to Mexico." 

" Micheltorena immediately withdrew with his forces 
to Monterey, as Castro supposed to embark for Mex- 
ico, according to the armistice. This was not, how- 
ever, a part of the governor's plan. He had sent 
post t3 Sutter, at the fort on the northern frontier, 
offering him as inducement to come with a force to 
his assistance, to confirm all the grants of land that 
Sutter, as a justice, had recommended. Immediately 
the latter set on foot active operations to raise a bat- 
talion to march to the governor's relief, not knowing 
at the time that many of the foreign population were 
in active operation with Castro and the native Califor- 

"Captain C. M. Weber, supposing that the \<'ar had 
ended, made a visit to Verba Buena (now San Fran- 
cisco), and while there learned that some families had 
come from over the plains to Sutter's Fort, among 
whom were young ladies; and, said the captain, "I 
became possessed with a desire to look upon the face 
of a lady fresh from civilization." Accordingly, ac- 
companied by a friend, he visited the fort, and there 
saw for the first time the woman who became his wife. 
She was a sister of the Murphys of San Jose. He 
found a very unexpected state of things existing on 
the frontier. Everybody was in active preparation for 
a renewal of hostilities ; and instead of being received 
as a friend, he found himself viewed with mistrust 
that culminated in his being placed under arrest." 

A council of war was called, and supposing that he 
had come among them as a spy, in the interest of 
Castro, they signed the following document as the 

result of their deliberations : 

"We, the subscribers, chosen as a council of war, 
have unanimously resolved the following: 

I St. That Mr. Weber be put in irons and detained 
in the fort (New Helvetia) until such time as we may 
receive orders from his excellency, the governor 
(Micheltorena) as regards his disposal. 

2d. That Mr. Pearson B. Reading be requested 
to keep Mr. Weber in a convenient room and afford 
him such necessaries as circumstances may admit, and 
his safe detention may require." 

J. A. Sutter, 
John Townsend, 
Wm. Dicke, 
Isaac Graham, 
Edward McIntosh, 
Jasper O'Farrell, 
S. J. Hensley. 
J. BiDWELL, Secretary. 

For thirty-three years this document, in which the 
founder of Sacramento orders the founder of Stock- 
ton put in irons, has been kept by the latter, almost 
forgotten, among his choice papers, and was with 
others, kindly photographed for us in 1878, by his 
orders. The personal feeling existing at that time 
between these two men was friendly, but Sutter as 
well as the others, feared to risk the possible result of 
turning loose so formidable an opponent as Mr. 
Weber had proved that he could be if he felt so dis- 

Lieutenant David T. Bird, who later was for many 
years a resident of Yolo county, accompanied Captain 
Sutter on the expedition, and remained with him until 
his return to the fort. To the lieutenant, also, to J. 
Alexander Forbes, who was a strong supporter of 
Castro and a friend of the captain we are indebted 
for many of the facts incident to the campaign that 
resulted in the surrender of Micheltorena at San Fer- 
nandf). It was in January, 1845, that the force under 
command of Captain John A. Sutter took up its line 
of march to join the Mexican governor at Monte- 
rey. The command consisted of about one hundred 
and fifty Indians, armed with muskets, under the 
leadership of Raphero, a Mokelko chief, and some 
sixty frontiersmen, armed with hunting rifles, com- 
manded by Captain Gant. There were no lieutenants 
or sub officers, Sutter and Gant being the only ones 
having any authority among the whites. But three 
persons from the west side of the Sacramento river 
— Wm. Knight, D. T. Bird and Granville Swift- 
were accompanying the expedition. 

There was one brass field-piece, mounted on trucks, 
taken along that was not brought back. 

As the little army moved south it camped at the place 


where Stockton now stands, one night, and Thomas 
Lindsey, the only inhabitant of that place, joined 
them, and Stockton was left depopulated. At that 
time Lindsey's tule house and the cabin of a man 
named Sheldon, on the Cosumnes river, above the 
Spanish trail, were the only habitations between Sut- 
ter's fort and the residence of Dr. Marsh, at the base 
of Mount Diablo. Mr. Lindsey, returned a few 
weeks later from San Fernando, and was murdered at 
Stockton by Polo Indians, within a few days after 
his arrival. The expedition camped one night at the 
ranch of Dr. Marsh, whose sympathies were with 
Castro, and who believed that the property of Cali- 
fornia demanded the expulsion of Micheltorena; yet 
he considered the true policy of foreigners to be of 
non-intervention, and for them to join either party 
was contrary to the best interest of the majority, and 
might prove fatal to many who were isolated or scat- 
tered over the territory The doctor however, accom- 
panied Sutter south as an interpreter. 

It was here, at Dr. Marsh's ranch, that Sutter 
first learned the true state of the conflict. J. 
Alexander Forbes, who on July 15, 1843, had been 
appointed English Consul, and at the time was, in 
connection with W. G. Ray, agent for the Hudson 
Bay Company, riding with great dispatch from San 
Francisco, met the captain at that point and in vain 
sought to dissuade him from joining the Mexicans at 
Monterey. Forbes informed him of the extent of 
the general insurrection, and told him that if he per- 
sisted it would only result in disaster to himself and 
friends, and array the foreign element in hostility to 
itself, as a large number of immigrants of English, Amer- 
ican, Scotch, and other nationalities were centering at 
Los Angeles to assist Castro. The reply of the captain 
was that he had gone too far and could not return 
back without dishonor to himself, but from that time 
forward a shadow rested upon his command. The 
men had come to suspect that there was something of 
which they were left uninformed that materially con- 
cerned them. 

The junction of the Micheltorena and Suttgr forces 
took place on the Salinas plains, a short distance out 
from Monterey, the latter being received with military 
honors, with banners waving, bands playing, and 
salvos of artillery. The governor was now sanguine 
of success, and he had cause to be, for the two hun- 
dred men that Sutter had added to his command in- 
cluded Raphero, the ablest chief then living among 
the northern tribes, an 1 Jose Jesus, the chief of the 
Si-Yak-um-nas, whose name had become a household 
terror among the native Californians. These chiefs, 
at the head of a hundred and fifty of their warriors, 
armed, not with bows and arrows, but with muskets, all 

nursing a hatred born of old grievances that had for a 
lifetime rankled in their bosoms against those they 
were going out to fight, made valuable allies and form- 
idable foes. The white men that accompanied them 
included Isaac Graham among their number, the man 
whom Castro had taken to San Bias in irons, and 
whose company of rifles had overthrown one Califor- 
nia governor. Those sixty men were all brave fron- 
tiersmen who followed the unfortunate Sutter and 
were a host within themselves. But, when Greeks- 
joined Greeks, then was the tug of war. Castro had 
a similar force assembling at Los Angeles, under the 
brave McKinley, to assist him. 

The next day after the reception Micheltorena 
moved north, Castro falling back before his advancer 
towards Los Angeles. To give a description of the 
movements and positions of both enemical forces, we 
reproduce in the following a letter of the l.^te Hon.. 
J. Alexander Forbes who was an eye-witness of the 

"The forces under Micheltorena were at San 
Buenaventura, and Castro, with the force of Califor- 
nians, at a narrow pass eight leagues beyond. On the 
morning of February 15th, Castro's rear guard fell 
suddenly on Micheltorena's advance, consisting of 
fourteen Americans, rnade prisoners of all of them 
without firing a shot, and conducted to the field where 
Castro had halted his forces. After making a speech 
to them he supplied them with provisions and money 
and requested them to see their countrymen in Los 
Angeles. He told them they were all equally mter- 
ested in expelling the wretched Mexicans from Cali- 
fornin, and taking kindly leave of them, sent them 
back to Sutter to whom this politic move was a second 
cause of sorrow. I have mentioned the first to you. 
(Mr. Forbes here refers to the interview between him- 
self and Sutter at Dr. Marsh's ranch, when the cap- 
tain first learned that he would have to meet in the 
field his friends, the foreigners, unless he turned back.) 
The forces of Micheltorena continued their march 
ostensibly in pursuit of Castro, who soon reached Los 
Angeles, where he was reinforced by the native Cali- 
fornians and Americans, under a Scotchman named 
McKinley. Meantime the forces of Micheltorena 
reached the plains of San Fernando. The rein- 
forced party of Castro took up a favorable position on 
the field, the Americans under McKinley, in a ditch, 
forming natural rifle-pits, and the mounted Califor- 
nians on the flank of the Mexican forces. Wild firing 
began by the latter, with grape and canister, without 
eff'ect, and soon the rifle-shots from McKinley's men 
began to tell upon the Mexican artillery, but not 
a shot was fired against Sutter's men. McKinley 
had staked his all on the issue, having delivered his 


store of. goods of all kinds, worth more than $S,ooo 
to the California party gratis, and now he had come 
on that field to offer his life in their cause, The 
Americans under Sutter were advantageously posted 
regarding the position of their countrymen in the Cal- 
ifornia party, escaping the protection afforded the lat- 
ter by the ditch. The Mexican infantry kept up a fire 
of musketry at McKinley's party, and he, impatient 
to delay, desiring to speak to many of his friends in 
Sutter's party, left his own men, and rushing out on 
the plain with his rifle in one hand and waving his hat 
with the other, passed on a run under a storm of 
musket-balls from the Mexican infantry, and unhurt, 
was received by his friends in Sutter's party, where his 
cogent argument soon caused their defection from the 
Mexican cause, and the result was the capitulation of 
which you have the copy translation. 

The Mexican army, General Micheltorena com- 
mander, embarked at San Pedro for Monterey two 
days after the surrender and sailed from the latter 
place without delay for Mexico. 

Capitulation of General Micheltorena on the field 
of San Fernando, Febuary 22, 1845. 

Agreement made on the field of San Fernando be- 
tween Don Manuel Micheltorena, General of Brigade 
and Commander-in-Chief of this department, and 
Don Jose Castro, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Forces 
opposed to the Troops of General Micheltorena. 

Article I. Whereas, no decision of the central 
government of Mexico has been received in reply to 
the permission solicited by General Micheltorena, 
through his British Major Don Raphael Telles, for the 
withdrawal of the general and his troops from this 
department for the purpose of returning to the inte- 
rior of the republic, Wherefore, in consequence of 
the present united armed opposition of the inhabitants 
of California to the said troops, against hostile move- 
ments, the general, with his small force and scarcity of 
resources can no longer contend, he agrees to march 
forthwith to San Pedro, accompanied by his soldiers, 
where Colonel Castro will provide a vessel duly victu- 
ated for transporting the general and his troops to 

Article II. The soldiers who may desire (volun- 
tarily) to remain in California, shall on their arrival at 
San Pedro, deliver up their arms to the officer of their 
escort and remain as citizens under the protection of 
the existing authorities. 

Article III. The soldiers who may choose to 
follow, General Micheltorena shall embark with him at 
San Pedro, carrying their arms with them; and on the 
arrival of the transport at Monterey the Mexican sol- 
diers that now occupy that post shall embark thereon 

also with their arms ; and in case of insufficiency of 
room for all the said soldiers in one vessel or vessels, 
shall sail for any Mexican port the general miy 
choose to direct. 

Article IV. The officers who may choose to 
remain in California shall be respected in their rank 
as officers of the Mexican army ; their lives and prop- 
erty shall be guaranteed and their salaries shall be 
paid from the department treasury. 

Article V. The same privileges shall be enjoyed 
by all the citizens who, in the present difficulties, have 
given aid to General Micheltorena. 

Article VI. All the army, ammunition and war- 
like implements, actually existing in the armory of 
Monterey, shall be delivered to the Commander 
Castro of the opposing forces, in order that with them 
he may defend the entire department and the national 
independence encharged by General Micheltorena. 

Article VII. That henceforward the civil gov- 
ernment of this department shall be vested in the 
presiding member of the assembly, as ordered by that 
corporation, according to law, for which object Gene- 
ral Micheltorena will deliver a circular order to the 
chief of the opposing forces for immediate publica- 
tion throughout the department. 

Article VIII. In like manner. General Michel- 
torena will issue another order that Don Jose Castro, 
lieutenant-colonel of the army, be duly acknowledged 
as the commanding general of this department. 

The commissioners appointed on said field for sub- 
mitting these stipulations to the respective chiefs for 
their approbation or rejection, were, on the part of 
General Micheltorena, Don Felix Valdaz, battalion 
commander, and Don Jose Maria Castanares, colonel 
of infantry, and on the part of Colonel Castro, Don 
Jose Antonio Carillo and Lieutenant Don Manuel 

On the field of San Fernando, February 22, 1845 




Felix Valdaz, 

Jose Maria Castanares. 


Jose Antonio Carillo, 

Manuel Castro. 


Additional Article.— The division of General Mich- 
eltorena will march with all the honors of war, their 
flags flying, drums and trumpets sounding, two field- 
pieces — six-pounders, and one four-pounder culverin — 
with matches lighted, and will be saluted by the 
opposing forces, under Lieutenant-Colonel Don Jose 
Castro, with colors flying and drums beating. And 
on the arrival of Micheltorena at San Pedro, the said 
three field-pieces with all their caissons and ammuni- 


tion shall be delivered to the officer encharged by 
Colonel Castro to receive them. 

Signed, Micheltorena, 

I hereby certify that the preceding is a correct trans- 
lation made by me of a certified copy of the original. 
J. Alexander Forbes. 
After Micheltorena's expulsion the territorial depu- 
tation declared Pio Pico governor, and he held the 
office until California became a part of the United 

Governors of California under Spanish regime : 


Gasper de Portala appointed 1769 1771 

Felipe Barri 1771 Dec, 1774 

Felipe de Neve Dec, 1774 Sept., 1782 

Pedro Fages Sept., 1782 Sept., 1790 

Jose Antonio Romeri Sept., 1790 April, 1792 

Diego de Borcica. . . . May, 1794 1800 

Jose Joaquin de Arrillaga . . 1800 1814 

Jose Arguello 1814 1815 

Pablo Vincente de Sola. . 1815 1822 

Under the Mexican Republic, appointed by the 
Mexican Government: 


* Pablo Vincente de Sola 1822 1823 

Luis Arguello 1823 June 1825 

t Jose Maria Echeandia June 1825 Jan. 1831 

Manuel Victoria Jan., 1831 Jan. 1832 

Pio Pico Jan. 1832 Jan. 1833 

Jose Figueroa Jan. 1833 Aug. 1835 

Jose Castro, August 1835 Jan. 1836 

Nicholas Guitierrez Jan 1836 

Mariano Chico 1836 

Ni-cholas Guitierrez 1836 

J Juan B. Alvarado 1836 1842 

Manuel Micheltorena, . . Dec, 1842 Feb. 1845 

§ Pio Pico, Feb. 1845 1846 


Immigration in 1841— Petition to Form a Coalition of Foreign- 
ers— C. M. Weber Appointed Captain of Auxiliary In. 
fantry— John C. Fremont's Arrival at Sutter's Fort — He 
Meets Castro at Monterey — Fremont Summoned to Appear 
Before the Alcalde at San Jose— His Response— Meeting 
an Officer with Eighty Lancers on the Road — Entrenched 
Camp on Hawk's Peak — The American Flag — Consul Th. 
O. Larkin Active —Resuming the Route for Oregon — Ind- 
ians Punished Near Lassen's Trading Post — Meeting of 

* Died in 1826. 

t In 1855, at the age of 70, wa 
; Mexico. 
! Died in 1881, at San Pablo. 
I To conquest. 

filling an office in the college of Mines 

Fremont and Gillespie— Retro.translat'on of Secret Dis- 
patches to Fremont — First Hostilities Introducing the 
Bear Flag War— Sonoma Taken, and Prisoners Sent to 
Sutter's Fort — Mysterious Disappearance of Four Men of 
the Garrison Sent on an Errand— Cowie and Fowler's Fate 
— Lieutenant Ford's Skirmishing Trip— A False Spy 
Caught, and the ('alifornia Force Allowed to Escape — Fre- 
mont Crosses the Bay and Spikes the Guns of the Presidio — 
Dr. Semple Takes Fort San Joaquin— Declaration of Inde- 
pendence at Sonoma — The Bear Flag— Sloat Outruns Sey- 
mour— Hoisting of the American Flag at Monterey and 
Verba Buena— Sloat's Proclamation. 

The emigration from the Western States, across the 
plains, commenced to become quite a remarkable ob- 
ject in 1841, but to the greater part was enrouted for 
localities further north. Two large parties, however, 
arrived in that year, one by the route of Santa Fe, 
under charge of William Workman, reached Los An- 
geles in November, 1841, another came by the way of 
Humboldt river, and found a pass cross over the 
Sierra Nevada mountains, leading into the San Joa- 
quin valley, from where they arrived at Dr. Marsh's 
ranch, in Contra Costa county, November 4th, the 
same year. Captain J. B. Bartelson was in com- 
mand of this last one; and of the men who made 
themselves prominent in the history of California we 
mention William Knight, of Knight's Landing; Yolo 
county, Thoinas Lindsey, Dr. Gamble, William Gor- 
don, John Roland, from the former, John Bidwell, 
Charles M. Weber, Joseph B. Chiles, T. Belden, Green 
McMahon, R. H. Thomas and others from the latter. 
After 1841, the immigration into the territory from 
the United States as well as from other countries in- 
creased materially, and the American consul at Mon- 
terey, Thomas O. Larkin, estimated the foreign pop- 
ulation of California in 1846, at 2,000 Americans, 
3,000 foreigners, favorable to the United States, and 
3,000 foreigners neutral or unfavorable to the United 

Under date of March 27, 1845, Dr. Marsh and C. 
M. Weber, supported by a number of foreign citizens, 
circulated a petition between the foreign population, 
to the effect, that in case another war (broiling already 
in the air) should break out, and to avoid the possi- 
bility to place this foreign element in arms against 
each other to form a coalition, to stand together for 
themselves in the coming events, with the silent plan 
to wrest from the Mexican government, if not the 
whole of California, so at least the northern part, lim- 
ited by the San P"rancisco, San Pablo and Suisun bays 
to the south, and the San Joaquin river to the south- 
east, forming an independent 'lone-star State, to be 
incorporated eventually into the American Union. 
They felt instinctively the necessity of leaning towards 
a government that recognized civil equality, and had 
strength and power sufficient to assure protection, 




something that could not be found with the Mexican 
government. The meeting, however, did not encour- 
age the petitioners to go to any more trouble. 

Here we have to record an occurrence that really 
resulted out of the events connected with Michelto- 
rena ; but as entirely private, it may take place here 
just as well. On April 12, 1845, Jose Castro signed 
the appointment of Charles M. Weber as captain of 
auxiliary infantry, with the command of the northern 
frontier, as a reward for assistance rendered, resulting 
in the defeat of Micheltorena, near San Jose, and 
Weber's consequent arrest at Sutter's Fort, New Hel- 

John C. Fremont, brevet-captain in the corps of the 
United States Topographical Engineers, started on a 
third tour across the continent in the spring of 1845, 
with special charges to look out for a route from the 
Rocky Mountains to the mouth of the Columbia 
river. Under his command was a company of sixty 
frontiersmen, including six Delaware Indians. Kit 
Carson accompanied the party as guide. Before 
reaching the Sierra Nevada mountains Fremont had 
divided his forces, one part under T. Talbot, sent fur- 
ther south to search for a pass while Fremont 
himself piloted by Kit Carson, crossed the mountains 
from Carson river valley south of Lake Tahoe, and 
entered California, passing through El Dorado county, 
following the divide between South and Middle forks 
of the American river, and reached Sutter's Fort, on 
December 10, 1845. 

On January 7th, Fremont left Sutter's Fort, moving 
up the San Joaquin valley with the intention to meet 
Talbot at the rendezvous agreed to by both ; but fail- 
ing to find Talbot he returned to the fort and pro- 
ceeded by water to Verba Buena, and further on to 
San Jose, and sent Carson to guide Talbot, from whom 
he got word at the latter place. After another visit to 
Yerba Buena he went on to Monterey, leaving his 
party to halt at Captain Fisher's ranch, about one 
hundred miles from that place, to see General Castro, 
the Mexican commander, to whom he was introduced 
by the American Consul, Thomas O. Larkin, at Mon- 
terey. Fremont asked Castro's permission to stay in 
the San Joaquin valley with his men until they would 
have recovered sufficiently to take up the voyage to- 
wards Oregon. Castro consented to this and told 
him he might go where he pleased, but could not be 
moved to sign a wTitten statement, intimating that the 
word of a Mexican officer was as good as a written 
statement. Fremont, after joining his command again 
at San Jose, returned on the nearest way toward Mon- 
terey instead of proceeding in the direction of the San 
Jo="quin valley; because, as he explained, he could not 
get those provisons and supplies necessary for his 

force at San Jose, while he was able to get them at 
Monterey. This excuse is quite insufficient, and 
leaves reason to believe that he had got private in- 
structions from the government concerning the acqui- 
sition of California. Fremont n-t acting in full 
accord with the privilege stipulated between him and 
Castro, and considering that he was fully informed 
about the strength and feeling of the foreign element 
of the population, would seem to justify General 
Castro in ordering him out of the territory, but for the 
little tricks the Spaniards had enacted, we give the 
facts in detail in the following : 

While on their halt at Fisher's ranch, a Mexican 
passing by recognized one or some of the animals be- 
longing to Fremont's command, and claimed that they 
had been stolen, whereupon he promptly was hur- 
.ried away, but he went to the alcalde of San Jose for 
complaint and to cause legal proceedings before the 
civil tribunal of that officer, Don Dolores Pacheco. 
By means of a summons, Fremont was ordered to 
appear and answer to the charge of holding in his 
possession property that was claimed by a citizen of 
California. The charge was evidently a made up case 
having in view to stop the Americans on their advanc- 
ing march, or to compel them to take recourse to hos- 
titities, so a"; to warrant the raise of a military force to 
make them leave the country. Fremont replied to 
this summons on February 21st. The letter closes 

"You will readily understand that my duties will 
not permit me to appear before the magistrates in 
your towns on the complaint of every straggling vaga- 
bond who may chance to visit my camp. You inform 
me that unless satisfaction be immediately made by 
the delivery of the animals in question, the complaint 
will be forwarded to the governor. I will beg you at 
the same time to enclose to his excellency a copy of 
this note. I am, very respectfully your obedient ser- 

John C. Fremont, U S. Army. 

To Sr. Don Dolores Pacheco, Alcalde of San 

Having this way disposed of the attempt to stop 
his advancing, he took up his march towards Monte- 
rey until, on March 5th, an officer with about eighty 
lancers blocked his way, handing over the following 
communication : 

Monterey, March 5, 1846. 

I have learned, with much dissatisfaction, that in 
contempt of the laws and authorities of the Mexican 
Republic you have entered the towns of the district 
under my charge with an armed force, which the gov- 
ernment of your nation must have placed under your 
command, for the purpose of examining its own terri- 



tory; this prefecture orders you immediately on the 
receipt of this communication to return with your 
party beyond the limits of this department, with the 
understanding that if you do not comply, this prefect- 
ure will take the necessary measures to compel you 
to respect this determination. 

God and Liberty, Manuel Castro. 

Senor Captain, Don J. C. Fremont. 
Fremont, instead of leaving the territory as ordered, 
was found the next morning having entered a fortified 
camp on top of Hawk's Peak (Pico del Gabelen, 
2,200 feet above the level of the sea), and the Ameri- 
can flag was floating from the top of a limbless tree, 
out in the morning air. The next day Castro with his 
meanwhile raised army of two or three hundred native 
CalifornianSjWith a few field-pieces, came marching out 
from Monterey and kept on manceuvering around 
Fremont's camp for three days, always keeping far 
enough away to not come in contact with a rifle 

The American consul at Monterey, observing the 
preparations and strength of Castro's army, became 
seriously alarmed for the safety of that handful of 
brave men, and all the Americans generally, forth- 
with sent letters to the American consul at Mazatlan, 
asking if there were any United States manof-war in 
that port, to be forwarded to their assistance. On 
receiving this dispatch, Commodore Sloat ordered 
Captain Montgomery, of the "Portsmouth" to sail for 
Monterey ; but consul Thomas O. Larkin did not rest 
in the meantime, he kept up communication with Fre- 
mont, and had made arrangements for a sailing vessel 
that should take up the party in case they were driven 
toward the coast. The following letter delivered on 
March loth, by Alexander Cody, shows that Fremont 
himself was not at all alarmed, and that he, perhaps 
did not think much of Castro's operations anyway. 
March 10, 1846. 
Mv Dear Sir: — I this moment received your let 
ters, and without waiting to read them acknowledge 
the receipt which the courier requires immediately. I 
am making myself as strong as possible, with the in- 
tention, if we are unjustly attacked, to fight to ex 
tremity, and will refuse quarters, trusting to our 
country to avenge our deaths. No one has reached 
our camp, and from the heights we are able to see the 
troops mustering at St. John's and preparing cannon. 
I thank you for your kindness and good wishes, and 
would write more at length as to my intentions did I 
not fear that my letters would be intercepted. 

Very truly yours, J. C. Fremont. 

To Thomas O. I^arkin, Esq., Consul for U. S. A. 
at Monterey. 

On the nth they were in the San Joaquin valley, 
having abandoned the entrenched camp* perceiving 
that there was no fight in Castro, and after joining 
Talbot's detachment they took the route for Oregon, 
arriving at Peter Lassen's trading, on Deer creek, 
near the north line of California, March 13, 1846^ 
where they remained until April 14th. Here they 
learned of a report that a number of the Indians had 
congregated at ts'hat is since known as Reading's 
ranch, showing open hostilities against the few scat- 
tering white settlers, and joined by five volunteers 
from the trading post went after them and enacted 
a bloody slaughter from which only a few, by swim- 
ming the river, escaped. On the day mentioned Fre- 
mont, after about a month's hesitation, started again 
to continue his voyage to Oregon ; however, he did 
not take the old Hudson Bay Company trail through 
Shasta valley, but tiirned off" to follow up Pit river,- 
then called East Fork of Sacramento river, proceeded 
by the way of Goose, Clear and Tule lakes to the 
west shore of Klamath lake. On the 9th of May two 
messengers brought the news into Fremont's camp that 
a United States officer was following them, and that 
danger was awaiting him by the Indians. Fremont get- 
ting the news immediately took nine of his men and the 
two messengers to accompany him on this trip to rescue 
the officer, and before night crossing the California 
line, put up a camp on Hot creek, a tributary of Kla- 
math lake, where, just after sunset. Lieutenant Gil- 
lespie, guided by Peter Lassen, rode up to deliver, 
after six months and six days traveling, those secret 
dispatches which he had destroyed after committing 
them to memory, for fear their contents would 
compromise his government if by mischance they 
should fall into Mexican hands. It was a movement 
of highest importance when both these men met, and 
the one received the secret orders which called him 
backtoCalifornia,and thereby became so decisiveforthe 
history of this State. Supposing Gillespie had failed to 
deliver his orders to Fremont, the latter would have 
followed his trip into Oregon, and all the events con- 
nected with his return to California would have been 
very doubtful to say the least of it; and Sir George 
Seymour, when he sailed into Monterey harbor, in all 
probability would have taken the chance to confiscate 
California for the British crown. The contents of 
those secret dispatches have remained a secret to the 
country to this day; but if we draw a conclusion from 
the eff'ects, the translation from result to cause would 
sound about like this: "Information rereived from 
Consul Thomas O. Larkin, at Monterey, confirm us 

* John Gilroy visiting the camp on the night of the lo'h, found only 
smouldering fires, abandoned pack-saddles and unessential camp equipage 
of Fiemont's command. 



in the belief that England is endeavoring with ardor 
to become possessed of California. It is necessary to 
prevent this result, for this reason you will use your 
influence to have all those favorable to the United 
States take up arms for the cause and declaration of 
a repubhc in the territory which form of rule may 
be maintained until a declaration of war between the 
United States and Mexico will justify this government 
to take possession of the country. War will soon be 
commenced; until that time don't leave any trace, 
either by word or act, of any connection between 
your doings and this department." 

After another rencontre with the Indians in the 
Modoc country, Fremont retraced his own steps to- 
wards the Sacramento Valley, arriving at the Marys- 
ville Buttes May 27, and camped there for about one 
week, meantime reinforcing his army by drawing vol- 
unteers. Continuing his march south he received 
information from Wm. Knight, of Knight's Landing, 
on June 8, that Gen. Castro's private secretary, Lieu- 
tenant Francisco de Arce, with some eighty horses, 
had passed the Sacramento river the previous day, at 
his place. These horses were expected to be on the 
way towards Castro's headquarters to serve in the com- 
ing encounter, and on the morning of June 9th eleven 
men, under Ezekiel Merritt's command, left Fre- 
mont's camp in pursuit of Lieut, de Arce, whom they 
surprised before daybreak on the morning of the loth, 
capturing the whole party. Castro's men and their 
lieutenant were allowed to contmue their journey to 
San Jose, retaining their arms and riding horses each. 
The taken-away horses werj driven into Fremont's 
camp on the next day. 

This was the introduction to the hostilities enacted 
by the American settlers, generally called the "Bear 
Flag War," The discussed question, what could be 
done next, was answered unanimously by showing 
activity in response to Castro's war-like proclama- 
tions, and it was determined to capture Sonoma, to 
take possession of all military stores at the place, and 
declare the independence from Mexico. And the next 
day already saw twenty brave men under Captain 
Merritt crossing the Sacramento river at Knight's 
Landing, on their way towards Sonoma, being joined at 
Gordon's ranch by twelve men, one of them Wm. L. 
Todd, who painted the Bear Flag, and Capt. Jack Scott, 
who brought the report from Sonoma back to Fremont 
that Sloat had hoisted the American flag at Monterey. 
They hurried on, and early on the morning of June 
14, 1846, Sonoma, with the garrison of six soldiers, 
together with the Commandant General M. G. Vallejo 
and his officers, Lieut. Colonel Victor Prudon, Capt. 
S. M. Vallejo and Jacob P. Leese, besides nine brass 
cannon and two hundred and fifty muskets were cap- 

tured without firing a shot. Merritt after that re- 
signed and John Grigsby was elected captain, and 
when he, with nine of the men, left with the prison- 
ers for Sutter's fort, Sonoma was given in charge of 
Wm. B. Ide, as captain of twenty men, with Henry 
L. Ford first lieutenant, Granville B. Swift first ser- 
geant, Sam Gibson second sergeant. 

Notwithstanding the capture of Sonoma was effected 
without any bloodshed, it seems to have been des- 
tined that the first blood should flow in connection 
with this affair. Captain Ide, in want of some pow- 
der, sent two of his men to the Fitch ranch, where a 
brother of Kit Carson was foreman, and they ncrt re- 
turning in time, he ordered two other men to look 
after the matter, but when they failed to return, the 
fort got alarmed, and Sergeant Gibson with a posse 
of four men, was sent on the night of June 20, to pro- 
cure the powder and hunt after those four of their 
comrades. The sergeant succeeded in the first half 
of his commission, but could learn nothing of the 
men. Returning he was attacked at Santa Rosa by 
four men, but the Americans were on the lookout and 
captured two of them, taking them back to Sonoma. 
One of these prisoners was Bernardino Garcia, in after 
years better known under the nom de plume "Three 
fingered Jack," the famous bandit who was killed by 
Harry Love's rangers July 27, 1853, at the Pinola 
pass, not far from the Merced river. From these 
prisoners Capt. Ide learned the fate of his men. The 
second detail of men were prisoners, but the first two 
had been inhumanly murdered. Captured by a party 
of thirteen Californians, they were tied to a tree with 
lariats and used as targets for the practice of throw- 
ing knives, and after tiring of this, stones and other 
missiles were thrown at them; and in this way, imita 
ting the style of the most savage Indians, these 
human beasts tortured them slowly to death. They 
were found just as they had died, a ghastly spectacle. 
Cowie and Fowler were buried at Santa Rosa, but 
their memory lives in history as the first victims in 
the struggle for American supremacy in California. 

Castro issued another fulminant proclamation from 
his headquarters at Santa Clara, calling on the native 
Californians to rise for their religion, liberty and inde- 
pendence. Capt. Ide answered with another procla- 
mation from Sonoma to the Americans and other 
foreigners, to rise and defend their rights as settlers ; 
and they responded numerously, so that Fremont 
having received the news of Gen. Castro's move on to 
Sonoma June 23, by Harrison Pierce, and promising 
to march to the rescue of that place as soon as he 
could mount ninety men, was able to do so the very 
same day, and to arrive at Sonoma at two o'clock on 
the morning of the 25th. Meantime Lieut. Ford 



with twenty-three men, and two prisoners taken along 
for guides, had started on the 23d of June from So- 
noma with the intention of keeping the enemy away 
and in check until Fremont could arrive ; and by the 
way to try if Wm. L. Todd and others, having been 
captured by Juan Padilla's band, could not be recap- 
tured. Thus moving on to San Rafael with only 
fourteen of his men, having left eight in guard of Pa- 
dilla's ranch, he just had captured about eighty 
corralled horses, and nearing a house, when out 
poured the enemy, numbering to their surprise about 
eighty, with horses ready to be mounted behind the 
house. Ford did not hesitate to form his men in 
platoons, when the Californians advancing, charged 
upon him; but after being thrown back twice by the 
rifle sharp-shooters, who had taken positions behind 
trees, and as the situation allowed it, they gave up the 
fight, leaving the field to the fourteen men ; who 
found eleven of the enemy dead and wounded. The 
prisoners, Todd and companion, had been left in the 
house. They were soon liberated, and all returned, 
with the prisoners to Sonoma. Here Fremont did not 
stay more than a few hours, but advanced forthwith to 
San Rafael, going into camp there for a few days. 
An Indian scout was captured and brought into 
camp. He carried a letter from De la Torre to Cas- 
tro, informing the latter that he (Torre) was drawing 
together his forces to make an attack upon Sonoma 
the next morning while Fremont was absent. This, 
however proved to be a trick enacted for the purpose 
to remove Fremont from San Rafael, for while the lat- 
ter was rushing to the relief of Sonoma, where no enemy 
came in sight, the Californian forces made their escape 
from Saucelito by water, to join Castro who had ad- 
vanced from Santa Clara to about San Leandro, and 
stood two hundred and fifty strong at Estudillo's ranch ; 
returning to the old headqurters after a few days, on 
June 29th. The day before, Fremont's men had cap- 
tured three Californians — one Berryessa and two de 
Haro brothers — doing spy services from Castro to De 
la Torre; they were shot summarily, in requital for 
the murder of the two Americans at Santa Rosa. 

On July ist, Fremont, with Lieut. Gillespie and 
twenty men went across the bay, took the Presidio and 
spiked all the guns there ; took a lot of supplies from 
the American bark Moscow, that happened to cruise 
around, and returned on the second by the way of 
Saucelito to Sonoma, to arrive there on the 4th of 
July. He also took with him a great supply of ammu- 
nition that had been stored on the shore by Captain 
Montgomery, of the Portsmouth, left there, under 
guard, for Fremont to capture it.* Dr. Robert Sem- 

* This was the way to furnish these rebels ammunition, etc., without 
showing the hand of the Government of the United States in the affair. 

pie having been charged with the commission to cap 
ture the old fort San Joaquin, near the Mission at San 
Francisco, and make the Captain, R. T. Ridley, a 
prisoner, returned to Sacramento on July 8th, and 
delivered his prisoner at Sutter's Fort as a proof of his 

As stated already, Fremont returned back to Sonoma 
on July 4th. The following day he held a review of 
his battalion, it having been increased to. two hundred' 
and fifty men, and in the presence of the assembled 
people the independence of the State was declared, the 
bear flag hoisted and Fremont chosen to take charge of 
affairs. The historic standard called the Bear Flag, 
after a tolerable likeness of a grizzly bear, made by 
means of a blacking-brush, with berry juice, on a piece 
of cotton cloth, is now in the possession of the Califor- 
nia Society of Pioneers. 

Fremont, with one hundred and eighty men, started) 
on July 6th, from Sonoma by the way of Knight's 
Landing and Sutter's Fort, to attack Castro in his en. 
trenched camp at Santa Clara. When about nearing 
the fort, on the tenth. Captain Jack Scott came in full 
gallop after them, bringing the news from Sonoma 
that Commodore Sloat, on board of the United States 
frigate Savannah, had captured Monterey on July 
7th; that Captain Montgomery, of the Portsmouth, 
had hoisted the American flag on the plaza at Yerba 
Buena on the 8th, and that the Stars and Stripes had 
been raised at Sonoma on the loth. The Bear Flag 
came down while the Stars and Stripes went up, amid 
general cheering, saluted by twenty-one guns, out of a 
little brass cannon called " Sutter." 

While Commodore Sloat with his fleet, consisting 
of the frigate Savannah and five smaller vessels, was 
waiting for orders in the harbor of Mazatlan, Sir 
George Seymour, the British Rear Admiral, with a 
force of nine or ten vessels kept a strong watch of 
the American movements, cruising up and down 
the const, and when Sloat started for Mazatlan 
Seymour put out to sea under full sail, and 
both their vessels ran a competing race, but the 
former outsailed the latter, and when the British 
vessel came around the Point of Pines at Monterey 
she found the Americans in full possession of the 
harbor. Entering the port. Commodore Sloat saluted 
the Mexican flag, not having received yet any official 
information that waf had begun, although the battle of 
Palo Alto was fought more than a month before. He 
found there the American war vessels Levant and 
Cyane, and all were anxious to see events developing 
that hung like clouds in the air ; but Sloat let pass the 
4th of July uninspirated, like the days previous. 
On the evening of the sixth a launch, under command 
of Lieut. N. B. Harrison, after having been at sea for 


fifty-six hours, came in port, sent by Captain Mont- 
gomery to advise Commodore Sloat of the Bear-flag 
■war on the northern frontier ; but Sloat, to show his 
standpoint, did not even allow them to leave their 
boat, and ordered them to hold themselves ready to 
return with dispatches to Captain Montgomery, order- 
ing him to render no assistance to the Americans in 
their insurrection. Only the intercession of the officers 
of the flag-ship, as well as other vessels, particularly of 
R. M. Price, Purser of the Cyane, (since Governor of 
New Jersey) could arouse the commander from his 
lethargy to come to the understanding that circum- 
stances ordered the immediate seizure of the country) 
and when Price left, late in the night, he returned to 
his vessel with orders from Sloat for Captain William 
Mervine. The orders for Captain Montgomery were 
changed to an instruction to take possession of Verba 
Buena, and, according to the orders received. Captain 
Mervine, with Purser Price, Lieutenant Higgins and 
two hundred and fifty marines and sailors, went on 
shore at lo a. m. on July 7th, 1846, to hoist the 
American flag over Monterey as the capital of Upper 
California; Purser Price reading the Commodore's 
proclamation to the people in the English and Spanish 
languages, declaring California henceforth a portion of 
the United States. Thus ended the Bear Flag war, 
the Government of the United States taking the 
responsibility out of the hands of those who had done 
their work of opening the activity, into her own hands. 


The Central Government of Mexico having com- 
menced hostilities against the United States of 
America by invading its territory and attacking the 
troops of the United States stationed on the north 
side of the Rio Grande, and with a force of seven 
thousand men, under command of General Arista, 
which army was totally destroyed, and all their artil- 
lery, baggage, etc. captured on the eighth and ninth of 
May last, by a force of two thousand and three hundred 
men, under command of General Taylor, and the city 
of Matamoras taken and occupied by the forces of the 
United States, and the two nations being actually at 
war, by this transaction I shall hoist the standard of 
the United States at Monterey immediately, and shall 
carry it throughout California. 

I declare to the inhabitants of California that 
although I come in arms, with a powerful force, I do 
not come to them as an enemy to California ; on the 
contrary, I come as their best friend, as henceforth 
California will be a portion of the United States, and 
its peaceable inhabitants will enjoy the same rights — 
principles they now enjoy — together with the privilege 

of choosing their own magistrates and other officers 
for the administration of justice among themselves, 
and the same protection will be extended to them as 
to any other State in the Union. They will also enjoy 
a permanent government, under which life, property 
and the constitutional right and lawful security to 
worship the Creator in the way the most congenial to 
each other's sense of duty will be secured, which, 
unfortunately, the Central Government' of-Me^ico ca;i- 
hot afford them, destroyed as her resources are by 
internal factions and corrupt officers, who create con- 
stant revolutions to promote their own interest and 
oppress the people. Under the flag of the United 
States California will be free from all such troubles 
and expenses, consequently the country will rapidly 
advance and improve both in agriculture and in com- 
merce; as, of course, the revenue laws will be the same 
in California as in all parts of the United States, 
affording them all the manufactures and products of 
the United States free of any duty, and on all foreign 
goods at one-quarter of the duty they now pay. A 
great increase in the value of real estate and the pro 
ducts of California may also be anticipated. 

With the great interest and kind feeling I know the 
Government and people of the United States possess 
toward the citizens of California, the country cannot 
but improve more rapidly than any other on the con- 
tinent of America. 

Such of the inhabitants of California, whether natives 
or foreigners, as may not be disposed to accept the 
high privileges of citizenship, and to live peaceably 
under the Government of the United States, will be 
allowed time to dispose of their property and to remove 
out of the country, if they choose, without any restric- 
tion, or remain in it, observing strict neutrality. 

With full confidence in the honor and integrity of 
the inhabitants of the country, I invite the judges, 
alcaldes and other civil officers to execute their func- 
tions as heretofore, that the public tranquility may not 
be disturbed, at least until the Government of the 
territory can be more definitely arranged. 

All persons holding titles to real estate, or in quiet 
possession of land under color of right, shall have those 
titles guaranteed to them. 

All churches, and the property they contain, in the 
possession of the clergy of California, shall continue in 
the same rights and possessions they now enjoy. 

All provisions and supplies of every kind furnished 
by the inhabitants for the use of the United States' 
ships and soldiers will be paid for at fair rates, and no 
private property will be taken for public use without 
just compensation at the moment. 

John D. Sloat, 
Corn'dg U. S. Forces on the Pacific Coast. 




Events Upon the Eastern Field of Battle— Castro's 
Towards I.os Angeles— Prisoners Made— Mission San Juan 
Captured— Unpleasant Feeling Between Sloat and Fre- 
mont — Stockton and Fremont Harmonious — Stockton's 
Strategy — Castro, Demoialized, Transfers His Headquar- 
ters Into Sonora— Castro's Prisoners— Stockton Returns to 
Monterey; His Idea, How to Prosecute War Against 
On December 29th, 1845, Texas had been admitted 
into the North American Union, but this act, instead 
of laying down the rivalry of the other Republic, and 
putting a stop to those border troubles that had be6n 
kept up since the first revolution, more than ten years 
before, increased the restlessness of the sister Republic 
more and more, till the border troubles got the char- 
acter of open hostilities, and finally got bold enough 
to attack the United States troops on the north side of 
the Rio Grande. In the counter attack at Mata. 
moras, on April 19th, 1846, just one week after the 
United States Minister, Slidell, had left Mexico, Lieut. 
Porter was defeated, but Brigadier-General Taylor, in 
command of the American army of two thousand three 
hundred men in all, won his laurels in a grand victory 
over the Mexican army, numbering seven thousand, 
under General Arista, in two battles, on the 8th and 
9th of May, at Palo Alto, and the next day at Resaca 
de la Palma. All the Mexican artillery, baggage, etc. 
fell into the hands of the victors, who took the city of 
Matamoras and occupied it. 

There is a connection in the contemporary appear" 
ance of similar actions that become active without 
the knowledge of one another ; thus on May 9th, 1846, 
on the same day, where, in Texas, the battle of Recaca 
de la Palma was fought, Lieut. Gillespie delivered his 
dispatches^to Fremont, causing the commencement of 
hostilities on the Pacific coast without any telegraphic 

The news of Commodore Sloat's proclamation, and 
declaration of taking possession of the country, reached 
the headquarters of General Castro as early as the 8th 
of July, at Santa Clara, and was the cause of his im- 
mediate breaking camp and hastily retiring his forces 
to Los Angeles ; but having captured just before, close 

by in the mountains. Captain C. M. Weber, 

Washburn and D. T. Bird, who were on their way to 
join the American forces, he took them along as 

Fremont, advancing in his pursuit of Castro, was just 
about to enter Sutter's Fort, with the same banner un- 
furled that had already waved on the top of Hawk's 
Peak, near Monterey, on the 6th of March, when 
he received the news of Castro's evacuation of Santa 

Clara and his flight to Los Angeles; and Fre- 
mont concluded at once to follow him all those 500 
miles. He started by the way of San Jose towards 
Monterey and arrived on July 17th at the Mission San 
Juan, thirty miles from Monterey, which had been 
used as a government arsenal, for storing surplus 
ammunition and arms since the seizure of Mor\terey 
by Commodore Jones in 1842, capturing the place 
without firing a shot. The arms and ammunition taken 
being 9 cannons, 20 kegs of powder, 200 old muskets, 
and 60,000 cannon shots ; and scarcely had he been 
one hour in possession of stores and place when Pur- 
ser Fountleroy, with a company of mounted marines 
arrived, with orders of Commod^ore Sloat, on the same 

Fremont and Gillespie reported themselves on duty 
the next day at the headquarters of Commodore Sloat, 
at Monterey, and it was here where the Commodore's 
(as we believe) jealousy caused him to interview Fre- 
mont, on whose authority he had commenced hostili- 
ties against Mexico in California, and Fremont_ ans- 
wered him that he had done what was done on his 
own responsibility. This did not allay the anger of 
the old gentleman, and he declared to Fremont in the 
course of this unpleasant interview that he might 
just as well continue to prosecute the war on his own 
responsibility, as he (Sloat) did not propose to co- 
operate with him (the rebel), concluding that he 
should turn over the control of affairs to his junior 
ofificer and return to Washington. 

This junior ofificer. Commodore R. F. Stockton, 
had arrived on July 15th, and when reporting himself 
upon Sloat's order, he asked that officer the favor to 
take command of the land forces. This request was 
granted, and Stockton and Fremont were working 
harmoniously together from that time forth. Soon 
after, on the 23d, the old commodore sailed for home, 
and Stockton assumed full command of all land and 
naval forces of the United States on this coast. 

The same day. Commodore Dupont with the Cyane 
was dispatched by Stockton to carry Fremont and his 
battalion to San Diego, while Stockton himself em- 
barked for San Pedro, the port of Los Angeles, on 
the I St of August, after having issued his proclama- 
tion, on July 28th. Going ashore at Santa Barbara, 
he took possession of the presidio without resistance, 
learning at the same time that Fremont had reached 
San Diego, and that Castro and Pico, with a force of 
about a thousand men and seven field-pieces of artil- 
lery were at Los Angeles, about twenty miles from 

After landing at San Pedro, five days were occupied 
in drilling his marines in infantry services generally,, 
and such movements as might be necessary in resist- 



ing cavalry charjjes especially. During this time two 
flags of truce entered Stockton's camp with some 
messages from Castro, but Stockton played some 
strategy on them, having had reason to believe that 
they came to ascertain the number of his forces; he 
had his three hundred marines marching over the hills 
a certain way, so that it would seem they were at least 
ten times as strong, whereupon Castro seemed afraid 
to fight, and asked an armistice until war would 
be ended between their respective governments in the 
East, when the result of the final negotiations between 
the United States and Mexico would decide as to 
which of those countries California should belong 
henceforth. But Stockton indignantly rejected the 
proposition and demanded immediate surrender of 
the whole Mexican force in the country, adding that 
if the demand was not at once complied with, sum- 
mary treatment would follow. When this answer was 
reported by the envoys to Castro' the conquest prac- 
tically was ended, because he got so completely de- 
moralized that he thought resistance would be of no 
avail, abandoned his camp and fled to Sonora; and 
when, on the nth, Stockton moved on to Los Angeles 
with his three hundred seamen and six pieces of artil- 
lery, he found the place without any military force, 
and took possession of it without firing a gun. 

But we have not yet mentioned a word about the 
fate of the prisoners which Castro took along with 
him at the time he retreated from San Jose towards 
Los Angeles. They had been separated -and each one 
thought that his companions had been shot, but after 
Castro's army had been disbanded Bird and Wash- 
burn were taken along in the direction of Monterey, 
and both made their escape; Weber, however, was 
taken forcibly away on Castro's flight to Sonora, for 
two days. Castro evidently was afraid to give him 
his freedom before securing his own chances for 

Soon after the capture of Los Angeles, Fremont 
joined Stockton at that place, and on account of 
having received the official information of the braking 
out of war between the United States and Mexico, he 
did not hesitate to proclaim California a territory of 
the United States; organized a temporary government 
and recommended the 15th of September for meeting 
to elect their own officers under his organization. And 
after detailing Captain Gillespie with fifty men, to be 
stationed at Los Angeles, and Lieutenant Talbot with 
a small command to garrison Santa Barbara, another 
force was sent to San Diego to keep hold of that 
place, and returned with the remainder of his army 
to Monterey. From the latter place he announced 
his idea how the war with Mexico was to be prose- 
cuted to give a successful and satisfactory result. In 

a letter addressed to Captain William Mervine, of the 
United States frigate Savannah written on board 
the United States frigate Congress, in the bay of 
Monterey, September 19, 1846, after a confidential 
information that he (Stockton) had sent Major Fre- 
mont to the north to ascertain how many men he 
possibly could recruit to make up an army to be em- 
barked for Mazatlan or Acapulco, with the intention 
to carry the war into the heart of Mexico and as near 
as f)ossible to the City of Mexico. He gave orders 
to have the squadron in places so as to enable an easy 
gathering in the shortest time, and that he (Mervine) 
was to get all information he could in reference to this 
matter, concluding with the heartfelt desire to shake 
hands with General Taylor at the gates of Mexico. 



Stockton's Reception at Verba Buena — Surprising Southern 
News — Jose Maria Floras — Siege of Los Angeles Ends in 
a Surrender— Hores' Proclamation— Santa Barbara Be- 
sieged — Stockton forwarding His Forces in Three Parts to 
the South— Kearney Defeated at San Pasqiial— Stockton 
with Two Hundred and Fifty Men going to the Rtlief of 
Kearny— Super's Fort a Recruiting Office— Composition of 
the California Battalion— Table of Officers in Command of 
the California Battalion. 

This shaking of hands at the gates of Mexico, how- 
ever, was not yet so near as the sanguine Commodore 
expected. Then, hardly had he rested from 'the 
fatigues of camping and battle life, and answering a 
call to Verba Buena, where, instead ot finding hos- 
tilities between the Indian tribes he was surprised by 
the most brilliant rereption, given to him by the people 
of the town and neighboring country, when a courier, 
in great hurry, galloped into town, delivering the 
unexpected and e.xciting news that Captain Gillespie 
was besieged in Los Angeles, from where the messenger 
had made his escape under great difficulties, and after 
the horse had been killed under him, and he was com- 
pelled to run for twenty-seven miles, the enemy always 
behind him ; he had finished this wonderful feat in 
four days, stopping first at Monterey. The name of 
this intrepid man was John Brown, by the Spaniards 
called Juan Flacco ; he died at Stockton in 1863. 

But we have to give the events, as near as possible, 
in succession as they occurred; accordingly, we have 
to resume what happened in the south since Stockton 
took possession of Los Angeles. There were a num. 
ber of officers of the Mexican army belonging home at 
Los Angeles and the neighboring country ; many of 
them were made prisoners of war, but were allowed to 



go free on their parole of honor to take no active part 
against the United States army in this war again. 
General Jose Maria Flores being one of them, and 
being of a high, sanguine and ambitious character, and 
full of that traditional Spanish haughtiness of old 
times, he, as well as many of his brother officers, felt 
deeply ashamed of Castro's and their own cowardice in 
surrendering to Stockton's army of three hundred men, 
and born out of the shame the desire arose to revenge 
the bad feeling on those that, by strategy, had become 
masters of the position ; forgetting that the laws 
of honor should restrain him from taking up arms while 
under parole, he commenced gathering the scattered 
Mexican forces for reorganization as soon as Commo- 
dore Stockton had turned his back to the coast, sailing 
for Monterey. Flores had soon accumulated forces 
enough to venture on some activity, and on the 23d of 
September he stood before the town of Los Angeles, 
demanding the surrender of Captain Gillespie and his 
fifty men. The captain knew that he needed assist- 
ance soon or surrender was inevitable; the town 
was surrounded by about six hundred men, and there 
was no way to escape and bring the news of the siege 
of Los Angeles to the headquarters at Monterey. Just 
then. Brown volunteered to save the fate of the be- 
leagured garrison, that at first seemed almost impossi- 
sible, but we have already seen how successful he was 
in delivering his dispatches at Yerba Buena, hardly 
four days after he had escaped from the besieged town. 
But the little garrison could not resist until help 
would possibly arrive, and Captain Gillespie had to 
bend to the circumstances, and he surrendered, con- 
ditionally, on September 30th, after having been be- 
sieged for a full week, and retired with his detachment 
to Monterey. The next day Flores issued his fulmi- 
nant proclamation, which we quote in full, to show 
the bad feeling and the hostility of the people of 
Southern California : 

Mexican Armv, Section of Operations, ( 
Angeles, October i, 1846. j 

Fellow Citizens : — It is a month and a half, that 
by a lamentable fatality, fruit of cowardice and inability 
of the first authorities of the department, we beheld 
ourselves subjugated and oppressed by an insignificant 
force of adventurers of the United States of America, 
and placing us in a worse condition than that of slaves. 

They are dictating to us despotic and arbitrary laws, 
and loading us with contributions and onerous bur- 
dens which have for an object the ruin of our industry 
and agriculture, and to force us to abandon our prop- 
erty, to be possessed and divided among themselves. 

And shall we be capable to allow ourselves to be 
subjugated, and to accept, by our silence, the weighty 
chains of slavery ? Shall we permit to be lost the soil 

inherited by our fathers, which cost them so much 
blood and so many sacrifices ? Shall we make our 
families victims of the most barbarous slavery ? Shall 
we wait to see our wives violated ; our innocent chil- 
dren punished by the American whips ; our property 
sacked ; our temples profaned ; and, lastly, to drag 
through an existence full of insult and shame ? No ! 
a thousand times no, countrymen ! first, death ! 

Who of you does not feel his heart beat with violence, 
who does not feel his blood boil, to contemplate our 
situation; and who will be the Mexican who will not 
feel indignant, and who will not rise and take up arms 
to destroy our oppressors ? We believe there is not 
one so vile and cowardly. With such a motive, the 
majority of the inhabitants of the districts, justly in- 
dignant against our tyrants, raise the cry of war, with 
arms in their hands, and, of one accord, swear to sus- 
tain the fL'Uowing articles : 

ist. We, the inhabitants of the department of 
California, as members of the great Mexican nation, 
declare that it is and has been our wish to belong to 
her alone, free and independent. 

2d. Consequently, the authorities intended and 
named by the invading forces of the United States 
are held null and void. 

3d. All the North Americans being enemies of 
Mexico, we swear not to lay down our arms till they 
are expelled from the Mexican territory. 

4th. All Mexican citizens, from the age of fifteen 
to sixty, who do not take up arms to forward the 
present plan are declared traitors, and under pain of 

5th. Every Mexican or foreigner who may directly 
or indirectly aid the enemies of Mexico will be pun- 
ished in the same manner. 

6th. The property of the North Americans in the 
department who may, directly or indirectly, have 
taken part, or aided the enemy, shall be confiscated 
and used for the expense of war, and their persons 
shall be taken to the interior of the republic. 

7th. All those who may oppose the present plan will 
be punished with arms. 

8th. All the inhabitants of Santa Barbara and the 
district of the north will be invited immediately to 
adhere to the present plan. 

JosE Maria Flores. 
Camp in Los Angeles, September 24, 1846. 

(Signed by more than three hundred persons.) 

The next of Flores' acts was the siege of Lieuten- 
ant Talbot at Santa Barbara ; but Talbot refused to sur- 
render, notwithstanding the oppressive army sur- 
rounding the place, and finally made good his escape 
to Monterey. The conquest, however, had to be le- 
opened and the whole work done over again. 


And Stockton was just the man to do this work of 
conquest over again ; full of energy and cool resolu- 
tion, he lost not a moment's time, but dispatched the 
frigate Savannah with three hundred and twenty 
men under Captain Mervine, to San Pedro, where 
they arrived too late to aid Captain (lillespie, and 
after landing them and marching on, were repulsed 
with a loss of five dead and six wounded. Fremont 
was then recalled and embarked for Santa Barbara 
with one hundred and sixty men, who were expected 
to get mounted at the place of destination and join 
in the recapture of Los Angeles. He sailed on Oc- 
tober 1 2th, and Stockton followed as soon as he had 
finished his arrangements, and landed at San Pedro on 
October 23d. The enemy, though numbering about 
eight hundred, did nothing to prevent the disembark- 
ing of the troops, but retired further into the interior, 
as the chances for procuring supplies were quite poor. 
Stockton decided to look for b_etter hunting grounds 
about San Diego, and embarked again for that port, 
but he was unfortunate enough to lose one of his ves- 
sels through beaching; however, all were landed safely. 
He took possession of the place, established him- 
self there and occupied his forces in constructing a 
fort, making shoes and saddles, and drilling alter- 
nately. A command under S. J. Hensley was sent 
out on a foraging trip, and came home with one 
hundred and forty horses and five hundred head of 
cattle as the result of their excursion. 

On December 3d, a courier arrived from Ceneral 
Kearney, who had come overland, starting from Santa 
Fe. As he was approaching he expressed the desire 
to open communications, and Captain Gillespie with 
thirty-five men was detailed to meet him and serve as 
his escort to San Diego. Three days after Gillespie 
had left the camp and his return was thought of al- 
ready, another messenger,on foaming horse, galloped in, 
carrying the rousing news that Kearney had been at- 
tacked and defeated at San Pasqual. His loss was given 
as eighteen men killed and thirteen wounded, General 
Kearney and Captain Gillespie among the latter; 
besides one of his small howitzers had been cap- 
ured. Stockton's first intention was to move with 
the whole command to the rescue of the general, but 
while waiting for better information some more news 
came in that made him believe that the first one had 
been exaggerated ; the message sent by Kearney 
himself, asking for reinforcements, did not reach 
him until December 9th ; Kit Carson, Lieutenant 
Beal and an Indian being the messengers. And soon 
it was known all over the camp that Kearney was be- 
sieged on a hill at San Fernando, the enemy attacking 
the exhausted troops continuously — they being out of 
ammunition, provisions being short, and the wounded 

only a burden under the circumstances — and were look- 
ing anxiously towards San Diego for relief, as the only 
chance left them, was to choose between death and sur- 
render; and the old sailor boys eagerly awaited the 
call to rescue their comrades as well as the dragoons. 

Two hundred and fifty men were then selected and 
marched under Lieutenant Gray towards San Fer- 
nando ; when, on the night of the loth, they drew near 
to where their brethren were surrounded the besieg- 
ing Californians vanished before the advancing relief 
party came in sight, only on the sounding hoof-beats 
of the mounted sailors' horses. Two days later, on 
the 1 2th, the little army, weary and exhausted, was 
escorted into camp. 

Kearney, after having conquered and established a 
civil government in New Mexico, received orders to 
do the same thing in California. On his way here he 
was met on the road by Kit Carson, who was on his way 
east, and the latter guided him and his dragoons to 
the southern part of California, where he was thrown 
right on the scene of action. After arriving in camp. 
Commodore Stockton offered to yield the command 
of the army to Kearney, but the offer was declined, 
Kearney preferring to take service under Stockton. 

Meanwhile the northern part of the territory had 
been transformed into a recruiting office ; a messenger 
having arrived on the 28th of October, at Sutter's fort, 
with news from Fremont, who on account of not 
being able to procure sufficient horses in that section 
of country to mount his troops, had moved towards 
Monterey, where he hoped to be more successful in 
[jrocuring them. Furthermore, relating of the bad 
success in the south, of Captain Gillespie's and 
surrender of the town of Los Angeles; of Lieutenant 
Talbot's escape from Santa Barbara, and Captain 
Mervine's defeat at San Pedro, and just as if all this 
bad news had not sufficed to stir up the blood of 
everybody, J. F. Reed, one of the Donner jiarty, had 
reiched Sutter's fort on the same day, and his narra- 
tion of the ill-fated company and the heroic deeds 
enacted for the relief of the survivors was more than 
enough to excite all these present, and to spur the de- 
sire to show their bravery as well as their ability 
to equal heroism. The subscription list for the organ- 
ization of a military company was made up, and J. F. 
Reed was one of the first to put down his name as a 
recruit of war. The subscription made such a success 
that soon after Jt became necessary to divide the force 
into two companies, one commanded by Captain 
Burroughs, who was killed on the i6th of the following 
month near mission San Juan, the other by Captain R. 
T. Jacobs, Lieutenant Edwin Bryant, and Lieutenant 
George M. Lippincott. All the neighboring country 
sent its men to recruit in .the company, and no sooner 



had the Jist reached the number of one hundred and 
eighty, when it was concluded to advance towards 
Monterey. Sixty of the total number were present al- 
ready at the rendezvous at the time, and they started 
under cornmand of Captain Burroughs, taking with 
them four hundred government horses to be delivered 
to Colonel Fremont; the rest of the company, under 
Jacobs, Reed and Bryant, followed October i6th. 
Another company was enlisted in Napa Valley, John 
Grigsby commanding, D. T. Bird being Second Lieu- 
tenant. A third company under Captain Thompson, 
recruited by Captain C. M. Weber at San Jose, was 
added to the California battalion, thus showing how 
the spark had kindled a fire that was sweeping the 
country, and before the company that had left Sutter's 
fort one hundred and eighty strong in all, would move 
on to Monterey, the California battalion had grown to 
the number of four hundred and twenty-eight. And 
the fire of excitemeut that swept the country became 
general, not only infecting the American element and 
other foreigners, but taking in a great many of the 
natives of the soil. When the second part of the 
company, under Captain Jacobs passed through the 
section known as San Joaquin county they were joined 
by about thirty Indians under their renowned chief 
Jose Jesus, who thought to revenge an old grudge. 

The California battalion was then organized at San 
Juan, and after Lieutenant Bryant had joined, for- 
warding from San Jose three hundred horses which 
had been secured for the battalion by Weber, Colonel 
Fremont took the command, and started on November 
30th for Los Angeles with four hundred and twenty- 
eight men, rank and file, including Indians, taking 
along six hundred extra horses for change. 

The organization of the battalion into companies, 
and the officers of each of them is given in the follow- 
ing table : 

J. C. Fremont, Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding; 

A. H. Gillespie, Major; P. B. Redding, Paymaster; 
Henry King, Commissary; J. R. Snyder, Quartermas- 
ter; William H. Russell, Ordinance Officer; T. Tal- 
bot Adjutant ; J. J. Myers, Sergeant-Major, (appointed 
Lieutenant in June, 1847). 


Richard Owens, Captain ; William N. Loker, First 
Lieutenant, (appointed Adjutant, February 10, 1847); 

B. M. Hudspeth, Secorwi Lieutenant, (appointed Cap- 
tain February, 1847); William Findlay, Lieutenant, 
(appointed Captain February, 1847). 


Henry Ford, Captain; Andrew Copeland, First 


Granville P. Swift, Captain; William Baldridge, 
First Lieutenant; William Hartgrove, Second Lieu- 


John Sears, Captain; William Bradshaw, First 


John Grigsby, Captain; Archibald Jesse, First Lieu- 
tenant ; D. T. Bird, Second Lieutenant. 


L. W. Hastings (author of a work on California)^ 
Captain; M. M. Wombough, First Lieutenant; J. M. 

Hudspeth, Second Lieutenant. 


Thompson, Captain; Davis, First Lieu- 
tenant; Rock, Second Lieutenant. 


R. T. Jacobs, CajHain ; Edwin Bryant (later alcalde 
of San Francisco), First Lieutenant; George M. Lip- 
pincott. Second Lieutenant. 


Louis McLane, Captain, (afterward Major); John 
K. AMlson, First Lieutenant, (made Captain January, 
1847); ^Villi'im Blackburn, Second Lieutenant (later 
alcalde of Santa Cruz). 

There were a number of officers who, on account 
of doing duty in other parts ot the territory, did not 
accompany their battalion on this march. We give 
their names and rank: 

S. J. Hensley, Captain ; S. Gibson (lanced through 
the body at St. Pasqu.d), Captain; Miguel Pedrorena 
(a Spaniard), Captain; Stgo. Arguello (a Californian), 

Captain; Bell (an old resident of Los Angeles), 

Captain; H. Renshaw, First Lieutenant; A. Godey, 
First Lieutenant; James Barton, First Lieutenant; L. 
Arguello (a Californian), First Lieutenant. 


Skirmish near San Juan — Death of Captains Burroughs and Fos- 
ter — The Report as Given by The Calijornian — The Cali- 
fornia Battalion on the March to Santa Barbara — Stockton 
Approaching Los Angeles — Flores Offering Negotiations — 
The Battle on San Gabriel River, January -8, 1847— Stock- 
ton's Second Day Decisive — Fremont's Approach — The 
Capitulation— Francisco Sanche?' Revolt— Capture of an 
Officer of the U. S. M. Corps— The Company Sent in His 
Pursuit — Attack Upon Sanchez Under the Walls of ths 
Santa Clara Mission — Sanchez Surrenders. 

Before we can follow the battalion on the march 
towards Los Angeles, we have to refer to a little ren- 

* This company had two pieces of artilieiy. 



centre that took place about ten miles south of the 
mission of San Juan, on the Monterey road, on Octo- 
ber 1 6th, between the advance guard, under Captain 
Burroughs and a troop of Californians, numbering one 
hundred and thirty. The following is an extract from 
the description of Consul Thomas O. Larkin, who 
was a prisoner and witnessed the affair : 

"The Californians, after having, on the night of the 
15th, taken up Consul Larkin, who, on his travel from 
Monterey to Verba Buena was stopping at the house 
of Don Joaquin Gomez, demanded him to write to 
the captain of the volunteers at San Juan to entice 
some twenty of them to him under the pretense of 
protecting some distressed families on the river; but 
Larkin refused positively, not yielding to fright or 
threatening. They moved a little further on the next 
morning, taking their prisoner with them, and alwAys 
keeping watch of the mission as well as of the road to 
Monterey, afraid of being attacked by Fremont from 
that side. There, in the afternoon they encountered 
eight or ten Americans, all but two or three of them 
on the approach of the Californians retreated to an 
oak-covered ground close by, and the rest returned to 
Gomez' house to alarm their companions, and for 
more than an hour one hundred and thirty Califor- 
nians surrounded six or eight American men, not 
daring to make an attack on them, but requested first, 
and finally commanded Larkin again to go and bring 
his countrymen out, whereupon the latter offered to 
go and call them out, under the condition that they 
were allowed to return to San Juan or Monterey with 
their arms ; which, of course, was refused. While 
still engaged in calculations how to advance against 
the few men, fifty more Amerieans came down on 
them, and an action of about twenty-five or thirty 
minutes ensued, ending in a complete flight of the 
Californians; but either the entering darkness or the 
loss of the leader of the Americans embarrassed the 
latter to make no better use of their victory in pursu- 
ing the enemy, but allowed him to gather his forces 
about a mile distant from their own standpoint. The 
loss on the American side was considerably heavy. 
Captain Burroughs, of St. Louis, Missouri, Captain 
Foster, and two others were killed, with two or three 
more wounded." 

The Cali/ornian, of November 21st, 1846, published 
at Monterey, says m addition to the former, that "Bur- 
roughs and Foster were killed at the first onset. The 
Americans fired and then charged on the enemy with 
their empty rifles, and ran them off. However, they 
still kept rallying and firing now and then a musket at 
the Americans, until about eleven o'clock at night, 
when one of the Walla- Walla Indians offered his ser- 
vices to come into Monterey and give Colonel Fremont 

notice of what was passing. Soon after he started lie 
was pursued by a party of the enemy. The foremost 
in pursuit drove a lance at the Indian, who, trying 10 
parry it, received the lance through his hand ; he im- 
mediately with the other hand seized his tomahawk and 
struck his opponent a blow which split his head from 
the crown to the mouth. By this time the others had 
come up, and with the most extraordinary dexteriiy 
and bravery the Indian vanquished two more, and 
the rest ran away. He rode on towards this town as 
far as his horse was able to carry him, and then he left 
his horse and saddle and came in on foot. He arrived 
about 8 o'clock, Tuesday morning, November 17th." 

Fremont responded to the call, and marched at 
once, to bring assistance to the American volunteers 
at San Juan, but failing to meet the enemy, he put up 
his camp at the mission to await the coming of rein- 
forceinents. The California battalion that started, 
from San Juan November 30th, on the march to Los 
Angeles, made only slow progress on account of the 
heavy rains that season; the men suffered consid- 
erably by crossing the mountains and the streams run- 
ning with quick-sand, reaching Santa Barbara, on 
December 27th; the loss on horses had been so severe 
that hardly sufficient remained to get the whole 
command mounted. The most exhausting feat of 
the whole march had been the descent on Christ- 
mas night from the Santa Inez mountain range to 
Santa Barbara in a very heavy storm, and men as well 
as horses needed a rest before the march for Los An- 
geles could be resumed, which took place on the third 
of January, 1847; approaching that town from the 
north about the same time with Commodore Stock- 
ton on his way from San Diego. 

On Stockton's approach he met several messengers, 
sent by Flores, with propositions to enter into negotia- 
tions, but Stockton in short declared to them that he 
disliked the idea of opening any kind of communica- 
tions or negotiations other than those of his guns, and 
that Flores and his companions who had forfeited 
their paroles should look out, because if any one 
of them, were taken prisoner, they would be shot 
most unceremoniously and without any negotiations ; 
and, continuing his march, he arrived on the evening 
of January 7th, on the south bank of San Gabriel 
river. The enemy having taken position on the op- 
posite side of the river, was discovered there the next 

Stockton formed his command in a hollow square, 
putting the baggage, cattle, etc., in the center, and 
moved on towards the ford of the river— strict orders 
having been given not to fire a single gun until the 
river had been crossed. The water in the river was 
only three or four feet deep, but it was running with 


ijuicksand, and General Kearney, commanding the ad- 
Nance, sent word to Stockton that he could not cross 
with the artillery; the latter, in response, without a mo- 
ment's delay, rushed to the front, laying hands to the 
rope himself, and under his advice the guns were soon 
landed on the opposite side. Here the line of battle 
was immediately formed again, and the artillery o;,ened 
fire on the enemy's artillery, which occupied a jjosition 
about fifty or sixty yards from the river on an ele- 
vation^ some 'fcrty feet above ; but the old sailors, 
trained by the commodore himself, soon silenced the 
enemy's guns and made the men in charge of th.m 
run Observing this. General Kearney immediately 
started to bring the deserted guns in, but the Califor- 
niansrallied,and returning, carried their guns off before 
he had time to reach them. A violent cavalry at- 
tack was then made upon Stockton's left wing, 
which was repulsed, but the enemy right away re- 
formed his line, and brought his artillery into action 
again. Stockton sent new orders to his artillery and 
repulsing another charge broke the enemy's lines by 
means of his well aimed artillery, thereafter an attempt 
was made to capture the stores, baggage, etc., and stam- 
pede the cattle on the south side of the river, which 
was cut short by Captain Gillespie, who threw the de- 
tachment back in wild confusion, which was commu- 
nicated to the balance of the enemy's troops and 
caused their retreat; they left the field to the Ameri- 
car.s, taking their dead and wounded with them ; 
their loss has never become known. The loss on 
the victorious side was but trifling, two men only 
having been killed and nine wounded. 

The following 4ay Stockton took up his march in 
the direction of Los Angeles, and after proceeding 
about six miles he met the enemy again, who had 
formed in position upon the mesa land of the plains. 
Stockton made his forces ready, taking the same posi- 
tion of the hollow square like the previous day, and 
awaited the result. He did not need to wait long — 
the Californians anxious to make up for the loss of the 
day before made some heroic charges with the inten- 
tion to break through the square; but we better cite 
a passage from the " Annals of San Francisco," giving 
a description of the same : 

"It is said by those who witnessed it, to have been 
a brilliant spectacle. Gaily caparisoned, with flying 
banners, mounted on fleet and splendid horses, they 
bounded on, spurring at the top of their speed on to 
the small but compact square into which the American 
force was compressed. The very earth appeared to 
tremble beneath their thundering hoofs, and nothing 
seemed to be capable of resisting such cavalry. But, 
inspired with the cool courage and dauntless heroism 
of their leader, his men patiently awaited the result. 

The signal was at length given, and a deadly fire di- 
rected according to orders, at, was poured into 
the ranks of the advancing foe, which emptied many 
saddles and threw them into complete confusion. Re- 
treating a few hundred yards, they again formed, and 
despatching a part of their force to the rear, they at- 
tacked simultaneously three sides of the square. Or- 
ders were renewed to reserve fire until the enemy's 
near approach, and with the sime decisive result, their 
ranks breaking and retreating in disorder. A third 
time having rallied, they returned to the chirge, but 
once more their ranks were thinned by the deadly 
aim of the assailed; and despairing of their ability to 
cope with men so cool, unflinching and resolute, con- 
fused and discomfited, the scattered and fled in every 

In the meantime Fremont, who had hurried as 
much as possible to reach the scene of action in time, 
came near enough to open regular communications 
with the headquarters. On January 9th he had re- 
ceived a dispatch from Commodore Stockton, bearing 
the date of January 5th (three days before battle had 
commenced), advising him to avoid a collision with 
the enemy until he was within striking distance, show- 
ing that Stockton did not expect to meet the enemy so 
soon. On tlie iith, while the battalion was on the 
march, just entering the head of Couenga plains, 
news reached Fremont of the battles on the 8th and 
9th, antl the occupation of l,os Angeles, where Major 
Gillespie again had raised the American flag, which he 
had been forced to lower about three months before. 
He also received a letter from General Kearney with 
the same message. The battalion put up their camp 
at the mission of San Fernando that night, and the 
next day Don Jose de Jesus Pico, in company with 
two officers of the Californian army entered the camp 
with the pronounced desire to treat for peace. The 
preliminary negotiations were entered into, and the 
terms had been partly arranged, when they separated 
abou' noon. After noon the march was again resumed 
and the battalion pushed forward to a point about 
twelve miles out of town, where, at the foot of the 
Couenga plains, the next halt was made. Here the 
peace commissioners from Fremont met Wth those 
from the hostile force, and the terms of capitulation 
ratified and signed by the members of both parties. 
In the following we give a copy of the 

Made and entered into at the ranch of Couenga, this 
13th day of January, 1847, between P. B. Reading, 
Major; Louis McLane, Jr., commanding Third Artil- 
lery; William H. Russell, Ordinance Officer, com- 
missioners appointed by J. C. Fremont, Colonel U. S. 
Army and Military Commander of California, and 



Jose Antonio Corillo, Commandante Squadron ; Au- 
gustin Olivera, Deputado, Commissioners appointed 
by Don Andreas Pico, Commander-in-chief of the 
California force under the Mexican flag. 

Article i. The commissioners on the part of 
the Californians agree that their entire force shall, 
on presentation of themselves to Lieutenant-Colonel 
Fremont, deliver up their artillery and public arms, 
and that they shall return peaceably to their homes 
and conform to the laws and regulations of the United 
States, and not again take up arms during the war be- 
tween the United States and Mexico, but will assist 
and aid in placing the country in a state of peace and 

Article 2. The commissioners on the part of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont agree and bind them- 
selves, on the fulfillment of the first article by the Cal- 
ifornians, that they shall be guaranteed protection of 
life and property, whether on parole or otherwise. 

Article 3. That until a treaty of peace be made 
and signed between the United States of North 
America and the Republic of Mexico, no Californian 
or other Mexican citizen shall be bound to take the 
oath of allegiance. 

Article 4. That any Californian or citizen of 
Mexico desiring, is permitted by capitulation to leave 
the country without let or hinderance. 

Article 5. That in virtue of the aforesaid arti- 
cles, equal rights and privileges are vouchsafed to 
every citizen of California as are enjoyed by the citi- 
zens of the United States of North America. 

Article 6. All officers, citizens, foreigners, or 
others, shall receive the protection guaranteed by the 
second article. 

Article 7. This capitulation is intended to be no 
bar in effecting such arrangements as may in future be 
in justice required by both parties. 

additional article. 
CuiDiD de Los Angeles, January 16, 1847. 
That the paroles of all officers, citizens and others 
of the United States, and of naturalized citizens of 
Mexico, are by the foregoing capitulation cancelled, 
and every condition of said paroles from and after 
this date are of no further force and effect, and all 
prisoners of both parties are hereby released. 

P. B. Reading, Major California Battalion. 
Louis McLane, Commanding Artillery. 
Wm. H. Russell, Ordinance Officer. 
Jose Antonio Carillo, Comd't of Squadron. 
AuousTiN Olivera, Deputado. 
Approved. J. C. Fremont. 

Lieut. Col. U. S. Army and Mil. Comd't of Cal. 

Andreas Pico, 

Comd't. of Squdr'n and Chief of the Nat'l Forces of Cal. 

On the next morning, the 14th, before the battalion 
started on their march into Los Angeles, the little 
brass howitzer taken from Kearney in the rencontre at 
San Pasqual, and the only piece that had been lost, 
was brought in and delivered over to Fremont, who 
carried it along on his entering Los Angeles. Thus 
was the insurrection ended, and peace with Mexico 
was made soon after, securing California as a part of 
the United States, and never since has its peace and 
tranquility been di.sturbed. 13i0136 

There is, however, another part of this rebellion that 
ran nearly parallel to the one before related, and known 
as the "Flores Insurrection;" and however short 
lived and unimportant it has been concerning the 
result, it -has made a record in history, and we have to 
refer to it: 

After Captain C. M. Weber, with the company he had 
recruited at San ]ose,of which James Williams was lieu- 
tenant, had departed, there were only ten men left in San 
Jose and Santa Clara to protect the families of those 
who had joined the army, and when he had joined his 
company to the California battalion under Fremont's 
command, on December ist, at Gilroy, he saw the 
unsafeness of the country around there, and becoming 
satisfied that the lives of those who had to stay at 
home were in great danger, he felt it his duty to 
look after their safety and protect their homes. So he 
and Williams returned to San Jose, and immediately 
commenced to solicit recruits for another company. 
John M. Murphy took up Weber's idea and lent his 
assistance to the enterprise, and soon thirty-three men 
had enlisted — some from Yerba Buena. Just at this 
state of affairs Francisco Sanches, who thought the 
Americans far enough away, and their homes unpro- 
tected, had raised a revolt and one of his first acts was 
the capture of Lieut. Washington A. Bartlett in the 
outskirts of San Francisco. Weber was well acquainted 
with Bartlett, and he at once tendered the services of 
his company of mounted men, including his son, to 
Captain Montgomery to aid in his rescue. Mont- 
gomery accepted the offer and fitted out a company, 
under Captain Ward Marston, to go in pursuit of San- 
ches. On December 29th, the same day that Stock- 
tond started from San Diego, this expedition, one 
hundred and one strong, marched for that purpose 
from Yerba Buena. For those who have an interest, 
we give the names of the officers of this company : 

Ward Marston, U. S. M. corps. Captain, command- 

J. Duval, Assistant-Surgeon, acted as Aid-de-Camp. 

John Pray, Interpreter. 

Tansil, Lieutenant, in command of 34 sailors. 

William F. D. Tough, Master; John M. Kell, Mid- 
shipman, commanding one field piece and 10 men. 


C. M. Weber, Captain; John M. Murphy, First 
Lieutenant ; John ¥. Reed, Second Lieutenant ; com- 
manding San Jose volunteers, 33 men. 

William M. Smith, Captain ; John Rose, First Lieu- 
tenant; Julius Martin, Second Lieutenant; command- 
ing Yerba Buena Volunteers, 1 2 men. 

Total, loi men. 

On January 2d, 1847, Sanches stood before the 
mission of Santa Clara, where some thirty immigrant 
families were left under the protection of about fifteen 
men ; his force embraced about one hundred men, 
with one piece of artillery, and his camp-fires had 
been seen all night and had kept awake the poor souls 
with sorrow and fear. The morning did not bring 
them any hope; on the contrary, a heavy fog was cov- 
vering up the country and obscuring the view, so that 
they were not allowed to see the danger approaching, 
when, suddenly, the sound of rifle-shots were heard, 
giving the impression that Sanches was already coming ; 
fearing the worst, when suddenly more and heavier 
shooting covinced the sentinel in the belfry of the 
church that something else was going on, and com- 
municating his opinion to the listeners down below, 
he called down : " It's volleys of musketry ; they are 
firing by platoons ; it's Weber coming to our rescue." 
And so it was. The company under Marston's com- 
mand had met the enemy and made an attack, which, 
after some resistance, ended in the enemy's retreat. 
The affair had lasted an hour, and the loss was about 
proportionate. The California Sia?-*, of February 6th, 
1847, speaks of two men wounded — one a marine, 
the other a volunteer of Captain Weber's company. 
The expedition was reinforced next day, January 3d, 
by Captain William A. T. Maddox, with forty-nine 
mounted Monterey volunteers, and a few days later by 
fifteen men under Lieut. Grayson. With these forces 
surrounding him, Sanches was brought to the under- 
standing that he had to surrender, and on the eighth a 
treaty was concluded by which he surrendered his whole 
force, Lieut. Bartlett and the other prisoners, together 
with all his arms, ammunition and accoutrements, and 
in return he as well as his men were allowed to go peace- 
ably to their homes. 


Difference between Stockton and Kearney about the Governor- 
ship—Fremont's Standpoint in the Controversy — Stoclc- 
ton Appoints him Governor— Shubriclf and Kearney Join 
Hands — Shubrick's Circular Order — Kearnev's Proclama- 

tion as Governor — Fremont, Pressed from All Sides, Sub- 
mits to the l-'roclamation — Taken East as a Prisoner — He 
Resigns the Military Service — R. B. Mason, Governor — 
Discovery of Gold — The Treaty of Querelaro — What Mexico 
Received for California and New Mexico — Population of 
California January 1st, 1849 — News of the Discovery of 
Gold Reaches Oregon — Increase of Population from 1849 
to iSSo. 

Immediately upon the occupation of Los Angeles, 
before Fremont entered the place, some difference 
of o[)inion arose between the leaders as to who should 
establish a civil government in the territory, and thus 
become its governor. Gen. Kearney, as stated before, 
came from New Mexico with orders to establish a 
civil government on the Pacific coast, as he had done 
in New Mexico, after he had subdued it. To say 
nothing about his ability to subdue the country, of 
which he had given proof more than twice that he 
was nei the man to accomplish the task ; but he had 
done as much as nothing in assistance to fulfil the ac- 
complishment. The general differed with Commo- 
dore Stockton in regard to those orders, which ac- 
counted for his coming ; the latter claimed that as 
those government orders make the conquest a condi- 
tion for civil authority, this condition not having been 
complied with, the whole was null and void ; while 
Kearney, in his arrogance, pretended that no such thing 
was necessary. The expression of the government had 
not the intention that control should be given as a re- 
ward for gained battles or subjugation cf the country, 
but that he should establish a civil government after 
the country had been subdued. When, after /;/5 being 
subdued at San Pasqual, Stockton offered him to 
take the command, the general feeling quite little 
then, had declined, and proposed to serve under 
Stockton ; now, that the country was subdued, he 
claimed to be its governor, and by virtue of his rank 
as general, he believed himself to be entitled to :is- 
sume the command. 

When Fremont entered Los .Angeles, the situation 
became still more complicated ; he was outranked by 
both of the officers, and with him the question arose 
as to whom he should have to report, and whom he 
had to recognize as the head of the department. Imu- 
ally, Fremont, either moved by sympathy or interest, 
gave preference for the man under whose orders he had 
been acting since, and reported to Stockton on the 
14th of January, 1847, ^nd, as a matter of course, he 
received his appointment as governor from him in re- 
turn, two days later, with Colonel W. H. Russell as 
secretary of state. On the i8th of January Kearney 
left for San Diego ; the following day Stockton also 
took leave from Los Angeles, went to San Pedro, em 
barked and started for Mexico ; and Fremont, on the 
the 2 2d of January issued, at Los Angeles, his procla- 



mation, signing it as " Governor and Commander-in- 
Chief of California." One day later Commodore W. 
B. Shubrick arrived at Monterey, and at once assumed 
the title and duties of Commander-in-Chief, as his 
proclamation of February ist, 1847, shows. But it 
lasted one full month before he and Kearney dared 
to show their joint complicity ; they did so in the fol- 
lowing circular order, practically intended to be a 
notice to Fremont that he had no right to the office 
of governor ; but that he was a usurper, and that it 
would be at his own peril if he would do so any 
longer : 


To all Whom it May Concern, Be it known, that 
the President of the United States, desirous to give 
and secure to the people of California a share of the 
good government and happy civil organization enjoyed 
by the people of the United States, and to protect 
them at the same time from the attacks of foreign 
foes and from internal commotions, has invested the 
undersigned with separate and distinct powers, civil 
and military, a cordial co-operation in the service of 
which, it is hoped and believed, will have the happy 
result desired. 

To the commander-in-chief of the naval forces the 
President has assigned the regulations of the import 
trade — the conditions on which the vessels of all na- 
tions, our own as well as foreign, may be admitted 
into the ports of the territory, and the establishment 
of all port regulations. 

To the commanding military officer the President 
has assigned the direction of the operations on land, 
and has invested him with administrative functions of 
government over the people and territory occupied by 
the forces of the United States. 

Done at Monterey, Capital of California, this first 
day of March, 1847. 

W. Bradford Shubrick, 

Commander-in-Cheif of Naval Forces. 

S. W. Kearney, 

Brigadier-General U. S. A., and Governor of California. 

A proclamation by Kearney, as governor, was issued 
the same day. In this he entirely ignores the exist- 
ence of the treaty of Couenga, notifying the Cajifor- 
nians that they were citizens of the United States and 
were absolved from allegiance to Mexico. This was 
a breach of faith, and they were justified to doubt 
in the integrity of those into whose hands they had 



"The Presidentof the United States having instructed 
the undersigned to take charge of the civil govern- 
ment of California, "he enters upon his duties with an 

ardent desire to promote, as far as he is able, the in- 
terests of the country and the welfare of its inhabi- 

" The undersigned has instructions from the Presi- 
dent to respect and protect the religious institutions 
of California, and to see the religious rights of the 
people are in the amplest manner preserved to them, 
the Constitution of the United States allowing every 
man to worship his Creator in such a manner as his 
conscience may dictate to him. 

" The undersigned is also instructed to protect the 
persons and property of the quiet and peaceable in- 
habitants of the country against any or all of their 
enemies, whether from abroad or at home; and when 
he now assures the Californians that it will be his duty 
and pleasure to coi, ply with those instructions, he 
calls upon them all to exert themselves in preserving 
order and tranquility, in promoting harmony and con- 
cord, and in maintaining the authority and efficiency 
of the law. 

" It is the wish and design of the United States to 
provide for California, with the least possible delay, a 
free government similar to those in her other territo- 
ries, and the people will soon be called upon to exer- 
cise their rights as freemen in electing their own rep- 
resentatives, to make such laws as may be deemed 
best for their interest and welfare; but, until this can 
be done, the laws now in existence, and not in con- 
flict with the Constitution of the United States, will be 
continued until changed by competent authority, and 
those persons who hold office will continue in the 
same manner for the present, provided they swear to 
support the Constitution and faithfully perform their 

"The undersigned hereby absolves all the inhabitants 
of California from any further allegiance to the Re- 
public of Mexico, and will consider them as citizens of 
the United States. Those who remain quiet and 
peaceable will be respected in their rights and pro- 
tected in them. Should any take up arms against or 
oppose the government of this territory, or instigate 
others to do so, they will be considered as enemies 
and treated accordingly. 

"When Mexico forced war upon the United States, 
time did not permit the latter to invite the Californians 
as friends to join her standard, but compelled her to 
take possession of the country to prevent any Euro- 
pean power from seizing upon it, and in doing so, 
some excesses and unauthorized acts were no doubt 
committed by persons employed in the service of the 
United States, by which a few of tiie inhabitants ha\e 
met with a loss of property. Such losses will be duly 
investigated and those entitled to remuneration will 
receive it. 



" California has for many years suffered greatly from 
domestic troubles. Civil wars have been the poison 
fountains which have sent forth trouble and pestilence 
over her beautiful land. Now those fountains are 
dried up, the star spangled banner floats over Califor- 
nia, and as long as the sun continues to shine upon 
her, so long will it float there, over the natives of the 
land as well as others who have found a home in her 
bosom ; and under it agriculture must improve and 
the arts and sciences flourish as seed in a rich and 
fertile soil. 

"The Americans and Californians are now one peo- 
ple. Let us cherish one wish, one hope, and let that 
be for the peace and quiet of our country. Let us, 
as a band of brothers, unite and emulate each other 
in our exertions to benefit and improve this beautiful 
land which soon must be our happy and prosperous 

"Done at Monterey, capital of California, this ist 
day of March, A. D. 1847, and in the seventy-first year 
of the Independence of the United States. 

S. W. Kearney, 

Brig. Gen., U. S. A., and Gov. of California." 

Fremont thus being ousted from the governorship, 
got orders on March nth, which without a doubt sat- 
isfied him that neither Commodore Stockton nor him- 
self would be sustained by the home government; he 
furthermore was ordered to either disband the Cali- 
fornia battalion or muster it into the United States 
service. This the whole force refused to do, but wanted 
their pay, and when Fremont addressed himself to 
Kearney to get this transaction settled, he received 
orders from Monterey to send those under his com- 
.mand that would not muster, by water to Monterey, 
and report at the same place within twelve days. This 
he failed to do, and when he saw that one man's 
strength could stand such pressure no longer, he 
yielded ; Col. P. St. George Cook, of the Mormon bat- 
talion had between the time demanded possession of his 
artillery and Colonel R. B. Mason came from Monte- 
rey to Los Angeles to muster the California battalion 
into the United States service. Kearney, however, 
refused him permission to join his regiment, but 
sold bis horses, disposed of his other outfit and or- 
dered him to repair to Monterey. And when Kear- 
ney was ready to go East, on May 31, 1847, Fre- 
mont was compelled to accompany him to Fort Leav- 
enworth, where he was arrested for insubordination, 
thence conveyed to Fortress Monroe, tried by Court- 
martial, found guilty of mutiny, disobedience and disor- 
derly conduct, and was sentenced to forfeit his com- 
mission in the army, but was recommended to the be- 
nevolence of the President. The latter approved the 
sentence of the court, but ordered him on duty again ; 

and Fremont, after suffering all such outrageous treat- 
ment only in consequence of the quarrel between his 
superiors and the jealousy of one of them, declined 
to profit of the executive benevolence and quitted the 
military service. 

After Fremont's departure. May 31st, Colonel R. 
B. Mason, of the first United States dragoons, by 
means of his rank, took up the office of governor, with 
W. T. Sherman as his adjutant-general, and H. W. 
Halleck as secretary of state, and as his term lasted 
until April 13, 1849 ; it was during his administra- 
tion that the great events of the year 1848 occurred; 
but while these events, as far as the old world is con- 
cerned, were dressed in revolution and pamted in the 
color of war — blood, the contemporary events in 
this world were devoted to peace and peaceable dis- 
coveries, which resulted in gaining of the national 
wealth and the opening of a great field for immigra- 

Gold was discovered at Coloma on January 19, 
1848. At the same time, and unaware of the wealth 
of the country they were discussing about, the peace 
commissioners met to stipulate the articles for a treaty 
between the United States and Mexico, which was 
made and signed on February 2d, to be ratified by the 
government of the United States on March loth, and 
by that of the Republic of Mexico on May 24th, and 
the official news of peace between the United States 
and Mexico arrived at Governor Mason's head quarters 
in September. The news of the discovery of gold, 
sent officially by Governor Mason to the President at 
Washington, arrived there in time to be taken up in 
the President's regular message of 1848. After the 
aforementioned treaty, California as well as New 
Mexico remained to be a part of the United States, 
for which the latter government paid to Mexico the 
amount of $15,000,000, and assumed an indemnity 
debt of $3,500,000, owed by the Mexican government 
to citizens of the United States. 

The population of California, on January i, 1849, 
on an estimate amounted to 13,000 Californians, 8,000 
Americans 5,000 foreigners ; a total of 26,000. 

During the year 1848, the news of the discovery of 
gold in California had not benefitted many more than 
the residents of the country, but the news was run- 
ning all over the globe, and where it arrived there was 
caused more or less excitement, and everywhere some 
daring fellows would be found anxious to test the 

On the 31st of August a vessel from the Sandwich 
Islands sailing up the Columbia, brought the first 
news of the discovery into Oregon, and soon a com- 
pany was made up to start with twenty wagons over- 
land to California ; this was the first trial to take 



wagons from Oregon to California ; while about an 
equal number took passage with whatever vessel was 
accessible to start direct or indirect for San Francisco, 
and San Francisco became the motto of the day. The 
name of Verba Buena disappearing entirely, first in 
common use, and soon followed by the official au- 

The first vessel from abroad, laden with gold seek- 
ers, arrived in the port of San Francisco early in 
the Spring of 1849, introducing the rapid succession 
of vessels of all nations that came, for many years, 
sailing or steaming into this port like being thrown 
together by a tidal wave. During the ten and a half 
months, from April 12th, 1849, to February 28th, 
1850, there arrived in San Francisco 43,824 passen- 
gers ; 31,725 of them were American men, 951 Amer- 
ican women, 10,394 foreign men, 754 foreign women; 
and a stream of emigrant trains equal to the former 
was moving continually over the .plains, creeping up 
and down the mountains, fording rivers with all 
jjossible difficulties, and under continuous danger of 
being attacked by hostile Indians ; but they arrived 
one after another, opening the great emigrant roads 
over the Sierra Nevada into California, and swelling 
the population up to never before thought of figures. 

The population of California: 

^CB«8l-B-^ .-INCREASE^ 

January ist, 1849, (estimated). 26,000 

" " 1850, 107,069 81,069 

" 1852, 264,435 171,838 

" I860, 379.994 115-559 

" " 1870, 560,247 180,253 

" " 1880, 864,836 304,589 



The Laws Executed irrthe Territory— Three Bills for Territo- 
rial Government in California Defeated by Congress — Bill 
foi Admittauce of California as a State — General Riley Is- 
suing a Call for a Constitutional Convention — Number of 
Delegates the Sacramento District is entitled to— Dele- 
gates Chosen — Constitutional Convention Organized Sept. 
3d, 1849— Officers of the Convention— The Slavery Clause 
— G. J. Carpenter's Opinion — Size of the State — Mining 
and Cow Counties — San Jose first Capital — Peoples' vote 
for and against the Constitution — Vote for Governor and 
other Officers — State Senators and Congressmen of Sacra- 
mento District— Military Government Renounced— Califor- 
nia asks for Admission again — First California Legislature, 
United States Senators elected — Subdividing the State into 
Counties— Authorizing County Elections— List of Original 
Counties— State of California Admitted into the Union — 
The news Arrived in San Francisco — List of Governors- 
Table of Population. 
But the uncertainty of the laws executed in the 

Territory seemed to create much discontentedness 

between that part of the population that came from 
other parts of the United States, and as they were the 
majority of new comers this feeling was rather growing 
than diminishing. Immediately after the news of the 
conclusion of the treaty of Queretaro, sometime in 
the Spring of 1848, reached the coast, California made 
great efforts to throw off the control that the military 
branch of the United States government unlawfully 
continued; but three bills introduced in Congress for 
the organization of a territorial government for the 
new territory were defeated, after a series of accrimo- 
nious debates, by the Congress in session. On the 
first day of the following session Stephen A. Douglas 
gave notice of a bill for the admission of California as 
a State, and ir^liroduced it seven days thereafter. The 
short session of the 30th Congress, however, having 
distinguished itself by sectional strife over this and 
kindred measures, adjourned on the 4th of March, 
1849, and when Governor Bennett Riley, who suc- 
ceeded R. B. Mason, or rather General Persifer Smith, 
on April 13th, 1849, declared in his proclamation 
that the same laws that had been executed in the 
country since Sloat hoisted the American flag at Mon- 
terey, and the country was kept under the conquest, 
would remain in force within the territory provided 
they were not contrary to the Constitution of the 
United States, until changed by competent authority ; 
it did not result in an increase of popularity in regard 
to those laws. On the contrary, the understanding 
grew more and more that there was no law in 
existence under which the military branch of the 
United States government could continue to control 
the country, as she actually did, after peace was made 
and the treaty had been ratified by both parties; and 
General Riley, upon an official hint from Washington, 
although not authorized by law, in response to the 
vox populi, on June 3d, by proclamation prescribing 
election districts, the number of delegates and the 
mode of their election, recommended a Constitutional 
Convention, to meet at Monterey on the ist of Sep- 
tember, 1849. The ist af August was set for the elec- 
tion of delegates to the proposed convention, and for 
filling any vacancies existing in office. The dis- 
tricts of Sonoma, Sacramento and San Joaquin were 
to vote for one Judge for the Superior Court also, and 
the persons chosen, if qualified, were to be appointed 
by the governor. The district of Sacramento, includ- 
ing that part of the State east of the Sacramento 
river and north of the Cosumnes, was entitled to four 
delegates, but Gen. Riley, in his proclamation had 
given permission for any district to elect supernumer- 
aries, if the district thought itself entitled to more rep- 
resentatives,, and left the question of admitting these 
gentlemen to the decision of the Convention. The 



delegates thus chosen from the district were : John 
A. Sutter, Jacob R. Snyder, Winfield Scott Sherwood 
and W. E. Shannon ; and the supernumeraries : John 
S. Fowler, L. W Hastings, John McDougal, E. O. 
Crosby, M. M. McCarver, John Bidwell, W. Black- 
burn, James Queen, R. M. Jones, W. Lacy and C. E. 

At the appointed time the Constitutional Conven- 
tion met at Monterey, on Sept. ist, but it being a Sat- 
urday, and no quorum being present, an adjournment 
was made until Monday, Sept. 3d, 1849. On Monday 
the convention was organized ; the total number of 
members was forty-seven, representing seventeen states 
of the Union, and five foreign countries, as well as all 
political parties. Of the fifteen delegates elected only 
eight were present and partook of the duties and 
honors of framing the constitution. The meetings of 
the Convention were held in Colton Hall, at Monterey. 

Table showing the representation of Sacramento 
District in the Constitutional Convention at Mon- 
terey, September, 1849 : 

Name and Profession. 

Jacob R. Snyder, surveyor 
W. S. Sherwood, lawyer. 
L. W. Hastings, lawyer.. 
John A. Stuter, farmei . . . 
John McDougal, merch. . 

E. O. Crosby, lawyer 

M. M. McCarver, farmer. 
W. E. Shannon, lawyer. . 

Phila. Penn 
S'n'yHill N. Y. 
Knox Co Ohio 
Switzl'nd Mo. 
Ohio jlnd. 
TompscoN. Y. 
Ireland ^N. Y. 


Sac. |4 yrs 
Mor. Is' 4 mos 
Sutler 6 yrs 
Sutter 10 yrs 
Sutter 7 mos 
Vernon 7 nios 
Sac. 3 yrs 
Coloma 3 yrs 

Dr. Robert Semple, the editor of The California^, 
and founder of Benicia, was elected President ; Wil- 
liam G. Marcy, Secretary and designer of seal ; Caleb 
Lyons, of Lyonsdale, Assistant Secretary and De- 
signer of Seal ; and J. Ross Browne was short-hand 
reporter. After an industrious and harmonious ses- 
sion of six weeks the Convention had completed its 
labors and adjourned on the 1 3th of October. On the 
tenth day of the session the following clause, prohibit- 
ing slavery in the new State, was adopted unanimously 
and without a debate, notwithstanding a majority of 
the members of the Convention were from the South, 
or slave-holding states : "Neither slavery nor involun- 
tary servitude, unless for the punishment of crime, 
shall ever be tolerated in this State." — "Thus did the 
Convention rebuke congressional agitation and inter- 
vention, and show how much better and wiser it is to 
manage and control local affairs at home than to in- 
trust them to incapables at a distance.'' (G. J. Car- 
penter, Centennial oration.) 

The constitution was to a great extent made up 
by selections from the constitutions of other States ; 
that of the recently organized State of Iowa fur- 

nishing the model. The lines of the State were 
drawn around one hundred and eighty-seven thou- 
sana square miles, and provisions made for selecting 
officers and for voting for or agamst the constitution. 
There were, however, some heavy restrictions upon 
the liberty and progress of the colored race. This 
was then a "white rnan's government." The principal 
question creating discussion was the suDject of taxa- 
tion. The two great interests were mining and stock- 
raising ; giving rise to the appellation of " mining 
counties" and "cow counties." The stock-raisers car- 
ried their points by inserting the clause that "all prop- 
erty shall be taxed according to its value." This 
proved a most important and comprehensive clause, 
preventing the exemption of any property not pro- 
tected fiom taxation by the Constitution and laws of 
the United States. San Jose was made the capital. 

"The constitution was regarded as one of the best 
of the United States at that time, but the judicial sys- 
tem was cumbersome and expensive, and it allowed 
great latitude to the legislature, which it was after- 
wards found, generally went to the extreme of their 
constitutional permits, and a more binding instrument 
was demanded." 

The constitution was submitted to a vote of the 
people on November 13, 1849, together with the gen- 
eral election of state officers, and the vote was almost 
solid in favor of the constitution; 12,065 being for, 
and only 811 against it. The following votes were 
cast for the five nominated candidates for governor : 

Peter H. Burnett 6,716. 

Winfield Scott Sherwood 3,188. 

J. W. Geary i,475- 

John A. Sutter 2,201. 

William M. Stewart 619. 

Total 14,199- 

John McDougal was elected Lieutenant-Governor ; 
William Van Voorhies, Secretary of State ; Richard 
Roman, Treasurer; J. S. Houston, Comptroller; Ed. 
J. C. Kewen, Attorney-General ; Charles J. Whiting, 
Surveyor-General, S. C. Hastings, Chief-Justice. A. 
Lyon and Nathaniel Bennett, Assistant-Justices. Ed- 
ward Gilbert and George W. Wright, were elected to 
represent the territory in congress. 

Sacramento district elected the following senators : 
John Bidwell, Elisha O. Crosby, Thomas J. Green and 
Henry E. Robinson ; and the following to the assem- 
bly : John Bigler, P. B. Cornwall, (resigned January 
28, 1850), Thomas J. Henley (chosen in his stead), 
E. W. McKinstry, Madison Walthall, John F. Wil- 
liams, H. C. Cardwell, John T. Hughes, George B 
Tingley, Thomas J. White and W. G. Deal. 


The constitution provided that in case of its adop- 
tion the officers chosen should enter upon their duties 
on the 15 th of December, without waiting for the ac- 
tion of Congress. An order of Governor Riley, dated 
December 20, 1849, declared the renunciation of the 
administration of civil affairs, and California assumed 
the character of a State, skipping entirely the prepar- 
atory condition of a territory. Then, at the opening 
of the thirty-first Congress, California presented herself 
in Washington, demanding, for reasons of her own, 
admission as the thirty-first state of the Union. There 
was something in the appearance of the self made de- 
putant and petitioner that seemed to say : " A state 
demands admission and awaits a reply. Stop not, do 
not argue questions that she has decided for herself" 
And over the responsive roar of opposition, headed 
by Calhoun, Foote and Jefferson Davis that California 
never should become a state of the Union as long as 
such a declaration was engrafted in, her constitution, 
was heard the gallant greeting of Senator Douglas, 
the " Little Giant " of Illinois, who had brought in the 
bill for the admission of California already once before, 
and with him stood Webster, Clay, Benton and Wil- 
liam H. Seward, and the decision of the bill followed 
Seward's princely welcome, when he said : 

" Let California come in ! California, that comes 
from the clime where the west dies away into the 
rising east ; California, that bounds at once the empire 
and the continent ; California, the youthful queen of 
the Pacific, in the robes of freedom, gorgeously inlaid 
with gold, is doubly welcome. She stands justified for 
the irregularities in the method of her coming." 

The constitution having been ratified, and state offi- 
cers elected, the first California legislature met at San 
Jose, on December 15th, 1849, just one month after 
the election. It consisted of sixteen senators and 
thirty-seven assemblymen, and on the sixth day of 
the session elected two United States senators : Wil- 
liam M. Gwinn and John C. Fremont. 

One of the labors of this legislature was to subdi- 
vide the state into counties, and in the debate it was 
found that this was a matter of more difficulty than it 
seemed to be on account of the totally imperfect 
knowledge of the geography of the state, and finally 
it was agreed upon to confirm the original twenty- 
seven counties of the state, fixing the boundaries 
thereof as well as could be done at the time. The act 
was finally approved February 18, 1850. Following 
are the names of these counties, with derivation of 
the terms as given by General M. G. Vallejo : 

San Diego (Saint James) takes its name from the 
old towr, three miles from the harbor, discovered by 
Viscaino in 1602. 

Los Angeles county was named from the city (Ciu- 

dad de Los Angeles), founded by order of the viceroy 
of New Spain in 1780. 

Santa Barbara was named after the town established 
in 1780, to protect the five adjacent missions. 

San Luis Obispo, after its principal town, on the site 
of a mission founded r772 by Junipero Serra and 
Jose Cavalier. 

Monterey, after the chief town, which was namea 
by Viscaino in honor of his friend and patron, the 
Viceroy, Count of Monterey. 

Santa Cruz (the Holy Cross), was named from the 
mission of the .same name on the north side of the 

San Francisco, named in honor of the Friars' pat- 
ron saint. 

Santa Clara, named from the mission established 
there in 1777. 

Contra Costa, (the opposite coast), as the natural 
designation of the county across the bay from San 

Marin county, named after a troublesome chief 
whom an exploring expedition encountered in 1815. 
Marin died at the San Rafael mission in 1784. 

Sonoma, named after a noted Indian, who also gave 
name to his tribe. The word means " Valley of the 

Solano, the name of a chief, who borrowed it from 
his missionary friend, Father Solano. 

Yolo, the corruption of an Indian word yoloy, sig- 
nifying a place thick with rushes ; also the name of an 
Indian tribe on Cache creek. 

Napa, named after a numerous tribe in that region, 
which was nearly exterminated by small-pox in 1838. 

Mendocino, named by the discoverer after Mendoza, 
Viceroy of New Spain. 

Sacramento, (the Sacrament.) Moraga gave the 
main river the name of Jesus Maria, and the princi- 
pal branch he called the Sacramento. Afterwards, the 
main river came to be known as the Sacramento and 
the branch Feather river, (de las Plumas.) 

El Dorado, the appropriate name of the district 
where gold was discovered in 1848. 

Sutter county, named in honor of the world-re- 
nowned pioneer, John A. Sutter. 

Yuba, a corruption of Uva, a name given to a branch 
of Feather river in 1824 by an exploring party, on ac- 
count of the great quantities of wild grapevines 
growing on the banks of the river. 

Butte, the common French term for a mound, in 
allusion to three symmetrical hills in that county, so 
named by a party of Hudson Bay Company's hunters. 

Colusa, from Coluses, the name of a numerous tribe 
on the west side of the Sacramento ; the meaning of 
the word is unknown. 



Shasta, the name of a tribe that lived at the base of 
the lofty peak, going by the same name. 

Calaveras, so named by Captain Moraga, on account 
of an immense number of skulls found in the vicinity 
of a stream which hecalled " Calaveras," (the river of 
skulls). This is the reputed site of a terrible battle 
between the mountain and valley Indians, over the 
fishing question. 

San Joaquin, after the river, so named by Captain 
Moraga, in honor of the legendary father of the Virgin. 

Tuolumne, a corruption of an Indian word signify- 
ing a cluster of stone wigwams. 

Mariposa, signifies butterfly. So called by a party of 
hunters, who camped on the river in 1807, and ob- 
served the trees gorgeous with butterflies. 

Trinity, called after the bay of that name, which 
was discovered on the anniversary of Trinity festival. 

On March 2d, the legislature passed another act, 
authorizing the first county elections to take place on 
April ist, and after a session of four months, during 
which time one hundred and forty laws were passed, 
that were supposed to cover the requirements of the 
time completely, the legislature adjourned, April 226, 

Tne bill for the admission of California as a state 
passed the senate August i3tb, notwithstanding the 
senators from the South almost unanimously voted 
against it on account of the slavcrj- clause in the con- 
stitution ; the bill passed the lower House September 
7th, and was signed by President Filmore on the 9th 
the same month. 

The first news of tlie passage of the California Ad- 
mission Act arrived in San Francisco October 18, 
1850, by the steamer Oregon, Ceneral Bidwell being 
the bearer. 

AMr:RIC.-\N RUI.K — lJ:;RRriORI.AI„ 

Commodore John p. Sloat, July 7th, 1846 to Au- 
gust 17th, 1846. 

Commodore Robert F. Stockton, August 17th, 1846, 
to January i6th, 1847. 

Colonel John C. Fremont, January 16th, to March 
ist, 1847. 

General Stephen W. Kearney, March ist, to May 
31st, 1847. 

Colonel Richard B. Mason, May 31st, 1847, to 
February 28th, 1849. 

General Persifer F. Smith, February 28th, to April 
13th, 1849. 

General Bennett Riley, April 13th, to December 
20th, 1849. 


*Peter H. Burnett. 
John McDougall. . 
John Bigler 

..Inaugurated, Dec. 20, 1849. 
Jan. 9, 1851. 
Jan. 8, 1852. 

John Bigler Inaugurated Jan. 

J. Neely Johnson .... " Jan. 

John B. Weller " Jan. 

"*Milton S. Latham. . . " Jan. 

John G. Downey " Jan. 

Leland Stanford " Jan. 

fFrederick F. Lowe.. " Dec. 

Henry H. Haight .... " Dec. 

*Newton Booth " Dec. 

Romualdo Pacheco . . . " F'eb. 

William Irwin " Dec. 

George C. Perkins... " Jan. 

George Stoneman " Jan. 


8, 1854. 
8, 1856. 
8, 1858. 
8, i860. 
14, i860 
8, 1862. 
2, 1863. 
5, 1867. 

8, 1871. 
27. 1875. 

9. 1875. 
8, 1879. 
















Colusa, (incl.Sl.asta & Trinity in 1850) 










Klamath, (by Act of March 28 1874 the 
Territory of this county annexed 




1 „c Al,.T,.1..<; 











Modoc, (formed from eastern part 















Phi mis 



San Benito, (formed from eastern part 
of Monterey.) 





San Francisco 



.San Luis Obispo 


Santa Barbara 

Santa Clara, 

Santa Cruz, 

Shasta, (incl. Trinity and Colusa) .... 



Siskiyou . ' 









Trinity, (incl. Colusa and Shasta) 

Tulare .... 




Ventura, (formed from ea.stern part 
of Smta Barbara) 









increased from : 


The census of 1850 was rendered by Census Agent 
J. Neely Johnson, on April 10, 185 1, to the Legislat- 
ure in session. The north boundary of the State had 
been so undefined that a large population on Klam- 
ath river was not enumerated, being sup]iosed to be 
comprehended in the Territory of Oregon. 




Animal Life, Mammiferous and Fowls— The Indians -Their 
Characteristics by Different Travelers — Habitation, Food, 
Clothing— Their Family Life— Other Habits, Hair Cutting, 
Painting, Tattooing — Their Fondness for Ornaments— In- 
dustry — Faith and Burying Their Dead — Their Signal 
Fires — Gluttonous Habits — Temes chals —Appearance of 
the First Trappers— T. S. Smith— Alexander R. McLeod- 
Joseph R. Walker— The Truckee River— Stephen H. Meek 
— Wilke's Expedition, the Detachment Under Lieutenant 
George F. Emmons — First Emigrant Company Under 
Captain Kartelson — Another Emigrant Company Under 
William Workman. 

When first visited by the Spaniards, California 
abounded in wild animals, some of which are now 
extinct. Of one of these, called by Spanish people 
'•berendo," and by the natives "taye," Father Venegas 
says: 'Tt is about the bigness of a calf a year and a 
half old, resembling it in figure except in the head, 
which is like that of a deer, and the horns very thick 
like those of a ram; its hoof is large, round and clo- 
ven, and its tail short." This was the Argali, a 
species intermediate between the goat and sheep, 
living in large herds along the foot of the mountains, 
supposed to be a variety of the Asiatic argali. 

On his journey from Monterey to San Francisco, 
F'ather Serra met with herds of immense deer, which 
the men mistook for European cattle, and wondered 
how they got there. Several deer were shot whose 
horns measured eleven feet from tip to tip. 

Another large animal which the natives called 
"cibalo," the bison, inhabited the great plains, but was 
eventually driven off by the vast herds of domestic 
cattle. When Langsdorff's ship was lying in the bay 
of San Francisco, in 1804, sea-otters were swimming 
about so plentifully as to be nearly unheeded. The 
Indians caught them in snares or killed them with 
sticks. Perouse estimated that the presidio of Monte- 
rey alone could supply ten thousand otter skins annu- 
ally, worth twenty dollars and upwards apiece. 

Captain Beechey in 1824, estimated the annual ex- 
port of skms (of sea-otter, beaver, etc.) to number 
2,000, and he points to the indolence and ignorance 
of the Californians shown in the incident that the 

rivers abounded with these animals, but they bought 
the skins from the Russians, paying twenty dollars 
and upwards apiece for them. 

Upper California, when first visited by the mission- 
aries under Spanish protection, was inhabited by the 
same race of men as the lower provinces. The na- 
tives of Upper California, however, differed somewhat 
both in physical character and customs, from their 
southern brethren; but hardly more than what they 
varied one from another in the different districts. 
They were acknowledged to be a timid and feeble 
race by all who had a chance to compare them with 
the hardy red men of the northwestern plains of 
North America. 

From the accounts given by the missionaries, whose 
travels were chiefly undertaken with the intention of 
converting the natives, and for this purpose fixed on 
the proper places to plant missions, it appears that the 
borders of the Rso Gila and Rio Colorado were 
thickly peopled by Indians, who, though they culti- 
vated some maize and even wheat, and also had some 
cattle, did not show the slightest hostility or opposi- 
tion to the travelers who, on the contrary, were re- 
ceived with kindness and presented with such food as 
there could be foimd, were esteemed by the fathers a> 
in a very low state of civilization. 

The moral qualities of these native people are cer- 
tainly not beyond the range of their [ihysical, but the 
estimates as to their qualities are more or less influ- 
enced by the standpoint of the reasoner. Says Father 
Venegas: "It is not easy for Europeans, who were 
never out of their own country, to conceive an ade- 
quate idea of these people; for even in the least fre- 
quented corner of the globe there is not a nation so 
stupid, of such contracted ideas, and weak, both in 
body and mind, as the unhappy nations here. Their 
characteristics are stupidity and insensibility, want of 
knowledge and reflection, inconstancy, impetuosity 
and blindness in appetite. An excessive sloth and 
abhorrence of all fatigue, an incessant love of pleas- 
ure and amusement of every kind, however trifling or 
brutal ; in fine, a most wretched want of everything 
which constitutes the real man and renders him 
rational, inventive, tractable and useful to himself and 
society." Certain it is, that they at least have none of 
that boldness and independence of character, and 
very little of thafactivity and perseverence which dis- 
tinguishes the Indians nearer the pole. And another 
writer says: "The whole of the Indians inhabiting 
the territory are of the same race as those which for- 
merly inhabited the coast, and whose chidren are now 
subjects or slaves of the missionaries. They seem to 
have made no advance toward civilization since the 
first discovery of the country. Their habitations are 


small round huts of rushes, of a temporary character, 
erected where they halt for a season, and burned when 
they change their station (the exterior has the appear- 
ance of a beehive). In each dwelling there are nine 
or ten Indians of both sexes and of all ages, nearly in 
a state of nudity, huddled around a fire kindled in 
the center; the whole presenting a picture of wretched- 
ness and misery seldom beheld in even the most sav- 
age state of society." The whole furniture consists of 
a chest, a dish and a bowl, made in the shape of a 
high crowned hat, a bone used for an awl in manufac- 
turing the form r articles out of bulrushes or roots, 
and once in a while a shell to drink out of. When 
removing from one place to another the women have 
to carry the whole outfit, including the babies, loaded 
on their shoulders and hanging down their backs ; the 
man only carries his bow and arrows, with their ap- 
purtenances. Father Palou on the habits of subsist- 
ence of the Indians says : " The natives of this part 
of the country maintain theiiiselves by the seeds and 
herbs of the field, to collect which, when in season, is 
the duty of the women. They grind the seeds and 
make a gruel from the flour, and sometimes a kind of 
pudding or dough, which they form into balls the size of 
an orange. Some of this flour has an agreeable flavor 
and is very nutritive; that produced from a black 
seed has the taste of a toasted almond. To this they 
add fish and sometimes shellfish, and in addition they 
have the produce of the chase and wild fowl. Some- 
times it happens that a whale is driven ashore and 
they would have a great feast. In the highlands they 
gather an eatable root which they call amok, about 
the size of an onion ; when roasted this has an agree- 
able, sweetish taste. The female sex make more use 
of clothing than the male, even the young girls have 
always some covering made of the tule or bulrush^ 
consisting of one piece before and another one be- 
hind, made in the manner of a petticoat; they also 
have a piece thrown over their shoulders." They have 
their marriages, but they only consist of the consent 
between the parties, no ceremonies are connected, 
and they are binding as long as both parties agree ; in 
case of disagreement, and they should choose to part, 
their only mode of cancelling the marriage is by using 
the expression: "I throw you away." They are given 
to polygamy, and frequently it happens that the wife 
urges her husband to marry her sister or even their 
mother; but these many wives of one husband live all 
together in one hut without jealousy or dispute, each 
looking on the whole of the children as though they 
were her own. 

They are in the habit of cutting their hair short, 
when one of their relatives or friends dies, and put 
ashes on their heads and faces, as well as on other 

Parts of their bodies. This habit of cutting their hair, 
however, seems not to have been a general one all 
over, for the Indians of the south, on the contrary, 
had a great pride in the abundance of their hair, 
which they ornamented with beads, etc., made into 
wreaths, bound around their heads. All are in the 
habit of painting themselves; black, blue, and red 
seem to be the principal colors. This is not only done 
for their own beautifying but it seems also an emblem 
of mourning for their friends, for whom they had a 
strong aff"ection. This is not the only means used of 
producing impressions that were not born with them ; 
some tribes tattoo their bodies like the Indians of the 
Islands, but not to such an extent, and this practice is 
here more confined to women. While in summer 
they go around nearly naked, in the winter they wear 
a garment made of deer skins, otter skins, or made of 
feathers of different water fowls ; this latter is chiefly 
used by the women. The feathers are twisted and 
tied together into a sort of rope, and these are bun- 
dled and tied so as to have a feathery surface on both 
sides. Like all savages, they are fond of ornaments 
for their person, consisting of bits of carved wood 
worn as earrings, bandeous of feathers around their 
heads, shells rounded and strung up like beads hung 
around their necks. In one of their feather bandeous- 
Langsdorff counted 450 tail-feathers of the golden, 
winged woodperker, and as there are only two of these 
in each birds tail, one can make himself an idea of 
the number of birds that were killed for the purpose, 
and of the labor and persistency spent in gathering 
this material. But the mechanical dexterity of this 
people was not limited to these feather-works ; other 
articles were made of tule-grass or bulrushes, and in 
the construction of their baskets, bowls, etc., they dis- 
played considerable ingenuity ; some of them, made 
out of the bark of tree^ were water-tight and used for 
carrying water. The largest of their manufactured 
articles were their boats, called the balsa, made 
from the same material that the baskets were made 

About their faith and belief there is as much 
as nothing known; but one superstition seems firndy 
believed by all, viz.: that any sickness with which they 
were afflicted arose from the incantations of their ene. 
mies. Most of them burnt their de;ad, and together 
with the dead all his household goods, ornaments and 
arms. They had special burying places for this pur- 
pose, and as far as El Dorado county is concerned, 
there are three such places that could be made out 
with certainty : one near Columbia Flat ; one close by 
Diamond Springs, and one lower down near the Co- 
sumnes river. 

Dr. Santels, a Swedish scholar, who tra\ eled over this 








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country in 1843, gave a description of their signal tires. 
He says : " A hole is dug in the ground wider at the 
bottom than at the top ; this hole was filled with com- 
bustibles and set on fire ; once well ignited the hole is 
nearly closed at the opening. By this means the smoke 
rises to a considerable hight in a column, and thus in- 
formation was conveyed to different tribes of the ap- 
proach of an enemy or friend, and whether they are 
coming in large or small bodies." 

About the gluttonous habits of the Indians he 
writes: "The Indians that constituted the crew of the 
schooner, having been rather stinted of food for a day 
or two, determined on a feast as a recompense for 
their previous fasting. They presented on that occa- 
sion a spectacle I had never before witnessed of dis- 
gusting sensual indulgence, the effect of which on 
their conduct, struck me as being exceedingly strange. 
The meat of a heifer, most rudely cooked, was 
eaten in a voracious manner. After gorging them- 
selves they would lie down and sleep for a while, and 
get up and eat again. They repeated this gluttony 
until they actually lost their senses, rolled upon the 
ground, dozed, and then sprang up in a state of deli- 
rium. The following morning they were all wretchedly 
sick, and had the expression peculiar to drunken men 
recovering their reason after a debauch." 

Notwithstanding their filthy habits, the Indians gen- 
arally were very healthy ; their principal remedy for all 
diseases, where the natural means of their herbarist 
medicines did not bring the expected result, consisted 
in hot air baths, caWed /ernes c/ia^, conaUucted as a big 
oven or hovel, out of mud, with a small hole for en- 
trance on the side, and another one on the top from 
which the smoke escaped; the interior, with the na- 
tural soil for the floor, was big enough to allow about 
half a dozen persons to use the room at the same 
time, and they kept on with adding sticks to the fire 
as long as they could stand the heat. A profuse per- 
spiration soon followed, which was scraped off with a 
kind of a wooden spoon ; and thereafter they used to 
plunge into the cold water of the river, for which pur- 
pose the femes chals usually were built close to a 
river's bank. 

The Spanish settlers always considered the Indians 
not belonging to the missions, particularly those on 
the Rio Colorado and adjacent countries, as most 
ferocious and inimical to the white man, and that it 
was almost impossible to pass through their territory ; 
thus they were astonished by the first appearance of 
the American trapper, and still more so by learning 
the fact that they had escaped the vengeance of the 
wild Indians ; this opinion, however, is a great exag- 
geration, based upon the imperfect knowledge of the 
country they were living in ; for although some of the 

tribes may not have been so docile, yet none of them 
were very foimidable. But the most extraordinary 
daring of these American adventurers [.^resented such 
a remarkable contrast to the indolent Creole, who sel- 
dom left his house, on account of the rays of the sun, 
to which he did not like to expose himself, while the 
American trapper furnished him an imposing exam- 
ple of strength and endurance effected by their rough 
pursuit, and a comparison between both these na- 
tionalities, already at that time, was showing the 
chances of each of them in an eventually coming con- 

Neither the Spaniards nor their progeny, the native 
Cahfornian, knew anything of California outside of 
the Coast range district and the great valleys where 
they used to pasture their herds of all kinds of stock. 
In 1820, Captain Luis Arguello, by order of the gov- 
ernor of California, went on an e.xploring trip through 
the northern region of the territory. He followed the 
upper part of the Sacramento river and penetrated as 
far as Fort Vancouver, on the C.Jluuibia river, being 
without a doubt the first Caucasian, who traveled on 
that route. To him some of the rivers owe their 
names ; thus the Yuba river, Rio de las Uva (grapes); 
Feather river, Rio de las Plumas ; Bear river, Rio de 
los Osos ; etc. Nothing, however, is known of an ex- 
ploring trip into the heart of the mountains that skirt 
the great valley basin to the east ; the sight of their 
snow-clad crest made the effeminate race shiver, and 
probably the grand scenery and gigantic beauty of 
nature enclosed in the mountains, had not charm and 
attraction enough to warm them up again ; so the 
whole region remained to them a terra incognita, and 
they felt fully satisfied to have given the name : " Si- 
erra Nevada," meaning snowy mountains. 

To the daring and adventurous advance-agents of 
the civilization of the great West it was withheld to 
make the first exploring voyages over an 1 through the 
mountain region. The trappers of the American Fur 
Company and the Hudson Bay Company passed over 
them at different times and over different routes to and 
from their choice trapping grounds in the great valleys 
and the Coast Range mountains of this coast. 

The first of these trapping expeditions that crossed 
the Serra Nevada is supposed to be .one fitted up by 
the American Fur Company in the summer of 1825, 
under Jedediah S. Smith (for his discovery of gold, 
see " Discovery of Gold,") as leader, from Green river 
station. He advanced to the country west of Salt 
Lake, discovered what is now called Humboldt river, 
calling it Mary's ri"er after his Indian wife ; pushing 
further on, he found his way blocked by the great 
mountain range, but this instead of building up a hin- 
drance for further explorations, invited his adventure 



some nature to see what could be found for his trade 
on the other side. Where he crossed the Sierra is 
only a matter of supposition, but it must have been 
not far from where the old emigrant-road crossed 
afterwards, near the head waters of the Truckee. The 
party trapped for beaver and otter from the American 
river to Tulare lake, and had their camp for a while 
near the present site of Folsom, following their cal- 
ling m a northerly direction and finally returning over 
the mountains about the locality of Walker's pass. In 
May, 1827, we find the same J. S. Smith with only a 
few companions on another voyage, near the mission 
of San Jose, having lost most of them on his way into 
the Mojave country, on the Colorado river, in a fight 
with Indians. He made his way through, arriving in 
January at the mission of San Gabriel, procured pass- 
ports for himself and companion from the general at 
San Diego, and camped in May near the mission of 
San Jose, where he wrote a letter to Father Duran, 
stating that he was ou his way to Oregon in the peace- 
ful business of trapping ; and after having reunited 
himself with the company he had left on the American 
river, the year before, he started for the Columbia 
river, following the coast, but was attacked by Indians 
at the mouth of the Umpqua river, and all but himself 
and two others were killed and robbed of all their 
traps and furs. They escaped to F"ort Vancouver and 
after telling their story to the agent of the Hudson 
Bay Company, a party was fitted out to recover the 
stolen property and chastise the Indians, and meeting 
with success in both directions, they returned to Fort 
Vancouver ; the greater portion, however, followed 
Alexander Roderick McLeod on a trip into Califor- 
nia, which they entered by the same route where Smith 
had come out, and trapped on the streams of the 

Next to Smith's stands the record of Joseph R. 
Walker, who started in July, 1833, from the rendez- 
vous of the American Fur Company on Green river, 
with a party of about forty trappers. Stephen H. 
Meek, now of Sikiyou county, was one of this party, 
and to him we are indebted for the following informa- 
tion : 

They advanced to the country west of Salt Lake, 
and suffered a great deal from want of food and water 
until they reached Mary's River, now Humboldt, fol- 
lowing this stream to its sink ; then it was decided to 
cross and trap for the following summer on the Cali 
fornia side of the mountains ; so they went on, but 
again ran short of water, and had to send out in search 
of it, and one of their hunters came upon the Truckee 
river, near the Meadows, turned his horse and in full 
speed brought the joyful news back into camp, shout- 
ing : " A great river ! A great river!" This man's 

name was Baptiste Truckee, a Canadian, and his name 
was given to the stream he had discovered. Following 
up the run of this river they penetrated as far as 
Donner Lake, but the snow-bound mountains — it 
being then in the month of December — did not invite 
them to a crossing, and they returned to the Meadows^ 
on the Truckee river, passing through Washoe valley 
to Carson river, and discovered Walker river, called 
after the captain of the company, and crossed the 
mountains through Walker's pass, also called after 
him. They went into camp on the shore of Tulare 
lake, but failing to accomplish the purpose of their 
mission they retracea their steps over the mountains 
back to the Humboldt and Green rivers. Mr. Meek 
is still a resident of Siskyou county in this state. 
Nearly every party of trappers who passed through 
the country left a few of their number here, and after 
the fur trade began to break up, from about 1838 and 
later, many of them settled down on the streams of 
California. One of this class of settlers in El Dorado 
county, although a somewhat late one, is Lewis B. 
Myers, of Greenwood, El Dorado county, California. 

In the year 1838, the Lnited States government 
sent out a fleet of vessels under command of Commo- 
dore Chas Wilkes, on an extended voyage that lasted 
live years. In the month of September, 1841, a de- 
tachment of this expedition started on an overland 
trip from Vancouver, on the Columbia river, to Verba 
Buena, (San Francisco,) passing down the Hudson 
Bay trail and the Sacramento river. This party con- 
sisted of : 

Lieut. George E. Emmons, in command. 

Past Midshipman, Henry Eld. 

Past Midshipman, George W. Colvocoressis. 

Assistant-Surgeon, J. S. Whittle. 

SeanAen : Daughty, Sutton, Waltham and Merzer. 

Sergeant, Stearns ; Corporal, Hughes. 

Privates, Marsh and Smith. 

There were attached to the expedition for observa- 
tions, etc.: 

T. R. Peal, naturalist. 

W. Rich, botanist. 

James D. Dana, geologist. 

A. T. Agate, artist. 

J. D. Breckenridge, assistant-botanist. 

Baptiste CJuardipii, guide. 

Tibbats, Black, Wartield, Wood, Molair and Inass, 

The years 1840-1841, introduced a new feature in 
the history of the exploration of the territory on this 
coast. Dr. John Marsh's — then a resident of this 
country — glowing description of California, given in 
the nevvspapers of St. Louis, Missouri, commenced to 
attract considerable attention, and some adventurous 



characters who did not find room enough at home for 
the development of their faculties, soon handed to- 
gether in a little emigrant army to set out for the Pa- 
cific coast ; and among their number we find names 
of men whose subsequent acts helped materially to 
shape the destiny of this state. 

The party consisted of thir.y-six, thirty-four of them 
were men. Mrs. Nancy A. Kelsey, the wife of Ben- 
jamin Kelsey, and her little daughter Ann, were with- 
out doubt the first American females who entered 
California by the overland route. Following are the 
names of the men forming the party ; 

Captain J. B. Bartelson, captain of the party ; re- 
turned to Missouri, is now dead. 

John Bidwell, lives at Chico. 

Joseph B. Childs, still alive. 

Josiah Belden, lives at San Jose and San Francisco- 
Charles M. Weber, died at Stockton, May 4, i88i_ 

Charles Hopper, lives in Napa coiinty. 

Henry Huber, lives in San Francisco. 

Mitchell Nye, had a ranch at Marysville, probably 
now alive. 

Green McMahon, lives in Solano county. 

Nelson McMahon, died in New York. 

Talbot H. Green, returned east. 

Ambrose Walton, returned east. 

John McDonel, returned east. 

George Henshaw, returned east. 

Robert Ryckman, returned East. 

Wm. Betty or Belty, returned East by way of Santa 

Charles Flugge, returned east. 

Gwin Patton, returned East, died in Missouri. 

Benjamin Kelsey, lives in Santa Barbara county or 
at Clear Lake, Lake county. 

Andrew Kelsey, killed by Indians at Clear Lake. 

James John or Littlejohn, went to Oregon. 

Henry Brolasky, went to Callao, South America. 

James Dowson, drowned in the Columbia river. 

Maj. Walton, drowned in the Sacramento river. 

George Shortwell, accidentally shot on the way out. 

John Schwartz, died in California. 

Grove Cook, died in California. 

D. W. Chandler, went to the Sandwich Islands. 

Nicholas Dawson, dead. 

Thomas Jones, dead. 

Robert H. Thomes, died in Tehama county, Cal., 
March 26, 1878. 

Elias Barnett. 

James Springer. 

John Rowland. 

The train was made up out of three different divis. 
ions, one being emigrants for Oregon, the second was 
a company of Jesuit priests going on a mission to the 

Indians of Oregon and Idaho, the third was the above 
named party. They left Independence, Missouri, 
May 8, 1841, and traveled together to Fort Hall, near 
Salt Lake, where Captain Bartelson's party separated 
from the rest, and without a guide started for Califor- 
nia, by the way of Mary's or Humboldt river, then 
went to Carson river, and from this to the main valley 
of the Walker river, which they followed up near to 
its source, and from this point commencing their 
mountain passage of the Sierra Nevada, descending 
the western slope of it between the Stanislaus and Tu- 
olumne rivers, reaching the San Joaquin valley and 
passing down along the Stanislaus, then crossing the 
San Joaquin river, arrived at Dr. Marsh's ranch, near 
the eastern base of Mount Diablo, on November 4, 
1841. After a rest of a few days here the party dis- 
banded, and each one looked after his own interest. 

About the same time, in November,- 1841, another 
party of emigrants from the Western States arrived by 
the Santa Fe and Sonora route, in the southern part 
of the territory, disbanding at Los Angeles. Mem- 
bers of this company were : 

William Workman, in command, died at Los Ange 
les in 1876. 

John Roland, living at Los Angeles. 

Benito D. Wilson, living at Los Angeles. 

Albert G, Toomes, living in Tehama county. 

William Knight, died in Yolo county in 1849. 

William Gordon, died in Yolo county, October 3, 

Thomas Lindsay, killed by Indians at Stockton, 


William Moore. 
Wade Hampton. 
Dr. Gamble. 
Isaac Givens. 
Hiram Taylor. 
Colonel McClure. 
Charles Givens. 
Frederick Bachelor. 
Dr. Meade. 
Mr. Teabo. 
Mr. Pickman. 



IN THIS REGION. (Continued.) 

John C. Fremont's Report to the Chief of Topographical Engi- 
neers, Extract from Jan. 28, 1844, to March 6, 1844— Fre- 
mont entering Lake Valley— Difficult Traveling— His 
Peaceable Encounters with the Indians— Abandoning the 
Howitzer— One Indian Guide— Fremont Encouraging h\> 


men by describing the wonders of the Sacramento Valley — 
Breaking Road through the Snow — On the Upper Truckee 
River — Appearance of the Central Ridge of the Sierra Ne- 
vada — Cold Increasing — Experience with the Second In- 
dian Guide — Making Sleighs and Snow Shoes — On the 
Summit — Hard Struggle to bring the animals over the 
Snow — Delicacies of the Table — The Rock Forming the 
Summit — Camping on the Head Waters of the American 
River— Comparison of the Pass with the South Pass of the 
Rocky Mountains, in Regard to Hi(;h, Latitude and Lon- 
gitude — Early Rising Repaiil with a Beautilul Sight of 
Sunrise — Scenery of the Mountains Amidst and After a 
Storm — Second Unintended Bath in the Cold Stream — 
Structure of the Central part of the Sierra and of the Sum- 
mit—Fremont's Favorite Horse giving out on top of Pilot 
Hill— An Indian Mistakes the party for some of his Fel- 
lows—High Qualities of the Country for Pasture— The 
Lower Foothills appear like Parks in Old-settled Countries 
—An Indian Village— Arrival and Reception at Sutter's 
Fort— History of the Donner Party. 

John C. Fremont, then Brevet Captain of Toi)0- 
graphical Engineers, on his return from his first ex- 
ploring exi)edition to Oregon, passed south on the 
east side of the Sierra Nevada, crossing it under all 
kinds of hardships and suffering from privation, from 
the Carson river to the American river, in the month 
of February, 1844. His experiences are laid down 
in his report to the Chief of Engineers. Out of this 
we shall quote such of those passages as are of inter- 
est in regard to the character of the mountains, the 
nature of the inhabitants and their limited knowledge 
of the regions they were living in ; their principal in- 
terest, however, consisting in the fact that this passage 
took place in El Dorado county : On the evening of 
January 28, 1844, the party of twenty-five men passed 
the mountain range dividing the Carson river from 
the basin of Lake Tahoe, and from here we may fol- 
low the verbal quotation of the report ; 

"Jan. 28. — To-day we went through the pass with 
all the camp, and, after a hard day's journey of twelve 
miles, encamped on a high point where the snow had 
been blown off, and the exposed grass afforded a 
scanty pasture for the animals. Snow and broken 
country together made our traveling difficult ; we 
were often compelled to make large circuits, and as- 
cend the highest and most exposed ridges, in order 
to avoid snow, which in other places was banked up 
to a great depth. 

During the day a few Indians were seen circling 
around us on snow shoes, and skimming along like 
birds ; but we could not bring them within speaking 
distance. They seem to have no idea of the jjower 
of firearms, and think themselves perfectly safe beyond 
arm's length. 

To-night we did not succeed in getting the howitzer 
into camp. This was the most laborious day we had 
yet i-iassed through, the steep ascent and deep snow- 

exhausting both men and animals. Our single chro 
nometer had stopped during the day, and its error in 
time occasioned the loss of an eclipse of a satellite 
this evening. It had not preserved the rate with 
which we started from the Dalles, and this will ac- 
count for the absence of longitudes along this inter- 
val of our journey. 

The last observation was taken on the 27th of Jan- 
uary, with 38° 18' 01" for the latitude, and the eleva- 
tion above the sea, 6,310 feet. January 29. — From 
this height we could see at a considerable distance 
below, yellow spots in the valley, which indicated that 
there was not much snow. One of these places 
we expected to reach that night. We followed a trail 
down a hollow where the Indians had descended, the 
snow being so deep that we never came near the 
ground; but this only made our descent so much 
easier, and, when we reached a little affluent to 
the river at the bottom, we suddenly found ourselves 
in the presence of eight or ten Indians. Our friendly 
demeanor reconciled them, and when we got near 
enough they immediately stretched out to us hand- 
fuls of pine nuts, which seemed an exercise of hospi- 
tality. The principal stream still running through an 
unpracticable canyon, we ascended a very steep hill, 
which proved afterwards the last and fatal obstacle to 
our little howitzer, which was finally abandoned at this 
place. We passed through a small meadow a few 
miles below, crossing the river, whose depth, swift 
current, and rocks, made it difficult to ford ; and after 
a few more miles of very difficult travel emerged into 
a large prairie bottom, at the farther end of which we 
encamped, in a position rendered strong by rocks and 
trees. The lower parts of these mountains were cov- 
ered with the nut-pine. Several Indians appeared on 
the hillside, reconnoitering the camp, and were in- 
duced to come in. Others came in during the after- 
noon, and in the evening we held a council. We 
explained to the Indians that we were endeavoring to 
find a passage across the mountains into the country 
of the whites, whom we were going to see; and told 
them that we wished them to bring us a guide, to 
whom we would give presents of scarlet cloth and 
other articles, which were shown to them. They 
looked at the reward we offered, and conferred with 
each other, but pointed to the snow in the mountains, 
and drew their hands across their necks and raised 
them above their heads, to show the depth ; and sig- 
nified that it was impossible for us to get through. 
They made signs that we must go to the southward, 
over a pass through a lower range, which they pointed 
out. There, they said, at the end of one day's travel, 
we would find pejple who lived near a pass in the 
great mountain, and to that point they engaged to 



furnish a guide. They appeared to have a confused 
idea of whites who lived on the other side of the 
mountains, and once they told us, about two years 
ago, a party of twelve men like ourselves had ascended 
their river and crossed to the other waters. They 
pointed out to us where they had crossed ; but then, 
they said, it was summer time, while now it would be 
impossible. I believe this was a party led by Mr. 
Chiles, one of the only two men whom I know to 
have passed through the California mountains from 
the interior of the basin, Walker being the other, and 
both were engaged upward of twenty days, in the 
summer time, in getting over. Chiles' destination was 
the bay of San Francisco, to which he descended by 
the Stanislaus river. Both were western men, animated 
with the spirit of exploratory enterprise which charac- 
terizes that people. 

The Indians brought in during the evening an 
abundant supply of pine-nuts, for which we traded 
with them. When roasted, their pleasant flavor made 
them an agreeable addition to our now scanty store of 
provisions, which were reduced to a very low ebb. 
Our principal stock was in peas, which contained 
scarcely any nutriment. We had still a little flour left, 
some coffee, and a quantity of sugar, which I reserved 
as a defense against starvation. The Indians informed 
us that at a certain season they have fish in their 
waters which we supposed to be salmon trout ; for the 
remainder of the year they live on pine-nuts, which 
form their great winter subsistence, a portion being 
always at hand, shut up in the natural storehouse of 
the cones. They were presented to us as a whole 
people, living upon this simple vegetable. 

The other division of the party did not come in 
that night, but encamped in the upper meadow and 
arrived next morning. They had not succeeded in 
getting the howitzer beyond the place mentioned, and 
there it had been left in obedience to my orders. It 
was of the kind invented by the French for the moun- 
tam part of their war in Algiers. We left it to the great 
sorrow of the whole party, who were grieved to part 
with a companion which had made the whole distance 
from St. Louis, and commanded respect for us on 
some critical occasions, and which might be needed 
for the same purpose again. 

January 30th — Our guide, who was a young man, 
joined us this morning, and leaving our encampment 
late in the day, we descended the river which imme- 
diately opened out into a broad valley, furnishing 
good traveling ground. In a short distance we passed 
the village, a collection of straw huts; and a few 
miles below the guide pointed out the place where the 
whites had camped before entering the mountains. 
With our late start we made but ten miles, and en 

camped on the low river bottom, where there was no 
snow but a great deal of ice, and we cut piles of long 
grass to lay under our blankets, and fires were made 
of large dry willows, groves of which wooded the 
stream. The river here took a northeasterly direc- 
tion, and through a spur from the mountains, on the 
left, was the gap where we were to pass the next day. 

January 31st — We took our way over a gently 
rising ground, the dividing ridge being tolerably low, 
and traveling easily along a broad trail, in twelve or 
fourteen miles reached the upper part of the pass, 
when it began to snow thickly, with very cold weather. 
The Indians had only the usual scanty covering, and 
appeared to suffer greatly from cold. All left us ex- 
cept our guide. Half hidden by the storm, the moun- 
tains looked dreary; and as night began to approach 
the guide began to show great reluctance to go for- 
ward. I placed him between two rifles, for the way 
began to be ditificult. Traveling a little farther we 
struck a ravine which the Indian said would conduct 
us to the river; and as the poor fellow suffered greatly, 
shivering in the snow which fell upon his naked skin, 
I would not detain him any longer, and he ran off to 
the mountain. He had kept the blue and scarlet 
cloth I had given him tightly rolled up, preferring 
rather to endure the cold than to get them wet. 
About dark we had the satisfaction of reaching the 
foot of a stream timbered with large trees, among 
which we found a sheltered camp with an abund- 
ance of such grass as the season afforded for the ani- 
mals. We saw before us in descending from the pass, 
a great, continuous range, along which stretched the 
valley of the river, the lower parts steep and dark 
with pines, while above it was hidden with clouds of 
snow. This we instantly felt satisfied was the cen- 
tral ridge of the Sierra Nevada, the great California 
mountain, which only now intervened between us and 
the waters of the bay. We had made a forced march 
of twenty-six miles, and three mules had given out on 
the road ; we have now sixty-seven animals in the 

We gathered together a few of the most intelli- 
gent of the Indians — that had come into camp nearly 
naked — and held this evening an interesting council. 
I explained to them my intentions. I told them that 
we had come from a very far country, having been 
traveling now nearly a year, and that we were desirous 
simply to go across the mountain into the country 
of the other whites. There were two who appeared 
particularly intelligent — one, a somewhat old man. 
He told me that before the snows fell, it was six sleeps 
to the place where the whites lived, but that now it was 
impossible to cross the mountains on account of the 
dee]) snow ; and showing us, as the others had done. 



that it was over our heads, he urged us strongly to 
follow the course of the river, which, he said, would 
conduct us to a lake in which there were many large 
fish. There, he said, were many people, there was no 
snow on the ground, and we might rema-n in there 
until spring. From their description, we judged that 
we had encamped on the upper waters of the Salmon- 
Trout river (Upper Truckee.) I told him that the 
men and horses were strong; that we would break a 
road through the snow, and spreading before him our 
bales of scarlet cloth and trinkets, showed liim what 
we would give for a guide. It was necessary to obtain 
one, if possible, for I had determined here to attempt 
the passage of the mountains. Pulling a branch of 
grass from the ground, after a short discussion among 
themselves, the old man made us comprehend that if 
we could break through the snow, at the end of three 
days we would come down upon grass, which he 
showed us would be about six inches high, and where 
the ground was entirely free. So far, he said, he had 
been hunting for elk, but be)ond that (and he closed 
his eyes) he had seen nothing ; but there was one 
among them who had been to the whites, and going 
out of the lodge, he returned with a ) oung man of 
very intelligent appearance. Here, he said, is a young 
man who has seen the whites with his own eyes ; and 
he swore, first by the sky, and then by the ground, 
tli^t what he said was true. ^Vith a large present of 
goods, we prevailed upon this young man to be our 
guide, and he acquired among us the name of Melo — 
a word signifying friend, which they used very fre- 
quently. We gave him skms to make a new pair of 
moccasins, he being nearly barefooted, and to enable 
him to perform his undertaking with us. The Indi- 
ans remained in the camp during the night, and we 
kept the guide and two others to sleep in the lodge 
with us — Carson lying across the door, and having 
made them comprehend the use of ou. fire-arms. 

February i. — The snow, which had intermitted in 
the evening, commenced falling again in the course of 
the night, and it snowed steadily all day. In the 
morning I acquainted the men with my decision, and 
explained to them that necessity required me to make 
a great effort to clear the mountains. I reminded 
them of the beautiful valley of the Sacramento river, 
with which they were familiar from the description of 
Carson (Kit Carson), who had been there some fifteen 
years ago, and who in our late privations had delighted 
us in speaking of its rich pastures and abounding game. 
I assured them that from the heightsof the mountainbe- 
fore us, we should doubtless see the valley of the Sacra- 
mento, and with one efJbrt place ourselves again in the 
midst of plenty. Our guide was not neglected, extremity 
of suffering might make him desert, we therefore did 

the best we could for him. Leggings, moccasins, some 
articles of clothing and a large green blanket, in addi- 
tion to the blue and scarlet cloth, were lavished upon 
him, and to his great and evident contentment. He 
arrayed himself in all his colors, and clad in green, 
blue and scarlet, he made a gay looking Indian ; and 
with his various presents, was probably richer and bet 
ter clothed than any of his tribe had ever been before. 

The river was forty to seventy feet wide, and en- 
tirely frozen over. It was wooded with large Cot- 
tonwood, willow and grain de boeuf. By observation, 
the latitude of the encampment was 38° 37' 18". 

February 2. — It had ceased snowing, and this 
morning the lower air was clear and frosty ; and six or 
seven thousand feet above, the peaks of the Sierra now 
and then appeared among the rolling clouds, which 
were rapidly dispersing before the sun. Crossing the 
river on the ice, and leaving it immediately, we com- 
menced the ascent of the mountain along the valley 
of a tributary stream. The people were unusually 
silent, for every man knew that our enterprise was 
hazardous, and the issue doubtful. 

The snow deepened rapidly, and it soon became 
necessary to break a road. For this service a party of 
ten was formed, mounted on the strongest horses, each 
man in succeession opening the road on foot, or on 
horseback, until himself and his horse became fatigued, 
when he stepped aside and the remaining number 
passing ahead, he took his station in the rear. Leav- 
ing this stream, and pursuing a very direct course, we 
passed over an intervening ridge to the river we had 
left. On the way we passed two low huts entirely 
covered with snow, which might very easily have 
escaped observation. A family was living in each. 
^Ve found two similar huts on the creek where we 
next arrived ; and, traveling a little higher up, en- 
camped on its banks in about four feet depth of snow. 
Carson found near an open hill-side, where the wind and 
the sun had melted the snow, leaving exposed sufficient 
bunch-grass for the animals to-night. 

The nut-pir.s were now giving way to heavy tim- 
ber, and there were some immense pines on the bottom, 
around the roots of which the sun had melted away 
the snow — here we made our camp and built huge 
fires To-day we had traveled 16 miles, and our ele- 
vation above the sea was 6,760 feet. 

February 3. — Turning our faces directly towards the 
main chain, we ascended an open hollow along a small 
tributary to the river, which, according to the Indians, 
issues from a mountain to the south. The snow was 
so deep in the hollow that we were obliged to travel 
along the steep hill-sides, and over spurs where the 
wind and sun had in places lessened the snow, and 
where the grass, which appeared to be in good quality 


along the sides of the mountains, was exposed. We 
opened our read in the same way as yesterday, but 
made only seven miles, and encamped by some 
springs at the foot of a high and steep hill, by which 
the hollow ascended to another basin in the moun- 
tain. The litte stream below was entirely buried in 
snow. The springs were shaded by the boughs of a 
lofty cedar, which here made its first appearance; the 
usual height was from 120 to 130 feet, and one that 
was measured near by was six feet in diameter. There 
being no grass exposed here, the horses were sent 
back to that we had seen a few miles below. During 
the day several Indians joined us on snow-shoes. 
These were made of a circular hoop, about a foot in 
diameter, the interior space being filled with an open 
network of bark. 

February 4. — I went ahead early with two or three 
men, each with a led horse to break the road. We 
were obliged to abandon the hollow entirely, and 
work along the mountain-side, which was very steep 
and the snow covered with an icy crust. We cut a 
footing as we advanced, and trampled a road through 
for the animals ; but occasionally one plunged outside 
the trail, and slid along the field to the bottom, a 
hundred yards below. Late in the day we reached 
another bench in the hollow, where, in summer, the 
stream passed over a small precipice. Here was a short 
distance of dividing ground between the two ridges, 
and beyond an open basin, some ten miles across, 
whose bottom presented a field of snow. At the fur- 
ther or western side rose the middle crest of the 
mountain, a dark-looking ridge of volcanic rock. 

The summit line presented a range of naked peaks, 
apparently destitute of snow and vegetation ; but the 
face of the whole country was covered with timber of 
extraordinary size. Toward a pass which the guide 
indicated here, we attempted in the afternoon to force 
a road ; but after a laborious plunging through two or 
three hundred yards our best horses gave out, en- 
tirely refusing to make any further effort, and, for the 
time, we were brought to a stand. The camp had 
been occupied all day in endeavoring to ascend the 
hill, but only the best horses had succeeded ; the ani- 
mals generally not having strength enough to bring 
themselves up without the packs ; and all the line of 
road between this and the springs was strewed with 
camp-stores and equipage, and horses floundering in 
the snow. To-night we had no shelter, but we made a 
large fire around the trunk of one of the huge pines, 
and covering the snow with small boughs, on which 
to spread our blankets, so<jn made ourselves comfort- 
able. The night was very bright and clear, though the 
thermometer was only 10". A strong wind which 
sprung up at sundown made it intensely cold, and 

this was one of the bitterest nights during the journey. 

Two Indians joined our party here, and one of them, 
an old man, immediately began to harangue us, say- 
ing that ourselves and animals would perish in the 
snow ; and that if we would go back, he would show 
us another and better way across the mountains. He 
spoke in a very loud voice, and there was a singular 
repetition of phrases and arrangement of words, which 
rendered his speech striking and not unmusical. 

We had now begun to understand some words, and 
with the aid of signs, easily comprehended the old 
man's simple idea: "Rock upon rock — rock upon 
rock; snow upon snow," said he; "even if you get 
over the snow, you will not be able to get down from 
the mountains." He made us the sign of precipices, 
and showed us how the feet of the horses would slip, 
and throw them off" from the narrow trails that led 
along their sides. Our Chinook, who comprehended 
even more readily than ourselves, and believed our 
situation hopeless, covered his head with his blanket 
and began to weep and lament. " I wanted to see 
the whites," said he ; "I came away from my own 
people to see the whites, and I don't care to die 
among them, but here " — and he looked around in 
the cold night and gloomy forest, and, drawing his 
blankets over his head, began again to lament. 

February 5. — The night had been too cold to sleep, 
and we were up very early. Our guide was standing 
by the fire with all his finery on, and seeing him 
shiver in the cold, I threw on his shoulders one of my 
blankets. We missed him a few minutes afterwards, 
and never saw him again; he had deserted us. His 
bad faith and treachery were in perfect keeping with 
the estimate of Indian character, which a long inter- 
course with this people had gradually forced upon my 
mind. While a portion of the camp were occupied in 
bringing up the baggage to this point, the remainder 
were busied in making sledges and snow-shoes. I had 
determined to explore the mountain ahead, and the 
sledges were to be used in transporting the baggage. 

The mountains here consisted wholly of a white 
micaceous granite. The day was perfectly clear, 
warm and pleasant, while the sun was in the sky. By 
observation our latitude was 38°, 42', 26' ; and eleva- 
tion by the boiling point, 7,400 feet. 

February 6. — Accompanied by Mr. Fitzpatrick, I 
set out to-day with a reconnoitering party on snow- 
shoes. We marched all in single file, trampling the 
snow as heavily as we could. . Crossing the open 
basin, in a march of about ten miles we reached the 
top of one of the peaks, to the left of the pass indi- 
cated by our guide. Far below us, dimmed by the 
distance, was a large snowless valley, bounded on the 
western side at the distance of about a hundred miles, by 


a low range of mountains, which Carson recognized 
with delight as the mountains bordering the coast. 
" There,"said he, " is the little mountain, (Mt. Diablo,) 
it is fifteen years since I saw it ; but I am just as sure 
as if I had seen it yesterday." Between us and this 
low coast range, then, there was the valley of the Sac- 
ramento ; and no one who had not accompanied us 
through the incidents of our life for the last few 
months, could realize the delight with which at last we 
looked down upon it. At the distance of apparently 
30 miles beyond us were distinguished spots of prairie, 
and a dark line, which could be traced with the glass, 
was imagined to be the course of the river ; but we 
were evidently at a great height above the \ alley, and 
between us and the plains extended miles of snowy 
fields and broken ridges of pine-covered mountains. 
After a march of 20 miles we straggled into the camp, 
one after another, at nightfall ; the greater number ex- 
cessively fatigued, only two of the party having ever 
traveled on snow-shoes. All our energies were now di- 
rected to getting our animals across the snow ; and it 
was supposed that after all the baggage had been 
drawn with the-sleighs over the trail we had made, it 
would be sufficiently hard to bear our animals. At 
several places between this point and the ridge we 
had discovered some grassy spots, where the wind and 
sun had dispersed the snow from the sides of the 
hills, and these were to form resting places to support 
the animals for a night in their passage across. With 
one party drawing the sleighs loaded with baggage, I 
advanced to-day about four miles along the trail, and 
encamped at the first grassy spot, where we expected 
to bring our horses; Mr. Fitzpatrick, with another party, 
remained behind, to form an intermediate station be- 
tween us and the animals. 

February 8. — The night has been extremely cold, 
but perfectly still and beautifully clear. Before the sun 
appeared, the thermometer was 3° below zero; i" 
higher when his rays struck the lofty peaks, and 0° 
when they reached our camp. Scenery and weather 
combined must render these mountains beautiful in 
summer ; the purity and deep blue color of the sky 
are singularly beautiful. The day was sunny and bright, 
and even warm in the noon-hours ; and if we could 
be free from the many anxieties that oppressed us, 
even now we could be delighted here ; but our pro- 
visions are getting fearfully scant. Sleighs arrived 
with baggage about 10 o'clock, and leaving a portion 
of it here we continued on for a mile and a half, and 
encamped at the foot of a long hill on this side of the 
open bottom. Elevation of the camp, by the boiling 
point, is 7,920 feet. 

February 9. — During the night the weather changed, 
the wind rising to a gale, and commencing to snow 

before daylight ; before morning the trail was covered. 
We remained quiet in camp all day, in the course of 
which the weather improved. Four sleighs arrived 
towards evening, with the bedding of the men. We 
suffer much from the want of salt, and all the men are 
becoming weak from insufficient food. 

February 10. — Continuing on with three sleighs, 
carrying a portion of the baggage, we had the satis- 
faction to encamp within two and a half miles of the 
head of the hollow, and at the foot of the last moun- 
tain range. Here two large trees had been set on 
fire, and in the holes, where the snow had melted 
away, we found a oamfortable camp. The wind kept 
the air filled with snow during the day, the sky was 
very dark in the southwest, though elsewhere very 
clear. The forest here has a noble appearance, and 
tall cedar is abundant, its greatest height being 130 
feet, and circumference 20 feet, three or four feet 
above the ground ; and here I see for the first time the 
white pine, of which there are some magnificent trees. 
Hemlock spruce is among the timber, occasionally 
as large as eight feet in diameter, four feet above the 
ground ; but in ascending it tapers rapidly to less 
than one foot at the height of eighty feet. I have not 
seen any higher than 130 feet, and the slight upper 
part is frequently broken off by the wind. The white 
spruce is fiequent, and the red pine, which constitutes 
the beautiful forests along the banks of the Sierra 
Nevada to the northward, is here the principal tree, 
not attaining a greater height than 140 feet, though 
with sometimes a diameter of 10 feet. Most of these 
trees appear to differ slightly from those of the same 
kind on the other side of the continent. We are now 
1,000 feet above the level of the South Pass in the 
Rocky Mountains ; and still we are not done ascend- 
ing. The top of a flat ridge near us was bare of snow, 
and very well sprinkled with bunch-grass, sufficient to 
pasture the animals for two or three days ; and this 
was to be their main point of support. This ridge is 
composed of a compact trap, or basalt of a columnar 
structure; over the surface are scattered large boul- 
ders of porous trap. The hills are in many places 
entirely covered with small fragments of volcanic 
rock. Putting on our snow-shoes, we spent the after- 
noon in exploring a road ahead. The glare of the 
snow, combined with great fatigue, had rendered many 
of the people nearly blind ; but we were fortunate in 
having some black silk handkerchiefs, which worn as 
veils, very much relieved the eye. 

February 11. — High wind continued, and our trail 
this morning was nearly invisible— here and there in- 
dicated by a little ridge of snow. Our situation became 
tiresome and dreary, requiring a strong exercise of 
patience and resolution. In the evening I received 



a message from Mr. Fitzpatrick, acquainting me with 
the utter failure of his .Tttempt to get our mules and 
horses over the snow, — the half-hidden trail had 
proved entirely too slight to support them, and they 
had broken through, and were plunging about or lying 
half buried in snow. I wrote him to send the animals 
immediately back to their old pastures ; and after hav- 
ing made mauls and shovels, turn in all the strength 
of his party to open and beat a road through the snow, 
strengthening it with boughs and branches of the 

' February 12. — We made mauls and worked hard at 
our end of the road all day. The wind was high, but 
the sun bright and the snow thawing. We worked 
down the face of the hill to meet the people at the 
other end. Towards sundown it began to grow cold 
and we shouldered our mauls and trudged back to 

February 13. — AVe continued to labor on the road, 
and in the course of the day had the satisfaction to 
see the people working down the face of the opposite 
hill, about three miles distant. During the morning 
we had the pleasure of a visit from Mr. Fitzpatrick, 
with the information that all was going on well. A 
party of Indians had passed on snow shoes, who said 
they were going to the western side of the mountains 
after fish. This was an indication that the salmon 
were coming up the streams; and we could hardly 
restrain our impatience as we thought of them, and 
worked with increased vigor. The meat train did not 
arrive this evening, and I gave Godey leave to kill our 
little dog (Tlaraath), which he prepared in Indian 
fashion — scorching off the hair and washing the skin 
with soap and snow, and then cutting it into pieces, 
which were laid on the snow. Shortly afterward the 
sleigh arrived with a supply of horse meat, and we had 
to-night an extraordinary dinner — pea-soup, mule and 

February 14. — The dividing ridge of the Sierra is 
in sight from this encampment. Accompanied by 
Mr. Preuss, I ascended to-day the highest peak to the 
right, from which we had a beautiful view of a mbiin- 
tain lake at our feet about fifteen miles in length, and 
so entirely surrounded by mountains that we could 
not discover an outlet. We had taken with us a glass, 
and though we enjoyed an extended view, the valley 
was hidden in mist, as when we had seen it before. 
Snow could be distinguished on the higher parts of 
the coast mountains: Eastward, as far as the eye 
could extend, it ranged over a terrible mass of broken 
snowy mountains, fading off blue in the distance. 
The rock composing the summit consists of a very 
coarse, dark, volcanic conglomerate ; the lower parts 
appeared to be of slaty structure. The highest trees 

were a few scattering cedars and aspens. Jb'rom the 
immediate foot of the peak we were two hours reach- 
ing the summit, and one hour and a quarter in 
descending. The day had been very bright, still and 
clear, and Spring seemed to be advancing rapidly. 
While the sun is in the sky the snow melts rapidly, 
and gushing springs cover the face of the mountain in 
all the exposed places ; but their surface freezes 
instantly with the disappearance of the sun. I ob- 
tained to-night some observations, and the result from 
these, and others made during our stay gives, for the 
atitude, 38° 41' 57"; longitude, 120^ 25' 57"; and 
rate of the chronometer, 25, 82". 

February 16. — We had succeeded in getting our 
animals safely to the first grassy hill, and this morning 
I started with Jacob on a reconnoitering expedition 
beyond the mountain. We traveled along the crests 
of narrow ridges, extending down from the mountain 
in the direction of the valley, from which the snow 
was fast melting away. On the open spots was 
toleralily good grass, and I judged we should succeed 
in getting the camp down by the way of these. 
Towards sundown we discovered some icy spots in a 
deep hollow, and descending the mountain we en- 
camped on the headwater of a little creek, where, at 
last, the water found its way to the Pacific. The night 
was clear and very long. We heard the cries of some 
wild animals which had been attracted by our fire, 
and a flock of geese passed over us during the night. 
Even these strange sounds had something pleasant to 
our senses in this region of silence and desolation. 
The creek acquired a regular breadth of about twenty 
feet, and we soon began to hear the rushing of the 
water below the icy surface, over which we traveled to 
avoid the snow. A few miles below we broke through, 
where the water was several feet deep, and halted to 
make a fire and dry our clothes. We continued a 
few miles farther, walking being very laborious without 
snow-shoes. I was now perfectly satisfied that we had 
struck the stream on which Mr. Sutter lived, and, 
turning about, made a hard push and reach^ the camp 
at dark. Here we had the pleasure of finding all the 
remaining animals, 57 in number, safely arrived at the 
grassy hill near the camp; and here also we were 
agreeably surprised with the sight of an abundance of 

On February 19th the people were occupied in 
making a road and bringing up the baggage, and on 
the afternoon of the next day, 

February 20th, we encamped, with the animals and 
all the materiel of the camp, on the summit of the 
pass in the dividing ridge, 1,060 miles by our traveled 
road from the Dalles on the Columbia. The people, 
who had not yet been to this point, climbed the neigh- 


boring peak to enjoy a look at the valley. The tem- 
[lerature of boiling water gave for the elevation of the 
camp 9,338 feet above the sea. This was 2,000 feet 
higher than the South Pass in the Rocky Mountains, 
and several peaks in view rose several thousand feet 
still higher. Thus, the pass in the Sierra Kevada, 
which so well deserves its name of Snowy Mountains, 
is eleven degrees west and about four degrees south 
of the South Pass. 

February 21. — We now considered ourselves vic- 
torious over the mountain ; having only the descent 
before us and the valley under our eyes, we felt strong 
hope that we should force our way down. But this 
was a case in which the descent was not facile. Still 
deep fields of snow lay between them, and there was 
a large intervening space of rough looking mountains, 
through which we had yet to wind our way. Carson 
roused me this morning with an early fire, and we 
were all up long before day, in order to pass the snow- 
fields before the sun should render the crust soft. We 
enjoyed this morning a scene at sunrise, which even 
here was unusually glorious and beautiful. Passing 
along a ridge which commanded the lake on our 
right, of which we began to discover an outlet through 
a chasm on the west, we [jassed over alternating open 
ground and hard-crusted snow-fields which supported 
the animals, and encamped on the ridge, after a jour- 
ney of six miles. The grass was better than we had 
yet seen, and we were encamped in a clump of trees 
twenty or thirty feet high, resembling white pine. 
With the exception of these small clumps the ridges 
were bare; and where the snow found the support of 
the trees the wind had blown it up into banks ten or 
fifteen feet high. It required much care to hunt out 
a practicable way, as the most open ])laces frequently 
led to impassable banks. The day had been one of 
April — gusty, with a few occasional flakes of snow, 
which in the afternoon enveloped the upper mountain 
in clouds. ^Ve watched them anxiously, as now we 
dreaded a snowstorm. Shortly afterwards we heard 
the roll of thunder, and looking towards the valley 
found it enveloped in a thunder-storm. For us, as 
connected with the idea of Summer, it had a singular 
charm, and we watched its progress with excited feel- 
ings until nearly sunset, when the sky cleared off 
brightly, and we saw a shining line of water directing 
its course towards another, a broader and larger sheet. 
On the southern shore of what appeared to be the 
bay could be traced the gleaming line where entered 
another large stream.* We had the satisfaction to 
know that at least there were people bel5w. Fires 
were lit up in the valley just at night, appearing to be 

* This observation indicated the Sacramento river 2 
the San Joaquin river emptying into it. 

in answer of ours ; and these signs of life renewed, 
in some measure, the gayety of the camp. 

February 22. — Our breakfast was over long before 
day. We took advantage of the coolness of the early 
morning to get over the snow, which to-day occurred 
in very deep banks among the timber ; but we searched 
for the coldest places, and the animals passed success- 
fully with their loads over the hard crubt. In the 
after part of the day we saw before us a handsome 
grassy ridge point, and making a desperate push over 
a snowtield ten to fifteen feet deep, we happily suc- 
ceeded in getting the camp across, and encamped on' 
the ridge after a march of three miles. We had again 
the prospect of a thunder-storm below, and to-night 
we killed another mule — now our only resource from 
starvation. We continued to enjoy the same delightful 
eather ; the sky of the same beautiful blue, and such 
a sunset and sunrise as on our Atlantic coast we could 
scarcely imagine. And here among the mountains, 
9,000 feet above the level of the sea, we have the deep 
blue sky and sunny climate of Smyrna and Palermo, 
which a little map before me shows are in the same 

February 23. — This was our most difficult day. We 
were enforced off the ridges by the quantity of snow 
among the timber, and obliged to take to the moun- 
tain sides, where, occasionally, rocks and a southern 
exposure afforded us a chance to scramble along ; 
but these were steep and slippery with snow and ice. 
and the tough evergreens of the mountain impeded 
our way, tore our skin, and exhausted our patience. 
Going ahead with Carson to reconnoitre the road, we 
reached, in the afternoon, the river which made an 
outlet of the lake. Carson sprang over, clear across a 
place where the stream was compressed among rocks, 
but the parfleche sole of my moccasin glanced from 
the icy rock and precipitated me into the river. It 
was some few second:- before I could recover myself 
in the current, and Carson, thinking me hurt, jumped 
in after me, and we both had an icy bath. We tried 
to search awhile for my gun, which had been lost in 
the fall, but the cold drove us out. We afterwards 
found that the gun had been slung under the ice 
which lined the banks of the creek. 

February 24. — We rose at three in the morning for 
an astronomical observation, and obtained for the 
place a latitude of 38° 46' 58" ; longitude, 120° 34 
20". The sky was clear and pure, with a sharp wind 
from the northeast, and the thermometer 2° below 
the freezing point. In the course of the morning we 
struck a footpath, which we were generally able to 
keep, and the ground was soft to our animals' feet, 
being sandy, or covered with mould. Green grass 
began to make its appearance, and occasionally we 



passed a hill scatteringly covered with it. The charac- 
ter of the forest continued the same, and among the 
trees the pine, with sharp leaves and very large cones, 
was abundant, some of them being noble trees. We 
measured one that was lo feet in diameter, though 
its height was not more than 130 feet. All along the 
river was a roaring torrent, its fall very great, and des- 
cending with a rapidity to which we had long been 
strangers. To our great pleasure oak trees appeared 
on the ridge, and soon became very frequent ; on 
these I remarked great quantities of mistletoe. Rushes 
began to make their appearance, and at a small creek, 
where they were abundant, one of the messes was left 
with the weakest horses, while we continued on. 
When we had traveled about ten miles, the valley 
opened a little to an oak and pine bottom, through 
which ran rivulets closely bordered with rushes, on 
which our half-starved horses fell with avidity ; and 
here we made our encampment. Here the roaring 
torrent has already become a river, and we had des- 
cended to an elevation of 3,864 feet. Along our road 
to-day the rock was a white granite, which appears to 
constitute the upper part of the mountains on both 
eastern and western slopes, while between, the central, 
is volcanic rock. 

February 25 — Believing that the difficulties of the 
road were passed, and leaving Mr. Fitzpatrick to follow 
slowly, as the condition of the animals required, I 
started ahead this morning with a party of eight. We 
took with us some of the best animals, and my inten- 
tion was to proceed, as rapidly as possible, to the house 
of Mr. Sutter, and return to meet the party with a sup- 
ply of provisions and fresh animals. The forest was 
imposing to-day in the magnificence of its trees ; some 
of the pines, bearing large cones, were 10 feet in 
diameter. Cedars also abounded, and we measured 
one 28}^ feet in circumference four feet from the 
ground. Here this noble tree seemed to be in its 
proper soil and climate. We found it on both sides 
of the Sierra, but most abundant on the west. 

February 26. — We continued to follow the stream, 
the mountains on either hand increasing in height as 
we descended, and shutting up the river narrowly in 
precipices, along which we had great difficulty to get 
our horses. It rained heavily during the afternoon, 
and we were forced off the river to the heights above, 
whence we descended at nightfall, the point of a spur 
between the river and a fork of nearly equal size, com- 
ing in from the right. 

February 27. — We succeeded in fording the stream, 
and made a trail by which we crossed the point of the 
opposite hill, which, on the southern exposure, was 
prettily covered with green grass, and we halted a 
tjiile from our last encampment. The river was only 

about 60 feet wide, but rapid, and occasionally deep, 
foaming among boulders, and the water beautifully 
clear. We encamped on the hill-slope, as there was 
no bottom level, and the opposite ridge is continuous, 
affording no streams. Below, the precipices on the 
river forced us to the heights, which we ascended by 
a steep spur 2,000 feet high — (Pilot Hill). My favor- 
ite horse, Proveau, had become very weak, and was 
scarcely able to bring himself to the top. Traveling 
here was good except in crossing the ravines, which 
were narrow, steep and frequent. We caught a 
glimpse of a deer, the first animal we had seen, but 
did not succeed in approaching him. Every hour we 
had been expecting to see open out before us the val- 
ley, which, from the mountain above, seemed almost 
at our feet. A new and singular shrub, which had 
made its appearance since crossing the mountain, was 
very frequent to-day. (Fremont here gives a minute 
description of the manzanita or red bark). Near 
nightfall we descended into the steep ravine of a 
handsome creek 30 feet wide, and I was engaged in 
getting the horses up the opposite hill when I heard a 
shout from Carson, who had gone ahead a few hundred 
yards. " Life yet," said he, " life yet ; I have found a 
hill-side sprinkled with grass enough for the night!" 
We drove along our horses and encamped at the place 
about dark, and there was just room enough to make 
a place for shelter on the edge of the stream. 

March 3. — At every step the country improved in 
beauty. The pines were rapidly disappearing and 
oaks became the principal trees of the forest. Among 
these the prevailing tree was the evergreen oak, (which 
by way of distinction we called the live-oak), and with 
these occurred frequently a new species of oak bearing 
a long slender acorn, from an inch to an inch and 
a half in length, which we now began to see formed 
the principal vegetable food of the inhabitants of this 
region. We had called up some straggling Indians, 
the first we had met, although for two dqys back we 
had seen tracks, who, mistaking us for his fellows, had 
been only undeceived on getting close up. It would 
have been pleasant to witness his astonishment. He 
would not have been more frightened had some of the 
old mountain spirits, they are so much afraid of, sud- 
denly appeared in his path. 

March 6. — We continued on our road through the 
same surpassingly beautiful country, entirely uneqalled 
for the pasturage of stock by anything we had ever seen. 
Our horses had now become so strong that they were 
able to carry us, and we traveled rapidly — over four 
miles an hour, four of us riding every alternate hour. 
Every few hundred yards we came upon a little band 
of deer, but we were too eager to reach the settlement, 
which we momentarily expected to discover, to halt for 



any other than a passing shot. In a few hours we 
reached a large fork, the northern branch of the river, 
and equal in size to that which we had descended. 
Together they formed a beautiful stream, 60 to 100 
yards wide ; which at first, ignorant of the country 
through which that river ran, we took to be the Sacra- 
mento. We continued down the right bank of the 
river, traveling for a while through a wooded upland, 
•where we had the delight to discover tracks of cattle. 
To the southwest was visible a black column of smoke, 
which we had frequently noticed in descending, 
arising from the fires we had seen from the top of the 
Sierra. From the upland we descended into broad 
groves on the river, consisting of the evergreen and a 
new species of a white-oak, with a large tufted tof . 
Among these was no brushwood, and the grassy surface 
gave to it the appearance of parks in an old settled 
country. Following the tracks of the horses and cat- 
tle, in search of people, we discovered a small village of 
Indians. Some of these had on shirts of civilized 
manufacture, but were otherwise naked, and we could 
understand nothing of them ; they appeared entirely 
astonished at seeing us. Shortly afterwards we gave 
a shout at the appearance, on a little bluff, of a neatly- 
built adobe house, with glass windows. We rode up, 
but to our disappointment found only Indians. There 
was no appearance of cultivation, and we could see no 
cattle, and we supposed the place to have been aband- 
oned. We now pressed on more eagerly than ever; 
the riyer swept around a large bend to the right ; the 
hills lowered down entirely, and gradually entering a 
broad valley, we came unexpectedly on a large Indian 
village, where the people looked clean, and wore cot- 
ton shirts and various other articles of dress. They 
immediately crowded around us, and we had the inex- 
pressible delight to find one who spoke a little indiffer- 
ent Spanish, but who at first confounded us by saying 
there were no whites in the country; but just then a 
well-dressed Indian came up, and made his salutations 
in very well spoken Spanish. In answer to our inqui- 
ries, he informed us that we were upon the Rio de los 
Americanos, (the river of the Americans,) and that it 
joined the Sacramento about ten miles below. Never 
did a name sound more sweetly ! We felt ourselves 
among our countrymen ; for the name of American, 
in these distant parts, is applied to the citizens of the 
United States. To our eager inquiries he answered : 
" I am a vaguero (cow-herd) in the service of Cap- 
tain Sutter, and the people of the rancheria work for 
him." Our evident satisfaction made him communi- 
cative ; and he went on to say that Captain Sutter was 
a very rich man, and always glad to see his country 
people. We asked for his house. He answered that 
it was just over the hill before us, and offered, if we 

would wait a moment, to take his horse and conduct 
us to it. We readily accepted this civil offer. In a 
short distance we came in sight of the fort ; and, pass- 
ing on the way the house of a settler, on the opposite 
side (Mr. Sinclair's,) we forded the river, and in a few 
miles were met, a short distance from the fort, by 
Captain Sutter himself . He gave us a most frank and 
cordial reception — conducted us immediately to his 
house, and under his hospitable roof we had a night 
of rest, enjoyment and refreshment, which none but 
ourselves could appreciate." 

Thus far General Fremont's report, to which we may 
add that he started out with fresh horses and pro- 
visions the next morning, to attend to and to relieve 
the main body of the party, left higher up in the moun- 
tains under Mr. Fitzpatrick's command ; they met 
them on the second day out, a few miles below the 
forks of the American river, and Fremont says : " A 
more forlorn and pitiable sight than they presented, 
cannot well be imagined." (No wonder, that a few days 
before, that Indian had taken them for his compan- 
ions.) They were all on foot — each man weak and 
emaciated, leading a horse or mule as weak and emaci- 
ated as themselves. They had experienced great diffi- 
culty in descending the mountains, made slippery by 
rains and melting snow, and many horses fell over 
precipices and were killed, and with some were lost 
the packs which they carried. Among these was a 
mule with the plants which were collected since leav- 
ing Fort Hall, along a hne of 2,000 miles travel. Out 
of 67 horses and mules with which the party had 
commenced crossing the Sierra, only 33 reached the 
Sacramento valley, and they only in a condition to 
be led along. None of the men were lost, though a 
few of them got weak-minded on the last part of the 
journey, caused from the privations and exposures and 
the overstrained exertions in crossing the mountains. 

In the following pages we shall give the history of a 
party which was crossing the Sierra Nevada a few years 
later, but experienced far more serious privations and 
a sadder end, and forever will have a place in the an- 
nals of the history of California. 


[From Thompson and West's History of Nevada County.) 

"Three miles from the town of Truckee, and rest- 
ing in the green lap of the Sierras, lies one of the 
loveliest sheets of water on the Pacific coast. Tall 
mountain peaks are reflected in its clear waters, re- 
vealing a picture of extreme loveliness and quiet 
peace. Yet this peaceful scene was the amphitheater 
of the most tragic event in the annals of early Cali- 



'The Donner Party' was organized in Sangamon 
county, Illinois, by George and Jacob Donner and 
James F. Reed in the spring of 1846. In April, 1846, 
the party set out from Springfield, Illinois, and by the 
first week in May had reached Independence, Mis- 
souri, where the party was increased until the train 
numbered about two or three hundred wagons, the 
Donner family numbering sixteen, the Reed fam'ly 
seven, the Graves family twelve, the Murphy family 
thirteen. These were the principal families of the 
Donner party proper. At Independence provisions 
were laid in for the trip and the line of journey taken 
up. In the occasional glimpses we have of the party, 
features of but little interest present themselver be- 
yond the ordmary experience of pioneer life. A let- 
ter from Mrs. George Donner, written near the junction 
of the North and South Platte, dated June 16, 1846, 
reports a favorable journey of four hundred and fifty 
miles from Independence, Missouri, with no forebod- 
ings of the terrible disasters so soon to burst upon 
them. At Fort Laramie a portion of the party cele- 
brated the Fourth of July. Thereafter the train 
passed unmolested upon its journey. George Donner 
was elected captain of the train at the Little Sandy 
river, on the 20th of July, 1846, from which act it took 
the name of 'Donner Party.' 

"At Fort Bridger, then a mere trading post, the 
fatal choice was made of the route that led to such 
fearful disasters and tragic death. A new route via. 
Salt Lake, known as 'Hasting's Cut-off,' was recom- 
mended to the party as shortening the distance three 
hundred miles. After due deliberation the Donner 
party of eighty-seven souls — three having died — were 
induced to separate from the larger portion of the 
train (which afterwards arrived in California in safety) 
aud commenced, their journey by way of Hasting's 
Cut-off. They reached Weber river 'near the head of 
the canyon in safety. From this point in their jonrney 
to Salt Lake, almost insurmountable difficulties were 
encountered, and instead of reaching Salt Lake in 
one week, as anticipated, over thirty days of perilous 
travel were consumed in making the trip — most pre- 
cious time in view of the danger imminent in the 
rapidly approaching storms of the winter. The story 
of their trials and sufferings in their journey to the 
fatal camp at Donner lake is terrible ; nature and 
stern necessity seemed arrayed against them. Ori'tlie 
19th of October, near the present site of VVadsworth, 
Nevada, the destitute company were happily re-provis- 
ioned by C. T. Stanton, furnished with food and 
mules, together with two Indian vaqueros, by Captain 
Sutter, without compensation. 

"At the present site of Reno it was concluded to 
rest. Three or four days time was lost. This was 

the fatal act. The storm-clouds were already brewing 
upon the mountains, only a few miles distant. The 
ascent was ominous. Thick and thicker grew the 
clouds, outstripping in threatening battalions the now 
eager feet of the alarmed emigrants, until, at Prosser 
creek, three miles below Truckee, October 28, 1846,3 
month earlier than usual, the storm set in, and they 
found themselves in six inches of newly-fallen snow. 
On the summit it was already from two to five feet deep. 
The party, in much confusion, finally reached Donner 
lake in disordered fragments. Frequent and desper- 
ate attempts were made to cross the mountain tops, 
but at last, baffled and despairing, they returned to 
camp at the lake. The storm now descended in all 
its pitiless fury upon the ill-fated emigrants. Ls 
dreadful import was well understood as laden with 
omens of suffering and death. With slight interrup- 
tions the storm continued for several days. The ani- 
mals were literally buried alive and frozen in the drifts. 
Meat was hastily prepared from their frozen carcasses, 
and cabins rudely built. One, the Schallenberger 
cabin, erected November, 1844, was already standing 
about a quarter of a mile below the lake. This the 
Breen family appropriated. The Murphys erected 
one three hundred yards from the lake, marked by a 
Inrge stone twelve feet high. The Graves family built 
theirs near Donner creek, three-quarters of a mile 
further down the stream, the three forming the apex 
of a triangle ; the Breen and Murphy cabins were dis- 
tant from each other about one hundred and fifty 
yards. The Donner brothers, wittf their families, 
hastily constructed a brush shed in .\lder creek valley, 
six or seven miles from the lake. Their provisions 
were speedily consumed, and starvation with all its 
grim attendant horrors stared the poor emigrants in 
the face. Day by day, with aching hearts and para- 
lyzed energies, they awaited, amid the beating storms 
of the Sierras, the dread revelation of the morrow, 
'hoping against hope' for some welcome sign. 

"On the 1 6th day of December, 1846, a party of 
seventeen were enrolled to attempt the hazardous 
journey over the mountains, to press into the valley 
for relief Two returned, remaining fifteen, including 
Mary Graves and her sister, Mrs. Sarah Fosdick, and 
several other women, pressed on. The heroic C. T. 
Stanton and noble F. \V. Graves (who left his wife 
and seven children at the lake to await his return) 
being the leaders. This was the 'Forlorn Hope 
Party,' over whose dreadful sufferings and disaster we 
must throw a veil. Death in the most awful form re 
duced the wretched company to seven — two men and 
five women — when suddenly tracks were discovered im- 
printed in the snow. " Can any one imagine," says 
Mary Graves in her recital, "what joy these foot- 


prints gave us ? We ran as fast as our strength would 
carry us." Turning a sharp point they suddenly came 
to an Indian rancheria. The acorn-bread offered 
them by the kind and awe-stricken savages was eagerly 
devoured. But on they pressed with their Indian 
guides only to repeat their dreadful sufferings until at 
last, one evening about the last of January, Mr. Eddy 
with his Indian guide, preceding the party fifteen 
miles reached Johnson's ranch, on Bear river, the first 
settlement on the western slope of the Sierras, when 
relief was sent back as soon as possible, and the re- 
maining six survivors were brought in next day. It 
had been thirty-two days since they left Donner lake. 
No tongue could tell, no pen portray, the awful suffer- 
ing, the terrible and appalling straits, as well as the 
noble deeds of heroism that characterized this march 
of death. The eternal mountains, whose granite 
faces bore witness to their sufferings are fit monu- 
ments to mark the last resting-place of Charles T. 
Stanton, that cultured heroic soul, who groped his way 
through the blinding snow of the Sierras to immortal- 
ity. The divinest encomium — ' He gave his life as a 
ransom for many ' — is the epitaph, foreshadowed in 
his own noble words, ' I will bring aid to these fam- 
ishing people or lay down my life. '. 

" Nothing could be done, in the meantime, for the 
relief of the sufferers at Donner lake, without securing 
help from Fort Sutter, which was speedily accom- 
plished by John Rhodes. In a week, six men, fully 
provisioned, with Captain Reasin P. Tucker at their 
head, reached Johnson's ranch, and in ten or twelve 
days" time, with provisions, mules, etc., the first relief 
party started for the scene at Donner lake. It was a 
fearful undertaking, but on the morning of the 19th of 
February, 1847, the above party began the descent of 
the gorge leading to Donner lake. 

" We have purposely thrown a veil over the dreadful 
sufferings of the stricken band left in their wretched 
hovels at Donner lake. Reduced to the verge of 
starvation, many died (including children, seven of 
whom were nursing babes), who, in this dreadful state 
of necessity, were summarily disposed of Rawhides, 
moccassins, strings, etc., were eaten. But relief was 
now close at hand for the poor, stricken sufferers. On 
the evening of the 19th of February, 1847, the still- 
ness of death, that had settled upon the scene, was 
broken by the prolonged shouts. In an instant the 
painfully sensitive ears of the despairing watchers 
caught the welcome sound. Captain Tucker, with his 
relief party, had at last arrived upon the scene. Every 
face was bathed in tears, and the strongest men of the 
relief party melted at the appaling sight, sat down, and 
wept with the rest. But time was precious, as storms 
were imminent. The return party was quickly gath- 

ered. Twenty-three members started, among them 
several women and children. Of this number two were 
compelled to return, and three perished on the jour- 
ney. Many hardships and privations were experienced, 
and their provisions were soon entirely exhausted. 
Death once more stared them in the face, and de- 
spair settled upon them. But assistance was near at 
hand. James F. Reed, who had preceded the Don- 
ner party by some months, suddenly appeared with 
the second relief party, on the 25th of February, 1847. 
The joy of the meeting was indescribable, especially 
between the family and the long absent father. Re- 
provisioned, the party pressed on, and gained their 
destination after severe suffering, with eighteen mem- 
bers, only three having perished. Reed continued his 
journey to the cabins at Donner lake. There the scene 
was simply indescribable ; starvation and disease were 
fast claiming their victims. March ist, according to 
Breen's diary, Reed and his party reached the camp. 
Proceeding directly to his cabin, he was espied by his 
little daughter, who, with her sister, was carried back 
by the previous party, and immediately recognized with 
a cry of joy. Provisions were carefully dealt out to 
the famishing people, and immediate steps were taken 
for the return. Seventeen composed this party. Half 
starved and com;letely exhausted, they were com- 
pelled to camp in the midst of a furious storm, in 
which Mr. Reed barely escaped with his life. This 
was ' Starved Camp,' and from this point Mr. Reed, 
with his two little children and another person, strug- 
gled ahead to obtain hasty relief, if possible. 

" On the second day after leaving ' Starved Camp,' 
Mr. Reed and the three cotnpanions were overtaken 
by Cady and Stone, and on the night of the third day 
reached Woodworth's camp, at Bear valley, in safety. 
The horrors of Starved Camp beggar all description, 
indeed, require none. The third relief party, com- 
posed of John Stark, Howard Oakley, and Charles 
Stone, were nearing the rescue, while W. H. Foster 
and W. H. Eddy (rescued by a former party) were bent 
on the same mission. These, with Hiram Miller, set 
out from Woodworth's camp on the following morning 
after Reed's arrival. The eleven were duly reached, 
but were in a starving condition, and nine of the 
eleven were unable to walk. By the noble resolution 
and herculean efforts of John Stark, a part of the num- 
ber were borne and urged onward to their destination, 
while the other portion was compelled to remain and 
await another relief party. When the third relief party, 
under Foster and Eddy, arrived at Donner lake, the 
sole survivers of Alder creek were George Donner, 
the captain of the company, and his heroic and faith- 
ful wife, whose devotion to her dying husband caused 
her own death, during the last and fearful days of 



waiting for the fourth relief. George DDnner knew he 
was {iying, and ureed his wife to save her life and go 
with her little ones with the third relief, but she re- 
fused. Nothing was more heart-rending than her sad 
parting with her beloved little ones, who wound their 
childish arms lovingly around her neck, and besought 
her with mingled tears and kisses to join them. But 
duty prevailed over affection, and she retraced the 
weary distance to die with him whom she had promised 
to love and honor to the end. Such scenes of anguish 
are seldom witnessed on the sorrowing earth, and such 
acts of triumphant devotion are among the most 
golden deeds. The snowy cerements of Donner lake 
enshrouded in its stilly whiteness no purer life, no 
purer heart than Mrs. George Donner's. The terrible 
recitals that close this awful tragedy we willingly omit. 

" The third relief party rescued four of the last five 
survivors ; the fourth and last- relief party rescued the 
last survivor, Lewis Keseberg, on the 7th of April. 
Ninety names are given as members of the Donner 
party. Of these forty-two perished, six did not live to 
reach the mountains, and forty-eight survived. Twen- 
ty-six, and possibly twenty-eight, out of the forty-eight 
survivors are living to-day — several of them residing 
in San Jose, Calistoga, Los (iatos, Marysville, and in 

"Thus ends this narrative of horrors, without a pa 
allel in the annals of American history, of appaling 
disaster, fearful sufferings, heroic fortitude, self-denial 
and heroism.'' 

About two weeks before the Donner party found 
the way across the mountains barred with snow, an- 
other emigrant train passed in safety ; among these 
emigrants were Claude Chana, now living at Wheat- 
land, Yuba county, and Charles Covillaud, one of the 
original proprietors of Marysville, who married Mary 
Murphy, of the Donner party, from whom the name 
of Marysville was derived. The widely diflerent ex- 
])eriences of those two parties, in crossing the Sierras 
over the same mountain route, gives a striking illus- 
tration of the sudden changes that, inside of a few 
days, by means of one single storm, may appear in 
this region, and that traveling in, or over the moun- 
tains in the winter season, under any consideration, is 
a venturesome enterprise. 



Early Discoveries of Gold — J. S. Smith, of the American Fur 
Company — J. Ross Brown's Report to Congress — Baptiste 
Ruelle at San Fernando— James Dana, Mr. Greenhow, Dr. 
Santels — James W. Marshall— What Led to the Discovery, 

and How it Happened — Communication of the Discovery 
to Sutter — Isaac Humphrey — Mormon Island — California 
Press in Regard to the Discovery— Don Andreas Pico's 
Exploring Expedition -Captain Charles M. Weber's Ex- 
pedition—Jonas Spect on the Yuba— Major P. B. Reading 
in the Northern Region — News of the Discovery of Gold 
Reache; Monterey— The Governor's Trip to the Mines- 
Official p'orwarding of the News to Washington — Table of 
Mining Products of California. 

From the tiine that Cortez, in his letter to his mon- 
arch, Charles V of Spain, dated October 15, 1524, 
wrote that the great men of Colima had given him 
information of an island of amazons, or women only, 
abounding in pearls and gold, etc., through about 
three centuries the people of Spanish nationality, under 
Spanish as well as under Mexican government, were 
dreaming the golden dream, and the opinion that the 
country abounded in precious metals seems never to 
have died out entirely; but the realization of the 
dream did not come, and no gold or other metals had 
ever been discovered by the people of that nationality, 
and Mexico finally was satisfied with the trivial-sum 
of $15,000,000 for the abdication of California and 
New Mexico, none of the peace-making parties 
having an idea of the richness of the country they 
were treating about, notwithstanding Marshall's dis- 
covery was actually made a short while before the 
meeting of the commissioners at Querataro. 

The very first knowledge of precious metals was the 
discovery of silver at Avizal, in Monterey county, in 
1802. The following letter is an important document, 
showing that Jedediah S. Smith was not only the first 
white man to come overland to California, but that to 
him is due the first discovery of gold in California .- 
" Genoa, Carson Valley, ) 
September i8th, i860. ) 

"Edmond Randolph, Esq., S. F. : 

" Friend Randolph — I have just been reading 
your address before the Society of Pioneers. I have 
known of the J. S. Smith you mentioned, by reputa- 
tion, for many years. He was the first white man that 
ever went overland from the Atlantic States to Cali- 
fornia. He was the chief trader in the employ of the 
American Fur Coinpany. At the rendezvous of the 
company on Green river, near the South Pass, in 
1825, Smith was directed to take charge of a party of 
some forty men (trappers) and penetrate the country 
west of Salt Lake. He discovered what is now known 
as Humboldt river. He called it Mary's river, from 
his Indian wife, Mary. It has always been known as 
Mary's river by mountain men since — a name it should 
retain for many reasons. 

" Smith pushed on down Mary's river, and being of an 
adventuresome nature, when he found his road closed 
by high mountains, determined to see what kind of a 



country there was on the other side. It is not known 
exactly where he crossed the Sierra Nevada, but it is 
supposed that it must have been not far from where 
the old emigrant road crossed, near the head of the 
Truckee. He made his way southerly after entering 
the valley of the Sacramento, passed through San Jose 
and down as low as San Diego. After recruiting his 
party and purchasing a large number of horses he 
crossed the mountains near what is known as Walker's 
Pass, skirted the eastern shore of the mountains till 
near what is now known as Mono Lake, whence he 
steered an east-by-north course for Salt Lake. On 
this portion of his route he found placer gold in quan- 
tities, and brought much of it with him to the encamp- 
ment on Green river. 

"The gold that he brought with him, together with 
his description of the country he had passed through, 
and the large amount of furs, pleased the agent of the 
American Fur Company so well that he directed 
Smith again to make the same trip, with special instruc- 
tions to take the gold fields on his return and thoroughly 
prospect them. It was on this trip' that he wrote the 
letter to Father Duran. The trip was successful until 
they arrived in the vicinity of the gold mines, east of 
the mountains, where, in a battle with the Indians, 
Smith and nearly all his men were killed. A few of 
the party escaped and reached the encampment on 
Green river. This defeat damped the ardor of the 
company so much that they never looked any more 
for the gold mines. 

"There are one or more men now living who can 
testify to the truth of the above statement, and who 
can give a fuller statement of the details of his two 

"The man, Smith, was a man of far more than 
average ability, and had a better education thin falls 
to the lot of the mountain men. Few, or none of 
them, were his equals in any respect. 

"Thomas Sprague." 

J. Ross Brown, in his report to Congress in 1867, 
says : " The existence of gold in California was 
known long before the acquisition of that territory by 
the United States. Placers had long been worked on 
a limited scale by the Indians, but the priests, who had 
established the missionary settlements, knowing that 
a discrimination of the discoveries thus made would 
frustrate their plans for the conversion of the aborigi- 
nal races, discouraged by all means in their power, 
the prosecution of this pursuit, and in some instances 
suppressed it by force. As early as December, 1843, 
however, Manuel Castanares, a Mexican officer made 
strenuous efforts to arouse the attention of the Mexi- 
can government to the importance of this great 

At San Isidor, in San Diego county, gold was dis- 
covered in 1828, and another discovery of the same 
metal followed in the western limits of Santa Clara 
county, in 1833. Gold placers were known as early 
as 1841 near the mission of San Fernando, about 
fifty-five miles to the northeast of Los Angeles, by a 
French Canadian named Baptiste Ruelle, for a many 
years a trapper. He had found his way into New 
Mexico where he learned to work the placer mines. 
From there he continued his trip to California, where 
he made the above mentioned discovery. These 
mines, though worked by half a hundred men, did 
not prove rich enough to attract attention. In rare 
instances nuggets were found weighing an ounce, but 
the average wages did not exceed twenty-five cents 
a day per hand. Those mines were still worked in 
1845, when Dr. John Townsend and General John 
Bidwell visited the camp, but the work was unpro- 
gressive ; the gravel banks in three and one-half years 
constant work had been penetrated little more than 
twenty-five feet. Baptiste Ruelle came to Sutter's 
fort in 1844, and stayed there until 1848. The gold ex- 
citement drove him to the mines again where he, after 
Humphrey, was the first experienced miner at Coloma, 
and hundreds of mmers learned from him the use of 
pan and rocker ; but after a short time he settled on 
Feather river, above the Honcut and lived there till 
the lime of his death. 

In 1842, James Dana, the well-known geologist, 
visited the coast accompanying the Wilkes' Exploring 
Expedition, and wrote about the discoveries as follows : 
"The gold rocks and veins of quartz were observed 
by the author in 1842, near the Umpqua river, in 
Southern Oregon, and pebbles from similar rock were 
met with along the shores of the Sacramento in Cali- 
fornia, and the resemblance to other gold districts was 
remarked, but there was no opportunity of exploring 
the country at the time." 

And Mr. Greenhow, writing in 1844, says: -'The 
only mine as yet discovered in Upper California is one 
of gold, situated at the foot of the great westernmost 
range of the mountains, on the west, at a distance of 
twenty-five miles from Los Angeles, the largest town 
in the country, it is said to be of extraordinary rich- 
ness." This undoubtedly refers to the above-men- 
tioned mines near Sar. Fernando, the distance from 
Los Angeles having been given to the writer some- 
what short. 

In 1843, Sutter's fort was visited by a young 
Swedish scholar. Dr. Santels, known as the "King's 
Orphan," on account of having been educated at a 
government institution of Sweden, which education 
bore with others the requirement of traveling in for- 
eign lands for a certain period of time, and to write 


out his observations, etc., to be deposited in the 
library of that institution. In pursuance of that duty 
the young Swede, by means of an ocean vessel, found 
his way to California, made drawings of the Golden 
Gate, the town of Verba Buena and the old Presidio, 
from where he visited Sutter's fort and made a sketch 
and description of the same ; but on his way home 
he died at New Orleans. His papers fell into the 
hands of T. B. Thorpe, who reported them to the 
Associated Pioneers of the territorial days of Califor- 
nia. After having tinished his examination trip 
through the country this gentleman wrote in 1843: 

"The Californias are rich in minerals ; gold, silver, 
lea,d, oxide of iron, manganese and copper ore are met 
with throughout the country, the precious metals being 
the most abundant." 

All these many discoveries and statements of the 
existence of precious metals, however, had not effect 
enough to excite a single soul, and neither govern- 
ment nor private persons followed the given hints to 
go to the trouble of any further exploration. This is t 
what was reserved to the final discovery of placer gold 
in the mill-race at Coloma, on January 19, iiS4S, by 
James W. Marshall, which, spreading like an epidemic I 
disease, produced a new one — the gold fever — that I 
soon revolutionized the whole civilized world; and 
the name of California heretofore almost unknown, 
found its way to the ear of almost every person of 
culture in the old as well as in the new world. 

James W. Marshall, the lucky discoverer of gold at 
Coloma, came to California from Oregon in 1845, 
whither he had gone overland from Missouri the year 
before. He came to Sutter's fort, then the headquar- 
ters of all adventurers. Here he enlisted into the 
ranks of the California battalion under Colonel Fre- 
mont and took part in the American concjuest and re- 
turned to Sutter's fort after this battalion was dis- 
charged at Los Angeles, in early suminer of 1847. 
On an excursion trip from the fort up on the American 
river he came through the Culloomah basin —now 
Coloma — and the location, concerning the beautiful 
stand of sugar-pine trees, and the pleasant water power 
on the South fork of the American river, found his 
consent and awakened hisdesiretobuildasawmill there. 
Returning to the fort he tried to persuade Cai^ain 
Sutter to enter into a partnership agreement by which 
the latter was to furnish the means, while he (Mar- 
shall) was to superintend the erection antl operation 
of the mill. With a full equipment of workmen and 
tools he started for the mill site at Coloma on the 28th 
of August, 1847. Here we give the names of the 
men who were working at the mill : Peter L. Weimer, 
William Scott, James Bargee, Alexander Stephens, 
James Brown, William Johnson and Henry Bigler. 

Most of them were Mormons and returned afterward 
to .Salt. Lake. The last named became an elder in 
the Mormon church. Besides these white men there 
were some Indians employed also. 

The mill was built over a dry channel of the river 
which was calculated to be the tail race. Marshall, 
being a kind of wheelwright, had constructed the 
"tub-wheel" and had also furnished some of the rude 
parts of the machinery necessary for an ordinary up. 
and-down sawmill. By January, 1848, the mill was 
about finished, the tub-wheel set in motion, and after 
having'arranged the head-race and dam he let on the 
water to test the goodness of his machinery. All 
worked very well until it was found that the tail-race 
did not carry off the water fast enough, so he was 
compelled to deepen md widen the tail-race. In 
order to economize labor he ordered his men to 
scratch a kind of a ditch down in the middle of the 
dry channel, throwing only the coarser stones out of 
the race, then letting f)n the water again, it would run 
with velocity through the channel, washing away all 
the loose dirt. Tliis was done in the night so as not 
to interfere with the work of the men in the daytime, 
and in the morning Marshall, after closing the fore- 
bay gate, thus shutting off the water, used to walk 
down the tail-race to inspect the work the water had 

"On this occasion," says the "Life and Adventures 
of James W. Marshall,'' "having strolled to the lower 
end of the race, ha stood for ^ moment e.xamining 
the mass of debris that had washed down, and at this 
juncture his eye caught the glitter of something that 
lay lodged in the crevice of a riffle of soft granite, 
some six inches under water. His first act was t 1 
stoop and pick up the substance. It was heavy, of 
peculiar color, and unlike anything he had seen in the 
stream before." 

This specimen, a pebljle weighing six pennyweights 
and eleven grains, after the best authorities, was found 
on the memorable day 19th of January, in the pres- 
ence of Peter L. Weimer an'l William Scott. Mar- 
shall, after keeping it in hi^ hand for a few minutes, 
reflecting and endea\-oring lo recall all he had heard 
or read concerning the vario-is mjtals, but not bemg 
able to determine about its substance, handed it over 
to Weimer, that it was closely examined by him and 
Scott, and because, after some different conjectures, 
none of them could decide about the quality of the 
mineral, Weimi-r was ordered to take it home and 
have his wife boil it in saleratus water. He took the 
piece home with him, handed it to his wife who, a.s 
she was engaged boiling soap at the time, threw the 
specimen in the soap-kettle, where it remained twenty- 
four hours, and came out so much brighter than l)e- 



fore. The manner in which the mineral had stood 
the test convmced them of its valuable properties, 
whereupon Marshall, who had collected between the 
time two or three ounces of the precious metal, 
was prevailed upon to mount the mule and start for 
Sutter's fort to make the final test. 

The following from the " Memoirs of General W. T. 
Sherman " will give the reader an idea that Marshall 
was far more excited than he would make believe: 

"Captain Sutter himself related to me Marshall's 
account, saying, that as he sat in his room at the fort 
one day in February or March, 1848, a knock was 
heard at the door, and he called out, 'come in.' In 
walked Marshall, who was a half crazy man at best, 
but then looked strangely wild. 'What is the matter, 
Marshall?" Marshall inquired if any one was in 
hearing, and began to peer around the room and look 
under the bed, when Sutter fearing that some calamity 
had befallen the party up at the sawmill, and that 
Marshall was really crazy, demanding of Marshall to 
explain what was the matter. At last he revealed his 
discovery and laid before Captain Sutter the pellicles 
of gold he had picked up in the ditch. At first Sut- 
ter attached little or no importance to the discovery, 
and told Marshall to go back to the mill, and say 
nothing of what he had seen, to his family or any oneelse. 

" Yet, as it might add value to the location, he dis- 
patched to our headquarters at Monterey — as before 
related — the two men with a written application for a 
pre-emption to the quarter section of land at Coloma." 

Captain John A. Sutter's diary, kept by himself, 
gives on the same subject the highly interesting facts 
to be seen out of the followmg extracts : 

"January 28th, 1848, Marshall arrived in the even 
ing, it was raining very heavy, but he told me that he 
came on important business; after we were alone in a 
private room he showed me the first specimen of gold, 
that is he was not certain if it was gold or not, but he 
thought it might be ; immediately I made the proof 
and found that it was gold. I told him even that most 
of all is 23 carat gold. He wished that I should come 
up with him immediately, but I told him that I have 
to give first my orders to the ])eople in all my factories 
and shojjs. 

"February ist — Left for the saw-mill attended by a 
vaquero (Olympio.) Was absent 2d, 3d, 4th and 5th. 
I examined myself everything and picked up a few 
specimens of gold myself in the tailrace of the saw- 
mill. This gold and others which Marshall gave to 
me, (it was found while in my employ and wages), I 
told them I would a ring got made of it so soon as 
the goldsmith would be here. I had a talk with my 
employed people all at the saw-mill, I told them that 
as they do now know that this metal is gold, I wished 

that they would do me the great favor and keep it 
secret for six weeks, because my large flour-mill at 
Brighton would have been in operation in such a time, 
which undertaking would have been a fortune to me, 
and unfortunately the people would not keep it secret, 
and so I lost on this mill at the lowest calculation 
about $25,000." 

While on this visit to Coloma Captain Sutter, with 
Marshall, assembled the Indians and bought of them 
a large tract of land about Coloma in exchange for a 
lot of beads and a few cotton handkerchiefs. They, 
under color of this Indian title, required one-third of 
all the gold dug on their domain, and collected at this 
rate until the fall of 1848, when a mining party from 
Oregon declined to pay " tithes," as they called it. 

Mr. John Hittell, in his "Mining in the Pacific 
States," presents the following not enough known facts, 
on the great discovery : 

" Marshall was a man of an active, enthusiastic 
mind, and he at once attached great importance to fiis 
discovery. His ideas, however, were vague; he knew 
nothing about gold-mining — he didn't know how to 
take advantage of what he had found. Only an ex- 
perienced gold-miner could understand the importance 
of the discovery, and make it of practical value to 
all the world. That gold-miner, fortunately, was near at 
hand ; his name was Isaac Humphrey. He was re- 
siding in the town of San Francisco, in the month of 
February, when a Mr. Bennett, one of the party em- 
ployed at Marshall's mill, went down to that place 
with some of the dust to have it tested ; for it was still 
a matter of doubt whether the y.ellow metal really was 
gold. Bennett told his errand to a friend whom he 
had met in San Francisco, and this friend introduced 
him to Humphrey, who had been a gold-miner in 
Georgia, and was therefore competent to pass an opin- 
ion upon the stuff. Humphrey looked at the dust, pro 
nounced it gold at the first glance, and expressed a 
belief that the digging must be rich. He made in- 
quiries about the place where the gold was found, and 
subsequent inquiries about the trustworthiness of Mr. 
Bennett, and on the 7th of March, we find him at the 
mill. He had tried to induce several of his friends 
in San Francisco to go with him ; but all thought his 
expedition a foolish one, and he had to go alone. At 
the mill he found that there was some talk about gold 
and persons would go about looking for pieces of it, 
but no one was engaged in mining and the work 
of the mill was going on as usual. On the 8th 
he went out prospecting with a pan, an4 satis- 
fied himself that the country in that vicinity was rich 
in gold. He then made a rocker and commenced the 
business of washing gold; and thus began the 
ness of mining in California. 



" Others saw how he did it, followed his example, 
found that the work was profitable, and abandoned all 
other occupations. The news of their success spread, 
people flocked to the place, learned how to use the 
rocker, discovered new diggings, and in the course of a 
few months, the country had been overturned by a 
social and industrial revolution." 

Mr. Humphrey had not been at work more than a 
few days before Baptiste Ruelle, who had discovered 
gold at San Fernando mission, near Los Angeles, came 
to the mill and joined Humphrey in the work of the 

But Marshall anxiously guarding his supposed treas- 
ure — after most all laborers had left their work — 
threatened to shoot everybody attempting to dig and 
gather the gold on his and Sutter's claim; but these 
men had sense enough to know, or found it out, that 
if placer gold was found at Coloma, it would also ex- 
ist further down, and they gradually prospected further 
on, until they reached what is now known as Mormon 
Island, fifteen miles below, where they discovered the 
richest placers on earth. Henderson, Sydney Wil- 
lis and Fifield, Mormons, were the first miners at 

Mormon Island. The Mormons employed by Sutter 
in the erection of a grist-mill at Brighton, getting the 
news of their brethren's result struck for higher wages, 
to which Sutter yielded, until they asked ten dollars a 
day, which he refused, and the two mills on which he 
had spent so much money were never built and fell 
into decay ; but all the hands went to join the miners 
at Mormon Island, thus giving the place the name. 

The California press, consisting of the Star and 
Californian, both published in San Francisco, did not 
mention the discovery till some weeks after the event. 
It is hard to believe that they did not hear of it, and 
we have to suppose that either distrust in the news 
or lack of enterprise caused the neglect. The first 
published notice of the gold discovery appeared in the 
Californian on the isth of March, nearly two months 
after it took place. We give it here : 

Gold Mine Found. — In the newly-made raceway 
of the sawmill recently erected by Captain Sutter, on 
the American fork, gold has been found in consider- 
able quantities. One person brought thirty dollars' 
worth to New Helvetia, gathered there in a short time. 
California, no doubt, is rich in mineral wealth ; great 
chances here for scientific capitalists. Gold has been 
found in almost every part of the country." 

The following brief allusion appeared in Sam. 
Brannan's paper, the Star, three days after; 

"We were informed a few days since, that a very 
valuable silver mine was situated in the vicinity of 
this place, and again, that its locality is known. 
Mines of quicksilver are being found all over the 

country. Gold has been discovered in the northern 
Sacramento District, about forty miles from Sutter's 
fort. Rich mines of copper are said to exist north of 
these bays." 

The Star of March 25th, announces the quantity of 
gold taken from the new mines so great that it had 
become an article of traflfic at New Helvetia. 

The Californian of April 26th, says: 

"Gold Mines of the Sacramento. — From a 
gentlemen just from the gold region, we learn that 
many new discoveries, have very recently been made, 
and it is fully ascertained that a large extent of coun- 
try abounds with that precious mineral. Seven men, 
with picks and spades, gathered nine thousand six 
hundred dollars within fifteen days. Many persons 
are settling on the lands with the view of holding 
pre-emptions, but as yet every person takes the right 
to gather all he can, without any regard to claims. 
The largest piece yet found is worth six dollars." 

The Staroi April i, 1848, writes: 

" It would be utterly impossible at present to make 
correct estimate of the mineral wealth of California. 
Popular attention has been but lately directed to it. 
But the discoveries that have already been made will 
warrant us in the assertion that California is one of 
the richest mineral countries in the world. Gold, 
silver, quicksilver, iron, copper, lead, sulphur, salt- 
peter and other mines of great value have already 
been found." 

Other articles containing description of process and 
implements of gold mining, and the result of the dis- 
covery followed. 

The discovery of gold at Coloma was almost a signal 
throughout the country, and soon it was answered by 
the finding of gold on many other streams. The cir- 
cumstances accompanying the first gold mining on the 
Calaveras, Mokelumne, Stanislaus, Yuba, Feather, 
Trinity, Klamath and Scott rivers, which with the 
American, form the principal streams along which 
mining has been carried on, are of historical interest. 

Don Andreas Pico, brother of ex-Governor Pio 
Pico, organized a company of Mexican miners, chiefly 
Sonorans, in the spring of 1848, for the 1 urpose of a 
prospecting tour through the Sierras, to test the extent 
of Marshall's discovery of gold. The company thus 
organized under the leadership of Don Andreas pro- 
ceeded north to the Yuba river, and from thence 
south to the Stanislaus river, traveling and superficially 
prospecting all the since celebrated central mmeral belt 
known to the world as California's richest placer dig- 
gings. This company, however, did not make any 
final location, but only stopped a short while at most 

Captain Charles M. Weber, of Tuleburg (Stockton), 



fitted out another prospecting party, of which a num- 
ber were Si-yak-um-na Indians, and undertook the ex- 
ploration of the mountains north of the Stanislaus 
river. This party, composed of inexperienced miners, 
likewise proceeded north from the Stanislaus river, 
but came nearer making a failure than a success, until 
the Mokelumne river was reached. By more deliber- 
erately searching here, the first gold was found in the 
region of country afterwards known as the "Southern 
min-?s," so called to distinguish them from the mines 
more easily to be approached from Sacramento. 
Prospecting further on brought to light, that gold was 
to be found in every stream and gulch between the 
Mokelumne and American rivers; but no location 
was made until reaching the divide of the latter 
stream, where they commenced work in earnest on 
what is since known as Weber creek. As soon as the 
Indians accompanying the expedition had learned 
how to prospect. Captain Weber sent (hem back to 
their chief Jose Jesus, the Captain's friend, with in- 
structions to prospect the Stanislaus and neighboring 
rivers for gold and report the results to the Major 
Domo at Tuleburgh. Not a long time after the captain 
was informed with the exciting news that his Indians 
had found gold in quantities everywhere between the 
Calaveras and Stanislaus rivers. He immediately re- 
turned home, fitted out the Stockton Mining Company, 
and inaugurated the working of those afterward famous 
mines: Murphy's Camp, Sullivan's Diggings, Sanso- 
vina Bar, Woods Creek and Angel's Camp all derived 
their names from members of that pioneer company. 

The discoverer of gold on the celebrated Yuba 
river was Jonas Spect, who on the 24th of April, 
1848, encamped at Knight's Landing, on the Sacra- 
mento river, on his way from San Francisco to John- 
son's ranch to join a party being made up for an over- 
land journey to the States. He, like every one, sup- 
posed gold was confined to the Coloma basin, went 
there first, started from here north to Johnson's ranch, 
prospected without any success on Bear river, and 
after that on Yuba river, tried at Long Bar and Rose 
Bar with very little success; and, nearly discouraged, 
took a last chance on the Yuba a little above Tim- 
buctoo ravine, where he struck gold in paying quan. 

Major Pearson B. Reding, the old trapper and pio- 
neer Californian, now being at Reading's ranch, Butte 
county, has to be looked to as the first discoverer of 
gold in the northern region of the State ; with an or- 
ganized party of thirty men and one hundred head of 
horses, he had started from Sutter's fort in the spring 
of 1845, for the purpose of trapping the waters of the 
upper California and Oregon; and after having been 
successful in this, returned to his starting place late 

in the fall. Crossing the Coast Range mountains at 
the head of Middle Cottonwood creek in July, 1848, 
on another trip, he struck the Trinity river on what is 
now called Reading's Bar, prospected for a few days, 
and found the bars rich in gold. This result caused 
him to return home on Cottonwood, where he fitted 
out an expedition for mining purposes. 

The following interesting passages are from 
" Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman," giving the 
most accurate explanation how the highest official au- 
thorities of the United States in the Territory of Cal- 
ifornia got the first news of the discovery of gold, 
their inspection trip, and the forwarding of the news 
to Washington; by the way, showing the difficult 
communication between Califortiia and the Atlantic 
States before the golden era opened up the routes : 

" I remember one day in the spring of 1848, that 
two men, Americans, came into the office of Colonel 
R. B. Mason, the military commander and ex-officio 
governor, stationed at Monterey, and inquired for the 
governor. I asked their business, and one answered 
that they had just come down from Captain Sutter's 
on special business, and they wanted to see the gov- 
ernor in person. I took them in to the colonel, and 
left them together. After some time the colonel came 
to his door and called to me. I went in, and my at- 
tention was called to a series of papers unfolded on 
his table in which lay about half an ounce of placer 
gold. Mason said to me : " What is that ?" I touched 
it and examined one or two of the larger pieces, and 
asked : " Is it gold ?" Mason asked if ever I had 
seen native gold. I answered that in 1844, I was in 
Upper Georgia, and there saw some native gold, but 
it was much finer than this, but I made the proposi- 
tion to test it by its maleability first, and next by acids. 
I took a piece in my teeth, and the metallic lustre was 
perfect. I then called to the clerk, Baden, to bring an 
axe and a hatchet. When these were brought, I took 
the largest piece and beat it out flat and beyond doubt 
it was metal, and a pure metal. Still, we attached 
little importance to the fact, for gold was known to 
exist at San Fernando, at the south, and yet was not 
considered of much value. 

"Colonel Mason then handed me a letter from Cap- 
tain Sutter, addressed to him, stating that he (Sutter) 
was engaged in erecting a saw-mill at Coloma, about 
forty miles up the American Fork above his fort, New 
Helvetia, for the general benefit of the settlers in that 
section ; that he had incurred considerable expense, 
and wanted a " pre-emption " on the quarter section of 
and on which the mill was located, embracing the 
tail-race in which this particular gold had been found. 
Mason instructed me to prepare a letter, in answer, 
for his signature. I wrote off a letter, reciting Call- 



fornia was yet a Mexican province, simply held by us 
as a conquest ; that no laws of the United States yet 
applied to it, much less the land laws, or the pre-emp- 
tion laws, which could only apply after a public 
survey. Therefore it was impossible for the gov- 
ernor to promise him a title to the land ; yet as there 
were no settlements within 40 miles, he was not likely 
to be disturbed by trespassers. Colonel Mason signed 
the letter, handed it to one of the gendemen, who had 
brought the sample of gold, and they departed. 

"Toward the close of June, 1848, the gold fever 
being at its height, by Colonel Mason's orders, I made 
preparations for his trip to the newly discovered gold 
mines at Sutter's Fort. I selected four good soldiers, 
with Aaron, Colonel Mason's black servant, and a good 
outfit of horses and pack animals ; we started by the 
usually traveled route for Verba Buena (San Fran- 
cisco). There Captain Folsom and two other citizens 
joined our party. The first difficulty was to cross the 
bay to Saucelito. Folsom, as quarter-master, had a 
sort of scow with a large sail, and by means of her 
and infinite labor we managed to get the load of 
horses, etc., safely crossed to Saucelito. We followed 
in a more comfortable schooner. Having safely landed 
our Worses and mules we packed up and rode to San 
Rafael mission, stopping with Don Timateo Murphy. 
The next day's journey took us to Bodega, where a 
man by the name of Stephen Smith lived, who had 
the only steam saw-mill in California. We spent a 
day very pleasantly with him, and learned that he had 
come to the country some years before, at the personal 
advice of Daniel Webster, who had informed him, 
that sooner or later the United States would be in pos- 
session of California, and that in consequence it would 
become a great country. From Bodega we traveled 
to Sonoma, and spent a day with General Vallejo. 
From Sonoma by the way of Napa,-Suisun and Vaca's 
ranch, crossing the tules, we reactieJ the Sacramento 
river opposite to Sutter's embarcadero. The only means 
of crossing over was by an Indian dugout canoe. After 
all things and persons were safely crossed, the horses 
were driven into the water, one being guided ahead by 
a man in the canoe. Of course, the animals at first 
refused to take to the water, and it was nearly a day's 
work to get them across ; and even then, the trouble 
was not over, some of the animals escaped in the 
woods and thick undergrowth that lined the river, but 
we secured enough to reach Fort Sutter, three miles 
back from the embarcadero ; where we encamped at 
the slough or pond near the fort. On appli< ation. 
Captain Sutter sent some Indians back into the bushes, 
who recovered and brought back all our animals. 

" At that time there was not the sign of a habitation 
there or thereabouts, exce{it the fort, and an old 

adobe house east of the fort, known as the " Hos- 
pital." The fort, itself, was of adobe walls, about 
twenty feet high, rectangular in form, with two-story 
block-houses at diagonal corners. The entrance was 
by a large gate, open by day and closed by night, with 
two iron ship's guns near at hand. Inside there was 
a large house, with a good shingle roof, used as a store 
house, and all around the wall were ranged rooms, the 
fort-wall being the outer-wall of the house. The inner- 
wall, also, was of adobe. These rooms were used by 
Captain Sutter himself, and by his people ; he had a 
blacksmith's shop, a carpenter's shop, etc., and other 
rooms where the women made blankets. He had 
horses, cattle and sheep, and of those he gave liber- 
ally and without price to all in need. He caused to 
be driven into our camp a beef and some sheep, wjiich 
were slaughtered for our use. 

"July 5th, 1848, we commenced our journey toward 
the mines, and reached, after a hot and dusty ride, 
Mormon Island. 

" When Colonel Mason and party reached Mormon 
Island, they found about three hundred Mormons there 
at work ; most of them were discharged soldiers from 
the Mexican war. General Robert Allen raised a bat- 
talion of five companies of Mormons at Kanesville, 
Iowa, now Council Bluffs, early in 1846 ; Allen died 
on the way and was succeeded by Cooke ; these were 
discharged at Los Angeles early in the summer of 
1847, and most of them went to their people at Salt 
Lake, but some remained in California — and as soon 
as the fame of the discovery of gold spread, the Mor- 
mons naturally went to Mormon Island. Clark, of 
Clark's Point, one of the elders, was there also, and 
nearly all of the Mormons who had come out in the 
sailing vessel Brooklyn, which left New Vork in 1845, 
with Sam Brannan as leader. Sain Brannan was on 
hand as the high-priest, collecting the tithes. As soon 
as the news spread that the governor was there, per- 
sons came to see us, and volunteered all kinds of in- 
formation, illustratinj?- it by samples of the gold, which 
was of a uniform kind — scale gold, bright and beauti- 
ful. I remember that Mr. Clark was in camp talking 
to Colonel Mason about matters and things generally, 
when he inquired: ' Governor, what business has Sam 
Brannan to collect the tithes here ?' Clark admitted 
that Brannan was the head of the Mormon church' in 
California. Colonel Mason answered : ' Brannan has a 
perfect right to collect the tithes, if you Mormons are 
fools enough to pay the tax.' ' Then," said Clark, 
' I, for one, won't pay any longer.' And Colonel Ma- 
son added : ' This is public land, and the gold is 
the property of the United States ; all of you are tres- 
passers, but as the government is benefitted by your 
getting out the gold I do not intend to interfere.' I 



understood afterward, that from that time the payment 
of the tithes ceased, but Brannan had already col- 
lected enough to hire Sutter's hospital and to open a 
store there, in which he made more money than any 
merchant in California during that summer and fall. 

" The next day we continued our journey and 
reached Coloma, the place where gold had been first 
discovered, about noon. Only few miners were at 
work there, by reason of Marshall and Sutter's claim 
to the site. There stood the saw-mill unfinished, the 
dam and tail-race just as they were left when the Mor- 
mons ceased work. Marshall and his family of wife 
and half a dozen tow-headed children were there, liv- 
ing in a house made of clapboards. 

" Here, also, we were shown many specimf.n= of 
gold, of a coarser grain than that found at Mormon 
Island. We crossed the American river to its north 
side, and visited many small camps of men in what 
were called the ' dry diggings.' Some of these diggings 
were extremely rich; sometimes a lucky fellow would 
hit on a 'pocket,' and collect several thousand dollars 
in a few days ; and then again would be shifting about 
from place to place 'prospecting,' and spending all he 
had made. Little stores were being opened at every 
point, where flour, bacon, etc., were sold — everything 
being a dollar a pound, and a meal usually cost three 
dollars. Nobody paid for a bed, for he slept on the 
ground, without fear of cold or rain. 

" As soon as we had returned from our visit to the 
gold mines, to Monterey, it became important to send 
home positive knowledge of this valuable discovery. 
The means of communication with the United States 
were very precarious, and I suggested to Colonel Ma- 
son that a special courier ought to be sent ; that Sec- 
ond-Lieutenant Loeser had been promoted to first- 
lieutenant, and was entitled to go home. He was ac- 
cordingly detailed to carry the news. I prepared with 
great care the letter to the adjutant-general, of August 
17th, 1848, which Colonel Mason modified in a few 
particulars ; and, as it was important to send not only 
the specimens which had been presented to us along 
our route of travel, I advised the colonel to allow 
Captain Folsom to purchase and send to Washington 
a large sample of the commercial gold in general use, 
and to pay for the same out of the money in his 
hands, known as the ' Civil fund,' arising from the du- 
ties collected at the several ports in California. He 
consented to this, and Captain Folsom bought an 
oyster can full, at ten dollars an ounce, which was the 
rate of value at which it was then received at the cus- 
tom-house. Folsom was further instructed to contract 
with some vessel to carry the messenger to South 
America, where he could take the English steamer as 
far east as Jamaica, with a conditional charter, giving 

increased pay if the vessel would catch the October 
steamer. Folsom chartered the bark La La)nbayecana, 
owned and navigated by Henry D. Cooke, who has 
since been the governor of the District of Columbia. 
In due time this vessel reached Monterey, and Lieut. 
Loeser, with his report and specimens of gold, em- 
barked and sailed. He reached the South American 
continent at Payta, Peru, in time, took the English 
steamer of October to Panama, and thence went on to 
Kingston, Jamaica, where he found a sailing vessel 
bound for New Orleans. On reaching New Orleans, 
he telegraphed to the War Department his arrival ; but 
so many delays had occurred, that he did not reach 
Washington in time to have the matter embraced in 
the President's regular message of 1848, as we had 
calculated. Still, the President made it the subject of a 
special message, and thus became official what had 
before reached the world only in a very indefinite shape. 
Then began that great development and the emigration 
to California, by land and by sea, of 1849 and i85°-" 
The estimated production of gold in the United 
States from 1848 to 1873 is, $1,240,750,000, of which 
California contributed $1,083,075,000, as the follow- 
ing table shows in detail : 

From 1848 to 1852 $147,000,000 

In 1852 59,000,000 

" 1853 68,000,000 

" 1854 64,000,000 

'■ 1855 59,000,000 

" 1856 63,000,000 

" 1857 61,000,000 

" 1858 59,000,000 

" 1859 59,000,000 

" i860 52,000,000 

" 1861 50,000,000 

" 1862 5 1,500,000 

'• 1863 50,000,000 

'■ 1864 35000,000 

" 1865 35,000,000 

'• 1866 26,000,000 

" 1867 25,000,000 

" 1868 22,000,000 

" 1869 22,500,000 

" 1870 25,000,000 

'' 1871 20,000,000 

" 1872 19,049,000 

" 1873 18,025,722 

" 1874 20,300,531 

" 1875 17-753.151 

" 1876 18,615,807 

" 1877 18,174,716 

" 1778 18,920,461 

" 1879 18,190,973 

" 1880 18,276,166 



Blake gives the following table of the gold-yield of 
the world, for the year 1867 : 

California $25,000,000 

Nevada 6,000,000 

Oregon and Washington Territory 3,000,000 

Idaho 5,000,000 

Montana 1 2,000,000 

Arizona 500,000 

New Mexico 300,000 

Colorado 2,000,000 

Utah and Appalach 2,700,000 

Total for the United States $56,500 

British Columbia $ 2, 

Canada and Nova Scotia 

Mexico I 

Brazil i 

chiu : 



Venezuela, Columbia, Cuba, St. Domingo 3 

Australia 31 

New Zealand 6, 

Russia 15, 

Austria i 




Great Britain 


Borneo and East India 5 

China, Japan, etc 5, 

Great Total $130,180,000 



Geographical Locations of Both Californias — California's Size 
and Population — Pacific Mail and Steamship Company — 
Different Ways and Routes to go to California — Forming 
Companies — Old Material to start a new Business with — 
What Emigrants took along with Them— The First Steam- 
boat on the Sacramento River— The Edward Everett Gold 
Mining Company— The Different Traveled Routes in Regard 
to the Difficulties — On the Overland Roads— On the Isth- 
mus — John Conness on Board the Sylph Arrived in San 
Francisco by the way of Ecuador — Number that Arrived 
at San Francisco. 

Peninsular or Lower California lying between the 
gulf ana the ocean is about one hundred and thirty 
miles in breadth where joining the continent at the 

north, under the 3 2d parallel, and nearly the same lati- 
tude with Savannah, Georgia; thence running south 
eastward, diminishing in breadth and terminating in 
two points, the one. Cape San Lucas, in nearly the same 
latitude with Havanna, the other at Cape Palmo, sixty 
miles northeast, at the entrance of the gulf 

Continental California extends along the Pacific 
from the 32d parallel, where it joins thepeninsula, about 
seven hundred miles, to the Oregon line, nearly in the 
latitude of Boston. The Mexican government con- 
sideied the 42d parallel as the northern line of Cali- 
fornia, according to a treaty with the United States in 
1828. The Golden Gate, the entrance channel to 
San Francisco harbor, is located under the same lati- 
tude as the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay and the 
Straits of Gibraltar. 

California embraces an area of 188,981 square miles 
or 120,947,840 acres. This gives her the second 
place of all the States in the Union ; so far as popula- 
tion is concerned, with her 864,686 inhabitants, (ac- 
cording to the census of 1880) she takes the twenty- 
fourth place between the States. The magnitude 
of the State will be more readily comprehended by 
comparing her with Great Britain. Cahfornia will be 
found 78,235 square miles larger than the United 
Kingdom. Of the total population of 864,686, there 
are 518,271 males, 346,415 females; 572,006 are 
native Americans, 292,680 foreigners; 767,266 are 
white, and 97,420 colored. 

Before the discovery of gold in California, as early as 
March, 1847, Congress had proposed a mail route 
from New York to Astoria via the Isthmus of Panama, 
with semi-monthly trips on the Atlantic side and 
monthly trips on the Pacific side, with San Francisco 
destined to be one of the way ports, California being 
then quite sure to become a part of the United States. 
An annual subsidy of $200,000 was offered to a 
responsible party who would take the contract, but 
capital seemed to be scarce, or kept back from the 
enterprise on account of the probably low profit, and 
a full year passed away before Messrs. Rowland and 
Aspinwall, as the principal capitalists, in April, 1848, 
formed the Pacific MailSteamshipCompany, taking the 
government's contract. They immediately went on to 
construct three new steamers. The discovery of gold 
then was not yet known in the East, the plan for these 
boats was drawn as for mail and freight transportation 
only, passengers not being provided for. They were 
finished as cheaply as possible, in just economy with 
the profits that possibly could be expected out of the 
speculation. These steamers were the California, the 
Oregon and the Panama, and they were to run on the 
Pacific side from the Isthmus to Oregon. 

Just in time the news of the great discovery in Cal- 



ifornia had arrived East and began to scatter around, 
showing to such a clear-headed speculator like Aspin- 
wall that there was something, if not a milhon in it, 
and urging upon him the necessity of changing the 
plan of his three steamers, then under construction. 
This was immediately done, and their completion 
hurried on. No sooner than one of them had been 
completed and equipped was she sent out on her voy- 
age hy the way of Magellan Straits for the Pacific 
ocean and San Francisco. The first to arrive at this 
latter port on February 28th, was the California, the 
Oregon followed on March 31st, and the Panama 
entered San Francisco harbor on June 4, 1849. Thus 
was opened up a new route to the El Dorado of the 
Pacific coast. 

Since the St. Louis newspapers, in 1840, had pub- 
lished the glowing description of California, out of Dr. 
Marsh's pen, this country, just far enough distant to 
become a field for the golden dreams of many a ro- 
mantic youth ; publications like Dana's " Two Years 
Before the Mast," and the Wilke's exploring expedi- 
tion, had nourished this feeling, and some returned 
whaler had helped and aided in his circle with his de. 
scriptions, that the romance did not die out. Now, 
then, this land appeared again in a new dress, " cov- 
ered with gold," and letters filled with gold dust had 
arrived together with more inviting descriptions and 
urgent invitations by friends. The romance had de- 
veloped into reality and the attraction grew to an irre- 
sistible strength, the youth talented with romantic 
fancy filled the ranks of the adventurers, ready 
with the next chance to start for the newly ac- 
quired American province, the new El Dorado, where 
everybody could help himself to as much of the 
precious metal as he pleased, without the investment 
of a great capital. And the only question to be settled 
by these fresh made adventurers was to decide by 
what route they could reach their far destination the 
quickest. According to the home location, those liv. 
ing on or near the Atlantic ocean found it most con- 
venient to go by water, either all the way around 
Cape Horn, or by the way of Central America, cross- 
ing the Isthmus at Panama, at Nicaragua, or across 
Mexico ; while those of the Western States mostly 
preferred to go the entire distance by land across the 
plains, where several routes afforded the way to the 
Pacific coast : the Santa Fe route, or generally called 
the Santa Fe trail, via the Arkansas valley to the Rio 
Grande, then through Sonora to the Rio Gila, and 
crossing the Colorado river to enter California from the 
south-eastern part; or the route Fremont had taken, 
up the Platte river, through the South Pass of the Rocky 
mountains, through Utah, passing by Fort Hall, follow- 
ing the Humboldt and Carson rivers towards the 

central part of the Sierra Nevada. Here the Carson 
pass leading down into El Dorado county was the 
most preferred one; another favored pass was following 
up the Truckee river, crossing on the summit to Bear 
river ridge and tracing down the latter river. Another 
route across the plains took a more northerly direc- 
tion, and passed over the Sierra Nevada by the Pitt 
river route, or Lassen's Cut-off, to enter California in 
the northern part. 

However trustful everyone was of his own success, 
there were certainly few strong minded enough to set 
out on the expedition alone-dependent on their own 
strength and good luck ; all others not in possession 
of such amount of self-confidence attached them- 
selves to a larger body of men, or formed a company for 
their own protection and satisfaction ; this being a neces- 
sity for the travel overland, it was an attribute of the 
travel by sea giving an agreeable comfort. But the de- 
pendency in this direction as well as other necessary 
preparations, absorbed, with most of them, too much 
time to allow them to move on immediately, as the sea- 
son was too far advanced, thusgiving better opportunity 
for preparations and for making proselites for the em- 
igration, to start on the journey as early as spring 
would allow the moving. The seaport cities as well as 
the frontier post of the far west, early in 1849, became 
the redezvous places of thousands of people, and their 
assemblage and the purpose for which they came, 
gave birth to many hitherto unknown branches of in- 
dustry at these places. Here all the old horses, mules, 
oxen and cows, together with old wagons of every de- 
scription, were brought to these fitting-out stations 
and found a ready market and sale ; the emigrants on 
their journey being compelled to pay the highest prices 
for all things of necessity. There, old vessels, laid 
up for years, and half rotten, or forgotten entirely at 
their moorings, were brought to life again ; a new 
coppering and other most necessary repairing was 
done as fast as possible, the vessel fitted up as a pas- 
senger boat and advertised as a fast sailing vessel in 
best order, awaiting passengers for California, and 
every one of them were filled with passengers who were 
willing to risk the old crafts, being all anxious to reach 
the far destination as fast as possible. 

And now to say what all was going along with 
these vessels, besides the passengers, one could hardly 
imagine anything that these smart Yankees had forgot- 
ten. Many of the adventurers who were trying to 
make fortunes on this coast had an idea that this 
country was lacking of everything, and they brought 
with them all the necessities of life ; all the imple- 
ments, tools and machinery for starting most every 
trade ; supplies were taken along to open stores of 
every description ; printing presses and all the sup- 



plemental parts, to bring the blessings of the news to 
the new country, whole houses, in all their parts, ready 
to be put up ; one wing of Mrs. Perry's hotel at Salmon 
Falls, Rl Dorado county, came around Cape Horn — 
we could state a good many more, but this one exam- 
ple may suffice ; more thoughtful people went on to 
invent machines for washing gold and sold them to 
the adventurers, who stowed them in with the other 
baggage to make use of when arriving at the El Do- 
ado. One party, made up as the " Ganargwa Mining 
Company," among other curiosities were accom- 
panied by a coining press, with steel dies, for the coin- 
ing of five and ten dollar gold pieces ; for what could 
they do with all the gold that they expected to dig 
without being coined ? And even the first steamboat 
ever run on the Sacramento river was imported that 
way by the e.xcited adventurers. We give the follow- 
ing from a Boston newspaper, published as a " Recol- 
lection of the late Edward Everett;" the writer of the 
article calls himself one of the party : 

" In the month of December, 1848, a party of ad- 
venturers numbering one hundred and fifty, from all 
the New England States, became infected with the gold 
fever, which raged then extensively all over the coun- 
try, in consequence of discovering the precious metal 
in California. These men formed a company and 
purchased a ship called the Edward Everett^ and 
named their company ' The Edward Everett Mining 
Company.' The shares were three hundred dollars 
each, and no person could hold more than one share, 
because the company wanted strength — not orna- 
mental members. After the shares were allotted, and 
the ship purchased, it was suggested that Mr. Everett 
should be notified of the compliment the company had 
paid him, and thatwe should be happy if he would give 
us any information respecting the country we were about 
to visit, and the art of mining. The hint was acted 
upon, and in a few days we received a letter from Mr. 
Everett, in which he stated that, with facts and docu- 
ments we desired, he had forwarded us a choice lot 
of books, the perusal of which he hoped we would 
tind interesting during our long passage to the new El 
Dorado. There were about a hundred and fifty vol- 
umes, embracing Prescott's, Bancroft's Sparks' and 
other standard works ; besides several text books rel- 
ative to mining, some pamphlets regarding the climate, 
soil and geology of California, and works that gave 
a very distinct account of the early settlement of the 
Jesuits, and the manner in which they had extended 
their influence by the aid ot Missionaries and Christi- 
anity among the Indians. 

"After a six months' passage we arrived in Cilifornia, 
moored our ship along the mud banks of Benicia and 
there built a steamboat with the material which we 

had purchased in Boston. It was a flat-bottomed 
boat, and a clumsy affair, but it was propelled by the 
aid of steam and with paddle wheels, and that speci- 
men of our work we named Edivard Everett^ Jr. This 
steamer was the first one that ever navigated the Sac- 
ramento river ; and it should be known in history that 
through the kindness of Edward Everett, the orator 
and statesman, the one hundred and fifty adventurers 
were proud to place his name on the sides of their 
rude craft, a wonder in those days, when only sailing 
vessels ascended the river." 

Thus the early gold-hunters started out on their 
voyage provided with everything the boldest imagina- 
tion could think of; equipped, not as the law directed 
quite, but as the inclination dictated them. The trip 
around Cape Horn was tiresome and absorbed much 
time ; but, after all, the travelers that took their 
choice of this route found that they had done the 
best, and in most every line of comparison the ad- 
vantage was on their side. They made a continuous 
progress, and after having sailed around Cape Horn 
they did not need to worry themselves; they pfo- 
ceeded toward their destination, where they arrived 
fresh and strong, having their outfit right on hand in 
the hold of the same vessel. The overland travelers 
starting with insufficient knowledge of their own 
necessities as well as the character of the country they 
had to traverse, had their wagons loaded down to the 
utmost with not much less of all kinds of stuff than 
the former class, soon enough found themselves con- 
cerned with difficulties, and experience was the mas- 
ter that taught them the right way. Most of the emi- 
grants were overloaded with provisions to such an ex- 
tent that it soon became a burden to them and their 
pulling animals; but short, they resolved to throw the 
burden overboard, and as others followed the same 
example, there could be found along the different 
emigrant roads piled up like cord-wood, all different 
articles of food, particularly hams, bacon and flour- 
barrels, and on more difficult points of the roads there 
were wagons loaded with goods left behind, on ac- 
count of an insufficiency of pulling animals, those 
from the abandoned wagons being required more 
necessary for the oalance of the rigging. From the 
Missouri river to the passes in the Rocky moun- 
tains there were but little difficulties out of natural 
causes, the road leading continuously sloping up to- 
wards the mountains; but in crossing the mountains 
an amount of difficulties were to overcome that none 
of them had thought of before. But the emigrants 
of 1849, having toiled with their wagons over un- 
known plains and wild mountains across, the sandy 
and alkali deserts, learning by experience many de- 
vices for passing successfully the most serious obsta 



cles. Zigzag trails had to be cut on the too steep 
hillsides to facilitate the passage of pack animals, and 
even of light wagons, and the rudiments of some of 
them may be found to the present time, though over- 
grown with lichen and ferns as well as all kinds of 
chaparral ; oftentimes wagons had to be taken down 
by ropes, or by attaching limbs of trees as a drag to 
enlarge the friction and thus break or retard the speed 
or pressure. 

The number of emigrants from the Western 
States that set out in the spring of 1849, di^nng 
the months of April, May and June, on their travel 
across the plains can only be approximately estimated, 
varying between 50,000 and 80,000, organized in com- 
panies numbering from about a dozen up to several 
hundred, most of them men, comparatively few women 
and children accompanying their husbands and fathers 
to the new country. Most of the emigrants, coming 
by the Santa Fe route, went to the southern mines ; 
those entering the territory by the Pitt river route 
went to the northern part ; the Truckee river pass led 
down to the mines on Bear, Yuba and neighboring 
rivers ; and the Carson [ass brought those hunting the 
El Dorado down to the American river, and being 
satisfied here, they called it El Dorado. A third route 
to reach the El Dorado on the Pacific coast was by 
the way of the Isthmus of Panama, and the emigrants 
who had selected the same, without any doubt calcu- 
lating on the shortest and cheapest way, found they 
had made a miscalculation, and were in the worst con- 
dition of all the emigrants ; for after being landed at I 
Chagres, Navy Bay, or some other harbor, together ! 
with their baggage and eventually other outfit, they had 
to go across the Isthmus either afoot or on mule's 
back and await the arrival of the next steamer. Thus 
from 5,000 to 8,000 American emigrants were com- 
pelled to take involuntary lodgings up to the time 
when their .chances would turn up to move further on, 
and not being accustomed to the tropical climate, ma- 
larial fever, cholera, etc., were ravaging badly in their 
ranks, and only the ardent desire to reach the land of 
such extravagant reports and so favorable promises 
could keep the minds of most of them upright. But 
the {^v< steamers (only two were running yet on the 
Pacific ocean) could not give passage to one-fourth of 
the people arriving every week, the price for tickets run 
up immensely, and as comparatively few of the emi- 
grants had been wise and precautious enough to pro- 
vide themselves with through tickets to San Francisco, 
there was a good chance for other vessels that hap- 
pened to be around in this ocean. Vessels of every 
description came flocking into Panama harbor to get 
their share of this travel ; unloading their cargo if 
necessary and making some arrangements for the 

transportation of passengers — all ready to be either 
chartered or sold to a company of emigrants. 

John Conness, now of Boston, but for years a citizen 
of El Dorado county, with many other future promi- 
nent citizens of this State, took passage on May 9th, 

1849, on board the whaler-ship Sylph, Captain Francis 
Gardiner, of Fairhaven, and arrived at San Francisco, 
California, after an involuntary visit to the port of 
Tacamas, Republic of Ecuador, about 55 miles north 
of the equator, on July 26t 1, 1849. 

The number of arrivals un the water-way at San 
Francisco, from April i2ih, 1849, to February 28th, 

1850, was 43,824. The emigrant road from the Car- 
son Pass down into El Dorado alone, saw passing 
over it, if not more, at least as many arriving emigrants 
as those who landed at San Francisco. 



El Dorado county is one of the twenty-seven coun- 
ties into which the State was divided at its organiza- 
tion, their boundaries being the matter of an act signed 
February i8th, 1850. 

\\'hen the order of the day brought up the debate 
for subdividing the state into counties, it was found 
th.Tt not only the geography of the territory, to the 
greater extent, was still unknown and the rest veiled, 
but the population was still so uncertain and unsettled, 
the course of the rivers as well as the character of the 
mountains not sufficiently known, that all this caused 
much perplexity and delay. But it must be said, they 
did the best they could do under the perplexing cir- 
cumstances, and however ungainly in shape or boun- 
d.iries, some of the counties might have been laid out 
first, causing many a correction in later years, the 
boundaries of El Dorado, with the first choice, struck 
the right point ; little or no alterations have been 
ntH essary up to the present day. As the county in 
which the discovery of gold was made, and conse- 
q .ently having the greatest .Tttraction for all those who 
had come to hunt up a fortune in this new El Dorado, 
and being one of the largest and richest counties in 
the mining district, she was deservedly complimented 
with the name she bears. 

In 1850, when the vote was taken for the location 
of a court seat in the county, Coloma received the larg- number of votes, for the reason it then had hardly 
any competitor of note, as up to that time most all 
the population had concentrated around Coloma. But 
its development was limited and the increase of its 
population could not stand the comparison with otner 


districts, particularly those of Hangtown and Weber 
creek. And ere long the ambition of the people of 
the first named district grew high enough to start an 
agitation for the removal of the county court seat to 
Placerville, as being located so much more convenient 
and the most central location of the county. Public 
meetings were held at Placerville, in January, 1854) 
and as the result of a resolution then adopted, the fol- 
lowing bill for the permanent location of the county 
court seat of El Dorado county was introduced in 
the State Legislature ; 

The People of the State of California, represented 
in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows : 

Section i. The county judge of El Dorado county 
shall, at least four weeks prior to the next general elec- 
tion, make proclamation to the voters of said county, 
and shall cause the same proclamation to be published 
in all the newspapers published in said county, as 
often as the same may be issued, that at the next gen- 
eral election the question of the removal of the county 
seat shall be voted on by the qualified voters of said 
county, and stating the form of ballot to be used at 
said election, which shall be as follows : "For County 
Seat," naming the place to be voted for, and said bal- 
lots shall be counted at the same time, and in the like 
manner as those cast for the officers to be chosen at 
said election. 

Sec. 2. The returns of the votes so cast-for a county 
seat shall be made to the county clerk as in manner 
provided by law. 

Sec. 3. After the returns shall have been canvassed, 
it shall be the duty of the county judge to declare that 
place which shall have received the greatest number 
of votes, to be the county seat and sh:ill cause the 
same to be certified to the Secretary of the State. 

Sec. 4. If it shall be ascertained that the place 
chosen, as aforesaid, for the county seat of said county, 
is other than the town of Coloma, the court of ses- 
sions shall immediately proceed to make all necessary 
contracts for the erection of a court-house and jail, 
and 9ther necessary offices for the county seat, which 
contracts shall be given to the lowest responsible bid- 
der. Bonds and sureties shall be required of a re- 
sponsible character, equal in amount to the price to 
be paid for the erection of the buildings specified in 
such contracts ; and payments shall be made on the 
contracts in such manner as the court of sessions shall 
deem most conducive to the interest of the people of 
the county ; provided that no payments shall be made 
until the completion of the buildings according to con- 
tract, and until they shall have been received by the 
court of sessions. 

Sec. 5. No contract shall be made as specified in 

the preceding section, until after the proposals for such 
contract shall have been advertised by the court of 
sessions, for at least two weeks, in all the newspapers 
published in said county, which proposals shall 
specify with exactness the size, and manner of construc- 
tion, and the time within which the said buildings 
shall be completed, and no member of the court of 
sessions or other county ofificers, shall be interested 
either directly or indirectly in the contract so made. 

Sec. 6. Within sixty days after the execution of 
such contract, or as soon as the buildings at the new 
county seat shall be ready for use and occupancy, it 
shall be the duty of the court of sessions to cause to 
be removed, the public archives, records and other 
property of said county, to the place so declared to be 
the county seat ; and the terms of the county court 
of sessions and the district court of said county shall 
thereafter be holden at the county seat. 

Sec. 7. Whenever the buildings now occupied at 
the present county seat shall be no longer needed for 
public use, it shall be the duty of the court of sessions 
to order the sheriff of the county to expose the same 
for sale at public auction, to be sold to the highest 
bidder, together with the ground belonging thereunto ; 
the proceeds of which shall be paid into the county 
treasury. The sheriff shall furnish a bill of sale of all 
the property sold, to the county treasurer, and take 
the treasurer's receipt for the moneys paid him on ac- 
count of such sale ; which receipt shall be filed as a 
voucher with the county auditor. 

Sec. 8. .\11 laws or parts ol laws conflicting with 
the provisions of this act so far as they or either of 
them are applicable or relate to the county of El Do- 
rado, are hereby repealed. 

This act, passed by the Legislature of California in 
April, 1854, was the result of a petition of the citi- 
zens of Placerville, introduced as a bill in the Legis- 
lature in session ; the city of Placerville being incor- 
porated about the same time and being undoubtedly 
the most important town in the county, and in full un- 
derstanding of the way and means how to increase her 
significance, made great efforts to get the county seat 
changed from Coloma to Placerville, making it plausi- 
ble that suitable buildings for court-house and offices 
would be given by the citizens. The Legislature, as 
above stated, submitted the question to the decision 
of the people at the next general election, to come off 
in September of the same year, giving the matter an 
ample chance for agitation in the meantime. 

Besides Coloma, anxious to keep what had been in 
her possession since the organization of the county, 
and Placerville, three more aspirants entered the con- 
test for the county seat. Georgetown also marched 
in the field for the agitation for removal of the county 



seat. The Mountain Democrat of May i8th, 1854, 
gives the following : 

" At a meeting of the citizens of Georgetown and 
the northern portion of El Dorado county, held at 
Georgetown on the evening of the 12th inst., on the 
subject of the removal of the county seat, T. W. 
Brotherton, Esq., was called to the chair, and Joseph 
C. Terrell, appointed secretary. Whereupon the fol- 
lowing preamble and resolutions were unanimously 
adopted : 

Whereas, The Legislature of California has left 
the question of the permanent location of the county 
seat of El Dorado county to be decided by the qual- 
ified voters of said county at the approaching elec- 
tion ; 

And whereas, For the opinion of this meeting, 
Georgetown is the most suitable place in the county 
for the permanent establishment of the county seat, 
possessing as it does, many advantages unequal'ed by 
any other place spoken of to be voted for the county 

Among which advantages might be mentioned the 
regular m..nnef in which it is laid out, and the great 
width of its streets ; which not only afford extraordi- 
nary facilities for business and travel, but are almost a 
sure guaranty against fire. 

In addition to which, her citizens never have been, 
and it is presumed never will be found wanting in 
energy, liberality and public spirit, as is evidenced by 
the fact that we have a large and spacious town hall — 
an edifice unequalled by anything of the kind in the 
mountains of California — as well as a large substan- 
tial church, built by the citizens generally, without 
distinction of sect or creed, and free for all Christian 
denominations. Also a fine district school-house, fin- 
ished after the most approved models, and affording the 
best accommodations for the children of the district. 

We have also an inexaustible supply of mountain 
water, which requires neither snow nor ice to make it 
palatable, as well as a never-failing stream running 
through our midst ; and as for beauty of scenery, sa- 
lubtity of climate and uniform good health, we chal- 
lenge the world to find a parallel — making Georgetown 
altogether one of the most desirable places for the 
permanent location of the county seat, that can be 
found in the county of El Dorado. Therefore, 

Resolved, That we will use all honorable means 
within our power, to secure the permanent location of 
the county seat of El Dorado county at Georgetown. 

Resolved, That if Georgetown is successful in pro- 
curing the county seat, that we pledge ourselves to do- 
nate to the county of El Dorado, for county purposes, 
the large and commodious building in said town known 
as the " Town Hall." 

Resolved, That a standing committee of five be ap- 
pointed to devise and carry into execution the best 
means to secure the election of Georgetown for the 
permanent county seat of El Dorado county, and said 
committee report at " Warren's Hall," at 8 o'clock, two 
weeks from to-night. 

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be 
published in the State Journal, the Sacramento Union, 
and in the papers of this county. 

On motion, the meeting adjourned. 

T. W. Brotherton, Pres't. 

J. C. Terrell, Sec'y." 

Georgetown, however, withdrew in favor of Green- 
wood Valley, and if it had not been for the jealousy 
of Diamond Springs, we don't know why the county 
seat would not have been removed in 1854 from Co- 
loma to Placerville. At the general election of Sep- 
tember 6th, 1854, the following vote was given for 
county seat : 

Coloma 4,601 

Placerville 3i745 

Diamond Springs 2.073 

Mud Springs 685 

Greenwood Valley 441 

Immediately after the election, for the first time 
some talk was circulating to divide the county of El 
Dorado, on account of her huge dimensions, but in 
fact as the hearty wish of some politicians to try the 
experiment, expecting to have better control of the 
votes of the coun'.y in the diminished shape; but for 
this time it was of no consequence whatever. About 
a year later, however, a member of the State A.ssembly 
by the name of White gave notice in the House that 
he would introduce a bill to divide the " Empire 

The question of the removal of the county seat 
from Coloma to Placerville, that had been slumbering 
since the election in the fall of 1854, turned up again 
in the spring of 1856. This time the first request was 
made by the population of Cosunines and White Oak 
townships, comprising the whole population of the 
southern and southwestern part of the county, who by 
reason of the geographical location of their places of 
residence, would be benefitted by a removal of the 
county seat to Placerville, as the most central and con- 
veniently located place. 'Coloma, in anticipation of 
this second contest, that promised to become a more 
serious one, and that she might not be able to come out 
of it as lucky as the first time, opened subscription 
lists and solicited names for remonstrances. 

At Placerville the citizens convened at a large and 
enthusiastic meeting March isth, 1856; Mayor Jervey 
was called to preside, Captain W. H. Smith and ex- 
Mayor A. Hunter were chosen vice-presidents, and W. 



Wadsworth and 1). W. (icKvicks wurc appointed secre- 
taries. The object of the meeting being stated, to 
take into consideration the subject of the location of 
the county seat, on motion, the following gentlemen 
were appointed a committee to draft and report reso- 
lutions expressive of the sense of the meeting: B. R. 
Nickerson, Captain Smith, Dr. Child, Captain Norton, 
and J. O'Donnell. Mr. Nickerson reported the fol- 
lowing resolutions, which were, after a full discussion, 
unanimously adopted. The most determined spirit 
characterized the whole proceedings. 

Resolved^ That we fully recognize the inherent right 
of governments, whether territories, states, counties 
or corporations to legislate and determine the'r own 
local affairs through the direct action of their own cit- 
izens ; therefore. 

Resolved, That the course of a portion of the El 
Dorado delegation in our State Legislature, consisting 
of Messrs. Taylor, White, Welch and Oliver, to whom 
was referred the bill to submit the permanent location 
of our county seat to a direct vote of the people at a 
special election, is a gross outrage of every principle 
of popular sovereignty, and merits our decided repro- 

Resolved, That the committee of the House, Upon 
" Counties and County Boundaries," for their unani- 
mous report in favor of the passsage of the bill to sub- 
mit to the electors of El Dorado county, at a special 
election, the permanent location of the county seat, 
deserves our unqualified approbation. 

Reso&'cd, That Messrs. Gage, Heiskell, Bowe and 
Borland, for their strict adherence to the true interests 
of their constituency, as well as to a well settled na- 
tional principle, in urging upon the Legislature the 
passage of the bill to submit the question to a direct 
vote of the whole people, disconnected with party pol- 
itics, have done their duty to their constituents. 

Resolved, That the report submitted by Dr. Taylor 
is in direct conflict with the will of a large majority of 
the people he was elected to represent, and in all the 
essential features at variance with the facts ; and that 
jjart of said report relating to our county buildings a 
wanton attempt to mislead the Legislature upon a sub- 
ject of vital importance to the citizens of our county. 

Resolved, That we will support no man for office at 
the coming election, of any particular party, who by 
his action upon this vital principle of self-government 
refuses to submit the same to the people directly con- 

W. E. JeRvey, President, 

\V. Wadsworth, I „ . . 

D. W. Gelwicks, } Secretaries. 

Under date of Apr'lzist, 1856, the Board of Super- 
visors issued the following ; 

WHhKEAS, An act emitled "An act to submit the 
question of removal of the county seat of El Dorado 
county to the qualified voters thereof," having been 
enacted by the people of the State of California: and 

A\'hereas, Said act havmg been approved by the 
governor of this State, and the same certified to the 
board ; and, whereas, said act provides that an elec- 
tion, thirty days after the passage of said act, shall be 
held in said county of El Dorado, to locate and estab- 
lish the county seat of said county, and to determine 
whether the said county seat shall remain at Coloma 
or be removed to the city of Placerville. 

Therefore, we, the Board of Supervisors of said 
county, hereby give notice under our order, that an 
election will be held in all the precincts in this county, 
on Saturday, the 17th day of May, A. D 1856, in j.ur- 
suance of said act. 

Ai.KX. Irvine, 
Chairman Board of Supervisors. 

D. C. McKennev, Clerk. 

The election returns gave a total vote of 13,393, of 
these 85 had been rejected for want of proper certifi- 
cates ; the balance of the 13,308 were divided as fol- 
lows ; 

For Coloma, 7.413 ; for Placerville, 5,895. 

In consequence of this vote, an indignation meet- 
ing of the citizens of Plac-rville was held on the plaza, 
Thursday evening. May 29th, 1856, for the purpose of 
eliciting the sentiment of the people in regard to the 
late flagrant outrage upon the right of suffrage com- 
mitted in Coloma, and developed in counting the re- 
turns of the late election for county seat. 

The meeting was called to order by nominating S. 
M.Johnson, Esq., chairman, and Dr. I. S. Titus, sec- 
1 etary. 

Able addresses were deliverod by Messrs. Hume, 
Keene, Bruce, Lee, Carr and Stewart. During the 
proceedings, the following preamble and resolutions 
were unanimously adopted : 

Whereas, At an election held in this county on 
Saturday, the 17th inst., to decide upon the perma- 
nent location of the county seat, it was determined by 
the votes of the people, as declared and known after 
closing the polls, and counting the votes in the vari 
ious precincts of the county, that the city of Placer, 
ville received a majority of all the votes cast, of over 
five hundred votes ; and, whereas, fraudulent returns 
have teen made to the county clerk from three pre- 
cincts, representing a vote of 2,245 votes, thereby 
changing the result, and overriding the voice of the 
people, and substituting in the place thereof the will of 
designing knaves ; therefore, be it 

Resolved, That the returns from Uniontown of 811 
votes, from Dry Creek house. 872 votes, and from 



McDowellville, 562 votes, are base forgeries upon the 
election franchise ; degrading the ballot box ; a deep 
disgrace, which must rest upon every freeman in the 
Empire county, who does not with all his political^ 
moral and physical might resist this invasion of our 

Resolved, That to submit to this outrage upon our 
dearest rights, is to entrust our future welfare and 
right of self-government committed to us by our 
fathers, into the hands of ballot-box staffers, and law- 
defying villains ; by so doing, rendering the will of the 
people powerless, and destroying all our liberty. 

Resolved, That all the corrupt officials who have 
been accessory in vamping and producing false returns 
from the above precincts, have shown themselves ut- 
terly unworthy of the confidence of the people of El 
Dorado county, and should be held to a strict account 
therefor, etc. 

Resolved, That John Hume, Esq., late an honored 
citizen of this place, for his bold and able advocacy of 
the claims, of this city, is hereby accorded our highest 
respect and profound thanks. 

Resolved, That we recognize to its fullest extent, the 
right of the people to decide every question of public 
interest, at the ballot box ; and to that verdict, when 
fairly expressed, we should ever submit ; and we de- 
nounce those who have attempted to defile this sacred 
palladium of our liberties, as enemies of our race, 
traitors to our glorious land, and more justly entitled 
to the benefits of hemp, than some of their predeces- 

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be 
published, etc. 

S. VV. Johnson, Chairman. 

I. S. Titus, Secretary. 

The facts about this election were these : 

On May 17th, 1856, the people of El Dorado county 
by a large majority, voted to remove the county seat 
from Coloma to Placerville. In fear that fraud would 
be committed by the friends of Coloma, the citizens 
of Placerville took the precaution to send two agents 
to each precinct in the county, with instructions to re- 
main at the polls until they were closed, and to pro- 
cure from the judges of election a correct return of 
the votes polled, and the number cast for each place — 
Placerville and Coloma — certified by a proper ofiicer. 
The judges in every instance furnished the desired in- 
formation and sent the following returns, as counted 
after the polls had closed : 

For Placerville 5.926 

For Coloma 5,280 

Majority for Placerville 646 

The ofificial vote, as given before, diflered materially 

from the above ; the vote of Coloma, within the short 
space of two weeks was increased astonishingly from 
5,280 to 7,413. The above report gave Placerville a 
vote of 5,926 ; the official vote was 5,895, a difference of 
but thirty-one votes. Coloma township at the county 
seat election cast 2,038 votes, at the Presidential elec- 
tion the same township gave but 937 votes. At the 
county seat election White Oak precinct cast 347 votes, 
all but five for Coloma, while at the Presidential elec- 
tion it gave 69 votes in all. The precincts of McDowell- 
ville and Dry Creek at the countyseat election cast 1,436 
votes, but two of them for Placerville ; while at the 
Presidential election there was not one vote cast in 
either of these precincts. 

The question of the removal of the county seat that 
had rested for nearly a year, .sprung to life again with 
the opening of the legislative session in January 1857. 
On the 2 2d of said month, Mr. G. McDonald pre- 
sented a bill in the Assembly, providing for the re- 
moval of the county seat of El Dorado county from 
Coloma to Placerville. The bill passed the lower 
house without any opposition, while some controversy 
came in when the bill was brought up in the Senate ; 
but a large majority of the votes of the latter body de- 
cided for the removal of the county seat of the Empire 
county from Coloma to Placerville. This ended the 
struggle of three years agitation for the supremacy — 
at last Placerville had won a victory and fully en- 
joyed it. 

Some parties of the northern part of El Dorado 
county to show their discontentedness and dissatis 
faction with this result, held a meeting at Georgetown, 
where some resolutions were read and accepted, out 
of which we give the following : 

Resolved, That we are in favor of a divi-ion of the 
county of El Dorado, making Georgetown the seat of 
the new county. 

Resolved, That the members of the Legislature from 
this county are requested to use their influence to se- 
cure the immediate passage of a bill for the above 

The line which these office-seekers and county 
butchers proposed for that new county was the South 
Fork of the American river — to include the whole dis- 
trict bounded by the South and Middle Forks of the 
American river running east to the state line — stating 
in the preamble to those resolutions that the people 
of said district had expressed themselves favorable to 
a division. 

Dr. Turner introduced a bill, into the assemb'y for 
the division of El Dorado county, and the creation of 
Eureka county. It was referred to the committee on 
Counties and County Boundaries, whereupon Mr. C. 
Orvis presented a remonstrance against it, causing the 



whole matter to be referred to the El Dorado delega- 
tion. The latter presented a majority report signed by 
Messrs. Hamm, Hall, Orvis, Hume, McDonald and 
Carpenter, and a minority report signed by Messrs. 
Turner and Mitchell. The bill came up for consider- 
ation in the Assembly on the 8th of April, 1857, and 
a motion to reconsider the vote by which that body re- 
fused to order the bill engrossed, was indefinitely post- 

But while all those who had an interest in county 
affairs were attentively following the proceedings of 
the proposed county division, anxiously wishing that 
it might be prevented, not sufficient attention was 
given to the danger from a similar robbery on the 
southern boundary ; here, a part of El Dorado county 
from Dry creek, the hitherto boundary line, to the 
South Fork of the Cosumnes river was given to Ama- 
dor county to increase her size. The petitioners for 
this act had pretended to work: in full agreement with 
the people of that respective part of country, but in 
fact, the people had not been asked about their opin- 
ion; on the contrary, just those people had only a shnri 
time ago expressed their opinion, by requesting the 
removal of the county seat from Coloma to Placer- 
ville. Now in this request they had been satisfied, what 
reason could exist for another move. 

Meanwhile the county seat ofiicially had been re- 
moved to Placerville, and the ground for the perma- 
nent lo.-ation of the county buildings not yet being se- 
lected, the Board of Supervisors rented a large stone 
building in the rear of the Moiottain Democrat office, 
for county purposes, and by some alterations converted 
it into a temporary court-house. 

One would have believed that this would have been 
the last act in the question of the removal of the 
county seat, but this was not so. The Legislature in 
the session of 1857-58, was again requested to take 
up the matter. A bill had been introduced into the 
State Assembly providing for an appropriation of $50, 
000 to erect the necessary buildings for the county 
court seat, by Mr. Lee and Mr. Buell answered with a 
substitute, to remove the county seat from Placerville 
back to Coloma. The bill passed the lower house in 
March, 1858, but not the senate, and never turned up 
again, and Placerville remains the county seat of the 
county until this day. 

The buildings occupied as court-house were pur- 
chased by the County Supervisors on June 5th, 1861, 
from Messrs. Boenzly & Brelaz ; this conveyance took 
place in consideration of the sum of $7,000, in war- 
rants drawn on the General Fund of the county. The 
jail at Coloma, which had been built in 1856, was used 
for the confinement of prisoners until the present jail 
building was erected in connection with the court- 

house, after that it was leased for several purposes, 
finally to be sold at auction on March 8th, 1870. 

Repeatedly the State Legislature has been petitioned 
since for the formation of a new county, to be formed 
out of portions of El Dorado, Placer and Nevada coun- 
ties under the proposed name of 


The portion of El Dorado county which it was pro- 
posed to segregate is one of the most valuable and in- 
dispensable parts of this county, viz.: Lai* Valley — 
valuable for its timber and its grazing lands, being the 
summer pasture for hundreds of bands of cattle, 
horses, sheep and goats, which are driven there in the 
spring to remain until fall, and belonging almost ex- 
clusively to owners living in the lower part of El Do- 
rado county. 



Reaches from the plains of the Sacramento, on the 
west, over a dividing range, to the line of the State ot 
Nevada on the east, a distance of over sixty miles ; 
and from the Middle Fork of the American river on 
the north to the South Fork of the Cosumnes river on 
the south ; comprising an area of about 1,800 square 
miles. From west to east, there is a gradual change 
of temperature, commencing with a region where snow 
and frost are comparatively unknown, and where the 
summer heat is almost tropicil, and culminating in 
snows thirty and forty feet deep, and with an occa- 
sional dip of the thermometer to twenty degrees below 
zeio. Occasionally the winter snows prevail as far 
down as Placerville (2,300 feet altitude), but here the 
temperature rarely reaches lower than ten degrees 
below freezing. During the time when the freight and 
travel to and from Virginie City all passed this way, 
the road over the .summit, an elevation of 7,373 feet, 
was kept open all winter, and passengers and mails 
were regularly carried through. 

In the lower part of the county the summer temper- 
ature ranges from eighty to one hundred degrees, but 
as throughout California, the nights are always pleas- 
ant : while the dryness of the atmosphere relieves the 
heat of the day of that sultry character so trying in 
the Atlantic States. Occasionally, for a few hours 
during the middle of the day, the thermometer has 
been known to register one hundred degrees, as far 
up as Cedar Rock. This, however, is rare, and morn- 
ing and evening fires are generally required even in 
July, at an elevation of 3,500 feet and above. 

The summers in the mountains are delightful ; a 



medium between the piercing breezes of San Francisco 
and the dull placidity of the southern coast. The occa- 
sional sharp thunder storms keep the atmosphere 
clear, pure and bracing, and many an invalid has been 
restored to health as the result of a few month's cam- 
paigning linder the pines ; while the effect is not less 
beneficial on all who have the means and leisure to 
enjoy a season of hunting and fishing in that delect- 
able region. No one can ever make such a trip without 
wishing to repeat it, and those whose business takes 
them up there regularly, are always anxiously looking 
forward for the time of the annual migration. 

To come down from the clouds, El Dorado county 
is bounded on the south by Amador county, west by 
Sacramento county, by Placer county north, and by 
the State of Nevada and Alpine county east. The 
scenery of the thus enclosed part of the State of Cali 
fornia is classified among the most magnificent in the 
world ; everywhere there is something worth seeing, 
whether it be the quietly pastoral or grandly pictu 
esque. Fountain and lake, forest and meadow, peak 
and valley make up this section of the western slope 
of the Sierra Nevada. On this range are found such 
prominent and noble points as Park Peak, Mount 
Tallac, Crystal Peak, Thompson's Peak and Pyramid 
Peak; besides innumerable lakelets of beauty, such as 
Fallen Leaf Lake, Loon Lake, Silver Lake, Clear 
Lake, Lake Tallac and Valley Lake. El Dorado lays 
claim to a portion of that unequalled sheet of water. 
Lake Bigler, the principal inlet of the lake — Emerald 
Bay — being in the county. El Dorado county is well 
off in the matter of 'water, a host of creeks filling 
every bed in the spring, while the Rubicon, the various 
branches of the American and Cosumnes rivers, which 
partly make the northern and southern boundary lines 
of the county, partly run through it to their whole 
length, keep in flow perennial. El Dorado possesses 
a great attraction in her underground caverns, orna- 
mented with those wonderful formations of nature's 
untired work of many thousands of years, called sta. 
lectites and stalagmites. And last, but not least, in 
the line of natural attractions there are the soda and 
mineral springs, of which El Dorado county possesses 
a good many, and though only little known yet, once 
doubtless will become sources of health as well as of 

For long years El Dorado county was one of the 
most prosperous of the mining counties. It is esti- 
mated that of the vast product of the gold-fields of 
California at least $100,000,000 was taken out here. 
There was a time when El Dorado county was a more 
important factor in the State elections than the pres- 
ent metropolis, San Francisco ; yet for the past twenty 
years the population and wealth has been steadily de- 1 

dining. It is the repetition of all gold-mining commu- 
nities : accumulations made here, have been trans- 
ferred to other regions, there to be enjoyed or added 
to other riches. Scattered all over the Union are 
hundreds of men, now rolling in wealth, who made 
their " stake" in the placers of El Dorado county. A 
tithe of what has been carried away would have suf- 
ficed to make these hillsides look like a garden and 
blossom as the rose. But the industrious thousands 
who once swarmed in these canyons, digging for the 
precious metal, have vanished, leaving ravished stream- 
beds and abandoned camps, as the only monuments 
of their presence. Few remained, save those who 
were too poor to get away, and these wander among 
the hills, among the ruins of former prosperity, pick" 
ing out a little from crevices once passed by with scorn, 
prospecting for pockets, quartz leads or seams, satis- 
fied if they can raise enough to keep soul and body 
together. In the evening you may find them congre- 
gated at the nearest saloon, entertaining each other 
with stories of the " flush times." 

The good work accomplished by the few who staid 
here because they wanted to, is sufficient to show what 
this country Plight havt been — and what it will be yet. 

Table of Rainfall at Shingle Springs. 

(Altitude 1,350 Feet.) 

Below we give a table of the rainfall for 1 9 years at 
Shingle Springs, this coun.y. It was made by the late 
Dr. J. R. Edwards, beginning with September, 1849, 
and being continued to April 1868, which was a few 
months before his decease. This is probably the only 
record existing of climatic observations made in the 
county, and supplies the facts needed for a thorough 
knowledge of the character of the climate. The 
heaviest rainfall in any yenr was 77.80 inches, during 
1861-62 ;thelightest, i7.2oinches, during 1850-51; the 
average 31.64 inches. The heaviest rain in one month 
was 34.13 inches — January 1862. The next heaviest 
23.76 inches — December, 1867. The average fall 
during December was 10.29 mches, during January 
7.55 inches — more than half of yearly rain being in 
hese two months. A very small amount is shown for 
the six months beginning with May — averaging a little 
more than one inch in that month, and one ten-thou- 
sandths of an inch in August. As the result of care- 
ful observations and registrations from the time of the 
first settlement, this record, is worthy of permanent 
preservation ; 



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Is located on the eastern side of the central ridge of the 
Sierra Nevada. According to the observations of the 
United States geographical surveying corps, under 
command of Lieut. George M. Wheeler, the altitude of 
the lake is 6,202 feet above the level of the sea; 
that of Tahoe City, 6,251, and of Hot Springs, 6,237 
feet. The water of the lake being shed from the solid 
granite and volcanic mountains that compose its 
boundaries by more than thirty streams, is extremely 

pure and clear, and when in a state of quietness, one 
can observe fish and other objects most distinct and 
perfect to the depth of from thirty to forty feet ; it is 
of blue color and very cold, but never freezes in the 
winter. The temperature 800 feet below the surface 
always remains at 39.2°, the point of maximum den- 
sity of fresh pure water ; at the surface in the hotest 
weather, the temperature rises to 68°, and in the cold- 
est sinks to 38° only. The deepest soundings ever 
made were 2,800 feet. The greatest length of the lake 
is 21.6 miles ; the greatest breadth 12 miles ; and the 
area of the whole sheet of water is about 195- square 
miles ; El Dorado county is entitled to claim nearly 
one-third of this area as located within her lines. The 
water is as buoyant as any other pure water, and it is 
as safe for sailing crafts as any. No more danger than 
what is common to other places need be feared, either 
from wind or waves ; though no Indian would dare to 
cross the lake, affirming their belief that an evil spirit 
would draw them to the bottom, if they would make 
an attempt. 

The bed of Lake Tahoe, by some is supposed to be 
the crater of an e.xtinct volcano, and to be unfathom- 
able. There are some indications of undoubtable \ol- 
canic origin: the masses of scorious or calcereous 
rock, mentioned already in Fremont's narrative, scat- 
tered all about thelake shore and along the banks of 
the Truckee river ; a small conical mound, evidently 
created by solfataras, may be seen near by, a little t j 
the northwest of Tahoe City ; and the occasional oc- 
currence of hot springs on the lake shore as well as in 
the lake, are evidence enough for this theory. Proof 
of the latter assertion is an incident that was witnessed 
in September, 1866, from Saxton's sawmill, by a num- 
ber of persons.' The water perfectly smooth and 
calm at the time, when suddenly at a locality about 
two hundred and fifty yards out from shore, was ob- 
served to rise in columnar form about five or six feet 
above the surface of the surrounding water, but soon 
subsiding and falling down in a whirlpool ; this phe. 
nomenon being repeated several times — one person 
rowed out in a small boat and found the water at that 
spot quite warm. The bed of the lake in the locality 
surrounding this accident is from thirty to forty feet 
below the surface of the water, while at the very spot, 
for a circle of about thirty yards, a hole has been 
sounded that is at least forty feet deeper, and no fish 
are to be seen around there, while in former years it 
has been an excellent fishing ground. 

The name of this lake forms a piece of history in 
itself The first mentioning of its existence was made 
by Fremont, who in his report to the chief of topo- 
graphical engineers, under date of January loth. 1844, 



"Beyond a defile between the mountains, descend- 
ing rapidly about 2,000 feet, and filling up all the lower 
spaces, was a sheet -of green water, some twenty miles 
broad. It broke upon our eyes like the ocean. The 
neighboring peaks rose high above us, and we as- 
cended one of them to get a better view. The waves 
were curling in the breeze, and their dark green color 
showed it to be a body of deep water. For a long 
time we sat enjoying the view ; for we had become 
fatigued with mountains, and the free expanse of mov- 
ing waves was very grateful. It was set like a gem in 
the mountains, which, from our position, seemed to en- 
close it almost entirely. Its position at first inclined us 
to believe it Mary's lake, (sink of Humboldt or Mary's 
river), but the rugged mountains were so entirely dis- 
cordant with the description of its low, rushing shores, 
and open country, that we concluded it some unknown 
body of water, which it afterwards proved to be. The 
shore was rocky — a handsome beach, which reminded 
us of the sea." 

Fremont called it " Mountain Lake," and so it was 
called in California until 1853. 

In 1852, the surveyor-general, on a surveying trip 
for the line of a new wagon road across the Sierras 
suggested the name of the governor of California, 
Bigler, for the lake, and this title was conferred upon 
it by an act of the Legislature of California, in honor 
of the honest governor, whose reputation — as pure as 
the water of the lake— never had been smirched by the 
tongue of scandal. And it became officially and gen- 
erally known as 

" LAKE di(;lf.r." 

Dr. Henry De Groot, in 1859, was exploring the 
mountains, and gathered at the same time a vocabu- 
lary of Indian words, in the Washoe dialect. After 
him tah-00-ee means a great deal of water; tah-ve, 
means snow, and tah-00, means water ; and being a 
writer for the press, he published his explorations in 
the Scramenio Union, suggesting at the same time the 
word tah-00-ee, as an appropriate name for Lake Big- 
ler, being the Indian term "big water." And when, 
in 1863, the Rev. T. Starr King and party visited the 
lake — this was in the time of the rebellion, and Gov- 
ernor Bigler denounced by them as a "copperhead" 
and secessionist, and therefore unworthy of the honor 
to dedicate his name to so great a feature of natural 
scener)', and he (Starr King) appealed himself author- 
ity to christen it Lake Tahoe. 

California, as well as Nevada Legislatures have re- 
peatedly passed resolutions since that the name of the 
lake be l^ake Bigler, but the name of Tahoe in the 
mean time had become too much rooted down, that 
the official declaration could replace it for general use, 
disposing entirely with the Indian "big water," and 

now both names are justified, though Lake Tahoe hav- 
ing the greater popularity. 

Even a fourth name turned up for some time, and 
at several times some efforts were made to adopt it 
officially. A map of this country, published in Eu- 
rope, was introduced here not infrequently by Euro- 
pean immigrants, arriving in early days, particularly 
those from France, on this map the lake was marked 
Bonpland, called so with Fremont's sanction, by 
Preuss, the draughtsman accompanying Fremont's 
party in 1843 and 1844, in honor of Bonpland, a great 
traveler and geographer accompanying Von Hum- 
boldt. All efforts, however, to re-establish the name 
of Bonpland quieted down without any result. 

From McKinney's creek, forming the county boun- 
darie towards Placer, following the shore first south, 
then in a southeasterly direction to the State line. El 
Dorado has a shore-line on Lake Tahoe — comprising 
Emerald Bay — of twelve to twenty miles, the State 
line being resurveyed in 1876, was laid here about 
half a mile further east. This portion of the lake 
shore was about the first settled on in Lake valley, 
though the population did not grow in proportion with 
other parts ; the few hotels here, however, are just as 
well patronized by health and pleasure-seekers from 
both California and Nevada as those of Tahoe City or 
Glenbrcok. There are the Lake House, Tom Row- 
land's place; the Tallac House, the property of E. ]. 
Baldwin, (Lucky Baldwin), and the Fishmarket. 

The old State Line House, about two miles east of 
Tom Rowland's place, burnt down in September, 
1877, being most pleasantly situated on the lake shore, 
but its greater curiosity consisted in its location on the 
State line between California and Nevada ; the latter 
running right through the center of the dining-room, 
dividing the dining-room table in the middle, making 
it optional with those taking dinner whether they liked 
to dine in California or Nevada, or sit in both States 
at the same time, by taking a seat at the end of the 
table, the bar being in the State of Nevada. 

About half a mile south of McKinney's and only a 
short distance across over the county line, is another 
of the curious features of the lake, called the "George- 
town snag." It is a dead tree standing upon its end, 
having its anchorage in the water at the depth of about 
no feet, rising from six to eight feet above the sur- 
face of the water. The usual stand-point of this snag 
is about 150 yards from shore; but sometimes heavy 
winds cause it to shift around, yet it never has got far 
from the spot where first discovered by white men. 

As early as 1865 the lake was commenced to be 
looked at as a water-way, its water became plyed then 
by two sailing crafts (schooners); but with the increas- 
ing influx of summer boarders and tourists the neces 

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sity arose to add to the attractions of the lake another 
new feature, and as a steamer was thought to fulfill the 
whole programme the best, so a steamer was built and 
launched, christened Gov. Stanjord, navigating the 
lake since the summer of 1873. The Stanford'\% a nice, 
strong boat, built as a side-wheeler with two dscks, in 
the regular sound-boat style. Her daily trip runs from 
Hot Springs to Tahoe City and thence to Glen- 
brook, whence she takes the direction to Lake Valley, 
Emerald Bay and Tahoe ; these trips connecting with 
the Central Pacific Railroad on the one side, and 
Benton's (Carson) stage (Hank Monk driver) on the 
other side. The opposition has put in existence a 
second passenger steamer the Niagara ; she is a pad- 
dle wheeler, like the former, of about the same size, 
and as her owners hive taken the contract for carry- 
ing the mail, she is known as the United States mail 
boat. The Meteor is a third boat, built as a propeller, 
and considered as the fastest boabonthe Pacific coast, 
she is able to make on the lake about twenty-five to 
twenty-six miles an hour; but she only occasionally at- 
tempts to satisfy passenger transportation as she is en- 
gaged in the lumber trade. 

LAKE Tahoe. 

Bright Tahoe lake ! For poet's pen fit theme 
O, would the power were mine to paint the scene, 
The charm that keeps me ling'ringhere, beside 
Thy shore, in peaceful quiet to abide. 
And watch thy waters flow ; or catch the gleam 
Of white sails floating o'er, the while they seem 
Majestic swans, — and other craft that trace 
Their course from point to point along the base 
Of these surroundmg mountains, which so grand 
And brave, are rearing high their crests and stand 
Like mighty sentinels to guard thee round, 
And keep thy waters in their destined bound. 

The fitful roll of sparkling wavelets on 

Thy beach, the white-caps ever and anon 

That form and break— that come and go, the shade 

Of diff 'rent colors on thy surface made ; 

The voice of singing birds among the trees, 

Wind music in the pines, — all lull to ease. 

.So here I idly rest ; or, venturing more, 
Thy neighboring points of interest explore. 
I fish in Fallen Leaf, — without success, — 
Its other charms attract me none the less ; 
From off its southern shore, the mountain side 
From climbing visitors no more shall hide. 
The Soda Springs ; romantic place to all 
Who love the woods, the rocks, the water fall. 
Forever marked with white shall be the day 
I sailed into the haven Emerald Bay ; 
And noted none the less are trips I make 
To view the beauties of the Cascade Lake— 
The wonders of Cove Rock. 


Mr. Nathan Gilmore is an old El Dorado county 
man — an early resident of Placerville — since years he 
is herding cattle and Angora goats, of whom he has 
quite a band pasturing on the shore of Fallen Leaf 
Lake. Sometimes in 1873, when looking after his 
cattle between Tallac and Angora Peak his attention 
was attracted to the foot-tracks of many wild animals 
all tending in a certain direction, and following the 
tracks he discovered these springs. There are, as in 
most every other locality where mineral springs are 
found, several distinct springs, each discharging a dif- 
ferent sort of water. The main spring is reddened all 
about the edges, with the deposits of iron therein. 
You watch it, and up from the rocky bottom you see 
great belchings of gas rising from time to time. These 
belchings are irregular, and more marked at sometimes 
than at others. The effect would seem to be the in- 
fusion of the waters with their sparkling qualities by 
those upheavals of gas. This spring flows 200 gallons 
per hour. An analysis by a skilled chemist shows it to 
contain these ingredients; carbonic acid, sulphuric 
acid, seroxid of iron, sodium, bi-carbonate of lime, 
magnesia, silica, hydrogen gas, organic acids and othei 
things needless to mention. The iron is there in very 
strong proportions. As a corrective tonic and altera- 
tive water, this is found to be a most effective agent- 

The other spring seems to be the most promising of 
the two; its water is almost identical in taste with Con- 
gress Water, only more pungent. 

Mr. Gilmore has built at his own expense a wagon 
road from Fallen Leaf Lake to the springs and the 
drive over from Yank's, is one of the most interesting 
and satisfactory jaunts a person will undertake and is 
bound to prove a great attraction to sightseers and 
tourists as well as to the public in general The dis- 
tance from Rowland's to (iilmore's Springs is 10 

There are a good many more remarkable springs, 
both hot and cold, known in the' same part of the 
county which deserve a thorough examination, but 
as nothing is done yet in the matter we only shall men- 
tion the Soda Springs, near Loon Lake about 40 miles 
above Georgetown, which are excelling anything of 
the kind in the State. The springs are the jjroperty of 
Messrs. Winslow and Wentworth, of Georgetown. 


About a stone's throw from the Cosumnes Copper 
mine, there is one of these most wonderful freaks of 
nature. It was discovered in 1850, but we are unable 
to give the name of the discoverer. Three entrances 
lead into these elegant and magnificent apartments, to 
wander through all these various avenues and subter- 
ranean halls and passages, it affords a man about four 



hours, some of the communicating passages are so low 
and small that a person has to lay down and move in a 
worm-like position. The cavern is imbeded in a solid 
mass of excellent marble, columns and pilasters, or- 
namented at their capitals with volutes and modiliions, 
at irregular intervals interest the visitors attention, 
while fine representations of tapistry are engraved on 
its walls. Every form of stalectites imaginable droop- 
ingly hang suspended, presenting all the variegated col- 
ors of the rainbow, and brilliantly sparkle from the pale 
light of a candle like a thousand diamonds, while a 
like proportion of stalagmite underneath, with their 
sugar coated surface are presented to the eye of the 
viewer. There are many compartments of this under- 
ground construction that have never been visited by 
man, for in a dozen different places the openings in 
the rock not being sufficient to even admit the hand, 
but by applying the candle the light would stream in- 
to apparently splendid and capacious vaults beyond. 


or Coral Cave, located on the road from Pilot Hill to 
Rattle-Snake bridge, near the foot of Whisky Bar hill, 
and a short drive of about five miles from the first 
named town, takes us over to the mouth of this won- 
derful cave. We descend a short flight of steps and 
we involuntarily step on the very threshold of the first 
and main room, to gaze with awe and admiration on 
the b' illantly beautiful scene before us; Here we rea- 
lized the exquisite words of Keats; "A thing of beauty 
is a joy forever." This grandly magnificent work of 
nature unmistakably is "a thing of beauty." Pending 
from the ceiling in innumerable stalectites, singly and 
in clusters, some glittering in the purity of their alabas- 
ter whiteness, others of variegated colors, presenting a 
scene of unrivaled beauty; while in the ceiling itself 
every tint of the rainbow is softly and harmoniously 
blended. Wherever the eye turns it will rest on sta- 
lectites and stalagmites of all shapes, sizes, and we had 
almost said colors, for some are slightly tinted with 
blue, green and red. Here, on the right, is a frozen 
waterfall with icicks hanging around it; passing it we 
arrive jn front of the natural pulpit, richly decorated 
with stainless white drapery fallins gracefully over this 
twelve feet high ornament. A little further and we 
come to the Ladies' Bower, the dome of which is its 
most attractive feature, being perfect in its proportion 
and neat colors. The Music Gallery, elevated ten or 
twelve feet above the floor, is surpassingly beautiful — 
carvings of unequalled richness, grace and beauty sus- 
pend from above, throw a shadow, light and wavy as 
the "soft tints of morn" over it; the best view of it is 
from a little eminence directly m front of it — But we 
only give an imperfect sketch of a few prominent ob- 
jects in this singularly beautiful cave, we have not the 

temerity to attempt to give a correct description of it; 
we confess our inability to do justice to the subject, 
and must leave the task to more competent hands. It 
must be seen to be appreciated. 

The principal room is one hundred feet in length, 
from ten ta thirty feet in width, and about the same in 
height. There are several smaller rooms, and a lake 
on the end of the large room which has not yet been 
explored. Arrangements were made, in early days, by 
the proprietors, Messrs. Moore and Smith, to illumi- 
nate the rooms with lamps, and surround all the in- 
convenient places with railings, to protect visitors 
from soiling their clothes or slipping up in their pros- 
pecting tour. 

The cave was first opened for the public examina- 
tion in the Spring of i860, and then was one of the 
greatest attractions; not less than forty visitors a day 
did register their names for the first year in the book 
which the proprietors, with wise precaution, had laid out 
for that purpose, to prevent the registering on the 
walls. And by this means the cave has preserved its 
virgin appearance and its charms of beauty. 

A third but smaller cave may be found on the 
premises, and near by the lime kiln of M. W. Man- 
ning in cave valley, after which the district took its 
name. All indications are proving that this cave once 
has been embellished with equal beauty as Alabaster 
cave, but vandalism ot the most cruel kind has broken 
away all the attributes of beauty, leaving hardly any- 
thing besides the naked walls, blackened by the smoke 
of fires. The cave consists of two compartments, the 
first one being about 20 feet long and wide, was used 
in early days as a dancing hall. Messrs. Flagg and 
Tout gave here a series of balls, in the years 1856 and 
1857, for which tickets were sold at $5:00. Later it 
was used as a winecellar, but proved unfit for that pur- 
pose. At the present time it stands idle. It is seldom 
that one of the few scattered travellers, passing by, 
takes a fancy to peep in, and read the history of its de- 
stroyed beauty together with the names of many a van- 
dal from its walls and ceilings ; one of these names, A. 
A. Houston, is accompanied by the number 1847; un- 
doubte'dly one of the first visitors to this cave, suppos 
ing that the number given truthfully indicates the year 
of the visit. A smaller compartment in the rear is 
now half ways filled up with stones from the partly 
broken down ceiling, forming a large skylight. Whether 
these two compartments are but the antichambers of 
other more capacious subterranean rooms, or this is all 
that will be found, is impossible to be decided under 
the present circumstances, but there are strong indica- 
tions to suppose a greater connection of caves in this 
vicinity; like other mountains of the same character 
are showing. 




Historical proofs show that gold at all times has 
been an atticle of highest value. The Jews, as well 
as the old Egyptians, knew it, and were in the habit of 
wearing jewelry manufactured out of it for ornaments; 
the name already speaks for the derivation, and up to 
this day there is no other people in the world that can 
equal the Jewish people in fondness for jewelry. The 
gold used at that time so profusely for ornamentation, 
both in household and temple and for personal decora- 
tion, was the gold from Ophir, brought by the Phoeni- 
cians from the fabulous land of Ophir, the exiftence 
of which has remained a secret to historians ai well as 
scientists. The old Orecians adopted this use of gold 
from Egypt, but found some more useful appliance for 
the precious metal. They were the first to make a 
table of the value of the different metals, and gold, 
as the rarest known and most precious of them, was se- 
lected to give the general value of all other things ; a 
talent of gold gave the base by which to estimate other 
valuables. Thus, being only a nominal value, the Ro- 
mans went a step further on, making it a real article of 
exchange in trade. 

The first gold pieces of money in circulation were 
only rough shaped, flattened, plain slugs ; but the Ro- 
man Emperors soon improved this kind of coin by 
giMng it a regular octagonal or round shape, and em- 
bellished it with their images, and this habit has been 
in general use down to our day, and always has been 
the shape in which the sovereigns were the most favor- 
ably looked at, and were loved by their subjects with- 
out reserve. The gold in use by both of these na- 
tion, was procured in some parts of Greece, particularly 
Thessaly and the islands of Thasos, while the river 
valleys of northern Italy, together- with the hills bor- 
dering the Alps on the southern side and the Pyrenees 
sent their contributions to Rome. 

Spain, at the time when only a Roman province, took 
great amounts of gold out of the river beds of her 
streams. The Arabian conquest of this country, in 
710 and 711, it is presumed, was for no other purpose 
than the possession of her gold mines, at least the 
very first act of this conquest was the occupation of 
her famous gold mines at Astorga, in the Province of 
Leon. These, as well as the mines on the river Tago, 
were placers producing the richest gold, and continued 
to give out rich until the middle ages ; and when these 
sources gave way, Spain was lucky enough to be indem- 
nified bythe discoveryof greater riches inherown prov- 
inces of Mexico, Peru aid the East Indies. In England 
the alluvial soil in different parts of the United King- 
dom, since the reign of Queen Elizabeth, from time to 

time, was yielding quite considerably of the golden 
harvest of the world. The richest gold mines of Eu- 
rope, however, are those of Hungary, at Schemnitz and 
Kremnitz, the latter have been worked since about one 
thousand years, and is the gold here taken out of veins 
that are running through white quartz rock containing 
some silver besides ; while the former are located in 
a small basin between barren mountains, being worked 
now on the 600-foot level (600 feet below the surface), 
and are known to have been worked continuously 
since the twelfth century, partly in private enter- 
prise, partly in government possession. Russia, also, 
is a great contributor to the world's supply of gold, 
and her mines in the Ural, up to the discovery in Cal- 
ifornia, and after that, in Australia, were one of the 
principal sources. 

Of all parts of Asia, East India and most of the 
islands of the Indian Archipelago were yielding gold in 
great quantities, and have not been exhausted. China, 
as well as Russian Siberia and Japan are known to 
possess great riches in gold also; the same may be 
said of the eastern coast of Africa. 

On this continent gold had been found and mined 
for in Brazil, and in those parts of South America 
bordering the Andes and Cordilleras to the west, from 
Chili northwards through Central America and Mex- 
ico. More recent discoveries, however, have shown 
that the two great chains of mountains running fur- 
ther north, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Ne- 
vada, through British Columbia and into Alaska, are 
just as rich as the Andes in the southern half of thecon- 
tinent. Previous to these discoveries North America 
was not considered very highly, concerning the gold- 
mining capabilities, the Appalachian gold-fields, run- 
ning through Virginia, North and South Carolina, 
Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, since their discovery 
in Cabarrus county. North Carolina, in 1799, were the 
only places where gold had been found, yet never in 
great quantities. 

The specific gravity of gold is 19.5, that is about 19 
times heavier than water of the same volume; with the 
exception of platina this is the greatest of all metals, as 
well as it is noted for its softness and greatest mallea- 
bility. It is inelastic, and its resistence against the 
influence of the atmosphere, not being subject to oxi- 
dizing or rusting, makes it nearly imperishable, and 
it accounts very highly for the reflection of the an- 
cient people to adopt this metal before others for the 
coinage of money, as its qualities make it so much more 
fit for this purpose. The great adaptability of this metal 
is by far not yet exhausted, as may be seen by the variety 
of uses that modern industry and science is making in- 
ventions for : the use of gold in dentistry, doubtless 
of modern origin, is nevertheless nothing else than 


based upon the fondness for precious ornaments — we 
could do just as well without it ; in photography, how- 
ever, the gold is used in scientific solution — as chlo- 
ride of gold — to reproduce the picture as falling in 
through the lens-glass into the dark camera, upon 
a thus prepared plate of glass, a process of modern 
science, and, alas ! how old in nature. Geologists, per- 
haps, are able to tell us approximately the age of pho- 
tography, from the samples that nature has left in the 
slate — for instance, at George's slide. El Dorado county, 
or at Volcano, Amador county, etc., brought out by 
mining from three to five hundred feet underneath the 
surface of the earth. It is photography produced by 
sunlight and chloride of gold, copying the profusely 
growing ferns upon the slate, then in formation. An- 
other proof for Ben Akiba's : " Nothing new beneath 
the sun, everything has happened already before '." 

The greatest quantities of gold in most countries 
have been met with in the sand of rivers, and on the 
surface of the earth, in small grains or pieces of irreg- 
ular form and size, called " placer gold," and Califor- 
nia made no exception to this rule ; the gold discov- 
ered by Marshall, on the 19th of January, 1848, in the 
Coloma mill-race, was placer gold, and all the mining 
done here during the next five or six years after the 
discovery was in the placers of the river and creek 
beds, and of the alluvial soil bordering these streams. 

The discoverer, however, and his followers had not 
the remotest idea how to make the thing profitable, 
and up to the 7th of March, 1848, when Isaac Hum- 
phrey, from Georgia, went on to construct the first 
rocker, they had not proceded further on in the man- 
ner how to gather the precious metal, but still picked 
up the pieces with their fingers ; the farms and the 
ships did not bring any knowedge either ; the instru- 
ments first in use were butcher-knives, iron spoons 
and small iron bars, to pick the gold out of the crevi- 
ces. Very few of them were conversant with any kind 
of a method of extracting the gold from the ground 
where it had been embedded. But the greed of gain 
and the peculiarity of the American people to pick up 
and improve helped along. I. Humphrey had intro- 
duced the rocker, Baptiste Ruelle came to mine, as he 
had learned it from the Mexicans, using the dafea, and 
soon hundreds of different vessels or bowls, resem- 
bling the Mexican implement — Indian baskets as well 
as any kind of a flat tin pan, was going to serve the 
purpose, and rockers were roughly made out of hollow 
trees or dug out of logs* or nailed together out of 
boards ; everything of this shape from three to six feet 
in length, and set on an incline, suitable of being 
rocked back and forth while the gold-bearing gravel 
was filled in and water poured upon it. And numer- 
ous were the different implements brought along from 

the East by many of the adventurers, all based upon 
the idea of the l>afea, or the rocker, but incomprehen- 
sion of the fundamental idea had complicated the 
snnple apparatus to such an extent that all proved 
senseless and useless. The mill-race of Coloma, to- 
gether with the peculiarity how the gold had been dis- 
covered therein, ought to have taught them the way 
to use the water m ground sluices or ditches, but con- 
siderable time had to pass by before this principle 
was taken up and introduced in the practical mining. 
Others knew or had seen the mining after tin in Corn- 
wall, where the dirt, for generations back, had already 
been washed through boxes or sluices, made of boards, 
with cleats nailed across the bottom piece for gathering 
the metal; but none thought of anything alike to appro- 
priate for the gold-milling. Gold was found plenty, 
and the excitement took away all better reflection, and 
it was given to the old masters, experience and time, 
to teach the miners economy and thoroughness in 
exercising their business. 

The active mining, going out from Coloma, jumped 
right away down to Mormon Island, where one of the 
richest gold deposits was found, and from there the 
new-comers went up again along the banks of the 
American river, and every bar or place of deposited 
gravel inside of the river-beds, was taken up by some 
parties. And all these river-bars contained gold, some 
more some less, the best strikes generally were made 
within one or two feet of the bed-rock, but even the 
bed-rock, for a depth of from two to twelve inches, 
was filled up with the golden flakes. The extent of 
these bars were very different, from one to fifty acres, 
perhaps more, they consisted in the main part of 
gravel, from five to thirty feet in depth ; the surface 
oftentimes covered with soil, and a luxury of vegeta- 
tion rooting therein, or they were covered with a pile 
of gigantic trees, that had been torn away and swept 
down, but the winter's flood had not been strong 
enough to move them further on — they were left to 
rot and make the foundation for another vegetation. 
In some instances these bars were denuded of the 
gravel and the gold found lying in the rough places of 
the bed rock; and thousands of dollars' worth of gold 
in small flakes or nuggets, have been gathered from 
pocket-like exposed places by one individual in a 
single day. To separate the gold from the gravel it 
was imbedded in, the gravel was filled in the bowl or 
pan, and by moving or shaking the latter under agita- 
tion of the water, the gold getting free, by virtue of 
its specific gravity, settled down on the bottom of the 
pan, while the lighter material, gravel, clay and sand, 
was washed over or thrown out. Using the rocker 
the work was done in that way ; the gravel was thrown 
in the hopper or riddle, a back and forward motion 



given, while water was poured upon it ; the fine parti- 
cles running through the perforated iron bottom or 
screen, and flowing out the lower end, leaving the gold 
in the riffles prepared for it ; so soon as the finer par- 
ticles passed through, the hopper was removed and 
emptied of the coarse gravel. Two men, one to 
shovel, carry and pour in the gravel, the other to 
manipulate the rocker, on a convenient river bar, would 
wash thus from 300 to 400 buckets of gravel a day. 
The first improvement in the 


was the introduction of the "long-torn," by some Geor- 
gia miners, early in 1850, working in Nevada county. 
This is a trough made of boards about 12 feet long, 
eight inches deep, and from twelve to fifteen inches 
wide at the head-end and double this dimension 
on the lower end ; the wide portion terminates in a 
riddle of perforated sheet-iron, so curved that nothing 
goes over the end or sides. It requires a man to at 
tend to it with hoe and shovel, to stir up the gravel 
and water as they enter, washing all that is possible 
through the riddle, and with the shovel throwing the 
coarse gravel away. Beneath the sheet-iron is a box 
with rifiles, where gold is retained with a small 
quantitty of sand, from which it has to be separated 
by washing in a pan or rocker. 'A constant stream of 
water was running through the iron tom, which was 
provided with dirt by one or two men. To secure 
sufficient water for the use of the tom, wing-dams were 
built upward from the bar, and by their means and the 
thus built races, the water of a portion of the stream, 
or the whole of it, directed towards the head of the 

The tom, however, was but an intermediate step in 
the way of improvement in mining machinery, only 
preceding the sluice. By experience, the miner had 
found out that the longer the tom the easier the work 
and the greater the success. Others had carried their 
water in a rough kind of a trough or flume to the tom, 
and occasionally had shoveled some dirt into this 
sluice, to be washed down with the water through the 
tom, and they found out that the gold had not fol- 
lowed their intention, but remained in that flume or 
sluice, thus making the tender on the riddle of the 
tom unnecessary ; and taking up the hint, they worked 
from that time on only the sluice. The sluice was a 
success as may be seen by the statement of lots of 
miners, that ground which would not pay more than 
three to four dollars a day to the man, worked with 
toms, yielded from eight to ten dollars per day when 
sluices were applied. This was deciding for the 
sluices, and they were adopted all over the min- 
ing country. The size of the sluice-boxe.s are a 

twelve-inch board for the bottom, and two ten-inch 
boards for the sides. For catching the gold, cleats 
were nailed across the bottom-piece of the sluice, and 
numerous are the improvements that are in use still 
for this purpose, as " riffles," in the sluice-boxes of the 
hydraulic mines : From the rough cross-cut blocks, 
sawed from big trees, all about six inches thick, to the 
iron-armed scantling to be set in the sluice-box across, 
or lengthways, either. 

Starting from Mormon Island, and going up the 
American river, there were the following principal river 
bars, inside of the line of El Dorado county : 

Condemned Bar, where one of the first built bridges 
connnected El Dorado with Placer county. A few 
miles further up the stream was Long Bar, and oppo- 
site Doton's Bar ; during the summer months from 
1849 to '52, there were not less the 500 miners en- 
gaged in working on both these bars. The after- 
wards grain-king, Isaac Friedlander, may be remem- 
bered here by old-timers ; he occupied a little brush 
tent near the upper end of the bar, where he worked 
a single-handed digging and a rocker all by himself, 
and laid the first foundation of his future wealth. 
Here, at Long Bar, could be found John C. Heenan^ 
better known in after years as "The Benicia Boy," 
then only an unknown youth ; his first prize fight was 
forced on him here by a much older fellow. The fol- 
lowing bars, with the exception of one, were all in 
Placer county : Beale's Bar, Horseshoe Bar, Whisky 
Bar, Beaver Bar, Dead Man's Bar, Milk Punch Bar and 
Rattlesnake Bar ; at the latter bar Richard H. Barter, 
alias Rattlesnake Dick, worked as an honest miner 
until led astray. Whisky Bar was in El Dorado 
county ; here a wire-rope bridge was built across the 
river, and finished in the fall of 1854, which circum- 
stance may give to it the full right to the epithet of the 
pioneer wire suspension bridge in the State. On the 
Middle Fork of the American river, from the junction 
upwards, we have: Oregon Bar, Louisiana Bar, then 
New York Bar =nd Murderer's Bar, all in El Dorado 
county, the mines of both of the latter bars, together 
with those of Vermont, Buckner's Bar and Sailor's 
claim, on the opposite river bank, in the summer of 
1850, consolidated for the purpose of a grand fluming 
operation, the united membership of the named five 
companies was over 500, and they had agreed to join 
Humes, covering more than a mile along the river. 
No saw-mill was in existence then in that part of the 
country, the nearest one being at Coloma, and it 
seemed a vast undertaking, but it is a well-known fact, 
that the inventive genius always appears in the right 
time, in case of necessity ; just so here, two men of Mur- 
derer's Bar, Stephen Tyler and Lefingwall made a propo- 
sition to build the flume for $6 per linear foot, the 


flume to be twelve feet wide and three feet high ; pro- 
vided the company would grade and prepare the way 
for laying the flume. The proposition accepted, the 
contractors went right on, procured an ordinary horse- 
power, connected it with a circular saw, and the saw- 
mill was improvised. A band of 150 horses were 
bought, and as many as could be attached at one time 
were hitched up to the horse-power, and the mill was 
run as perfect as could be expected ; nay, as could not 
be surpassed at that time. To the balance of the 
horses was given ample time to restore their strength 
by pasturing off the neighboring hiU-sides, but these 
hill-sides were soon giving out, and the old horses and 
mules followed suit, until the hill-sides were scattered 
with the bleeching bones of the poor brutes as a mem- 
ory of the pioneer saw-mill of the northern part of El 
Dorado county. When it became visible that the 
contractors would not complete their work that way 
it was proposed to use canvass for lining the flume, and 
here all the sailor-boys, and others that were able to 
use a palm, found there work and half an ounce 
wages per day. Meanwhile the grading of the flume- 
way went on, superintended by Otis T. Nichols ; and 
in this company one could see men of all kinds of 
professions — doctors and lawyers and divines, just as 
the society of the mining districts at that time was 
made up. At the falls above, a dam was built for the 
purpose of turning the water from the river to the 
flume. Major Harry Love, afterwards noted for his 
connection with the capture of the bandit Joaquin Mur- 
rietta and other Spanish cut-throats, when sheriff of 
Alameda county, superintended this part of the work. 
But the work, whereupon months of labor of hundreds 
of men had been spent, just finished, sometime in 
September, 1850, was pitilessly destroyed a few days 
after the last nail had been driven, and swept away by 
the waters of an early rain-stol-m that had prevailed 
high up in the mountains. Thousands of men wit- 
nessed the march of the floating flume, that did not 
break up for miles, the canvass keeping it together as a 
whole for miles of travel. 

Here, at Murderer's Bar, a ferry was carrying the 
travel from Sacramento by the road to Salmon Falls 
and Pilot Hill, through Cave valley into Placer 
county, to Yankee Jims, Iowa Hill, etc. Further up 
the river, there are : Rocky Point Slide, Mammoth 
Bar, Texas Bar, Quail Bar, Brown's Bar and Kennebec 
Bar, all on the opposite side of the stream ; Wildcat 
Bar, Willow Bar, Hoosier Bar, Green Mountain 
Bar, Main Bar and Poverty Bar, however, on the El 
Dorado county side. The population of some of these 
bars was quite large, at least large enough that an en- 
terprising business firm like Lee & Marshall of the 
National Circus, found it profitable to visit the bars in 

the river-canyon, and give exhibitions at places like 
Rattlesnake Bar and Murderer's Bar. Proceeding, we 
come to a number of bars named after the nationality 
of those who started the first work; there is first. Buck- 
eye Bar; next is the American Bar, Sardine Bar, Dutch 
Bar, Spanish Bar, African and Drunkard's Bars; 
only Spanish Bar is located in El Dorado county. 
Here the stage road from Georgetown to Todd's val- 
ley and Yankee Jim's crossed the river, by means of 
one of the first built wooden bridges in this section of 
the country. Further up are : Ford's Bar, Volcano 
Bar*, Sandy Bar and Grey Eagle Bar, Yankee Slide, 
Eureka and Boston, on the El Dorado side of the 
river, and Pleasant Bar on the opposite side ; 
Horseshoe Bar and Junction Bar, at the mouth of 
State ravine, and Alabama Bar on the El Dorado 
side. All these bars on the Middle Fork of the Amer- 
ican river, from Oregon Bar upwards, after the lowest 
estimate, employed in the summer of 1850 not less 
than 1,500 men ; originally working on shares, and 
the assessment on the share paid out daily, so that 
those who had been drunk or absent did not get any 
part of it ; but this after a while caused dissatisfaction 
and was the reason of breaking up the co-operative 
work and commencing work on claims. A claim was 
a spot of ground fifteen feet wide on the river front, 
which, if there was a bar on the opposite side of the 
river, ran from the center of the stream back to the hills, 
but otherwise, there bemg no bar, extended clear 
across, to an indefinite point on both sides of the hills. 

The bed of the river had been tested in many places 
and found to be e.xceedingly rich, frequently yielding 
Several ounces of gold to the pan. For this reason 
the river at many places was entirely drained off in 
another bed, and the location by this means, changed 
to an extent one hardly could recognize it again. 

One of the richest and most wonderful strikes in 
river mining was made in the Middle Fork of the 
American river, at a place known as " Big Crevice," 
crossing the river in a diagonal line at Murderer's Bar. 
J. D. Galbraith broke in here first in 1850, and worked 
the spot to the depth of twelve or fifteen feet, well 
back under the hill, on the El Dorado bank. The 
operations of 185 1 enabled the working of the river 
bed, and disclosed the continuation of the crevice 
across the stream. A dyke of limestone here crosses 
the country, and this singular hole seems to have been 
a cavern which became filled with sediment rich in 
gold, perhaps before the present river system existed, 
as there is no gravel between the sediment. At the 

''A political duel was fought at Volcano Bar, on March 20th, 1854, betweei 
J. S. Landon and David E. Hacker, such occurrences being then quiti 
fashionable ; the dispute arose from a publication by Hacker about the Sen 
atorial election and the duel resulted in the death of Landon. 



time of the discovery there was an over-laying stratum 
of gravel about two feet deep on top of it, then fol- 
lowed a layer of soapy sedimentary slum, which did 
not contain a particle of grit, and yielded from one 
to four ounces to the bucketfull. But the work was 
dreadfully annoying ; but four men could work in the 
excavation, two of whom were constantly bailing out 
water, one had to throw out the top gravel stratum as 
it fell in, while the fourth was grappling up the gold- 
bearing slum. During this operation the gold could 
be seen laying upon all sides of the pit in apparent 
handfuls. The hole could be placed in'such condition 
as to enable the fourth man to extract the paying 
stratum for only about three hours in a day, and 
eight days was all that work could be done at the spot 
in that summer ; the whole yield during that time, 
however, amounted to $4,600. From time to time 
the crevice has been worked again since ; the best pro- 
gress in this work was made under the superintendence 
of Mr. M. VV. Manning, when it was worked to the 
depth of about ninety feet and in some parts up to .sixty 
feet wide, yielding rich ; but the work was troublesome 
and dangerous for the workmen, on account of big 
wedge- shaped limestone rocks that are interspersed 
with the slum, and notwithstanding the bracing and 
stulling, some of them would sometimes glide out of 
their position endangering the work down below in the 
pit. No work has been done on the big crevice for a 
few years, but Mr. Manning's opinion is that a million 
could be taken out there, if a method can be adopted 
to work it thoroughly. 


The Hoosier Bar Gold Mining company, Mr. T. E. 
Terry, superintendent, have adopted a new invention in 
the line of hydraulic mining, by using the pressure of the 
water to elevate the gravel out of the pit, about forty 
feet below the water-level of the Middle Fork of the 
American river, to such a height as the sluice-boxes 
will afford. The elevator is an iron pipe of sixteen 
inches diameter at an acute angle, the top of which 
discharges into the head of the sluice-boxes. One 
stream of water forces the gravel into the lower ex 
tremity of this pipe, whence it is driven upward with 
great force by another stream from a " Little Giant." 
By this means, for every 100 feet of pressure in the 
driving current a column of water and gravel can be 
driven upward forty feet. The Hoosier Bar elevator 
is giving eminent satisfaction and has opened up some 
very rich ground. 

The dam built at Murderer's Bar, in 1853, was the 
largest and best at all the river bars, and was able to 
stand the high water of the flood of the following 
winter ; at this bar the water, rocks and pay-dirt all 
had to be raised by steam and water-power. A com- 

pany had been organized for the purpose of tunneling 
around the falls through a bluff of rocks, just above the 
town, which enterprise enabled several bars within two 
miles up the river, that never had been worked before, 
to commence work to good advantage, where the jam 
at the falls had always made the water flow back a long 

The following is the estimated amount of gold as 
taken from some of the bars on the Middle Fork of the 
American river : 

Volcano Bar $ 

Greenhorn Slide 

Yankee Slide 

Sandy Bar 

Menken Cut Bar 

Mud Canyon 

Nigger's Bluff 

Gray Eagle Bar 


Horse Shoe Bend 


American Bar 

Willow Bar 

Junction Bar 

Missouri Canyon 

Grizzly Canyon 

Otter Creek 

From all the hills 








The first mining company that was chartered in this 
Slate was the "Boston Bar Company," of the .\meri- 
can river, in El Dorado county; the charter was 
granted in 1850, and extended over the whole Boston 
Bar; the ground has yielded great sums of money, and 
was sold to a company of Chinese in the spring of 
1861, for $5, 000. 

On the South Fork of the American river, bars were 
not as numerous as on the sister stream, there were 
Dutch Bar, Kanaka Bar, Red Bar, Stony Bar, Ledge- 
Bar, Missouri Bar and Michigan Bar. 

On the Cosumnes river there were : Big Bar, Mich- 
igan Bar, Buck's Bar, Pittsburgh Bar, and Wisconsin 


The eastern sky is blushing red, 

The distant hill-top glowing; 
The brook is murmuring in is bed, 

In idle frolics flowing ; 
'Tis time the pick-axe and the spade 

And iron '' torn " were ringing ; 
And with ourselves the mountain stream 

A song of labor singing. 


The mountain air is cool and fresh ; 

Unclouded skies bend o'er us ; 
Broad placers, rich in hidden gold, 

Lie temptingly before us ; 
Then lightly ply the pick and spade 

With sinews strong and lusty ; 
A golden "pile " is quickly made 

Wherever claims are " dusty." 

We ask no magic Midas wand 

Nor wizard-rod divining ; 
The pick-axe, spade and brawny hand 

Are sorcerers in mining : 

We toil for hard and yellow gold. 
No bogus bank notes taking ; 

The bank, we trust, though growing old. 
Will better pay by breaking. 

There is no manlier life than ours 

A life amid the mountains, 
Where from the hill-sides lich in 

Are welling sparkling fountain: 
A mighty army of the hills, 

Like some strong giant labors 
To gather spoil by earnest toil. 

And not by robbing neighbors. 

When labor closes with the day, 

To simple fare returning. 
We gather in a merry group 


Around the i 

3urnmg ; 

The mountain sod our couch at night. 
The stars shine bright above us; 

We think of home and fall asleep 
To dream of those who love us. 



The summer of 1849 had brought already quite a 
lively time into the canyon of the Middle Fork of the 
American river, at Murderer's Bar and the neighbor- 
ing mining places, but toward fall most of the men left 
the canyon to spend the winter months at some other 
place ; only five men decided not to follow this ex- 
ample, having made up their minds to stay until spring, 
built their cabins high up on the hills, laid in a supply 
of provisions for the winter, and not being troubled 
with any sorrow, waited for the season to come on. 
The names of the men were William Harris, Elisha 
Hardin, James Hardin, Freeman Eldridge and James 
Lee, the time they left the bar was about the ist of De- 
cember, and every thing went well up to the 9th of 
January, 1850, when the rising water surprised them, 
and if they were not frightened out of their wits, they 
at least were driven in the greatest hurry out of their 
cabins and higher up the hills; whence looking back 
tliey just had a chance to see the cabins with their 

olankets, provisions etc, a going. The river on that 
day had risen more than sixty feet, and in the rising 
water they had an ample chance to test the ground, 
and the result was that these five men did not com- 
plain about their loss or leave the spot, but they went 
right on to Long valley, now Greenwood valley, to buy 
another supply of goods, and returned to the spot to 
start in work on the 


The mining for gold in the Dry Diggings was com- 
inenced about the same time as river-mining ; there 
can be no doubt that both schemes were contemporary 
existing when the Military Governor, Colonel R. B. 
Mason, on his official trip, in July, 1848, came up to 
Coloma. Gen. W. T. Sherman in his memoirs, speak- 
ing about their arrival at Coloma says : "The next day 
we crossed the American river to its north side, and 
visited many small camps of men, in what were called 
the 'Dry Diggings.' Little pools of water stood in the 
beds of the streams, and these were used to wash the 
gold; and there the gold was in every conceivable shape 

d size, some of the specimens weighing several 
ounces. Some of these 'diggings' were extremely rich, 
but as a whole they were more precarious in result 
than at the river. Sometimes a lucky fellow would hit 
a 'pocket' and collect several thousand dollars in a 
few days, and then again he would be shifting about 
from place to place, 'prospecting,' and spending all he 
had made." 

The modus operandi to separate the gold from the 
gravel or dirt, where it was imbedded, was in the Dry 
Diggings the same as in the river mining; the same ma- 
chinery was used here also, from the pan and rocker 
to the later arrangements of the Long Tom and the 
even more profitable Sluices. As long as only pan 
and rocker were in use, this kind of mining had its 
most available time just when the river miners could 
not go to work, on account of the high, water in the 
river beds, and vice versa, when the river mining began 
to flourish the Dry Diggings had to lay idle. The first 
improvement to enlarge the time for working in the lat- 
ter, beyond the raining season, was by daming up the 
rain water in places above the diggings, and the miners 
went to considerable expense to build strong dams 
across broad gulches or creek beds, to gather quite an 
amount of water during the raining period, which was 
to be used for washing in the diggings after the winter 
had made room for the dry summer season, and all 
hope for rain was gone. With the introduction of the 
more water-absorbing machinery of the sluice boxes, 
however, these reservoirs would give out too soon and 
the miners had to look out for a greater supply of wa- 
ter to keep up their working season as long as possible^ 
this led some industrious fellows to the constructioti of 





The first water ditch in this county, and without 
doubt in the whole mining region of California, was 
built at Coloma, in 1850 to 185 1, by Valentine 
McDougall, Davis Thompson, Lippset, Starr and 
Birdsall ; they took the water down to the Coloma 
basin in a ditch carried around the hillsides, interrupted 
with short aqueducts, the whole length being three 
miles, and the expenses for construction are stated at 
$10,000. It proved a good investment for the pro- 
jectors and caused others to invest in the same enter- 
prise, selling water to the miners, and notwithstand- 
ing the expense for the construction of those ditches 
were enormously high, they all paid well, water being 
sold m early times as high as $1 00 per inch per 
working day of twelve hours. This good result invited 
many others to bring their brethren in all other dry 
diggings the blessings of sufficient water, and a few 
years after the first water by artificial means had been 
carried to Coloma all those innumerable flats and 
dry diggings in gulches or on hillsides were provided 
with a ditch of running water, and in some instances 
the location was so favorable that the same water 
could be used four, five or even eight and ten times. 


Or 'coyoting,' as it was and still is termed in California 
mining camps, from its similarity to the underground 
digging of the coyotes, used in all those localities where 
the gold bearing gravel is covered under a bank of 
twenty to fifty and more feet of solid material. The 
miners sink in a shaft from the top down to the bed- 
rock, and then rather than throw off the whole surface, 
would coyote, or drift in, on surface of the bed-rock 
or wherever their gold bearing strata was found, and 
this was the beginning of the drift mining. The gravel 
thus reached is to be mined out, the superincumbent 
mass being supported by pillars of the natural matter 
left standing, and by timbers placed beneath for greater 
safety, if necessary. In some cases the miners took 
out the gravel by means of drifts, and then took a 
stream of water through the drifts to wash away from 
the remaining pillars what would be unsafe for men to 
go to work, until the whole mass would break down. 
This led to another im;?rovement in mining operations, 


By saving the work necessary for drifting, and have the 
water under high pressure directly working against the 
gravel bank, washing the whole of it down through the 
sluices, that were placed in trenches in the bed-rock 
ready for the reception of it. The highly improved 
style of hydraulic mining as being worked nowadays 
stands hardly a comparison with the scheme when it 
was first applied in Nevada county, in the year 1852. 

Then the miners were washing the gravel by turning 
against the bank a stream of water, directed by a can- 
vass hose of four or five inches diameter, with a sheet- 
iron pipe, or nozzle, as a fireman would direct water 
upon a burning building. This stream, first of twenty 
five or fifty inches of water, coming under pressure of 
forty or sixty feet from a ditch and penstock on the 
hill above, played against the gravel bank would wash 
it away, leaving the mass above to fall down, and in 
this manner a large amount of earth was moved. On 
account that the main work has to be done by the wa- 
ter, the system took the name of "hydraulic." It was 
first adopted and invented by Mr. Edward E. Mattison 
a native of Connecticut, and was in all probability one 
of the most important inventions, though never pat- 
ented. The principal parts then were about the same 
as they are now, but much simpler, and of course, less- 
effective ; leading from a ditch, to gain pressure, was a 
trough set upon slight trestle, looking something like a 
line of telegraph poles, conveyed the water to a penstock 
for which was used an old barrel or a rough box, fun- 
nel shaped, nailed together out of boards, to which the 
canvass hose was attached, to carry the water down to 
the gravel bank where the other end of the hose was 
armed with a muzzle rudely made out of sheet-iron. 
This system is appliable and, of course, soon came in 
use at all those deep gravel mines where sufficient wa- 
ter could be procured; and drift mining is only kept up 
wherenthe gravel deposits are overcapped by basalt and 
other matter of volcanic origin, leaving far in the moun- 
tain the channel of some former river or glazier that 
contains the auriferous gravel. At points these de- 
posits are cropping out, leading the miner to search 

So affective a system was not long to remain without 
improvements, and many an inventor obtained patents 
for small changes whose genius was not able to con- 
ceive the original idea, but carried home the profits 
that in reality were due to the original inventor. The 
first step from the canvass hose and. sheet-iron nozzle 
was againsi a rubber hose and nozzles with brass coup- 
lings ; then followed distributing boxes and iron pen- 
stock* the rubber hose was succeeded by the iron pipe, 
leading direct to a Craig's 'Monitor; or a 'Dictator,' 
or a 'Giant' patent nozzle, passing a stream of from 
500 to 3000 inches of water from a pressure of 200 
feet high, with a force that will whirl around every 
bowlder up to half a ton weight. 

The early miners swarmed along the streams and 
over the shallow placers, making little progress in the 
main gravel deposits, except where drift mining was 
profitable, until the introduction of the hydraulic process 
The former have been gone over and over again, until 
most of them have ceased to pay even grub money, 



at least to white men. Although hydraulic mining has 
been carried on fur many years, scarcely more than an 
impression has yet been made on the immense gravel 
beds which cover a large area in this county; how large 
is here not the place to tell. 

On the Georgetown divide, the deposits are found 
almost continuously from Pilot creek to beyond Green- 
wood, except where they have been cut away by the 
modern streams, covering a large portion of the slope 
toward the Middle fork, and varying in depth from 25 
to 300 feet. Besides this there are isolated masses in 
other sections, south and west. Many of the deposits 
will undoubtedly pay handsomely whenever properly 
opened and mined. A great deal of drift mining has been 
done, realizing splendid returns. All the surplus water 
of the California Water Company is employed in hy- 
draulic mining, while small miners take advantage of 
the local supply afforded by the winter rains. A large 
number of claims arehrld by men who lack the means 
to properly open them, and are waiting for something 
to turn up which will realize their golden dreams, in- 
stead of c^isposing of such partially developed ledges, 
where good offers have been made. 

South of the South Fork of the American river, the 
most extensive gravel deposit is the great channel com- 
mencing at White Rock, and sweeping around in a cir- 
cle, through Smith's Flat to Coon Hollow. Immense 
sums have been spent and realized in operations on 
this mass and its tributary spurs, such as Nigger Hill, 
Clay Hill and Indian Hill. Coon Hollow was once 
one of the most prosperous mining camps in Cali- 
fornia; it is estimated that not less than $5,000,000 
has been taken out of the mines there. Later it wa= 
known as the Excelsior mine, operated by the E. D. 
W. & D. G. M. Company. On the Placerville side 
of the ridge a great deal of gravel has been washed 
down Oregon ravine; the Placerville Mining Company, 
under the management of Mr. Varozza, has done a 
large amount of wcirk here. Previous to the construc- 
tion of the Main Trunk Canal, the hydraulic operations 
on this divide were materially kept in check, on ac- 
count of the scarceity and cost of water. Now all the 
water from said canal is ready for use in the various 
mines under the control of the Water Company. The 
Spanish Hill section has proved excee<lingly rich here- 
tofore, and there is an immense area of gravel up that 
ravine that may be handled as soon as a proper outlet 
for the tailings has been secured. 

A very rich gold bearihg gravel deposit has been 
found on Tennessee Hill, almost the whole hill is one 
gravel bed, that is embraced in one claim of one mile 
in length by one fourth of a mile wide. Messrs. J. J. 
Crawford and Samuel Hale are in the possession of 
this property, and ditches and flume have been built 

connecting with the Park Canal, at great expense, ca- 
pable of supplying 1200 inches of water to the claim, 
with 175 feet fall. 

A great deal of drift mining has been and is yet be- 
ing done. The Cedar Springs, formerly Dickerhoff 
mine, up Cedar ravine, running a ten-stamp mill, has 
been in successful operations for years. Just above is 
the Linden mine a shaft ; not long ago sunk here struck 
splendid pay gravel at a depth of sixty feet. If the 
pay channel is as extensive as the company has reason 
to believe, it may not be exhausted before a good many 
years. The Lyon Deep Channel claim at Prospect 
Flat, owned by H. L. Robinson and Company, is one 
of the finest in the State; fifteen acres yielded nearly 
$200,000 and no e-xact estimate can be given of the 
extent and value of the undeveloped part; the pros- 
pecting work, however, consisting in shafts and tunnels 
on the hill to the south indicated a rich gravel all the 
way through. The mine is thoroughly equipped with 
a ten-stamp mill, cars, cages, engine etc. The Oak 
Ranch, former Crusen mine, though abandoned at 
present, after the opinion of experienced miners will 
.not lie idle for a long time; it has paid handsomely in 
the past, and there is great confidence felt for its 

smith's flat. 
Some of the best paying claims in the mines of Cal- 
ifornia, were located at Smith's Flat, some three miles 
above Placerville. We do not know who was the 
lucky man that first struck "big pay" on the Flat. In 
the winter of 1852 some very rich surface diggings 
were found there, and many of the PJacervillians 
hastened to take up claims, anxious to become hr.nest 
miners, when the gold could be picked up from the 
surface. These surface claims, however, didn't all pay 
largely, and conseqently many of the standing-collar 
miners deserted the diggings they had so eagerly staked 
off and trenched around, making room for a hardier 
and more laborious population. This second set of 
miners, after working the surface diggings, concluded 
that they would try the hills surrounding the flat so 
beautifully, calculating that the -gold they had already 
found, had originally been placed on deposit within 
their slate-bound circumference, and had found its way 
from there to the Flat. Consequently, many tunnels 
were driven into the hills, and although not all of them 
proved productive, several have richly rewarded their 
industrious and persevering proprietors for the labor 
spent upon them. Of the best paying we mention : 
the Fremont, Hook and Ladder, Native American, 
Henry Clay, etc. In five or six years from the time of 
the first strike the appearance of the mining camp had 
made quite a progress ; while then only two or three 

DRY dk;(;ings. hydraulic mining. 


lost miner's cabins told of the existence of the place, it 
presented quite a lively mining camp a few years after. 

The Benfeldt Blue Gravel claim, one of the finest 
gravel mines in El Dorado county, just south-east of 
Smith's Flat, is in itself a monument of industry, pluck 
and perseverence for the owner, Mr. Fred. Benfeldt, 
who, with small means, prosecuted the work of open- 
ing it until he was fortunate enough to strike a rich 
bed of cement gravel ; generous friends built a ten- 
stamp mill for him, run by an over-shot wheel, forty 
feet eight inches in diameter, and subsequently hejiut 
up hoisting works ana an eight inch pump, all run by a 
hurdy-gurdy wheel. The gold taken from the claim is 
of superior quality, as shown by the fact thac for 
135.15 ounces sent to the San Francisco mint he re- 
ceived in return $2,550.26. 

A great tributary deposit is traced all the way 
from Plum creek, below the -Esmeralda House, as 
shown on both sides of the plateau. It is claimed 
by miners who have explored the ground that a rich 
channel crosses from Iowa canyon, a little above the 
Eight-Mile House, to the valley of Weber creek. There 
is another large deposit between the forks of AVeber 
creek, while the south bank of that stream shows an 
almost continuous mass from above Newtown nearly to 
Diamond Springs. 

Further south, the neighborhood of Pleasant valley, 
Dry gulch, the valleys of Park creek. Camp creek and 
the other branches of the Cosumnes, all contain au- 
riferous deposits. Extensive mining operations have 
been carried on at Dry Gulch, Henry's Diggings, the 
neighborhood of Grizzly Flat, Brownsville, Fair Play 
and Indian Diggings. It is evident, that there is little 
danger of exhausting all these gravel deposits for gen- 
erations to come. With cheap water and improved 
appliances, operations will gradually extend to ground 
now looked upon as unremunerative, while much 
good ground is only waiting for water and capital. 


■ Or Seam Diggings, to which class the latter belong, 
are peculiar to the locality of the Georgetown mining 
district, not having been discovered, as far as we know, 
in any other part of the State. These mines are em- 
braced in a belt of country about ten miles wide, and 
extend across the divide from the South Fork to the 
Middle Fork of the American river, a distance of 
twenty miles. The character and value of these mines 
have not until recently been well understood ; the 
formation is slate interspersed with numerous quartz 
seams, mostly decomposed and varying in size from 
the thickness of a knife-blade to several feet. To pro- 
cure the gold out of these crevices, the bed-rock 
banks and the "everlasting hills," from fifty to above 

two hundred feet in height, are being tumbled down 
and washed away through sluices, like as though they 
were a bed of gravel. This at present is the most re. 
munerative mining in that section, and although it is 
still in its infancy, the amounts realized at times are 
enormous, and not only as a novelty, but in some more 
directions, they well deserve a visit. 

To accelerate the work of the hydraulic, in some of 
these mines tunnels were run in from the base of the 
bank, with cross-drifts and chambers, in which powder 
is placed and fuse or wires laid ; the opening from the 
outside is then again tilled and the powder exploded, 
which has the effect of jarring and loosening the 
gravel or rock, to facilitate the attack of the water. 
From a few hundred pounds up to fifty tons of powder 
have been used sometimes in a single blast. The 
miners call this method "powder-drifting," or "bank 
blasting," and made quite an extensive use of it in the 
Excelsior mine at Coon Hollow, and in the great hy- 
draulic claims on the Georgetown divide ; at Georgia 
Slide, Jones Hill, etc. 

Georgia Slide, located on Canyon creek, with its 
oper bank of slate-rock standing perpendicular for 
about two hundred and fifty feet, makes the most gro- 
tesque appearance. It became a mining camp in 
185 1, when the cinyons and ravines were found to be 
rich placers. The first store in the place was owned 
by B. Spencer, a brother to Pat. Spencer, of George- 
town, in 1851 and '52 ; this afterwards became the 
property of Thomas Boarman, and in 1859 came into 
the possession of G. F. Barkelage, whose close atten- 
tion to business and investment in mines has rewarded 
him with quite a fortune. The mine is owned and 
worked by a stock company. Beattie & Co.'s Seam 
Mine is just above Georgia Slide; the face of the claim 
is about 150 feet in height and nearly perpendicular. 
The work is going on about half way up, and at that 
point the seams extend about twenty feet in width 
running in every direction ; they are from a half inch 
to three or four inches in thickness, and most of them 
very rich. The seams are cracks and crevices on the 
solid rock composed or filled with decomposed quartz, 
and appear to be "oxydized;"a black oxyde covers 
some of the pieces of gold and quartz so thoroughly 
that but for the weight would be passed by. There 
is some white quartz in some few of the seams, 
containing bright gold ; the black character, however, 
is most prevalent. The Nagler or French Claim, at 
Greenwood Valley is another seam mine that has been 
worked on the hydraulic system for a number of years, 
to a depth of from fifty to eighty feet from the origi- 
nal surface, opening the ground for a space of about 
five acres ; more than $2,000,000 have beea extracted 
from this mine, and it is still estimated as one of the 



most valuable mines in the State. The rock, a kind of 
porphyrious formation, almost to the whole extent of 
the mine is one mass of quartz seams, all abounding 
with gold, and their limits are yet unknown. Indeed, 
they appear to increase in richness as they go deeper 
down, as a shaft sunk down 150 feet on one of the 
seams shows a widening of the lode. The company 
are going to put up a thirty-stamp mill on the ground, 
to crush the rock and tailings piled up at the end of 
the sluices ; there are about 200,000 tons of rock, after 
a rough estimate, on hand, and the assay of some live 
tons of the latter kind averaged a yield of $200 per 
ton. A trial to break this rock and tailings with a 
rock-breaker and Huntington Batteries was made some 
time ago, but abandoned on account of insufficient 
satisfaction. A view of this mine may be found some 
other place in this book. 

The California Water Company are the owners of 
sc\eral hydraulic mines in the northern part of El Do- 
rado county. A good deal of expensive work has 
been done at Volcanoville ; the ground there con- 
tains many large bowlders, the flumes on that account 
were constructed with special reference to their dispo- 
sition, four feet wide, with an incline of 18 inches to 
each twelve feet. Bowlders the full size of the flume 
are easily washed down this steep incline and through 
a bed-rock tunnel of 325 feet length, and dumped 
over a steel grizzly into the canyon below, discharging 
toward the Midde fork of the American river, 1500 
feet nearly perpendicular down. The Pilot Hill mine, 
better known as the Bowlder Claim, deriving the name 
from the number of large quartz bowlders found in 
this claim, from which gold, well into the thousands 
has been extracted. The formation is cement gravel, 
round and water-worn, from the size of small pebbles 
to large bowlders; this mass has to be worked up by 
powder, previous to the hydraulic operation, and the 
amount of rock to be removed and piled away after 
every run of water adds much to the expense of work- 
ing the claim, which varies in depth from the rim rock 
^to thirty and forty feet in depth. 

Of fhe smaller but none the less valuable hydraulic 
mining claims on the Georgetown divide we have to 
mention still, the Gold Deposit mine, located on 
Irish creek, nenr Columbia Flat, owned by Messrs. 
Voll, Anderson and Sweet, and can be called a very 
valuable property. An even richer one is situated 
about half ways between Georgetown and Volcanoville 
at Kentucky Flat, it is the property of Messrs A. J. 
Wilton and sons, apparently this claim is located in the 
former bed of some changed off stream, probably the 
Middle Fork of the American river or still another 
fork, as may be proved by the many big bowlders 
■which cover quite an area of the washed out claim; 

their appearance is smooth and shining like polished, 
resembling very much the moraines, wandering down 
from the mountains with the living glaciers. This how- 
ever, is a question for the geologlist to give a more 
positive answer. 

A great many large or otherwise highly valuable nug- 
gets have been taken out of these different mines; we 
may record here a few of them. At Dead man's ravine, 
near Poverty Point, in March 1856, a miner found a 
nugget worth $130. Only a short time previous two 
German miners were lucky enough to discover a nug- 
get of 42^2 ounces in weight in Weber creek, op- 
posite Newtown. The large and beautiful nugget of 
gold taken from the Grit claim, at Spanish Dry Dig- 
gings, in 1865, was 16 pounds in weight, it was broken 
into small pieces and presented a beautiful specimen in 
each and every part. Many good sized nuggets were 
found in early days in Hise's ravine, Sugar Loaf moun- 
tain region, by Mr. John Hise; one was valued at over 
$800. Mr. C. W. Brewster, banker at Placerville, had 
in his posession one of the handsomest specimens of 
quartz that a person could lay his eyes on, its weight 
was 5134^ oz. and was estimated to contain from $250 
to $400 of gold, the upper side of it being literally 
ribbed with gold, but it had to be tied up, on account to 
prevent it from falling to pieces, being considerably 
shattered. This specimen was found in Mosquito can- 
yon on the Carpenter & Go's claim. In May, 1872, a 
nugget was found in one of the ravines of Diamond 
Springs mining district, tributary to the Cosumnes 
river, which weighed sixteen pounds, carrying some 
quartz, its value was about $2000. A nugget of 92 
ounces equal to $1656, in the spring of 1872, was 
taken out of a claim owned by Rumondo, located 
about a quarter of a mile south of Hogg's Diggings, 
adjoining the Hunt quartz ledge to the north. A nug- 
get of pure gold, weighing about ten ounces was 
found in the Cooley claim, near Volcanoville on Feb- 
ruary 13th, 1874. Mr. Rumondo living at Pilot Hill, 
since the earliest days, has been the "finder of a good 
number of large nuggets, during that time, in Pilot 
Hill injning district. 



It is more than a general belief that the central lode, 
which passes through Placerville, is a continuation of 
the so-called mother lode in the adjoining counties 
further south. It is also believed that it is as exten- 
sive here as where it is now so successfully mined in 
Amador, Calaveras and Mariposa counties. Yet, for 
some reason, quartz mining in this county is yet in its 


infancy. Capital has never taken hold vigorously, and 
until it does so, the real extent and value of the ledges 
must remain a matter of conjecture. With a very few 
exceptions, operations have been confined to mere 
surtace scratching : a pay chute is discovered, worked 
out in the crudest manner, and the mine unceremo- 
niously abandoned. Another mistake with owners of 
mines consists in the misdirection of capital and en- 
ergy, in erecting machinery and expending a large 
amount of money before they know anything about 
the extent of their ledges, thus wasting much capital; 
and, therefore, it is to be wished that a change may 
take place in the minds of capitalists, but just as 
much with those who own mining claims, to the fur- 
therance of the development of mines in El Dorado 

The number of discovered and prospected ledges 
in this county is almost innumerable, and the same 
may be said of the quartz mining companies organized. 
Still, the actual results, so far as they go to determine 
the depth and permanence of their lodes, are compar- 
atively small. It is the opinion of experts that true 
fissure veins are certainly found in the greenstone belt 
only, but they may exist in slate and granite also. 


Working the " Old Pacific mine," which is located in 
the greenstone, is one of the earliest known quartz 
ledges, and is connected with the history of Placer- 
ville to such an extent that it might just as well form 
part of the history of that burgh. As early as 1852, 
the man who did the first prospecting on the ledge, 
"struck it rich " in the out-cropping, and was in the 
habit of sending as high as four or five ounces, quilted 
in a buckskin bag, by mail, to his wife in the States, 
and as our informant assures us, in every instance it 
went through and arrived safely In 1854, a two-stamp 
mill was started in connection with Predmore's saw- 
mill, below Placerville, and in seven years, (from 1854 
to 1 86 1,) the amount of $480,000 was taken out of 
this mine. The mill during that time had been in- 
creased to four stamps; the location was afterwards 
changed to a point south of town, and the mill in- 
creased to ten stamps, run by an overshot water- 
wheel. The next change introduced steam-power and 
a twenty-stami^ mill at a cost of $54,000. While the 
mill stood under the hill, the ore was run out through 
the water tunnel, and hauled around the point with 
horse-cars. Notwithstanding all this clumsy work, it 
is a well approved fact that the product approximated 
closely on to $ 1 ,000,000, while the dividends amounted 
to over $200,000. Then it had its reverses, due par- 
tially to mismanagement and timid backing, and it lay 
idle for years. Experts declared it worked out, but the 
belief in the permanance of the ledge did not die out. 

and those satisfied of the value of the mine did not 
give up their efforts to organize capital for its further 
development. Then it fell into the hands of an 
English company under the chairmanship of John 
Henry Courtney, Esq., of London, and the manage- 
ment of Prof Thomas Price, of San Francisco. Im- 
mediately the work of prospecting and developing the 
mine began, and has continued steadily and vigor- 
ously ever since. The shaft, built in two compart- 
ments, has been carried down vertically to the depth 
of 600 feet, with stations at 200, 300, 400 and 500 
foot levels ; from all of which drifts have been driven 
far out in the ledge, which may be estimated as thor- 
oughly opened up. It is designed to use water-power 
exclusively, except at the hoisting-works where steam 
may be substituted in case the former should fail. For 
this purpose an immense iron pipe takes the water 
from the E. D. W. & D. G. M. Co.'s ditch, from a 
point near the city reservoir to near the hoisting works ; 
this pipe is 1700 feet in length by 30 inches in diam- 
eter; an arrangement is made that, by means of sev- 
eral forks, it may supply the Brewster mill, the Rose 
mine and the Chester mine. The building of the 
hoistmg works is 36 by 76 feet, and an additional 
boiler-shed 36 by 10 feet ; a car track runs out to the 
ore-bin, and from there a trestle 400 feet in length, 
with a double track for cars, down to the mill ; the 
mill building is 48 by 48 feet with an additional shed 
of 48 by 20 feet, and there is a battery of 20 stamps, 
worked by means of an eight-foot hurdy-gurdy wheel. 
West of the Pacific or mother lode, is a rich quartz 
vein in the slate belt, which at several points has been 
quite extensively prospected. On this are located the 
Church Union, the Epley, Rose, Keegan, Old and 
Young Harmon, Hallock, Gross and St. Lawrence, 
reaching over a distance of about ten miles of ground. 
Of these, the Church Union, or Springfield, is located 
on the Cosumnes slope of El Dorado (Mud Springs). 
Work on this mine was started early in 185 1 or '52, and 
has been run all the time continuously, ne\ er paying ex- 
ceedingly rich, but averaging $20 to $25 per ton; 
thus having proved quite a profitable investment for 
the stockholders. A ten stamp mill has been erected 
for crushing the rock — mill and hoisting-works are to 
be run by steam or water-power, either. The shaft is 
the deepest sunk in this county. In early times it was 
known as the " Hermitage " ledge, and was owned by 
Messrs. Hoover, Crow & Co., who worked it in 1853 
and '54, with the regular old Mexican machinery, and 
with good result. In 1855 and '56 it was owned and 
worked by Dr. Frost & Bro., always yielding hand- 
somely. The present owners are Messrs. Smith & 
Adams. The St. Lawrence is another one of the more 
developed mines on the same lode. On December 



1 2th, 1865, Messrs. William Newell and Robert Do 
ran, on a prospecting trip, found some gold-bearing 
quartz, and on another visit to the place discovered 
to their surprise — a large ledge. They ran a tunnel 
400 feet and sunk a shaft 130 feet deep, and the rock 
taken out paid so well that, wishing to sell out, a bar- 
gain was easily made satisfying both parties. The 
mine was sold for $15,000 to McNewins, Batcma 
and Buel, who erected a 20-stamp mill and opened the 
mine so well that in 187 1 or '72, the contiplling inter 
est of the mine was sold to an English company for 
$300,000 ; then ten more stamps were added and the 
shaft sunk to a depth of 800 feet. But the ledge hav- 
ing apparently pinched out, it was abandoned, and by 
sheriff's sale came into the possession of Mr. Mier- 
son. A new company was organized in which Messrs. 
Mierson and Alderson had a leading interest. Under 
Superintendent Rosewarn's management the shaft was 
sunk 300 feet deeper, striking as they went down a 
rich chute from which a handsome clean-up was real- 
ized; but after a while the ledge was lost entirely, the 
work abandoned and the machinery sold to the Placer- 
ville Gold Quartz Co., and the mine still awaits the re- 
sumption of work in the future. How large the 
amount is that has been taken out of this mine, we 
are unable to say; in three years, from 1872 to 1875. 
the product of the mine counted up to $450,000. 
The Gross mine, located in Big canyon, sold by Peter 
Gross to Robinson & Co., and is now owned by J. E. 
Lyons. It has two ledges, the Pacific and the Rose 
ledges, and had been profttaoly but not extensively 
worked ; the ledges are not very wide, but the rock 
assays up to $16 per ton. The rock is crushed in a 
five-stamp mill, right on the ground. The Hallock, 
formerly the True mine, in the same canyon, though 
not enough opened, presents every evidence of a great 
value. There are several ledges, apparently pitching 
towards each other, fan-shaped — good rock has been 
found in all of them. The Rose mine, south of 
Placerville, owned by Mr. C. W. Brewster, is located 
on the same ledge with the Old Pacific, but differs in 
nature and character from the latter. It has proved 
very rich in the past, the average yield being $46 per 
ton ; the quartz is heavily sulphurated. The Grififith 
Consolidated, south of Diamond Springs, is believed 
to be located on the mother lode also, but is still too 
much of an infant to say more than that the first pros- 
pects have been very rich. In the Kelsey district, in 
addition to the St. Lawrence, before referred to, nu- 
merous ledges have been discovered, and from some 
of them rich results have been obtained. We men- 
tion the Chapparel mine, the Gopher mine, and the 
Bowlder mine. The first named one, together with 
the Champion and Excelsior claims, are located a 

short distance below Chili Bar, and have been worked 
quite extensively for a time preceding the last few 
years, employing a ten-stamp mill run by a water-power 
wheel, but only lately mill and machinery has been 
sold and removed to the Driesbach mine, four miles 
north of Grizzly Flat. The Montezuma mine is lo- 
cated in the Nashville mining district, near the Cosum- 
nes river, and the southern county line toward Ama- 
dor. On the surface, in early days, a number of 
Spaniards gouged into seams of the out-cropping 
quartz, bore the pieces of the latter thus extracted on 
their heads down to an arrastra near the creek, and re- 
alized big wages by crushing and washing it. Out of 
a cut from twelve to fifteen feet wide, and not more 
than one hundred feet long, several thousand dollars 
were taken. But little or no work was done toward 
the development of it for years ; then Mr. Hart took 
hold of it, and hoping to become able to open it, 
worked away for years, and Mr. Grififith entered into 
partnership. They put up a ten-stamp mill run by 
water, but the re-building of their broken dam and 
other necessary repnirs exhausted their means, and 
mill and mine stand idle and the water runs to waste. 
From 1853 to 1856 the mine had been worked by the 
Harvey brothers, of Placerville. Its shaft is sunk now 
about 200 feet deep. The Highville mine, in the same 
district, is about as old as the last named, neighbor- 
ing mine; it was worked as early as 1850, its shaft is 
sunk 400 feet. 

The central figure in the Grizzly Flat district is the 
Mount Pleasant mine. This magnificent property — 
one of the finest in the State — was for a long time in- 
volved in legal quibbles, but is now free from all ques- 
tions of that kind. It lies in the granite, both walls 
being of that character; the eastern, a hanging-wall, 
presents a perfectly smooth surface, while the western 
or foot wall is covered with crystals. The ledge is 
from six to ten and twelve feet wide, and the rock 
worth from $20 to $25 per ton. The mine only lately 
changed hands, going out of the possession of Mr. O. 
D. Lambard into that of a company of eastern capi- 
talists, who will work it for all that it is worth. For 
his purpose they have put up a large and substantial 
new mill, hoisting works, etc., the mill building being 
38 by 45 feet, with boiler house in addition 29'/^ by 
45 feet, the hoisting works being 20 by 22 feet, with a 
boiler house addition 16 by 40 feet; below the mill a 
building of 16 by 48 feet has been put up to cover the 
sluices and protect them from snow during the winter. 

The Eagle mine, north of Mount Pleasant, is be- 
lieved to be on a similarly good ledge as the former, but 
only little work has been done to the present time : 
it is owned principally in Sacramento city. As early 
as the spring 1852, Dr. J. W. Steely, commenced loca- 






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ing one of the many quartz ledges of this district, and 
in the progress of his work erected two mills at differ- 
ent points upon that branch of the Cosumnes river 
that bears his name, and connected them by means of 
wooden railroads with his mine, which was located 
about three-quarters of a mile south-west of Grizzly 
Flat. Away to the south-east, between Grizzly Flat 
and Brownsville, another rich be't of mines is in 
existence, the Stillwagon, the Mountain Quail and 
the Crystal, between the South Fork of the Middle 
Fork and the main Middle Fork of the Cosumnes 
river, were operated for years with success. ' These 
ledges, run east and west, are the Crystal, the 
Mountain Quail and the Creole, a north and south 
running ledge, cutting the two former at nearly right- 
angles are in the possession of a corporation, known as 
the Crystal Mining Company ; the company's mill has 
been located on the Middle Fork, and a ditch built 
for that purpose furnishes the water for the running of 
the machinery. 

At the present time, although the faith of claimants 
continues strong, no extensive work is being done in 
the way of quartz mining on the Georgetown divide. 
Upon many of them, we only instance the Taylor, the 
Isabel, Blue Ledge, Doncaster, the Woodside, Keefer 
and McKusick a great amount of labor has been 
expended in times past, in sinking shafts driving tun- 
nels etc, often enough with very flittering results, but 
no sooner more expensive machinery became 
necessary, and the want of capital brought them to a 

The Pilot Hill mining district, once as noted as the far 
seen Beacon Hill, from which it takes its name, situated 
between the North and South forks of the American 
river, seem.- to be one of those lost mining camps; and 
why so, we are unable to give an answer. Hasn't it an 
unquestionable right to a fair share of consideration 
by reason of its quartz deposits ? Havn't the alluvial 
deposits in its ravines, flats and gulches been immen- 
sely rich and plentifully diversified with large nuggets 
and rich specimens of golden quartz ? Near the top of 
the hill — from which in clear weather a magnificent 
view is presented of Sacramento with the Capitol and 
the whole Sacramento valley, with the river like a silver 
ribbon running through, the Marysville Buttes and the 
Coast range in the back ground, forming a beautiful 
panarama — is situated the Pilot Hill mine. A number 
of auriferous quartz seams run through the location, 
and several shafts have been sunk, which brought the 
owners several thousand dollars in return for their 
work, but these shafts are not yet deep enough sunk to 
approve of the supposition that all these various 
seams converge into a solid ledge at no great depth ; 
the mine is owned bv Mendes, Raimondo and Warner. 

The Hunt mine, near Hoggs Diggings, about four 
miles north of Pilot Hill, is the oldest quartz mine in 
this section. In early days, up to 1850, a small and 
very imperfect stamp mill on Hoggs Diggings was 
operating the culled croppings from the ledge, the ore 
being taken out of some of the shafts, varying from 
26 to 40 feet in depth, with an average return of about 
$15, per ton. But nothing has been done on this 
property since, except keeping off trespassers; it is 
chiefly owned by Sacramento people. Ore from the 
Josephine mine hauled to the Ophir mine in Placer 
county for the purpose of testing the mine, returned 
upwards of $^5 per ton. 

Previous to the ist of January, 1858, there were to 
be found the following quartz mills in Logtown mining 
district. We are able to give a full description from a 
contemporary statement. 


Owned by J. B. Beard, propelled by a steam engine of 
sixty horse power, running eight stamps and two 
arrastras, crushes fifteen tons of rock in twelve hours, 
and nets a weekly profit of from two to eight thousand 
dollars. This is the richest vein of quartz in ElDorado 
county; it was opened about the end of 1856, atgieat 
expense, by the proprietor, who owed his success to 
untiring energy and perseverance. 


Propelled by a steam engine of sixteen horse power, 
driving five stamps and four arrastras, lately erected at 
a cost of twenty thousand dollars, is probably the 
best mill in the county, and work having been done 
under the supervision of Mr. D. Stoddard of San 
Francisco. The mill commenced work under the 
most favorable auspices, it is capable of crushing 
twelve tons of rock per day, averaging $25 per ton; 
the vein is of great extent, and rock enough is exposed 
to keep the mill working for about one year. 


Also propelled by a steam engine of twelve horse 
power, running three stamps and four arrastras, built 
by Messrs. Fiske & Deihl, at a cost of eight thousand 
dollars; the rock, of which a large supply was on hand, 
averaged always $30 per ton, there being crushed 
twelve tons of rock daily. 

Bryant's mill. 
Situated on Cosumnes river. The motive of this mill 
is water taken from the river about a mile above, and 
conveyed by means of a canal to the mill. The mill 
has been erected at a cost of twelve thousand dollars; 
is capable of crushing ten tons of rock daily; the 
rock paying an average of $25 per ton. The vein 
from which the rock is obtained is near the Lamoille 
mill, but, owing to the scarcity of wood, Mr. Bryant 



considered it the cheapest to haul his rock to the river, 
than to erect a steam mill ; an op ation which in the 
course of time will save a vast amount of money. 


Is capable of crushing fifteen tons daily, the rock 
yielding $20 per ton, is probably the oldest mill in 
El Dorado county, erected in 185 1, was always a pay- 
ing institution. The motive power up to 1857, was 
exclusively steam, but thereafter a water-wheel had 
been added, the water was obtained from the Diamond 
Springs ditch, by which means the mill was run for 
half the expense for which wood could be procured. 
The quartz of this mine is inexhaustible and increases 
in size and quality the deeper the vein becomes 


Had been erected at an expense of six thousand dollars 
capable of crushing, twelve tons of rock daily, the rock 
yielding from twenty five to forty dollars per ton. 
This company are in the possession of two veins of 
quartz, either one of them would be sufficient Lo keep 
two such mills running for twenty years, without ever 
having to go below the bed of the ravine on which the 
mill is situated. 


Of the Columbus Quartz Mining Association of Cold 
Springs, David Miller, president, erected a ten stamp 
mill in the fall of 1855. 


In the immediate vicinity of Placerville, especially on 
and around Quartz hill, are located a good many 
claims, all pocket claims, that have given out rich; 
sometimes a man took out as much as $5000 in one 
day; there is Quartz Hill, Log Cabin Ravine, Old and 
Young Harmon, Hodges, L. C. Fiske's, S. Alsburgh's. 
H. Lewis' and P. Vigonett's, Sam. Lemon's and others. 
The Pocahontas mine at Logtown, has proved another 
rich pocket mine, the ledge being lost deeper 
down. At various points, notably in the Poverty 
Point region, Spanish Dry Diggings, Uniontown and 
lately near Georgetown, immense results have been 
obtained at what is known as pocket mining. The 
Sluckslager claim, near Uniontown, has turned out 
several fortunes, and at present Armstrong's claim 
near Georgetown is another sample of that kind. 
This class of mining is like a lottery, it hardly can be 
called legitimate mining, but a good many have been 
successful and the success is deciding, however unre- 
liable the proceedings are. Westwards of the mother- 
lode, quartz veins have been prospected away down to 
the boarders of the plains. Many rich pockets 
have been taken out or are still under work, at Gray's 

Flat, around Shingle Springs, and as far down as Clarks- 
ville; but in the main, the work has been desultory and 
unsatisfactory. The main reliance of the county will 
and must hi : the gravel beds and the great quartz 
veins. Many miners after they have the good luck to 
strike a pocket of gold quartz, are content to take out 
what is just in sight, and fancy that this is all that is 
to be obtained. This is a wrong idea, for experience 
has taught the best pocket miners that if the shaft was 
sunk deeper, another pocket is most invariably reached 
at the depth of from sixteen to thirty feet. Such was 
the case, also with a pocket mine near Frenchtown, 
owned by J. W. Johnson, which has yielded $80,000 
in all, the various pockets brought from $30 to 17,000. 
Before leaving the subject of gold mining entirely we 
shall refer to a piece of juvenile mining as a curiosity; 
Between Anderson's store, Columbia Flat, and John- 
town, we were shown the place, located near the road- 
side, where two small boys, sons of Mr. Davey, in 
1878 took out more than a hundred dollars worth of 
gold; they having there mine in full arrangments, with 
sluice boxes, and everything in a diminishing shape; 
The oldest of these promising young miners, at that- 
time was not more than ten years old. There are 
numeious smaller ledges most all over the county' 
showing a fair prospect, but they are in the hands of 
men who are,not able to develop them properly, which 
will one day prove bonanzas to capitalists who are 
courageous enough to make the venture. 


The discovery of copper in Calaveras county, in 
July, 1861, and some other copper mine soon after, 
opened a new field for the prospectors, after the golden 
placers — which as far as surface placer work in the hills 
and gulches of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada are 
concerned — were about worked out and exhausted by 
that time. And an excitement in prospecting for cop- 
per throughout California commenced that was sur- 
passed only from the result, when a great belt of cop- 
per bearing veins was found extending through the 
whole foot-hill region, proving that the mineral was 
not confined to Copperopolis alone. The high prices 
paid for copper at that time, gave a great inducement 
to encourage the people for copper mining, and before 
long a great many copper mining companies were 
organized, some of them commenced to work with 
energy. To accommodate the copper miners and to 
make the products of their mines more profitable, 
copper smelting works had been erected at Antioch, 
Contra Costa county, convenient to the coal mines of 
Mount Diablo, and in the fall of 1863 the managers 
of this institution advertised the following rates paid 
there for copper ore ; "$2,00 per hundred weight, for 



ore yielding 8 to 12 per cent; $2,25, from 13 to 15 
per cent, $2,50 for 16 per cent, ; and $3,00 for 20 
per cent., and upwards. 

The period of operations of the Antioch Smelting 
Works, however, was brief; the great decline in copper, 
a result of the excessive product-.on, and immense 
advantages enjoyed by the Lake Superior Copper 
mines, caused its shut down, and probably will pre. 
elude any successful oper.3tion in this direction, for a 
long time to come. The work spent in El Dorado 
county for copper mining, in general average did not 
proceed further on, than to determine the presence of 
the ore in large quantities; in a few instances only, 
notably at the Bunker Hill mine near Pollard's, and in 
Hastings Ravine, both between Coloma and Pilot 
Hill, and at the Cosumnes Copper mine, large sums 
have been sunk in the development of those mines, 
which may be paid back in the future. 


N. D. Burlingham, Superintendent of the Esperanza 
mine, and Dr. E. M. Alderman, of Spanish Flat, a few 
years ago discovered a quartz ledge not far from the 
town of Kelsey. The Doctor, in assaying some frag- 
ments of quartz taken from the ledge, was no less 
astonished than delighted to find a rich prospect in 
gold and silver, the latter largely predominating. 
Encouraged thus, he procured more average samples 
from the ledge. Just where it forms a knoll, and from 
various other points of it, and made thirty-two assays, 
all of which were nearly uniform in their results, yield- 
ing from $100 to $150 per ton silver bullion, and the 
silver bullion containing $6 in gold to the ounce. 

The gold taken out of String Canyon near Grizzly 
Flat, was known since long time to be heavily alloyed 
with silver ; and a ledge bearing the latter mineral was 
believed to exist in the vicinity. Mr. E. F. Russell 
but recently found some rock which induced him to 
make further explorations, and the result has been the 
discovery of a ledge east di" Mount Pleasant and 
Eagle, which has been traced for considerable dis- 
tance. A test indicated a large percentage of silver; 
the*assays, as could be learned run from $26 to $28 
per ton; 50 per cent gold. 


Is also known to exist in several parts of the county ; 
but in one instance only, as far as our knowledge 
reaches, more extensive work has been done to secure 
the development of the mine, and to determine the 
size and value of the lode. This quicksilver mine is 
located in the south-eastern part of the county, near 
the Amador county line, and the report at the time of 
working very favorably spoke of a ledge of eight feet 
of ore which had to be drifted through; estimates 

from tests made, will yield 20 per cent. After passing 
through this eight feet ledge, the workmen came to 
what miners term a horse, and drifting through this, 
rich ore was found, from one to two feet in width; 
pursuing the course of the drift the workmen cut 
through another horse, and came to a vein of consid- 
erable richness, being two feet wide, and weight as 
well as appearance of the ore will justify an estimate 
of 60 per cent, of quicksilver. After all appearances 
the mine indicated a great abundance of ore, the latter 
being of high value, and the " Amador Quicksilver 
mine," as the owners have christened it will, no doubt, 
rank in the future with the best mines of that charac- 
ter and prove a very valuable property; the present 
decline in quicksilver, however, is not favorable for 
an enterprise of that kind. 


Iron ore exists in considerable quantities, and in 
various portions of the county. In some cases the 
ore is of such a high grade that it only depends upon 
cheap fuel to make the smelting of it available and 
profitable. But up to the time that this difificulty may 
be overcome, these iron mines need not be looked 
upon as in the line of profitable industry. As a curi- 
osity, has to be mentioned here, the " Grand Victory" 
mine of Diamond Springs mining district, an iron 
mine which at present is worked for the gold that is 
imbedded in the iron ore. 


East of Negro Hill, near the foot of the George- 
town divide, is an extensive mine of chrome iron, 
owned by the Mitchell Bros. It has been traced from 
the South to the North Fork of the American river 
but whether it can be profitably operated for the entire 
distance of twelve miles, is not yet known. The ore 
is worth $6 50 per ton at Folsom, and it costs $2.50 
per ton for hauling, the balance goes between labor 
and profit. About a dozen men are employed at the 
mine, part stoping out ore, the rest in prospecting for 
spots on the ledge, and from six to-ten tons can be de- 
livered daily at Folsom. Its use in the manufacture of 
paints renders its extraction profitable, while common 
iron ore would not be worth touching; it is shipped 
to San Francisco, and from there carried all the way 
to Baltimore or England for its manipulation. Still 
another chrome iron mine exists near Garden Valley, 
the ore from here has to be hauled to Auburn station, 
and is shipped furth'^r on, to Boston. 


The various uses to which asbestos is now applied 
in the arts and sciences has created a demand at re- 
munerative prices, making the work quite profitable. 
The Georgetown divide abounds at various places 



with strong veins of this mineral, and with the different 
owners of them, some years ago, a San Francisco firm 
endeavored to contract for a supply of one hundred 
tons per month, but none of them having the vein suf- 
ficiently developed to venture entering into a contract 
at that time ; but there is no doubt it will become an 
export article of some importance. 

Besides the enormous wealth of El Dorado county 
in mineral ores there is a great variety of all kinds of 
valuable stones : granite, marble, limestone, slate, 
soa[)stone, etc., a resource embracing wealth that may 
rival at a not very distant day the former. 


In various parts of the county, several quite ex- 
tensive masses of limestone have been discovered, 
quarried, and burnt within the past 30 years, and the 
product, of a superior quality, always found a good 
market, part of it in the great valleys of this State, and 
part in the State of Nevada ; only a small amount is 
used for home absorption now. The firm of Cowell 
it Davis, of San Francisco, are in possession of some 
well opened quarries, but only, little work is done at 
present in their quarries and lime kiln. Mr. M. W. 
Manning, in Cave valley, is the owner of a limestone 
quarry, which, in connection with one of the highly 
improved patent lime-kilns, produces an article of su- 
perior quality. A trestle-work is communicating be- 
tween the quarry and the top of the kiln, which is 
surrounded by an iron mantle, and by filling up from 
the top continuously, furnishes a daily product of 75 
barrels; this is shipped daily by means of an eight 
mule team over Lyon's toll bridge to Auburn station, 
from where the agent designates it either way of the 
railroad. A view of Mr. Manning's residence and- 
lime-kiln, located on the road from Auburn station to 
Georgetown, can be seen in this book, also. Another 
limestone quarry and kiln is located in the same sec- 
tion of the county near Rattlesnake bridge, and is 
shipping its product to New Castle, on the Central 
Pacific railroad ; but is not worked at present. It is 
owned by the same parties that are m possession of 
the Alabaster cave, close by. 

In Ringgold creek canyon, south of Darlington's 
ranch, is an inexhaustible ledge of the most excellent 
limestone, in the possession of Mr. P. B. Hogan, who 
has built a kiln for the production of lime to supply 
the demand of Placerville and surrounding neighbor- 
hood, which at present is quite limited. Marble 
Valley, in the western part of the county, close to the 
Placerville and Sacramento road, is another inexhaust- 
ible deposit of fine limestone ; kilns were built here 
years ago, and a great amount of lime produced, that 
went down and helped to build up the city of Sacra- 
mento, but the place is lying idle at present. 

Numerous are the ledges of marble, and just as 
numerous are the different varieties of marble, of all 
colors and grains, that have been discovered in some 
parts of El Dorado county. Only a few of them have 
been worked to such an extent that an estimate abiut 
their value could be given. Marble deposits h.we 
been discovered in Marble Valley, in Ringgold creek 
canyon on Mr. Hogan's place, a.t Indian Diggings, and 
at various places on the Georgetown divide. Promi- 
nent among these is, because it is the only one that 
has been worked sufficient to justify an estimate, the 
marble ledge at Indian Diggings. It was opened 
about ten years ago, by Messrs. Luce & Aiken, of Sac- 
ramento, who were the first owners. They erected 
saw-works in 1876 or 1877, and, after these had been 
destroyed by fire, a large marble-mill was erected with 
four gangs of saws, run by a ten-horse-povver engine, 
which has been successfully worked during the favor- 
able season of the year. The marble of this quarry 
is of beautiful texture, and inexhaustible in quantity, 
and by competent judges has been pronounced as fine, 
as susceptible of as high a polish ,as the best Italian. 
The marble is used for mantle-pieces, for grave stones 
and other monuments — a very limited use, as. long as 
we call a big lumber box inhabited by human beings. 

a mansion. 


El Dorado county in general, and Placerville par- 
ticularly, can boast of the first roof covered with 
domestic slate in the State of California; some parts 
of the roof of the Gary House and Mr. Louis Lan- 
decker's store in Placerville, were the first buildings in 
this State, covered with the mate-rial produced from 
the slate quarry on Chili Bar, or Kelsey Hill. Mr* 
VV. O. Thomas, of Nashville, Tennessee, located two 
slate ledges here, one at the south end of Chili Bar 
bridge, which was first opened, and with 'the slate i)ro- 
(}uced the aforesaid buildings roofed in, in 1875. 
The quarry is now owned by the El Dorado County 
Slate Company, and a good many contracts for slate 
roofing to be done with this material have been ex- 
ecuted since all over the State. When fully opened, this 
quarry will be able to give employment to about a hun- 
dred laborers. Another deposit of superior slate has 
been discovered near Latrobe. Messrs. Rapp, of 
Latrobe, and Conoly, of Sacramento, were the owners. 
The quarry would have been opened thoroughly if 
there was a demand for roofing slate, but the same rea- 
son that is unfavorable to the development of marble 
ledges, as we have seen, is also retarding the slate 




Though neither of metaUic nor mineral origin we 
may be allowed t6 mention right here a discovery 
lately made — at Smith's Flat immense beds of an infu- 
sorial earth was found and has proved to be quite val- 
uable. Large quantities of it are sold yearly as it is 
regarded with great favor as a superior polish for silver 
ware, etc. An equal amount, if not a greater one, is 
used in the preparation of dynamite, which takes 
advantage in its composition to a great extent. 


Last but not least, a big deposit of rock salt has 
been discovered, or rather became known in 1855, 
located in a small valley, situated between the ok". Car- 
son route and the Johnson cut-off road, between the 
summits of the Sierra Nevada. The Indians of Car- 
son valley and vicinity, it seems, had knowledge of its 
existence and took every precaution to keep it a secret, 
but one of their number thinking gold more valuable 
than the secret, disclosed it for $50 to a party of gen- 
tlemen in 1855. It is located in the bed of a little, 
stream, three inches of water running over it, and it 
seems to be inexhaustible. 



From the earliest days of the great era of gold 
mining in California the necessity of making laws and 
regulations, for the allotment of ground and the 
tenure of mining claims became evident with the 
miners. But for these purposes no statute-laws existed 
within the United States, nor were there any customs 
or precedents to guide; the mining laws of California 
originated from the necessity of the case, a-id rules 
were empirically adopted, which, by means of amend- 
ments, grew into a system that has been the basis of 
judicial decisions and statutes. Most every locality 
where any kind- of mining was goine on, as for instance 
a river bar, a certain hill or flat, or sometimes embrac. 
•ing a section that included the work of different 
classes of mining, was constituted a mining district 
for itself. The miners of such a district, in public 
meetings, would organize, define the boundaries of 
their particular district, and resolve upon a code of 
laws, which became authority until changed by a reg- 
ular called meeting, or on account of being in conflict 
with some statute laws. The unsteadiness of the min- 
ers and their dispositian to shift around, hunting for 
still richer diggings, made it soon neces-ary to agree 
about some rules concerning the size of ground each 
man should be allowed to claim as his property, and 
the conditions that were connected with this claim. 

The first set of such rules or laws were quite plain and 
simple instruments, in most every district, until some 
quarrelsome members would necessitate more compli- 
cated and elaborate statutes. In the following we 
shall give a few samples of the usual mining district 

At a meeting of the miners of Smith's Ranch, on 
the evening of March 24th, 1854, Mr. John E. Carter 
was called to the chair, and T. Burns appointed sec- 

The following laws for the government of Hill 
Claims in Smith's Ranch Mining district, were pre- 
sented and unanimously adopted. 

ist. A cUiim shall be 150 fe-t front, and run to 
the center of the hill. 

2d. A claim must be worked within ten days from 
the time at which it is taken up, and as often as one 
day every week afterwards.. 

3d. Two, or more, holding claims may form a 
company to work any of them, without being bound 
to work each claim. 

4tb. Any miner, or miners, finding new diggings in 
this district, shall be entitled to one extra claim for 
each member of the company, on any vacant hill 
ground in the district. 

G. Bass, John Mayhood and E. George were then 
appointed a committee to define the boundaries of 
the district; who reported as follows : 

The district of Smith's Ranch is bounded; Begin- 
ning at the southeast corner of Negro Hill district 
and running east until striking where the road running 
through Smith's ranch intersects the emigrant road 
east ; thence south until it strikes the Coon Hollow 
ditch ; wcbt along said ditch until it strikes the 
Spanish Hill district ; thence north to the south line of 
Negro Hill district; thence east on said line to the 
the place of beginning. 

John E. Carter, President. 

Thos. Burns, Secretary. 

This form of mining laws, however, did not express 
suflSciently and distinctly the nature of every case, 
giving too much chance for arbitration and unlawful 
action, consequently the miners of Smith's Flat 
assembled in public meeting on September 21st, the 
same year (1854,) to reconsider the laws of the district; 
E. Gage was called to the chair, and T. M. White 
appointed secretary, whereupon the following laws for 
the government of claims in Smith's Flat mining dis- 
trict were unanimously adopted. 


I. The boundaries of Smith's Flat mining district 
shall be as follows, viz: Follows the same description 
of the lines and corners, as in the former mining la^vs 
of March 24th, 1854. 


2. The size of mining claims sliall be 50 by 100 

3. Each miner may hoKl two claims, one by loca- 
tion and one by purchase, or both by purchase. 

4. All claims must be recorded by a recorder duly 
elected ; and he shall receive one dollar for recording 
each claim. He shall set a permanent stake at each 
corner of the clann, and put a written notice on each- 
giving the name or names of the party or parties. All 
claims to be recorded with the number of the claim, 
and the time of recording ; a duplicate of such notice 
shall be filed in a book kept for that purpose. 

5. No claim shall be forfeited by not being worked 
between the first day of July and the first day of 
December; provided the owner of any claim shall 
notify the recorder of his nitention to work the said 
claim before he leaves it. 

6. Any i)erson having a claim shall forfeit it by 
neglecting to work it one whole day m every seven, 
between the first of December and the first of July 

7. Any person having two claims may hold both 
by working either, as above mentioned. 

8. Any ditticulty that may arise relative to mining 
interests shall be referred to a jury of five miners ; 
four of them to be chosen by the parties, the fifth by 
these four. 

9. Any person having a claim that reipires a tail- 
race, shall have the privilege of cutting it through the 
claims adjoining it below ; (i)rovided said cutting shall 
not interfere with the working of the same), until he 
has obtained sufficient fall for all reasonable mining pur- 
poses. But he shall in no case permit his tailings to 
accumulate on the claims below, to the detriment of 
the working of said claims. 

1. A tunnel claim shall be 150 feet front and run 
to the center of the hill. 

2. A claim must be worked within ten days from 
the time at which it is taken up, and as often as one 
day in each week thereafter. 

3. Two or more, holding claims, may form a com- 
pany to work any one of them, without being bound 
to work each. 

4. Any miner or miners finding new diggings in 
this district, shall be entitled to one extra .claim for 
each member of the company on any vacant hill 
ground in the district. 

5. Any tunnel company, who shall have expended 
$200, upon notifying the recorder of their intention 
to leave their claim, shall not forfeit the same, pro- 
vided they resume operations within three months 
from the time of giving said notice. 

Resolved, That the old code of laws be hereby re- 
pealed, as far as they conflict with those now adopted. 
E. Gage, President. 
T. M. White, Secretary. 

The next mming laws that we have notice of were 
framed by the miners of Chili Bar ravine, and those 
of Cold Springs mining district ; both of them it seems 
had taken model after the mining laws of Smith's 
Flat district, and if not verbally the same, they were 
quite snnilarly arrainged for prevailing and command- 
ing circumstances, but differing considerably as to the 
size of a claim, the latter being accepted in the Chili 
riar ravine laws with 70 feet front, running to the cen- 
ter of the hill ; while in the Cold Spring Mining dis- 
trict on Weber creek, a claim was understood to be 
100 feet up and down on the creek, and from the 
center of the creek extending 50 feet into the bank; and 
claims laid in a ravine or on a flat were iironounced 
100 feet square. 

The miners of Mount Pleasant met on February 
3d, 1855, and appointed L. H. Rathbun, Chairman, 
and Duncan Quin, Secretary. The purpose of the 
meeting was declared to regulate the laws for govern- 
ing the miners and mining work on the above said 
hill ; and, on motion, a committee of three was aj)- 
pointed : Isaac Hall, William Taylor and John Tripp, 
to draft laws, which were adopted as follows ; 

Article i. Each man shall hold 100 feet square, 
and a notice be placed at each corner stating the 
number of claims, and a trench at the turn of each 
corner : every set oi claims to be worked one in seven 
days, in order to hold possession. All claims hereto- 
fore staked off are allowed to hold possession for two 
months from the time of staking, if the tools have not 
been removed. 

Art. 2. All claims shall be recorded within seven 
days from staking off the same. 

Art. 3. The recorder shall receive $5.00 for re- 
cording each set of claims. 

On motion, Duncan Quin was appointed recorder. 
Following are the names of the miners present : 
Isaac Hall, )\'iilliam Taylor, 

John Tripp, Peter Lashurook, 

H. GooDFREv, Thomas Ahscander, 

Peter Gerard, Maritn Galachan, 

George Ranev, Thorington Ishburton, 

John Barker, Thomas Ishisurton. 

L. H. Rathhun, Chairman. 
Duncan Quin, Secretary. 

This shows one of the plainest law instruments — 
the whole subject expressed in three short articles ; it 
could not be said in less, and it is n,ore than proba- 





ble that it was an honest set of men who constituted 
this district ; these laws were made by the honest 
miners for the honest miner. 

Coon Hollow, April 24, 1856. 

In pursuance of a call, the miners of Coon Hollow 
and vicinity met at McNairs, to take into considera- 
tion the laws and customs of Coon Hollow, regulating 
the mining interests. 

On motion. Captain Barnes was called to the chair, 
and B. E Davis, appointed secretary. 

On motion of George Baldwin, a committee of 
three, consisting of George Baldwin, S. Center and A. 
Jewett, was appointed by the chair to draft laws and 
resolutions better adapted to the minining interests of 
Coon Hollow Mining district, the existing laws, reg- 
ulating the mining in the district, having been adopted 
at an early period, deemed' entirely inappropriate to 
the present wants and circumstances, wholly different 

The committee presented the following resolutions, 
which, after some remarks by Mr. George Baldwin, 
were unanimously adopted. 

Resolved, That all laws, by-laws, rules and regula- 
tions heretofore adopted and now existing in this dis- 
trict, are, and shall be, considered null and void. 

Resolved, That all mining ground left without any 
one to represent it, either as owner or agent, for the 
space of one year or more, has been and shall be con- 
sidered abandoned. 

Resolved, That the persons now holding mining 
ground, abandoned according to the above resolution 
and the custom of this district, have been and shall be 
the] jrightful owners thereof. 

Resolved, That there shall be a recorder for the 
district, chosen by the miners thereof, whose duty it 
shall be to record all claims of those who may desire 
it, in a book kept for that purpose. 

Resolved, That any person wishing to be absent 
from his claim for the term of three months or more, 
shall appoint an agent to represent his claims, and 
shall have such agency recorded by the district 
recorder, with the name of the agent. 

Resolved, That persons shall be allowed to purchase, 
in good faith, as many claims as they may desire, sub- 
ject, in all cases, to the foregoing laws. 

Resolved, That we will protect all persons holding 
claims in accordance with the above laws. 

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be 
published, etc. 

In accordance with the fourth resolution Mr. Geo. 
Baldwin was elected recorder, and authorized to 
charge fifty cents for each record. 

Capt. Barnes, Chairman. 

Benj. E. Davis, Secretary. 

A more complicated instrument shows the laws of 
the Kelsey district, on account of the variety of min- 
ing claims in said district. They were framed at a 
meeting held at the Union Hotel, on July 27th, 1856. 
Charles Orvis was elected chairman, and U. J. B. V. 
Monsimer appointed secretary. Messrs. Andrew Cusick, 
George Fowler and Urban J. B. Monsimer, were ap- 
pointed to draft resolutions. It was 

Resolved, That the following laws and regulations 
be signed by the chairman and secretary of the meet- 
ing and published, etc. 

Article i. The mining district of Kelsey shall 
include one mile from said town. 

2. A claim on old ground, and worked, shall be 
150 feet in length and 60 feet wide. 

3. A claim on new discovered ravines, bank or 
surface diggings, shall be 100 feet in length and 50 
feet wide ; the discoverer to be entitled to one extra 

4. A claim on new ground generally denominated 
"hill diggings," shall be 100 feet square, and an extra 
claim to the discoverer. 

5. There shall be a recorder appointed for the dis- 
trict, whose duty it shall be to record all mining claims 
in said district, in a book kept for that purpose. 

6. Any person or persons locating a claim after the 
passage of these laws, and failing to have the same 
recorded within five days after such location, shall 
forfeit the same ; or purchasing a claim and failing to 
have the same transferred on the recorder's book, shall 
forfeit the same. 

7. All mining claims recorded as aforesaid, shall be 
held by the person or persons recording the same 
during all the time there is not sufficient water to work 
the same. 

8. Any person or persons holding claims over or 
during the dry season, must commence working the 
same within ten days after there is sufficient water to 
work the same, unless the said person or persons are 
unable to do so on account of sickness ; and failing 
to do the aforesaid, shall forfeit said claim. 

9. Any person or persons failing to work a claim 
for a longer time than five days after there is sufificient 
water to work the same, shall forfeit said claim, unless 
the owner or owners be sick, except from the 1st of 
July to the ist of November, when miners may hold 
their claims without working them. 

10. Miners only shall act as arbitrators or jurors 
in settling any difficulties or disputes about mining 
claims or mining interests. 

11. Each person may hold one claim by purchase 
and one by pre-emption, by working and causing the 
same to be worked as required by law. 


12. The recorder shall keep a copy of the mining 
laws of Kelsey district posted all the time in some 
public place in the town of Kelsey. 

13. The recorder shall be entitled to a fee $1.00 
for each recording of a claim, and the sum of 50 cents 
for each transfer of purchase. 

Charles Orvis, President. 

U. J. B. V. MoNSiMER, Secretary. 

However detailed.'these laws seemed to be yet in- 
sufficient, and but a short time afterwards, at another 
meeting of the miners of the same district, Lewis M. 
Brown was called to the chair and U. J. B. V. Mon- 
simer appointed secretary, and the following articles, 
in addition to the above law-instrument, were unani- 
mously adopted : 

10. All claims now held in the district shall be re- 
corded anew, free of charge, on or before the tenth 
day after the water shall have commenced running in 
the ditch of the Kelsey Water Company. 

11. The recorder shall immediately open a new 
book, and at the expiration of the time allowed by the 
preceding article to record the claims now held in the 
district, the old book shall be destroyed. 

12. Substitute II of the old form. 

13. Substitute 12 of the old form. 

14. The recorder shall be elected on the ist of 
January of each year by a plurality vote by the miners 
of the district, and shall hold his office for one year, 
unless removed by the vote of a majority of said 
miners. In case of a vacancy, a recorder shall be 
elected as soon as possible to serve the unexpired 

15 and 16. Substituting articles 12 and 13 of the 
old form. Lewis M. Brown, Chairman. 

Urban J. B. V. Monsi.mer, Secretary. 

Difficulties between miners and agriculturalists seems 
to have occurred from the first start of agricultural 
work in the mining counties. The miners or their 
agents being a majority in all the conventions, took 
advantage of framing the general laws in their own 
favor, and however small a piece of pasture land or an 
orchard of a poor fellow might be, if he had not se- 
cured it by taking up a mining claim, as long as it was 
located in the mining region and going under the title 
of mineral land, the miner was bold enough to claim the 
first right on the ground, and many an unscrupulous 
fellow jumped into possession of such property, often 
enough not much better than a steal; but he was 
backed by the general rule and his robbery was done 
under the law. 

Mr. Foster, of El Dorado, introduced, in the As- 
sembly of the Legislature in session in 1855 a "Bill 
for an .^ct to protect the owners of growing crops, 

buildings and other improvements in the mining dis- 
tricts of the State." The bill provided that any per- 
son desiring to enter upon and occupy lands for mining 
purposes that had been previously, and was then, occu- 
pied by growing crops of grain, grass, garden veg- 
etables, fruit trees, houses, buildings or other improve- 
ments, shall first execute a bond to the owner of the 
crops, buildings or other improvements, conditioned 
for the payment of all damages that may be sustained 
by the said owner — the amount of the bond to be 
fixed by three disinterested citizens, householders in 
the township, and the same to be signed by two or 
more sufficient securities and approved by a Justice of 
the Peace of the township. 

That some law for the protection of the agricultural 
work was necessary will be easy enough to compre- 
hend by reading the decision of Judge Bryan, rendered 
in a case of McClintock vs. Bryden, on March 9, 
1855. This decision, given in the sense of the ma- 
jority of the people in the mining districts, is to the 
effect, that a person settling upon land in the mineral 
region for agricultural purposes, does so subject to the 
rights of the miners to enter his enclosure for the pur- 
pose of extracting gold from the soil, when such 
entrance is made in good faith and for mining pur- 
poses only. 

Here is another example of a set of laws as plain 
and intelligible as any: 

Mound Springs mining district was confined in its 
boundaries at a miners' meeting held on February 26, 
1857, for the purpose of organizmg the district and of 
making laws for the governing of the same. J. And- 
rick was elected president and T. H. B. Cann ap- 
pointed secretary. The meeting, after being called to 
order, adopted the following articles read by the sec- 
retary : 

1. Tnis district shall be bounced on the north by 
Weber creek, on the south by Black ravine, on the east 
by Missouri Flat and Placerville road, and on the west 
by the old line. 

2. The size of a claim shall be 100 feet square for 
surface diggings. 

3. Each person shall be entitled to hold one claim 
by location and as much ground as he may buy, pro- 
vided he works it according to law. 

4. Every man, or company of men, shall, in order 
to hold his or their claims, work the same at least one 
day in seven from the ist of November to the ist of 

5. No claim shall be jumpable from the ist of 
June to the ist of November. 

6. Any company shall have a right to cut a tail- 
rac'i through adjoining grounds by paying all damages., 

f any there be. 


7. This district shall have a district recorder, who 
shall not charge more than 25 cents for recording the 
claims of any one company. 

8. Any man or company wishing to leave during 
summer shall have his or their claim recorded. 

J. Andrick, President. 

T. H. B. Cann, Secretary. 

When the placer mines commenced to get ex- 
hausted and working the same by far did not pay as 
before, the miners expected the water companies to 
come down with their prices for water in an equal 
proportion; but in this they were disappointefd, and the 
miners of Diamond Springs, El Dorado, Slate Creek, 
Mound Springs, Missouri Flat, Gold Flat and New- 
town districts held a mass meeting at Diamond Springs 
on March 29, 1856, where the following resolutions 
were passed unanimously; 

Whereas, In the opinion of the miners heretofore 
engaged upon the line of ditch, known as the Eureka 
Canal, the prices of water for mining purposes hjve 
not been reduced in proportion to the exhaustion of 
the mines and the reduced prices cf labor, and be- 
lieving that its real value has fallen in a proportionate 
ratio with all other property, and being convinced, 
moreover, that the present exhorbitant prices have a 
tendency to make the many labor for the enrichment 
of the few, contrary to our preconceived ideas of 
equality and justice, we therefore — in a spirit of fair- 
ness, and impelled by Nature's first law, self-preserva- 
tion — do resolve: 

1. That the action of the officers of the Eureka 
Canal Company, in adopting and causing to be posted 
its late regulations, is sincerely to be regretted as be- 
ing suicidal to the best interests of the company, and 
insulting and oppressive to the miners. 

2. Resolved, That the eighth section in the Regu- 
lations of the Eureka Ditch Company is unjust, illib- 
eral and oppressive, and that we repudiate the whole 
section as a mere financial manoeuvre to enable the 
company to practice fraud upon strangers and gain 
control of all abandoned mining ground. 

3. Resolved, That the ninth section of those regu- 
lations is simply ridiculous and insulting. 

4. Resolved, That if the water of the Eureka 
Canal Company sold at a fair price is not remunera- 
tive, and the investment proves unprofitable, and the 
enterprise a failure, the blame is to be attached to the 
erroneous judgment of its projectors, and not to the 
miners. And while we freely give to the present offi- 
cers and stockholders our heartfelt sympathy, we can 
never consent to yield them the entire profits of our 
labor, as many of us have families whose claims we 
consider far more sacred. 

5. Resolvtd, That we will purchase no more water 
of the Eureka Canal Company at its present prices, 
and earnestly request our fellow-miners to unite with us 
in suspending operations until a reduction is made. 

6. Resolved, That, in the opinion of this meeting, 
the price of water, when used per day, should not ex- 
ceed 50 cents per inch for "first-class water"; or, 
when used by the week, four (4) inches for $10, six 
inches for $15, eight inches for $18, and larger heads 
as per contract. Second-class water, when taken from 
ditch or reservoir of the company, should not exceed 
thirty-three and one-third {ziVi) cents per inch, or by 
the week, twenty-five (25) cents per inch per day. 

7. Resolved, That a committee of three from each 
mining district be appointed by the chair, whose duty 
it shall be to confer with the officers of the Eureka 
Canal Company, whenever said company signify their 
willingness to discuss the prices of water. 

8. Rtsolved, That, as our object is justice to our- 
selves, with no infringement on the rights of others, 
our committee be instructed and requested, in all 
communications with the company, to be governed by 
the strictest rules of right and courtesy— that, while 
they seek the advancement of our interests as miners, 
they may preserve our dignity as gentlemen. 

9. Resolved, That to yield now, without the accom- 
plishment of our purpose, we would present the inglo- 
rious and anti-republican picture of the mass bowing 
to the impecunious will of the few, and while we 
kissed the smiting hand of moneyed despotism we 
would justly invite oppression and merit the scorn 
and contempt of every free heart in the State. 

10. Resolved, That we hereby pledge our lives, our 
fortunes and our sacred honor to adhere strictly to the 
foregoing resolutions, and to suspend all mining opera- 
tions until a reduction is made in the prices of water. 

H. H. West, Chairman. 

F. S. Davenport, Secretary. 

This shows us miners on the rampage, taking up the 
fight of labor against capital, the first action in the 
great war towards the suppression of monopolism. 
And they meant what they said, as may be seen by the 
laws of some mining districts thereafter framed with 
reference to the water question. 

Those objectionable "Regulations of the Eureka 
Canal Company " read as follows : 

1. All water must be measured at the ditch or res- 
ervoir from whence it is drawn, for which purpo.'^e 
gauges will be furnished by the company. 

2. Water drawn from any race, flume or reservoir 
of the company, supplied directly from the main racr, 
is considered as "first-class," and will be priced ac- 


3. Water after being used and again taken up in 
lower ditches is considered second-class =nd will be 
priced accordingly. 

4. No person will be permitted to draw water 
without first having obtained permission from the 
water agent to do so. 

5. Water used in cleaning up must be paid for the 
same as that used for any other purpose. 

6. If water is used at all, a half day's rent will be 

7. All water bills must be paid every Saturday 
night, and the water will be shut off from those in ar- 

8. No purchaser, jumper or taker-up of a piece of 
ground or claim shall have the use of water on any 
piece of ground or claim bought, jumped or taken up, 
so long as the Canal Company has unpaid water bills 
against the claim or piece of ground or against the 
person or persons selling or allowing the claim or 
piece of ground to be jumped or taken up, or either. 

9. A complete list of all persons or companies in 
arrears to the Canal Company will be exposed in the 
canal office, and corrected every week for the informa- 
tion of those interested. 

At a general meeting of the miners of Gold 
Hill district, on January 19, 1858, to make a new code 
of laws for their future government, etc., R. J. Tyler 
was called to preside as a chairman, and David 
McCausland was appointed secretary. 

After the laws were framed for the government of 
the miners, and the working of the mines in the dis- 
trict, the following resolutions were submitted for the 
consideration of the meeting, and approved without a 
dissenting voice. 

Resolved, That we, the miners of Gold Hill district, 
pledge our honor, one to the other, that we will not 
buy, use, nor will we allow others to buy, use or pay 
for any water running in or from the Gold Hill canal, 
until the price of water is reduced to twenty-five 
cents per inch. 

Resolved, That we will not allow any agent of the 
Gold Hill Canal Company to locate any claims in this 
district, for the purpose of speculation, by selling the 
same to persons not eligible to citizenship, as they 
have done heretofore. 

R. J. Tyler, President. 

David McCausland, Sec'y. 

This last resolution, for the first time makes men- 
tion of the more and more growing evil against which 
the miners found it necessary to fight, the Chinamen 
n the mines. 

The miners, in a mass- meeting, assembled at Dia- 
:iiond Springs, December 25th, 1858, adopted the fol- 
lowing preamble and resolutions : 

Whereas, The great influx of Chinamen into this 
district, and the large number of mining claims occu- 
pied by them to the e.xclusion of American citizens ; 
and, whereas, it has become the established policy of 
Wm. P. Scott, superintendent of the Eureka Canal 
Company, to allow Chinamen water at a cheaper rate 
and in preference to white men, for sinister motives ; 
and, whereas, the Chinamen are continually commit- 
ting outrages upon the miners in the district, by rob- 
bing sluices and plundering their cabins, their im- 
n-kediate expulsion has become necessary ; therefore. 

Resolved, That the Chinamen in Diamond Springs 
Township, south and west of the village of Ringgold, 
who have not purchased claims [bona fide) before this 
date, be notified to leave the mines, in the aforesaid 
portions of said township, whithin ten days after such 
notice be given them, and in case of their refusing to 
comply within the ten days, we will oust them and 
convey them beyond the limits of this district. 

Resolved, That no Chinamen be allowed to take 
up, purchase, or otherwise occupy any mining claims 
in the aforesaid district, except those provided for in 
the next resolution. 

Resolved, That all Chinamen who have purchased 
claims (bona fide), and are now working them, be 
allowed to work out their claims unmolested, and then 
depart beyond this district without delay. 

Resolved, That we pledge ourselves each to the 
other, that we will enforce the foregoing resolutions — 
peaceably, if we can, forcibly if we must. 

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be for- 
warded to the county papers, etc, for publication of the 

The miners of tlie vicinty of Placerville, on the 
1 2th of July, 1859, for the same purpose, held a meet- 
ing at the Placerville theater, where W. P. Early was 
elected president, Hamilton McCann and George 
Griffin, vice-presidents, and Benjamin Meacham ap- 
pointed secretary. 

The president clearly stated the object of the meet- 
ing, and Mr. Wicks offered the following resolutions 
which were unanimously adopted : 

Resolved, That we consider the present rates charged 
by the South Fork Canal Company for water exorbitant 
and ruinous to the mining interests, and destructive of 
the prosperity of the community. 

Resolved, That this meeting remonstrate against 
the practice of the company or its agents holding un- 
occupied ground responsible for wa'er bills contracted 
by former occupants, considering it an infringement 
on our rights; that to the miner belongs the privilege 
of prospecting and working all unoccupied ground. 



Resolved, That we are opposed to agents of any 
company speculating in claims, especially taking up 
and selling to the Chinese. 

Resolved, That we repudiate the idea of granting to 
ditch companies fifty feet on each side of their ditch 
as right-of way, as asked for by the convention of ditch 
owners held at Sacramento, for the reason that it 
would effectually and forever prevent any competition 
in water in the mines. 

Resolved, That competition in water is the only sure 
and permanent relief against the abuses complained 
of, and certain means of developing our mines and 
increasing the permanent welfare of this community. 

On motion of Mr. Wicks, a committee of three was 
appointed by the president — -consisting of L. D. 
Wicks, W. R. Chapman and E. Searles, to wait upon 
John Kirk and receive proposals for bringing in a new 

A committee of one from each mining district on 
the line of the South Fork Canal were appointed for 
the purpose of conferring with Mr. Kirk for prelimi- 
nary arrangements: James Elliott, Coon Hollow; W. 
P. Early, Spanish Hill ; L. D. Wicks, Reservoir Hill; 
Benj. Meacham, Smith's Flat; John Wade, White 
Oak canyon ; S. Wallace, Cedar Hill ; J. Stadden, 
Texas Hill ; G. W. Griffin, Cold Springs ; W. Pryde, 
Johnson's canyon, were elected. 

W. P. Early, President. 
H. McCann, 
G. W. Griffin, 


Benj. Meacham, Secretary. 

The following may serve as a sample of laws con- 
cerning quartz mining : 


Article i. This district shall be known as the 
Georgetown Quartz Mining district, and bounded as 
follows, to wit : Commencing at the south-west corner 
of Georgetown School district, thence running east 
along the southern boundary of said district to Bear 
creek, thence up Bear creek to a point south of Rich- 
ardson's new mill, thence north to Otter creek, thence 
along the south bank of said Otter creek to the Mid- 
dle Fork of the American river, thence westerly along 
said river to the mouth of Canyon creek, thence 
south to the place of beginning. 

Art. 2. The size of claims to each person locating 
shall be 200 feet of or on any quartz lode or ledge in- 
cluding the dips, spurs, angles and all surface ground 
and minerals which may be contained within the 
space of one hundred and fifty feet on each side of 
said ledge or vein located ; but no company's claim 
shall exceed 3,000 feet in length on any vein or ledge 

Sec. 2. The discoverer of a vein or lode of min- 
eral shall be entitled to one (i) claim for his dis- 

Art. 3. All notices of claims located, whether in- 
dividual or company, shall describe the locality of 
said mine, the number of feet claimed, the point 
where the measurement commences, and name of the 
lode or company locating. 

Art. 4. Said notice shall be posted on the lode 
and shall hold the claim for ten (10) days from the 
date thereof, without record, but no claim shall be 
held valid without record after the expiration of said 
time, unless labor is being done on said claim. 

Art. 5. All notices of quartz mining claims are 
required to be recorded unless labor is being done on 
the claim, by a recorder elected by the miners 01 
Georgetown Quartz Mining district. 

Sec. 2. Said district recorder shall keep a book, 
record all claims, copy the notice and give the names 
of the members of each company. 

Sec. 3. It shall be the duty of the recorder to go 
upon the ground and define the claim, measuring and 
staking the same, and he shall receive for such service 
the sum of fifty cents for each name, and if not re- 
quired to perform such service to receive twenty-five 
cents only. 

Art. 6. Any person or corporated company loca- 
ting a mining claim within this district, shall be re. 
quired to do actual labor upon each and every claim 
not exceeding twelve (12) hundred feet, and a propor- 
tionate amount for larger or smaller claims, the sum of 
fifty (50) dollars within sixty (60) days from the date 
of record, and one hundred and fifty (150) dollars 
within six (6) months from the date of record, and a 
like amount for every additional six (6) months, until 
the sum of five hundred (500) dollars shall have been 

Sec. 2. Whenever the sum of five hundred (500) 
dollars shall have been expended in the prospecting 
or developing of the mine, whether by sinking shafts, 
running tunnels, cuts or drifts, whether in the ledge 
or in thfe direction thereof, designed practically to de- 
velope the claim, then and thereafter for the term of 
two (2) years, said claim shall be held by the parties 
performing or expending the said amount, but no labor 
being performed for the period of two (2) years the 
said claim shall be considered abandoned and subject 
to re-location. 

Art. 7. The recorder shall hold office for one (i) 
year, and until his successor is elected. 

Art. 8. The annual election shall be held on the 
last Saturday of November, at 7 o'clock p. m., in the 
village of Georgetown, of each year ; and at said elec- 


tion the recorder shall be elected by ballot, and it 
shall be the duty of the recorder to give due notice of 
said election. 

Sec. 2. At said annual meeting these laws may be 
amended or changed by a two-third vote of the miners 

Art. 9. All quartz mining laws heretofore made or 
existmg are hereby repealed. 

Art. 10. A copy of these laws shall be deposited 
by the recorder in the office of the Justice of the 
Peace of Georgetown, and by him handed o\er to his 
successor in said office. 

I hereby certify that the above is a true copy of the 
quartz mining laws now in force in this district. 

AVm. T. Gibbs, Recorder. 

Georgetown, Dec. 10, 1866. 



No similar area of country in the world can boast of 
a finer water supply than El Dorado County. Com- 
mencing on the north with the Middle Fork of the 
American river and its numerous branches, such as 
the Rubicon and Pilot creek, having their sources 
among the snow of the summit range, we come to the 
South Fork of the same river, drawing its supply from 
Blackrock creek, Greenwood creek. Rock creek and Sil- 
ver creek on the north, and Weber, Plum, Mill, Alde,- 
and Alpine creeks on the south ; not enumerating 
the numerous smaller tributaries spread like veins all 
over its immense basin. The water poured into the 
Sacramento river every year, from this single stream, 
would be sufficient, if it could be stored up for use at 
the proper season, to irrigate ten times the entire area 
of the county. 

On the south we have the Cosumnes, with its 
various forks and tributaries, forming a complete net- 
work over the southeastern portion of the county. In 
the mountains are numerous lakes, ranging in area 
from a Few acres to many square miles ; most of them 
so situated that, at a small expense, they can be made 
useful as storage reservoirs for the great ditches below. 
Then, crossing the summit, we find the rich grazing 
country in Lake Valley, watered by the Little Truckee, 
and a score of small creeks, many of them perennially 
supplied by beautiful ponds and lakes, and all pouring 
their floods into that most magnificient of inland seas. 
Lake Bigler, which also occupies a large corner of this 

An examination of the map shows that there are three 
distinct main ridges, running east and west, the first 
^om the junction of the North and South forks of 

the American, the second from the mouth of Weber 
creek, the third from the plains, between the South 
Fork, and the Cosumnes, all culminating at the crest 
of the water-shed. Thus it will be seen, that with the 
exception of a few isolated peaks, there is hardly a 
square mile of mining or agricultural ground but can be 
effectively reached for washing or irrigating purposes. 
Along each of the ridges before mentioned is located 
one of the three principal canals of the county; the 
California Water Company, the El Dorado Water and 
Deep Gravel Mining Company and the Park Canal 
and Mining Company (limited). Besides these, there 
are numberless minor ditches, mostly constructed for 
minor purposes, but many of them of considerable 
length and importance. 

The first water ditch in El Dorado county, and in 
the whole mining region of California, had been built 
at Coloma, in 1850 to 1851, by Valentine Mc Dougall, 
Davis Thompson, Lippset, Starr and Birdsall ; taking 
the water down to the Coloma basin in a ditch of three 
miles in length, and $10,000 was spent for the con- 
struction of the same. 

As immediate followers, in the ditch enterprise in 
the same mining district, we mention the Holling- 
worth & Go's ditch; the Coloma canal ; the Shanghai 
ditch ; the Williams ditch ; the Greenhorn ditch and 
the U. S. M. Other parts of the county did not stay 
behind in the construction of water ditches, and about 
the first of January 1856, the county made a show of 
the following ditches, and canals: 

The Pilot and Rock Creek canal, carried water from 
twenty-six miles east of Georgetown to Georgetown, 
Johnstown, Kelsey, Spanish Flat, etc.. Bottle Hill, 
Greenwood, Wildgoose Flat and Pilot hill. Cost of 
construction $180,000. South Fork canal, taking 
water out of the South Fork of the American river to 
supply Placerville and the surrounding country, and 
had almost control ot the mining region between 
South Fork and Weber creek ; its construction had 
cost $700,000. The Eureka canal, provided Diamond 
Springs, Rmggold, Newtown, El Dorado, Logtown, 
Frenchtpwn, Buckeye Flat and Missouri Flat, with 
water from the North Fork of the Cosumnes river. 
The Natoma ditch drawing its supply from the South 
Fork of the American river, two miles above Salmon 
Falls; its cost was $300,000. The Cosumnes and 
Prairie canal used water from the Cosumnes river, 
carrying it over the prairie country to the South and 
East in Amador and Sacramento counties; cost 
$125,000. Cedar and Indianville canal carries the 
water from the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes river to 
Indian Diggings, CedarviUe, Brownsville ; the cost was 
$100,000. Cosumnes and Michigan Bar canal takes 
water from the South Fork of the Cosnmnes river 



down to the divide between Cosuranes and Di-y creek, 
cost $80,000. The Mosquito canal cost $200,000; 
El Dorado and Georgetown ditch, $50,000. Negro 
Hill ditch, $20,000. Coloma was then furnished with 
water by the following coiiii)anies, Coloma canal, cost 
$42,000 ; Coloma Water Co's, $30,000 ; El Dorado 
Canal, $40,000; Miner's ditch, $18,000; Union 
flume, $15,000. Chilean Bar canal cost $30,000; 
Rock creek and Gold Hill ditch, $10,000 ; Gold Hill 
canal, of Gold Hill, $10,000; Weber creek and Coon 
canal, $22,000; Dear creek canal, $20,000 ; Covey & 
Co's canal, near Michigan Bar, on the north side of 
the Cosi>mne.s river, $23,000. The Iowa canal, tak- 
ing its water from Long, Iowa and Brush canyon% 
with its terminus at Negro Hill, had a length of 
twenty-one miles. The length of the South Fork 
canal, with all its branches, was then 155 miles. 

Before taking up the history and description of the 
leading water companies of the county, it may not be 
amiss to say something on the origin of the local cus- 
toms and laws of the State on the subject of water 
rights. The early miners were not long in discovering 
the value and importance of perennial streams in their 
operations on the placers, hence in localities where 
water was scarce during the dry season, resort was had 
to the construction of ditches, drawing their supply 
from permanent streams, and delivering the water in 
gulches and canyons otherwise dry. The water thus 
delivered was sold at prices regulated by the law of 
supply and demand. Local regulations were soon 
brought in play to protect parties, engaged in the busi- 
ness, from unjust competition. In other words, a party 
having constructed, or in good faith commenced the 
construction of a ditch tapping any stream, no subse- 
quently acquired rights could interfere to prevent the 
original party from obtaining the quantity of water, 
specified in their preliminary notice ; provided the 
river or creek tapped afforded that much. 

The earliest organizations took the benefit of the 
act of April 22d, r85o, for the incorporation of com- 
panies for manufacturing, mining, mechanical or 
chemical purposes. This act, being too vague in its 
language, was amended from time to time, until the 
act of May 14th, 1862, finally took its place. This 
gave full power to take up unappropriated water for 
the supply of mining or irrigatmg ditches, leaving 
authority with the County Supervisors to fix the rates 
of toll at not less than i}4 per cent of the capital 
actually mvested. 

Under the law, as it no^ stands, any unappropriated 
water may be taken up ; but a special notice, giving 
quantity claimed in inches, under four inches pressure, 
must be posted on the ground and recorded with the 
county cletk, and due diligence must be used in the 

prosecution of the work ; failing in which, subsequent 
claimants may step in. Recognizing the anomalous 
condition of California and the States and Territories 
west of the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, the 
Congress of the United States, in 1866, indorsed and 
confirmed the local laws and regulations on the sub- 
ject of water rights, in the following language, which 
will be found in the revised statutes. 

"Sec. 2339. Whenever, by priority of possession, 
rights to the use of water for mining, agricutural, 
manufacturing, or other purposes, have vested or ac- 
crued, and the same are recognized and acknowledged 
by the local customs, laws and the decisions of the 
courts, the possessors and owners of such vested 
rights shall be maintained and protected in the same ; 
and the right of way for the construction of ditches 
and canals for the purposes herein specified is ac. 
knowledged and confirmed ; but whenever any person, 
in the construction of a ditch or canal, injures or dam- 
ages the possession of any settler on the public domain, 
the party committing such injury or damage shall be 
liable to the party injured for such damage," 

"Sec. 2340. All patents granted, or pre-emptions 
or homesteads allowed, shall be subject to any vested 
and accrued water rights, or rights to ditches or reser- 
voirs used in connection with such water rights, as 
may have been acquired under or recognized by the 
preceding section." 

Under the protection of these laws, companies with 
large means have tapped the mountain torrents at their 
very sources, and now control franchises of incalcu- 
lable value. Recognizing, fully, the future capabili- 
ties of the county, they have planted millions in works 
which will prove imperishable monuments to their 
foresight and sound business discretion. 

The Park Canal and Mining Company (Limited.) 
Among the first to take hold of ditch construction on 
an extensive scale, was the firm of Bradley, Berdan & 
Co., incorporated August 4th, 185 1, for "manufactur- 
ing, mining, mechanical and chemical purposes," and, 
to further these objects claiming water from " Ring- 
gold creek and Cosumnes river or its northern branches, 
or from some of the southern branches of the Ameri- 
can river." The capital stock was originally placed at 
$54,000, subsequently increased to $75,000, and again 
to $150,000. Their main canals: the "Rin>gold 
ditch," tapping the creek of that name, and also the 
South Fork of Weber creek, and the " Bradley Ditch,', 
taking up the waters of Sly Park and Camp creeks 
Distributing ditches spread the water all over the Dia- 
mond Springs and Mud Springs area. In the list of 
early stockholders we find the names of D. O. Mills and 
John Parrott. From the first, Bradley, Berdan 5r Co. 
were involved in litigation. May 25111, 1852, we find 


them engaged in a contest with Daggett & Darling- 
ton — Weber Creek Canal Company — for the water of 
Ringgold creek. 

Jones,. Furman & Company were constructing a small 
ditch from Squaw creek to Diamond Springs, about 
the time of the organization of Bradley, Berdan & Co. 
The record shows a notice from these parties of hav- 
ing called a " miners' meeting " at Diamond Springs, to 
settle the dispute over the Squaw creek water. The 
time of the meeting was demurred to by Bradley, 
Berdan & Company, with a proposition for a meeting 
of all the miners in the county at Placerville or Co- 
loma. In 1852, Jones, Furman & Company extended 
their ditch to Clear creek; in 1853 it was further e.x- 
tended to Camp creek, and enlarged through its entire 
length, to its present dimensions. But financial dififi- 
ties swamped them, and, in 1854, the property was 
purchased at sheriff's sale by W. P. Scott, of Diamond 
Springs, now of Sacramento, who named it " Eureka 
Ditch." Scott extended the ditch to the North Fork 
of the Cobumnes and took up Steele's Fork. He 
also built the Squaw Hollow reservoir, which was 
twice washed out and is now in ruins. 

Finally, in 1856 the two companies were consoli- 
dated under the name of the " Eureka Canal Com- 
pany." The distributing ditches of the two lines 
reach every part of the divide between the Cosumnes 
and Weber creek, extending to within seventeen miles 
of Sacramento, with numerous reservoirs, conveniently 

Among the Bradley, Berdan & Company records 
we find the following definition of an inch of water : 
" A rectangular notch one inch wide, extending three 
inches below the surface of the water, and giving a 
flow of two cubic feet per mmute, shall be considered 
a miner's inch, and each additional inch in width shall 
add one inch to the measure." The prices charged 
were $1.50 for the first use, $1.00 for the second, and 
75 cents for the thh-d and each subsequent use; pay- 
able daily in advance or on demand. The standard 
of the present company is a rectangular opening one 
and a half inches wide, two inches deep with four 
inches pressure, yielding, theoretically, 84 cubic feet 
per hour. 

The entire property was purchased in 1875 by J. M. 
Crawford and. others, of Philadelphia, under the title of 
Park Canal & Mining Company (Limited,) incorpo_ 
rated under the Pennsylvania law. The officers of the 
company are: J. M. Crawford, chairman; Samuel F. 
Fisher, secretary and treasurer; J. J. Crawford, gen- 
eral manager ; M. G. Griffith and Samuel Hale, su- 
perintendents. The principal office is 308 Walnut 
street, Philadelphia, with branch offices at Diamond 
;Springs and Dry Gulch. 

In 1877 the company built a substantial ditch, ca- 
pable of carrying 1,800 inches of water — the old Eu- 
reka Ditch carried but 1,200 — from Camp creek, 
under the New Baltic mill across Diamond and Stone- 
breaker creeks, dropping into Sly Park creek in Hazel 
Valley. The system of the company's canals is such, 
that water used for mining purposes may be taken up 
again and again, being available for distribution over 
a large area of country, particularly adapted to the 
cultivation of vines, fruit trees and vegetables. The 
whole extent of ditches owned and controlled by the 
company is nearly 300 miles. 


The ditch of this company, now known as the 
"Weber Canal," was the first to bring water to Coon 
Hollow. It was incorporated September 30, 185 1, 
with a capital stock of $10,000, divided into twenty 
shares, and the ditch was constructed soon afterwards, 
from a point on the North Fork of Weber creek, 
nearly south of Sportsman's Hall, to the reservoir above 
the present Excelsior Mine. The original design was 
lo bring the water from the South Fork of the Amer- 
ican river over the divide, and drop it into the Weber, 
constituting the channel of the latter stream a part of 
the canal, down to the head of the present ditch. This 
plan, however, was never carried out, and it remained, 
practically, a " wet weather ditch." In course of time 
Messrs. Kirk and Bishop acquired a controlling inter- 
est and it was by them transferred to the E. D. W. & 
D. G. M. Co. in 1873. Since that time the ditch has 
been enlarged as far up as Big Chunk canyon, where 
a reservoir site was located, and it now assists in car- 
rying the water of the Main Trunk canal to Coon 


The demand for water in the rich mining district 
known as " White Rock," early turned the attention 
of parties interested to the practicability of tapping 
some of the canyons on the south side of the South 
Fork of the American river. A company was organ- 
ized, consisting of twenty members, who contributed 
the funds necessary to construct the ditch known as 
the Iowa Canal. In 1852 they carried it up as far as 
Big Iowa canyon, taking in Johnson's North and South 
canyons, Brush and Little Iowa canyons. One of the 
prime movers in the enterprise was Alfred Briggs 
then a merchant at White Rock ; since, internal reve 
nue collector at Sacramento. Another was G. W 
Swan, now superintendent of the E. D. W. & D. G, 
M. Co., who says his contribution amounted to $1,300 
The following year they carried their ditch up to Long 
canyon, which action brought them in conflict with the 
South Fork Canal company, and that part of the line was 



eventually abandoned. This canal, too, finally came into 
the hands of Kirk & Bishop, and through them, became 
the property of the E. D. W. & D. G. M. Co., by 
whom it was enlarged to a capacity of 2,000 inches as 
far up as Johnson's North canyon, where it received a 
portion of the water of the Main Trunk. The point 
Of junction — by the construction of the new cinal — 
has now been brought several miles further down. 
The great reservoir at Blakeley's is above the Iowa 
canal, and discharges into it ; there were several 
smaller reservoirs along the ridge in former years, but 
they are now abandoned and going to decay. 


Articles of incorporation of the Gold Hill Canal 
company were filed with the county clerk, under date 
of October ist, 1853. The capital stock was $10,000, 
and the original directors were W. B. WiUiams, Lo- 
renzo Dexter and Joseph Lamb. The object was to 
furnish water to the miners about Gold Hill, and for 
mining and irrigation purposes, to the entire region 
lying between Weber creek and the South Fork of the 
American river. 

The ditch heads at Hangtown creek, in Placerville; 
it depended for water on Hangtown creek, water from 
the South Fork canal, or purchase from the latter. It 
was once an immensely profitable property, the for- 
tunate location enabling the owners to dispose of the 
same water to a dozen different miners in one gulch, 
and then by carrying it around to the next mining 
ground, repeat the operation again and again. It has 
been the means of establishing one of the most ex 
tensive fruit-growing interests in the county. Like the 
Weber and Iowa canals, it is now part of the property 
of the E. D. W. & D. G. M. Co. 


The placers along Hangtown creek, in the vicinity 
of Placerville, were among the richest in the world 
ever known, and the bed-rock of the gulches, running 
up to the gravel beds surrounding the basin, was fairly 
yellow with gold. Being so near the source of the 
creek, however, water, even in winter, was not over- 
abundant ; while summer mining was greatly hampered. 
Notwithstanding the difficulties, the enterprise of 
bringing a supply from the American river was not se- 
riously undertaken for several years. On the loth of 
July, 1852, articles of incorporation of the South Fork 
Canal company were filed with the county clerk. The 
capital stock was fixed at $500,000. B. F. Keene, Jas. 
M. Estell, J. M. Rhodes, Caleb Finch, Bruce Herrick, 
W. H, Smith, T. A. Springer, John Buchanan and B. R. 
Nickerson were the first trustees ; B. F. Keene, first 
president ; A, T. Taylor, first secretary; A. J. Bin- 
ney, engineer. 

The original plan located the distributing point on 
the divide at what is known as " Nigger " or " Reser- 
voir Hill." No enterprise of the kind could have been 
inaugurated under more favorable auspices. Money 
was plenty, and j-arties on all sides satisfied of its 
profitable character, were ready and anxious to invest. 
Among those now here we may mention Messrs. Nu- 
gent, Cooper and Barss, all of whom invested liber- 
ally, and alike, lost every dollar subscribed. This, as 
we understand, was not due to dishonesty on the part 
of the management, but to a want of appreciation of 
the magnitude of the work on hand. When subscrip- 
tions to between $200,000 and $300,000 had been 
received, the books were closed, the trustees believing 
the amount sufficient to complete the work. Their 
lack of judgment on this point resulted in the ruin of 
the original investors. One or two incidents will illus- 
trate this point : 

"A large and well-appointed hotel having been 
erected at " Reservoir Hill," the intended terminus of 
the Main Trunk, it was believed that here would be 
established a fashionable resort, and, being desirous of 
catering to the aesthetic enjoyment of the citizens of 
Placerville, as far as possible, the trustees solemnly 
discussed the question whether the last half-mile of 
the flume should not be built of "dressed lumber." 
It was only after a prolonged consideration that a 
negative conclusion was arrived at. 

" The use of battens not having occurred to the 
management, for the purpose of making the joints on 
the sides and bottom of the flume water-tight, it was 
determined to nail strips of canvass over the cracks. 
But tack hammers were scarce, none could be ob- 
tained, except from a certain harness shop, an'd those 
were' not for sale ! So Mr Springer, one of the trus- 
tees, rented a dozen, at fifty cents per day each ; the 
hammers to be returned in good condition. It so 
happened, however, that when the work was com- 
pleted, the hammers were thrown into the tool-house, 
and there remained until the owner's inquiries brought 
them to light, and a bill, amounting to over $900, had 
to be paid for the use of a few hammers 1" 

Satisfied that the character of the soil was such that 
ditching on any part of the line would be impractica- 
ble, a flume structure for the entire length was deter- 
mined on. This flume, four feet wide by three feet 
and a half deep, with a grade of four feet per mile, 
was constructed in 1853, from Reservoir Hill to Long 
canyon, and in 1854 to the South Fork of the Amer- 
ican river, near the foot of Randolph canyon, a total 
distance of twenty-five miles. But the cost went far 
beyond the estimates of the engineer. The construc- 
tion of the reservoir, by Mr. Kirk, footed up to $75,- 
000. The flume went several hundred thousand above 



the cash on hand. New subscribers to the stock 
were not to be had. The golden opportunity had fled 
for ever. A long series of lawsuits with the con- 
tractors followed ; receiver after receiver was appointed, 
and for fifteen years, the South Fork canal was a foot- 
ball for courts and lawyers, now in the hands of one 
and then of another, yielding annual fortunes in its 
revenue from water sold, only to be swallowed by the 
illimitable maw of the law. 

Finally, in 1869, the property came into the hands 
of B. F. Hunt, T. and G. Alderson, C. Broad, J. 
Cooke and George Williams. By this time, however, 
the original demand for "sluice-heads" had passed 
away; hydraulic mining had been inaugurated, with an 
increased pressure and water demand, not contem- 
plated at the inception of the enterprise. Another 
and grander project, inaugurated by Messrs. Kirk & 
Bishop, was on foot, and the South Fork canal, with 
the Coon Hollow mines, passed into the possession of 
the E. D. W. & D. G. M. Co. in September, 1873. 
Whether it will be renewed and maintained is a ques- 
tion for the owners and the future water demand to 

Placerville had one citizen who recognized, at an 
early day, the great value that was to attach to the 
vast stores of water in the mountain streams and lakes ; 
who anticipated, by almost a generation, the demand 
which was yet to come, for mining and agricultural 
purposes, and who saw that the slender flumes of the 
South Fork canal must be supplemented by a water- 
course more permanent in character, occupying a 
higher level, and of greatly increased capacity. That 
man was Mr. John Kirk. He commenced with the 
elaboration of the system which finally culminated in 
the property of the E. D. W .t D. G. M. Co. as early 
as 1856, and from the deposition made by Mr. Kirk in 
the case of Osgood vs. the E. D. W. & D. G. M. Co., 
we are enabled to follow his operations up to the time 
when capital came to his rescue and carried the work 
through ; but fully twenty years ela] sed between the 
first start and the perfection of the enterprise. 

In 1856 he posted his first notice claiming the 
water of the South Fork of the American river ; sur- 
veyed and claimed Silver and Clear lakes and Silver 
creek. In 1858 he surveyed a line from Coon Hollow 
to Alder creek, a distance of sixty miles, and located 
a reservoir near the Elk Horn mill; the above line 
probably ran around the spurs in the region of Iowa 
and Long canyons, which accounted for its great 
length. In i860, he located the head of the canal and 
dam at Cedar Rock, and located reservoirs at Medley, 
Tom Andrain's and Echo lakes. In 1866, Mr. F. A. 
Bishop, who had already made some surveys for Mr. 
Kirk, became interested in the enterprise. That year 

a line was run from Cedar Rock to Sportsman's Hall. 
The final location of the Main Trunk canal was made 
about 1872. In 1868 work was commenced on the 
Sportsman's Hall end of the line; 1870-71 three or 
four miles of ditch near the Hall was completed ; the 
dam, bulkhead and a short section of ditch at Cedar 
Rock were constructed, and water turned in at the 
head. The construction of the dam at Silver Lake 
was commenced in 187 1, and the flume grade at Echo 
lake in 1872. 

In this preliminary work more than $20,000 was ex- 
pended. The system was perfected to what we see it 
now, covering a water-shed of more than 350 square 
miles ; embracing claims on the South Fork of the 
American river. Silver, Alpine, Wolf, Alder, Mill, 
Plum and Echo creeks, aggregating 66,000 inches of 
water; with reservoir claims on Silver lake, Willow 
valley, Twin lakes, Andiain lake, Echo lake, Med- 
ley lake and Glazier lake. Nothing in the State 
compares with it. But Messrs. Kirk & Bishop lacked 
the money necessary to carry it to completion. It 
was only after many years of anxious efibrts, that men 
of means were found ready to undertake a work so 
grand in its conception, so promising in its rcbults, 
but so costly in construction. 

September 4th, 1873, the El Dorado Water and 
Deep Gravel Mining company filed its articles of in- 
corporation with the county clerk. Its objects were 
" to purchase, or otherwise acquire, water privileges, 
and to purchase, construct and maintain canals, reser- 
voirs and water ditches, for agricultural, milling and 
mining purposes, in any county or counties in the 
State of California ; to supply pure, fresh water to the 
public, and to any city, county and town in the State 
of California : to purchase and work any mine or 
mines, placer or placers, and carry on the busmess of 
mining for precious metals in the county of El Do- 
rado, and any other county in said State ; and to do 
and transact all such business as may be lawfully car- 
ried on by a corporation, organized for such purposes 
as are above enumerated, in the State of California." 
Principal place of business, San Francisco ; term of 
existence, fifty years ; number of directors, five ; cap- 
ital stock, $500,000; of which $375,000 was sub- 
scribed. The first directors were John O. Earl, J. D. 
Fry, Thomas Price, L. A, Garnett and Henry D. Ba- 
con. Officers — L. A. Garnett, president ; Thomas 
Price, managing director; F. A. Bishop, superinten- 
dent and chief engineer ; Hugh Elias, secretary. 

By a series of purchases and transfers, the company 
soon became possessed of the South Fork, Iowa, We- 
ber and Gold Hill canals, with their branches and ex- 
tensions ; the water rights held by Kirk and Bishop; 
a large area of surface gravel, embracing over 600: 



acres and including the famous Coon Hollow mines, 
now known as the Excelsior and Weber, together with 
other valuable property in and about Placerville. The 
water-right of Blair, Brown & Blair, at the mouth of 
Weber creek, covering 30,000 inches, was also se- 
cured. This is designed to carry water out to the Sac- 
ramento plains. 

Preparations were at once made for the construc- 
tion of the Main Trunk canal, from Cedar Rock to a 
junction with the Iowa canal, and through that to the 
South Fork canal at Smith's Flat, a distance of nearly 
forty miles, and work was commenced in iMay, 1874, 
but notwithstanding it was pushed on as fast as possi- 
ble, unforeseen delays kept the work in check, so that 
when, in the spring of 1876, Thomas Price, managing 
director, insisted that the completion of the canal 
should be celebrated on the Centennial Anniversary of 
the Republic, about a mile of flume remained to be 
constructed ; but with herculean force it was accom- 
plished. The night of July ist, 1876, saw flume and 
ditch both completed, ready for carrying a stream of 
water through. The dam at Silver Lake, which had 
been commenced already by Mr. Kirk, was completed 
the same year. The timber used for its construction is 
principally tamarack, the most durable wood growing 
in this region. The " Old Amador road " crosses 
over this dam. The magnificent reservoir thus formed 
allows a storage of water twenty feet in depth, ex- 
tending two miles and 'a quarter in length by seven- 
eighths of a mile in width, with a capacity of 1,097,. 
712,000 cubic feet or 8,200,000,000 gallons. The 
cost of the reservoir was a trifle over $8,000 ; the 
Main Trunk canal was finished at an expense of 

Echo Lake is situated on the east side of the sum- 
mit of the Sierra Nevada. To use the water of this 
lake the mountain summit had to be tunnelled through, 
for which work active operations were commenced in 
1874, digging at the .south end of the tunnel ; and re- 
sumed on July ist, 1875, under the superintendence 
of Judge Reed, was pushed vigorously from both ends. 
Both parties met on November 5th, in the center of 
the 1,058 foot tunnel, and on the 3d of August, 1876, 
the water from Echo Lake found its way through the 
tunnel to the South Fork of the American river. The 
present capacity of Echo Lake as a water reservoir 
is over 200,000,000 cubic feet, or 1,750,000,000 gal- 
lons of water. It is proposed, however, to raise the 
dam to the height of 75 feet. The expenses for this 
work amounted to over $21,000. 

Water is sold by the company for from 121^ to 20 
cents per inch, according to quantity or purpose, and 
is delivered under a six inch pressure. 

Like nearly all mountain water companies the E. D. 

W. & D. G. M. Co. has been actively engaged in the 
development of its hydraulic mines, considering ii 
an important part of the business that the water is not 
allowed to run to waste. The most important of the 
company's mines, and the one upon which the heaviest 
expenditures have been made, is the Excelsior, situ- 
ated directly south of Placerville, on the terminus of 
the great gravel deposit. Among other mines, oper- 
ated in whole or in part by this company, are the We- 
ber mine, Spanish Hill, Texas Hill, Stoney Ravine, 
Nigger Flat and Reservoir Hill. 

About the middle of July, 1876, Mayor Bryant, of 
San Francisco, accompanied by Auditor Maynard and 
District Attorney Murphy and Major Mendell, of the 
U. S. A., with a staff of reporters of the leading San 
Francisco papers, were traveling ail over El Dorado 
county, inspecting its resources, and particularly its 
water supply, having as an object the future water 
supply of the metropolis of the Pacific. 

"The Georgetown divide," comprising the entire 
region between the Middle and South Forks of the 
American river, along the foot-hill region, is one of the 
richest in soil, timber, water and mineral resources. 
There is a large area equal to the best portion of the 
plains for the production of wheat and barley, its 
fruit-yield is unsurpassed in quantity per acre or qual- 
ity anywhere. The mountain section is covered with 
the best timber in the State, and an inexhaustible sup- 
ply of purest mountain water for irrigating and min- 
ing purposes is controled and can be furnished by the 


As elsewhere, through the mining counties, ditches 
were originally constructed with a view to mining op- 
erations only. The Pilot Creek ditch was constructed . 
in 1852 to 1853 by Dr. W. H. Stone and others, 
bringing the water of that stream into the rich mining 
district of which Georgetown is the center. The first 
sales were at the rate of one dollar per inch. But 
the extravagance of the times affected the manage- 
ment of this property ps it did everything else, and 
the high price of water was offset by the cost of main- 
tenance. We have been unsucessful in procuring the 
necessary data of the early history of this important 
enterprise; the records of the county are extremely 
meagre in this regard. Numerous water companies 
were organized, only to be quietly disincorporated. 
Still, the original company held its ground, gradually 
extending its area of usefulness until 1872, when a 
number of San Francisco capitalists purchased the 
property under the mentioned name. 

The California Water company was organized under 
the State law, with a capital stock of $10,000,000, di- 
vided into 100,000 shares, the greater part of which is 


held by j. P. Pierce, John Center, E. Judson, D. O. 
Mills and John O. Earl. The principal place of busi- 
ness is in San Francisco — 3 1 5 California street. The 
officers of the company are: J. P. Pierce, president; 
George Thurston, secretary ; E. R. Pease, superinten- 
dent ; Hon. Thomas Findley, managing director. 

Immediately upon entering into possession, the new 
company commenced the work of extension and en- 
largement, in which it has already expended more than 
half a million dollars. Lakes lying far up towards 
the Sierra peaks were secured as storage reserveirs, to 
be drawn upon when the ordinary supply from Pilot 
creek, and other tributaries of the Middle Fork of the 
American river, begin to fail. Principal among these 
is Loon Lake, to which point the system has already 
been extended. Pleasant and Bixby Lakes, lying in close 
proximity, are now utilized. The dams built aggregate 
800 feet in length. The lakes have an area of about 
1,500 acres, and can be drained to a depth of fifteen 
feet — this is equivalent to 980,000,000 cubic feet of 

In the valley of the Rubicon, further east, an 
almost unlimited additional supply can be impounded. 
Surveys have been made and water-rights secured 
with this object in view. 

Pleasant and Bixby Lakes are drained through Loon 
Lake, from which the water flows in the channel of 
Gurley creek six or eight miles ; thence three miles of 
ditch carries it to a junction with the Little South 
Fork ditch, which conveys it into one of the head 
branches of Pilot creek through a tunnel at the Hog 
Back. This ditch has an estimated capacity of 1,500 
inches, and is eight miles in length. 

The winter and spring supply is taken from Pilot 
creek in three lines of ditches. The upper or main 
ditch heads at Pilot creek reservoir, about twenty-one 
miles by road from Georgetown. The second, or new 
ditch heads a mile and a half down, forming a junc- 
tion with the main ditch at Mutton canyon. This 
ditch was constructed to secure the seepage from the 
reservoir, as well as to convey a greater amount of 
water down the divide than the old Pilot creek ditch 
could carry. From Mutton canyon to Georgetown, 
the old ditch has been enlarged to a capacity of 2000 
inches The third line is the old El Dorado ditch, which 
was constructed in 1853 and 1854, by Thomas. Wren 
J ). C. McKinney and John Hardin ; and was sold to 
the Pilot Creek Company, in i860. It takes water 
from Pilot creek three miles below the head of the 
new ditch, and is over 20 miles in length to its junct- 
ion with the main line, eight miles from Georgetown, 
md has a capacity of 350 inches. It has been enlarged 
also, from Hotchkiss Hill to Georgetown, to about the 
>ame size as the main line. 

The Main ditch continues west from Georgetown 
to Greenwood, crossing Greenwood canyon by means 
of a pipe 5,500 feet long, 52 inches diameter, with a 
capacity of about 800 inches. Thence a branch runs 
to Centerville and Wild Goose Flat. A new ditch is 
m contemplation from Greenwood creek, over the 
divide at Pilot Hill, to Negro Hill, at the junction of 
the North and South forks of the American river, a dis- 
tance of forty miles. Another 15 inch pipe, 3500 feet 
in length; crosses Greenwood canyon at Frazer Flat. 

The system of subsidiary ditches owned by this 
Company, permeates every portion ot the divide where 
there is any demand for water for mining or irrigating 
purposes. They aggregate 300 miles of ditches, 
flumes and iron pipes, able to supply for mining and 
other purposes the following districts: Georgetown, 
Georgia Slide, Pilot Hill, Cranes Gulch, Mt. Gregory, 
Volcanoville, St. Lawrenceville, Kelsey, Rich Flat, 
Centreville and Wild Goose Flat. The completion of 
the dam and the reservoir at Loon Lake in summer of 
1882, places the company in a position to command a 
larger area of mining, agricultural and timber lands 
than any other corporation of this kind in California or 
the United States. The company also owns a number of 
distributing reservoirs, two large ones being located in 
the vicinity of Georgetown. 

The following rates are charged for water sold under 
six inch pressure, estimated to be equal to 94.7 cubic 
feet per hour. For mining : ten hours, ten cents per 
inch; twenty-four hours, twenty cents per inch; for 
irrigating: for each twenty-four hours, twenty-five cents 
per inch. 



The Resources of El Dorado county are of various 
kinds, and each one is contributing largely to the sup. 
port of the others ; but were it not for the home mar- 
ket, created and supported by the mines, agriculture 
would never have been so fully developed or so suc- 
cessfully maintained. This being a mining county 
and without a railroad, the farmers of the county have 
been thrown chiefly upon the riome demand to fur- 
nish a market for their produce, which will be regu- 
lated by the mining industry, where it is mainly depend- 
ent from. An attempt has always been made to 
secure and supply the market of that part of the State 
of Nevada, adjoining the county, in opposition to the 

The first experiment to plant potatoes and other 
vegetables in large patches were made as early as 1 849 
and 1850, in the vicinity of Union Bar and Coloma, 


on Greenwood creek ; the men who undertook this 
first trial were three brothers, Hodges. At Garden val- 
ley also vegetable gardening on a more business like 
scale had been commenced in early days, and the 
place derived its name from this vocation. These ex- 
periments turned out in the most satisfactory way, and 
soon other localities with equal facilities followed the 
given example. 

An experiment also was that first attempt at grain 
raising made in the Spring of 1851, by Wm. Crone, of 
Greenwood valley, when he sowed the first barley on 
land now belonging to the ranch owned by I. E. 
Terry, of said township. This has to be looked at as 
the first trial of grain raising not only of the Northern 
part of the county but of the whole of it. A. J. 
Bayley, of Pilot Hill, started in general farming on a 
large scale in 1851 or 1852, and he was the first man 
in the county who made use of such farming ma- 
chinery as reaper and mower,- threshing machine etc.; 
the first mower that was delivered at Pilot Hill, arrived 
there the whole taken apart, for easier shipment, but 
there was no one around who had ever t^een a mower 
and some difficulty arose in putting it together and bring 
it in working order. All other parts came together 
very well but the sicklebar did not join in to work 
satisfactorily, and Mr. Bayley had to send the machine 
back to Sacramento to have it done right. Some years 
later he bought the first threshing machine that was 
worked in the county, the railroad then was just com- 
pleted from Sacramento up to Auburn, it was delivered 
for him at the latter station. He went over with his 
teams to bring it home, and on the trip he more than 
one time was asked if he was going in the circus busi- 
ness, or if a circus was coming, the people not familiar 
with its sight took the machine for a band-wagon. 

For planting fruit trees, within this county, Coloma 
has to be considered as the starting point, just as 
well as it always was the leading place. Among 
the first who engaged in general fruit growing must be 
named A. A. Van Guelder and E. Woodruff; others 
followed, and the Coloma basin has become the most 
famous district in fruit-growing. Coloma fruit com- 
mands a higher market price than fruit from other 
places. The principal fruit growers of Coloma dis- 
trict at the present time are : Henry Mahler, Robert 
Chalmers' widow, J. Crocker, B. F. Edmonds, W. D. 
Othick, Frank Nicholls, N. Mansfield, S. Rasmussen's 
widow, W. H. Valentine, G. W. Ramsey, Wm. White, 
Ernest Mortensen, G. D. Enters, Albert Mosely and 

The Gold Hill district has long been famous for its 
fruit, not only in this State, but far over the eastern 
limits ; great quantities of the fruit raised here are 
going over the mountains every year and find a ready 

market in the mining camps and towns in the State of 
Nevada. The leading growers of the district are : 
Messrs. Veerkamp, Kesselring, Tinney, Annabel, 
Sweeny, O'Brien and McKay. 

In the Mud Sjjring district the principal orchardists 
are ; J. M. B. ^\■etherwax, Jacob Knisely and L. 

Missouri Flat also belongs to the great fruit producing 
sections of the county; quite an amount of fruit is 
grown by Samuel Miller, N. S. Miller, Walter Miles, J. 
M. Bryan, Frank Fisher and others, who all make 
fruit-growing a specialty. 

At and around Diamond Springs are C. G. Carpen- 
ter, Tom. Stapleton, Bart. Koch's widow, Kramp 
.Bros., Nicholas Theison, C. D. Bruck and Henry 
Larkin, engaged in the fruit and grape-raising busi- 

The basin around PlacerviUe is one continuous or- 
chard, while the surrounding hills have to produce 
their share also. Mr. Hardy, on Cedar Hill, is doing 
a great business in fruit and grape-growing. 

On French creek is another quite important fruit- 
growing district of the county; the farms here are 
not continuous, but scattered over the whole extent of 
the canyon. The pricipal fruit-growers here may be 
called Captain G. Worth, Z. L. Brandon and G. Ba- 

Mr. Jacob Zentgraf, on Sweetwater creek. Green 
Valley, keeps one of the oldest vineyards in the county, 
which he has endeavored to enlarge and improve con- 
siderably every year. Among other extensive grape- 
growers of the same section have to be mentioned 
James Skinner, of Green Vtilley, David Bennett, near 
Shingle Springs. The finest display of beautiful grow- 
ing vineyards, covering many hundreds of acres of 
ground in close connection, and one that will stand 
comparison with any in any other part of the State, 
may be found lower down in the county, near Mormon 
Island. The principal vineyards here are Henry 
Mette's, next is the Bugbee place, Mrs. Stroup's, H. 
T. Hart's, Powell Hart's, and arross the river G. M. 
Wobbena's ; most all of them connected with large 
vinefies. The views of Henry Mette's and H. T. 
Hart's vieneyards, which will be found at some other 
part of the book, give an idea of the grape industry 
on the rolling hills below the Natoma ditch, in this 
section of El Dorado county. 

The most extensive operations in the way of fruit- 
raising in this county, however, is conducted by the 
'* California Fruit Growing Association." Their ranch 
of 1,700 acres of land is located in the foot-hill region 
about five miles south of PlacerviUe, and in the line 
of location as well as for the soil, is perfectly adapted 
for fruit-growing, being placed between the Park Canal 


and Mining Company's ditch and the Cosumnes river. 
The work of this association dates back to 1874, and 
will assume mammoth proportions. When they acquired 
possession of the place there was three-fourths of an 
acre planted with apple trees, and up to January ist, 
1881, 140 acres of thrifty orchard, with 4,000 peach 
trees, 8,000 prune trees and 5,000 plum trees, were 
giving proof of the spirit of the enterprise. 

Mosquito canyon, also, belongs to the fruit-growing 
districts of the county; though general farming is con- 
sidered the principal line of business in the valley, 
there may be found large and tine looking orchards 
producing excellent fruit of the harder varieties. 
Most excellent fruit, furthermore, is raised in the north- 
ern part of the county, at Alabama Flat, by D. W. 
Fox ; at Garden Valley, by F. Lagerson and others ; 
at Peru, by H. HackamoUer, and in the vicinity of 
Georgetown, by E. C. Day and Son, R. Demuth and 

Sometime about the middle of the year 1868, Mr. 
T. H. Schnell, a German by birth but for long years 
a resident of Japan, came from the latter country to 
California with the intention to settle, and after look- 
ing around for awhile, all over the country, he made 
a purchase of some tracts of land at Gold Hill, which 
location seemed to answer best his purpose of enga- 
ging in the culture of the tea plant, the oil plant, the 
wax tree and the mulberry tree, which eventually was 
to be connected with the raising of the silk worm and 
the manufacturing of silk. To realize this purpose he 
went on to establish a 


to be conducted on the co-operative labor system. 
The colony was started with a number of Japanese la- 
borers in the same year, and sixteen new arriving Jap's 
were added to it in the Spring of 1869, and some vig- 
orous attempts were made towards planting and gen- 
eral improving of the place. He imported from 
Japan a new variety of silkworm, called the aman, 
which is much hardier and feeds on the leaves of the 
black oak tree, then he went on to build a cocoonery 
for the raismg and breeding of these silkworms. By 
that time, in the Spring of 1870, he had imported and 
set out 150,000 tea plants, and from those plants that 
had been set out the year before a crop was expected 
already that same year, as well as other improvements 
promised to bring some return. But he became em- 
barrassed in different trouble, first with the miners who 
jumped in his place and commenced to work out the 
ground, which caused much annoyance and damage 
to the ground as well as to the growing crop; then 
with his plants, not being sufficient expert, he had been 
cheated in the quality of the plants he had imported 

for good money; and last but not least, his financial 
affairs began to bother him, and tne result was that he 
failed and returned to Japan, whether with the inten- 
tion to raise new funds to meet his obligations, or to 
simply get out of the way of all these difficulties which 
he did not like to face, this has never been un- 
raveled, on account that he never came back, but the 
news arrived here that he had been killed in Japan. 
This was the end of the Japanese Colony. The 
ground and premises then came in the possession of 
Mr. Fr. Veerkamp. 


This most primitive occupation of man naturally 
has received a good deal of attention here. Princi- 
pally this business is divided among cattle, sheep and 
goats, while comparatively few horses are raised in the 
county. The assessment roll of 1880 shows 2,868, 
horses and colts, with a value of $114,055, but only 
116 jacks, jennies and mules, with a valuation of 
$4,415. Considering the well known hardiness and 
adaptability of the mule for all kinds of work, this 
seems to be singular, but it is a fact that there can 
hardly be found another part of California where so 
few mules tread the road than in El Dorado county. 
Of sheep the report gives 22,999, valued at 
$34,500. A large percentage of the sheep summered 
in the higher mountains of this county is owned in 
Sacramento or other counties, and notwithstanding 
the Sprmg clip is taken before they are sent above 
and the greater part of the Fall clip, after they return 
home, the present clip actually belonging to El Dorado 
county would be sufficient to run a first class woolen 
manufactory here where the water-power is consid- 
erable cheap, and convenient in any one of a half a 
dozen localities ; while rents , labor and all incidental 
expenses are below those of Sacramento, San FVan- 
cisco etc. But the California people still i)refer pay- 
ing freight both ways, giving the Eastern factory 
owners and the transportation companies the profit, 
which mieht just as well be distributed at home, bene- 
fiting this country. 

The stock raising and dairying business of this 
county is carried on to a greater extent than most of 
its residents even are aware of There are hundreds 
of thousands of acres within this county of little or no 
value for any other purpose but this. Most all the 
land from Latrobe and Clarksville toward the line of 
Sacramento county, in a body having a beautiful ap- 
pearance, but only here and there is a tract suitable 
for cultivation, on account of the bed-rock coming too 
near to the surface, the soil above cannot give suffi- 
cient nourishment during our dry summers. Mr. J. 
H. Miller, of Latrobe, who has upwards of 6,000 acres 


of land, and 3500 of it under fence, divided by cross- 
fences, upon this he is pasturing 6,500 head of sheep, 
besides some 50 horses and cattle ; and by his system 
of changing his stock from field to field, he is improv- 
ing the pasture gradually. 

Hogs do not seem popular, there were 2,730 assessed 
at a value of $13,355, which figure is hardly large 
enough to cover the smaller part of the home con- 
sume, and farmers, like city folks, have to buy their ba- 
con just as they have to buy their sugar and coffee, 
while there are tracts of land easy to irrigate and grow 
alfalfa, on which hogs could be raised. 

Passing from the farming industries our attention 
will be drawn next to the timber supply of the great 
forests. In this respect the county certainly is iiot 
behind any part of the State, if we except the redsvood 
forests of the Coast Range, which monopolize with 
their product the market of San, Francisco. The de- 
mands of the miners have practically divested the 
western half of the county of the timber for the man- 
ufacture of lunmber, but there is no limit to the supply 
for fuel anywhere, while the new growth will soon 
cover the vacant lands with all the timber required for 
any purpose. Further east, excepting the highest 
peaks of the Sierra Nevada, the country is covered 
with a dense growth of the finest timber in the world. 
We believe we are safe in saying that El Dorado 
county has, to-day, not less than 600 square miles of 
virgin forests. This consists principally of cedar, 
spruce, fir, several varieties of yellow pine, and the 
magnificent sugar pine. In the higher altitudes, tam- 
arack is found in large (|uantities, while an occasional 
hemlock puts in an appearance. 

Along the shores of Lake Bigler, and far back 
toward the mountain tops, the timber is being rapidly 
cleared away, to supply the Virginia mines and the 
Nevada towns in general. What the annual cut in 
that region is, we are unable to state. It is run into 
the lake and towed in rafts by steamers to Glenbrook, 
whence a narrow-gauge railroad has been built to carry 
it over the mountains. 

It is more than probable, that the demand for forest 
products, east and west from this county, will sooner or 
later residt in restoring the county to her place on 
the great thoroughfare from ocean to ocean. The 
local demand, adding all that can be profitably hauled 
away with teams, will hardly make an impression on 
the supply for generations to come. 

The business of shake-making is a serious detri- 
ment to the forests, and especially destructive to the 
sugar pine, which is principally used for that purpose. 
Thousands of splendid trees have been cut down and 
left to rot, because, on trial, the timber was found to 
rive not exactly to the taste of the fastidious shake- 

maker. The quantity thus left to decay annually is 
greater than that worked into shakes. It is a business 
which ought to be discouraged on this account, and the 
government should protect the public lands from such 

During the time when all the freight from Nevada 
went over the Carson road, teams, on the return trip, 
loaded with lumber at the mills along that great 
thoroughfare, for the valleys below. .\t the present 
day little is being done in this direction. Complete 
the Sacramento Railroad to Placerville, and the E. D. 
W. & D. G. M. Co. will at once find it to their inter- 
est to build a V flume from Sportsman's Hall to Placer- 
cerville. The Main Trunk canal has been constructed 
with special reference to the transportation of lumber. 

The following are the saw-mills in El Dorado county; 
they are all worked by steam with the exception ot 
one or two : The California ^^^atcr company owns two 
mills ; one of them is worked only for supplying the 
company with what is required for the renewal of the 
flumes, etc.; the other, near Georgetown, sells large 
quantities of lumber for transportation to Folsom and 
,below. D. W. C. Ecnjamin's mill on Bear creek, and 
R. Noble's mill on Rock creek, supply the local de- 
mand of the Georgetown divide. J. & J. Blair own 
three mills — the Elkhorn mill, the Sportsman's Hall 
mill, and the Cedar Rock mill ; they keep a lumber- 
yard at Placerville, and this city and the surrounding 
coOntry are their principal consumers. Blair Bros, have 
a box factory connected with their mills, where they 
manufiicture a large (luantity of boxes for the fruit 
trade. The Ashland mill of Jones & Chichester, also 
Iceep a lumber-yard at Placerville. Joseph Bryant owns 
two mills, the Diamond mill close to the Main Trunk 
canal and the Stonebreaker mill, on the old emigrant 
road at Lake Springs — the latter has not been run- 
ning for years. Mr. Bryant keeps a lumber-yard at 
Diamond Springs, but he sends most of his lumber 
down below. Cutler's mill, on Park creek, is run by 
water-power. The Baltic mill, owned by Louis Le- 
petit, in 1877, made the largest and most valuable cut 
of the season, of 1,800,000 feet ; more than two-thirds 
of it was clear sugar pine, cut on contract for the El 
Dorado Door Factory at Pleas:mt valley. Two saw- 
mills between (IrizzlyFlat and Brownsville were owned 
formerly by Loofbourrow, now by Hoskins, of Grizzly 
Flat. Tarr Bros, have a large saw-mill on the bank 
of the Cosumnes river in this county ; their product, 
however, finds a marked in the neighboring county of 
Amador ; they have built a railroad to run their saw- 
logs to the mill. The total product of all the mills in 
1877 was about 10,000,000 feet. 

The El Dorado Door Factory, the only institution 
of the kind in the county, is owned by Wilson Bros., 


of San Francisco. They consumed, in the year 1877, 
about 1,400,000 feet of sugar pine lumber, which was 
manufactured into 32,000 doors, 6,000 pairs of blinds, 
and 22,000 pairs of sashes; the freight bill to Shingle 
Springs shows 800 tons in one year. But the factory 
has not been worked since. 

The following shows the complete statistics of El 
Dorado county, compiled by J. McKnight, of Browns- 
ville, in October, 1855 ; 

Lands inclosed, S,ooo acres. 

Laud ill wheat, 450 acres; yield per acre, 26 

Land in barley, 340 acres ; )ield per acre 28 bushels. 

Land in oats, 387 acres; yield per acre, 25 bushels. 

Land in hay, 1,750 acres; yield per acre i^/( tons. 

Fruit Trees— Apple, 1,608; jiear, 34; pctch, 1,159; 
plum, 40 ; cherry, 40 ; figs, 1 2 ; ajjricots, 1 5 ; cjuince, 
25, and grape vines 3,000. 

Animals— Horses, 907 ; mules, 384 ; asses, 65 ; 
neat cattle, 1,281; work-oxen, 690; milk-cows, 769; 
calves, 519; sheep, 654; swine 4,620. 

Value of animals slaughtered [ler annum, about 
$575,000; value of poultry, $5,000. 

Canals —Twenty principal canals, 16 of which are 
supplied with water throughout the year. Total 
length of main trunks, 475 miles ; lateral branches of 
trunks, 325 miles. Original cost, $1,395,000. 

Saw-mills — Running by steam, 24, by wa'er, 16; 
market value of lumber, from $20 to 40 per thousand. 

Quartz-mills^In operation, 7 ; crushing daily 56 
tons of rock ; yield per ton from $5. to $75. 

Other Industries— One flouring-mill, 5 tanneries, 4 
breweries, 3 soda factories 2 brickyards, 8 lime-kilns, 
and 15 toll bridges. 

Telegraphs — The Alta line has a length of wire in 
El Dorado county amounting to 75 miles. 


The census returns of El Dorado county show the 
following figures as to population, wealth, improve- 
ments, etc. 

The number of families in the county is 3,263. 
White males, 5,453, white females, 3,121; colored 
males, 1,590; colored females, 136. Of this number 
1,514 are, 22 Japanese, and 89 of African 
descent — these last three classes are enumerated as 
colored. Male citizens of the United States of 21 
years and upwards, 3,188. Giving a total population 
of 10,300, living in 3,758 dwelling houses. 

Value of real estate in the county, $1,473,394. 

Value of personal property, $1,745,995. 

There are 84,507 acres of improved land. 

I'here are 27,923 acres of wood land. 

There are 27,076 acres of other unimproved land. 

Cash value of farms in the county, $653,465. 

Value of farming implements and machinery, $32,. 

Amount of wages paid during the year, including 
board, $94,268. 

Farm Stock— Value of live stock. $478,866. 

Horses, 2,258; mules and asses, 142; milk cows, 
4,132 ; work oxen, 212 ; other cattle, 5,385 ; sheep 18,- 
137 ; swine, 4, 150. 

Producing cereals for the year ending June ist, 

Spring wheat 780 bushels. 

\\'inter wheat .^. ' 1 7 " 

l^yt 557 

Corn 582 " 

Oats 250 " 

Barley 8,330 " 

Buckwheat 30 " 

Peas and beans 1,251 " 

Potatoes 5,728 " 

Wool 39i9i° pounds. 

Butter 224,885 " 

Cheese 23,892 " 

Honey 1,660 " 

Hay 6,2Z7 tons. 

Milk sold extra 601 gallons. 

^Vine made 108,981 

Estimated value of farm products, including 

betterment and additions to stock $507,138 

Value of orchard products 61,831 

Value of garden products 14,784 

Value of forest products 23,607 

Value of home manufactures 8,725 

Value of slaughtered animals 55,5(>4 

There are 59 mining ditches, total length 966 miles. 

Quartz-mills 37, and saw-mills, 25. 

The census returns of El Dorado county for 1880 
give the following figures as to the population of the 
different townships ; 


City of Placerville 

Placerville Township 

Colonia and White Oak Townsh 

Mud Springs Township 

Di;iinond Springs Township . . . 
Mountain and Cosumnes Twp's. 
Georgetown and Lake \alley. . 
Kelsey, Greenwood and Salmon 
Falls Townships 

Total 8,833 124 1.503 187 10.647 





These figures show a total gain of 338 since 1870. 


The white population has increased 244, the negro 

decreased 8; the Chinamen decreased 79, and the In 
dians increased 181. 


Real estate $565,665 

Improvements 328,960 

City and town lots 100.215 

Improvements 255,240 

Improvements otherwise assessed 60,845 

Mining claims 127,550 

Improvements 83,845 

Telegraph lines 1,050 

Railroads 208,413 

Mortgages, trust deeds, etc., on real 

estate 218,990 

Mining ditches 169,230 

Total value of real estate, mortgages not 

included , $1. 937, 233 

Total value of personal property 1,067,735 

Irrigating ditches 36,220 

Total value $3,004,068 

Personal property is classified as follows . 

Money on hand or special deposit $87,625 

Bee hives, 216 270 

Brandies, gallons, 3,547 4,435 

Calves 2,210 1 1,050 

Cattle, stock 6,003 61,230 

Colts, 524 9,820 

Cows, graded, 3,958 75.765 

Farming utensils 9,785 

Fire-arms, 525 5,035 

Fixtures, business places I4, i35 

Franchises not assessed by State Board ol 

Equalization 200 

Furniture 67,090 

Goats, common, 10,156 10,660 

Goats, Angora, 1,520 7,905 

Goods, wares, etc 136,530 

Grain, 23 tons 595 

Harness, robes, etc 9,945 

Hay, 61 tons 995 

Hogs, 2,730 13,355 

Horses, 706 52,580 

Horses, half breed, 1,638 51,655 

Jacks and jennets, 27 405 

Jewelry and plate 3,070 

Libraries 4, 1 25 

Lumber, 741 thousand 5ii9o 

Machinery 2,275 

Mules, 89 4,010 

Musical instruments, pianos, etc 16,310 

Oxen, 123 4,670 

Poultry, 1,134 doz 5,670 

Sewing machines, 723 $ 14,610 

Sheep, graded, 22,999 34,Soo 

Shares of capital stocks 4,125 

Solvent credits after deduction of debts. 204,505 

Wagons and other vehicles," 1,220 65,590 

Watches, 776 16,820 

Wines, 69,420 gallons 8,295 

Wood, 4,840 cords 9,290 

Other property 33>6iS 

Total $1,067,735 

This shows an increase of $/02,338 over 1878, and 

of $679,443 over 1879. 

The total railroad bonded indebtedness of the 

county on November ist, 1880, represents $211,250. 

Principal $120,000, coupons $91,250. 

This embraces the entire bonded indebtedness of 

the county. 



The old emigrant road entering the State and 
County by the way of Carson valley; the old Mormon 
station was considered to be the first trading post this 
side of the State line; from here the road crossed the 
summits of the mountains, then turning around the 
southern end of Silver Lake, it descended passing be- 
tween the head waters of the American and Cosumnes 
rivers, following the divide between these rivers 
through Sly Park, Pleasant valley, to Diamond Springs, 
and from there to the low-lands by the way of Mud 
and Shingle Springs, Clarksville and White Rock 
Springs into Sacramento county. This old emigrant 
road, or rather the "emigrant route," traced and recom- 
mended in all the guide books, and by the foot- 
prints of annual migrations to the State, for eighteen 
years, passed through El Dorado county from east to 
west, her entire length, branching off from Grizzly 
Flat south to Brownsville, Indian Diggings and Fiddle- 
town; from Diamond Springs via Placerville to Col- 
oma, Kelsey's, Spanish Flat, Georgetown, Greenwood, 
Centreville, Salmon Falls and all points of the north- 
ern part of the county; from Mud Springs to Logtown, 
Saratoga and Drytown; from Clarksville to Folsom. 

Hunt, a Mormon sent out from Salt Lake in the 
Spring of 1849, as an advance agent for the Mormons, 
to explore the Sierra Nevada for a route to be traveled 
with wagons, started out with lifteen or sixteen men 
and several wagons and selected the route, which, 
with slight modifications, was traveled after him by 
thousands and thousands of immigrants; a very large 


proportion of their number, for the period of eighteen 
years, first interrupted their westward journey to try 
their fickle, varying fortunes here within the limits of 
the Empire county, where the gold was discovered 
that had caused the immigration to this El Dorado. 
Hunt, the explorer and pioneer of the road, moved to 
the southern part of the State, and made his home 
in San Bernardino county, from whence he was elected 
to the State Legislature in 1853; but returned to 
Salt Lake ?ome time later when Brigham Young called 
all the Mormons home. 

Older than this emigrant-road, but of nearly equal 
importance for the immigration-travel m this county, 
was the old Coloma road from Sacramento via Folsom, 
Mormon Island, Green valley. Rose Springs to Union- 
town and Coloma; one of the most traveled branch 
roads of this pioneer road forked off at New York 
ravine, crossing the South fork of the American river 
at Salmon Falls into the northern part of the county, 
passing Centreville and running up to Greenwood 
valley and Georgetown, with connecting road.s to all 
the different river bars and across the Middle fork of 
the American River to all mining camps in the adjoin- 
ing part of Placer county, — from Yankee Jim's to 
Michigan Bluffs and Iowa Hill, — crossing the river at 
Condemned Bar, Rattlesnake Bar, Murderer's Bar 
and bpanish Bar. Adding to these some road-lines 
in the intermediate portion from Coloma to Cen- 
treville, to Georgetown and to Kelsey, and from 
Placerville to Georgetown by the way of Kelsey and 
Tohntown or Kelsey, Spanish Flat and American Flat. 
Now we have the comp'ete net-work of the main ac- 
commodation lines of highways just as business 
travel in early days necessitated and directed; most 
of them yet may be found. 

All the roads of the county as early as 1851 or 
1852 were divided into twenty-two road districts com- 
mencing east and running west by following the 
southern boundary, and returning to the eastern start- 
ing point. 

The following are the twenty-two road districts of 
the county with their supervisors appointed by the 
Court of Sessions of El Dorado county at their regu- 
lar terms of session in March, 1854. 

District No. i. The road from Coloma by Lutz's 
ranch to Greenwood valley. A. B. Lufz, supervisor. 

No. 2. The road from Coloma where it crosses 
Johntown creek. Giles E. Sill, supervisor. 

No. 3. The road from Johntown creek to George- 
town on the ridge between Empire canyon and Man- 
hattan creek. Daniel Craig, supervisor. 

No. 4. The road from Coloma through Louisville 
to Spanish Flat. Wm. O. Applebee, supervisor. 

No. 5. The road from Spanish Flat to American 
Flat to Georgetown. W. R. Keithley, supervisor. 

No. 6. The road from Georgetown to Greenwood 
valley. M. A. Merchant, supervisor. 

No. 7. The road from Greenwood valley to Knick- 
erbocker ranch. F. Rothstein, supervisor. 

No. 8. The road from Knickerbocker ranch to 
Salmon Falls. — Ma nee, supervisor. 

No. 9. The road from Uniontown bridge to Oregon 
Bar. A. J. Bayley, supervisor. 

No. 10. The road from Tunnel hill through Coloma 
to the Junction house. Wm. M. Sly, supervisor. 

No. II. The road from Tunnel hill through Union- 
town to the Junction house. John A. McDougald. 

No. 12. The road from the Junction house to 
Green Springs ranch. Timothy Chapman, supervisor. 

No. 13. The road from Green Springs ranch to the 
county line. M. Stockman, supervisor. 

No. 14. The road from Salmon Falls to the Col- 
oma road. James Nisbit, supervisor. 

No. 1 5. The road from Weber creek bridge through 
Diamond Springs to a point one mile east of Mud 
Springs. Rowland Hill, supervisor. 

No. 16. The road from Weber creek bridge through 
Lower Placerville to Stony Point, also from Placer- 
ville to where the Gold Hill canal crosses the Coloma 
road. Wm. Carey, supervisor. 

No. 1 7. The road from Stony Point through Upper 
Placerville to the Spring Garden house. James Mon- 
roe, supervisor. 

No. 18. The road from Spring Garden house east- 
wardly to the county line. John C. Johnson, super- 

Nci. 19. The road from the west end of district 15 
through Mud Springs to the Kingsville house. G. F. 
Bowker, supervisor. 

No. 20. The road from the Kingsville house to the 
El Dorado house. — Wakefield, supervisor. 

No. 21. The road from the El Dorado house to 
the county line. Peter Forsee, supervisor. 

No. 22. The road from the Bay State house through 
Gold Hill and Cold Springs, to the west end of dis- 
trict 1 5. J. M. Goetschius, supervisor. 

For the benefit of those interested, we give below a 
brief synopsis of the powers and duties of road su- 
pervisors under the law relating to "public roads and 
highways." The court of sessions of this county has 
fixed two days' labor for each person for the year liable 
to road tax, or to pay to the supervisor three dollars 
for each day, making six dollars for the year, to be 
appropriated for road purpcses. 

Section 3. Provides that all able-bodied men be- 
tween the ages of 18 and 50, are liable to perform 


road duty, for the number of days fixed by the court 
of sessions. 

Sec. 9. Provides that any person refusing to ac- 
cept the appointment of road supervisor, shall be fined 
in the sum of $20. 

Sec. 10. Provides that if the supervisor appointed 
accepts such appointment, he shall, within fifteen days 
after being served with the notice of his appointment, 
return to the clerk of the court of sessions a list of all 
persons residing in his road district, liable to be taxed 
for road purposes. 

Sec. II. The supervisor shall keep all public roads 
in his district clear from obstruction and in good re- 
pair — causing banks to be graded and bridges made 
where necessary, and kept in repair ; and to cause 
posts and guide-boards to be erected, with directions 
and distances to the most noted places to which said 
road may lead. 

Sec. 12. Provides that when any public road shall 
be obstructed, or bridge or causeway destroyed or out 
of repair, the supervisor shall call out as many persons 
as may be necessary to perform such work ; but if 
such persons have performed the number of days work 
required of them for the year, and he cannot procure 
persons that have not performed such labor in the dis- 
trict, he shall hire as many persons, etc., as may be 
necessary, provided the cost of the same shall not ex- 
ceed $50. If the cost exceeds $50, he shall report 
the same to the court of sessions. 

Sec. 13. Provides that the supervisors shall give 
every person in his district at least three days' notice 
of the time and place where they are required to work, 
and of the necessary tools for said work. The su- 
pervisor may appoint any person liable to work in his 
district to notify hands to work on the road. 

Sec. 15. The supervisor shall prosecute suits in 
his official capacity, before any justice of the peace, 
against all persons who shall neglect or refuse to work 
after being notified; and the supervisor shall be a 
competent witness in all such suits. 

Sec. 16. All fines, etc., incurred under the pro- 
visions of this act, shall be applied to improving the 
roads within the limits of the road district wherein 
such fine and penalties may be incurred. 

Sec. 18, Any supervisor who shall fail to perform 
his duties, shall be liable to and forfeit to the county 
any sum not less than ten, nor more than two hundred 
dollars; and he shall pay to the county all moneys he 
may collect which have not been appropriated to the 
benefit of his district. 

Returning to the old Carson or emigrant road, which 
just as well might be called the mother road of El 
Dorado county, we give in the following a directory of 
the stations on said road from the year 1854. 

Reese & Co., old Mormon station, ranch and hotel. 

F. V. Fain, ranch and trading post half a mile south 
of old Mormon station. 

W. P. Cozart, clock and watchmaker, gold and sil. 
versmith and bath-house at the warm and cold springs, 
two miles south from old Mormon station. 

Post & Steward, ranch and trading post, with hotel 
atthe mouthof Johnson's Cut-ofFroad, three milessouth 
of old Mormon station, 75 miles east of Placerville. 

W. Cossen, ranch and trading post, four miles south 
from old Mormon station. 

S. Mott & Co., ranch and trading post, good hotel, 
six miles from the old Mormon station. 

Lewis & Co., ranch. 

Daniel AVoodford, ranch, trading post and hotel six 
and a half miles from old Mormon station. 

Howard & Singleton, two ranches, seven miles from 
old Mormon station. 

C. M. King, ranch, trading post and hotel, eight 
miles from old Mormon station. 

David Barber, ranch, trading post and blacksmith 
shop, eight and a half miles from old Mormon station. 

E. R. Carey & Co., ranch and trading post, twelve 
miles from old Mormon station. 

Wm. Williams, ranch and hotel, twelve and a half 
miles from old Mormon station. 

Lucky Bill's ranch, fourteen miles from old Mormon 

Lamb & Wade, ranch and trading post, fifteen miles 
from the old Mormon station. 

B. Ward, ranch and trading post, the first place in 
Carson valley, fifteen and a quarter miles from old 
Mormon station; four miles and three-fourths north of 
the canyon. 

Lant & Co., trading post and meals, 20 miles from 
old Mormon station. 

Big Canyon toll bridge, 20 miles from old Mormon 
station. Rates of toll ; $1 per wagon, 10 cents a head 
for all cattle, 25 cents for each mule or horse, 5 cents 
for calves, and 3 cents for sheep ; there are two more 
bridges in the canyon. 

Haynes & Warner, Hope Valley hotel, 27 miles 
from old Mormon station. 

May & Co., ranch and meals, 31 miles from old 
Mormon station. 

Wm. M. Taylor & Co., ranch and meals 32^ miles 
from old Mormon station. 

Wilshear & Co., trading post and meals, 35 miles 
from old Mormon station. 

Gould & Co., trading post in Lake valley, on the 
right hand side coming over the mountains. 

Red Lake house, Red Lake valley, Walgamot & 
French pnjprietors, accommodations for all ; 40 mile-i 
from old Mormon station. 


Carey & Co., trading post and meals, 50 miles from 
old Mormon station. 

Raymond & Co., trading post and meals, 53 miles 
from old Mormon station. 

Morris & Co., trading post and meals, 57 miles 
from old Mormon station. 

Shipley & Dupont, Tragedy Springs, 59 miles from 
old Mormon station and one mile from Silver lake. 

Hoboken, hotel and trading post, 61 miles from old 
Mormon station. 

P. Peterson, trading post, 62 miles from old Mor- 
mon station. 

Leak Springs, trading post, 66 miles from old Mor- 
mon station. 

Peter Peters, trading post, 68 miles from old Mor- 
mon station. 

Camp creek trading post, H. Bichey & Co., propri- 
etors, 77 miles from old Mormon station, and 30 ndlcs 
from Placerville. 

Cold Spring ranch, meals, 82 miles from old Mor- 
mon station. 

Hick's ranch, groceries and provisions, 82 miles 
from old Mormon station and 2 1 miles from Placerville. 

Strong's ranch, at the junction of the road, hotel, 
15 miles from Placerville. 

Blair & Gould, Sportsman's Hall, 11 miles from 

Illinois House, groceries and meals at all hours. 

Elk Horn, hay and barley station, seven miles from 

Ogden & Wright, Chapparel, three and a half miles 
from Placerville. 

On the Johnson Cut-off road there were : 

Bartlett's bridge over the South Fork of the Amer- 
ican river, hay and grain station, 16^8 miles from 

B. Yarnel, hay, barley and provisions, 23 miles from 

B. Brockless, meals at all hours, 30 miles from 

Peavine ranch, D. Folsom, meals, 32 miles from 

Howard & Young, Halfway house, hotel accommo- 
dations, 35 miles from Placerville. 

Clark, Gill & Co., Halfway house, best hotel for im- 

Silver creek ranch, Charles Bosworth, store and sa- 
loon, 37 miles from Placerville. 

Slippery Ford, trading post, store, saloon and hotel, 
45 miles east of Placerville. 

Hiram Denny, trading post, groceries, etc., meals, 
5 1 y^ miles from Placerville. 

Daniel McEnlam, trading post and groceries; 53 
miles from Placerville. 

Chas. Scofield, trading post, meals and groceries; 
53 miles from Placerville. 

E. H. Smith, ranch and trading post, groceries and 
meals at all hours ; 55 miles from Placerville. 

Michael Tagg, trading post, groceries etc., 60 miles 
from Placerville. 

G. M. Dunvall, trading post, groceries etc., 62 miles 
from Placerville. 

John Hurlana, trading, groceries anrl meals 
64 miles east from Placerville. 

To give the reader an idea of Lhe travel over these 
lOads in early days, we may quote from the register of 
immigration, kept by Mr. J. B. Ellis, the aggregate of 
wagons and animals that passed over the mountains 
into California, by the old Carson route, during the 
summer season of 1854, commencing on the first of 
July that year, amounted to: 808 wagons, 30,015 head 
of cattle, 1,903 horses and mules, 8,550 sheep. 

The immense proportions to which this immigra- 
tion was grown, caused others to find another and 
possibly easi'jr accessible route to compete with those 
in existence. And a third claimant for a newly ex- 
plored mountain route across the Sierra Nevada from 
Carson valley into California and particularly El 
Dorado, turned up in the person of a Mr. Dritt, by 
mountain men of that time generally known as 'Old 
Daddy Dritt.' A petition was presented to the 
State Legislature in session, in April 1854, for a char- 
ter for a wagon road to connect the Carson valley 
with Placerville. This petition was signed by Messrs. 
Dritt, Murdock & Co. This new route by which the 
steepest ascent would be avoided and which therefore 
presented an eligible road for wagons, was designed 
to commence at the mouth of Big canyon on the old 
Carson river route, intersecting the Johnson Cutt-off 
road on the western summit of the mountains and to 
cross the South Fork of the American river at Bart- 
lett's bridge. Mr. Dritt was an old experienced moun- 
taineer, who had crossed the Sierra Nevada frequently, 
and himself as well as other people had great confi- 
dence in this route as the easiest pass that could be 

The prospect of still more competition to that one 
going on already by the Johnson Cutt-off road, and 
the advantages that were offered to the traveling peo- 
ple by using these roads, stirred up the settlers of Car- 
son valley and further along the Emigrant road, and 
made them afraid to loose the trade ; consequently 
they were called together in public meeting to take in 
consideration what steps should be taken to keep the 
immigration going that way. The meeting was held 
at Masonic station, on November i ith, 1854. Thomas 
Knott being called to the chair, in a few brief remarks 
stated the object of the meeting, when, on motion of 


Hiram Mott, the following gentlemen were ap- 
pointed a committee of six to draft resolutions for the 
consideration of the meeting: John Oles, Israel Mott, 
Luther Oles, Daniel Woodford, James Gibbs, and 
William Wade. 

The committee reported the following resolutions, 
which were unanimously adopted : 

Resolved, That the old road leading from Carson val- 
ley to Hope valley, through the Big canyon, be a free 
road, and the company now claiming the right to col- 
lect toll be requested to relinquish its right on said 
road and bridges from this date. 

Resolved, That John Oles be appointed superinten- 
dent to repair said road and bridges. 

Resolved, That John Gary be appointed assessor 
and collector, to assess and collect taxes from citizens 
of Carson valley to be expended on said road and 

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be 
published, etc. 

Thomas Knott, Ghairman. 

The first mentionmg of a stage line to be run over 
one of these roads to make a communication between 
California and the States by the way of St. Louis, 
Missouri, was made at the time when the San Fran- 
cisco banking house of Adams & Co., about the first 
of December, 1854, dispatched a messenger on the 
steamer Goliah for Salt Lake City, via Los Angeles 
and San Bernardino, to establish a branch office at 
Salt Lake City, and to examine the route carefully, 
with special reference to the position of water, the 
practicability of the road for wagons, etc., the streams 
that could be forded and those that require to be 
bridged; and if his report should be favorable, and 
sufficient inducements offered, a stage line from Los 
Angeles to Salt Lake City was the greatest probability 
to be established. The hint was given by the Sacra- 
mento Union, referring to the railroad meeting of the 
citizens of Placerville, held November i6th, 1854, it 
says : "But we wish to call the attention of the enter- 
prizing citizens of that town, as well as of the 'Em- 
pire county' generally, to the importance of building a 
stage turnpike road from Placerville to Carson valley. 
It is a work that sooner or later must be done. 

"The people of Carson valley are desirous of being 
incorporated into the State, and there is little doubt of 
their being included within her limits within the suc- 
ceeding six months." Reflecting on the advantages of 
an annexation of Carson valley to the State of Califor- 
nia, and an absolute necessity of a communication 
between the Capital and the Carson valley as a new 
county, It continues : "Should a line of stages be put 
on between California and Missouri, it should if pos. 
sible, cross the Sierra Nevada due east of this city 

(Sacramento), pass through Carson valley, and thence 
to Salt Lake. We learn from intelligent men who 
crossed the plains this year, that a new and shorter 
route has been discovered from Salt Lake to Carson 
river, which avoids the Humboldt entirely, passes over 
a country plentifully supplied with water, wood and 
grass, is practicable for wagons, can easily be made a 
good stage road, and is fully three hundred miles 
shorter than the emigrant road down the Humboldt." 

The citizens of Placerville readily took up the hint, 
so given, discussed the matter in some public meetings 
held in that place, and on January 25th 1855, D. W. 
Gelwicks offered the following preamble and resolu- 
tions, which were read, considered and unanimously 
adopted: — 

Whereas, it has now become apparent that the 
present Legislature will vote an appropriation of 
money for the construction of an improved highway, 
leading from the interior of our State to Carson valley; 
and whereas, our local interest as well as our regard 
for the general convenience and economy of the 
State at large, suggest that such a highway be con- 
structed from the low-lands of the Sacramento, through 
the cjty of Placerville, and thence by the most feasible 
route to Carson valley ; whereasit, is desirable that such 
route shall be scientifically ascertained and its courses, 
distances and practicability be authentically repre- 
sented to the Legislature now sitting ; and whereas, the 
citizens of other localities are employing strenuous ef- 
forts to attract the prospective appropriation to them- 
selves by commendation and praise of routes in their 
several vicinities: 

Therefore, Resolved: 

1. That immediate steps be taken by the citizens of 
Placerville, to exhibit by survey and report, the su- 
periority of the route mentioned in the above pream- 
ble over all others that have been suggested in the 

2. That for this purpose a qualified engineer be 
procured to survey and demark the easiest line of 
road from this place across the lines of the Sierras into 
Carson valley; and that an assistant, competent to 
fill the office, be provided to furnish our delegation in 
the Legislature with an ample report of all statistics 
connected with such survey, and that a copy of said 
report be forwarded to the Surveyor-general with a re- 
quest to lay the same before the Legislature. 

3. That for such purpose the Honorable Mayor 
and Common Council of the city of Placerville be, 
and are respectfully requested to appropriate the 
sum of five hundred dollars to defray the expenses of 
said engineer and assistant, and that we as citizens, 
do fully endorse such action. 

4. That a committee of one be appointed by the 


President of this meeting commissioned to present 
the above resolutions to the Council at its next sitting, 
and a committee of five be appointed and empowered 
to make the selection of the engineer and assistant 
above mentioned. 

5. That in our estimation the route known as 
"Johnson's Cut-off," is, with slight deviations, already 
suggested by Col. Johnson, the explorer, infinitely 
preferable to all other inlets to Carson valley, andthat 
we as citizens appreciate the energy and perseverance 
required in its exploration. 

D. \V. Gelwicks, Chairman of Committee. 

This resolution was followed by the immediate ac- 
tion on January 30th, 1855, a competent surveying 
party accompanied by Mr. Henderson, County Sur- 
veyor, and Dr. Shober, a practical engineer, went up in 
the mountains for the purpose of surveying a route 
across the Sierra Nevada for the contemplated 


And for this a bill was introduced in the Legislature 
in session in the spring of 1855. It passed the lower 
house without specifying a particular route, and as 
there were several petitions for some more routes, the 
matter was given into the hands of the Surveyor-gen- 
eral and the appointed Board of Commissioners to 
examine the different routes and select the one they 
may regard the best. An appropriation of $100,000 
was fixed to be expended for the purpose. 

As a curiosity we mention here the original scheme 
a Yankee was proposing to establish a regular mail 
line between California and the Eastern States via 
St Louis. Mr. Wm. N. Walton, in April, 1855, pre- 
sented to the State Senate of California a memorial 
in which he makes the proposition that the State Leg- 
islature of California should by legislative act donate 
to him (Walton) right, title and interest of the State 
in and to certain quarter sections of land (not to ex- 
ceed five quarter sections) situated between the east- 
ern boundary of the State and the Pacific coast, as 
stations for the encouragement of an overland immi- 
gration by means of camels or dromedaries. 

The above mentioned Board of Commisioners, after 
a thorough examination of the different routes in 
September 1855, reported in favor of the route along 
the South Fork of the American river, passing Slippery 
Ford, Johnson's pass. Lake Bigler, Luther's pass, 
Hope valley and Carson canyon to Carson valley. 
Under date of October i6th, of the same year, the 
Board of Commissioners advertised for sealed propo- 
sals for the construction of a wagon road over the 
Sierra Nevada by way of the above named places, ac- 
cording to plans and specifications, etc. , but nothing 
was done against active work on the road. 

From the report made by Geo. H. Goddard and 
presented to H. S. Marlette, Surveyor General, we 
take the following statements as the results established 
by the Boundary Surveying Company, in 1855. 


I set up the altitude and acimuth instrument a little 
west of the 120th meridian in Red Lake valley, on 
the old Carson road, and took such observations as 
were available during my stay there, while Sherman 
Day measured a base line in the valley, and established 
by triangulation the relative positions of all the neigh- 
boring peaks with the station, and prolonged my me- 
ridian line over the Round Top ridge into Bigler Lake 

I then proceeded to Bigler Lake valley and set up 
the instrument on the south shore of the lake, near 
where the Truckee river falls into the lake, and a lit- 
tle east of the 120th meridian. Here I took such ob- 
servations as the weather permitted. I measured a 
base line and connected the former points of the Red 
lake triangulation with this station, and carried the 
triangulation over the mountains into Carson valley. 
The meridian of Red Lake camp, was by the last ob- 
servation, 120° o' 8,70". The meridian of Bigler Lake 
camp, 119° 58' 9". The difference by triangulation 
and the two meridians was 2 m., i ch., 18 links. The 
latitude of Bigler Lake camp was 38° 56' 27.6". 
These figures may be somewhat modified when the 
whole of the observations shall have been recomputed. 
As this camp was situated close to the south shore of 
the lake, and about two miles from its eastern side, it 
■results that the initial point formed by the crossing 
of the 1 20th meridian and the 39th parallel falls in 
Lake Bigler, about a mile and a quarter west, and 
nearly four miles north of the station. 

Assuming the longitude given by Capt. I. Sitgreaves, 
topographical engineer, of the point where the Colo- 
rado crosses the 35th parallel at 114*' 40", the boun- 
dary line will form part of a great circle, uniting these 
two points, and at the 39th parallel and the 120th me- 
ridian, the line will make a spherical angle with the 
meridian of S. 48' 25sec E., and at the junction of 
114.40th meridian, and 35th parallel of N. 45° 13" 
5". W. These angles are uncorrected, for the earth's 
spherical form, which between those latitudes would 
affect them but little. 

During the expedition I have collected a large 
amount of geographical information, as well as cor- 
rected the positions now determined with others ob- 
served during Lieutenant Moore's railroad exploration, 
so that combined they will form a very complete map 
of that region. 



In conformity to your instructions I have kept a full 
barometrical register for heights throughout the whole 
journey from Sacramento through Placerville, by the 
old Carson pass, and back again by the Johnson road 
to Placerville. The heights of the following points I 
have calculated approximately.^so as to include in this 
brief statement. 

Heights above 

Placerville, feet I-75S-I 

Old Carson road, West Summit 9,036.1 

Old Carson road. Red Lake valley 7, 175-9 

Old Carson road. East Summit 7,972.9 

Johnson road. West Summit 0,743.4 

Johnson road, Bigler Lake valley 5,961.0 

Johnson road. East Summit 6,824.6 

Carson valley. Mormon Station 4,337.0 

Carson valley, Cary's Mill 5,032.5 

Luther's pass " 7,185.0 

Hope valley, head of Carson can) on 6.488.7 

From the above it will be seen that the highest pass 
on the Johnson route is more than 2,000 feet lower 
than that on the old Carson road. The latter road 
for a considerable portion of its distance passes over 
very elevated ridges, while the Johnson trail, following 
the southern exposed slopes of the valley of the South 
fork, soon enters a less rigorous climate. It is for this 
reason that during the winter months the latter is the 
only traveled road. When I crossed in the winter of 
1853, the old road was utterly impassible, while the 
snow on the Johnson road, in its deepest place, did 
not exceed three or four feet, and for the greater part 
of the distance there was not more than six inches to 
one foot of snow. Both the hitherto traveled roads 
have had this great fault, while the ascent has been 
moderate on the western side, the descent on the east- 
ern has been most precipitous. By following the new 
pass, now called "Luther's Pass," from Bigler Lake val- 
ley to Hope valley, the descent is made easy, could the 
narrow valley between the Johnson pass and Luther's 
pass be bridged over by a lofty viaduct; of all the routes 
yet known, this would be the one for the Pacific Rail- 
road, as there need be no grade upon it exceeding 
one hundred feet to the mile. In concluding these 
hasty remarks, I wish to return thanks to Judge Hyde 
of Utah Territory, for his efficient assistance in carry- 
ing out the objects of the expedition, Col. Keese of 
the Mormon Station, Mr. Mott, Mr. Thornington, etc. 
I am very respectfully yours, 

Geo. H Goddard. 
October sth, 1855. 

Again a bill was introduced into the State Senate 
in March, 1856, by Senator Day, it provides for the 

survey and improvement of five wagon roads across 
the Sierra Nevada. The following routes were en- 
umerated in the bill : 
A road through Noble's pass, to which it 

appropriates $20,000 

A road through the Hennessy Pass, east of 

Forest City, for which it appropriates 60,000 

A road through Luther's pass and Carson can- 
yon, east of Placerville, and running along 
the north side of the South Fork, passing 
Slippery Ford, to which it appropriates. . . . 100,000 
A road from the Big Tree, Calaveras county, 
through Grizzly Bear valley, Indian valley 
and Hope valley, and joining the previous 
named road at the head of Carson canyon, 

to which it appropriates 40,000 

A road through or near Cajon Pass, in San 
Bernardino county, and also a series of arte- 
sian wells on the route from San Felipe 
canyon, to which it appropriates 20,000 

Total amount of appropriations $240,000 

To be paid for in State bonds, running ten years, 
at 7 percent, interest. Annual tax for interest and 
sinking fund, 3 cents on each $100 of taxable prop- 

The bill to be submitted to the people for their ap- 
proval at the next general election. The bill provides 
for a Board of five commissioners named in the bill, 
from the ditiTerent counties and districts interested in 
the road. But no realization followed, partly on ac- 
count of the many petitioners who were all using their 
influence to agitate in the interest of their particular 
section of the country ; and on the other side the 
activity of the enthusiastic advocates of the Pacific 
railroad, who claimed that the appropriation for a 
wagon road would be spent unnecessarily, because 
there would not be use enough for it, as it would not 
take more than a few years to connect the Atlantic 
and Pacific by at least one railway, were retarding all 
progress of the wagon road over the Sierra Nevada. 

An appropriation of $550,000 was granted by a 
bill of Congress in January, 1857, and approved 
by the President, for the construction of a wagon 
road from Fort Kearney, via the South Pass, over the 
Great Salt Lake valley to the eastern boundary of the 
State, near Honey Lake valley, or Noble's Pass. 

This action was of some consequence, uniting at 
least two of the valley counties with El Dorado, to 
start the work of a wagon road on subscription inside 
the three counties. 

The members of the Legislature from the counties 
of El Dorado, Sacramento and Yolo, recommended 
to the citizens of said counties respectively, to meet in 


convention at their county seats, on May 6th, 1857, 
for the purpose of electing delegates to a Wagon 
Road Convention. 

They further recommended said convention of dele- 
gates to meet at Sacramento on the nth of May, 1857, 
for the purpose of taking into consideration measures 
to insure the speedy completion of a wagon road from 
the city of Sacramento to Carson valley. 
Dated April 27th, 1857. 

S. M. Johnson, 
Henry M. Fiske, 
J. G. McCallum, 
Senators from El Dorado. 
VV. L. Ferguson, 
JosiAH Johnson, 
Senators from Sacramento. 
S. Bvnum, 

Senator from Yolo. 

John Hume, 
G. D. Hill, 
M. N. Mitchell, 
JoNA Carpenter, 
Samuel F. Hamm, 
Geo. Mcdonald, 
Charles Orvis, 
El Dorado Assembly Delegation. 

A. P. Catlin, 
J. H. McKuNE, 
L. W. Ferris, 
Robert C. Clark, 
Sacramento Assembly Delegation. 
J. S. Curtis, 
Yolo County Assembly. 
The convention was held, as proposed, in the court 
house at Placerville, May 6th, 1857. Lieut. Governor 
Anderson took the chair, and declared the convention 
organized for the transaction of business. Messrs. 
Johnson, Harvey, Conness, Springer, Tebbs, Cun- 
ningham, Larkin and Lee were appointed a commit- 
tee to draft resolutions, which were adopted, and, 
upon motion, one hundred and twenty-five delegates 
were nominated viva voce, for the convention to be 
held at Sacramenio on May nth. The following 
were elected : 

A. H. Hawley, C. R Jackson, L. T. Carr, J. M. B. 
Wetherwax, R. M. Anderson, M. Tebbs, H. Larkin, 
J. W. Sterling, E. C. Springer, B. F. Keene, B. R. 
Nickerson, Lyman Hoyt, F. F. Winchell, L. H. Par- 
ker, John S. Conness, J. G. McCallum, W. M. Gary, 
Dr. Baldwin, John Hume, J. E. Bowe, G. P. Morrill, 
R. T. Bruce, Geo. McDonald, S. T. Gage, John Bor- 
land, E. Willow, F. A. Bishop, T. Williams, T. H. 

Hewes, T. Robertson. A. H. Taylor, A. A. Van Guel- 
der, Geo. Duden, Wm. P. Scott, A. St. Clair Denver, 
D. K. Newell, J. M. Douglass, John Cable, VV. H. 
Bisby, Dr. Butterinore, J. M. Goetschius, C. M. Mc- 
Caniel, J. C. Johnson, O. Squires, Maj. Hoover, S. J. 
Frear, M. N. Mitchell, J. A. McDougal, Dr. Hamm, 
D. P. Talmage, S. Cornell, Maj. Hook, Col. Dickin- 
son, E. R. Ferguson, G. J. Carpenter, Col. Handy, 

H. C. Sloss, Wheeler, H. Mott, J. L. Gary, 

Foster, R. E. Draper, D. Galbraith, T. Orr, Wm. Bart- 

lett. B. Brockless, Alfred Briggs, A. J. Bradley, 

Hartman, J. B. Post, B. Meacham, A. T. Lee, John 
Dorsey, E. Ferguson, John O'Donnell, B. F. Hunt, 
Alex. Hunter, Dr. Fiske, S. Ensminger, E. P. Jones, 

Dr. Edwards, I. P. Carpenter, Graham, G. D. 

Hall, Wm. Bartrani, Wm. Spencer, Wm. Hoag, E. 

Evans, W. F. Leon, L. Foster, Shaff, O. Harvey, 

McClure, A. Seligman, Capt. Rolfe, Wm. H. Stone, 

A. Richards, C. Orvis, W. H. Smith, J. Newman, Dr. 
Chamberlin, L. B. Curtis, Wm. Roush, E. C. Cum- 
berwell, Wm. Gunn, N. H. Smith, G. L. Truesdale, A. 
H. Richards, R. K. Berry, A. C. Chouvin, E. P. Beard, 

Douglass, Charles Meredith, F. Tracy, John 

Swarts, J. H. Child, Geo. Searles, J. M. Knight. 

The following resolutions were then adopted : 

Resolved, That a majority of the delegates that may 
convene at Sacramento on the nth of May, be, and 
they are hereby instructed to cast the vote of the 

Resolved, That the secretary be directed to furnish 
a copy of the proceedings of this convention for pub- 
lication, etc. 

R. M. Anderson, Chairman. 

F. A. Bishop, Secretary. 

The VVagon Road Convention met at Sacramento 
on the proposed day, and adopted a number of reso- 
lutions, out of which number we give the eleventh, as 
concerning the most important part, the decision about 
the finances, wherewith to build the road. 

Resolved, That it is expedient and necessary to ob- 
tain the sum of $50,000, of which sum El Dorado 
county shall raise $20,000, Sacramento $20,000, and 
Yolo $io,ooo. 

A Board of wagon road directors were appointed, 
consisting of Messrs. Nevett, Stanford, Bradley and 
Huntington, of Sacramento, and Messrs. Wetherwax, 
Larkin, Hawley and Gary, of El Dorado. J. H. Ne- 
vett, of Sacramento, was chosen president of the 
Board, and Mr. J. M. Douglass, of Placerville, was 
appointed treasurer, and Benjamin R. Nickerson, sec- 
retary pro tern. The Board also resolved that the work 
on the road be commenced as soon as $5,000 be re- 
ceived in the treasury, and the first work be done 
between Slippery Ford and Lake valley. The Board 

I I 


of Directors, on June nth, made a trip up in the 
mountains to reconnoitre the present condition of 
the road — they were accompanied by enterprising citi- 
zens of Placerville. Mr. Crandall took up the "first" 
of a line of stages to start a new stage line from the 
Sacramento valley to Utah; and arrangements were 
made first for a weekly stage to run regularly between 
Placerville and Genoa. 

The contract for the first section of road was given 
to Mr. Brockless, who contracted to make the part of 
Slippery Ford hill a passable good wagon road, for 
the amount of $1,400. 

Speaking about the wagon road over the Siei'ra 
Nevada, as an accomplished fact, the Mountain Dem- 
ocrat of July nth, 1857, says: "The road is, how- 
ever, open between Placerville and Genoa, and from 
Genoa to Salt Lake. Col. J. B. Crandall has made 
it a stage road. He is the first man in America who 
has ever established a stage line to cross the Sierras. 
He IS the pioneer stage man between the Pacific ocean 
and the great basin of the continent. He has made 
his mark in this respect, and the history of this coun- 
try cannot trace truthfully the events of this great re- 
gion of the globe without blending his name therein." 

Mr. John Kirk was appointed superintendent of the 
wagon road, but only little work was done to improve 
the road, and a joint-meeting of the supervisors of 
El Dorado and Sacramento counties in January, 1858, 
to disscuss the wagon road matter, which seemed to 
become urgent at that time, on account of the arising 
difficulties with the Mormons, which, in case of a 
general Mormon war, would designate Sacramento 
and perhaps Placerville as a rendezvous for the 
troops, and the Carson road as the military highway. 
The Board of wagon road commissioners, W. B. 
Carr, and B. T. Hunt, of El Dorado, and G. N. Doug- 
lass, of Sacramento counties, under date of June 5lh, 
1858, advertised a "Notice to Contractors," to receive 
sealed proposals for the construction of the portion of 
road, including bridges, culverts, drains and turnouts 
between station forty-four (44), at the crossing of the 
old road near Brockless' bridge and station four hun- 
dred and forty-nine (449), about five miles west of 
Slippery Ford, on Day's survey across the Sierra Ne- 
vada mountams. The contract for this work subse- 
quently was awarded to Messrs. Gary & Johnson, who 
almost immediately went to work, but broke down in 
the very midst of it. This brought the work to a 
dead stand-still and produced a panic among the 
laborers — some of them, in a state of enragement 
placed the tools on a keg of powder and had blown 
them all into the river. The contract of Gary & John- 
son amounted to $24,800, of this $7,600 had'been 
expended upon the work up to their failure, and their 

securities assigned the same contract to Mr. J. G. 
Plummer, who undertook to finish the work for the 
balance from the original contract $17,200, and $1,500 
e.xtra, to be paid to him by the securities. 

Thus, with an expenditure of $50,000, brought up 
by a special tax, the counties of Sacramento and El 
Dorado had completed almost one-half of the worst 
portion of the road. The situation, however, had en- 
tered another phase ; from a mere local affair, benefit- 
ing both these counties, it had become a more national 
character since the Central Overland Mail was pass- 
ing over the road; it became an improvement in 
which the whole State was interested, and therefore 
the Legislature was asked for an appropriation of $50,- 
000 for the completion of the whole mountain road; 
and as the objection made against the appropriation 
bill in 1855, that the State was unable to increase her 
debt over $300,000, except by vote of the people, 
did not exist then, it was expected that the bill would 
pass. But not from this side came the final push 
towards finishing the mountain grades an :! complet- 
ing the great mountain road across the Sierra Nevada, 
and no appropriation has done the work either, but 
so soon as the rich mineral discoveries ot Washoe district 
became known, private enterprise undertook and fin- 
ished the work, and applications were filed by the 
different, parties engaged on the different sections of 
the road to get the right of toll roads granted to them, 
which was complied with, and the proprietors realized 
fortunes out of this property up to the opening of the 
railroad. After that these toll roads have gready depre- 
ciated in value, but little of any reduction has been 
made in the tolls since; and repeatedly the proposition 
has been made by the county and State to purchase 
all these toll roads. Only lately Senator Brown of El 
Dorado county introduced in the Legislature in ses- 
sion in 1877 to '78, a bill. No. 431, providing for 
the purchase of certain toll roads in El Dorado 



The many streams of perennial running water, having 
their sources high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, 
as we have seen before, for a few months in the year 
only enable a fording at one or another spot, while for 
the greater part of the year the high stand and the 
rapid flow of their waters necessitate some other 
means to carry the travel across. The pioneer emi- 
grant road of El Dorado county winding itself down 
from the mountains, following the divide between the 
Middle Fork of the American river and the head- 


waters of the North Fork of the Cosumnes, piloted 
through by the Mormon Hunt, is the only road that 
avoids all the larger streams and enables a trip from 
Silver Lake down to Sacramento without crossing one 
stream of water that amounts to anything. Traveling 
on all the branch and cross-roads, leading off the for- 
mer on both sides, however, causes traversmg one or 
another of the larger or smaller rivers that roll their 
waves down through this county finally to empty into 
the Sacramento river. 

As the first device, to assist the traveling people on 
said roads across the natural waterways, ferries of the 
most primitive make up and clumsiest construction 
and shape were in use; old ship's boats of all sizes had 
been pressed into the service or an ingenious fellow had 
accomplished the same purpose by transforming some 
old emigrant wagon-beds that had come all the way 
across the continent, while the first were brought up the 
Sacramento river. Even the simple form of a raft not 
seldom had to fulfill the programme, until the owners 
of the place could afford to build a scow of sufficient 
capacity, to replace the former. Thus continuously 
laboring against perfecting the system not only as far 
as the ferryboat itself was concerned, but the better fa- 
cilities in its motion and the arrangement of the cross- 
cable also. Such ferries existed from the earliest 
time at Coloma, at Uniontown, at Chili Bar on the 
South Fork of the American river, and at Condemned 
Bar, at Beal's Bar, at Rattlesnake Bar, at Oregon Bar 
and Murderer's Bar on the American river and the 
Middle Fork of the same stream. And all these fer- 
ries had been built in private enterprise and with con- 
siderable expense, on account that the ferry owner 
had to build in connection with his ferry the graded 
road upon both rivei-banks, until it would join other 
roads, as an invitation to make the travel go that way, 
and subsequently to the owner of the ferry was 
granted the undisputed right to levy a considerable 
toll on alt who took the chance of his privilege. By 
that means some of the most traveled crossings became 
quite profitable business places and the sources of 
riches of their owners ; to this class belonged the fer- 
ries at Coloma and Uniontown, both connecting the 
smaller Northern part of the county with thecounty 
seat, and that one at Murderer's Bar, which from the 
earliest times carried the travel from Sacramento across 
here to all the bars on the north bank of the Middle 
fork and further on to Yankee Jim's, Michigan Bluff's, 
Iowa Hill, etc. 

It is impossible now to decide which one of these 
ferries in El Dorado county was built first, but after all 
probability we dare to say, that to the Coloma ferry 
belongs very likely the predicament as the pioneer 
ferry, because it formed the connecting link in one of 

the oldest and very much traveled roads — Sacramento^ 
Coloma, Georgetown, by the way of Alabama Flat and 

The emigration, however, kept on to arrive rather 
in growing proportion from year to year, and as a mat- 
ter of course, the local as well as the through travel 
in El Dorado county had to grow in equal proportions, 
making the demand loud for better and easier means 
to cross her streams. Men with means did not hesi- 
tate to answer this just demand by going on to build 
bridges in opposition to the ferries, or the owners of 
the latter, to keep up with the time, undertook the 
erection of some bridge structure in place of the ferry, 
or in addition to the ferry either. The first bridge 
thus built in this county was 


a wooden structure crossing the South fork of the 
American river from Coloma to the village of North 
Coloma, on the opposite bank of the river. John 
T. Little, now of San Francisco, was the proprietor of 
the ferry at this crossing ; he sold his interest to E. T. 
Raun, who immediately, in February, 1851, went to 
work and put up here a common truss structure of 
three spans and sixteen feet breadth. This bridge, 
though rough, was quite substantial built and stood the 
floods of several years; but anticipating that it would 
not stand a higher freshet without some larger repair- 
ing, Mr. Raun preferred to build a new, bridge right 
away. This second structure was then erected in the 
Fall of 1855; it had the same proportions in the main 
parts, but was stronger and more substantial than the 
old one, and was set up on a much higher foundation. 
The general belief was, that this bridge was safe against 
any flood; in spite of this belief, however, it was de- 
stroyed by the Spring flood of 1862, which swept away 
most all the bridges in the country. Mr. Raun in the 
meantime, 1856, had sold out his interest in this and 
other bridges, to R. A. Pearris and A. H. Richards, 
who in the Fall of 1862 built another bridge on the 
same spot, which was finished in December the same 
year. And after, this was swept away also, no more 
attempt has been made to span the river for the ac- 
commodation of wagons, the travel, influenced by the 
railroad and other motives, has changed into other 
channels, and at present the frail construction of a nar- 
row wire suspension bridge or walk, only for footmen, 
is leading across the South fork from Coloma to the 
North side. 

At Uniontown the first bridge was erected in 1851; 
it was built on a subscription of sixty shares and run 
in opposition to the ferry. This bridge was renewed 
by Pogue, Ingelsby and Roubant in 1855, and after 
the flood of 1862 washed away the approaches, these 


latter have been renewed again. The middle span, 
supported by heavy wooden girders of eighty feet in 
length, on account of the high bank on the north side 
of the river is set up so high above the water that no 
flood could injure it. The present owners are Messrs. 
Pogue Bros, and Oliver Merrill, John Covington is 
their agent. Tolls on this bridge ran as high as $600 
and $800 a month; to collect $25, in a single hour, 
was not considered anything too extraordinary. 

A few miles further down the same stream was Rock 
Bridge, so-called on account of the natural abutments 
found there in early days for the construction of a 
bridge. Wm. Gaylord was the first man who fully rec- 
ognized this opportunity and took advantage of it by 
building a bridge across, which together with the con- 
necting road for a long while served as a thorough- 
fare between Georgetown and Sacramento. The 
travel on this road, together with the facilities offered 
for diggings in the river bed, started quite a lively 
mining camp here around the bridge, and the popula- 
tion for years was large enough to keep up two stores. 
The first store was owned by James Wing, and was 
used as an election poll until 1874 or 1875. Another 
store was kept by W. H. Matherly. The village, how- 
ever, has disappeared, the site of it makes now a part 
of Mr. G. Bassi's dairy ranch. 

The main traveled road between Sacramento and 
Georgetown, by the way of Pilot Hill or Centerville, 
crossed the South Fork of the American river at 
Salmon Falls. The first bridge here was built in 1853, 
and changing hands became the property of E. T. 
Raun, the owner of the Coloma bridge, now in San 
Francisco. Early in 1855 this bridge was washed 
away by the flood, but was replaced the same year by 
a first-class structure with wooden girder trusses. In 
1856 it was sold, together with the Coloma bridge, to 
R. A. Pearris and A. H. Richards, and like this sister 
bridge it was carried away by the flood in 1862, not 
to be built up after that, and this road, once one of the 
most traveled in the county, is only passable in the 
latter part of the year, when the river can be forded. 

E. and H. George, in 1853, undertook to build in- 
stead of their ferry a strong and substantial bridge^ 
at Chili Bar, which became a very important improve- 
ment on the road from Placerville to Georgetown, by 
way cf Kelsey and Spanish Flat. This bridge was 
open for foot and horsemen, as well as pack trains, on 
the ist of December, of said year, while the grades up 
and down the mountains on both sides, for the passage 
of wagons, were not finished before May or June of 
1854. With the opening of this bridge the Pioneer 
stage line, running between Placerville and George- 
town, had its stages running over this route and bridge, 
and when the line was extended from Georgetown, 

across the Middle Fork of the American river at 
Spanish Bar to Paradise, North Star house, Todd's 
valley and Yankee Jim's, a bridge like the Coloma 
bridge was built across the Middle fork at Spanish 
Bar, byE. T. Raun of Coloma, which in 1857 came into 
the possession of Mr. Richards. On the road from 
Work's ranch to Mount Gregory, in Georgetown town- 
ship, a toll bridge crossing the waters of Otter creek 
was built in the year. of 1854 or 1855, McCoy & Co. 
were the proprietors. Among other smaller bridges 
in the county we mention Morrill's bridge on the main 
Placerville and Sacramento road, between Placerville 
and Diamond Springs, crossing Weber creek, and 
George Out's bridge on the turnpike road between 
Placerville and El -Dorado, across the same creek. 
The latter was built on shares in the fall of 1855, and 
the stockholders of the road and bridge were : G. A. 
Cook, John L. Shober, S. Lion, Alfred Bell, W. J. 
Burwell, P. Quinlin, A. Clark, and Wm. and George 
Stewart. Near Buck's Bar, on the North Fork of the 
Cosumnes river, was Buzan's bridge crossihg that 
river, one of the first bridges built in this section of 
the county. The same has to be said about S. E. 
Huse's bridge at Yeomet, carrying the travel along the 
road that connected the Northern and Southern mines 
across the Cosumnes river. The same river, some 
time later, became spanned by a wooden truss girder 
bridge, also at Wisconsin Bar. 

Sixteen and five-eighths miles east of Placerville, 
where the Johnson's Cut-off road crossed the South 
Fork of the American river, was Bartlett's bridge, car- 
rying a great part of the emigrant travel across the 
rapid stream. It was a heavy wooden structure, but 
could not resist the force of the high water which 
came down in torrents on March 7th, 1855, and was 
swept away. The communication thus interrupted for 
a while, caused the travel to go the other route. Then 
B. Brockless took up the idea given by Sherman Day, 
who some time previous, surveying on the State road 
line, had designated a point, a few miles further up, 
as the place where the road ought to cross the river. 
Here a bridge was soon built, known as Brockless 

The North Fork of the American river, fromtheearli- 
est time, was spanned with bridges at several places, 
on account of the travel between Sacramento and the 
mining camps and towns in the adjoining counties, 
then going all through El Dorado county. Besides 
those already mentioned bridges, at Condemned Bar, 
Whisky Bar and Oregon Bar, the river had one moro 
crossing at Wild Goose flat ; this bridge, together with 
the connecting turnpike road, was owned by the Horse- 
shoe Bar and Pilot Hill Turnpike company, D. A. 
Rice, secretary. 



The first " Wire-rope Suspension Bridge " that was 
ever built in this county, is said to have been the one 
erected by N. H. Smith, crossing the Middle Fork of 
the American river at Murderer's bar, built in 1854. 
The suspension bridge at Whisky Bar, below the junc- 
tion on the same stream, was built the year after, in 
1855, by a company; Abraham Bronk, being one 
of the company, was superintending the work, and 
after his deposition the structure was completed for 
the sum of $50,000. Mr. Bronk also contracted and 
superintended the wire-rope suspension bridge across 
the American river at Folsom. 

At Mormon Island was the first bridge built in 
1851, by J. W. Shaw; thi§ was a wooden structure 
after the common American truss system, and after 
the high water, in the Spring of 1855, had washed 
it away, Mr. Shaw immediately decided to have a wire 
rope bridge put up on the same place, which was 
erected during the following summer, and carried the 
travel here across the South fork of the American 
river until 1862, when the high flood in January 
swept it unmercifully away. The travel was then 
suspended for a while, but with untired energy Mr. 
Shaw rebuilt the bridge soon after, and took precau- 
tion to set it up on a higher point of the bank, where 
it stood the floods for more than twenty years. The 
span of this bridge is 100 yards, and its entire breadth 
20 feet. It was erected at a cost of $15,000, and 
always was a fine paying property. J. W. Shaw sold 
his interest to L. M. Russell and R. P. Culver, who 
continued to collect the toll until a few years ago, 
when it was sold by them to El Dorado and Sacra- 
mento counties, in equal parts ; since then the super- 
visors of this county declared it a free bridge. 

Lyon's bridge, on the toll road from Auburn station 
to Cave valley, is a wire suspension bridge of about 
85 yards span, swinging across the North Fork of the 
American river directly below the junction of the 
North and Middle forks. The construction of this 
bridge was accomplished during the summer of 1865. 
W. C. Lyon, the principal owner of this bridge, in 
1856, had erected a suspension bridge across the same 
stream at Condemned Bar, and when the travel at the 
latter place began to slack down, he took the bridge 
down and removed such parts as were practicable to 
the site of his present bridge. It is the most important 
link in the thoroughfare between El Dorado and 
Placer counties, connecting those towns in the north- 
ern part of the former county — Georgetown, Green- 
wood valley. Cave valley. Pilot Hill, Coloma, etc., 
with the railroad at Auburn station ; forming one of 
ihe few outlets for market products of the county. The 
Iiridge was completed and nearly ready for the passage 
cif foot and horsemen on July 7th, 1866; the grades 

of two and a-half and three miles in length respec- 
tively, were passable for all kinds of wagons in Sep- 
tember of the same year. 

Patrick Gordon, in 1859, built another wire-rope 
suspension bridge across the Middle fork of the Amer- 
ican river at Volcano Bar. And still another bridge 
of the same construction crosses the South fork of 
the American river on the road from Placerville to 
Mosquito valley. 


The discovery of gold at Coloma and the rush of 
gold- hunters of early days, who all had the idea that 
this new El Dorado was concentrated to the very 
spot of Coloma, turned the entire travel of 1848 and 
'49 from Sacramento up over the road that Capt. Sut- 
ter piloted through the woods of the foot-hills, for the 
communication between the fort of New Helvetia and 
his sawmill ; and periodically this road was perhaps 
the most traveled road in the United States, being 
crowded day and night in the periods that followed 
the arrival of each steamer or larger vessels in the 
harbor of San Francisco. But conveyances were 
scarce in California at that time, all traveling being 
made on horseback. The Oregonians were the first 
to bring their big wagons into California and El Do- 
rado, and these became the first means and the ma- 
terial with which to undertake the first change in the 
transportation of passengers and freight from horse- 
back to a wagon seat, a kind of fast-freight. The 
first regular stage line was established between Sacra- 
mento and Coloma, and about the same time Graham, 
of Georgetown, run a stage from Coloma to George- 
town, which was united, however, with the former line 
soon after. Another line of stages owned and man- 
aged by Dr. Thomas and James Burch, established 
as the " California Stage Company" in 185 1, running 
from Georgetown by the way of Pilot Hill and Salmon 
Falls to Sacramento, with a branch line from Salmon 
Falls to Auburn. When the Sacramento Valley Rail- 
road was finished to Folsom this stage line run to con- 
nect with the railroad at Folsom, and was sold to 
Wellington ; he sold to Thos. Orr. The United 
States Mail contract was then awarded to H. F. Page, 
now United States Senator, and Bart. Morgan, who 
sold to Lewis & Houchin, the latter selling out his 
half interest to Lovejoy, leaving the property in the 
possession of Lovejoy and J. L. Lewis, who run two 
lines of daily stages now from Auburn to Georgetown 
and Placerville both ways. 

A stage line was established also in early days be- 
tween Sacramento and Placerville via Diamond 
Springs, and soon after, in 185 1, Stevens & Co. com- 
menced to run an opposition line, the older line, 
however, sold out and the latter had its own way, 


running two cars daily in each direction, until an- 
other opposition turned up on December 19th, 1854. 
Bill Williams set the fare down to $5.00 ; and 
kept up with the opposition for several years, but finally 
succumbed. Stevens' line, called the "Pioneer Stage 
Line," with Alex. Hunter as agent, on July 3d, 1854, 
added a line of stages to run between Placerville and 
Georgetown, by the way of Kelsey and Spanish Flat 
to connect at Placerville with their main line from 
Sacramento, and continued from Georgetown by the 
way of Spanish Bar across the Middle Fork of the 
American river. In April, 1855, another branch line 
commenced running between Fiddletown and Mud 
Springs, connecting with the Sacramento stage at the 
latter place. With the activity of the railroad, this 
stage line had to accommodate itself to the terminus 
of the railroad, thus changing its course from Sacra- 
mento to Folsom, to Latrobe, to Shingle Springs. The 
coaches of this line are still running between Shingle 
Springs and Placerville, and Placerville and George- 

Messrs. Condee & Co., the owners of a stage run- 
ning between Placerville and Coloma since 1851 or '52, 
on August ist, 1854, inaugurated a new tri-weekly 
stage from Placerville to Drytown, Amador county, 
by the way of Diamond Springs, Mud Springs, Log- 
town and the Forks of the Cosumnes, (Yeomet) con- 
necting with stage lines running to the Southern 
mines, and changed on April ist, 1855, into a daily 
stage with very good result. The consequence of 
this result was that a party of Drytown denizens 
started an opposition stage line on the sirae route, 
which commenced running in the middle of March, 
1856, tri-weekly, with Mr. Asa D. Waugaman of the 
Orleans Hotel, as resident agent at Placerville. The 
same gentleman was agent for a stage line established 
about the same time, the S])ring of 1856, running tri- 
weekly between Placerville and Indian Diggings, own- 
ed by Messrs. Geo. C. Hanclin & Co., which line also 
had for some time an ojiposition running against it. 
Of other minor stage routes we shall only men- 
tion Mr. Henry Larkin's Omnibus stage line, es- 
tablished March 24, 1857, making two daily trips 
between Placerville and El Dorado. 

In June, 1857, when the first work for improving 
the Johnson's Cut-off road, across the Sierra Nevada 
from Placerville to Carson valley, was just commenc- 
ing, the Board of wagon road directors made an 
inspecting trip over the said road, on which occasion 
the pioneer stage-man of the Pacific slope. Col. J. B. 
Crandall, took one of his six-horse Concord stages 
over the mountains, with the intention to start a 
weekly stage between Placerville and Genoa, which 
was altered to a semi-weekly stage line on May 18, 

1858, running as an overland mail line from Placerville 
to Genoa, Carson valley. Sink of the Humboldt and 
Salt Lake City. The passenger fare from Placerville 
to Salt Lake City amounted to $125.00. This, how- 
ever, was only the embryo of the great 


\Vhich was established from the Atlantic to the Pa- 
cific States soon after. The first overland through 
mail coach from the East successfully arrived at 
Placerville on July 19, 1858, over this first continen- 
tal mail route, and was continued regularly for nearly 
ten years, up to the time when the Central Pacific 
Railroad commenced to run regular trains to Cisco, 
when the stages were taken over there. 


The oldest express line in El Dorado county, which 
was run in connection with Stevens' Placerville and 
Sacramento stages, was established by Alex. Hunter, 
the agent of the California Stage line; this line con- 
nected with Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express office at 
Sacramento, and was kept up as an independent 
office for years, until in 1855 Mr. Hunter sold out to 
Wells, Fargo & Co., and became the resident agent 
of the company. Branch offices of Wells, P^argo 
& Co.'s express had been established at Diamond 
Springs, Mr. C. N. Noteware, agent ; Mud Springs, 
Mr. T. J Organ, agent, and at Fiddletown. Later on 
the express firm established offices at Georgetown, 
Greenwood valley. Pilot Hill and Latrobe; of these at 
the present day there are -only those of Placerville, 
Diamond Springs, El Dorado, Georgetown and Latrobe 
in activity. In connection with Wells, Fargo & Co.'s 
express office at Placerville, Harris' Express in 1854 
started an express line from Placerville passing Co- 
loma, (Greenwood valley, Georgetown, Spanish Dr)' 
Diggings, Spanish Bar bridge, Paradise, North Star 
house, Todd's valley and Yankee Jim's. Mr. Asa L. 
Waugaman, of Placerville, established an express line 
connecting with Wells, Fargo tS: Co.'s express offices 
at Placerville and Diamond Springs to Grizzly Flat, on 
May ist, 1857. Redd's Express line was established 
in June, 1857, running daily from Placerville and con- 
necting with Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express, to Indian 
Diggings by way of Brownsville, Cedarville, Fairplay 
and Coxville. About the same time — middle of June, 
1857 — Mr. Theo. F. Tracy opened a tri-weekly ex- 
press line from Placerville to Genoa in Carson valley, 
connecting at Placerville with Wells, Fargo & Co.'s 
express and running with Crandall's stage line, just 
then started via Sportsman's Hall, Brockless' bridge, 
Silver creek, Lake valley, Hope valley, Gary's mill to 
Genoa and Mormon station. 


The banking and express firm of Adams & Co. had 
established an express line between San Francisco and 
Placerville some time in 1853, Mr. R. G. Noyes being 
the resident agent of the firm at Placerville. After 
the collapse of the firm in the Spring of 1855, Mr. 
Noyes was elected president of the succeeding Pacific 
Express Co., which opened business on July ist, 1855, 
with Theo. F. Tracy agent at Placerville ; Charles P. 
Jackson agent at El Dorado, and J. D. Jackson agent 
at Diamond Springs. 

In September, 1857, Messrs. Davis & Roy opened 
an express line between Placerville and San Francisco 
called "The Alta Express." This company, however, 
discontinued about the middle of November, 1858, to 
leave Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express the sole trader and 

Theo. F. Tracy, of Placerville, and J. J. Spear, Jr., 
of Georgetown, in the Spring of 1858, established the 
" Tracy & Spear's Express " between Placerville and 
Georgetown, via Kelsey and Spanish Flat, connecting 
at Georgetown with the Great Pioneer Express for 
Volcanoville, Last Chance, Ground Hog's Glory, 
Mount Gregory, Hell's Delight and Bogus Thunder. 

The Central Overland Pony Express company 
started their "Letter Express" from San Francisco to 
New York through in nine days, on Tuesday, April 3d, 
i860, Wm. W. Finney, agent. The charge for a letter, 
originally five dollars, was reduced for letters of one- 
fourth of an ounce weight to two dollars and a half. 

Out of 2 1 7 post-offices in the State of California on 
January ist, 1856, the following 17 had been estab- 
lished in El Dorado county : Cedarville, Clarksville, 
Cold Springs, Coloma, Diamond Springs, Fiddletown> 
Georgetown, Garden Valley, Grizzly Flat, Indian Dig- 
gings, Mud Springs, Newtown, Pilot Hill, Placerville, 
Salmon Falls, Spanish Flat and Yeomet. 

Governor Brown, Post Master General, in 1858, 
established the following post-oflSces with the post- 
masters on the regular route between Placerville in 
California and Genoa in Carson valley : 

At Lake Valley P. O., Martin Smith, P. M. 

At Gary's Mill P. O., Samuel Ward, P. M. 

At Job's store P. O., Moses Job, P. M. 

At Daggett's Run P. O., Dr. Charles D. Daggett, P.M. 

At present there are post-offices at the following 
named places in El Dorado county : Clarksville, Co- 
loma, Columbia Flat (St. Lawrence,) Diamond Springs, 
El Dorado (Mud Springs,) Fair Play, Fyffe, Garden 
Valley, Georgetown, Granite Hill, Green Valley, 
Greenwood, Kelsey, Lake Valley, Latrobe, Mendon, 
Nashville, Newtown, Pacific, Pilot Hill, Placerville, 
Pleasant Valley, Rowland's, Salmon Falls, Shingle 
Springs, Slippery Ford, Smith's Flat, Tallac House, 
Uniontown (Lotus.) 


This company was organized September ist, 1852, 
and incorporated September ist, 1853, with a capital 
stock of $70,000, divided into 700 shares of one 
hundred dollars each ; the period of incorporation 
to be perpetual. Said line to commence at Sacra- 
mento City and terminate at Nevada, passing through 
Mormon Island, Diamond Springs, Placerville, Col- 
oma, to Auburn and Grass valley, and from Coloma 
to Georgetown.* The officers of the Company re- 
quired by the articles of association were a President, 
Secretary, Treasurer and eight Directors. 

It is the duty of the Directors to inspect the line 
when completed, and if found to be in accordance 
with the contract, to accept it in behalf of the com- 
pany ; to alter or arrange tariff prices, and generally 
to superintend the administrative affairs of the com- 
pany. The sharers of the stock are subject to no as- 

Previous to the commencement of the work in 
constructing the line, 450 shares of the stock were 
sold on subscription at Sacramento, Nevada, Grass 
Valley and Auburn. The work of constructing the 
line was commenced in the fall of 1852, and prose- 
cuted until the raining season commenced, 
when the work was necessarily suspended, and could 
not be resumed until June, 1853. In consequence of 
this suspension of the work, the public very naturally 
came to the conclusion that the enterprise had "fallen 
through," and that the line would not be completed. 
It was, therefore, thought best under these circum- 
stances to omit calling on the people for more sub- 
scriptions until the line was completed or at least till 
the work had so far progressed as to convince the 
public that it would be completed. Accordingly, the 
money necessary to complete the line was obtained 
by other means in order to avoid further delay. The 
line was then completed and put in operation in 1853. 

The terms of subscription were as follows : Twenty- 
five per cent, of the amount subscribed by each to be 
paid at the time of subscribing ; twenty-five per cent, 
in 30 days ; twenty-five per cent, in sixty days and 
the residue in 90 days thereafter. When the full 
amount of any subscription had been paid, the 
subscriber thereto was entitled to, and received a cer- 
tificate of stock for each share subscribed. 

The following estimate has been carefully prepared, 
founded on actual data, during the first period of 
operations : 


Sacramento, 15, $1.75 each $26.25 

Answers, 8, " " 14.00 

'Cted on August i6, 1855. 


Mormon Island, 5, $i-75 each 8.75 

Answers, 3, " '• 5.25 

Diamond Springs, 7, " " 12.25 

Answers, 4, " " 7.00 

Placerville 10, " " 17.50 

Answers, 6, " " 10.50 

Coloina, 6, " " 10.50 

Answers, 4, " " 7.00 

Auburn, 8, " " 14.00 

Answers, 5, " " 8.75 

Grass Valley, 7, " " 12.25 

Answers, 4, " " 7.C0 

Nevada, 7, " " 17.00 

Answers, 4, " " 7.00 

From other lines, 10, " " 17.00 

Answers, 8, " " 14.00 

Newspaper Messages, 15.00 

Total receipts per month ; . . .$6,802.50 


Sacramento, $275.00 

Mormon Island, 50.00 

Diamond Springs, 150.00 

Placerville, 170.00 

Coloma, 7S-00 

Auburn, 100.00 

Grass Valley, 100.00 

Nevada, 150.00 

Incidental Expenses, 600.00 

Aggregate amount net profits, $5,132.00 

Or equal to 7)^ per cent, per month on the capital 
stock of $70,000. 

At the annual meeting of the stockholders of the 
company in September, 1853, the following officers 
were chosen for the ensumg year : President, J. E. 
Strong, of Sacramento ; secretary, H. R. Hawkins, 
Auburn; treasurer, B. F. Hastings, Sacramento; di- 
rectors — Ferris Foreman, I. M. Hubbard, V. E. Gei- 
ger, Sacramento ; H. Davis, Nevada ; George Wood, 
J. Winchester, Grass Valley ; Wm. Gwynn, H. T. 
Holmes, Auburn. 

The length of the telegraph wires in El Dorado 
county is 75 miles. 

The Sacramento Union on this subject says : 

" We are gratified to announce that the prospects of 
the Alta Telegraph Co., and the miners' demand for 
telegraphic communication in the northern and cen- 
tral portions of the State are growing. At a meeting 
held by the stockholders at Sacramento, it was decided 
to increase the stock and extend the lines as follows : 

First, from Nevada to Downieville'; second, from Dia- 
mond Springs to Columbia, there to connect with the 
Tuolumne line ; third, from Stockton to Oakland, and 
thence across the bay to San Francisco. The com- 
pletion of this line would make complete connection 
between Downieville and San Francisco, connecting 
with Forest City, Nevada, Grass Valley, Auburn, Co- 
loma, Placerville, Diamond Springs, Mormon Island, 
Sacramento city. Volcano, Jackson." 

The Placerville, Humboldt and Salt Lake Telegraph 
Co. was organized in May, 1858, in Placerville, with 
the intention to extend the telegraph from Placerville 
to Genoa, Carson valley, and Salt Lake City. The 
members of the company were Messrs. Bee, Bishop, 
Lovell, Randall and Jones. The citizens of Carson 
valley took a lively interest in the enterprise, and being 
anxious to see it succeed, had invested $1,200 in the 
stock right from the start. The first wire was stretched 
on this line on September 7th, 1858, and the first sec- 
tion between Placerville and Genoa, Carson valley, 
was finished before the end of the yeir. To push 
the work on as fast as possible to its destination. 
Salt Lake City, the capital stock was then increased 
to $100,000, and the Board of Directors enlarged from 
five to twelve members, for the purpose of giving other 
localities a fair representation on the Board. 

At a meeting of the Board of Directors ol the Placer- 
ville and Humboldt Telegraph Co., held at Placerville 
on April 9th, i86i, the proposition of the companies 
of this State to consolidate the lines into one company 
was agreed to, and Messrs. McCrellish, Gould and 
Turker, of San Francisco, directors of the company, 
were authorized to sign the articles of agreement. 
The Placerville and Humboldt company received $80,- 
000 in the stock of the Consolidated company in pay 
for wire and other property not in use at that time, 
and $1,500 in money. 



The peculiar geographical situation of the State of 
California in regard to the facilities that the perfect 
water-ways all along the coast and for hundreds of 
miles interior were offering, and on the other side the 
character of her population, which, with the exception 
of a small fraction, had come here not for a settlement, 
but for only a short stay, to make a fortune as quick 
as possible and then go back home again. These pecu . 
liar circumstances were not favorable to the enterprise 
of large speculations, which afford investment for large 
sums and do not promise quick returns ; this has to 
be considered the cause of retardation of railroads, 



even there where the adoption of the railroad system 
was quite commanded. 

The inland trade and travel through El Dorado 
county, from the earliest period of the golden era, 
was the largest of all mountain counties, not only on 
account of her population being the largest of all the 
counties, but^she had to provide a large portion of 
the neighboring counties with all the necessities; there 
being no other outlets for the south-eastern part of 
Placer county as well as the whole of Amador county. 
The whole of this travel and freight transportation 
was carried on by teams and stages ; but certainly this 
transportation being quite slow and tedious, particu- 
larly for those who had learned to appreciate the com- 
fort of the railroad system in tlie Eastern States and 
elsewhere and the demand for better shipping means 
became more and more urgent. 

Sacramento as the supplying depot for all the North- 
ern mines, in answer to this incessant demand, in 
1854 took up the idea. The Sacramento Valley Rail- 
road was planned in that direction from this central 
supply station, whither the principal shipping was going 
on, from Sacramento leading up the American river 
to a point not far from the junction of the North and 
South forks of this stream. No sooner had this plan 
made its appearance, than some of the leading men 
of Placerville, in true comprehension of the importance 
of the matter, called together a public meeting at that 
place to bring the affair before the people, and arouse 
the public interest for an extension of the railroad 
from the terminus of the Sacramento Valley Rail, 
road up to Placerville. The meeting was held on 
November i6th, 1854; Mayor Alex. Hunter was called 
to the chair, and George White appointed secretary. 
Col. Handy then explained the object of the meeting,- 
and a committee of five, consisting of Messrs. Handy, 
Jones, Norton, Conrad and White, was appointed, to 
which the Mayor was added, to draft resolutions. 
Nothing, however, was done besides this agitation 
for the subject. 

The Sacramento Valley Railroad, according to the 
planning, was built then to benefit the supplj' of the 
El Dorado route, from Sacramento along the South 
bank of the American river, a distance of twenty-two 
and a-half miles, in 1855, to be completed in Feb- 
ruary, 1856. This being the first steam railroad in 
California, and as up to the year of 1849 railroads 
were quite a scarce article in the Western States, west 
of the Mississippi river ; for many of the Californian 
pioneers this was the first chance to see the steam- 
horse, and learn the advantages of its use. The line 
of this railroad being traced by Theodore D. Judah, 
the afterwards chief engineer of the Central Pacific 
Railroad over the Sierra Nevada ; Col. Chas. Lincoln 

Wilson was president of the company. The cost for 
the construction and equipment, etc., was $1,100,000. 
Quite a large sum for the length of twenty-two miles, 
but labor in California at that time was very high, 
and, with only the exception of the ties, all the ma- 
terial had to be imported from the Atlantic States or 
from Europe ; and the shipping of freight then was 
quite an object, on account of there being none or 
very little return freight, besides other reasons for 
which the port of San Francisco was haunted by 
owners of vessels. Thus, after being finished and in 
fine running order, it did not seem to be an enterprise 
to invite and encourage more capital to invest in an 
extension of the road, at the terminus of which a 
town sprung up, christened Folsom in honor of Capt. 
Folsom, who had been quarter-master in the army 
under Col. R. B. Mason's command. 

About a year after the completion of the Sacramento 
Valley Railroad, early in the Spring of 1857, some 
enterprising men of Marysville surprised the public 
with a new plan to build a railroad from Folsom to 
Marysville. A company under the title of " California 
Central Railroad Company," was formed at the latter 
city, and Col. C. L. Wilson, who had been connected 
already with the Sacramento Valley Railroad, was 
sent East to procure the necessary funds for the con- 
struction of the road. He being fortunate on his 
errand, the construction was commenced immediately, 
and pushed on with all energy. From the connection 
with the Sacramento Valley Railroad, this new road 
crossed the American river a short distance above 
by means of a wooden girder bridge, then fol- 
lowing the river on the northern bank for about a mile 
for the purpose to get the height of the bluff, from 
whence it took a northwesterly course along the foot- 
hills to Lincoln, Placer county, to which point 
it was finished in October, 1861, the total length 
of the line is nineteen miles; the section from 
Lincoln to Marysville was not completed until 
1869. The construction of the Central Pacific 
Railroad from Sacramento to Roseville, in 1863, laid 
that portion of this line that used to run from Folsom 
to this junction entirely idle, because all the travel 
thereafter turned into the fourteen miles shorter 
route, and the track was finally removed. 


Made up by the business men of Sacramento city, or- 
ganized and filed their articles of incorporation with 
the Secretary of State, June 28, 1861, and on Octo- 
ber 9th, the Board of Directors of this company 
passed the following resolution : "Resolved, That Mr. 
T. D. Judah, the chief-engineer of this company, 
proceed to Washington on the steamer of the nth 



of October, instant,, as the accredited agent of the 
Central Pacific Railroad Company of California, for 
the purpose of procuring, appropriations of land and 
United States bonds from the government, to aid in 
the construction of this road." 

This mission was successfully accomplished, through 
the liberal aid of Gen. James A. McDougal, Senator 
from California, the bill passed Congress and was ap- 
proved in July, 1862. This bill granted a free right 
of way to the roads of 400 feet over all government 
lands on their route. The land on either side of the 
route was to be withdrawn from settlement, by pre- 
emption or otherwise, for a distance of fifteen miles, 
until the final location of the road should be made, 
and the United States surveys had determined the lo- 
cation of the section lines. This bill also provided 
for issuing to the company, as a loan. United States 
thirty-year six per cent, bonds, as each twenty-mile 
section of the road was completed, at the rate of 
$16,000 per mile, for the line west of the western base 
of the Sierra Nevada, which was fixed by President 
Lincoln at seven miles from Sacramento, and at the 
rate of $48,000 per mile from the western to the 
eastern base. To secure the government from loss and 
to insure the payment of the bonds, they were made 
a first lien on the road. This was subsequently modified 
by an Act passed July, 1864, allowing the company 
to issue first mortgage bonds to the same amount as 
the Government bonds, the United States taking the 
position of second mortgagee. The land grant in the 
first bill was every alternate section for ten miles 
on each side of the track, but this was afterwards 
doubled, making it every alternate (odd) section for 
twenty miles on each side of the track. And this is 
how the Central Pacific Railroad Company became 
interested in El Dorado county, whose territory she 
did not benefit in any other way. Out of the words 
of this bill it is clearly visible that at the time of 
the petition the directors of the company were 
not yet decided about the route of the railroad; 
there being two different ways, from Sacramento 
through El Dorado county, where the Sacramento 
Valley Railroad had pushed on her track already 
for twenty-two miles, and where, after the opinion of 
all engineers and surveyors, the Johnson Cut-off 
route offered the most favorable crossing of the Sierra 
Nevada, or through Placer county, on a route that 
Chief-engineer Judah had surveyed some years ago, 
and which he, of course, demonstrated most favorably; 
the blockade of the road by snow, and the interrup- 
tion of the transcontinental travel in every season, 
notwithstanding the many miles of snow-sheds on this 
road don't prove for the impartiality of that favorable 
epresentation. And the directors of tha Central 

Pacific Railroad Company may, in all probability, not 
have ignored this argument, as it is a fact that they 
were negotiating with the owners of different sections 
of toll roads over the Sierra Nevada mountains in El 
Dorado county. These negotiations, however, after 
long debates, were finally broken off on account of 
the stubborn claim of those toll road men, who did 
not want to dispose of their rights under any other 
condition than to receive a controlling interest in the 
railroad in exchange. This proposition of course set- 
tled the question and decided for a mountain passage 
on the Placer county line. This it may be understood, 
is an explanation of ex-Governor Stanford himself 
But there was still another motive which caused the 
approval of the route from Sacramento via Auburn 
and Dutch Flat, in preference to the other line 
through El Dorado county, which at that time seemed 
important enough to those directors of Sacramento 
business aristocracy, viz: The fear that the travel, 
after having accepted the latter road, could not help 
but find out that the nearest way to reach San Fran- 
cisco on the through travel was not at all by the way 
of Sacramento, but from the lower end of El Dorado 
county in the direction of Gait and Stockton, and 
that such a change would cut off the travel from Sac- 
ramento, and derive that burgh from all the benefit 
of the travel and trafiic. 

The first earth thrown up, and the actual work of 
the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad was 
begun January 8th, 1863. 

The extension of the Sacramento Valley Rail- 
road from Folsom to Placerville had been agitated 
by the Placerville people since the fall of 1859. 
An enthusiastic meeting on the subject was 
held in the Court house at Placerville on 
January 30th, i860. B. F. Nickerson was elected 
chairman. Hon. J. A. McDougall, addressed the 
meeting in an argumentative speech, followed by Dr. 
Rabe, of San Francisco, Secretary of the Central Pa- 
cific railroad convention ; other addresses were made 
by Messrs. Sanderson, Hume, Nickerson and others. 

J. G. McCallum, from the general committee, re- 
ported the following resolutions, which were adopted : 

Resolved, That a railroad between Placerville and 
Folsom is essential to the prosperity of this city, that 
the road is entirely practicable and may be con- 
structed within a short time. 

Resolvtd, That the cost of the road would not ex- 
ceed the sum of $1,000,000 ; that it would increase 
taxable property of El Dorado county to the extent 
of the value of the road, and therefore would increase 
the revenue of the county, at present rates of taxation 
$20,000 per year. 

Resolved, That while railroads are projected or 



constructed to Marysville, Auburn, etc., Placerville 
must have a road for self-preservation, that with a 
railroad the city will become the eastern depot of 
Central California, and the western depot of the State 
now rapidly forming, comprising what is known as 
Nevada or Washoe Territory. 

Resolved, That the recent discoveries of extensive 
mineral wealth in said Territory, with the favorable 
geographical position of this city and county, in view 
of the immense traffic, renders it necessary that im- 
mediate steps should be taken to advance this enter- 

Resolved, That thequestion of tax, to be submitted to 
the vote of the people of this city, should be favorably 
received, and a tax unanimously voted to secure an 
immediate survey of the route. 

Resolved, That our delegation are further instructed 
to prevent the passage of a bill which shall authorize 
a vote of the people of this county, on the question 
of the county taking stock and issuing bonds in pay- 
ment thereof to the extent of $300,000. 

Upper Placerville, also, offered its assistance in a 
public meeting heldat Independence Hall, on February 
i6th, 1863, McK. Burton presiding and C. H. Elder, 
secretary. The meeting was addressed by Messrs. 
G. W. Swan and C. W. Brewster, and the proposition 
discussed to incorporate Upper Placerville with the 
city, taxing the property of Upper Placerville for rail- 
road purposes only. 

The Common Council of Placerville, on January 
23d, i860, appointed Messrs. Kirk, Lacy and Arvid- 
son as a railroad commission for the purpose of 
making arrangements for a survey for the railroad be- 
tween Placerville and Folsom. 

The preliminary work for the extension of the rail- 
road went on, and to follow with actual work, on May 
23d, 1863, a notice called for sealed proposals for the 
grading, bridging and masonry work on the first sec- 
tion of the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad 
— between Folsom and Miller's corral — to be handed 
in at the office of the Chief-engineer in Placerville 
until June 6th. 

(Signed by) S. W. Sanderson, 

President of P. & S. V. R. R. Co. 
Fr.ancis Bishop, 
Chief-engineer of P. & S. V. R. R. Co. 

Chief-engineer F. A. Bishop's report of November 
2d, 1863, declared that the road was graded and in 
such condition as to receive the rails and ties, from 
the intersection with the Sacramento Valley Railroad 
at Folsom to the boundary line of El Dorado county, 
near Carson creek, a distance of eighteen and 
one-fourth miles. The Board thereupon "ordered 

that the chairman of the Board, the County Auditor 
and County Treasurer, constituting the railroad com- 
missioners of this county, be directed to issue bonds 
in the sums of five hundred dollars and one thousand 
dollars in equal proportions, for the amount of the first 
installment of ten per cent, upon the amount of the 
subscription of the county, as required by the Board 
of directors of said railroad company, said bonds to 
bear interest at the rate of ten per cent, per annum 
from the date of issue, November 5th, 1863, and the 
principal made payable in twelve years from said date, 
at the office of the Treasurer of El Dorado county, 
and the interest to be paid semi-annually on the 5th 
of May and the 5th of November in each year." 

In accordance with the above order, the Railroad 
Commissioners issued the bonds, and the chairman of 
the Board of Supervisors, having presented the bonds 
duly signed to the County Clerk, were undersigned by 
him in the presence of the Board of Supervisors, and 
the seal of the County Court affixed to each. J. C. 
McTarnahan, one of the Board, was authorized to de- 
liver the bonds to the secretary of the railroad com- 
pany. Arrangements, in the meantime, had been made 
in New York to procure the necessary material to put 
the road in running order. 

The Board of Supervisors at their meeting the first 
of January, 1864, "ordered that the Railroad Com- 
missioners of this county be and they are hereby 
directed to issue bonds to the amount of twelve 
thousand dollars, in equal proportions in the sums 
of five hundred and one thousand dollars, being 
the first installment of ten per cent, upon the county's 
subscription of two hundred thousand dollars to said 
stock of the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Rail- 
road Company." The money thus provided, the work 
could be pushed on more rapidly. 

The directors of the railroad, with a view of the 
speedy completion of the first section of the same, on 
January 5th, elected the following officers for the ad- 
ministration : Charles E. McLane, President ; Ogden 
Squires, Vice President; J. M. Douglas, Treasurer; 
N. A. Hamilton, Secretary ; F. A. Bishop Chief-en- 
gineer and Superintendent. 

But the directors of the Placerville & Sacramento 
Valley Railroad, anxiously wishing to attract the at- 
tention of the government to their enterprise, on 
February 19th, had the satisfaction to see two 
car loads of members of the Legislature from Sacra- 
mento coming out on an inspection trip. They were 
conveyed from Folsom over the grade of the road to 
the new town of " Latrobe," at the junction of the 
railroad and the Cosumnes wagon road, where a sump- 
tuous collation was prepared and taken ; and some 
remarks were made by Col. Bee, N. A. Ham'lton, J. 



P. Robinson and others. After that the guests re- 
turned, expressing their surprise about the work, which 
far exceeded their expectations, and greatly pleased 
with it, they thought that it was deserving of more 
State encouragment. 

During the summer of 1854 the work on the road 
was pushed vigorously, a force of more than 300 men 
were always employed. The last consignment of rail- 
road iron arrived in San Francisco harbor about the 
ist of September ; the road bemg finished then, the 
first regular freight train was running from Freeport 
to Latrobe September 19th, 1864. 

The following is a copy of, the first official freight 


Freight from Freeport to Latrobe per ton $4.00 

Down freight from Latrobe to Freeport or Sacra- 
mento will be forwarded (shipper to load and unload) 
at the following rates : 

Ordinary freight per ton $ 3.00 

Ores per ton 2.00 

Marble per ton. 2.50 

Lumber per thousand 3.00 

Wood, car of 6;^ cords i 2.00 

Hides 08 

Kips 05 

Pelt 03 

J. P. Robinson. 
F. A. Bishop, Sup't. 
On October ist the passenger trains commenced to 
run on regular trips, according to the following time 
table : 


Trains connecting with Sacramento Valley and Free- 
port Railroad, will run as follows : 

Leave Latrobe at 6^2 and ii a. m. and 4 p. m. 

Leave Sacramento at 6}^ a. m. and 4 p. m. 

Leave Freeport at 6}i a. m., 4 p. .m. and at mid- 

On Sundays all trains will run as follows: 

Leave Latrobe for Sacramento only at 1 1 a. m. 

Leave Sacramento for Latrobe at 6^2 a. m. 

All trains stop at Folsom. 

There will be no train up on Sunday nights from 

The II a. m. train in from Latrobe and the mid- 
night train from Freeport, run in connection with the 
steamboats on the river and the Pioneer stages across 
the mountains. 

The 6yi a. m. train from Sacramento, will also con- 
nect with the Pioneer line of stages, as well as with 
stages to all the mountain towns throughout El Do- 
rado, Amador and Calaveras counties. 

The 6]A and 11 a. m. trains from Latrobe also con- 
nect with the Pioneer and other stage lines at Latrobe. 

All trains from Latrobe run into Sacramento as well 
as Freeport. 

Freight will be taken on all trains except the 11 
A. M. train from Latrobe and the midnight train from 

F. A. Bishop, ) „ , 
J. P. Robinson, j-S^P'^- 

The completion of the P. &. S. V. R. R. to Shingle 
Springs took place about the middle of June, 1865 ; 
on the 1 6th of that month a free excursion was given 
to all who wished to see the place. Being on Sunday 
a large crowd took advantage of a free ride, and wan- 
dered for several hours through heat and dust about 
the picturesque locality, which was then and is still 
the terminus of the Placerville & Sacramento Valley 
Railroad. The whole length of the extension from 
Folsom to Shingle Springs is twenty-seven miles. 
Eighteen and three-quarters of a mile of it is located 
in El Dorado county. Notwithstanding the citizens of 
Placerville had granted the appropriation with the un- 
derstanding and in good faith that the terminus of the 
railroad should be at Placerville, as the name of the 
road says ; but it seems there never was any earnest 
intention on the part of the railroad company to come 
up to their promise. The grade of the railroad track 
was pushed onward from Shingle Springs for about a 
mile or two, but that's all that has been done in that 

The company soon got embarrassed, financially too ; 
the interest on the bonds did not get paid according 
to the promise, and about five years after the finish- 
ing of the road up to Shingle Springs, on July 2d, 
1859, at noon, Sheriff Griffith, of El Dorado county, 
as commissioner, in accordance with notice published, 
offered the Placerville & Sacramento Valley Rail- 
road for sale at public auction. It was purchased by 
William Alvord, of San Francisco, for $227,659,75, 
but was transferred on August 4th, 187 1, to the Cen- 
tral Pacific Railroad Company. Under this new man.- 
agement all things went on lively for the first few 
years, and it would seem that the people of El Do- 
rado had been benefited with the change, and the lat- 
ter themselves thought so. They held several meet- 
ings, resolutions were adopted and the Central Pacific 
Railroad Company was petitioned to complete the 
Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad, in accor- 
dance to the charter of said road; but there they 
found out that nothing was to be expected from that 
side for El Dorado county. 

The case dragged along, the old debts still unpaid, 
until on January the 28th, 1881, an order was made 
by Judge Hunt, of the Fifth Department of the Su- 



perior Court, at San Francisco, that the railroad com 
pany deposit in Court, to abide the event of the ac 
tions pending therein, the sum of $377,500 within 
thirty days, or surrender the possession of the road to 
Louis McLane, who had been previously appointed a 
receiver by Judge Dwinelle of the old District Court, 
in the case of McLane vs. the Railroad company. 

Instead of depositmg the money, the company at 
the expiration of the time specified in the order, re. 
moved its roU'ng stock and left the possession of the 
road to the receiver. 

It will be remembered that the road from Folsom 
to Shingle Springs never owned any rolling stock, and 
consequently the receiver was left with a road on his 
handsj and without any stock with which to operate it. 

Considering the disastrous effect the stoppage of 
trains on the road would have upon the interest of the 
people the Board of Supervisors of El Dorado county 
employed Judge Irwin, of this county, and Hon. John 
C. Burch, of San Francisco, to, if possible, obtain a 
modification of the order made by Judge Hunt, so as 
to permit the company to operate the road or to com- 
pel the receiver to do so. These gentlemen succeeded 
in getting the parties into Court, when an application 
was made by the receiver for authority to purchase 
the necessary rolling stock with which to operate the 
road, and to mortgage the same to secure the payment 
therefor. Such an order was subsequently made by 
the Court, and Mr. McLane had contracted already 
for an engine. 

At that occasion it elicited from Mr. Leland Stan- 
ford's deposition that it was the understanding of him- 
self and co-purchasers, Huntington and Hopkins, 
when they paid to \Vm. Alvord $166,400 for his title, 
obtained under a foreclosure of the second mortgage 
on the road, that the payment thus made by them, 
was to be appropriated to the lii|uidation of all exist- 
ing claims against the road, and that they acquiied 
the property free from all liens and incumbrances. 

The people of El Dorodo county, however, were 
thrown back to the time before the railroad, in- 
stead of enjoying the blessings of the cheap fare, 
which by an order of the Railroad Commissioners, 
from February i8th, 1881, had been reduced from 
$4.00 to $i.'90, from Sacramento to Shingle Springs. 

Finally, on July 3d, 1882, Judge Hunt gave judg- 
ment for the plaintiff in the case of Kittle against the 
Placerville and Sacramento Railroad; $26,000 on ac- 
count of bonds held by Kittle, and upwards of twenty 
thousand dollars for costs, attorneys' fees, expenses 
and salary of the receiver. The defendants took an 
appeal and gave a bond for $70,000, whereupon the 
receiver was discharged and the road turned over 
to the company. And.on.the loth of July, 1882, the I 

train of cars made its first regular trip to the old ter- 
minus. Shingle Springs. 



The reading matter in the mining districts, as in 
California in general, in the first years after the dis- 
covery of gold, was quite scarce ; many of the young, 
intelligent and enterprising men, making up the emi- 
gration to California, had started with a selection of 
books or other reading matter, but hardly one in five 
hundred had been able to bring them through toil and 
fatigue to the land of their destination, on account of 
overladen and exhausted teams, and most all the 
ballast, of no value for the moment, had been sacri- 
ficed to save that which was the most necessary. And 
now the adventurous gold-hunter did sorrowfully 
look back on the road over the deserts, or down in 
the dark hold of some vessel, or even down on the 
bottom of the sea, where he had lost forever what 
now he would estimate his greatest friend and his big- 
gest treasure ; but no regrettine could make up for 
the loss, and the American character not disposed to 
long grief, soon found himself contented with the 
irregular coming news from "the States," brought by 
the expressman, the exclusive dependency in those 
early days. A great many of the energetic young 
men were not satisfied with the reading of the stale 
home news, their ambitious characters would have 
liked more to take an active part in the occurences of 
the social or national life, and not being able to ac- 
complish their wishes in the life of the far, old home, 
then the time became active too, soothing the constant 
thought and longing of home, and advising the more 
thoughtful to settle down and build up a society in 
the new country, where every talent had so much 
better chance to prove his ability. This view once 
taken, what was nearer than to start a newspaper to 
tell all around what occurred in this new society and 
to relieve the society from the monotonous dependency 
on the expressman. 


Was the first man to take up the idea to deliver to 
this new society an organ which would communicate the 
events of the day. He was the pioneer of newspaper- 
men not only in this county, but of the whole min- 
ing district of California ; the press started by him at 
Placerville was the first one in the interior of Cali- 
fornia, outside of Sacramento. The 


Published weekly at Placerville, was the pioneer news- 


RESiDENCEoT Simon desmarchais crlcnwood 



paper throughout the mining camps of the Sierra Ne- 
vada; it made its first appearance early in the summer 
of 1851, and was continued regularly until February 
i8th, 1854, when selling out, Mr. Springer disposed 
of the whole printing establishment, etc., to D. W. 
Gelwicks & Co., who in the place of the defunct Re- 
publican started 


An enterprise which in spite of all the changes El 
Dorado county has undergone, from the time of its 
first appearance up to this day, has been managed 
with strong but skillful hands, cautiously and pru- 
dently taking care of the interest of its patrons and 
the public interest of the county in general Always 
faithful to the true democratic principles it has kept 
its place as the leading newspaper of the county up to 
this day. The Mountain Democrat, published and 
edited by D. W. Gelwicks and Wm. A. January, 
appeared for the first time as a weekly paper on Sat- 
urday, February 25th, 1854, at Placerville, and con- 
tinued to do so uninterruptedly, except for four weeks 
after the big Placerville fire of July 6th, 1856, which 
had destroyed the office with most all its contents. 
On Wednesday, August 2 2d, [860, it was changed 


And some time about January, i860, the beautiful 
pen of Geo. Pen. Johnson had been added to the 
editorial staff, on account of Wm. A. January being 
elected County Clerk, at the general election of the 
fall of 1859. Old habits, however, are often stronger 
with human beings than the best efforts of innovators, 
thus with the semi-weekly Alountain Democrat ; 
patrons and newspaper men both had been used to the 
old style of a weekly paper for too long a time that it 
was not surprising at all to see its reappearance in 
the familiar dress of the old weekly on January 5th_. 
1861, to which it has stuck all the time since. And 
the only change that has to be chronicled about the 
Mountain De??wcrat from that date to the present 
time, is the change in the proprietorship. D. W. Gel- 
wicks and Wm. A. January, in 1867, sold their 
interests respectively to George O. Kies and 
T. J. Caystile. W. A. Selkirk then on December 
20th, 1872, bought from the last named gentleman 
his half interest, together with one-third of the other 
half from Mr. Kies, who remained a partner in the 
ownership of the Mountain Democrat, but disposed 
of the balance of his interest, selling out to W. A. 
Selkirk, 1874, leaving the latter sole proprietor of the 
newspaper. In 1880, W. A. Selkirk sold the whole 
of his title and interest in the Mountain Democrat to 
W. R. Selkirk and E. A. Smith. The next change 

took place about one year after, in 1881, E. A. Smith 
sold his half interest to ^V. R. Selkirk, to be repur- 
chased by W. A. Selkirk. 

There is one incident in the history of the Moun- 
tain Democrat of which we have to make reference, 
because it gives an idea of the importance it was 
credited for by the government; it was in November, 
1862, when the war was going on East, that the com- 
mander of the military department of the Pacific 
cojst, General Wright, issued an order prohibiting the 
transmission of the Placerville Democrat through the 
mails and express companies. This was done on 
account of exercising the right of every free man and 
citizen of this Republic to utter his own opinion, 
though differing from that of the ruling power. 

Of the proprietors and editors of this paper, D. W. 
Gelwicks has filled the office of State printer, while 
Wm. A. January is the present Secretary of State. 
Thos. A. Springer also held the office of State Printer 


Was issued for the first time in the Summer of 1851, 
at Coloma, James R. Pile & Co. proprietors, D. W. 
Gelwicks editor and D. G. Waldron, business agent. 
The Miners' Advocate being the second newspaper 
of the county, and of the whole mining district of 
California, appeared weekly, representing the Whig 
party in politics. After about two years from the 
time of the first issue, the printing office, with presses, 
etc., was purchased by John Conness and T. M. Reed, 
who commenced in the Summer of 1853 to issue in 
•.lace of the Miners' Advocate, 


A weekly like its predecessor, edited by N. W. Fuller. 

The Miners' Advocate, however, was transfered to 
Diamond Springs, from where it made its reappear- 
ance a short time after having been discontinued at 
Coloma, being edited by Fred. A. Snyder up to July 
23d, 1854. 

Fred. A. Snyder died on an excursion at Lake 
Bigler. He had crossed the plains in 1849, and had 
been elected a member of the Legislature from San 
Francisco, in 1852 to 1853; but resigned his seat in 
that Honorable body and broke with his party on ac- 
count of princijjle difficulties. He was born in Mon- 
roe county, 111., and graduated from McKendree col- 
lege, studied law thereafter and was admitted to the 
bar when only 19 years. Hon. Wilson Flint gave the 
following account of F. A.. Snyder's last resting place 
near Lake Bigler : "Passing down the valley we saw 
the grave of Major Snyder. It is a solitary place, the 
long pine boughs above mourn with a lonesome wail, 
and shaken by the desert breeze fall sadly as mourners 



upon the little mound that contains what was once a 
warm and noble heart." 

The Miners' Advocate, having made regular issues 
until December, 1855, changed hands again, and be- 
came the property of Dr. Bradley, of Placerville,. who 
took hold of it from the quoted date and published 
it from January ist, 1856, as the 


A weekly paper like the former, and representing the 
same political principles as that paper. The press 
that has been used to print both these papers on, is 
said to be still in activity, serving the same old pur- 
pose at Folsom. 

The Empire County Argus, representing the Brod- 
erick wing of the Democratic party, D. P. Tallmage 
editor, continued under the same proprietorship up to 
the end of 1855, when it became the property of 
Messrs. Forbes* and Woods, who conducted it as one 
of the best newspapers of the State, but becoming em- 
barrassed, were compelled to discontinue the issue of 
the Argus; on November 8th, 1856, they bade fare- 
well to the patrons of the paper, closing their vale- 
dictory in the following beautiful language : 

"Coloma is a pleasant place to live: beautiful and 
picturesque in itself and scenery surrounding, and 
boasting a population of brave and generous men and 
women as ever breathed Ciod's mountain air; and now 
that business pursuits constrain us to seek some new 
field for usefulness, we feel like one who quits the 
scenes and associations of youth to go out into the cold 
world, looking in new lands for fortune and for smiles 
in strange faces. But it must be so, and we shake off 
for the time these pleasant reflections, and go forth to 
do and bear what the fates have in store for us. We 
leave Coloma as we have left a hundred places before, 
with a brass rule in our pocket, and a light heart in 
our vest, bearing away little of malice or lucre, but 
priding in the good will of those among whom we 
have been sojourning. Long years from now, if life 
be spared, we shall still turn back to memory's page 
where are written the bright lines of to-day's experi- 
ence; and as we now quit it with regret we shall ever 
return with pleasure to Coloma, feeling in the heart's 
quickened throb as we look down the hills which 
stand sentinel around the golden valley, that merry 
tingle of the jubilant blood which thrills the soul as 
we draw near home." 

Coloma thus would have been without a newspaper, 
and to prevent this the people of old Coloma went in 
for the deficiency, which again brought to light The 
Empire County Argus, and enabled it to reappear 

• W. J. Forbes, editor and publisher of I'he Empire Connty Argvt in 
1854 to 1856, died at Battle Mountain, Nevada, in November 1875 

thereafter regularly until July 23d, 1857, when it was 
sold to H. F. Smith & Co., who removed it to Placer- 
ville, where it came out after three weeks' suspension 
on Thursday, August 13th, as the Tri-Weekly Argus, 
Capt. W. Frank Stewart, editor. The Tri-Weekly 
Argus was succeeded on February 13th, 1858, by the 
Tri-Weekly Index, published by Langard & Phelps; 
the Tri-Weekly Index, by the Tri-Weekly Register, 
and this by the Semi- Weekly Register, but their career 
getting shorter and shorter. Finally the property 
came into the hands of Messrs. O. L. C. & J. D. Fair 
child, who started the publication of the 


Which made its first appearance at Placerville, on Feb- 
ruary zd, 1859, being published twice a week; it was 
printed on the same press. used by the above named 
papers ; it was independent in politics and had Capt. 
W. Frank Stewart for editor also. After having been 
published regularly for one year the Observer was 
discontinued, and took leave from its patrons on Feb- 
ruary 4th, i860. 

The first newspaper of Georgetown was the 


A weekly paper that appeared for the first time on 
Thursday, October 12th, 1854, J. Wing Oliver, editor 
and proprietor. The News was a Whig paper; 
Georgetown always had been the stronghold of the 
Whig party and afterwards became that of the Repub- 
lican party in the county. On Thursday, February ist, 
1855, the ownership of ihe News passed into the 
hands of Theo. Piatt, Jr., J. W. Oliver as editor ; with 
the issue of May 24th, 1855, Mr. Oliver ceased his 
connection with the News, and J. G. McCallum took 
his place, and a half interest in the paper, which was 
published until October 15th, by McCallum & Piatt. 
The next issue appeared on November 8th, 1855, and 
was published by Piatt & Shaw. But its lifetime was 
counted : a few months later, already it belonged to 
those things that are gone by. 

At Placerville Messrs. Childs & Wadsworth, about 
July ist, 1855, undertook to publish a weekly paper ; 
the Placerville American made its appearance a short 
time after, Richard Cole, editor, but it seems it did 
not make a success, and its existence was but limited. 

The year of i860 brought new life in the newspaper 
enterprise ; and Coloma took the lead with the issue 
of The Coloma Times, published by George O. Kies 
and S. B. Weller. The first number appeared in 
March, i860, and thereafter continued with regular 
weekly issues until October, 1861, when it was trans- 
fered to Placerville, where it appeared as The El Do- 
rado Times, published by George O. Kies ; the first 



^*»''^^ i!^>^^M?*--» -g"*^ 




issue being dated November 30th, i86i ; the Times 
being Union Democrat in politics. 

At Placerville Hon. J. G. McCallum started a 
semi-weekly paper, The Central Californian, that 
made its appearance on August 4th, i860. It was 
started as a campaign paper, advocating the election 
of Douglas and Johnson. Richard Cole was the 
editor, who was succeeded from January ist, 1861, by 
O. D. Aveline. The El Dorado County Union was 
the next thereafter, being issued first as a weekly, on 
Wednesday, June 28th, 1861, but changed into the 
El Dorado County Daily Union with its issue of 
Thursday, July 20th, and appeared as a daily to the 
end of the month, when it ceased without taking 
leave. Richard Cole was the editor of the Union, 
which represented Democratic principles. The press 
and other property of the Union then became the 
property of Messrs. Fumerton & Yarnell, who began 
to publish The Placerville Weekly Neias, a Union 
Democrat paper, issued for the first time on Wednes- 
day, August 14th, 1861. 

The Semi- weekly Placerville Refttblican, pub- 
lished by D. DeGolia, was first issued on Wednesday, 
August 7th, 1861. Mr. Bowman, of San Francisco, 
was its editor, and he was succeeded sometime later 
by Thomas Fitch. The Republican, however, had 
but a brief existence, its last number was issued not 
quite a year after it made its first appearance, on June 
26th, 1862. After a sound slumber of about ten 
years Mr. B. F. Davis revived the Republican, pub- 
lishing it as a weekly, under the name of 


Its management has proved the clever business 
hand of the owner, from the first issue in 1872, to 
this day, according to its name advocating the' 
principles of the great Republican party. 

The Getn was the name of a small publication, 
61^ by 9 inches in size; the first number appeared at 
Georgetown, on April 12th, 1872, owned and edited 
by E. L. Crawford, who took leave from his patrons 
after a regular weekly issuance of five years, on April 
6th, 1877. Thereafter Georgetown was again without 
a newspaper, until April 9th, 1880, when Mr. Horace 
W. Hulbert, who had a great deal of experience in 
the newspaper enterprise, came here and started the 
Georgetown Gazette, a weekly paper intended to in- 
terpret Republican ideas. 

The last one out is the Lotus Press, published 
every Tuesday by G. W. Gallanar, at Uniontown 
(Lotus). The Press in its first issue of June 27th, 
1882, explained its stand-point, saying: "We have 
the success of El Dorado county at heart, and intend 
to do our mite towards its advancement." 



Masonic Directory in El Dorado county : 

El Dorado Lodge, No. 26, F. and A. M., located 
in Placerville, meets every Monday in their Lodge 
room. While's Building, Main street. 

Georgetown Lodge, No. 25, F. and A. M., located 
in Georgetown, meets on Saturday evening preceding 
the full moon. 

Diamond Lodge, No. 29, F. and A. M., located 
in Diamond Springs, meeting on Saturday evening 
preceding the full moon. 

Hiram Lodge, No. 43, F. and A. M., located in 
El Dorado city, stated meetings held on Monday pre- 
ceding full moon. 

Indian Diggings Lodge, No. 85, F. and A. M., 
located in Indian Diggings, meets on the second 
Saturday of each month. 

Acacia Lodge, No. 92, F. and A. M., located 
in Coloma, holds meeting on Thursday of or preced- 
mg the full moon. 

Mount Zion Lodge, No. 114, F. and A. M., lo- 
cated in Diamond Springs, meeting on Friday of or 
preceding the full moon. 

Palmyra Lodge, No. 151, F. and A. M., located 
in Placerville, meets on Thursday preceding the 
full moon in the Odd Fellows' Hall. 

El Dorado Chapter, No. 4, Royal Arch Masons, 
located in Diamond Springs, meeting on the ist and 
3d Fridays of each month. 

Saint James Chapter, No. 16, Royal Arch Masons, 
located in Placerville, meets on each ist Wednes- 
day of the month in \Vhite's building. Main street. 

Pilot Hall Lodge, No. 160, F. and A. M. 

Acacia Lodge, No. 92, Coloma ; chartered by the 
Grand Lodge sitting at Sacramento May 8th, 1856. 

Alex. G. Abell Grand Secretary 

Addison Martin Grand Treasurer 

W. H. Howard Grand Master 

J. H. Raymond Sen. Grand Warden 

T. A. Thomas Deputy Grand Master 

Samuel A. Merritt, Jr Grand Warden 

Petitioning Members — Thomas M. Reed, Thomas 
Robertson, Thomas H. Williams, J. Morris, J. N. 
Sanford, James Darant, A. W. CuUum, D. S. Smith, J. 
L. Chapman, C. J. Rackliff, Thomas Wren and others. 

Dispensation was granted October 8th, 1855. 

The first meeting held was November ist, 1855. 

The charter members were, in addition to Thomas 
Wren and others, as copied above, Wm. M. McCon- 
nell, C. N. Noteware, M. B^'.rowsky, C. G. Anderson 
J. Hedrick, H. S. Herrick, A. A. Van Guelder, Henry 
Mahler, A. Lohry, G. D. Hurlbert. 



First officers— T. M. Reed, W. M.; Thomas Robert- 
son, S. W.; Thomas H. Williams, J. W.; J. L. Chap- 
man, Treasurer pro tern ; A. A. Van Guelder, Secre- 
tary pro tern ; C. N. Noteware, 8. D. pro tern; M. Ba- 
rowsky, J. D. fro tern; H. S. Herrick, Tyler /r^ tern. 

The first business of the meeting was to elect officers 
and the following persons were elected ; 

William McConnell Treasurer 

A. A. Van Guelder Secretary 

C. N. Noteware Senior Deacon 

J. L. Chapman Junior Deacon 

A- W. Cullum Steward 

M. Barowsky Steward 

H. S. Herrick Tyler 

D. C. McKinney was the first person made a Mason. 

Newell Grace was the first petitioner and first to 
take a degree. 

The Masters have been : Thomas M. Reed, 1855- 
'56 J A. W. Cullum, i8s7-'s3; George H. Gilbert, 
1859; A. W. Cullum, i86o-'6i; J. B. Maxley, 1862; 
George H. Gilbert, 1863; Robert Chalmers, 1864- 
'65-'66-'67-'68; A. J. Christie, 1869-70; H. B. 
Newell, i872-'73-'74'-7s ; C. P. Young, 1876-77- 
'78-'79; Frank Nicholls, i88o-'8i-'82. 

The membership is about 35. Meet in the I. O. 
O. F. hall. The Lodge is out of debt and in good 
financial condition. 

ODD fellows' lodges IN EL DORADO COUNTY. 

The foUowmg are the names of lodges of Odd Fel- 
lows in this county, the time and place of meeting of 
each, and names of the principal officers installed at 
the commencement of the term, July ist, 187 1 : 

Diamond Springs Lodge, No. 9 — Diamond Springs. 
Matthew Lind, N. G.; M. S. Gilbert, V. G.; E. Brad- 
bury, E. and P. S.; E. Willow, Treasurer. Night of 
meeting — Wednesday. 

Morning Star Lodge, No. 20 — Placerville. Organized 
February 9th, 1854. Whit. H. Hill, N. G.; Wm. 
Kemp, V. G.; J E. Dean, R. S.; I, Glynn, Treasurer; 
J. M. Anderson, P. S. Night of meeting — Saturday. 

Coloma Lodge, No. 27 — Coloma. ' James Cockbill, 
N. G.; G. D. Endress, V. G.; Ernest Mortensen, R. 
and P. S.; Robert Chalmers, Treasiirer. Night of 
meeting — Saturday. 

Memento Lodge, No. 37 — Georgetown. E. D. 
Curtis, N. G.; O. C. Beebe, V. G.; L. B. McLaine, R. 
S.; A. A. Francis, Treas.; P. H. Spencer, P. S. Night 
of meeting — Saturday. 

Polar Star Lodge, No, 56 — Fair Play; transferred to 
Indian Diggings. F. A. Crabtree, N. G.; C. E. Rich- 
ardson, V. G.; J. G. Gilmore, R. and P. S.; J. G. 
Carr, Treas. Night of meeting — Saturday. 

Cosumnes Lodge, No. 63 — Latrobe. E. L. Huiston, 

N. G.; S. A. Lano, V. G.; Thomas Hitchcock, R. and 
P. S.; C. W. Edwards, Treas. Night of meeting- 

Morning Light Lodge, No. 89 — Spanish Flat. Leon- 
ard Reeg, N. G.; Thomas Ruddock, V. G.; G. W. 
Frater, R. and P. S.; G. H. Roclke, Treas. Night of 
meeting — Saturday. 

Aurum Lodge, No. 23 — El Dorado. 

Silver Lake Lodge, No. — . Organized September 
7th, 1857. Meeting Thursday at the Masonic Hall at 
Grizzly Flat. C. E. Springer, N. G.; H. Vance, R. 
S.; Wm. McCracken, V. G.; J. J. Dean, Tyler. 

Zeta Encampment, No. 5 — Organized at Diamond 
Springs in 1854; changed its location to Placerville in 
January, 1857, under dispensation of the M. W. G. 
P.. Prescott Robinson. 


"Industry requires its captains as well as war. 
During the past few years, the readers of our public 
journals have become conversant with the otitbreaks in 
various parts of the United States of the laboring men. 
There seemed to be a demand for an organization 
through which these parties could manifest them- 
selves. Political or financial combinations had felt 
themselves secure during all the historical struggle 
between wealth and power on the one side, and num- 
bers on the other, because wherever combinations of 
workmen were not interdicted by law, advantage was 
taken by the diversity of interests among them to neu- 
tralize their influence. 

In Europe the antagonism of industries was stimu- 
lated to an unnatural degree ; in America, the same 
thing was accomplished by ranging the great body of 
agriculturalists in separate political bodies. 

The need of a great conciliating centralizing in- 
fluence was felt before the war of the rebellion. Soon 
after it became an imperative necessity, as the industry 
of the Southern States was entirely paralyzed, while 
that of the Northern States was laboring under a bur- 
den entirely too great to be borne. 

The associations before organized proved inade- 
quate to cope with the master monopolies that had 
secured a firm hold on Congress and the capital of 
the land. It was natural that the initiative steps 
should be taken at Washington, where the dangers 
were most apparent. Hence, in January, i866,- under 
an order from the President of the United States, 
Mr O. H. Kelly, of the Agricultural Bureau, com- 
menced a tour of inspection through the Southern 
States. After consulting freely with the farmers of 
those sections visited he came to the conclusion that, 
to reconstruct the industries of the South, so devas- 
tated by the ravages of the war, would require the aid 




and co-operation of the entire land, only to be 
reached by a close bond of associations. 

William Saunders, of the Bureau of Agriculture, an 
intelligent and thoughtful Scotchman, whose extensive 
correspondence had made him familiar with the 
struggles of the farmers in all parts of the country, 
entered warmly into the spirit of the movement. Mr. 
Kelly had proposed through some organization like 
unto the Masonic or Odd Fellows' fraternaties to unite 
the farmers of the country into close bonds of fellow- 
ship. The originators of the movement were O. H. 
Kelly, Wm. Saunders, Wm. M. Ireland, John R. 
Thompson, Rev. Dr. John Trimble and Rev. A. B. 
Grosh, who on the 5th day of August, 1867, met and 
compiled the first Degree of the Order of the " Patrons 
of Husbandry." A few days later Mr. Saunders 
went to St Louis for the purpose of establishing the 
Order in the Western States. The word " Grange " 
is of the pure old English, and used by writers to con- 
vey the idea of a farmstead or country residence ; in 
its symbolic application it means the hall or place of 
meeting of the members. 

The natic Grange was first organized in Wash- 
ington city at the residence of William Saunders, on 
the evening of December 4th, 1867, and the following 
persons were elected as officers, viz : 

Wm. Saunders, D. C Master 

J. R. Thompson, Vt Overseer 

Anson Bartlett, Ohio Steward 

Wm. Muir, Pa Assistant Steward 

A. S. Moss, N. Y Chaplain 

A. B. Grosh, Pa Treasurer 

Wm. M. Ireland, Pa Secretary 

O. H. Kelly, Minn Gate Keeper 

Edward F. Fanss, 111 Gate Keeper 

A subordinate Grange was formed out of about 60 
members to test the working of the ritual. 

The first dispensation was granted to an application 
of Harrisburg, Pa., the second one to Fredonia, N. Y., 
third to Columbus, Ohio, and fourth to Chicago, 111. 
Only ten Granges were organized the first year, and at 
the end of the second year thirty-one were reported. 
The most rapid growth was in the Mississippi valley 
States in the west, Iowa being the Banner State in the 
movement. In 1873, from sixty to eighty Granges per 
day were organized in the Hawkeye State. The popu- 
larity of the Order knew no bounds, and it spread 
as the "tidal wave," until its ramification reached 
both shores of our Union. It was a powerfull stim- 
ulant and educator of the masses of both sexes in the 
agricultural districts, and its influence for a time was 
felt through the land. The objects and plans of the 
Order are fully expressed in an address by Wm. Saun- 

ders to the third annual assembly of the National 
Grange, February 4th, 1870. 

"To increase the products of the earth, by increasing 
the knowledge of the produce, is the basis of our 
structure ; to learn and apply the relations of science, 
so far as relates to the various products of the earth, 
and to diffuse the truths and general principles of the 
science and art of agriculture, are ultimate objects of 
our organization. We propose — • 

First, To secure to ourselves through the Granges so- 
cial and educational advantages not otherwise attain- 
able, and thereby, while improving their condition as a 
class, ennoble farm-life, and render it attractive and 

Second, To give a full practical effect to the fraternal 
tie which unites them, in helping and protecting each 
other in case of sickness, bereavement, pecuniary mis- 
fortune, want and danger of every kind. 

Third, To make themselves better and more success- 
ful men and farmers, by means of the -mowledge 
gained, the habits of industry and method established, 
and the quickening of thought induced by intercourse 
and dicussion. 

Fourth, To secure economies in the purchase of 
implements, fertilizers and family supplies, and in 
transportation, as well as increased profits in the sale 
of the products of their labor, at the sarne time less- 
ening the cost to the consumer. 

Fifth, To entirely abolish the credit system in their 
ordinary transactions, always buying and selling on a 
cash basis, both among themselves and in their dealings 
with the outside world. 

Sixth, To encourage co-operation in trade, in farm- 
ing and in other branches of industry, especially those 
most intimately connected with agriculture. 

Seventh, To promote the true unity of the republic, 
by drawing the best men and women of all parts of 
the country together in an organization that knows no 
bounds, no prejudices, and owes no party allegiance." 

The following declaration of purposes was adopted 
by the State Grange of California Octtber loth, 1874: 

First, United by the strong and faithful tie of agricul- 
ture, we mutually resolve to labor for the good of our 
Order, our country, and mankind. 

Second, We heartily indorse the mc 'to, "in essentials, 
unity; in non-essential.s, liberty; in al things, charity." 

Third, We shall endeavor to advance our cause by 
laboring to accomplish the following objects: 

To develop a better and higher manhood and 
womanhood among ourselves. To enhance the com- 
forts and attractions of our homes and strengthen our 
attachments to our pursuits, to foster mutual under- 
standing and co-operation, to maintain inviolate our 
laws, and to emulate each other in labor, to hasten the 


good time coming. To reduce our expenses, both in- 
dividual and corporate, to diversify our crops, and 
crop no more than we can cultivate. To condense 
the weight of our exports, selling less in the bushel 
and more on the hoof and in fleece; less in ink and 
more in warp and woof. To systematise our work 
and calculate intelligently on probabilities. To dis- 
countenence the credit system, the mortgage system, 
the fashion system, and every other system tending to 
prodigality and bankruptcy. We propose meeting to- 
gether, talking together, working together, and in gen- 
eral acting together for our mutual protection and ad- 
vancement as occasion may require. We shall avoid 
litigation as much as possible by arbitration in the 
Grange. We shall constantly strive to secure entire 
harmony, good will, vital brotherhood among our- 
selves, and to make our order perpetual. We shall 
earnestly endeavor to suppress personal, local, sec- 
tional and national prejudices, all unhealthy rivalry, 
all selfish ambition. 

The first Grange in the State of California or on the 
Pacific coast, was organized by Mr. A. A. Bayley, at 
Pilot Hill, El Dorado Co., August loth, 1870, and 
called Pilot Hill Grange, No. i. The Charter mem- 
bers were : P. D. Brown, Master ; A. J. Bayley, Secre- 
tary ; J. W. Davis, A. A. Bayley, John Bishop, Jas. 
H. Rose, John Marshall, C. S. Rogers, Thos. Owens, 
J. P. Bayley, S. S. Blue, A. Martin, Wm. Norvall, J. 
R. Clow, Silas Hayes, J. S. Martin, T. T. Lovejoy, 
"Wm. H. Matherley, George B. Mudd, Mrs. C. H. 
Jones, Mrs. C. S. Owens, Mrs. P. D. Brown, Mrs. G. 
B. Mudd, Mrs. E. J. Bayley, Miss Jane Jones, Miss 
Mary Jones, Miss A. R. Lovejoy, Miss M. R. Brown 
and MLss J. E. Bayley. Present officers, Wentworth, 
Master; H. C. Ewing, Secretary. 

Clarksville Grange, No. 149, organized January 
13th, 1874, by W. S. Manlove, Deputy ; charter mem- 
bers were R. T. Mills, Master ; J. Malby, Secretary ; 
Charles Chapman, Nettie Chapman, John F. York, 
W. D. Rantz, Amelia T. Rantz, J. E. Butler, Eliza- 
beth Mills, Peter R. Willot, C. F. Malby, Emma 
Woodward, A. Morrison, Samuel Kyburz, Rebecca 
S. Kyburz, Albert B. Kyburz, George Fitch, 
Egbert L. Wilson, Joseph Jouger, Chas. Porter, 
S. Euer, Clara S. Euer, I. W. Wilson and Carry E 

Placerville Grange, No. 241, organized February 
ist, 1875, by A. J. Christie, Deputy. Wm. Wiltse, 
Master; H. G. Hulbur^ Secretary; Wm. Lewis, I. 
S. Bamber, R. Miles, Sarah Miles, George W. Ray 
Ethelinda Ray, A. S. Cook, M. J. Cook, Frank Goyani 
John P. Allen, Christie Ann Allen, Griffith L. Jones 
Joseph Lyon, Isaac Tribbin, Jacob Lyon, Elizabeth 
Lyon, Rachael G. Simons, Eli Herrell, Jno. Kemp, 

Thomas Ealph, Byron H. Hulburd, C. H. Burnham 
and Mary J. Groves. 

El Dorado Grange, No. 178, organized April 27th, 
1874, by W. S. Manlove, Deputy. C. G. Carpenter,. 
Master; J. M. B. Wetherwax, Secretary; Philip 
Kramp, W. H. Kramp, Catherine Kramp, Jacob 
Knizeley, Fanny C. Knizeley, C. D. Brooke, Mary E. 
Brooks, M. S. Robinson, J. M. B. Wetherwax, D. 
E. Norton, Betsey A. Norton, Sarah H. Carpenter,. 
C. G. Carpenter, F. C. Carpenter, John Bryan, C. T. 
Jones, Charlotte Foster, Thomas Burns, Cleora C. 
Burns, N. Gilmore. This Grange has consolidated 
with the Placerville Grange. 

Sutter Mill Grange, No. 179, Coloma, organized 
April 29th, 1874, by W. S. Manlove, Deputy, A. J. 
Christie, Master; Henry Mahler, Secretary; J. G. 
O'Brien, Henrietta A. O'Brien. O. Mortensen, Louisa 
Mortensen, W. D. Othick, E. DeLory, A. J. Peterson, 
W. Stearns, Wm. H. Hooper, Aggie Mahler, G. 
Bassi, W. H. Valentine, Mary Stearns, Edith Vanden- 
shefter, Anna A. Delory, E. M. Smith, Eliza J. Dob- 
son, Rebecca A. Poteel, S. J. Poteel, Andrew White, 
H. B. Newell, A. P. Christie, Rosa M. Cay, Robert 
Chalmers, Abe Chalmers, R. C. McCay, Mary E. 
DeLory, Francis Veerkamp. 


Pursuant to an invitation addressed to the mem- 
bers of the Medical Profession throughout this county, 
calling upon them to meet in general convention in 
the city of Placerville on the 8th of May, 1856, for 
the purpose of forming a County Medical Society, a 
delegation from various sections of the county assem. 
bled at Masonic Hall, May 8th, at one o'clock. 

The convention was called to order by Dr. W. A. 

Dr. O. Harvey, upon nomination, was chosen chair- 
man of the convention, and Dr. S. L. Sargent, secre- 

On motion of Dr. Titus, a committee of three was 
appointed to report permanent officers for the conven- 
tion. Drs. P. Chamberlin, J. R. Edwards, and S. M. 
Slaughter were appointed. 

Moved, by Dr. Edwards, that a committee of three 
be appointed to examine the credentials of the mem- 
bers. Whereupon Drs. Clark, Worthen and Fiske 
were appointed. 

On call for names of members, the following mem- 
bers responded : 

Dr. S. M. Slaughter Pleasant Valley 

" J. R. Edwards Shingle Springs 

" H. M. Fiske El Dorado 

" L. P. Baker Grizzly Flat 

" J. L. Sargent Ringgold 


Dr. F. M. Shields Cold Springs 

" A. Clark Placerville 

" R. Rankin 

" H. W. A. Worthen 

" I. S. Titus 

" O. Harvey 

" P. Chamberlain 

" S. Hall 

Moved by Dr Titus, that the test of qualification 
for membership be the same as that adopted by the 
State Medical Society. 

The convention adjourned to meet again at Placer- 
vivUe on May 24th, 1856. 

The convention met pursuant to adjournment at 
the Masonic Hall, at Placerville, on May 24th, 1856. 
After some preliminary work the following officers 
were elected for the first year, ensuing the organiza- 
tion : 

Samuel F. Hamm, Diamond Springs President 

P. Chamberlin, Placerville Vice President 

H. M. Fiske, El Dorado " 

I. S. Titus, Placerville Recording Secretary 

O. Harvey, Placerville Treasurer 

J. L. Sargent, Ringgold Censor 

H. W. A. Worthen, Placerville " 

J. L. Shober, ' " " 

A. Clark, " " 

B. F. Keene, " " 

The farmers of El Dorado county organized a club, 

and at a meeting held at Placerville, September 7th, 
1872, the following constitution and laws for the gov- 
ernment of the club were adopted : 


I St. This organization shall be known as "El Do- 
rado County Farmers' Club, No. i." 

2d. Its object shall be the improvement of its 
members in the theory and practice of agriculture. 

3d. Its members, additional to its original num- 
ber, shall consist of such as shall receive a two-third 
vote for admission, and pay the sum of one dollar, and 
annually thereafter. 

4th. Its officers shall consist of a President, Vice 
President, Treasurer and Librarian — who jointly consti- 
tute the Executive Committee — and shall be elected 

Sth. Its meetings shall be held monthly, and at 
such time and place as the President may deem neces- 
sary to the good of the society. 

6th. This constitution may be amended at any 
regular meeting, said amendment having been pro- 
posed at the previous meeting. 

I, 2, 3, 4 and 5 define the business of the officers. 

6. Declares that meetings shall be held at Placer- 
ville, on the second Saturday of each month. 

7. Decides about the business of the following 
standing committees of the club: On soils and their 
improvement; on cereals; on root and other crops; 
on trees and timber ; on fruit (trees and vineyard); 
on domestic animals; on library. 

The club elected Hon. Robert Chalmers and G. G. 
Blanchard to represent the club at the Farmers' State 
Club Convention meeting at Sacramento during the 
State Fair. 

At a meeting for the purpose of reorganizing the 
El Dorado County Agricultural Society, held at Placer- 
ville, November 21st, 1877, there was a good attend- 
ance and much interest manifested. It was moved 
that the officers should consist of : President, two Vice 
Presidents, a Recording Secretary, a Financial Sec- 
retary, Treasurer and seven Directors; and that the 
Directors shall constitute a Board of Managers. The 
following officers were then elected for the ensuing year: 
Geo. G. Blanchard, President ; J. G. O'Brien, of Cold 
Springs, and E. C. Day, of Kelsey, Vice Presidents ; 
Charles H. Wetherwax, Financial Secretary; Wm. 
Wiltse, Recording Secretary ; John Blair, Treasurer ; 
Directors — "W. H. Valentine, Coloma ; J. H. Miller, 
Latrobe ; N. Gilmore, El Dorado ; E. R. Peace, 
Georgetown ; Thomas Hardie, and H. S. Morey, 
Placerville ; C. G. Carpenter, Diamond Springs. 

Territorial Pioneers. 
Of 1849, and 1850, residing in El Dorado county. 

The undersigned invite you to unite with them in 
a Society to be called the Territorial Pioneers of 1849 
and 1850. The name indicates the nature and 
objects of the Society. Giving the post of honor to 
the Pioneers of Forty-nine, our Society would em- 
brace all those who came here prior to September 
9th, 1850, the date of the admission of California in- 
to the Federal Union. 

Such a Society will serve to reveal and re-unite 
early and unselfish friends, and to bring back to the 
memory many others who should not be forgotten. 
It will revive and keep alive the fading recollections of 
the "flush times," when hopeful and generous ad- 
venture was the princely almoner of wealth that 
seemed to be exhaustless. It will serve to recall the 
voluntary goodness and self-governing morality of a 
time when custom was king, and the custom was to 
do as one pleased. It will help with mutual consola- 
tion, and make it more pleasant to pass from a lately 
primeval " golden age " to a future of serious effort 



and steady habits. It will sustain and elevate the 
public spirit of those fortune hunting, but often un- 
fortunate contemporaries, who saw the glorious sun of 
California go down in lingering splendor upon a Terri- 
tory, and rise in sovereign grandeur upon a State. 

We think the Society can be organized and made 
a source of mutual pleasure and good fellowship, at 
a trifling expense. The books are open, and any one 
desiring to do so, can give his full name and former 
place of residence, with the date of his arrival here, by 
letter, to A. J. Lowry, Secretary T. P., 1849 ^fd 

At the first meeting of the Territorial Pioneers of 
'49 and '50, on September 9th, 1871, they organized by 
electing as officers the following gentlemen : John F. 
Pinkham, President; Dr. H. W. A. Worthen, ist 
Vice Presindent, A. A. Howard, 2d Vice President ; 
W. B. Wallace, Recording Secretary ; J. L. Perkins, 
Corresponding Secretary ; Colonel Wni. Jones, Treas- 
urer. Directors — John F. Pinkham, W. B. Wallace, 
B. F. Frost, G. J. Carpenter, Charles Broad, David 
Bennett and E. N. Strout. Marshal, E. N. Strout- 
Saturday on or preceding the full moon in December, 
March and June, was fixed for meeting days ; the an- 
nual meeting to be held on September 9th. There 
were 287 names of members on the roll. 

A branch of the Society of Territorial Pioneers 
are the " Pioneers of El Dorado," outside of the 
county, are keeping an annual gathering at Badger's 
Park, East Oakland, for which purpose no tickets are 
issued and no money taken at the gates, but the 
sylvan shades of said park are as free as the pine- 
covered mountain sides of El Dorado county. The 
President of the society at the present time is W. T. 
Gibbs ; W. H. Bodfish, Recording Secretary ; Thos. 
McMannis, Treasurer ; Vice Presidents and Executive 
Committee are : B. T. Catlin, Benj. Dore, D. W. Gel- 
wicks, J. P. Wonderdich, Robert Bell, John Satch. 
well and F. M. Thai. The list of Vice Presidents 
includes the following well known names : L. B. Hop. 
kins, 1875; J. G. Brewton, 1876; Robert Bell, 1877. 
Thomas McMannis, 1878; James J. Green, 1879' 
Dr. L S. Titus, 1880; James C. Pennie, 1881. 
John F. Pinkham, Robert A. Jeffries, 

Benj. F. Post, J. AV. E. Brown, 

J. Q. A. Ballard, John James, 

Col. S. Altar, Jeremiah W. Kendall, 

L. L. Ramsay, Richard Lane, 

Jehu Evans, J. H. Miller, 

J. L. Perkins, James K. Shaver, 

A. J. Lowry, Jesse Couch, 

H. C. Murgotten, O. M. Taylor, 

E. P. Vaughn, W. C. Beal, 

John R. Patten, T. G. Barton, 

Darwin DeGolia, 

A. Coleman, 

J. D. McMurray, 

Dr. Ira Glynn, 

R. S. Hernandez, 

A. H. Reid, 

E. N. Strout, 

Geo. G. Blanchard, 

H. S. Allen, 

H. W. A. Worthen, 

John P. Matthews, 

Charles W. Haskins, 

Levi Hunsberger, 

N. D. Burlingham, 

Reuben Twyman, 

Neal Gallagher, 

John Angus, 

George W. Frater, 

James Moon, 

Nathaniel B. Dryden, 

John Mosby Price, 

Paul Mitchell, 

N. F. Marrs, 

John Price, 

Henry Day, 

Henry Mahler, 

Gen. H. Ingham, 


W. R. Gallaher, 

John Crocker, 

B ,F. Edmonds, 

Robert Chalmers, 

S. F. Child, 

Jno. G. Vanderheyden, 

John Teuscher, 

C. Perry Young, 

S. A. Berry, 

L. B. McClain, 

Charles Barker, 

Richard Murphy, 

E. S. Barney, 

Mat. Morgan, 

W'm. Morgan, 

Thomas Coppinger, 

George Beattie, 

A. C. Dale, 

Joshua W. Lance, 

John Gale, 

Lewis Dubray, 

James S. Hartman, 

A. G. Stewart, 

A. Darlington, 

T. C. Nugent, 

^\'m. Jones, 

Flemming Jones, 
James Creighton, 
Matthew Q. Dennis, 
Barney O'Rourke, 
James Sharp, 
Gilbert Hix, 
Isaac Yoacum, 
Samuel Robinson, 
J. T. G. Chamblin, 
Almerin Fisk, 
John Little, 
Thomas H. Hart, 
E. T. Ramsey, 
Dr. D. Stewart Smith, 
Wm. Weatherill, 
John Bishop, 
J. C. F. Koepcke, 
J. V. DiUey, 
Dr. W. E. Spencer, 
E. H. Perry, 
Wm. C. Smith, 
S. J. Ford, 
Wm. Frey, 

D. T. Hall, 
Theo. Eisieldt, St., 

E. L. Kenney, 
G. L. Vaughn, 
Duncan Ferguson, 
John Bunker, 
Jefferson Baird, 
James R. Griffin, 
John S. Fowler, 
Samuel Kyburz, 
D. B. Luken, 
Wm. S. Gray, 

W. B. AVallace, 
Moses A. Smith, 
Guillaum Barrette. 
George W. Vaugah, 
David Bennett, 
Wm. Newland, 
J. G. O'Brien, 
Charles Watson, 
William Smith, 
Wm. L. Rhodes, 
John M. Rice, 
Chas. W. Winstandley, 
J. D. Skinner, 
Wm. Krahner, 
Joe. Brinley, 
A. Aitken, 
John Cantrell, 
William Christian, 
George E. Rigsby, 


D. W. Chichester, 

Patrick Martin, 

Henry James, J. W. Rupley, 

H. Brian. 

Henry Larkin, 

Andrew Jackson Wall, H. F. Lear, 

M. C. Metzler, 

N. Gilmore, 

George W. Rymal, 

James Bunyan Hume, 

James R. Johnson, 

Placerville, July 4th, 1871. 

G. J. Carpenter, 
Thomas B. Patten, 

Charles Broad, 
Wm. Dormody, 

William H. Cooper, 

Geo. W. Simpers, 

Smith Morill, 

John Hines, 


Wm. Leasly, 

Samuel S. Wilson, 


William J. Hale, 

Stephen Willets, 

From the organization of the county up to the year 

S. J. Ensminger, 

Samuel Fleming, 

1855, the citizens of the county had been heavily 

Truman Wilcox, 

H. E. Cutting, 

taxed for the support of the indigent sick in the 

L. C. Fisk, 

Nick Wonderly, 

county, who had to be removed to the Marine Hos- 

Wm. E. Tripp, 

G. W. Hunter, 

pital at Fan Francisco. But the State Legislature in 

J. P. Wonderlich, 

John Daniel, 

1854 to 1855, in accordance with the general dislike 

D. Elmendorf, 

O. E. Shepherd, 

of the people to go there, abolished this use of the 

John Cartheche, 

George W. Harr, 

Marine Hospital and made provision for each county 

Isaac Showater, 

Geo. W. Ferree, 

to take care of its own indigent sick. Whereupon 

Russel Bronson, 

Ed. M. Wilder, 

the Board of Supervisors of El Dorado county, under 

Frank Gerbode, 

Jacob Winkleman,Sr., 

date of June 9th, 1855, awarded the contract to take 

H. B. Turman, 

Henry T. Newhall, 

care of* and provide for the indigent sick of the county 

John Henry Dodd, 

B. F. Pollard, 

to Drs. Clark and Harvey, two well known physicians 

Henry Kennedy, 

Wm. Harris, 

of Placerville. The substance of this contract was to 

Maryland Frazier, 

Wm. R. Davis, 

the following effect : that both these gentlemen bind 

George Hunsucker, 

Wilber Read, 

themselves to render their medical services and to 

Nathaniel Lawrence, 

John Steiner, 

furnish an appropriate building for the sum of $3,500 

Jonathan N. Lauman, 

Augustus T. Lee, 

for the time of one year, the county furnishing all 

Henry Myers, 

James M. Oxley, 

other materials necessary for the patients. The Broad- 

Ernest Mortensen, 

D. M. Richardson, 

way hotel, in Upper Placerville was rented, and ar- 

H. S. Hulburd, 

A.' J. Wilson, 

rangements made for its occupation as the lirst hos- 

Chas. M. King, 

S. E. Kyburz, 


J. W. Foster, 

Geo. W. Parsons, 

The first county hospital report was presented to 

S. D. Colburn, 

Thomas Leavey, 

the Board of Supervisors of this county, for the quarter 

James C Bronson. 

Benj. Starr, 

ending December 20th, 1856, to March 20th, 1857. 

S. 0. Pierce, 

J. W. S. Giles, 

The report gives the number of patients remain- 

George H. H. Forester, 

John McFadin, 

ing in the hospital on December loth, 1856. . 10 

Thomas Davidson, 

B. F. Burgiss, 

Admissions for the quarter 26 

A. A. Howard, 

John Richmond, 

A. B. Bates, 

Peter Wilson, 

Total number treated in the hospital 36 

J. G. Bailey, 

John Gould, 

Discharged during the quarter 15 

Samuel Spong, 

Wm. McCormick, 

Deaths 4 

Levi Brown, 
J. P. White, 

H. 0. Hooper, 
N. Osgood, 

To deduct — -ig 

Thomas Anders, 

R. G. R. Moore, 

Remaining on March 20th, 1857 17 

Gen'L Phipps, 

Manuel Snow, 

The number of charity patients seeking advice and 

J. W. Baldwm, 

Egbert L. Wilson, 

treatment from the dispensary during the quarter, not 

Thomas Beckner, 

Nicholas Mulick, 

residing in the hospital, were 37. 

M. Fairchild, 

B. F. Johns, 


Wm. T. Gibbs, 

E. Grant, 

Dropsy of the chest i 

John McClaren, 

A. J. Christie, 

Bronchitis i 

Thomas Armstrong, 
Wm. Johnson, 

John Maffey, 
Robert McBeth, 
J. W. Annabel, 

Phthisis I 

Unknown i 

S. B. Dick, 

Joshua V. Lanston, 

J. P. Steele, 

Total 4 


Nativity of Deaths. 

Ireland, i ; Germany, 2 ; United States, i. 

The report then continues : 

Many of the cases admitted are more properly 
subjects for an infirmary than a hospital, the primary 
design of which is for the treatment of acute or reme- 
dial disease, and the speedy restoration of the invalid 
to the active walks of life. This number includes 
those who are afflicted incurably, the aged and imbe- 
cile, and those whose mutilations from disease or acci- 
dent incapacitates them from earning a livelihood. 

Under our imperfect hospital system the insane 
alone have been provided with an asylum under State 
patronage. The deaf and dumb, the blind, the indi- 
gent sick, the poor, the destitute and unprotected are 
left to the benevolent care of the respective counties, 
and to the humane consideration of individuals, and 
a large portion of whom necessarily become inmates 
of the county hospital. This class of cases have re- 
ceived at our hands that consideration due to their 
unfortunate condiMon, although the terms of our con- 
tract do not oblige us to take charge of and maintain 

Of deaths there have been a much smaller number 
than during the preceding quarter. Only four have 
died, and one of the number was dead on reaching 
the hospital. 

O. Harvey, M. D. 
A. Clark, M. D. 

Under this contract system the expenses of the 
county for hospital purposes were : 
In the first year, from June 9th, 1855, to 

1866 $15,000 

In the second year, from June 9th, 1856, to 

1857 ii,5°o 

In the third year, from June 9th, 1857, to 

1858 7,000 

In the fourth year, from June 9th, 1858, to 

1859 7,000 

In the fifth year, from June 9th, 1859, to 

i860 4,800 

Showing a considerable decrease in the contract price, 
while at the same time the number of patients was 
increasing ; the average number of sick constantly in 
the hospital was in the third year 16, in the fourth 
year, 21. The large difference in the expenses for the 
hospital from $7,000 to $4,800 in the fifth year, was 
caused by means of some lengthy newspaper contro- 
versies. Another consequence therefrom was a bill 
introduced into the Legislature in January, i86o, by 
Dr. I. S. Titus, then Senator from El Dorado county. 
The bill provided for the establishment of County In- 
firmaries, and the better care and support of the indi- 
gent sick. 

The contract system, however, was not abolished 
so soon in the administration of the county hospital. 
The contract for the seventh and eighth year, in 
1 86 1 and 1862, was awarded to Drs. John Cook and 
I. S. Titus, and not before the expiration of their term 
did the county hospital go under the direct superin- 
dence of the county administration, with Dr. John 
Cook as acting physician. The following statement 
of the Board of Auditors will give the best informa- 
ton concerning the location and condition of the 
county hospital, together with all of its other affairs 
and arrangements. 

During its whole existence, the county hospital of 
El Dorado county has been one of the best managed 
institutions of the kind in the State. For fourteen 
years Dr. John Cook devoted a large share of his 
time to it, and its present satisfactory condition is 
due, in a great measure, to the fostering care it re- 
ceived at his hands. Its situation is one of the most 
healthful that could possibly have been selected. 
Located on the flank of Quartz Hill, with a southern 
exposure, it is elevated above all miasmatic influences, 
while a small ditch, a branch of the South Fork canal, 
supplies it with an abundance of water for irrigating 
purposes. The soil, originally fertile, has been well 
manured, and is capable of raising anything that can 
be raised in this altitude. The grounds — including 
the pest house — comprises 8.92 acres; all enclosed 
with a substantial fence. The buildings are large, 
roomy, well ventilated and conveniently arranged. 

Dr. Proctor, the present physician, is following 
faithfully in the footsteps of his predecessor. Economy 
is the order of the day. Although the present yield 
from the garden is large, arrangements have been 
made to increase the income from this source mate- 

In this connection, the following letter, in answer 
to a communication from the Supervisors of Nevada 
county, soliciting information on the subject, will 
doubtless prove interesting to the people in general : 

Office of the Board of Auditors, ) 

Placerville, El Dorado County, ^ 

December i, 1877. j 

£>ear Sir — The Board of Auditors have directed 
me to reply to yours of the ist inst. 

Our hospital system is really a combination of 
Hospital and Infirmary, both the helpless indigent 
and the indigent sick being accommodated at the 
same institution. The system substantially conforms 
to the several enactments of the Legislature received 
thereto. Vide Statutes 1855, pp. 67; 1867, 215; 
1875-6, 681; and the Codes. 

The County Physician has direct management^ 
under the control of the Board of Auditors. His 



salary for hospital services is $ioo per month. The 
steward has supervision under the physician. The 
combined salary of steward and cook is $105 per 
month. The hospital grounds comprise about 6^ 
acres and the pest house about 2)^ acres additional. 
At the hospital a great abundance of all kinds of 
vegetables is raised, and quite a variety of fruit, more 
than is required for its own use; the labor being 
performed by the patients. The hospital buildings 
and ground belong to the county. Hospital supplies 
are all purchased by contract. There is no income 
whatever from the paupers. The hospital tax levied 
for several years past is 25 cents. Four years ago we 
had a per capita tax of $1 50. A bill for the same 
amount was passed two years ago, but owing to a 
mistake in engrossing, the Act is a nullity. All taxes 
for this county are levied by the Legislature. The 
taxes for this year will pay nearly, if not all, accrued 
hospital indebtedness to January i_, 1878. 

We have a few indigent persons on the outside 
not in the hospital — who are not able to make a living, 
but have homes; who are allowed, each, a small 
amount monthly by the county, and in that way 
manage to get along. 

Below you find a statement of entire cost of hospital 
for twelve months. The average of cost, 47.7 cents 
per day, includes physician's, steward's and cook's 
salaries, burying dead, repairs, (which have been 
considerable this year) and everything of whatever 
nature that is a hospital charge. 

Statement — Whole amount of warrants drawn on 
Hospital Fund, for twelve months commencing 
December i, 1876, $6,481 89. Of this amount, there 
was drawn for outside purposes — such as indigent 
persons not in hospital, burying outside poor, etc., 

Actual amount applied .to hospital $5,822 89 

Average number of patients per day 33ii53 00 

Average cost per day 47. 7 cents 

Very respectfully, 

Geo. Burnham, 
Clerk of Board of Auditors. 
By E. W. WiTMER, Deputy. 

To J. S. Thompson, Esq., Member of Board of 
Supervisors, Nevada County, Cal. 

The Board of Auditors, at their regular meeting of 
March, 1880, appointed *Dr. H. W. A. Worthen 
County Physician. 


John G. Eustis, Esq., Superintendent of Public 
Schools, in 1857, gave the following statistical inform- 
ation concerning the number of children in each 
township of El Dorado county, and the whole amount 
of the taxable property of the same : 

Greenwood i j^ 

Cosumnes gi 

Georgetown 165 

Mountain gj 

Mud Springs 278 

Diamond Springs 17^ 

Salmon Falls 62 

Kelsey 92 

White Oak 125 

Big Bar 28 

Placerville 368 

Coloma 234 



The amount of taxable property in the county, 
$3,151,618 — on which amount a tax of 15 cents on 
one hundred dollars was levied for county school 

The school census of 1858 gave but 1,736 children 
between 4 and 18 years; of these 700 attended school 
during the year, the average attendance being 412. 
The county received an appropriation out of the State 
School Fund during the year of $2,881 07. The total 
amouiit expended for school purposes was $9,141 59. 

H. S. Herrick, County Superintendent of Schools, in 
December, i860, gave the following figures concerning 
the school statistics: 

The number of children in the county between thg 
ages of 4 and 18 years, was 2,449; of whom 1,289 
were boys, and 1,160 girls. Under 4 years, of both 
sexes, were 1,289, ^"d between 18 and 21 years, 188; 
2,042 wer« born in California ; deaf and dumb, 3 ; 
blind, 2. The total number attending school was 
1,127; the average attendance was 704 and a fraction. 
The aggregate cost of school houses and furniture in 
the county has been $9,863. The total receipts for 
school purposes during the year i860 have been 
$13,773; $13,641 have been paid for teachers' salaries 
and the total amount expended for school purposes 
during the same year has been $16,460. 


Placerville City, 
Upper Placerville, 
Smith's Flat, 
Gold Hill, 
Cold Springs, 
Diamond Springs, 
El Dorado, 


Mount Gregory, 
Salmon Falls, 
Dry Creek, 
Indian Diggings, 



French Creek, 
Cosumnes Grove, 
Buckeye Flat, 
Deer Creek, 
Green Valley, 

Negro Hill, 

Spanish Dry Diggings, 

Mount Ankum, 


Pilot Hill. 


Cave Valley, Mosquito, 

Latrobe, Pleasant Valley, 

Mud Springs Township, Tennessee Creek 
Middle School District of Diamond Spring Township. 
The following are figures from the Annual Statis- 
tical Report of the County Superintendent of this 
county to the State Department for the school year 
beginning July i, 1869, and ending June 30, 1870. 

Number of white children between 4 and 15 years 
of age — boys, 1,139; E"^^, 1,110; total, 2,249. 
Number of Negro children between 5 and 15 years of 
age — boys, 8; girls, 15; total, 23. Number of Indian 
children between 5 and 15 — boys, 14; girls, 13; total, 
27. Grand total, 2,299, ^ falling off within one year 
of 49. Total number of children under 5 years of 
age, 942 ; 79 less than at the close of last school year. 
Expended for school apparatus, $170 49; for building, 
repairs, etc., $1,334 30; for library books, $687 97 ; 
for teachers' salaries, $16,001 70; $146 79 less than 
for preceding year. Reported valuation of school 
houses, lots, etc., $16,145 5°; valuation of school 
libraries, $2,626 41; valuation of school apparatus, 
$Ij737 75 ; total valuation of school property, 
$21,109 66. Number of new districts organized, i; 
whole number of districts, 39; number of schools, 42; 
whole number of children attending public schools, 
1768; 25 less than the year preceding. 

From Superintendent Munson's annual report of 
1874, we take the following : 

The whole number of School Districts in which 
school has been kept is 38 ; whole number of schools 
43 ; of which 23 are first grade, 16 second grade and 
4 of the third grade. There were in the county 
2,448 census children, of whom 2,379 were white, 27 
colored and 42 Indians and Mongolians. Of this 
number 1,971, or nearly 83 per cent, attended school, 
leaving 408 who have not attended school during the 
year. The average daily attendance is very low, 
being only 1,211, or but a little more than 50 per cent. 
of the whole number of children. 

For the length of time for which school has been 
maintained Latrobe is leading with g}4 months. 

Of the teachers employed, 20 are males, 22 are 
.females ; 23 are of the first grade, 13 of the second 
and 6 of the third. The highest salary paid to one 
teacher was $125 per month, the lowest $30; the 
average salary was $66.86. The total amount 

of money expended is $23,499.11, being nearly $10 
to each census child. The amount needed to keep a 
school in each district for a period of eight months, 
$26,973, The total valuation of school property is 
$29,226, the highest valuation of any being $7,000, 
the lowest $50. 

Six teachers are graduates of the State Normal 
school, and one teacher holds a diploma. 

Courts of El Dorado County. 

District Court — Regular Terms commence on the 
second Monday of February and May, and third 
Monday of August and November. 

County Court — Holds regular Terms on the first 
Monday of January, May and September. 

Court of Sessions — Hold regular Terms on the 
first Monday of March, July and November. 

Probate Court— Holds regular Terms on the fourth 
Monday of each month. 

Board of Supervisors — Hold regular meetings on 
the first Monday of each month. 

Rules of the County Court of El Dorado 

hon. ogden squires, judge. 

(To go into effect, April 4th, A. D. 1864.) 

The hour of 10 o'clock a. m., is fixed for the open- 
ing of the Court during term. 

The order of business will be as follows : 

First — The hearing of applications for naturaliza- 

Second — The arraignment of and hearing of pleas 
of parties indicted for criminal offenses. 

Third — The hearing of motions and demurrers. 

Fourth — The calling of the calendar. 

Fifth — The trial of criminal causes on the calendar 
for the day. 

Sixth — The trial of civil causes on the calendar for 
the day. 


On the first day of the term, before proceeding to 
other business, the Grand Jury will be impanelled, 
when the calendar will be called and causes set for 
trial, unless otherwise ordered by the Court. 


In all causes appealed to this Court, where the 
appeal is perfected fifteen days before the tirst day of 
the next succeeding term, the papers on appeal shall 
be sent up and filed and the cause placed on the 
term calendar on or before the last Wednesday pre- 
ceding the first day of the term. If the papers 


are not so sent up and filed, and the cause placed on 
the calendar, the appeal may be dismissed, on motion, 
during the term without notice, unless good cause be 
shown to the contrary, by affidavit at the time of the 
hearing of the motion. A cause so dismissed may 
be restored upon three days written notice to the ad- 
verse party or his or her Attorney, upon good cause 
shown by affidavit, and upon terms. On such mo- 
tion to dimiss an appeal, if the grounds of the motion 
shall be that the papers are not sent up by the Court 
below, that rendered the judgment appealed from, be- 
cause of the non-payment of fees, the certificate of 
the Court below of that fact shall be presented in 
support of the motion. If the grounds of the 
motion shall be, that the papers have been sent up 
but not filed because of the non-payment of fees, the 
papers or the certificate of the clerk that the fees for 
filing remain unpaid, shall be presented in support 
of the motion, and want of an entry of filing on 
the papers shall be prima facie evidence that the 
fees for filing remain unpaid. If the grounds of the 
motion shall be, that the papers have been sent up 
and filed, but that the cause has not been placed on 
the calendar, because of the non-payment of fees, 
the certificate of the clerk of that fact shall be pre- 
sented in support of the motion. 

In no cause in this Court shall either party be com 
pelled to go to trial unless such cause shall have 
been placed upon the calendar on or before the last 
Wednesday preceding the first day of the term, 
Provided, however, that by consent of Court, a cause 
may be placed upon the calendar and set for trial at 
any time during the first week of the term, after 
three days' notice to the adverse party by the party 
moving the cause on the calendar. 

In causes in this Court, either party, by leave of the 
Court, may amend any pleading or paper, so that a 
fair trial may be had on the merits, but not so as to 
change the character of the action or defense. 

If, when a cause shall be regularly called for trial, 
the plaintiff or appellant shall fail to appear or pro- 
ceed to trial, unless for sufficient cause shown, the 
Court should otherwise order, the defendent or re- 
spondent may take a dismissal of the action, or apply 
for such relief as he may be entitled to in his plead- 


The first application for a postponement of a trial, 

on the ground of absence of evidence, must be made 
upon affidavit, showing that the evidence is material 
and that due diligence has been used to procure it. 
In criminal causes, unless required by the Court, the 
moving party need not in his affidavit, state the evi- 
dence which expects to obtain. The affidavit must 
state that he has fully and fairly stated the case to his 
counsel (naming him), and that he is advised by his 
counsel, after such statement is made, and believes that 
said evidence is material, and that he cannot safely go 
to trial without it. 

In any subsequent application for a postponement 
of the trial of a criminal cause, the affidavit used must, 
in addition to the above, state the evidence which the 
moving party expects to obtain and from whom, and 
also state his reasons for believing the witness will 
testify to such facts. 


Agreements or consents between parties or their 
attorneys, relating to proceedings in an action, must 
be in writing and filed, or be entered in the minutes. 

Whenever a judgment shall be rendered in any 
action, and the party against whom the same is ren- 
dered or his attorney, is not in Court or present at the 
time of the rendition of the same, the party, or his 
attorney, in whose favor the judgment is rendered, 
shall give notice to the adverse party, or his attorney, 
in writing, of the rendition of the judgment and the 
time allowed by law in which to file exceptions, or 
move for a new trial, or appeal in such case shall not 
commence to run until such notice has been given. 



The record of crimes committed inside the border- 
lines of El Dorado county, commencing from the 
earliest times, has become quite a volume of history 
in itself. The enormous influx of adventurous men of 
different nationalities to this very spot of land, the 
New El Dorado, undoubtedly had brought a good 
many daring and desperate characters, who had come 
for gain, in the easiest and least troublesome manner, 
but for gain under all eventualities. There were 
others whose intention had been to make an honest 
living and they started in accordingly ; but the weak- 
ness of mind and body, together with the bad exam, 
pies they frequently saw, led them astray, to make a 
fortune in an easier way than with pick and shovel. So 



we find as early as 1848 and 1849 already organized 
bands of desperadoes, with signs, passwords and grips, 
with chiefs and lieutenants, who would lay in wait in 
and around the mining camps. The people endeav- 
oring to put a stop to those crimes were often enough 
compelled to take the law in their own hands, as may 
be seen out of the case which originated the sobriquet 
of Hangtown for the village of Placerville. (See 

Such summary execution had the effect at least to 
intimidate the rogues, and put a restriction to the 
commitment of crimes for some time. This, however, 
did not last very long, for no sooner those outlaws 
observed that the watchfulness of the people gave 
way, and smaller crimes passed by unpunished, than 
they threw off their fear, raising up their heads and 
growing bolder than before. The result was another 
hanging of a desperado by the name of Richard 
Crone, going by the name of Irish Dick, a mere boy, 
after his looks, at Placerville in October, 1850. He 
had crossed the plains from St. Louis in 1849, as a 
cook, but took to gambling as a profession and always 
was ready for shooting and fight. He used to keep a 
monte game in the El Dorado saloon, located at the 
site of the present Gary House, and one night a quarrel 
ensued there between two men. Crone jumped up 
from his game and stabbing the one, he almost 
instantly killed him. After the act he deliberately 
wiped the blood from his knife and left the saloon ; 
but after a long search was found hidden at Coffey's, 
on Sacramento street, where he was arrested. The 
murdered man had a brother mining at Chili Bar, and 
on account that those two hundred and more gamblers 
had always got the best of the miners, when the latter 
came to town, which was almost ruled by that class of 
men, the miners made up their minds that this busi- 
ness had to be stopped right there, and to the number 
of several hundreds came into town determined that 
Dick should die ; in which determination the better 
people in town concurred with them. Dick was taken 
from the officers of the law and tried by two Justices 
of the Peace, one was Dud. Humphrey, the other 
Wallace, in the presence of the excited thousands. 
While here on trial the spectators seemed to get impa- 
tient, but with the coldest blood Dick remarked to 
them : " Have patience, gentlemen ; I will give you 
soon a fair lay out." The verdict was guilty ; he was 
speedily taken by the crowd to a large oak tree, near 
where is now the Presbyterian parsonage, in spite of 
the officers. Bill Rogers, Sheriff, and Alex. Hunter 
and John Clark, Constables, who fought desperately 
but powerless for the possession of the prisoner, 
the multitude being determined to see justice done 
and not to be trifled with, as often before. The 

prisoner was placed under the tree with rope around 
his neck, he then begged the privilege of climbing the 
tree to leap down from the fatal branch, but this was 
denied him, and he was jerked up by strong and will- 
ing hands. 


On Sunday, July 23d, 1854, an old man named 
William Shay was most brutally murdered at Green- 
wood valley. El Dorado county, by one Samuel Allen. 
From the testimony adduced before the coroner's in- 
quest it appeared that Shay was engaged in watering his 
garden, when Allen came up to him, knocked him 
down and stamping on him until he was quite dead ; 
after this he pounded Shay's head with stones until it 
was literally crushed to a jelly. After the perpetra- 
tion of this fiendish murder Allen attempted to escape, 
but was arrested by an eyewitness of the scene, An- 
tonio Dias, and taken before Justice Stoddard for ex- 
amination, who ordered him to jail to await his trial. 
An officer started with Allen for Coloma, but had not 
proceeded far when he was overtaken by a large and 
excited crowd, who forcibly took the prisoner from 
his custody. An hour afterwards the dead body of 
the guilty man was hanging from the s^ame oak limb, 
in the town of Greenwood, that had been used already 
on a similar occasion a few years ago, a solemn warn- 
ing to malefactors. The aroused vengeance of the 
outraged community was not to be appeased with less 
than inflicting the most extreme punishment on the 

The first occasion where this historical oak tree had 
been selected to serve for the same purpose, happened 
in 185 1 ; James Graham, from Baltimore, treacher- 
ously had invited an old denizen of Geenwood valley^ 
by the name of Lesly, a well respected gentleman, to 
go with him on a prospecting trip, where he filled his 
head with buckshot, and thinking his victim dead, he 
fled. Lesly, however, did not die on the spot; though 
fatally wounded, he crawled to the next cabin, being 
that of Tom Burch, in Coloma canyon, whom he in- 
formed of what had happened ; the people thus 
alarmed, turned out in pursuit of the assassin, caught 
him at Uniontown, and brought him back to Green- 
wood valley, where a jury of twelve men was sworn in 
before whom he was tried, found guilty and imme- 
diately taken to the mentioned oak tree, standing on 
the lot now owned by Mr. Ricci, where he was hung 
without ceremonies. 

Another case of mob violence occurred in the fall 
of 1850, in the neighborhood of Georgetown. An 
Englishman by the name of Devine, in a drunken 
spell, had a quarrel with his wife, and repeatedly hav- 
ing threatened her before, she attempted to run out of 



the door, when he reached for his gun, but she hardly 
had passed out of the door in the rear of the house, 
when he shot after her, killing her instantly. He was 
known as a reckless and desperate fellow, and the 
whole population of Oregon canyon, in a rage of in- 
dignation, gathered and decided that life had to pay 
for life. Devine was arrested, found guilty, and taken 
to an oak tree, which had been selected for the execu- 
tion, and after less time than what is necessary to 
write this down, a dead body was hanging from the 
tree that may be seen yet on that spot. 

In the summer of 1855, the cases where Chinamen 
miners were robbed, particularly in the neighborhood 
of Placerville, became quite frequently heard, from ; 
The Mountain Democrat, of September 22d, 1855, 
brings the following : 

"We learn that an attempt was made last week to 
rob a Chinaman who supplies several companies on 
the South Fork of the American river with fresh meat, 
as he was returning to White Rock, by three well 
known river thieves. The attempt was made in open 
day on a much frequented trail. The Chinaman 
made his escape by sliding down a precipitous moun- 
tain about fifty feet, deep without other injuries than 
tearing his clothes into ribbons. These outrages are 
becoming quite common, and it is time that some 
stringent measures should be taken to have the scoun- 
drels arrested." 

On the 7th of March, 1857, a man by the name of 
A. Noakes was murdered near Greenwood valley, and 
a notorious character going by the sobriquet of "Long 
John," was suspected of the murder, as he had pub- 
licly threatened to kill Noakes on account of an old 
grudge. At the same place, on the nth of the same 
month, a negro was most brutally murdered; he had 
been arrested as a suspicious character, and as he was 
familiar with Long John and his doings, it was sup- 
posed the latter killed him to prevent his disclosing 
some disagreeable facts. Long John had the reputa- 
tion of being a bold, depraved, hardened wretch, who 
would not hesitate to commit any crime for gain. It 
always had been believed that he was at the head of 
the organized band of villains who had infested the 
county for a long time, and had particularly robbed so 
many Chinamen. 

Ah Soo, a Chinaman, on the 19th of September, 
1859, stabbed one of his countrymen, Ching Sam, with 
a bowie-knife at Placerville, inflicting a wound upon 
him of which he died a few days later. He was ar- 
rested and arraigned for trial in the District Court, 
where the evidence clearly showed that the deed had 
been committed in cold blood and without the shadow 
of provocation. The jury, consisting of John R 
Ross, J. F. Cary, Samuel Center, Wm. A. White, A, 

O. Holmes, John E. Kunkler, Jas. Monroe, Isaac 
Withrow, W. P. Early, Wm. Pryde, Geo. W. Griffin 
and A. Kennedy, returned a verdict of guilty of mur- 
der in the first degree. But before the sentence could 
be pronounced upon him, the unfortunate wretch 
hanged himself, thus saving the county the expense by 
cheating the gallows. 


On the evening of October 20th, i860, while four 
miners of the vicinity were seated in the store of 
Messrs. Pierson & Hackamoller. engaged in a social 
game of cards, five men with masked faces and pistols 
in hand entered the store. The first party, supposing 
that they were a party of miners, bent on a little fun, 
attempted to set the dog on them, which move was re- 
sponded by the robbers with a shot, fired at the card 
players, and the advice if they would remain quiet, 
they should not be hurt. Upon this proposition being 
agreed to, they demanded of Mr. Pierson the key to 
his safe. He told them it was not in the store; 
whereupon they commenced to beat him with the butt 
end of their pistols, he warded off the blows and tried 
to make his escape by a door leading into the family 
room, which they were determined not to allow him. 
He was fired upon by one of the villains, the shot 
entered near the eye, producing almost instant 
death. Then they took the key from his pocket, and 
rifled the safe of its contents, and departed. The 
safe at the time contained a thousand dollars or more. 
This robbery and murder, unequalled for boldness 
and daring, produced great excitement, Mr. Pierson 
being one of the best and most respected citizens. 


On the morning of March 27th, 1861, the stage 
from Placerville to Folsom met with a very serious 
accident, at the crossing of Deer creek, on the Placer- 
ville and Sacramento stage road. Leander or "John" 
White, driving the forward stage, Mr. Crowder the 
second, and on reaching the crossing of Deer creek, 
W^hite found the flood running and the bridge washed 
away. He hesitated a moment, and meantime the 
second coach came near. Crowder seeing what was 
going on advised him not to attempt to cross ; this 
warned the passengers to get out ; White, however, 
thought he could go over easily enough and let his 
horses plunge into the deep and rapid water. But no 
sooner had the coach entered the water, then it was 
swung round and overturned, uncoupling the forward 
running gear and enabling the horses to escape. The 
driver, though, fastened by means of the drawn-up 
leather apron, was floated out, rose two or three times 
in making eff'orts to gain the bank, but was taken away 



by the swift current, and he disappeared under the 
water. His body was found in some driftwood at an 
old dam, and in the endeavor to get it Mr. Shed 
came near enough drowning also. Mr. Leander White 
was one of the earliest inhabitants of El Dorado 
county, and one of the pioneer stage drivers. He left 
California late in 1855, going east and to Canada, 
from where he returned accompanied by his wife, who 
was left with two helpless children at Sacramento to 
mourn his sudden death. 


Spanish Camp, January 12th, 1863. 

On Saturday last, the 10th of January, this camp 
was visited by a band of guerrillas, who had as little 
respect for the rights of property and law as there is 
possible in man. About 7 o'clock four men — W. 
Porter, C. S. Smith, P. West and Ike Hitchcock, 
seated themselves in the store of W. E. Riebsam for 
a game of whist, Messrs. Adams and Riebsam were 
standing near. Suddenly four men entered, each 
armed with a large navy revolver, cocked and held at 
the party around the whist table. They ordered all 
in the store to remain quiet, which order it was useless 
to resist; one of the robbers put up his revolver, 
turned around to a coil of rope, cut off several lengths 
and tied the men in the store. They then searched 
each man, taking every valuable and attempted to 
open the safe, the key of which they had taken from 
Mr. Riebsam, but failing, they forced Mr. R. to un- 
lock it for them. They soon rifled the safe of its con- 
tents, but there being but little cash in it they were 
greatly exasperated and departed. They took in cash 
and dust about one hundred and seventy-five dollars, 
and clothing and provisions to the amount of about 
one hundred and twenty-five. 

The man who opened the safe and searched our 
pockets was masked, and the man who tied us was 
very large, dressed in a gray frock-coat and dark pants. 

After leaving here they took the road towards Sac- 
ramento ; a short distance from E. Bryant's they met 
Mr. Brandon's teamster and robbed him of forty-five 
dollars in cash. 

We thought it prudent to quietly submit under the 
circumstances ; we were unarmed and at the mercy of 
the robbers. Whilst we were bound two Chinaman and 
a white man came into the store, and it was some time 
before they could comprehend affairs. They, too, were 
served like us. H. N. I. 


On June 30th, 1864, between 9 and 10 o'clock 
p. M., on the narrow grade about two and a-half miles 
above Sportsman's Hall, the two coaches of the 

Pioneer Stage line were stopped by six men, armed 
with shotguns and pistols, and eight sacks of bullion 
taken away from them. Ned Blair was driving the 
first team, Charles Watson the second. Blair was 
ordered to halt by seizing his leaders and stopping 
them. They demanded the treasure box, and Blair told 
them that he had none ; whereupon he was ordered 
to throw out the bullion, and he replied : " Come and 
get it!" And while two of them covered him with 
their guns, two others came and took out the bullion. 
They did not get the treasure box. Blair asked them 
not to rob the passengers, and they replied that it was 
not their intention, all that they wanted was the treas- 
ure box of Wells, Fargo & Co. 

Observing that Blair's stage had stopped, and sup- 
posing that Blair had met with an accident, Watson 
stopped his team, left his seat, and hurried to his as- 
sistance ; but when he was approaching, two of the 
robbers advanced toward him and covering him with 
their shotguns ordered him back and demanded the 
treasure box and bullion. Watson was forced to com- 
ply, and they took three sacks of bullion and a small 
treasure box from Genoa from his stage. Both stages 
were filled with passengers, but queer to say, none of 
them was armed. 

The "captain" of the band, before he parted from 
Watson, handed to him the following receipt : " This is 
to certify that I have received from Wells, Fargo & 
Co. the sum of $ cash, for the purpose of out- 
fitting recruits enlisted in California for the Confed- 
erate States army. 

R. Henry Ingrim, 
Captain Com'g Co. C. S. A. 

June, 1864. 

Immediately on the arrival of the stages at Placer- 
ville. Sheriff Rogers was informed of the robbery, 
and he, accompanied by deputy Sheriff Staples, Con- 
stables Van Eaton and Ranney, policemen Bailey 
and Williamson, a:nd several attachees of the stage 
company, started in pursuit of the robbers. Sheriff 
Rogers, with Taylor and Watson, arrested two men at 
the Thirteen Mile House, one was recognized by 
Watson as one of the robbers. They had taken 
supper the night before at the Mountain Ranch, but 
left and called between 12 and i o'clock in the 
morning at the Thirteen Mile House, asking the 
proprietor to allow them to sleep in his stable. On 
his answer, that he did not allow anyone to sleep in 
his stable, they declared to have no money and 
couldn't pay for a bed ; but he told them they might 
sleep up stairs in his house, and they accepted the 
proposition. For concealing their countenances they 
had drawn their hats over their faces, while talking 
and entering the house. In the morning they over- 



slept themselves and were arrested while in bed, 
brought to Placerville and lodged in jail. 

Meanwhile deputy Sheriff Staples and Constables 
Van Eaton and Ranney tracked the robbers to the 
head of Pleasant valley, where Van Eaton left his 
companions, in order to inform Sheriff Rogers of 
the route the robbers had taken, and the two con- 
tinued the pursuit in the direction of the Somerset 
House, on the road to Grizzly Flat ; arriving at the 
latter place Staples inquired of the landlady if there 
were any men in the house, and she replied ; " Yes, 
six, up stairs." He rushed up stairs, seized a gun 
standing at the door of a sleeping room, burst the 
door open, and presenting the gun, cried : " You are 
my prisoners!" But scarcely had he uttered these 
words, when the robbers fired, wounding him fatally, 
he fired at the same time, hitting one of the robbers 
in the face. Officer Ranney, also, was dangerously 
wounded, both officers were robbed by taking their 
money, watches, horses and arms ; whereupon they 
decamped, leaving their wounded companion behind. 
On August 2d, Under-Sheriff J. B. Hume and deputy 
Sheriff Van Eaton arrested in Santa Clara county, 
Henry Jarboe, George Cross, J. A. Robertson, Wallace 
Clendenin, Jos. Gambill, Thos. Poole, John In- 
gren, H. Gately and Preston Hodges, and brought 
them to Placerville on August 4th. The above named 
parties were charged by Allen H. Glasby, one of 
the stage robbers, with being accomplices before and 
after the stage robbery, and upon his evidence the 
Grand Jury found bills of indictment against them, 
whereupon Judge Brockway issued warrants for their 
arrest. They were arraigned in the District Court on 
August 19th, attended by their counsels Messrs. 
Hurlburt & Edgerton and J. M. Williams. The 
case again came up in the District Court on Novem- 
ber 2 2d. Preston Hodges was convicted of murder 
in the second degree, and sentenced by Judge 
Brockway to 20 years' imprisonment at hard labor. 
Thomas Poole suffered the extreme penalty of the 
law, his execution took place September 29th, 1865, 
at 12 o'clock noon. 

At Pekin, in the lower part of Mud Springs town- 
ship, three Chilenos became engaged in a fight on 
Sunday, March i8th, 1866, the result of which was 
the killing of Casas Rojas and Marcellius Bellasque 
by Pedro Pablo. The murderer was arrested by 
other Chilenos present, and handed over to special 
constable Bailey, who started to Shingle Springs. 
The night being dark and stormy, and under cover of 
the darkness the prisoner freed himself from the 
handcuffs, jumped from the horse and escaped. The 
sheriff was "notified, and sent Under-Sheriff Hume 
and Jailor Cartheche in pursuit of the murderer. 

who finally was discovered by a brother of one of 
the murdered men in a quartz mill near Diamond 
Springs, on the following Wednesday. He informed 
Constables Bailey and Shrewsberry of his whereabouts, 
and they arrested and brought the culprit to Placer- 
ville; where he was examined before Justice Sher- 
wood and committed to jail awaiting the action of 
the Grand Jury. 

A terrific and most savage fight with knives took 
place near Garden Valley, on the morning of April 
30th, 1866. The combatants were Joseph Eaton and 
Alexander Gladden ; both had been drinking to- 
gether very hard, and became engaged in a quarrel, 
which resulted in the fight. Gladden cut off a part 
of Eaton's nose, besides inflicting some more 
wounds upon him ; but Eaton cut his assailant in a 
terrible manner, literally, to use the language of one 
who saw the murdered man, "slicing him up." 


Three desperate fellows, giving their names as 
Faust, De Tell and Sinclair, started from Sacramento 
in the later days of July, 1867, with a determination 
to make money some way. They commenced by 
robbing houses along the road, and on Tuesday, 
August 3d, stopped a teamster on his return from 
Carson Valley, just above Sportsman's Hall, and made 
him shell out; then coming up the road, robbing 
houses at their pleasure, also picking up a man who 
was driving a water cart on the road, for ten or 
twelve dollars. Under-Sheriff Hume, with a posse 
of three or four men, went in their pursuit, and 
being informed of their course between the time, by 
Constable Watson, of Strawberry, he lay in wait for 
them at a point in the road near Osgood's toll house, 
which they could not well get around. About half- 
past eleven on August 5th, the robbers came up all 
armed with rifles. Hume ordered them to stop, 
whereupon one of them fired, the shot taking effect in 
the fleshy part of Hume's arm, though not hurting 
him seriously. Hume then ordered his men to fire, 
and when the smoke cleared away they fourrd two 01 
them lying on the ground, one being dead, the other 
unhurt ; the third one had been seen falling off the 
bridge, and until the next morning was beheved to be 
drowned in the creek ; but then they found that he 
had recovered and crawled under the bridge, where he 
stayed until all were in the toll house, when he— minus 
two coats — started back towards Placerville. One 
hour after daylight the Sheriff's party struck his track, 
and he was captured a short distance above Brockless' 
bridge, and both the prisoners brought to Placerville 
and lodged in jail. Before Court Sinclair stated : My 
name is Walter Sinclair ; am one of three men that 



were in the party that fired upon the Sheriff's party; 
am from Arizona; served there under Gen. Conner; am 
from New York ; aged 2 1 years. The dead man was a 
German by the name of Faust ; age unknown ; was 
with deceased and another man named Hugh De Tell. 
Their trial ended with a sentence for a good long term 
to be sent to the State prison. 


Joseph F. Rowland, a Frenchman, about 45 years 
of age, and a miner by occupation, was found dead in 
the bed of Weber creek, one-half mile above Weber- 
town, and two hundred yards below his cabin, on the 
morning of January 16, 1868. He had been dead 
evidently several days, and had, no doubt, been 
murdered with some sharp instrument, as his skull 
was found fractured in several places ; this, with other 
accompanying circumstances, led the Sheriff to the 
conclusion that the murder had been committed by 
Indians, and Under-Sheriff Hume and Cartheche were 
sent out to arrest a lame Indian, who was able to talk 
English, and was supposed to know something about 
the affair. While in search of him, passing along a 
trail between the American river and the main road, 
in the vicinity of the Nine Mile House, they suddenly 
rode up on to three Indians, armed with rifles, who, 
as soon as they saw themselves discovered, leveled 
their rifles cocked at the officers. The recognition 
was so unexpected that the latter had no chance to 
draw their revolvers from underneath their overcoats 
and gumcoats, which wore buttoned all up, as it was 
exceedingly cold. They consequently remained 
stationary on their horses, as it would have been 
certain death to attack the Indians, having neither 
shotgun nor rifles with them, and three well armed 
Indians but a few feet from them. The latter mean- 
while backed off" with their rifles leveled at the officers 
until they had passed out of range. Hume and Car- 
theche on reaching Sportsman's Hall telegraphed for 
an additional force, jjroperly armed, and with their 
help they succeeded in securing the lame Indian and 
arresting some others. The Indians who confronted 
them with their rifles proved to have been 'White Rock 
Jack and two of his accomplices; the lame Indian 
acknowledged to having been in their company, a 
party of four who committed the murder, and his 
testimony was corroborated by the circumstantial 
evidence in the case. He as well as the two others, 
who were subsequently caught, were tried and sent to 
San Quentin ; but Jack could not be apprehended at 
the time. 

The Indians of the vicinity of American and 
Columbia Flats had a "big eating" on Irish creek, on 
Wednesday, July 27, 1870, and it seems that White 

Rock Jack could not withstand the temptation of 
being present and participating. He accordingly left 
his mountain hiding place and repaired to the place of 
feasting, where, in all probability, he would not be 
recognized by anyone but friends. The Indians, in 
some way, had procured liquor, and Jack's appetite 
again getting the better of him, he got beastly drunk. 
Two Indians then came to the storekeeper of Columbia 
Flat, a Mr. Anderson, informing him that Jack was 
near by and in what condition ; they also accompanied 
Anderson to the spot, and did not stop with pointing 
out the Indian brigand, but helped to bind him; 
whereupon he was brought to Placerville, and delivered 
into jail by Messrs. Anderson, Breeze, and a third 
gentleman. Thus, after a long series of plots, setting 
traps, etc., by the officers of the county, this savage 
desperado, for whose capture the Supervisors of El 
Dorado county had offered a reward of $500, with 
an additional $300 by Governor Haight, had been 
secured. His trial came up in the District Court on 
March 3, 1871, he pleaded guilty of murder in the 
second degree, and was sentenced by Judge Adams 
to hard labor in the State Prison for the term of his 
natural life. Jack received his sentence with the 
characteristic Indian stolidity, but, it is said, when 
reaching his cell, he wept at the cheerless and hopeless 
future of a Hfelong incarceration within the walls of 
San Quentin. Jack was then 23 years of age and a 
superior specimen of the Digger Indian. 

A man by the name of Jesse Hendricks, an 
employee of the South Fork canal company, myste- 
riously disappeared from his section on the canal, 
some eight miles above Placerville, about May 25, 
1870, and notwithstanding the most careful search by 
a large number of men, no traces could be found; and 
the general supposition ran that the man had been 
murdered by Indians,'* and suspicion rested upon 
White Rock Jack, the notorious Indian desperado. 
On December 19, 1876, a deer hunter discovered on 
the South Fork of the American river, about seven 
miles above Placerville, two sections of a human skull, 
one of which he found near the bank of the river, the 
other about 50 feet higher up, on top of a bluff. 
Coroner Collins, after being informed of these facts 
went up with a party to investigate the locality, on 
December 21st. They went to the big flume on the 
old Jack Johnson ranch, and thence directly down to 
the river; near the river they found the two pieces of 
skull and a miner's shovel. Further up they discovered 
a boot containing the bones of a human foot, and still 
further up another boot containing the bones of a foot 
and the leg from the knee down. Corttinuing their 

, also ditch tender - 



search still further up an abrupt swail, most difficult 
to climb, at various intervals, other fragments of a 
human skeleton were found, including quite a number 
under a tree near the flume ; here and there also 
particles of clothing attached to or near some of the 
bones were found, and at a point, where it appeared 
very likely the body had originally lain, by digging 
away the dead leaves and rubbish, a pocket-book and 
a few half and quarter dollars, amounting in all to 
$2 25, were discovered. The pocket knife and some 
strips of a woolen shirt were identified as having 
belonged to Jesse Hendricks, the ditch tender, whose 
mysterious disappearance in June, 1870, caused quite 
some httle excitement. No doubt he had been 
murdered; by whom, however, never has come to 
light up to this day; but the theory that he had been 
killed by Indians, as strongly was suspected, seems to 
be disproved by the discovery of- his knife and money, 
which excluded robbery, something the Indians always 
will connect with the killing of a person. 

In 1857, the County Treasurer, F. M. Reed, after 
defaulting the county for the sum of $124,000, escaped, 
not to be seen or heard from afterwards. 


The accumulation of disorderly, unruly and des- 
perate fellows and the crimes they had committed, 
had caused the people of El Dorado county at various 
instances to take the law in their own hands, and deal 
with those rogues just as they deseryed it. This was 
well enough and could be excused on account of the 
unsettled condition of the whole country ; but as the 
population was rapidly growing, and the courts were 
gaining strength, it became time to have the law take 
its own way, and the execution of the lawful sentences 
by the officers of the law. James Logan, for the mur- 
der of Fennel at Coon Hollow, and Wm. Lipsey, for 
killing Powelson at Cold Springs, were the first to be 
convicted of murder in the District Court of El Do- 
rado county. Their execution took place, according 
to the sentence of Judge Howell, on Friday, Novem- 
ber 3d, 1854. The assemblage of people to see the 
unusual sight was the largest ever known in El Do- 
rado county. From early morning of that day every 
thoroughfare leading to Coloma from all parts of the 
county, far as well as near, were thronged with one 
continuous line or mass of people on foot, on horse- 
back, in wagons, carts and every conceivable mode 
of locomotion then in use in California. This pro- 
cession resembled to a certain extent a sample-carte 
of nationalities and races, all different shades of skin, 
from white to black, were represented, and all seemed 
under the same influence, as though an invisible 
power directed their steps towards Coloma ; and hours 

before the execution the streets of that town were 
nothing else than a dense mass of human beings, 
while the hillsides were covered with thousands more. 

The crowd was estimated at from six to eight thou- 
sand persons. The execution took place at Coloma, 
on the hill where the cemetery now is located ; Rev. 
Mr. Taylor officiating, and Drs. Taylor, of Coloma, 
and Stephenson, of Cold Springs, sworn physicians ; 
David E. Buell, Sheriff, and J. S. Welton, Deputy 

On October 26th, 1855, Crane, the murderer of 
Miss Newnham, and Micky Free, one of the murder- 
ers of Howe, were executed by hanging at Coloma. 
And again an execution took place at Coloma on Jan- 
uary 23d, 1857, and was the last one that occurred 
amid that community, and concerned the hanging of 
Andrew Best, for the murder of an Indian squaw, and 
Elijah Archer for the murder of Mr. Fuller, of Placer- 

John Robinson, convicted of the murder of Gregoire 
Aubemet, near Greenwood Valley, on the 4th of 
March, 1 86 1, in the District Court, was sentenced to 
be executed on August 2d, but tiling a writ of super- 
cedeas, his execution was postponed and a new trial 
granted, which resulted in the same conviction and 
sentence. His execution took place on July i8th, 

Jim, and Jim Patterson, Indians, indicted for the 
murder of Charles Gay, on June 26th, 1861, near 
Salmon Falls, found guilty of murder in the first de. 
gree, and sentenced to suffer the extreme penalty of 
the law. Their execution took place on November 
ist, in the jail yard. Their bodies were permitted to 
hang twenty minutes, when they were cut down, placed 
in coffins and delivered to some Indians, who con- 
veyed them to Gold Hill to Captain John, Chief of 
the tribe, who burnt them in due form. 

C. W. Smith, convicted of the murder and robbery 
of F. L. Smith on the Carson road, on April 23d, 
1862, was sentenced by Judge Myers to be hanged on 
the 9th of January, 1863, and Juan Belencia, con- 
victed of the murder of a Chinaman near Pleasant 
Valley, to be hanged on January i6th, 1863. 

No doubt the line of those who had to give up 
their lives for other lives they had taken, and sacrifice 
their blood for the blood that had been shed by them, 
is quite a large one, but as it cannot be the intention of 
this article to give a full record of all of them, we will 
conclude with the last criminal who had to suffer the 
death penalty. 

James K. Page was excuted at 8:15 a. m., on 
August loth, 1883, in the jail-yard at Placerville, for 
the murder of an unknown man in New York ravine, 
near Folsom, May loth, 1883. 



On the morning of November 27th, 1863, 


T. A. Valentine was driving a team on the road be- 
tween Johntown and Uniontown he was stopped by a 
highway man, who demanded his money, at the same 
time presenting a colt's revolver. Mr. Valentine, be- 
ing unarmed, handed over his money, amounting to 
twelve dollars, saying he would much rather part with 
his money than his scalp. The robber politely as- 
sured him that he did not intend to hurt him; he stated 
to Mr. Valentine that he was strapped and had resorted 
to robbing to make a raise. He returned Valentine a 
dollar to pay toll across the Uniontown bridge and a 
bit to buy a drink, remarking that he never took bits 


Wednesday evening, January 9th, 1878, Constable 
J. B. Fisher, of Grizzly Flat, delivered David Brant- 
hover to Sheriff Theissen, on a charge of having 
killed his brother, Adam Branthover, near the above- 
named place. The facts are as follows : There was 
some trouble between them in relation to a partner- 
ship in a quartz claim. Tuesday, in company of D. T. 
Loofbourrow, David went to the cabin of the deceased 
for the purpose of settling the dispute. While com- 
paring accounts, according to Loofbourrow's testi- 
mony before A. J. Graham, Justice of the Peace, 
David frequently gave Adam the lie, and finally, both 
being much excited, they clinched. During the 
struggle, a gun in the hand of David went off, the ball 
striking Adam in the thigh, coming out at the hip; 
death ensued in less than an hour. Immediately after 
the affray, David went to the cabin of Fisher and 
Morey, stated what had occurred, and said that he ex- 
pected to shoot Adam through the body, but the de- 
ceased knocked the gun down; he was not aware at 
the time that Adam was mortally wounded. 

A man by the name of F. L. Smith was murdered 
on April 23d, 1862, on the Ogilsby road, about 21 
miles east of Placerville. A rifle ball broke his 
spine, passing through his heart. Two young men 
traveling the same road on foot, heard the report of a 
gun, hurried to the spot, and arriving where the mur- 
dered, man fell, saw a man picking up his hat and a 
rifle. Some dispute arose between the parties, but the 
two being unarmed left after the murderer threatened 
to shoot them also. They went to the Goodwin 
Mountain House, to give the alarm, and on returning 
to the spot and searching, they discovered the nmr- 
dered man, who had been dragged about 100 yards 
below the road into the chapparel. A rope was tied 
around his body. The body was brought to Placer- 
villa for burial The murderer was arrested by Deputy 

SheriH' Chapman, two days after, near Ringgold, and 
lodged in jail. The name of the prisoner was C. W. 
Smith, his case was tried in the District Court before 
Judge Myers, and as the evidence was entirely cir- 
cumstantial, but so conclusive as to leave not the 
shadow of doubt of his guilt, he was convicted of 
murder in the first degree and on November 24th, 
1862, sentenced to be hung on January 9th, 1863. 



All the heroes that ever were born 

Native or foreign, bearded or shorn, 

From the days of Homer to Omer Pasha 

Who mauled and maltreated the troops of the Czar ; 

And drove the rowdy Muscovite back, 

Fin and Livonian, Pole and Cossack, 

From gray Ladoga to green Ukraine, 

And other parts of the Russian domain, 

With an intimation exceedingly plain, 

That they'd better cut! and not come again. 

All the heroes of olden time 

Who have jingled alike in armor and rhyme, 

Hercules, Hector, Quintus Curtius, 

Pompey and Pegasus-riding Perseus, 

Brave Bayard, and the braver Roland, 

Men who never a fight turned back on ; 
Charles the Swede, and the Spartan band, 

Coriolanus, and General Jackson, 
Richard the Third, and Marcus Brutus, 
And others, whose names won't rhyme to suit us. 
Must certainly sink in the deep profound 
When Captain Davis' story gets round. 

Know ye the land where the sinking sun 
Sees the last of the earth when the day is done ; 
Where the course of empire is sure to stop, 
And the play concludes with the fifth-act drop ; 
Where, wonderful .spectacle, hand in hand 
The oldest and the youngest nations stand ? 
Where yellow .\sia, withered and dry, 
Hears Young America, sharp and spry, 
With thumb in his vest, and quizzical leer, 
Singing out " Old Fogie, come over here !" 

Know ve the land of mines and vines, 

Of monstrous turnips and giant pines, 

Of monstrous profits and quick declines, 

And Howland and Aspinwall's steamship lines ? 
Know ye the land so wondrous fair 

Fame has blown on his golden bugle. 
From Battery-place to Union Square 

Over the Park and down McDougal ? 
Hither and thither, and everywhere. 

In every city its name is known. 
There is not a grizzly Wall street bear ^ 

That does not shrink when the blast is blown. 
There Dives sits on a golden throne. 

With Lazarus holding his shield before. 
Charged with a heart of auriferous stone, 

And a pick-ax and spade on a field of ore. 


Know ye the land that looks on Ind ? 

There only you'll see a pacific sailor, 
Its song has been sung by Jenny Lind, 

And the words were furnished by Bayard Taylor. 

Seaward stretches a valley there, 

Seldom frequented by men or women j 
Its rocks are hung with the prickle-pear, 

And the golden balls of the wild persimmon ; 
Haunts congenial to wolf and bear. 
Covered with thickets, are everywhere ; 
There's nothing at all in the place to attract us, 
Except some grotesque kind of cactus i 
Glittering beetles with golden rings, 
Royal lizards with golden wings, 
And a gorgeous species of poisonous snake. 

That lets you know when he means to battle 
By giving his tail a rousing shake. 

To which is attached a muffled rattle. 

Captain Davis, (Jonathan R.), 

With James McDonald, of Alabama, 
And Dr. Bolivar Sparks were thar, 

Cracking the rocks with a miner's hammer. 
Of the valley they'd heard reports 
"That plenty of gold was there in quartz." 
Gold in quartz they marked not there. 
But p'infs enough on the prickly pear, 
As they very soon found 
When they sat on the ground. 

To scrape the blood from their cuts and scratches ; 
For rickety cactus had stripped them bare. 

And cobbled their hides with crimson patches. 
Thousands of miles they are from home, 

Hundreds from San Francisco city ; 
Little they think that near them roam 

A baker's dozen of wild banditti. 
Fellows who prowl, like stealthy cats, 
In velvet jackets and sugar-loaf hats. 
Covered all over with trinkets and crimes. 

Watches and crosses, pistols and feathers. 
Squeezing virgins and wives like limes. 

And wrapping their legs in unpatented leathers ; 
Little they think how close at hand 
Is that cock of the walk — "the Bold Brigand !" 

And here I wish to make a suggestion 

In regard to those conical, sugar-loaf hats, 
I think those bandits, beyond all question, 

Some day will find out they're a parcel of flats ; 
For if that style is with them a passion. 
And they stick to these hats in spite of the fashion. 
Some Tuscan Leary, Genin, or Knox 

Will get those brigands in a bad box ; 

For the Chief of Police will send a " Star"' 
To keep a look-out near the hat bazar. 
And when Fra Diavolo comes to buy 

The peculiar mode that suits his whim. 
He may find out, if the Star is spry, 

That instead of the hat they've ironed him. 

Captain Davis, and James McDonald, 

And Doctor Sparks together stand ; 
Suddenly like the fierce Clan Uonald 

Bursts from the thicket the bold Brigand, 

Sudden, and never a word spoke they. 
But pulled their trigger and blazed away. 

"Music," says Halleck, "is everywhere," 

Harmony guides the whole creation ; 
But when a bullet sings in the air 
So close to your hat that it moves your hair. 
To enjoy it requires a taste quite rare. 

With a certain amount of cultivation. 
But never music, homely or grand, 
Grisi's "Norma" or Jungle's band, 
The distant sound of the watch dog's bark. 

The coffee-mill's breakfast psalm in the cellar, 
" Home, Sweet Home," or the sweet " Sky Lark," 

Sung by Mrs. Payne, in "Cinderella;" 
Songs, that remind us of days of yore, 

(/urbstone ditties that we have loved to hear, 
"Brewer's Yeast 1" and " Straw, Oat Straw?" 

"Lily-white com, a penny an ear?" 

Rustic music of chanticleer, 

" Robert the Devil," by Meyerbeer, 

Played at the "Park " when the NVoods were here, 
Or anything else that an echo brings 
From those mysterious vibrant strings. 
That answer at one, like the telegraph line, 
To notes that were written in " Old Lang Syne." 
Nothing, I say, ever played or sung, 
Organ panted, or bugle rung. 
Not even the horn on the Switzer Alp, 

Was half so sweet to the Captain's ear 
As the sound of that bullet that passed his scalp. 

And told him a scrimmage was awful near. 

Come, O Danger ! in any form, 

"The earthquake's shock or the ocean storm ;" 

Come, when its century's weight of snow 

The avalanche hurls on the Swiss chateau ; 

Come with the murderous Hindoo Thug, 

Come with the grizzly's fearful hug. 

With the Malay's stab, or the adder's fang, 

Or the deadly fly of the boomerang, 

But never come when the carbine's bang 

That are fired by men that must fight or hang. 

On they came with a thunderous shout 

That made the rocky canyon ring ; 
(Canon, in Spanish, means tube or spout. 

Gorge, or hollow, or some such thing. ) 
On they came with a thundering noise ; 
Captain Davis said, calmly, "Boys, 
I've been a waiting to see them chaps ;" 
And with that he examined his pistol-caps ; 
Then a long, deep breath he drew, 
Put in his cheek a tremendous chew. 
Stripped off his waistcoat and coat, and threw 
Them down, and was ready to die or do. 

Had I Bryant's belligerent skill, 

Wouldn't I make this a bloody fight? 
Or Alfred Tennyson's crimson quill, 

What thundering, blundering lines I'd write 1 
I'd batter, and hack, and cut, and stab, 
And guage, and throttle, and curse, and jab, 
I'd wade to my ears in oaths and slaughter. 
Pour out blood like brandy and water ; 


Hit 'em again if they asked for quarter, 

And clinch and wrestle, and yell and bite. 
But I never could wield a camiverous pen 
Like either of those intellectual men. 
I love a peaceful pastoral scene, 
With drowsy mountains and meadows green. 
Covered with daisies, grass, and clover, 

Mottled with Dorset and Southdown sheep. 
Better than fields with a red turf over. 

And men piled up in a Waterloo heap. 
But notwithstanding, my fate cries out : 

" Put Captain Davis in song and story ! 
That children hereafter may read about 
His deeds in the Rocky canyon foray ! " 

James McDonald, of Alabama, 

Fell at the feel of Dr. Sparks, 
"Doctor," said he, " I'm dead as a hammer, . 

And you have a couple of bullet marks. 
This," he gasped, "is the end of life." 

"Yes," said Sparks, " 'tis a mighty solver. 
Excuse me a moment, just hold my knife. 
And I'll hit that brigand with my Colt's revolver." 

Then through the valley the contest rang, 
Pistols rattle and carbines bang. 
Horrible, terrible, frightful, dire, 
Flashed from the vapor the footpad's fire, 
Frequent as when in a sultry night 
Twinkles a meadow with insect-light ; 
But deadlier far, as the Doctor found. 

When, crack ! a ball through his frontal bone 
Lands him flat on his back on the hard-fought ground, 

And left Captain Davis to go it alone ! 

Oh ! that Roger Bacon had died ! 

Or Schwartz, the monk, or whoever first tried 

Cold iron to choke with a mortal load. 

To see if Saltpeter wouldn't explode. 

For now, when you get up a scrimmage in rhyme, 

The use of gunpowder so shortens the time, 

That just as your •' Iliad " should have begun, 

Your epic gets smashed with a Paishan.gun ; 

And the hero for whom you are tuning the string 

Is dead before " arms and the man " you singj; 

To say nothing of how you jar and shock 

Your verses with hammer and rammer and stock 

Bullet and wad, trigger and lock, 

Nipple and'cap, pan and cock. 

But wouldn't I like to spread a few pages 

All over with arms of the middle ages ? 

Wouldn't I like to expatiate 

On Captain Davis in chain or plate? 

Spur to heel, and plume to crest. 

Visor barred, and lance in rest, 

Long, cross-hilted brand to wield, 

Cuirass, gauntlets, mace and shield ; 

Cased in proof himself and horse, 

From frontlet-spike to huckler-boss ; 

Harness glistening in the sun, 

Plebian foes, and twelve to one ! 
I tell you now there's a beautiful chance 
To make a hero of old romance ; 
But I'm painting his picture for after-time. 

And don't mean to sacrifice truth for rhyme. 
Cease, digression ; the fray grows hot ! 

Never an instant stops the firing ; 
Two of the conical hats are shot, 

And a velvet jacket is just expiring. 
Never yields Captain Davis an inch, 
For he didn't know how, if he wished, to flinch. 
Firm he stands in the rocky gorge. 

Moved as much by those vagrant men 
As an anvil that stands by a blacksmith's forge. 

Is moved by the sledge-hammer's ten-pound ten 1 
Firm though his shirt, with jag and rag 
Resembles an army's storming flag : 
Firm, till suddenly they give a shout. 

Drop their shooters and clutch their knives, 
When he said, "Jackson their powder's out. 

And I've got three barrels and that's three lives I" 

One ! and the nearest steeple-crown 

Stood aghast, as a minster spire 

Stand, when the church below is on fire, 
Then trembles, and totters, and tumbles down. 
Don Pasquale the name he bore. 

Near Lecco was reared his ancestral cot. 
Close by Lago Como's shore 

For description of which, see Claude Melnotte, 
Two, and instantly drops, with a crash, 
An antediluvian sort of mustache ; 
Such as hundreds of years had grown, 
When scissors and razors were quite unknown. 
He from the Tuscan city had come,' 
Where a tower is built all out of plumb ! 
Puritani his name was hight. 
A terrible fellow to pray or fight; 
Three ! and as if his head were cheese. 

Through Castadiva a bullet cut; 
Knocked a hole in his os unguis, 

And bedded itself in his occiput. 
Daily to mass his widow will go, 

In that beautiful city, a lovely moaner, 
Where those supernatural sausages grow. 

Which we mispronounce when we style " Bellona. 

As a crowd that near a depot stands. 

Impatiently waiting to take the cars. 
Will "clear the track " when its iron bands 

The ponderous, fiery hippogriph jars. 
Yet the moment it stops don't care a pin. 
But hustle and bustle and go right in, 
Sj the half of the band that still survives, 
Ccmes up, with long mustaches and knives. 
Determined to mince the Captain to chowder. 
So soon as it's known he is out of powder. 

Six feet one, in trowsers and shirt. 

Covered with sweat, and blood, and dirt; 

Not very much scared, (though his hat was hurt 

And as full of holes as a garden squirt.) 

Awaiting the onslaught, behold him stand 

With a twelve inch " Bowie" in either hand. 

His cause was right, and his arms were long. 

His blades were bright, and his heart was strong; 

All he asks of the trinketed clan 

Is a bird's eye view of the foremost man; 


But shoulder to shoulder they came together. 
Six sugar-loaf heads and twelve legs of leather; 
Fellows whose names you can't rehearse 
Without instinctively clutching your purse ; 

Baldiani and Bottesimi, 

Fierce Alboni and fat Dandini, 

Old Rubini and Mantillini, 

Cherubini and Paganini: 
(But I had forgot the last were shot; 
No matter, it don't hurt the tale a jot.) 

Onward come the terrible crew ! 

Waving their poignards high in air. 
But little they dream that seldom grew 

Of human arms so long a pair 
As the Captain had hanging beside him there, 

Matted from shoulder to wrist with hair. 

Brawny, and broad, and brown, and bare. 

Crack, and his blade frorn point to heft 
Had cloven a skull as an egg is cleft; 
And round he swings those terrible flails. 
Heavy and s*ift as a grist mill sails ; 
Whack! and the loftiest conical crown 

Falls full length in the Rocky valley; 
.Smack! and a duplicate Don goes down. 

As a ten-pin falls in a bowling alley. 

None remain but old Rubini, 

Fierce Alboni and fat Dandini; 

Wary fellows, who take delight 

In prolonging, as long as they can, a fight, 

To show the science of cut and thrust. 

The politest method of taking life; 
As some men love, when a bird is trussed. 

To exhibit their skill with a carving knife. 
But now with desperale hate and strength, 
They cope with those arms of fearful length. 
A scenic effect of skill and art, 
A beautiful play of tierce and carte, 
A fine exhibition it was, to teach 
The science of keeping quite out of re.ich. 
But they parry, and ward, and guard, and fend. 

And rally, and dodge, and slash, and shout. 
In hopes that from mere fatigue in the end 

He either will have to give in or give out. 

Never a Vankee was born or bred 

Without that peculiar kink in his 

By which he could turn the smallest amount 

Of whatever he had to the best account. 

.So while the banditti cavil and shrink, 

It gives Captain Davis a chance to think; 

And the coupled ideas shot through his brain, 

.\s shoots through a village an express train; 

.\nd then ! as swift as the lightning flight, 

When the pile-driver falls from its fearful hight. 

He brings into play, by way of assister. 

His dexter leg. as a sort of ballista. 

Smash ! in the teeth of the nearest rogue. 

He threw the whole force of his hob-nailed brogue I 

And a horrible yell from the rocky chasm 

Rose in the air like a border slogan. 
When old Rubini lay in a spasm, 

From the merciless kick of that iron brogan. 

As some old Walton, with line and hook. 
Will stand by the side of a mountain brook. 
Intent upon taking a creel of trout; 
But finds so many poking about, 
Under the roots, and stones, and sedges, 
In the middle, and near the edges. 
Eager to bite, so soon as the hackle. 
Drops in the stream from his slender tackle. 
And finally thinks it a weary sport. 
To fish where trout are so easily caught; 
So Captain Davis gets tired at last 
Of fighting with those that drop down so fast, 
And a tussle with only a couple of men 
Seems poor kind of fun, after killing often ! 
But just for the purpose of ending the play 
He puts fierce Albini first out of the way; 
.\nd then to show Signor Dandini his skill. 
He splits him right up, as you'd split up a quill; 
Then drops his "Bowie " and rips his shirt. 
To bandage the wounds of the parties hurt; 
An act as good as a moral, to teach 
"That none are out of humanity's reach," 
.\n act that might have produced good fruit, 
Had the brigands survived, but they didn't do it. 

Sixteen men do depose and Say, 

" That in December, the twentieth day. 

They were standing close by when the fight occurred, 

And are ready to swear to il, word for word. 

That a bloodier scrimmage they never saw; 

That the bodies were sot on, accordin' to law; 

That the provocation and great excitement 

Wouldn't justify them in a bill of indictment; 

But this verdict they find against Captain Davis, 

That if ever a brave man lived — he brave is." 

The above ballad made its .round from the Knicker- 
bocker Magazine, referring to a desperate fight between 
three miners, prospecting after a vein of gold-bearing 
quartz, and eleven robbers, as had been published in 
the newspapers of El Dorado county in December, 
1854, and at that time had caused quite some contro- 
versy on account of the credibility in the affair. The 
Captain's gallant deeds in Rocky Canyon are rendered 
in imperishable verse, abounding in wit, sprightliness 
and humor. His name will live in song, if not in 
story, long after his strong arm and undaunted heart 
are cold, pulseless and stiff. 



About the middle of summer, 1850, some Indians 
had been killed in the neighborhood of Johnson's 
ranch, situated about six miles above Placerville on 
the emigrant road. It was rumored at that time, that 
no provocation on the side of the Indians had given 
cause to such occurrence, but that it had been done 



with a view to stir up the Indians to commit some out- 
rage or depredation in retaliation, and then have the 
strongest measures taken against them ; a permanent 
military post to keep them under control was probably 
the least what those parties did expect. If so, the 
scheme worked well enough, the Indians revenging 
themselves, killed several miners, whereupon the settlers 
and miners complamed in a petition to the county and 
State, asking for relief from the ravages of the Indians. 
Three companies of militia were consequently mus- 
tered out, one from Mud Springs, and two from Pla- 
cerville, the whole army was placed in command of 
Sheriff William Rogers, as Paymaster, B. F. Ankenny 
being Quartermaster of the expedition, and as soon 
as the companies were organized they marched up 
towards Johnson's ranch there to go in camp, await- 
ing the appearance of the enemy. In the meantime, 
for several weeks, J. C. Johnson, (by contemporaries 
called "Jack," or "cock eyed Johnson,") who kept a 
store and trading post on his ranch, had the undis- 
puted revenue from the whole camp, but no Indians 
turned up. The ardor of those Indian fighters being 
not yet abated, after about four weeks of easy camping 
life, the officers in charge of the expedition came to 
the understanding that they had to do something, and 
it was decided to go in pursuit of the savages, hunt- 
ing them up in their own hiding places. Order was 
given to break camp, and soon after the whole army 
was on the march scouring the country in the direc- 
tion of Fiddletown, but as far as to the county line 
no Indians came in sight, and finally giving up the 
pursuit removed back to Mud Springs, where the army 
was disbanded. Thus ended the first Indian war ex- 
pedition of El Dorado county, with considerably dif- 
ferent result from the intention under which it was 
commenced — to punish the outbreak of the Indians. 
The official report gave one Indian killed. Dr. Miller, 
of Placerville, accompanied the expedition as an army 
surgeon, but his services were not often required for, 
at least not in the direction where he was employed 

The Indians, however, had not given up hostility, 
they only had waited their time, undisturbed higher 
up in the mountains, while they would not dare to 
operate agressively the few against a couple hundred 
well armed. But so soon as the army was disbanded 
they left their hiding places and came down on a raid 
through Diamond Springs township; they shot at a 
miner in his cabin which stood on a gulch near Mar- 
tinez creek and committed lots of other outrages, 
always avoiding the populated villages or clusters of 
houses, but annoying the lonesome miners' cabins. 
This raid was extended as far down as Mud Springs, 
and returning they drove all the stock what they could 

get hold of, from there up on Weber creek toward the 
mountains, crossed the American river hear Brock- 
less' bridge, 'and brought their booty in safety ; one or 
two more miners were killed on this retreat. 

Renewed lamentations and complaints were made, 
followed by a flood of urgent petitions for protection, 
and the consequence was the organization of another 
army to fight and punish the incorrigible Indians. 
Sheriff William Rogers was again appointed comman- 
der-in-chief and Major A. W. Bee, Quartermaster of 
the expedition, which was accompanied by Chas. 
Leake. It caused no difficulty to fill the ranks of 
the companies, as many young men looked at this 
campaign as a change from the monotonous work in 
the diggings, and the grand time which the camping 
life of the first expedition had occasioned, enticed 
them to enlist. This dene they were sent out- in pur- 
suit of the Indians, and to secure a better result than 
the first campaign had, Bob Carson was accompanying 
the militia in the capacity of an Indian scout. The 
whole of this army went into camp again at Johnson's 
ranch, giving Johnson the benefit of their stay, and 
smaller bodies were sent out reconnoiteringand hunting 
after the aborigines. After one of these reconnoitering 
trips the report was sent down to Placerville that the 
militia had met the enemy and had made an attack 
with the result of a good many killed on the side of 
the Indians; the report did not mention if there was 
any loss on the other side. This report, however, it 
seems, was only manufactured to stimulate the town- 
people; by making researches for the battle field no 
such thing could be detected, and some time after 
Carson, the scout, declared it as nothing better than 
a hoax. 

After all, this campaign was on the best way to end 
just as fruitless as the first one, and to avoid this 
result the commander and staff decided to try to 
compromise with the Indians. The services of 
Smith,* an old trapper and Indian scout, who was 
very familiar with Indian habits and languages, were 
asked for, and he ratified the negotiations for peace 
with the enemy. Thus ended the second and last 
bloodless Indian war in El Dorado. 

The Indian war matter came up in the State 
Legislature, in session in 1855, to settle the outstand- 
ing war claims and to look after the accounts of the 
officers of both expeditions. The voluminous report 
gives the following figures for the expenses of the 
war ; 
The first El Dorado expedition, William 

Rogers, Paymaster, paid out, $23, i 7 1 83 

For distinguishing this man Smith from others of the large family Of 
the Smiths, the early day's miners called him " Pcelegged " Smith, from 
the wooden leg he wore. 



The Board of Examiners of military war 

claims, .• $i,495 5° 

Quartermaster Ankenny failed to make 

returns of public property : 1,185 oo 

Total $25-852 33 

Col. Bee's bill as paid for horses and mules 

for the second expedition amounted to. $19, 060 00 

On Christmas day, 1850, a young man from Pilot 
Hill, by the name of Avery, took his rifle and went 
out to kill a deer ; but about a quarter of a mile 
from Bayley's he was murdered by Indians for his 
gun, which they carried off. The camp became 
alarmed at his not returning and some went out to 
look after him, but not finding any trace of the 
missing man, returned and gave the report that in 
their belief Avery had been killed by Indians. A 
meeting was held in the evening and A. L. Parker, 
once a Texas ranger, was appointed captain of a 
company, which at daylight sallied" forth for the 
Indian camp, surrounded it and captured the chief 
and five others ; but no threatening whatever could 
move them to confess what they had done with 
Avery, notwithstanding his rifle was found in search- 
ing the camp. The prisoners, one of them being a 
boy 12 years old and the son of the chief, were taken 
to Pilot Hill. One of the party understanding the 
Indian language took the boy aside and after promis- 
ing him that he should be sent to the Eastern States 
for his safety, and to be educated, he took them to the 
spot where Avery's body had been secreled under a 
pile of leaves and sticks. He had been shot 
three times and his brains were beaten out ; most all 
his clothing were taken away also. The body was 
brought to Pilot Hill, but no coroner being present, 
an inquest was not held, but the Indians put on trial. 
J. D. (jalbraitli was elected Judge, and he empan- 
elled a jury, and five Indians started for court; one 
of them broke and ran, but at his third jump he fell 
down dead, five balls had pierced his heart. After a 
speedy trial the jury found a verdict of murder 
against tbt remaining four, and the Judge sentenced 
them to an immediate execution. They were placed 
on a wagon and by this means carried under a tree 
and by removing the wagon, Pico, chief of Piutes, 
and three of his braves, were launched into eternity. 

At a public meeting held at American Flat, on 
August 26th, 1854, to take into consideration the 
best means of suppressing the supply of spirituous 
liquors to Indians, either by gift or sale, the following 
preamble and resolutions were adopted : 

Whereas, We believe that most of the scenes of 
violence and bloodshed enacted in our midst by In- 
dians residing among us, originate in the excessive 

use of intoxicating liijuors ; and whereas, from the 
best information we can obtain, such seems to have 
been the cause of the recent unfortunate disturbance 
in which several of these Indians lost their lives. 
Therefore, be it 

Resolved, That every man who sells intoxicating 
liquors to Indians, endangers the safety of the com- 
munity, degrades his own character, and outrages the 
feelings of humanity. 

Resolved, That we do know there are such men in 
this neighborhood, and we hereby pledge ourselves to 
use the utmost vigilance to ferret them out and bring 
them to justice, and that we will not fail to observe 
that Indians go to certain houses sober, and leave 
those houses drunk. 

Resolved, That henceforth we will denounce and 
discountenance every person, white or black, who 
shall furnish Indians with liquors, under any pretense 
or for any purpose whatever, and more particularly 
those who are in the habit of buying liquors at the 
stores and conveying them stealthily to Indian 
ranchos for vile and sinister purposes. 

Resolved, That a copy of these proceedings be 
posted at this place (American Flat), Columbia, 
Irish Creek, and other places in the neighborhood^ 
and also be published, etc. 

J. E. Sill, Chairman. 

Prr.MAN S. Price, Secretary. 


May 14, 1855, was an exciting day among the 
Diggers. Difficulties had existed among the different 
bands in this vicinity for some time past. A Diamond 
Spring Indian had taken unto himself a Hangtown 
squaw, and perhaps, finding her a great deal worse 
than he anticipated, took occasion to chastise her for 
some real or imaginary offense. Whereupon her 
brother, "Pueblo Jim," no doubt admiring and fully 
endorsing the sentiment, that " He who lays his hand 
upon a woman, save in the way of kindness, is a 
wretch whom it were base flattery to call a coward," 
with a chivalry worthy of imitation, sought out the 
ungallant husband and inflicted upon him severe 
corporal punishment. He afterwards attacked Jim 
with a knife, inflicting upon him several severe 
wounds. Jim recovered, killed his antagonist, and 
was finally himself slain by a relative of his victim. 
On the above stated date the Diggers were assembled 
for a ''big cry" in memory of their departed friend, 
on a hill in the immediate vicinity of Placerville, when 
a fight growing out of the circumstances above narrated 
occurred, in which one squaw was killed and two 
Indians mortally wounded. 


In consequence of the unusual mortality among the 
Diggers during the winter of 1855-6, a general order 
was issued by " Captain John," for the assemblage 
of the tribes in this and adjoining counties, to 
meet in the city of (Placerville) to hold a "cry," 
for the purpose of propitiating the Great Spirit in 
their behalf. On the 21st of March, the city, was 
thronged with Indians, the 2 2d having been desig- 
nated by Captain John for the ceremony. They had 
prepared a large enclosure on the hill back of the 
American Quartz mill, their camp-fires surrounding it 
completely. The prelude to the opening of the 
fandango was the grand recejition of the Auburn 
Indians, who, to the number of 150, participated in 
the ceremonies. They came in procession to within a 
half mile of the encampment, and halted to dress. 
The chiefs were continually yelling forth orders, and 
runners were constantly passing from tribe to tribe. 
A fantastical spectacle did they present, with their 
gaudy headdresses, when once more in motion. The 
Hangtown Indians opened column for their guests to 
pass through into the corral. The strictest silence 
was observed — not a word was uttered until tlie 
Auburn Indians had squatted on the ground, when all 
collected inside, and then arose a slow, mournful 
hum, mingled with groans, from the leaders, which at 
last broke out in a prolonged, unearthly wail from the 
multitude. Old and young appeared stricken with 
intense, uncontrollable grief and fear, exhibiting 
apparently deep contrition for past offenses to their 
Deity. This lasted for half an hour, then the fandango 
regularly opened. 

The ring was cleared, and the Auburn Indians 
invited to open the ball. Some twenty stepped 
forward, led by a brawny old time-keeper, who stepped 
upon a short plank, underneath of which a singular 
instrument was placed in the ground, that gave a 
clear, ringing sound every time he stamped on it. 
Their dance consisted of heavy, quick stamps and 
muscular contortions of the body. Every hour a fresh 
number would occupy the ring. The day was excess- 
ively hot, which caused the perspiration to roll off 
their glistening copper hides in streams. With but few 
intermissions, the dance was kept up until midnight. 
Nothing occurred to mar the harmony and good order 
which prevailed. Not one drunken Indian was seen. 
The number present was estimated at 600. Quite a 
large number of ladies and gentlemen visited the 
encampment during the day. 

Gener.\l Election, September 3D, 1851. 

('Denote those who were elected.] 

For Governor the following vote was given in the 

*John Bigler 3,072 

P. B. Reading 2,628 

FOR members ok C0X(;RESS. 

*J. W. McCorkle 2,909 

*E. C. Marshall 2,915 

E. J.C. Kewell 2,691 

B. F. Moore 2,650 

(Ieneral Election, November 21). 1852. 

(presidential election.) 

electors for franklin pierce (democrat.) 

W. S. Sherwood 6, 106 

J. W. Gregory 6,100 

T. J. Henley 6,099 

Andreas Pico 6,083 


D. H. Haskell 5,142 

J. C. Fall 5,144 

J. E. Hale 5,146 

T. D. Jones 5. '43 

General Election, September 7TH, 1853. 


*John Bigler 4,373 

William Waldo 4,219 

Total vote 8,592 

The following was a complete list of the precincts of 
El Dorado county in 1854 : 

Red Hills, Long Bar (North Fork), 

Union City, Jay Hawk, 

Missouri Bar, Placerville, No. i, 
Coloma, " No. 2, 

Rock Bridge, " No. 3, 

Greenwood Canyon, Green Springs, 

Saratoga, Greenwood Valley, 

Somerset, Ford's Bar, 

Cold Springs, Condemned Bar, 

King's store, Newtown, 

Nashville, Grizzly Flat, 

Johntown, Missouri Flat, 

Chili Bar, Cedarville, 

Kelsey, Coon Hollow, 

Salmon Falls, Smith's Point, 

Mud Springs, Work's Rancho, 

Mountain Home, (Jardner's store. 

Canyon Creek, Pilot Hill, 



Mosquito Canyon, 
White Rock, 
Negro Hill, 
Oregon Bar, 
Louisiana Bar, 
White Oak Springs, 
Johnson's Rancho, 
Flint's Rancho, 
Diamond Springs, 
Smith's Rancho, 
Indian Diggings, 
Dry Creek valley, 

Wisconsin Bar, 
Murderer's Bar, 
Pleasant A'alley, 
Big Bar (Middle Foik). 

Canyon Creek (Ga. Slide), 

Spanish Bar, 

Dry Creek House, 


Aurum City, 

(lold Hill, 

Deer Creek, 


Dickson's Rancho, 


Rock Canyon, 

Spanish Flat, 


Willow Springs Flat, 

Big Canyon, 

Shingle Machine, 

Forty Mile House, 

Big Bar (Cosumnes), 


Ladies Valley, 


Pilot Creek. 

General Election, SEPiE.Mi!f:R 6th, 1854. 

At this election there were three different tickets in 
the field, the Democratic, the regular Whig and the 
Independent (bogus) Democratic tickets. Total vote 
cast, 10,521. 


*James W. Denver 5.231 

*Philip T. Herbert 5,233 

Calhoun Benham 4, 160 

J. W. Bowie 4,185 

James Churchman ',040 

J. A. McDougall 1,112 

Milton S. Latham (withdrawn) 62 


*Charles A. Leak 5)223 

Joseph R. Beard 4)204 

P. K. Woodside 11094 


*Alfred French 5, 108 

*G. W. Hook 5,188 

V. Y. Raslton 4,261 

Hugh Miller 4, 1 64 

G. J. Carpenter 1,152 

D. P. Tallmage 1,088 


*W. F. Cunningham 5>i94 

*Theron Foster 5. '95 

*Edgar Bogardus . 

*John L. Boles 5,286 

*E. A. Stevenson 5,212 

*N. T. Smith 5,191 

*J. C. Johnson 5,895 

*William M'Connell 5,352 

N. R. Benedict 4,o85 

A, J. Burnam 4,034 

^\■. ^V. Marv n 4,i47 

H. M. Miller 4.254 

S. Seabough 4, 1 88 

D. W. Cheesemnn 4, 159 

J. B. Dayton 4,275 

T. D. Heiskell 4.235 

Thomas Wren 1,072 

Alfred Briggs 1,117 

J. G. Donuer 1,071 

Francis Flander= 1.085 

Robert Rogers 1,123 

G. W. Jeffries - 1,021 

Samuel McConnell 1,140 

N. S. Davis 1,070 

The first election for Supervisors took place on the 
9th of April, 1855. The districts, three in number, 
were made up as follows : First District, out of Co- 
loma and Placerville Townships ; Second District, out 
of Diamond Springs, Mud Springs, Dry Creek and 
Cosumnes Townships ; Third District, out of Kelsey 
Big Bar, Cleorgetown, Greenwood and Salmon Falls 

!st District — *Henry Robinson 1,148 

" " W. E. Spencer 673 

2d District — *A. H. Hawley 1,090 

M. C. Shearer 440 

3d District— *Thomas M. Reed 256 

S. P. Moffatt 62 


Two tickets were voted, the Democratic and the 
.\merican or Know-Nothing ticket, the latter was the 
victorious one ; the State ticket headed by Neely 
Johnson for Governor received about i,ooo majority. 
Total vote cast, 8,788. 



*Henry Fiske 4,800 

*J. G, McCallum 4,795 

A. St. Clair Denver 3,928 

S. M. Johnson 3,919 


*T. D. Heiskell 
*J. E. Bowe.... 

5,197 *Dr. E. Taylor. 




*(;forge White 4-. 

*John J^orland 4; 

*'- Welch 4. 

*S. T. (kige 4i 

*J. W. OHver 4. 

Thomas H. Hewes 4. 

M. N. UhchrAl 3 

A. J. Lockwood 3. 

Asa H. Hawley 3: 

W. B. Dickenson 3, 

I). M. Boyd 3; 

Edgar Bogardus 3. 

S. T. Hamm 3. 


E. B. Carson 4: 

^^'. J. Burwell 3.. 


D. C. ISIcKenney 4' 

Asa D. M'aldron 3. 


C. J. Rackliffe 4, 

W. H. Brumtield , 3, 


Thos. M. Reed 4, 

George F. Cibbs 3, 



C. N. Noteware 5, 

Constantine Hix 3. 


H. W. Merrett 4, 

^\'m. Buclianan ^, 


Rutherford 4,7/2 

.Sani'l. F. Marquis 3,95- 


B. Herrick 4,825 

Ceorge Duden 3,939 


Jolm Henderson 4,813 

John L. Shoher 3,948 


1st District — John Kirk 1,274 

C. C. Batterman * 1,1 99 

2d District — Alex. Irvine i:490 

Bayles * 1,265 

3d District — R. E. Draper 1,082 

Wm. Knox 1,063 

For Prohibitory Liquor Law 2,877 

Against Prohibitory Liquor Law 2,305 

General Election, November 4TH, 1856. 

(presidential election.) 

Besides the Democratic and the American ticket, 

the ticket of the Republican Party then made its first 

appearance. Total vote cast 8423. 


Augustin Olivera 4,072 j 

George Freaner 4,072 f , t, ■ 

u TA 11 r,, ^' ' ames Buchanan 

P. Delia I orre 4,07 2 i •' 

A. C. Bradford 4,072 ) 

Balie Peyton 2,963 j 

S. S. Pitzer 2,061 f ,,.,, , ,^.,, 

V, XT IV J \ Ml lard Fi more 

R. N. \\ ood 2,962 I 

O. C. Hall 2,962 ) 

A. Bell 1,388 ^ 

F. P. Tracy i ,388 f , , ,, , 

C.N. Ornisby ^ jg ■ John C. bremont 

L. C. Gunn 1,388 ) 


*Charles L. Scott (Dem) 4,021 

*Jos. C. McKibben 4,oio 

B. C. Whitman (Am) 2,91 7 

A. B. Dibble 2,950 

Ira. P. Rankin (Rep) 1.42 1 

S. N. Turner 1,381 


.\. J. Moulder 4,043 

H. B. Janes 2,943 

J. M. liufihngton ',367 


*G. J Carpenter ^,050 

*S. M. Johnson 3,923 

H. M. Miller 2,891 

J. M. Douglass 2,832 

W. H, Pratt 1,243 

(;. \\. Baldwin 1,315 


*Charles Orvis 3,932 

*John Hume 3,977 

*G. D. Hall 3,947 

*S. F. Hamm 3,97o 

*Jonathan Carpenter 3,873 

*J, Turner 3,947 

*M. N. Mitchell 3,972 

*George McDonald 3,980 



A. D. Rock 2,796 

A. O Porter 2,927 

F. A. Bee 2,767 

J. E. Bowe 2,909 

J. N. McDonald 2,835 

J. McCormick 2,835 

H. Miller 2,822 

W. L. Worley 2,813 

J. S. Campbell 1,32 

J. \V. Gilbert 1,310 

H. T. Knight i, 

T. H. Birtlett 1,280 

C. C. Batterman 1,306 

J. Maultby 1,304 

J.Foster 1,230 

A. L. Frost 1,248 


1st District — *|ohn M. Dorsey.' 1,110 

W. G. Swan.... _. 879 

John Kirk 862 

2d District -*A. F. Lee 1,308 

J. B. Carter 967 

M, S. Robinson 156 

3d I)istrict~*R. E. Draper 1,059 

John Bell 869 

Joseph Barrell . .' 445 

Gexerai, Election, Septe.mber 2d, 1857. 

The Democratic State Ticket, with John B. Weller 
for Governor, received more votes than both the other 
tickets together. 

FOR governor. 

teller 3,124 

Bowie 1,685 

Stanly 1,336 

Total vote 6, 

for st.^te senators. 
S. F. Hamm, W. B. Dickenson. 


Harvey Lee, 
C. W. Pearis, 
J. S. Tipton, 
I. D. Galbraith, 

D. T. Loofbourrow, 
D. E. Buell, 
A. J. Graham, 
H. A. Moses. 


James Johnson. 


W. H. Brumfield. 


Edgar Bogardus 2,864 

A. D. Rock 1,382 

Wm. Jones 1,573 


Harrison Hilton. 


Asa D. Waldron. 


M. K. Shearer. 


A. D. Park. Nathan Rhine, 


Lewis Foster. 


John G. Eusties. 


Charles E. Abbott. 


T. Dougherty. 


E. W. Welton. 


I St District — A. A. Howard. 

2d District — Wm. Knox. 

3d District — C. B. Ferguson. 

General Election, September ist, 1858. 


Thomas H. Hewes, 

^B. F. Myers, 




*L S. Titus, 

*A. St. Clair Denver 2,613 

Robert Bell, 2,5 1 7 

Gavin D. Hall, 2,427 


*G. N., 2,619 

*Wm. Coleman 

*George M. Condee, 

*Ogden Squires, 2,580 

*J. S. Tipton, 2,554 

Ed. Hudson, 5-54i 



J. J. Williams, 2,534 

R. D. CrittendLii, 2,529 

*H. C. Sloss, . 2,577 

♦Alfred Briggs, 2,564 

*G. A. Douglass 2,557 

W. K. Hoyt, 2,553 

A. ]. Lockwood, 2,551 

James Burr, 2,541 

J. B. McGonagle 2,439 

Moses Tebbs, 2,370 


*H. L. Pease, 2,725 

N. Johnson, 2,286 


J. C. McKibben, 2,592 

Wm. L. Dudley, 1,874 

Theo. F. Tracy, 738 

CiENERAL Election, September 7th, 1859. 
Besides the Democratic State ticket with Milton S. 
Latham for Governor. There were two more tickets 
in the field, the Anti-Lecompton and the Republican. 
For the county ticket, however, the two last named 
were united as Fusionists running in opposition to 
the Democrats. 
Total vote cast : S'805 

FOR superintendent of public INSTRUCTION. 

A. J. Moulder, 3, 054 

.\. H. Myers, 2,454 

S. W. Brown, 381 


*\V. D. Dickinson, 2,969 

*R. D. Crittenden, 2,934 

J. ^V. Shanklin, 2,833 

H. C. Sloss, 2,781 


♦Thomas Robertsonf, 2,940 

*D. C. Patten, 2,891 

*David Fairchild, 2,955 

*W. H. Stone, 2,975 

*Asa H. Hawley, 2.921 

*John C. Bell, (died .\pril 15, i860.) 2,907 

*J. H. Watson 2,926 

*E. Dunlap, 2,903 

W. A. Whitaker, 2,752 

W. H. Russell, 2,825 

W. S. Loftland, , 2,813 

tThomas Robertson, of Coloma, died October 2d, 1859, and a special 
election became necessary to fill the vacancy. 

W. K. Hoyt, 2,716 

Thomas Cruson, 2,760 

M. B. Howard, 2,822 

Stephen Willett, 2.877 

John B. Har-din, 1,812 


W. J. Burwell, 3,182 

James Burr, 2,623 


W. A. January, 3,i 74 

J. H. Vanderbilt, 2,546 


J. J. Lawyer, 2,845 

Robert Bell, 2,936 


George. Duden, 3.i°4 

A. J. Lowry 2,695 


S. W. Sanderson, 2,931 

John Hume, 2,824 


Lewis Foster, .... A 2,904 

J. B. Jackson, 2,842 


T. S. Dorsey, 2,985 

W. P. Earley, 2,790 


H. S. Herrick, 2,994 

L. H. Overton, 2,766 


E, W. Welton, 2,884 

George W. Green, 2,93 1 


Jo.seph Todd, 2,934 

Thomas Dougherty, 2,827 


Henry Larkin, • • ■ • 2,877 

James M. .\nderson, 2,914 

Special Election of November 26, 1S59. 
For one member of the assembly, to fill the vacancy 
occasioned by the death of Thomas Robertson, of 

A. 1). Rock, 1,397 

John Conness, 1.964 

A. B. Bates, 180 



General Election, November 6th, i860. 

(presidential election.) 

The four tickets for Presidential Electors, in El 

Dorado county, were voted in the following manner : 

Stephen A. Douglas, Independent Democrat.. 2.697 

♦Abraham Lincoln, Republican 2,119 

John C. Breckenridge, Democrat 1,898 

John Bell, Constitutional Union 332 

Total vote 7.046 


*A. St. Clair Denver 2,557 

*0. Harvey 2,575 

W. H. Pratt 2,110 

William Jones 2,088 

L. Fiske 1,887 

James E. Bowe i, 


*John Conness 2, 

*J. J. Green 2, 

*Theron Foster 2, 

*Chas. W. Coltrin 2, 

*Ale.\. Hunter 2, 

*W. Coleman 2, 

*S. Hill 2, 

*Robert Henderson 2, 

J. H. Corliss 2, 

O. H. Burnham i, 

J. \\'. Edmondson 2, 

J. J. Moore 2, 

S. R. Goddard 1, 

R. E. Trask i, 

L D. Wicks I, 

W. H. Willett 2, 

R. K. Hoyd 2, 

S. P. Moflat 1, 

J. S. Blackwell 2, 

G. \V. Hunter 2, 

Chas. B. Pettit i, 

Daniel B. Soliss i, 

Alexander Irvine 1, 

C. D. Brooke i. 

General Election, September 4th, 1861. 
Leland Stanford nominated for Governor on the 
Republican ticket, received a majority of about 500 
votes over the nominee on the Democratic ticket, 
John Conness. Total vote cast, 6,078. 


Henry Edgerton 2,474 

Jose[)h C. McKibben 2,447 

Joseph R. Gitchell 2,288 

H. P. Barber 1,358 

D. O. Shattuck 1,336 

Frank Ganahl 1,352 

T. G. Phelps 2,478 

A. A. Sargent 2,442 

F. F. Low 2,410 


*Seneca Dean 2, 

*J. Frasier 2, 

*J. D. Dennis 2, 

*H. G. Parker 2 

A. D. Rock 1 

J . D. Rankin 1 

Daniel Searles i 

D. M. Boyd 1 

L. F. Compton 2 

W. K. Creque 2 

S. D. Salisbury 

R. W. Button 



*James Johnson 2,503 

William Jabine i,354 

W. E. Sawyer 2,221 


John Hume 2,572 

S. \V. Sanderson 1-315 

J. G. E 




Alex. Hunter 2,162 

Fred. Baker 1,867 

Sam. En^minger 2,048 


Thos. B. Patton 2,482 

Isaac S. Titus 1,283 

G. J. Carpenter 2,326 


Robert Bell 2,241 

M. t;. Grififith 1,542 

J. M. Reynolds 2,340 


Stephen Willetts 2,504 

W, L. Thomas i,337 

H. S. Hulburd 2,264 


J. L. Perkins 2,457 

Wm. Roush 1,283 

Robert Chalmers 2,388 



George McDonald 2,462 

G W. Giffin 1,407 

A. A. Stoddard 2,235 


W. E. Gaylord 2,45 1 

L. Foster 1,348 

S. Winters 2,213 


Hugh Barker 2,485 

J. L. Deady 1,353 

Jas. Rogers 2,273 


M. A. Lynde 3,010 

C. B. Pettit (withdrawn) 

C. H. Parker 2,304 


W. Eichelroth 2,478 

John Teuscher 1,366 

G. W. Clark 2,216 

General Election, September 3d, 1862. 


*John Swett 3,083 

J. D. Stevenson 1,608 

O. P. Fitzgerald '. 586 


*0. Harvey 2,979 

*A. H. Saxton 2,969 

D. C. McKenney 2,176 

J. M. Douglass 2,236 


*S. W. Sanderson 3,046 

*Thomas Fitch 2,888 

*J. R. Clark 2,979 

*James Burr 3, 055 

John H. Dennis 2,131 

k L. McDonald 2,131 

S. M. Stilwell 2,162 

B. Rodehan 2,212 

For and AGAINST amkxdments to constitution. 


Ves 4,317 

J^'o 494 

"^'^S 4,125 

No 601 

Ye.s 4,189 

No 579 


Yes 4,201 

No 551 

Total vote cast 5,417 

General Election, November 8th, J864. 
(presidential election.) 

Abraham Lincoln, Republican 2.947 

George B. McClellan. Democrat 2,119 

Total vote cast 5,066 

The Presidential electors were the following : 
Samuel Brannan, J. G. McCallum, W. W. Crane, 

Charles Maclay, Warner Oliver, John Doyle, H. B. 

Barber, W. P. White, Joseph Hamilton, E. J. Lewis. 


James W. Coffroth 2, 116 

*William B. Higby 2,936 


3d District— Dan. B. Craig. 

General Election, September 6th, 1865. 
At this election three different tickets were voted 
on. Total vote cast, 4,322. 


♦James Johnson 1,950 

L. I). Wicks 1,827 

G. J. Carpenter 507 


A. B. Bird 1,917 

Daniel Searles 1,902 

Charles F. Irwin 1,904 

E. L. Crawford i,&So 

*J. S. Campbell 2,082 

*J. F. Kidder 2,087 

*E. L. Smith 1,978 

*Ed. F. Taylor 2,050 

Philip Tenre 354 

James Burr 372 

A. L. McClung 353 

Xeini Osgood 396 


Maurice G. (Griffith 2,114 

A. J. Baljer 1,821 

James B. Hume 371 


1). T. Lcof bourrow 1,864 

1). W. Standeford 2,118 

Charles P. Jackson 332 




C. W. Duden 2,010 

H. S. Hulburd 1,952 

W. E. Gaylord 3S6 


E. H. Watson 1,889 

J. S. Moore 1,798 

J. L. Perkins 627 


George E, Williams 2,033 

J. G. McCallum 2^027 

John Bush 262 


H. K. Stowe 2,01 1 

J. A. Bacon 2,037 

W. W. Harvey _ 384 


C. T. Murphy 1,966 

J. M. Arnold 2,058 


W. H. Clark 1,902 

M. L. Robinson i!99S 

W. H. Bodfish 363 


H. W. Fannen 2,043 

E. B. Conklin 2,092 


J. D. Jackson 836 

L. M. Davis 775 

Election, September 5, 1866. 
for supervisor of the first district. 

John Kirk 

Thomas Eraser 

General Election, September 4TH, 1867. 
Governor Henry H. Haight, the nominee of the 
Democratic party, in El Dorado county received 
1,814 votes; the candidates of the other parties, 
G. C. Gorham counted 1,746, und Caleb T. Fay 123, 
this g.ives a total of 3,583. 

FOR member of congress. 

♦James W. Coffroth 1,818 

William Higby i>735 

for state senators : 

♦George W. Hunter 1,815 

O. H. Burnham 1,721 

FOR members of ASSEMBLY ; 

♦Stephen WiUets 1,892 

*Hugh B. Newell 1,858 

*A. B. Bird 1,826 

♦Charles Gildea 1,802 

Calvin Edgerton 1,634 

Ed. F. Taylor 1,685 

Alfred James 1,619 

A. T. Leachman 1,701 


Maurice G. Griffith 1,907 

A. J. Baber 1,620 


W. N. Muffley 1,817 

J. M. Anderson i,735 


W. M. Donahue 1,780 

Bart. Morgan 1,765 


John Theisen i>753 

Robert Chalmers i,797 


G. J. Carpenter 1,807 

N. A. Hamilton 1,703 


I. B. Richardson 1,825 

B. F. Davis 1,729 


William Bayless 1,^43 

J. F. Pinkham 1,712 


A. D. Park 1,831 

J. A. Bacon 1,725 


W. H. Hill 1,864 

C. W. Childs 1,685 


D. W. Carey. 
Judicial Election, October i6th, 1867. 


*0. p. Fitzgerald i,45o 

John Swett i,337 


♦Charles F. Irwin i,54i 

Ogden Squires 1,225 


General Election, November 30. 1868. 
(presidential election.) 
The Presidential Electors on the Republican ticket 
with Ulysses S. Grant, as candidate, were : 
Charles Westmoreland, Alfred Redington, 

D. A. Hoffmann, O. H. Lagrange, 

John B. Felton; the vote of the county 1,676. 


George Pearce, 

THE democratic TICKET. 

A. B. Dibble, 
W. T. Wallace, E. J. C. Kewen, 

Thomas Henley ; they counted 1,683 votes m the 
county. Total vote of the county 3,360. 

FOR members of CONGRESS. 

*J. W. Coffroth 1,706 

A. A. Sargent 1,654 


*C. D. Broocke 

A. R. McFarland 

General Election, September ist, 


*Henry Larkin 

H. F. Page 


Whit. H. Hill 1,481 

C. C. Pierce 1-323 


G. W. Phillips 1,491 

F. A. Bishop I1313 


A. A. Howard i)47o 

Dr. Smith I1327 


Seneca Davis 

C. E. Merrill 


S. A. Brown 

Thomas Eraser 





*J. H. Miller 1,530 

*J. D. McMurry 1,540 

*C. Gildea 1,485 

*H. B. Newell 1,487 

W. P. Vernon 1,283 

W. E. Spencer. 

S. Senter 

E. F. Taylor . . 


J. B. Hume 

Robert Chalmers . 



W.N. Muffley 1,477 

H. J. McKussick 1,361 

General Election, September 6th, 1871. 
On the State ticket the Democratic party counted 
a few more votes than the Republican ; Newton 
Booth, the candidate elected for Governor, received 
1,532, while Henry H. Haight, the candidate for re- 
election had gained 1,553. Total vote cast was 3,093. 

for congress 2d DISTRICT. 

James W. Coffroth 1,566 

*A. A. Sargent 1,489 

for state senators. 

J. T- Lawyer 1,516 

*H. J. McKussick 1,551 

for members of assembly. 

Samuel Flemming 1,480 

L. L. Ramsey i ,464 

*A. J. Bayley 1,554 

Benj. Shivers i,533 

*Samuel H. Center 1,576 

J. W. B. Dixon 1,480 

*William Barklage i,539 

♦Robert Chalmers 1,582 

for treasurer. 

A. T. Gray. . . 
J. L. -Perkins. 


for sheriff. 

Jas. B. Hume. 
W. H. Brown. 

for attorney. 

G. H. Ingham 1,484 

Phil. Teare 1,307 

for assessor. 

T. W. Breeze . 
G. Goodmam . 


FOR county clerk. 


J. B. Richardson i,5°7 

R. O. TurnbuU 1,566 

FOR district attorney. 

G. J. Carpenter 1,575 

G. G. Blanchard 1,463 




Thomas W. Bre^ize 1,572 

Jasper Jurgens . . . .• I1485 


Whit. H. Hill 1,575 

George F. Mack i,494 


William Jabine 1,544 

J. M. Anderson 1,527 


A. A. Howard i,473 

H. W. Russell 1,572 


Walter Miles 615 

Benj. S. Tyler 476 

For Constitutional Amendment 2,126 

Against Constitutional Amendment 69 

For Refunding State Debt 2,07 1 

Against Refunding State Debt 80 

Judicial Election, October i8th, 187 1. 


*Chas F. Irwin i,439 

John Bush 848 


O. p. Fitzgerald 1,049 

H. N. Bolander 1,264 

Total vote cast 2,302 

General Election, November 5th, 1872. 


John B. Felton i,309\ 

John F. Miller 1,309 i 

Claus Spreckels 1,309 I 

J. E. Hale 1,309 j For Grant 

J. D. Goodwin 1,309 I 

T. H. Rose 1,309/ 

J. C. Shorb 1,093 

F. M. Pixley i, 

Jo. Hamilton 

F. H. Rosenbaum i,oq4 /'For Greeley 

Peter Donahue 

John Yule 1,093, 

J. Mora Moss loi 

John Nugent loi 

Zach. Montgomery loi 

W. J. Graves loi fFor O'Conor 

M. R. C. Pullman 

A. J. King 


*H. F. Pcige 1,103 

Paschal Coggins 1,375 


. S. Crocker 472 

H. B. Newell 514 

Total vote cast 2,566 

General Election, September 3d, 1873. 


*Thomas Eraser 947 

William Jones 677 

Charles Gildea 939 


W. E. Spencer 817 

W. E, Riebsam 655 

W. P. Vernon 779 

W. T. Gibbs 816 

*G. W. Simpers 1,214 

*George H. Ingham 1,074 

*George E. Williams 1,236 

'Nathan Gilmore i,o6i 

J. W. D. Phillips 684 

F. M. Dickerhoff 691 

T. Z. Armstrong 592 

.M. A. Hunter 588 


W. H. Brown 1,183 

J. D. Skinner 1,243 

J. I). Woodworth 144 


R. O. Turnbull 9^2 

W. H. Hill 1,058 

Bart. Morgan 563 


H. W. Russell 885 

T. A. Gait 1,048 

W. E. Gaylord 621 


Phil. Teare 907 

G. J. Carpenter 1,426 


C. E. Dascomb 1,045 

J. P. Munson 1,317 


W. B. House 85s 

F. Collins 1,148 

J.O.Forbes 573 




J. M. Anderson 892 

William Jabine 1,127 

Robert Patton 544 


I. P. Jackson 229 

G. W. Parsons 321 

N. Wentworth 113 

Total vote cast 2,665 

General Election, September ist, 1875. 
The Democratic State ticket headed by William 
Irwin, for Governor, in this county received abou; as 
many votes as both the other tickets together. V\z : 

♦William Irwin 1,238 

T. G. Phelps 740 

John Bidwell 5S6 


Henry Larkin 1,231 

*H. F. Page 937 

C. A. Tuttle 371 


*G. J. Carpenter 1,260 

Wm. Jones 1,210 

*S. A. Nott 1,230 

J. A. Thompson 1,213 



John D. Skinner 

. . . 1,219 

••• 1,309 


... 1,186 

George Burnham 

■•• 1,35° 


Walter Miles 1,248 

R. Doncaster 1,255 


Geo. H. Ingham 1,243 

Geo. M. Holten 1,238 


John P. Munson. . 
C. E, A. Dascomb. 



Frederick Collins 1,130 

F. W. Glynn 701 

H. M. Collins 683 


Wm. Jabine 1,242 

J. M. Anderson -. 1,292 


H. B. Newell 4Q3 I pj^st District 

F. M. Dickerhoff. 585 ) ^"^^' L>istrict 

J. H. Miller 421 I o j t^- . ■ . 

i , f , ^ I Second District 

Samuel Center 353' 

George W. Parsons S12 I t,^- , rN- . ■ .. 

T °r. T , oi - Ttiird District 

Isaac P. Jackson 286 | 

Total vote cast 2,543 

Special Election, October 20th, 1875. 


,1 22 


*Ezra Carr 

O. P. Fitzgerald . . 

General Election, November 7th, 1876. 


Samuel Tilton - 1,414 

*Rutherford Hayes 1,331 


G. J. Carpenter 1,362 

*H. F. Page i,357 


*\Y. H. Brown 1,416 

D. M. Kenfield 1,330 

Total vote cast 2,746 

General Election, September 5th, 1877. 

FOR STATE senator. 

Maurice G. Griffith 1,282 

*W. H. Brown 1,483 

FOR members of ASSEMBLY. 

*S. A. Nott 1,498 

*J. H. Miller 1,425 

A. C. Folger 1,272 

AVm. Jones 1,3' S 


Henry Larkin 1,31 4 

John Theisen i,4S° 


George W. Simpers 1,310 

George Burnham 1,456 


Thomas A. Gait 1,408 

G W. Fountain 1,352 




George H. Ingham 1-557 

W. W. Likens 384 

Thomas Davidsbn 733 


Thomas F. Lewis 1,387 

W. M. Collins 1,358 


Jonn P. Munson 1,448 

C. H. Cromwell 1,313 


E. A. Smith 1,402 

J. M. Anderson 1,356 


Walter Miles - 647 

C. G. Carpenter 367 

For the Constitutional Convention 406 

Against the Constitutional Convention 641 

Total vote cast 2,777 

Special Election, June 19TH, 1878. 


*J. E. Dean 

*G. W. Hunter 

*Henry Larkin 

Special Election, May 7th, 1879. 

For the new Constitution 1,056 

Against the new Constitution 1,348 

Total votes 2,404 

General Election, September 3d, 1879. 

At this election four different tickets were voted on 
the State ticket: George C. Perkins, the candidate 
elect for Governor had received in El Dorado county, 
1,163; ^Vi"' F. White, 402 and Hugh J. Glenn, 1,126 
votes; a total of 2,691. 

for member of congress. 

^^H. F. Page 1,157 

W. P. Williams 339 

T.J. Clunie 1,058 

FOR railroad commissioner 1ST DISTRICT. 

*J. S. Cone 927 

G. J . Carpenter 514 

Henry Larkin 1,256 


*F. M. Campbell 1,134 

H. G. Gesford 816 

A. L. Mann 361 

S. N. Buck 395 


*W. H. Brown 1,314 

J. G. O'Brien 694 

S. A. Nott 688 


*Thomas Fraser 1,235 

M. A. Hunter 687 

Charles T. Foster. 774 

*Cyrus Coleman i, 104 

J. W. D. Phillips 840 

Jacob Urey 739 


*E. W. Witmer 1,268 

W. A. Bucknam 653 

Julius D. Jackson 773 


George Burnham 1,163 

Chas. T. Roussin 706 

John Cartheche 827 


G. W. Gallaner -. 812 

James E. Dean 909 

Geo. H. Ingham 973 


Wm. Rush 777 

Walter Miles 74i 

Thomas A. Gait 1,187 


G. W. Kimbell 1,146 

E. A. Smith 967 


C. E. Markham i,393 

J. P. Munson 1,300 


F. Banta 1,037 

B. Hammel 695 

J. J Lawyer 969 

Total vote caste 2,696 



General Election, November zd, 1880. 
(presidential election.) 
The candidates of the three tickets got the follow- 
ing votes in the county. 

Garfield, (Rep) 1,417 

Hancock, (Dem) 1,520 

Weaver, (Greenback) 24 

Total vote 2,961 

FOR member of congress 

*H. F. Page... 
J. R. Glasscock. 


*Thomas Fi-aser. . 
*Cyrus Coleman . 
David Fairchild. 
J. H. Miller 



I St District — Thos. Hardie. . . . 

C. R Young.... 
2d District — Geo. H. Gilbert . . 

Seth Loveless 

3d District — A. A. Bayley 

Geo. W. Parsons. 

General Election November 7TH, 


M. M. Estee 

*Geo. Stoneman.. . 
R. H. McDonald . 
T. J. McQuiddy . . 


S. D. Waterman 1,213 

*W. T. AVelcher 1,487 


R. A. Grant . 

E. J. Shellhouse. 


C. F. Reed 1,207 

*G. J. Carpenter 1,462 

Howard Andrews 40 

G. T. Elliot 16 


W. W. Morrow i,^34 

Henry Edgerton 1,215 

*C. A. Sumner i,48( 

* J. R. Glasscock 1.49: 

A. B. Hotchkiss r . . . 

Warren Chase 

S. Maybell 

J. Yarnell 


H. F. Page 

James H. Budd 

J. L. Coles 

F. Woodward 





( Joint El Dorado and Alpine). 

J. H. Miller 1,338 

Thomas Frazer i,397 


(Joint El Dorado and Alpine). 

Rowland 1,414 

A. J. Bayley t,345 



Knapp. . , 

Of later years election polls have been kept at the 
following places: Myers Station, Lake House, Volca- 
noville, Georgetown, Onion valley, Garden valley, 
Musquito, Kelsey, Placerville, Sportsman's Hall, 
Moore's Station, Smith's Flat, Dick's Station, Dia- 
mond Springs, Pleasant valley, Newtown, Sly Park, 
Hank's Exchange, El Dorado, Shingle Springs, Nash- 
ville, Latrohe, Grizzly Flat, Fairplay, Indian Diggings, 
Clarksville, Wing's Store, Gold Hill, Coloma, Green- 
wood, Centerville, Salmon Falls and Negro Hill. 




The discovery of gold and the consequent rush of 
people to Coloma deprived J. W. Marshall, the dis- 
coverer of gold, of his rights to land, etc., obtained 
under the Mexican rule, before the treaty was made 
that gave California to the United States; and it 
would be no more than right and just that he should 
receive something to indemnify him for those rights 
independent of some reward due him for the discovery 
of gold. 

The first idea of recognizing the obligation of the 
State to give some aid to Marshall, was brought up in 
the State Legislature, in session of i860 to 1861. Mr. 
Lasp'jyres of San Joaquin county introduced a bill to 
the effect tl»at steps should be taken by the State 
to aid the discoverer of gold in California; this bill, 
however, was killed by amendments. 



Again, in the Spring of 1870, the following call made 
the circuit of the press: "J. W. Marshall, the dis- 
coverer of gold in California is living at a place called 
Kelsey, El Dorado county, in this State. He is old 
and poor, and so feeble that he is compelled to work 
for his board and clothes, being unable to earn more." 
But meagerly was this call responded, and of all the 
assistance that came up to help the poor old man, 
nothing was done on the side of the State. 

The San Francisco Pioneers, in 1873, petitioned 
the State Legislature for a pension for Captain Sutter, 
with the result that $250 per month, as a pension, were 
paid to the latter out of the State Treasury; while 
Marshall, petitioning at the same time in his own be- 
half, running out of money became pennyless, and the 
Pioneer Society of Sacramento forwarded him one 
hundred dollars. 

Subsequently, when W. H. Brown became a mem- 
ber of the State Senate from El Dorado county, a bill 
for the aid of Marshall was introduced by him in the 
Senate, in session 1877 to 1878, (Senate Bill No. 413.) 
This bill allowed James W. Marshall the sum of one 
hundred dollars per month for a period of two years, 
provided, however, that this appropriation should 
cease in case of Mr. Marshall's death, before the ex- 
piration of the two years. 

These two years have expired a long time, but 
other steps for his relief have not been made since, as 
far as we know, and Marshall, when we saw him last, 
was still walking straight and upright, aj)parently 
promising to outlive many a younger man. 

In referring to the life-pension allowance made by 
Congress, in session of 1872 to 1873, to Thompson 
for carrying the mail on foot from Placerv ille over the 
Sierra Nevada to Genoa and Carson, before the road 
had been opened as a stage road, and the mai' was 
carried by stage, to gratify the good services of an un- 
daunted and indefatigable servant, Thompson — better 
known as Snow-Shoe-Thompson* — was repeatedly 
mentioned as the pioneer in the business for which 
the allowance was proposed at that time. While we 
do not wish to depreciate the services and merits due 
to Thompson, it is due to truth and justice also to 
state, that one of the earliest settlers of El Dorado 
county. Jack C. Johnson, of Johnson's ranch, pre- 
ceded Thompson as a trans-mountain mail carrier; he 
was the man that opened up, marked out, and trav- 
ersed the route called after him, "Johnson's Cnt-oft," 
which subsequently was traveled by Thompson, and 
he crossed the mountain range through the depression 
laid down on all the maps as "Johnson's Pass." By 
this very route, and through this pass Johnson has 

' shoes which Thompson used to make his dangerous trips in 
.re still preserved at the Ormsby House, Carson City, Nevada. 

carried the mail from the present site of Genoa to 
Placerville in twenty-six and one half hours previous 
to Thompson's first trip over the same route. It is 
not more than right that the government appreciated 
Thompson's, services who intrepid and faithfully did his 
difficult and dangerous duty, unconcerned of season 
and weather, but let the truth of history be vindicate '. 
Jack Johnson claims the name as the Nestor and pio. 
neer of trans-mountain mail carrying on foot by the 
Placerville route. 

It was in the period of the legislatory session of 
i860, when the Hail of Legislature was made the 
scene of a bloody tragedy, and though the finil 
act of this tragedy took place at Sacramento and con- 
sequently outside the line of El Dorado county, con- 
cernins' the cause of the affair and the principals who set 
it in scene, however, it belonged to El Doardo and 
therefore we have to deal with it as an home affair. 
The following is taken from the Sacramento Standard 
of April 12th, i86o: 

"A serious and perhaps fatal affray took place yes- 
terday at twenty minutes before one o'clock, in the room 
of the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Assembly, between Dr. 
Stone and John C. Bell, both members of the As- 
sembly from El Dorado county, in which the latter 
received live knife wounds in different parts of the 
body, which are very dangerous and may prove fatal. 
The wounded man was taken to a rear room in the 
Occidental saloon, opposite the Capitol, where he was 
attended by Drs. Titus, Price, Morton and Proctor. 
He was subsequently removed to the boarding house of 
Mrs. Mara, on I street, where every attention was paid 
to him. Dr. Stone gave himself up to the custody of 
officer McClory. The Assembly immediately after 
the arrival of the news, took a recess but re-assembled 
in half an hour and adjourned till 10 o'clock next 

A number of witnesses were summoned and the 
case was examined before Justice Barr at 2 o'clock, on 
April 1 2th, District Attorney Cole appeared for the 
prosecution, and Messrs. Coffroth and Stewart for the 
defense, .'Mtorney-General Williams also sat by the side 
of defendants counsel and participated in the examina- 
tion of the witnesses. After some lengthy talk of 
postponement it was concluded to go on with the case 
and the following witnesses were called: Dr. Morton, 
Judge Wilkins (member of the Assembly from So- 
noma), Dr. Proctor, Wm. B. Carr, Hon. Phil. Moore, 
Harvey Lee, Capt. McClory, L. Robic, A. C. Law 
rence (memVjer of the Assembly from Trinity county), 
Supervisor Green, Frank Stewart, Humphrey Griffith, 
J. S. Stocker, and S. B. W'allace. The facts and par- 
ticulars of the affray as gathered from the sworn tes- 


timony of the witnesses before the Justice's Court gave 
clear evidence. In the following lines we give the tes- 
timony of Judge Wilkins, which embraces about the 
whole of the evidence: "Was present at the time of 
the affray; at my request Mr. Bell had gone into the 
Sergeant-at-Arms room, and we were conversing when 
Mr. Bell turned to Dr. Stone and said; 'Doctor, T am 
going to defeat your measure.' The measure in ques- 
tion was about the formation of the new county 
Stone asked what were his reasons, the conversation 
continued and finally turned upon personal matters 
and the politics of El Dorado county. Bell charged 
Stone with having defeated certain members of the 
party of the county ticket; Stone denied it. Bell re- 
peated his charges whereupon the Doctor said : 'If 
you say so you are a liar.' I only heard the lie given 
once, then both put themselves in an attitude of de- 
fense; I saw Bell put his hand in his pocket, there 
was some talk of a knife but I saw none, I said 
'Gentlemen this is no place to settle a difficulty.' 
Bell raised his hand to strike and at that instant there 
was a pistol shot by Stone ; Bell then followed Stone 
and clinched and struck him ; they were not more 
than two feet apart when the pistol was fired. After 
the pistol had been tired the fight was continued, Bell 
was striking fiercely at Stone and seemed to have the 
best of him, and then I saw the pistol for the second 
time, I think it was a small iiocket-pistol. There were 
several persons in the room at the time. I supposed 
that Bell was going to draw a weapon from the posi- 
tion in which he stood with his hand in his pocket." 
After the examination of the witnesses the Court 
decided that it was a case of self defense and the at- 
tack Qf Dr. Stone justifiable, as it was evident that 
Bell had commenced the affray. Dr. Stone was 
bound over to appear before the higher Court with 
$5000 bail, which was given by Dr. Pearls and Frank 


On Sunday morning April 15th, i860, Hon. John 
C. Bell died in Sacramento from the effect of the 
wounds inflicted upoYi him by Dr. A\'. H. Stone, in the 
room of the Sergeant-at-Arms. The intelligence of his 
death threw a gloom over Placerville, and saddened the 
hearts of his numerous friends in El Dorado Co. He 
was burried in Sacramento on Tuesday, and was fol- 
lowed to the grave by the State officers, both branches 
of the Legislature, and the Oild Fellows. The pro- 
cession was large and imposing, and the funeral cere- 
monies solemn and impressive in an eminent degree. 
During the day the flags were displayed at half-stafT 
from the public buildings and the several engine 
houses, and the bells were tolled. Cen. James ^^'. 

Denver, C. F. Rugg, H. C. Sweetser, J. R Boyce, A. 
D. Rightmire, Jacob Welty, and Samuel Nixon acted 
as pall-bearers. 

The Assembly Chamber was draped in mourning, 
as were also the seat and desk of Mr. Bell. Some 
generous hand also strewed his desk with white 
flowers. — Appropriate resolutions were offered in the 
House by Mr. Conness. Eloquent and feeling 
eulogies were delivered in the Senate and House on 
the deceased, — in the Senate by Col. Dickinson, 
and in the House by Messrs. Conness, Wilkins, Welty 
and Lamar, at the conclusion of which both Houses 
adjourned in respect to his memory. 

A resolution was adopted by the House appropria- 
ting one thousand dollars out of the Contingent Fund 
for the purpose of defraying the expenses of his 
funeral and erecting a suitable monument to mark 
his final resting place ; and a committee of three — 
Messrs. Conness, Welty and Beach — was appointed by 
the Speaker to carry out the object of the resolution. 

Mr. Bell was a native of Cincinnati, Ohio; emigrated 
to this State in 1852, settled in this county, and at the 
time of his death was aged about 30 years. He had 
no relatives in this State. He was a quiet, unobtru- 
sive gentleman, possessing many attractive qualities, 
a kind heart, a generous disposition and firmness and 
integrity of character of the highest order. 


The dismantling of the river steamboat of the 
golden era, known by every old timer in California, 
who all repeatedly made use of her services to go 
down to ' Frisco,' will be justification enough to give 
a short sketch of her strange and romantic history. 
A local item in one of the San Francisco dailies but 
recently announced that the old pioneer steamer 
Senator, belonging to the Pacific Coast Steamship 
company, was to be dismantled for a coal barge and 
her machinery removed. Thus ended the career of 
what we believe to have been the most profitable 
vessel ever built since the invention of the steam 
engine. Considering that she has outlasted the Golden 
Age, Golden Gate, Sonora, St. Louis, yohn L. Steph- 
ens, Sierra Nevada, Uncle Sam, Brother Jonathan, 
Northerner, Yankee Blade, Pacific, S. S. Lewis, In- 
dependence. North Star, Nebraska, Nevada, Great 
Republic, Oriflavune, Ajax, Colorado, Constitution, 
Golden City, America, Japan, Alaska, Arizona and 
Alontana, Sacramento and others, the longevity and 
excellence of this ship borders somewhat on the 
marvelous. After thirty-four years of more constant 
service than any other vessel has ever seen, she has 
not been broken up entirely but converted into a 
coal barge still to serve some nautical purpose. 




The history of this Methuselah of American 
steamships in short is as follows : She was built in 
1848, at New York, by W. H. Brown, to run between 
Bangor, Maine, and Boston, but before she was quite 
finished, the California gold fever broke out and she 
was dispatched for the Pacific co ist, arriving in Sep- 
tember 1849. She left New York with coal in her 
hold and all her main deck staterooms, the latter be- 
ing first consumed. Arriving at Rio de Janeiro, she 
took coal, water and supplies, then sailed for Val- 
paraiso and thence to Panama, where she took on 
520 passengers at $300 in the cabin and $200 in the 
steerage. After arriving at San Francisco, her deep 
water bulwarks were cut away, her masts taken out 
and she was speedily transformed into a river steamer. 
She began to make tri-weekly trips to Sacramento, at 
$35 cabin passage, $15 deck passage, $5 for a state- 
room and $3 for a single berth extra. Freight was 
$20 per ton. Dinner, which was the only meal 
served on board, was $2 per head. Her receipts for 
the round trip would often amount to $20,650 of 
which $io,ooo would be for cabin passage, $4,400 
for deck passage, $650 for staterooms and berths, 
$1,600 for meals and $4,000 for freight. This lasted 
for about four months, before any other boat of good 
business capacity came on the line, the New World 
being the next one. 

To recollect the names of her officers : Captain, 
Lafayette Maynard, U. S. N.; John Van Pelt was 
mate and also acted as pilot; Dennis Crowley, second 
mate; J. L. Sheppard, engineer; Marshall Hubbard, 
clerk, and James Duffy, steward. After a lapse of six 
months Captain Maynard went ashore to act as agent 
of the boat and John Van Pelt was promoted captain. 
When the New World came out, Marshall Hubbard, 
of Massachusetts, and Francis Cunningham bought 
an interest in her and she ran opposite days with the 
Senator, under command of Captain Edgar Wake- 
man, whose license was afterwards revoked by the 
local inspectors for a collision with the Eclipse. He 
was succeeded by Captain Samuel Seymour, who died 
in 1859. The New World had been built in New 
York expressly to run on the Sacramento river, and 
was the first steamer ever launched with steam up, in 
the Atlantic waters. But when the passenger trade 
on the Sacramento river changed into the freight 
trade, requiring larger boats, she was sold, in 1864; 
she could not carry over seventy tons, while the 
Senator often had four hundred tons aboard. There 
were nearly four months in which the Senator's gross 
receipts were upwards of $50,000 per week, but she 
drew too much water for a low-water boat, and from 
September to January she was too deep for the river. 

Early in 1854, a great combination was formed by 
which seven lines of boats were consolidated into the 
California Steam Navigation company. After the 
consolidation the Senator was laid up at Washington, 
across the river from Sacramento, from July, 1854, 
until the following May, when she was taken down to 
San Francisco to be placed upon a southern route 
On her way down she met with some accident ; Capt. 
Seymour was bringing her down without a pilot and 
concluded to run the 'old river' instead of steamboat 
slough, as was usual. But just coming out of the 
old river at the foot of Obispo island, he struck her 
rudder against a snag and tore it out. Two little 
schooners were lying near there, windbound, and for 
the sake of getting his boat to San Francisco Capt. 
Seymour agreed with the captains of the little crafts 
to tow them down for nothing for the sake of getting 
his boat s' eared. The Senator was then lashed be- 
tween them and reached port in safety. 

Speaking of the Senator reminds us of a pleasant 
story first related by Judge P. W. Keyser in his cen- 
tennial address, delivered at Nicolaus, Sutter county, 
July 4th, 1876, which illustrates the modus operandi 
of Senator Green, of the first California State Legis- 

Bear creek or river, as it is sometimes called, was 
in early days a small but pretty stream, quietly and 
lazily wandering through the foothills and down 
to the plains where it run between well defined and 
well wooded banks, its calm flow disturbed and im- 
beded by trees and underbrush growing thickly in 
the midst of its clear waters, to Feather river, with 
which it formed a junction a mile or two above 
Nicolaus. Of course it was unnavigable, except to 
light row-boats, and not to them in low water, while 
the large river steamers, of which the largest and 
finest at that time was named the Senator, could even 
at the highest water scarcely approach the mouth. 
Green, however, in describing, during the discussion 
of the county-seat question of Butte county, the ad- 
vantages of his town of Oro, spoke of the splendid 
river on which it was situated, the waters of which, 
he asserted, when at the lowest stage of a long, dry 
summer, could be easily navigated. A brother Sena- 
tor, who knew Green's weakness for hyperbole, inter- 
rupted by asking him if he meant to say that the 
river steamers could navigate Bear river at its lowest 
stage of water, "I mean to say," replied Green, 
"that the Senator can navigate it at any time of the 
year." After adjournment some one accused him of 
having, to put it mildly, stretched the truth in saying 
that a steamer like the Senator could navigate Bear 
river. "I never said," answered Green, "that the 



steamer Senator could, 1 said the Senator could, but 
I meant the Senator who asked the impertinent 


Long years ago there was a denomination of Bap- 
tists in Uniontown, who built themselves a fine 
church Some time after the building was erected, 
some of the enterprising members went around 
among the citizens with a subscription paper and 
raised money to buy a large, fine-toned bell, to put in 
the church steeple, and for a few years it rang out its 
merry chimes at the usual occasions. In course of 
time Uniontown, like all other mining communities 
of California, went down and soon the little church 
organization was entirely broken up in consequence 
of its members moving away, and for several years 
there had been no service held in the church. The 
doors had separated from their hinges, and the win- 
dows broken in, and the bell, from which the rope 
long since rotted, hung still in unbroken silence. 
The building nearly became the appearance of an old 
ruin, fit for the habitation of owls and bats. Just 
then, in 1871, it happened that a Baptist mmister 
from Sierra county, who was formerly a pastor of this 
church, came to Uniontown, and without consulting 
the trustees of the church ascended into the belfry 
of the old building and took therefrom the bell, and 
brought it up to Coloma with the intention of ex- 
pressing it to Sierra county the next day. The citi- 
zens hearing of the proceeding denounced it an 
outrage on the community, some six or eight of them 
followed the parson to Coloma, and went to a Justice 
of the Peace, who advised them to get counsel. 
They sought legal advice, but the minister in antici- 
pation of this had retained all the lawyers in town. 
Then just in time a young sprig of the legal profes- 
sion apjjeared on the stage of action. His services 
were immediately engaged, he wrote out his papers, 
handed them to a constable and in less than fifteen 
minutes the bell was arrested and confined in 
jail. The minister was completely non-plussed, and 
thinking, perhaps, he had overdone the thing, and 
the law could get a hold on him, he disappeared in 
the night and did not show himself in Coloma or 
Uniontown again, but the bell remained in jail prob- 
ably awaiting its trial. 

An amusing incident ocurred at Georgetown in 
the early days of the Republican party. At the 
presidential election of 1856, when Fremont and the 
woolly horse were in the field, an old Democrat, made 
such when he first came from the old sod, who be- 
lieved he had been wrong, turned Republican and 
voted for Fremont and the woolly horse. He took 
many a drop of the crathur with his new friends un- 
til his head and heels rebelled. About dark he start- 
ed for his cabin, but the road had become tangled 
and serpentine, and he found the bottom of a deep 
shaft that did not belong to him.' He shouted and 
bellowed, wept and prayed for help, but no help 
came. All night and most of the next day he prayed. 
Some miners roaming over the hills hearing an un- 
usual noise, searched and at last they discovered that 
the sound issued from a shaft. They carefully ap- 
proached, hearing the low moans of a person in dis- 
tress and praying for help. Words came in plaintive 
tones, intermingled with sobs, and then these words : 
" O God, if you will help me out of this pit I will 
never in all my life vote the Republican ticket again, 
be dad." The poor fellow was almost demented, 
being without food, cold, and death staring him in 
the face, believing it was a punishment for voting for 
the woolly horse. A rope was procured and the poor 
fellow restored to the sunlight. He kept his word, 
and did not drink any more. 

A short time ago a Chinese pauper died in an old 
cabin on the outskirts of town (Placerville). On notifi- 
cation of his death at the Sheriff's office an officer 
called upon the head Chinamen and requested them 
to see to the interment of their compatriot. They re- 
sponded that the Chinaman had paid taxes to the 
Court House, and the Court House must bury him, 
thereupon was held a council of war at the Sheriffs 
office, resulting in a bit of strategy. The head China- 
men were informed that it was all right, the Court 
House would give the corpse the honor of increma- 
tion — in vulgate, would burn the body up. The ruse 
was successful; this would interfere with the religious 
duty of transporting the bones to the consecrated soil 
of China. The head men yielded gracefully ; rather 
than have the body burnt they gave it Celestial burial, 
and lost the pains to which they had gone in removing 
the poor fellow to the old cabin to die and be buried 
by the Court House. 




Old Coloma! The town with some history — no, the 
starting point of a history of El Dorado county, and 
of the total revolution in the history of the whole 
State, throwing her out of the lethargy and quietness 
of hundreds of years in a feverish excitement that 
kept her enchained for about twenty-five years. The 
discovery of gold in the race of the Coloma mill, 
however, did not stop with the revolutionizing of Cal- 
ifornia; no, it became epidemic and infected the whole 
civilized world. The alarm was given out, and Co- 
loma became the motto of the day, Coloma the long- 
ing of millions, and Coloma the endpoint of the 
trarvel of thousands, whose starting points had been 
most every where on this globe. And right here it 
may be allowed to put the question : Has California 
been benefited with the discovery of gold at Coloma, 
and all the c-rcumstances that followed ? The dis- 
covery of gold was inavoidable, it would have been 
made sooner or later. But there can be no doubt that 
CaHfornia would be better off nowadays, if the dis- 
covery had not been made before the State became 
more settled and thicker populated, or if the discovery 
would have been kept a secret as Capt. Sutter had 
proposed it. A slow development would have avoided 
the outgrowing of all those monopolies under which 
the State is suffering now. What did those miners 
of early days care for the welfare of this country ? 
More than nine out of each ten came here to make 
their pile and march home with it, according to the 
motto of the great French revolution : ^^Apre's nous, 
h deluge,^' not a particle different from the Chinamen. 
How many millions have been drawn out of this 
country without leaving anything or giving anything 
in return. Look at all these mining towns, what 
flourishing and happy settlements would we see all 
through the mountains, if their population had not 
been managed under such haste and excitement. 

Coloma is located on the South Fork of the Ameri- 
can river, in an altitude of goo feet above the level of 
the sea, on the upper end of the Coloma basin, 
which is surrounded by hills of from 800 to 1,000 feet 
higher up. When El Dorado county was organized 
Coloma was selected for the county-seat, there being 
no other place in the county at that time ; but after a 
few years already some rivals turned up, and from 
1854, a fight for the removal of the county-seat began 
which lasted for three years and ended in a victory for 

For the first few years after the discovery of gold 
all the new arrivals were bound for Coloma, and 
though the mines in the vicinity were rich and plenty 

of them, the population was growing so fast that 
soon many had to be turned away to look out for 
other diggings, thus scattering and prospecting all 
over the country. But a large business was done 
here in the support of a population that numbered 
into the thousands. The first business places in town 
were Capt. Shannon & Cady's, the New York Store, 
S. S. Brook's store, and John Little's emporium on the 
North side of the river. Warner, Sherman & Bestor, 
of the United States army, kept a store here during 
the winter of i848-'49; Bestor being the busi- 
ness man of the company. The first hotel was the 
Winters Hotel, Messrs. Winters & Cromwell, proprie- 
tors; A. J. Bayley, now of Pilot Hill, attended bnr 
there. Sutter's saw-mill had been finished and was 
put to work by Messrs. Winters, Marshall & Bayley, 
doing a fine business. A large two-story building 
had been erected for a theater in 1852. Capt. Shan- 
non was Alcalde of the township, and John T. Little 
first Postmaster, a Post office having been estab- 
lished already in 1849; S. S. Brook became second 
Postmaster, but the business was growing so im- 
mensely that it afforded too much time for a store- 
keeper, and Mr. D. G. AValdron, now of San Fran- 
cisco, was appointed Postmaster soon after President 
Pierce's inauguration. Thisthen wastheprincipal Post- 
ofifice in California, concerning the business ; six pony 
expresses were running between Coloma and the 
mines all around, to deliver the half-monthly arriving 
mail, charging one dollar a letter for the delivery. 
Wagon loads of letters had to be sent to the dead 
letter office, as most of the people leaving home made 
Coloma, their destination, but either had never ar- 
rived here, or turned away to other mining districts. 

Of other men of prominence in those early days, 
Ave mention : Newell & Williams, and Thomas H. 
Hewes, lawyers ; Col. Clendenin ; Wm. McConnell 
& Co. ; Geo. Duden ; Asa D. Waldron ; Dr. Gibbs; 
Col. Thomas Robertson ; Hon. John Conness ; Dav. 
E. Buel; A. A. Van Guelder; D. P. Talmadge; 1. 
G. McCallum, now of Oakland ; A. H. Hawley ; 
Robert Chalmers ; S. B. Weller ; General Thomas 
Williams ; D. G. Waldron ; there were A. J. Bayley, 
now of Pilot Hill ; W. M. Donahue, now of Placer- 
ville ; Hon. J. C. Brown, A. St. Clair Denver. 

One of Sutter's iron howitzers is still decorating 
the front of Meyers' Hotel. It was here that the 
first plan for obtaining water by artificial means was 
derived, and the first ditch in El Dorado county and 
California was built; it was called the El Dorado 
Canal, and had a length of six miles. This proving 
a good investment for the projectors, soon others 
followed with the following ditches : The Hollings- 
worth & Go's ; the Coloma Canal ; the Shanghai 



Ditch ; the WiUi.ims Ditch ; ihc Greenhuin Ditch ; 
and the largest of all of them, the U. S. M- John 
T. Little, now of San Francisco, also owned the first 
ferry across the South fork from Coloma to the north 
side. Mr. Ed. T. Raun, in the Spring of 1850, went 
on to build across here the first bridge in the county, 
which was renewed in 1855. The high water of 
1862, however, swept it away, and now a small wire 
rope suspension affair, for footpads only, may be 
found as accommodation across the river. Sutter's 
old saw mill, as already stated, was working at full 
speed from 1849 to 1852 or '53, thereafter it was not 
used any more and commenced to go to pieces. 
When David E. Buel, who was the second Sheriff 
and one of the first settlers of the county, in May, 
1854; was leaving Coloma to go east he was presented 
with a magnificent gold headed cane, the wood of 
which was taken from the head-block of the -'Sutter 
saw-mill." The top of the cane was ornamented 
with an accurate and beautiful engraving of the old 
mill, and immediately below the rim the names of the 
generous donors. A letter, dated Coloma May 28th, 
i8c,'4, accompanying the present was signed by the 
Under and Deputy-Sheriffs: E. N. Strout, J. S.; 
Welton, Henry Larkin, Adam Burget, H. A. Young 
and John Orr. Thus it seems that the pieces of the 
old mill, where used to transfer them into presents 
for memory and relics, which will be highly valued 
by the coming generations. 

In 1854, the Sunday law was passed and the under- 
signed business men gave notice that they would close 
up their stores on and after December loth, 1854 : 
Wm. McConnell & Co ; O. Camp & Co ; Dunn & 
Bell ; Kimball & Co ; Geo. Vincent & Co ; E. Waller 
& Co ; M. Holmes : A. G. Tryon ; Frank Beckhart ; 
M. Skolney; J. Morris; J. Bernhard & Co; Wm. 
Dormody ; Jos. W. Seeley ; A. Dombrowsky ; J 
Waters ; Wm. Clatworsly and T. Elkus. These were 
the leading business firms then. 

The Odd Fellows were the first to form a lodge of 
their order at Coloma, it was organized as "Coloma 
Lodge, No. 27," on August 21st, 1854, with the fol- 
lowing first officers: J. C. Brown, N. G.; A. St. Clair 
Denver, V. G.; R. E. F. Moore, Secretary; Wm. Pat- 
terson, Treasurer, and Joshua Jones. Soon after the 
organization they built their own hall. 

Acacia Lodge, No. 92, F. & A. M., was organized 
November ist, 1855, and received their charter from 
the Grand Lodge at Sacramento, dated May 8th, 
1856. The first officers were: J. M. Reed, W. M. ; 
Thomas Robertson, S. W. ; Thomas H. Williams, 
J. W. ; J. L. Chapman, Treasurer ; A. A. Van Guel- 
der, Secretary ; C. N. Noteware, S. D. ; M. Barowsky, 
J. D. ; H. S. Herrick, Tyler. 

E. Clampsus Vitus order was organized February 
nth, 1856, with the following first officers: E. B. 
Carson, N. G. H. ; Thomas M. Reed, G. R. P. ; M. 
R. Elstner, C. P. ; P. B. Fox, C. V. ; A. H. Hawley, 
G. R. T. ; John Hume, G. R. F. ; A. W. Merrill, G. 
R. S. ; James Sullivan, G. R. M. ; John F. Long, R. 
S. ; M. Barowsky, Tyler. 

Coloma Musical x\ssociation, Wm. H. Taylor, 

On the 14th of September, 1 88 1, a charter was 
granted to the members of Coloma Lodge, No. 203, 
A. O. U. W. w'th the following first officers , Daniel 
Haggart, P. M. W. ; Simeon Hunt, M. W. ; Jos. H. 
Thomas, F. ; Morris G. Bradley, O. ; M. J. Allhoff, 
Receiver; Jos. Allhoff, Finance; Wm. H. Hooper, 
Recorder, Jos. Anderhalden, G. ; James W. Quirk, 
J. W. ; J. W. Chappleman, O. W. 

Notwithstanding the great accumulation 01 all 
classes of people from all different nations, Coloma 
was a very quiet and peaceful mining camp ; but very 
few incidents of violence are known to have taken 
place here. In March, i860, James Hannum killed 
one Anthony Martin, on account of some difficulty 
arising out of a game of cribbage. He was indicted 
for murder in the District Court, the Jury failing to 
agree, and he interposed a plea of guilty for man- 
slaughter. He was sentenced to four years in the 
State prison. 

A jiarty of miners on Monday, March 4th, 1861, 
became incensed at the Chinese of this town, and 
created riotous proceedings ; in consequence of 
which thirty-six of them were arrested. W. S. 
Long, of Sacramento, and John Hume were employed 
in their defense, and N. G. Curti-s, of Sacramento* 
assisted District Attorney Sanderson in the prosecu- 
tion. They were tried, and O'Donnell and fifteen 
others were found guilty of riot in the Court of Ses- 
sions on March i6th, and sentenced to pay a fine of 
$200 each and the costs. 

Coloma has not only a place in history, but also in 
the hearts of all romantic visitors. There is no ham- 
let in the Sierras more serene and poetic ; the air is 
perfectly etherial, during the day mellow and golden, 
during the night silver and purple. Then the moon 
rises over the hills, arraying orchards and piney 
summits and quiet cottages with veils of silken radi- 
ance. Here may be heard yet the rattle of the rocker, 
and perhaps close by the roar of the hydraulic pipe 
may fill the trum of your ear. Here is still the old- 
time log cabin, where pork and beans with additional 
flap-jacks were luxuries, alongside the elegant cottage, 
embowered in roses, sm rounded by almond and peach 
groves. Much gold has been taken out of this valley, 



but the time where miners occupied this ground, and 
mining events and interests constituted the topic of 
the day, \\y far back. Vineyards and orchards line 
the hillsides as high up as water for irrigation can 
reach, and the sunny grape draws its sparkling juice 
from among soil sprinkled with virgin gold. And, 
though, the Coloma basin has lost a great ricTiness in 
shape of gold, it has copiously made up in permanent 
improvements. The fruit grown in this vicinity and 
on this soil is unsurpassable in juice and flavor ; and 
has made a name for itself. Upon the decline of the 
mines many persons engaged in planting fruit trees ; 
among the first to plant on the north side were E. 
Woodruff and A. A. Van Guelder. The latter was the 
first engaged in general fruit growing ; he was followed 
by Henry Mahler, Jonas Wilder, Henry Pierce, Ed- 
ward D. Lohry, J- H. Williams, H. Hawley, Joseph 
AUhoff, J. G. Vanderheyden, Jno. Crocker and Mrs. 

The Coloma basin is about 33^ miles in length by 
about a mile in width. The number of vines of all 
varieties bearing in the valley is about 350,000 and 
of choice fruit trees within this space about 30,000, 
located as follows : On the north side, 50,000 vines 
and 5,000 trees ; Coloma proper, 180,000 vines and 
10,000 trees; below Coloma, 120,000 vines and 15,000 

The California Pioneer some time ago had the 
following reminiscence of a short stay at Coloma in 
the fall of 1849, from the pen of old "Mac," which 
may have a space here : " Coloma, then called " the 
mill," was quite a prosperous mining center, habita- 
tions or dwellings were all constructed of rough logs, 
of backwood pattern, except Captain Shannon's man' 
sion, the New York Store, the Winters' Hotel, and 
perhaps one or two other unimportant buildings. The 
old Sutter saw-mill, of course, stood out as a marked 
monument of the place and the chief point of attrac- 
tion for strangers. It was then running to its utmost 
capacity; the stately pines were being cut from the 
valley and hillsides to supply the great demand for 
lumber, giving the hamlet the appearance of a western 
lumber camp. Boards, not of the first quality, sold 
readily for $400 per 1,000 feet. Winters, Marshall & 
Bayley were the owners. Close by the mill were a few 
log huts, and just below, a log building occupied by 
S. S. Brooks for a store, and directly across the road 
was a two-story clap-boarded mansion of Captain 
Shannon, occupied by S+iannon & Cady, as a store 
and house of entertainment. The Captain was the 
head man of the town, and in addition to his military 
title held that of Alcalde, or Judge of the First 
Instance, by virtue of an appointment from the Mili- 
tary Governor. In addition to a retail trade, he 

entertained strangers and way-farers with a generous 
hospitality, and administered to rogues and vagabonds 
even and exact justice. In front of his house stood a 
stately native pine, straight as an arrow, which on the 
Fourth of July he employed one of his old soldiers 
(Sucre) to trim and surmount with the American flag, 
at a cost of $600, to commemorate the great holiday. 
This pine stood there for years as a mark of the Cap- 
tain's munificence and patriotism. A few rods below 
the Captain's house was the rude "shelling " of Patrick 
and Bridget Doody. They had come to the country 
with Col. Stevenson, and looked to the Captain for 
protection. Patrick was indebted to Brooks to a 
small amount, who, like most creditors, wanted his 
money; and caused an attachment to be levied on the 
Doody hut. Patrick being absent in the mines, leaving 
his other half to look after domestic affairs and town 
laundry; the Captain not at home, Bridget in her 
dilemma did not know what to do, sent for the writer. 
He answered the call and proceeded to her domicil. 
He advised the distressed woman that she need have 
no apprehension ; that her real estate was not worth 
selling, except for firewood, and Brooks had no need 
of that, and that she might snap her finger at the cruel 
creditor, when, suddenly she went down on her knees 
in the middle of the room, which was floored with the 
native soil, and with a knife commenced digging, to 
the great surprise of her spectator. Out she drew two 
large bottles filled with the finest gold, worth not less 
than$2,ooo, which she had saved or filched from Pat- 
rick. In he-- anger she apprehended the attachment 
reached this hidden treasure. Mac advised her to pay 
the debt, and restore the gold to the old bank where 
it had lam so long safely until she and Pat had made 
up their minds to return to their home in New York. 
Near the old ferry was the establishment of John 
Gratee and Captain Johnson; a little further up the 
New York store of Dunnel & Nichols, and Winters' 
new hotel. Then came the residence of Peter Weimer 
and family; Peter had been in the employ of Marshall 
when the gold was discovered in the mill race. He 
insisted always that Marshall did not believe the glit- 
tering lumps were genuine, until his wife had boiled 
them in the wash boiler, and they came out as bright 
as a new dollar. 

" At the extreme limit of the hamlet was a log hut 
occupied by Captain Cheever and Robert Gordon ; 
Case had a store hard by. Across the river J. T. 
Little had his immense mercantile establishment; 
Foster and Hildebrand had small stores there also. 

" Gordon was a man of fine literary taste, and was 
once on the editorial corps of the Alta California; 
Cheever had been a merchant at Manilla; Captain 
Shannon was the impersonation of fun and his coun- 


tenance ever wore a smile. Syke Baldwin, the Cap- 
tain's tender-man, formerly one of his company, in 
spite of long years of dissipation, was full of humor, 
and had a pleasant word for all who patronized his 
bar. For those that were acquainted there at the 
time, we recall to inemory the face of the honest- 
hearted Winters; the quiet, unpretending Marshall; 
the tall, dark-eyed Weimer; the brusque Dr. Read ; 
the dry Stubbleben ; the rough Gratee ; the babbling 
Brooks ; the noisy Miller, and little Jack More. 

"One day in December, '49, a crowd came trooping 
down the street to Captain Shannon's mansion, having 
in custody a vagabond sailor, charged with having 
stolen from a miner $600 in dust contained in a purse, 
demanding the exercise of the judicial authority of the 
Captain as Alcalde. The latter without ceremony 
opened his court, selected a jury of six reputable men, 
appointed prosecution attorney, etc.; the prisoner was 
given a full opportunity to establish his innocence. 
The case, after the charge of the Alcalde, was given 
to the jury. After due deliberation, through their 
foreman, the jury rendered a verdict as follows ; 

1. \\'e find the prisoner guilty of the charge. 

2. In consideration of the poverty of the com- 
plainant, if the prisoner will make restitution of the 
property and depart the " diggings," he may be dis- 

3 If he does not accept the offer, then and there 
he shall receive 25 lashes, well laid on, be imprisoned 
with ball and chain for a space of 10 days, and then, 
if he restores the money and departs, be discharged. 

4. At the expiration of the imprisonment he shall 
receive 25 lashes and leave the diggings. 

"The prisoner declined to return the money and 
sutiered the full penalty; after which he vamosed to 
parts unknown." 

The late Ogden Squires, of Placerville, had in his 
possession, and submitted to our inspection, a Day 
Book, kept at Sinter's mill, Coloma, Messrs. ^^■inters, 
Bayley & Marshall, proprietors, from January 3d to 
April 22d, 1850. Among other survivors who are 
charged with lumber on this book we find the names 
of William Rogers, first Sheriff of El Dorado county; 
now of Ruby Valley, Nev.; J. W. Marshall, the dis- 
coverer of gold, now residing at Kelsey; Kimball, then 
of the firm of Pauley & Kimball, now of Aurora, Nev.; 
F. Beckhardt, now at San Francisco ; Edw. T. Eaun, 
now of the architect-firm Kennitzer & Raun, San 
Francisco; Storrs & Storer, the one now in Virginia 
City, the other of Truckee ; Charles E. Picket, now 
of San Francisco ; John T. Little, now real estate 
broker of San Francisco ; S. S. Brooks, of San Fran- 
cisco : and A. J. Bayley, of Bayley's ranch, Pilot Hill. 

The first entry for January 3d is a charge against J. 
Bailess & Co., to 70 feel lath, $35 00. Further down 
we find Robt. Cadwalader charged with one scantling 
10^ feet, $4 30; then comes J. A. Perry for 225 feet 
of scantling at 40 cents, $90 00; Mr. Perry is charged 
again on January 9th with $88 00 for 160 feet of 
plank and 60 feet of scantling. On the loth of Janu- 
ary Winters & Bayley commenced purchasing lumber 
for the hotel at Pilot Hill, 16 feet for $6 40. On the 
Sth of February, Quay, Gardner & Moore are charged 
$1,787 96, for 4,077 feet of dimension lumber, 135 
feet of rough boards and 256 feet of sheating. On 
the 1 8th of April the following are set down among 
the cash receipts : 3^3 feet of lumber, $1 00; 2 slabs, 
$1 00; 5 slabs, $5 00; 4 broken slabs, $2 00. On the 
20th of April, Alfred Finney pays $15 00 for 14 slabs. 
On the same day Jacob Stubbleben takes a rough lot 
(630 feet) of building lumber at reduced rates, only 
$189 00; on the same day Walter Buckland is cred- 
ited with one month's work in the mill, from March 
2isttoApril 19th, inclusive, with $300 00. The same 
day we find this entry: J. S. Fisk, to 4 pieces, 2x4, 
16 feet long, 42 = 3 feet, at 30 cents, $12 80; memo- 
randum, dentist over the river, payable in six weeks; 
reference, Osterhaut and Allen. 

First called " Marshall," as Coloma was called Sutter's 
mill, below Coloma, once a minmg community of 
some note. There were not less than one thousand 
men engaged here in mining, partially on the South 
Fork of the American river, partially on the neighbor" 
ing Granite and Shingle creeks, supporting ten or 
twelve large boarding houses, and a number of stores. 
The first store was opened by Inglesby & Merrill. 
Benjamin Smith also kept a store, and the first im- 
pression was to call the town in honor of him, but 
this was changed and the name Uniontown selected. 
Another store was kept by Franklin Prague, who also 
built the first Uniontown bridge. A saw mill, the 
second one in El Dorado county was erected on what 
was then known as saw-mill slough, by Athens & 
Vance. Dr. Doolin kept a drug store besides his 
practice as a physician. The first family in town was 
that of Mr. Olmstead, from Oregon ; Wm. Cromwell, 
Jno. Thompson, Robert Wood and others followed. 
Law & Stevens kept the first bakery, and furnished 
the very smallest loaves of bread in the winter of 
1850, when flour was worth $50 per 100 lbs., and a 
pound freight was charged 16 cents from Mormon 
Island to Coloma. H. K. Stowe, was one of the 
first settlers, and Herrick Jacobs was probably the 
first blacksmith in town. In 1853, Mr. A. Lohry 
opened a general store here and a few years after 


erected the brick store still occupied as such. A 
Post office was established here January 6th, 1881, 
with the present store keeper Mr. Gallaner, as Post 
Master, the Post office is called "Lotus," on sugges- 
tion of Mr. Lohry. Besides this store and some 
residences, the town comprises a hotel and a black- 
smith shop. 

The first grain in this vicinity was raised by Rev. 
Cummings, on Granite creek, the first fruit was 
raised by the Cromwell family, on a lot where the 
blacksmith shop now stands. Mr. Haggert was first 
engaged in general fruit growing, 


On the North side of the South Fork below Coloma 
there were the following mining camps ; Red Hill, 
Coyote Diggings, Rich Gulch, all together called 
Michigan Flat since 1854. Charles Smith kept here 
the first store, on the South Fork at the mouth of 
Greenwood creek, in a canvass tent, in 1849, and a 
butchershop, together with a hotel and boarding 
house, etc. , was kept by one Tutsbury, a drink here 
was 50 cents in 1849, and Wentzel Stock, now of 
Virginia City, had the first bakery. On the flat 
Charles Dusenberg was the first merchant, his store 
in 1850, was built of canvass. It was here where 
the Stanford brothers laid the foundation of their 
wealth. Thomas W. Stanford attended to a store 
here, a round topped live-oak tree marks the spot 
near which the store stood, while Leland Stanford 
was looking after the interest of another store, which 
the brothers kept in partnership together. Another 
store was kept by John Haas, there were also two or 
three boarding houses and a bakery, the property of 
Jack Miller. Drs. Stone and Wheelock were the res- 
ident physicians. Louis Meyer, James Groth, now of 
Sacramento county, Ernest Mortensen, still on the 
place, John Galbraith, E. Engelberg, of Stevenson's 
Regiment and Adam Dilken were among the first 
settlers ; Mrs. Harris was the first white woman on 
the flat. The population of Michigan Flat once was 
from 400 to 500. 

Originally called Centreville, but now for Post office 
reason? known as Pilot Hill, has retained more of the 
character of a mining camp of old, than most places 
in the country. The town is located at the north- 
eastern base of Pilot Hill, from which it derives its 
name. The first mining was done in 1849, and the 
first little store was opened here the same year, 
in a common log building. Rich placers had been 
discovered, but as there was no water on hand^ 
the mining work had to be delayed until the winter 
of 1850, when miners flocked in here from the river 

bars and a lively business began. Talcott & Rose 
started the first regular store in this mining camp, 
making this their head quarters for the winter, while 
they tended to their other places of business on the 
river during the summer season. Among the first 
ones, that came here to try their fortune at Center- 
ville, was John Woods, of New York, he came up 
here from Salmon Falls in the fall of 1849, at which 
time there were plenty of grizzlies around here. The 
first house in town was built by Samuel Stevens in 
the earliest part of 1850. John Brown and Wilson 
kept one of the first boarding houses here, and did a 
splendid business. Another store was kept by Henry 
Stevens and Conrad Thompson, the latter known as 
"Topside," as he was an old sailor. Another board- 
ing house was opened by Charles Tudsberry. Of 
other old residents at Pilot Hill out of the year of 
1850, we have to mention A. J. Bayley, F. B. 
Peacock, Gense Kirchan, Samuel Stevens, David 
Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson, C. S. Rogers, P. D. 
Brown. Robert E. Draper was the pioneer mail 
carrier for the village, he was the best walker in the 
State. Sometimes he would leave Pilot Hill at 6 
A. M. , carrying the mail to Sacramento, got his mail 
and returned with it to Pilot Hill at 7:30 p. m., a 
distan(.e of near 40 miles. He carried letters for one 
dollar each, and papers for 50 cents each. In the 
Spring of 1851, a number of people from Pittsfield, 
Illinois, arrived here and started a village of their 
own, consisting of 24 or 25 log cabins, which 
they called Pittsfield : Thus making it three different 
villages, but the whole publicly known as 

The old town of Pilot Hill was located further north 
and nearer the base of Pilot Hill, the site is now 
owned by Dwight Burpee, and here the principal 
place of business was kept by James H. Rose. Of 
other early settlers in this district, who still live here 
we recall the names of Silas Hayes, who was first 
Post Master of Pilot Hill ; D. Burpee, A. A. Bayley, 
oldest son of A. J. Bayley, and the present incum- 
bent of the second Supervisor district of the county ; 
Wm. Buchan, at present Post Master, in office since 
1870, John Bishop, C. F. Brifif, Hiram Stoddard, M. 
W. Manning, of Cave valley. First school in Pilot 
Hill School District was taught by Mrs. Alice Gallo- 
way, it was a private school supported by Bayley and 
others, and was located near Bayley's present resi- 
dence. John Bowman was the first blacksmith in 
this community, since the Spring of 1852. He moved 
around considerably and finally settled on Bayley's 
ranch, where D. Burpee built a shop for him. The 
first white woman, at Pilot Hill, was Mrs. Avery, who 


had been under the same circumstances at Oregon 
Bar The present hoteU a two and a-half storr frame 
structure was built in 1854, and occupied for some 
jrears br >Ir. Creque. Mrs. Jane McLagan is the 
j»esent proprietor. There are scili three stores kept 
hoe, two in town and Mr. Bayleys on Bayley's 
ranch, about a quarter of a mile nonheast of town, 
where Mr. Bayley, in 1S60, erected the present mag" 
nificent and roomy three story brick mansion of the 
Bayley family, without any doubt, the most exquisite 
bufldingin the]count>-. There is a good deal of general 
fanning done in the township, stock raising, however. 
is the {Hincipal inning business ; of late agaia some 
attrition has been grren to fruit farming and vine 
cuhuie. During the winter months some activitv 
prevails while free ?rater abounds, and familiar faces 
of old times are seen in the old ravines, hunting for 
their hidden chispas. The outlook for quartz mining 
is most encouraging but the total absence of machin- 
ery to reduce ore, and the isolated location of the 
district, precludes the regular prospecting for quartz 
by miners who have to look out for present returns. 

Pilot Hill has a Masonic Hall, the property- of 
Pilot Hill Lodge, No. i6o, F. and A. iL 

The first Grange Lodge on the Pacific coast was 
organized here in 1870, by A. A. Bayley ; by reading 
a brief aitide on the objects and ;iim< of the Patrons 
ofHosbandrr, he became so favorably impressed. 
that he wrote for further information to the National 
Secretary; O. H. Kelly. Esq., at Itasca, Minn., from 
whom he received, with the sanction of the National 
Esecntive Committee, and in absence of a General 
Depaty, a special commission and the entire secret 
work. The Lodge was then organized on August 
17th, 1870, with twenty-nine charter members, form- 
ing the Pioneo- Grange of California. 

This was once a rich and active mining camp, sup- 
porting two or three stores and various other places 
found around mining camps, John B. Hogg, after 
whom the place was named, and doubtless the first 
or one of the first settlers of the place, once picked up 
a piece of gold weighing $1800 : many pieces found 
from $500 upwards. Hogg was a native of Tennessee 
a man of fine culture and education, he had been 
Depnty Secretary of the State and Clerk of the Leg- 
in his native State He was a successful 
■ and the first mining recorder of the district, and 
continued as a popular man when going out of office. 
He died at Hoggs Diggings on August 30th, 1875, 
aboot fifty-seven or fiifty-eight years old, and was bur- 
ned at Hoggs Diggings burrying ground. Many 
friends Lunented his death as he was loved in societv 

and respected as a liberal business man. But all the 
old settlers are gone except James Clark and Mrs. 
Belsey Taylor widow of Wm. Taylor. 

1 he deri-.-ation of this name as told by Mr. D. Fair- 
child, an old pioneer of 1849, and for years a resident 
of this count].-, which he only left to take charge of 
the Oronlle Mtrcury, Butte county, is showing a true 
picture of early mining events : "Among the pio- 
neers of 1848, was Thomas M. Buckner, now a resi- 
dent of Spanish Dry Diggings, El Dorado count}-, who 
emigrated to Oregon from Kentucky, in i S45. WTien 
the news of the discovery of gold in California reached 
Oregon, several parties were immediately fitted out 
with the purpose to start for the gold-fields. Buckner 
was a memoer of one of these companies, numbering 
sixty-two young men, who made the overland trif to 
California, under the leadership of Captain Martin, 
and after some adventures of lesser importance ar- 
rived at Sutter's fort, on August 2d, 1848. ^^'hile 
stopping at the fort for a few days, a party of sailors 
arrived from the mines with a considerable quantity 
of gold dust, and informed Mr. J. D. Hoppe, who 
was also there, and with whom they were acquainted, 
where they had obtained it. and of the probability of 
there being much more in the vicinity. Mr. Hopjje 
immediately engaged a part>- of seven men, Buckner 
being one, to go with him to the , Sailors Diggings." 
Harag obtained unmistakable directions as to the 
route and distance, they left the fort about the loth, of 
August In those dap there were circuitous trails, 
for though the objective point of the party, afterwards 
proved to be the place, called the following year 
"Rector's Bar," after an Oregonian of that name, on 
the Middle Fork of the American river. They pro- 
ceeded to Sutter's mill thence northerly to Long val- 
ley (now Greeuvrood), over the ridge by Spanish Dr^- 
Diggings and down into the canyon of the Middle 
fork to what was afterwards named 'Spanish Bar,' 
across the river and up the hUl to the top -of the ridge, 
where they traveled on the trail, made by the sailors, 
to the place now known as Bird's valley, and fixed 
their camp there. From here they went down into 
the canyon of the river, in the morning, working dur- 
ing the day in the crevices and returning to camp on 
the ridge at night The only tools used by these 
primitive miners were butcher knives, iron spoons and 
occasionally a small steel bar, and a pan, as they were 
seeking for gold only upon and in the crevices of the 
bed-rock which the high waters of years had flowed 
over and denuded of all loose material The gold 
was coarse, and while some of the crevices would yield 
many pounds of gold, others contained nothing, this 


^1 ; 



y 1 Ml 


had been under the same circumstances at Oregon 
Bar. The present hotel, a two and a-half story frame 
structure was built in 1854, and occupied for some 
years by Mr. Creque. Mrs. Jane McLagan is the 
present proprietor. There are still three stores kept 
here, two in town and Mr. Bayley's on Bayley's 
ranch, about a quarter of a mile noTtheast of town, 
where Mr. Bayley, in i860, erected the present mag" 
nificent and roomy three story brick mansion of the 
Bayley family, without any doubt, the most exquisite 
building in thejcounty. There is a good deal of general 
farming done in the township, stock raising, however, 
is the principal farming business ; of late again some 
attention has been given to fruit farming and vine 
culture. During the winter months some activity 
prevails while free water abounds, and familiar faces 
of old times are seen in the old ravines, hunting for 
their hidden chispas. The outlook for quartz mining 
is most encouraging but the total absence of machin- 
ery to reduce ore, and the isolated location of the 
district, precludes the regular prospecting for quartz 
by miners who have to look out for present returns. 

Pilot Hill has a Masonic Hall, the property of 
Pilot Hill Lodge, No. 160, F. and A. M. 

The first Grange Lodge on the Pacific coast was 
organized here in 1870, by A. A. Bayley ; by reading 
a brief article on the objects and aims of the Patrons 
of Husbandry, he became so favorably impressed, 
that he wrote for further information to the National 
Secretar}'; O. H. Kelly, Esq., at Itasca, Minn., from 
whom he received, with the sanction of the National 
Executive Committee, and in absence of a General 
Deputy, a special commission and the entire secret 
work. The Lodge was then organized on August 
17th, 1870, with twenty-nine charter members, form- 
ing the Pioneer Grange of California. 

This was once a rich and active mming camp, sup- 
porting two or three stores and various other places 
found around mining camps, John B. Hogg, after 
whom the place was named, and doubtless the first 
or one of the first settlers of the place, once picked up 
a jiiece of gold weighing $1800; many pieces found 
from $500 upwards. Hogg was a native of Tennessee 
a man of fine culture and education, he had been 
Deputy Secretary of the State and Clerk of the Leg- 
islature ill his native State. He was a successful 
miner and the first mining recorder of the district, and 
continued as a popular man when going out of office. 
Ho died at Hoggs Diggings on August 30th, 1875, 
about fifty-seven or fiifty-eight years old, and was hur- 
ried at Hoggs Diggings hurrying ground. Many 
friends lamented his death as he was loved in society 

and respected as a liberal business man. But all the 
old settlers are gone except James Clark and Mrs. 
Belsey Taylor widow of Wm. Taylor. 

The derivation of this name as told by Mr. D. Fair- 
child, an old pioneer of 1849, and for years a resident 
of this county, which he only left to take charge of 
the Oroville Mercury, Butte county, is showing a true 
picture of early mining events : "Among the pio- 
neers of 1848, was Thomas M. Buckner, now a resi- 
dent of Spanish Dry Diggings, El Dorado county, who 
emigrated to Oregon from Kentucky, in 1845. When 
the news of the discovery of gold in California reached 
Oregon, several parties were immediately fitted out 
with the purpose to start for the gold-fields. Buckner 
was a member of one of these companies, numbering 
sixty-two young men, who made the overland trij" to 
California, under the leadership of Captain Martin, 
and after some adventures of lesser importance ar- 
rived at Sutter's fort, on August 2d, 1848. While 
stopping at the fort for a few days, a party of sailors 
arrived from the mines with a considerable quantity 
of gold dust, and informed Mr. J. D. Hoppe, who 
was also there, and with whom they were acquainted, 
where they had obtained it, and of the probability of 
there being much more in the vicinity. Mr. Hoppe 
immediately engaged a party of seven men, Buckner 
being one, to go with him to the , Sailors Diggings.' 
Having obtained unmistakable directions as to the 
route and distance, they left the fort about the loth, of 
August. In those days there were circuitous trails, 
for though the objective point of the party, afterwards 
proved to be the place, called the following year 
"Rector's Bar," after an Oregonian of that name, on 
the Middle Fork of the American river. They pro- 
ceeded to Sutter's mil! thence northerly to Long val- 
ley (now Greenwood), over the ridge by Spanish Dry 
Diggings and down into the canyon of the Middle 
fork to what was afterwards nariied 'Spanish Bar,' 
across the river and up the hill to the top -of the ridge, 
where they traveled on the trail, made by the sailors, 
to the place now known as Bird's valley, and fixed 
their camp there. From here they went down into 
the canyon of the river, in the morning, working dur- 
ing the day in the crevices and returning to camp on 
the ridge at night. The only tools used by these 
primitive miners were butcher knives, iron spoons and 
occasionally a small steel bar, and a pan, as they were 
seeking for gold only upon and in the crevices of the 
bed-rock which the high waters of years had flowed 
over and denuded of all loose material. The gold 
was coarse, and while some of the crevices would yield 
many pounds of gold, others contained nothing, this 



rendered the success of the party variable, and though 
generally lucky, when provisions began to get scarce, 
towards the rainy season, a separation took place; 
Buckner with two others, started unknown with the 
route, hoping to reach Johnson's ranch on Bear river. 
In this, however, they were disappointed, for the first 
evidences of civilization they struck were upon their 
arrival at Sinclair's ranch, opposite Sutter's fort. 

"Knowing nothing about dry or ravine diggings, and 
believing the tales of trappers and others, that it 
would be impossible to winter at the mines along the 
rivers, Buckner went to San Francisco and thence to 
the redwoods, known as San Antonio, in the hills back 
of the present site of Oakland, where "Redwood-peak 
is, here he found employment making shakes, pickets, 
whip-saw lumber etc., At that time these redwoods 
contained scores of men of various nationalities and 
professions ; runaway sailors, h^ach combers, lawyers, 
doctors, etc., all similarily occupied for present 

" Among these homogeneous spirits who were tem- 
porarily inhabiting the redwoods was Capt. Ezekiel 
Merritt, who had been a conspicuous character in the 
formation of the " Bear flag " party at Sonoma in 
1846; during the winter an intimate friendship 
sprang up between Buckner and Merritt, and they 
determined to blend their fortunes in a venture to 
the mines, as soon as the proper season should 
arrive. Accordingly the two, accompanied by an 
Indian boy called Peg, whom Merritt had retained 
for a number of years as a servant, in April, 1849, 
left the redwoods and went overland to Knight's 
ranch, on Cache creek; Knight and Gordon, both 
old settlers in that section, were old acquaintances and 
friends of Merritt. 

" Upon learning the destination of his friend, Mr. 
Knight, with the hospitality then so characteristic 
of the old California rancheros, insisted upon killing 
a number of bullocks and jerking the meat, that the 
Captain and his companions might be provided with 
a sufficient quantity of came seca, to ward off the 
chances of starvation, while pursuing their search of 
digging in an unknown region. Having prepared 
an ample supply of meat, Mr. Knight's generosity 
did not stop there, he loaded it upon one of his 
carts and sent it to the embarcadero, at Sacramento, 
so that the horses of the prospectors might be fresher 
for their mountain journey. At the time, a surveying 
party under Lieut. Warner, of the U. S. A., were lay- 
ing out the streets of the future city of Sacramento. 

"Meritt and Buckner, assisted by Peg, packed up 
their animals, and first went to Weber creek, but did 
not like the outlook there, and advancing in a north- 
erly direction, crossed the South Fork of the Ameri- 

can, a few miles below Sutter's mill ; traveled across 
the divide, and descended into the canyon of the 
Middle Fork, reaching the stream at a place where 
there was quite a fall, caused by an avalanche, years 
before, which had changed the bed of the river. 

"The month of April not yet gone, there were 
no evidences of any work having been done by white 
men, but while traveling, the little party had observed 
signs of Indians, and, deeming any thev would there 
meet would be hostile, on account of their small 
number a sharp lookout was kept. They remained 
near the falls a day or two, endeavoring to get to the 
bottom of the deep hole which was just below them, 
where the crude gold diggers imagined all of the 
large junks should be, if there were any at all in the 
locality ; but not succeeding, they broke camp and 
started down the stream. Captain Merritt, as an ex- 
perienced frontiersman took the lead. They had pro- 
ceeded but a short distance, when they reached the 
head of a large bar, situated upon the South side of 
the river, and below them, some distance down the 
bar was a jutting point of rocks, beyond which they 
could not see. The captain was a nervous, excitable 
man, and when excited stuttered badly. When a few 
yards down the bar, he suddenly stopped short, 
bringing the train to a halt, and exclaimed : 'B-b-by 
G-g-god, he-he-r's wh-white ma- man's ha-ha-r ! Ye- 
yes, a-and Injuns' ha-har, too!' And sure enough, 
so it was ; there upon the pebbly bar above high 
water mark, among evidences of a plundered camp, 
was the white man's hair, strewn around with that of 
the Indian, silent evidence that the life of the super- 
ior race had not gone out to the great unknown un- 
avenged and without a struggle. No bodies were 
found, but an ash heap close by, in which were cal- 
cined bones, told the story of the white and red man 

"Upon this discovery, the point of rocks ahead be- 
came a barrier post, beyond which the white men 
dared not go for fear of an ambuscade, and accord- 
ingly they retraced their steps to the head of the bar, 
where a large, smooth, deep stretch of water occurred ■ 
above the ripple, while a small, low bar showed it- 
self upon the northern side. At the extreme head of 
the bar, where they had found the evidences of death, 
they unpacked their animals in an open space of 
ground, and prepared for an attack. They remained 
in this position until the following morning, and no 
Indians coming to molest them, nor none being seen, 
Captain Merritt armed the boy Peg, and sent him 
around the point of rocks to reconnoiter. He 
returned, and reported signs, but no Indians in sight. 
Thereupon all three, with arms in readiness in case of 
necessity, sallied forth for further explorations down 


the river. Scarcely had they passed the point, before 
some sixty or seventy Indians appeared upon the 
bench or higher bar, above them, yelling and gesticu- 
lating in a frightful manner, but as they were only 
armed with bows and arrows, dared not attack. 
Now that the enemy were in sight all fear of ambush 
passed away, and with ' Rachel,' as Merritt called 
his old-fashioned rifle, poised for business, the white 
men watched the yelping savages until the latter ap 
parently became convinced that they could do no 
harm to the former, and in the course of a few hours, 
retreated upon the mountain and disappeared from 

" Upon the river bar that the whites thus were left 
the masters of were fine groves of willows, some ash 
trees, and many smooth-barked, thrifty alders, and 
while there it occurred to Buckner, that, as the bars 
along the South Fork and other streams to the south- 
ward, were all designated with names, he would also 
name the one they were then occupying. He accord- 
ingly took his ijocket knife and cut upon the smooth 
and easily slipped bark of an alder tree, 

".murderer's B.\R;'' 

By which the spot has ever since been known. But 
Merritt and Buckner did not deem it prudent to 
remain there. They preferred to camp in some more 
open spot less liable to be approached by the Indians 
under cover, and crossing the river in a dug-out canoe, 
they established themselves with animals and para- 
phernalia upon the Placer county side of the Middle 
Furk at Buckner's Bar, with the river between them- 
selves and their dangerous foe. Who the men killed 
were, has never been satisfactorily determined. They 
probably met their fate late in the fall of 1848; and 
Mr. Buckner is of the opinion that there were three 
of them, two of them ^\'ood and Graham, who came 
into the country with him in Capt. Martin's party of 

There were some companies of miners working on 
this bar in the summer of 1849, but most of them left 
on account of the commencing raining season, only 
five men built cabins on the bank, as they thought 
sufficiently high up to be out of the reach of the high 
water; but were surprised by the rising of the water 
on January 9th, 1850, which drove them as fast as 
they were able higher up on the hill, without giving 
them time to save anything out of the cabins, the 
waters of the river, rising sixty feet in one day, took 
away all their property. 

In 1850, the miners of Murderer's Bar, for the pur- 
pose of working on a large fluming process, consoli- 
dated with the miners of New York Bar, Vermont, 
Buckner's Bar and Sailors (31aim, to join flumes and 

work alltogether on shares: Stephen Tyler and Lef- 
ingwell, of Murderer's Bar, took the contract to build 
the flume of twelve feet wide by three feet high, and 
over a mile in length, and a very busy time began in 
the canyon of the Middle Fork of the American river. 
There were not less than six hundred men engaged 
in different kinds of work on those five river bars, in- 
cluding the construction, etc., of the big flume, and 
about one half of them accounted for Murderer's 
Bar. A ferry had been built the same year and the 
roads to make the ferry useful led up through Cave 
valley towards Pilot Hill, and on the Placer county 
side towards Yankee Jim's, becoming quite a trav- 
eled road from Sacramento to all the mining camps 
in this part of Placer county. 

The miners cabins built up quite a little village in 
1S50; only five men had decided to remain on the bar 
the fall before. The first stores in the village were 
kept by E. C. Cromwell, from Michigan, and Moss, 
from St. Joseph, Missouri. Some difficulties about a 
mining claim between one Beck and one Walker, in 
1850, led to an earnest hostility and ended in the 
murder of Beck, who was shot by Walker w th a shot- 
gun across the river, Walker was on the El Dorado 
county side, while Beck stood on Placer county side. 
The first white woman in the village was Mrs. A. Har- 
ris, now of Greenwood Township, El Dorado county- 
The population of Murderer's Bar was growing 
constantly ; in 1855 the town had over five hundred 
inhabitants, and always represented one of the live- 
liest mining camps up to the year of 1858 or i860. Lee 
and Marshall's National circus made an excursion down 
into the canyon once, and gave exhibitions here and 
at Rattlesnake Bar. The gold found at this and the 
neighboring bars was all fine scale gold of very rich 
quality ; never was any large pieces found. Of first 
settlers at Murderer's Bar may be mentioned ; E. C. 
Cr> mwell ; Jim Siewart ; Geo. Melville ; Col. Potter; 
Wm. Harris who discovered the back part of it ; Phil. 
Herbert; Judge Hammond; Kerup Anderson; Bur- 
ton Bros. Walker Bros. Jim Beckwoulth and 
Shabanau ; Geo. Schofield ; Col. Kipp ; Hugh J. 
Glenn, late of Colusa county. Jno. Percival, known 
as "Cranky Jack ;" Dave Helmes; Clerk Helmes and 
two others died violent death's here. C. Cooledge, 
kept store and hotel at this Bar up to 1854 or 1855 


Is situated in the northern pait of El Dorado county, 
on the summit of the hill above the Middle Fork of 
the American river, five miles from Georgetown, four 
miles from Greenwood, Spanish Bar, El Dorado 
Slide, Dutch Bar, Rocky Chucky Canyon Creek and 



other noted localities of early mining days are within 
a short distance. 

In 1848, Don Andreas Pico, brother of ex-Governor 
Pio Pico, organized a company of Mexican miners, 
chiefly Sonorians, for the purpose of a prospecting tour 
through the Sierras, to test the extent of Marshall's 
discovery of gold. The company thus organized 
under the leadership of Don Andreas, proceeded 
north to the Yuba river, and from thence south to 
the Stanislaus, traversing and superficially prospecting 
all the since celebrated mineral belt known to 
the worll as California's richest placer diggings. 

In the course of his trip Don Andreas passed 
through what is known as Spanish Dry Diggings. 
Resting a short time here, the most experiencf:d of 
his men, detailed for prospecting, were at work in the 
ravines, obtained rich prospects in coarse gold of a 
quartz nature. 

In 1849, the report of Don .\ndreas having be- 
come generally known among the Mexicans, others of 
that nationality became in many instances the pio- 
neers in mming settlements. Thus it was here, the 
first settlers were of Spanish-American origin. Soon 
after came Americans, Germans and others. The 
name of the first trading-post, or permanent settle- 
ment was Dutchtown, after which the name of the 
village was changed to correspond with that by which 
the mines in the vicinity were known, and thus came 
the name of Spanish Dry Diggings. 

In 1854, the first quartz-seam diggings were dis- 
covered here, which has since resulted in the develop- 
ment and working of many valuable mines, the most 
celebrated ot which are the Grrt, Barr, Short Handle, 
Cherry Hill, Summit, Davis, Taylor, and others of less 
note. The amount of gold taken from these claims 
has been very large, the best authority of the place 
estimating the Grit and Barr claims alone to have 
yielded $500,000 and $300,000 respectively.* 

Aside from these seam diggings there is the cele- 
brated Sliger quartz claim, a true and well-defined 
quartz lode, owned and woiked by Messrs. Hunter, 
Wade, Roush, Simpers, Hines and Grinnell ; a claim, 
undoubtedly among the best in the county if not in 
the State. The owners are content to them.selves, 
quietly working their claim without the aid of outside 
capital, which fact of itself is the best recommenda- 
tion. About one mile north of the Sliger mine, and 

* In these dig »in?s the proceeds were almost all profits. O. B. Powell, 
of Quincy, Illinois, in one day in October, 1854, together with his partner 
M. Orr, took out 26 pounds of gold. In November 1854, in eleven days, 
no pounds of gold were taken out of what was known as the Kelsey claim 
by W. D. Vincent, A. Barlh, M, Orr, O Powell, S. Searles, D. Ellis, S. 
P. Nye and John E Stover. Mr. Crawford sajs he has seen it to be 
carried out by water pailsfull. Also, large nuggets have been found occasion- 
ally, the largest one was of 16 pounds weight. 

on the same lode is the claim of Messrs. Hines & 
Co., worked continuously and profitably. 

Among the earliest and best known citizens are 
Messrs. W. R. Davis, John Hines and T. M. Buckner 
'49 ers. Messrs. G. ^V. Hunter, G. W. Simpers, A. 
Rooke, James K. Easterbrook, Trueworthy Durgan 
and Andrew Deller still reside here. The present 
jiopulation approximates about a hundred souls, liv- 
ing in comfortable residences with beautiful surround- 
ings which will stand comparison wit'i any one of the 
sister mining towns in the county. The town com- 
prises now only one store ; the first store in town 
was kept by Folger, now of San Francisco, about a 
quarter of a mile below where the present store stands, 
and also a good school house. 

"Was originally called " Long Yalley," and a trading 
post opened there sometime either in 1848 or the 
Spring of 1849, by John Greenwood ; the first general 
store there was opened by Lewis B. Myers, Nathan 
Fairbanks and Louis Line. Lane died soon and the 
business was continued by Fairbanks and Myers, but 
when, sometime after, they added a butcher shop to 
their business, ^Vm. P. Crone was taken as a partner. 
On the 25th' of March, 1850, a son was born to 
Lewis B. Myers, and the town was called Lewisville 
after the first-born child in the township, if not in 
the county also. The name, however, waschangedwhen 
a Post office was established, on account of there be- 
ing another Louisville in the county, and Greenwood 
Valley, substituted therefore. It is located in one of 
the loveliest little valleys of the foothills of the Sierra 
Nevada ; about five miles south of Georgetown, on 
the highway from Cave Valley to Georgetown. Here 
in early days a nice and lively village developed in 
a considerable short time, with a good society, in 
number as well as in kind, and as a proof for this as- 
sertion may be stated that the young men of the place 
once erected a theater with all conveniences and 
comforts, which was well supported by the people of 
town and tlie surrounding mining camps. The peo- 
ple of this town had even higher aspirations. In 
1854, when the fight for the change of the county 
seat of El Dorado first commenced. Greenwood Val- 
ley concurred in the agitation and made quite a good 
race. There existed quite a number of large mer- 
cantile houses kept by : John Allen, from Ohio; Har- 
rison Hilton & Cohea, John and Robert Sharp, 
Leeds & Bartlctt, H. Lower, Ridgeway, George and 
Jacob Dunn. The first hotel was kept by a man by 
the name of Rosteen, called the " Buckeye House." 
Bloom & Partner kept the Illinois Exchange, after- 
wards the Nation. Mr. Bloom was the first Post 


Master, and b-ing himself quite illiterate, he used to 
look at one or a couple of letters and afier that would 
ask the caller to look for himself; this, however, was 
no hindrance to his endeavor for a seat in the State 
Legislature which he was running for. Dr. Nelson 
was first physician. The first white woman in town 
was Mrs. Gates, Mrs. Powell and Mrs. Rosteen 
ne.\t. The first marriage in town was that of Mr. Ros- 
teen, and the first-born child, as mentioned already, 
Lewis L, Myers, son of Lewis B. Myers. AVm. Leed 
of L\wrenceburg, Indiana, died here in 185 1, he 
had been a veteran of the Mexican war, and was the 
first to be hurried in the regular burying-ground. 
W'm. Crone was the pioneer agriculturist of this 
township; he broke ground and sowed barley, on 
what is now Mr. Terry's ranch, in 1851. A saw-mill 
was erected near Orcenwood ^'alley in 185 1, by Wm. 
Harris in co-partnership with Stephen Tyler, C. Fos- 
ter and John Oleason. The Penobscott House, one 
of the oldest public houses and stopi)ing places in 
the township, owned by L. Myers, from 1851 to 1854, 
sold to P.nge tV- Lovcjoy, who also bought Doctor 
Thorn is' line of stages from Ocorgetown to S.acra- 
mento by way of Pilot Hill and Salmon Falls. Mr. 
Lovejoy is still interested in the stage business. Mr. 
Page's aspirations were running faster than the stage 
trot and higher than the highest stage seat, and did 
not let him rest until he succeeded with a seat in the 
Hall of Legislature. He of late was the representa- 
tive of the second California congressional district at 
Washington. Page's Hotel belongs to those things 
that "have been." 

Judge Lynch on several occasions made his appear- 
ance in the community of Greenwood Valley : the 
first was in 1851, when James Graham, a Baltimorean, 
had shot an old well respected gentleman by the name 
of Lesly, on a prospecting trip, and after the deed 
was done he fled. Lesly, however, crawled to Tom 
Burche's cabin where he gave the alarm; the assassin 
was caught at Uniontown, brought back, tried before a 
jury of twelve men, found guilty and hung to an oak 
tree on a lot in the town of Greenwood Valley, now 
owned by Mr. Ricci. The next occasion this very 
same oak tree had to play an active part in the life of 
a person, was on July 23d, 1854. William Shay anin- 
ofl'ensive gentleman was murdered in the most brutal 
manner by one Samuel Allen, who knocked him down, 
stamped on him until he was quite dead and then 
pounded his head with stones crushing it to a jelly. 
Allen was arrested, taken before Justice Stoddard for 
examination and ordered to jail, but forcibly taken 
away from the officer by a large and excited crowd, 
who had decided about the prisoner's guiltiness, and 
an hour afterwards the dead body of Allen swung from 

the same oak tree limb where Graham had ended his 
treacherous life. In consequence of the assassination 
of Mr. Harrison Hilton by Henry Miller, on Sep- 
tember ist, 1857, a meeting of the citizens was called 
at the Buckeye Hotel ; the meeting was called to or- 
der by L. B. Curtis, Esq., Justice A. A. Stoddard 
was elected Chairman, and S. S. Buckeley Secretary ; 
a committee was appointed to draft resolutions ex- 
pressive of the feeling entertamed towards the de- 
ceased, on account of his untimely death, recognized 
his zealous, worthy and enterprising character, his 
moral character being above reproach, and his absence 
from society hardly to be filled as he had but few his 
equals as a citizen and friend. Finally, expressing 
their sympathy with the relatives in the .Atlantic States; 
which resolutions were un.\nimously adopted. Dr. 
Nelson got and preserved the head of a Swede, who 
had been hung here, which had been separated after- 
wards from the body with a sjjade. 

Cireenwood Valley was by far more fortunate than 
its sister mining town, as far as the destruction by fire 
is concerned ; the first fire of any magnitude origi- 
nated in Charles Nagler's house, where it was caused 
by an ash barrel standing at the corner of the house, 
and laid the entire business part of the town in ashes, in 
1858. On February 3d, 1876, at an early hour, a box 
tilled with combustibles etc., was discovered on tire 
placed to the front of Felice Ricci's store, and had it 
not been for Chas. Nagler's watchdog, whose restless 
noise alarmed the clerk sleeping in the store, there 
would have been a big blaze, but under the circum- 
stances it only could be called a close call, as the 
flames were subdued in time with the assistance of 
some neighbors. Nothing could be found out about 
the originator, and whether it was done with the in- 
tent to burn the town and get a chance for robbing 
or to gratify a personal grudge against Kicci. There 
speaks a great probability for the latter argument, 
however, if we consider the circumstances under 
which the premises of Messrs. Nagler and Ricci were 
set on fire June 3d, 1878 ; about two years afterwards, 
and residences, stores etc., with all contents were 
totally destroyed; hardly anything could be saved. 
The fire evidently was the work of an incendiary. 
Loss $16,000. 

Greenwood Valley is one of those mining towns that 
have understood to preserve quite a lively appearance, 
though not many of the old timers are left here. 
There is Orlando Shepherd, a native of Chihcoth e 
county, Ohio, who came to California in 1850, and 
to Greenwood on March 31st, 1851 ; Jno. Daniels, 
better known as "Scotty," a native of Scotland, who 
came to California on bo^rdof a vessel in 1839, Lewis 
B. Myers, of the Chimney Rock ranch ; and Wm. 



Harris. The present population numbers about two 
hundred, supports three stores, two hotels ; one black- 
smith shop, butcher shop and one brewery ; the 
first brewery was started by Jacob Winkleman. 
The farming done in the township is not considera- 
ble and consists to the greater part in hay making. The 
princi|.al support consists in mining, and there are the 
ri.-hest mining claims close onto town. The Nagler 
or French claim, first discovered by Mr. Sheperd, is 
a seam mine, worked a'ter the hydraulic process, de- 
veloping richer in greater depth. Mr. Desmarchais is 
the superintendent of the mine, with which a stamp 
mill is connected to crush the larger rock, and work 
the vaste pile of tailings over. North of the French 
claim there is the Bower mine, run by eastern capital 
and pushed with great vigor. A Chinese agent some 
years ago came up here from San Francisco, offering 
the sum of $100,000, for this property as it stood at 
the time, while about a year before that, it could have 
been bought for perhaps $15 or $20. The Chinese 
however were not the only ones who had found out 
the value of the mine, tests had been made to deter- 
mine its extent and value, which had proven satisfac- 
tory to the owners, who decided not to sell for the 
sum offered. The Argonaut mine, upon which as long 
as 1852 prospecting was done to a limited extent in 
search of the quartz ledges, as from surface workings 
coarse gold had been obtained in very paying quanti- 
ties for years past, was lately sold to San Francisco 
parties, who have undertaken to make a thorough prac- 
tical test of extent and value of the ledges of this 
mine, which, though most gratifying indications are 
given, as yet did not expose no well defined lode upon 
which to settle for working. 

Georgetown in early days was the prettiest town in 
the mountains, and up to this day, notwithstanding it 
can not be compared to what it once has been, is a 
very pleasant mountain town on account of its loca- 
tion at the summit of a high elevation, (contrary to 
most other mining towns, which all occupy the bottom 
of canyons or gulches) overlooking a wide expanse of 
country in every direction except towards the east 
where the gradual rise of the mountains starts too close 
to town, thus hiding ihe sight. The altitude of George- 
town is 2700 feet above sea level. Georgetown is and 
always will be a mining town in the full sense of the 
word, the high elevation as well as the character of 
the country don't recommend it for an agricultural 
centre, though there always has been raised a superior 
kind of fruit, particularly of the harder varieties. The 
first mining work on this divide was done by a party 
of Oregonians under the leadership of Hudson; they 

were mining in what has since been known as "Oregon 
canyon" and "Hudson's gulch" in July 1849, but, 
though they took out a large amount of gold at both 
these places they did not stay, and left the vicinity. 
They were followed by a party of sailor.s, among whom 
was one George Phipps, who first pitched his tent 
near the head of what since has been called "Empire 
canyon," and from him derived the original name of 
George's town, just as John's town lower down in the 
same canyon, at its junction with Manhattan creek, 
was named after another man of the same party. The 
afterwards famous "Sailor Claim" in Oregon canyon, 
however, did not obtain its name from the Phipps 

The first log house in the young George's town 
was erected about September 20th, 1849, by Graham 
and Hull, and the first store opened therein ; other 
buildings followed, and by January ist, 1850, their 
number had increased to a dozen, occupied chiefly as 
stores, among whom were Graham and Hull ; John 
T. Little's branch of the Coloma store ; old Tom 
Clegg ; Gushing and Grammer. Mr. Gramraer also 
started the first letter express, and during the summer 
of 1850, Mr. Graham had a stage line running be- 
tween Georgetown and Coloma ; this however, finally 
emerged into a through line of stages to Sacramento 
City. The "Georgetown Cut-off" road opened in 
1850, furnished a great opportunity to a portion of 
the overland emigration to reach the valley below by 
passing this way, and the location of the place proved 
to be a very favorable one, if not a necessity, as the 
highway junction for all those rich river bars on the 
Middle Fork of the American river ; as Ford's, Vol- 
cano, Big, Sandy, Junction, Gray Eagle and other bars, 
and the distributing point for supplies, etc., to those 
who were working on those bars and all those flats 
and other mining camjis beyond Coloma. 

Meantime the town, imbeded in the native wilds of 
surrounding material wealth, made up of log cabins, 
shake houses and canvass tents, was growing until a 
traveling photographer, in his attempt to take a pho- 
tograph of a deceased miner, a native of the State of 
Maine, by accident set the frail building or tent on 
fire, July 14th, 1852. The fire originated in the 
•'Round Tent," a gambling saloon kept by Pete 
Valery, where N. Lothian, formerly leader of the fa- 
mous Lothian Band, of New York, furnished the 
music. The flames spread with such rapidity that it 
was only under difficulties, that the corpse could be 
saved from cremation, and in one half hour the busi- 
ness portion of the town was almost entirely laid in 
ashes. Only Frances Graham's store at the west end 
and J. W. Slette's store at the extreme east end of 
(Own remained. Before the ashes had cooled, the 


spirit of the California American arose like a star in 
the midst of her desolation; the residents of the town 
assembled and resolved to rebuild, and nobly was it 
seconded by the whole band of independent miners 
from Mameluke and Jones' Hill, from Georgia Slide, 
Oregon and South canyons, to change the site of town 
to the top of the ridge, north of the old site (where 
the town now stands). This was then covered by a 
magnificent growth of lofty sugar pines, but the pio- 
neer miners from the surrounding camps generously 
volunteering time and labor, came with axes and other 
implements, and under thqr heavy blows the pines 
fell with thundering crash and the thick under brush 
was cleared away. After a few days sufficient space 
had been cleared to lay out the town, with a street 
one hundred feet wide, in a few hours the work of re- 
building commenced, the first building completed was 
the Post Office. The building lots were drawn for, 
the old traders and hotel keepers having first choice, 
and every other man who desired had the next choice, 
and the new town soon assumed a substantial and 
beautiful appearance, and a most attractivt; mining 
town, justly called the 


The town then was in the most flourishing condi- 
tion, with rich jjlacer mines surrounding it in every 
direction ; the crude surroundings of its birth place 
were fast thrown off and a better condition of society 
established, the church was built in 1853, the public 
school organized a short time after, and the place set- 
tled down to a steady and quiet existence ; but the 
whole change was due to the fire of July 14th, the 
fire was needed to raise the place out of its low and 
awkward location to the lofty, cheerful and healthy site 
it occui)ies since.* 

The. first marriage celebrated in Georgetown was 
that of Mr. Wm. T. (iibbs, now of Oakland, on No- 
vember loth, 185 I, to Mr.s. Cynthia A. Turner, in the 
presence of nearly five hundred persons drawn to- 
gether by the novelty of the occasion from the sur- 
rounding mining camps. Gibbs had located in town 
in 1850, keeping a blacksmith shop, and his eight 
children were all horn here. Mr. Gibbs is and al- 
ways has lieen an enterprising man, and a public 

* On March 1=1,1855, there were nine lar^e grocery stores, two banking 
establ'shments, two express compinies, three drug stores, twojewe'ry stores, 
one jewelry manufactory, one ladies' furnishing store, one book and sta, 
tionary depot, eight clothing stores, one tinshop, one soda factory, one 
tannery, etc., one saw-mill in the valley, one saddle and harne^s shop, one 
merchant tailor, four restaurants, three hotels, two bakeries, four car- 
penter shops, two cabinet making shops, one paint shop, four blacksmith 
shops, two boct and shoe shops, two meat markets, one daguerrean, one 
cigar store, three livery stabies, three billiard and two bowling alley 
saloons, c.e Masonic Hall, one hall Sons of Temperance, one church, one 
theatre, one Town Hall, one schoo^ 

spirited character, his removel from Georgetown was 
highly regretted. Mr. Gibbs is the present President 
of the society of El Dorado Territorial Pioneers. 

The first school in Georgetown was taught in a 
building saved from the fire of 1852, at the east end 
of the old town ; Mrs. Dr. Ray, a lady well known 
to all early residents of the place, had opened it, and 
it was continued at intervals by various others. The 
Board of Trustees, S. Knox, Wm. T. Gibbs and B. 
C. Currier, then on May 22d, 1854, instituted the first 
Public School in town with Miss Minerva A. Horsford 
as teacher. The following year Mr. John Waterhouse 
was made principal of the public school with Miss 
Horsford as assistant. 

A Temple of Honor was organized at Georgetown on 
Saturday evening previous to November 30th, 1854, 
called Georgetown Temple of Honor No. 11, and 
the following were elected the first officers: Jas. A. 
Songer, ^\^ C. T. ; Wm. T. Gibbs, W. V. T. ; A. J. 
Hill, W. R. ; J. C. Simpson, W. A. R. ; Jno. Shorp,. 
W. T. R.; M. A. Woodside, W. T.; H. M. Porter, ^\^ 
U.; J. B. Warren, W. D. U. ; Hiram Lines, W. G.; 
Joseph Olmstead, W. S. 


A lodge of the ancient society of E. Clampsus 
Vitus was organized in Georgetown on March 15th, 
1856, by E. H. Van Decor, P. N. G. H., and the fol- 
lowing "Knights," were chosen officers: John L. Boles, 
N. G. H. ; J. Turner, R. P. ; J. Z. Kelly. C. P. ; J. 
C. Terrell, C. V.; H. C Kelly, J. H. ; J. J. Lewis, 
T. and O. H. ; H. Lines, G. R. F. and S. Sternfels, 
R. G. M. 

The Odd Fellows established in early days already 
a lodge called : Memento Lodge No. 37, I. O. O. F., 
which is still in a good condition; their meeting 
day is Saturday. 

Georgetown Lodge, No. 25, F. and A. M., shows 
tht; acti\ity of the Masons at Georgetown ; they are 
meeting Saturday preceeding the full moon. ^Ir. T. 
W. Wilson is secretary of the lodge. 

A military company was organized at Georgetown in 
August, 1859, called the Georgetown Blues. The fol- 
lowing were elected first officers: R. E. Phelps, Cap- 
tain; S. Doncaster, ist Lieutenant; D. O. Deaves, 2d; 
C. B. Ferguson, 3dj L. B. McLain ist Sergeant; A. 
Porter, 2d; M. Knox, 3d; J. Durham, 4th; J. McCor- 
mick, ist Corporal; Oliver Lear, 2d; J. Deaves, 3d; 
J. Vaughn, 4th; D. W. Bouker and S. A. Logan 

A second big fire visited Georgetown on Jidy 7th, 
1856, the day after PhYcerville had been destroyed by 
a big blaze. It originated in the rear of what was 
known as Pat. Lynch's saloon, midway on Main stree; 





the flames spread with such rapidity that scarcely 
anything could be saved. Stores, hotels and dwell- 
ing houses on Main street, melted away like snow- 
before the sun, and only by almost superhuman efforts 
was it possible to save the rear portion of the western 
part of town. But again the indomitable spirit of the 
people arose in triumph over their misfortune, and, 
phoenix-like, from its ashes a new town sprang up. 
Again on the i6th of August, 1858, the principal 
business portion of the town was destroyed by fire ; 
the greatest damage was done on the east side of 
Main street, which was only partially rebuilt. The 
last time Georgetown has been visited by the tire fiend 
was on May 28th, 1869 ; the fire was discovered in 
the old Miners' Hotel, on Main street, .shortly after 
midnight, and the flames spread with such rapidity 
that the proprietor ot the hotel, Mr. Stahlman, barely 
escaped out over the roofs with his eldest child ; but 
his wife, three children and Miss" Stanton perished in 
the flames. The west side of Main street was partial- 
ly destroyed, also the Catholic church and the Town 
Hall. Stahlman, suspected of arson, was on trial in 
the County Court before Judge Chas. F. Irwin, on 
July 13th, 1869. G. J. Carpenter and Geo. E. \\'il- 
liams appeared for the people, John Bush and J. ^^'. 
Coffroth for the defendant. The trial lasted for two 
days, and the jury being unable to agree was dis- 
charged, and the case set for rehearing September 
2 1st. Finally the trial came up again on February 
1st, 1870, and the jury deliberately gave a verdict of 
not guilty. Notwithstanding these several conflagra- 
tions and the changes which followed each of these 
catastrophes, the town at the present writing will com- 
pare favorably with any of the old mining towns of 
early days. 

Mining in this district was first confined to the 
canyons and gulches, and to the bars on the Middle 
Fork of the American river. Tlien came the " Hill 
diggings," worked by drifting. The first strike was 
made at "Bottle Hill," which was opened up in 
1851, Mameluke Hill followed in 1852, and even 
richer deposits were discovered in 1853 and '54 at 
Cement and Jones' Hill. At each of these mining 
camps thriving towns were built up, and regular stage 
and telegraphic communications with Georgetown es- 
tablished. But the days of wild e.xcitement have 
passed by, and an era of permanency apparently has 
followed with a more general di.sposition to settle 
down and work in earnest and thoroughly what has 
been left from the period of the first excitement and 
rapid exhaustion, which soon scattered those engaged 
in working there, and the houses, left without proprie- 
tors, one after the other disappeared, until after a few- 
ears hardly a building remained. 

Next came what has been termed "seams diggings," 
a peculiararity of the vicinity of Georgetown, worked 
principally by the hydraulic process; with great promise 
in the constancy of their character. The " Beatty 
Seams Claim," at Georgia Slide, for instance, was 
opened in 1854, and has been permanently worked to 
the present time. Nearly all the small divides 
between the canyons and gulches contain deposits 
of this description, and constitute most of the mining 
that is done at present. Very little, however, has been 
done at developing the numerous quartz lodes which 
are known to exist in the district : The Woodside 
mine, located within the town limits, was worked to 
the depth of 225 feet, and the amount taken out of 
the mine w-as over $50,000. The Eureka had a shaft 
sunk to the depth of 230 feet and work was going to 
be resumed in it this season. The Taylor mine was 
a good paying property some years ago, but no w-ork 
has been done since, and quartz mining, in which the 
permanency of a mining community exists safely^ 
awaits from the future what the present still denies. 
Numerous canyons as: West, Illinois, Oregon, North 
and Dark canyons have their heads almost within the 
townsite, emptying into Canyon creek, and thence in 
to the Middle Fork, while Empire, Manhattan, Bad- 
ger, Iowa and Rock canyons find their oudet into the 
South Fork of the American river. Thus showing 
that the location of Georgetown is on the regular 
divide, being the water shed of the two rivers. But 
it also is located on an underground divide, the 
cement deposits of the underlaying channels empty- 
ing into the Middle Fork ends right here; no cement 
being found south from here. 

The water of the Georgetown divide is controlled 
for the most part by the " California Water Company," 
their main supply is a system of lakes situated at a 
high altitude in the eastern portion of the county, 
having an aggregate of 300 miles of ditches, flumes 
and iron pipes. Two large reser\oirs are located 
almost in town, and one of the main ditches runs 
through town, providing it with a beautiful stream of 
good mountain water. 

The agricultural resources of the vicinity of George- 
town, either for fie'd or garden, are somewhat limited, 
there is no increase in farming visible since i860; 
some parts rather show some perceptible decrease. 
From Coloma up to the summit there is no farming 
done that would be worth mentioning, notwithstand- 
ing the abundant water facilities, and the farming 
land did not make any increase in value either. Some 
attention has been given to the raising of various 
kinds of fruit, and excellent results procured, con- 
cerning quality aa well as quantity. But the lack of 
fficient home consumption and the distance from 



other market places, together with the want of quick 
transportation, offers httle inducement for extensive 
fruit culture. The farming entirely depends on the 
mines; from 1849 to '60 were the " flush times " of 
the mines, producing largely, then money was plenti- 
ful and spent lavishly, thus making Georgetown and 
surrounding country the liveliest spot of ground, and 
to repeat such times, to a certain extent, the mineral 
wealth of the land has to be disclosed ; there are 
thousands of acres of mineral land unprospected, and 
the remainder is not prospected deep enough to give 
an estimate. 

Georgetown has given to the county of El Dorado 
many officers, to the Halls of Legislature assembly- 
men and senators ; one of her citizens became 
United States Senator, another the unsuccessful can- 
didate for Governor, but all of whom — with only t\\-o 
exceptions— -retired to other solitudes upon tlie expir- 
ation of their terms of office ; the citizen^ of George' 
town have never been active in political affairs outside 
of the local questions. The removal of the county 
seat from Coloma to Placerville was not acceptable to 
them, and instigated by some old wire pullers they 
entered the arena for the agitation, first, to have the 
County Court seat of El Dorado county removed to 
Georgetown, this was in 1854, and afterwards in i8;j7, 
when they expressed to be in favor .of a division Of 
the county of El Dorado, making Georgetown the 
county seat of the new county of " Eureka," for which 
was intended all the country bounded by the -Middle 
and South Forks of the American River, and fallinT' 
through with this plan they never ha\c taken a hand 
in politics again, and were ([uite contented with no 
other officers in town besides Justice of the Peace, 
Constable and School Trustees.-- Of important 
men w-ho lived here we have to name ; United States 
Senator Cornelius Cole, who was mining here in 
1849 ^"d 'S° ; John Conness, of the firm of Conness 
& Reed, merchants, who lived here from 1849 to '64^ 
was State Senator first and afterwards elected United 
States Senator; J. \V. McClury, ex-United Staies 
Representative and afterwards Governor of Missouri, 
kept a general merchandise store here in 1857 and 
52, and several others. 

Incidents of an exciting character have been quite 
rare at Georgetown, though the town has been notor- 
ious for stage robberies and burglaries — on account of 
which Wells, Fargo & Co., discontinued their oflfice in 
town — at an iuimensc cost to tlie county in not con- 
victing, judge- 1 ynch held a carni\al here two or 
three tinies, only once with fatal j^rccision ; 


^,- the fall of 1850, for shooting and killing his wife 

while in a drunken frenzy. Devine was an English- 
man, a deserter from the English army ; he came to 
California in 1849, and used to live on Oregon can- 
yon in 1850, at that time belonging more to the town. 
Mrs. Devine was a woman of fine presence, dignified 
and somewhat reserved, kind and thqughtful to those 
arround her, in marked contrast with the course and, 
as the sequel proved, brutal disposition of her hus- 
band. There were only two women in town at that 
time. He had threatened her before already, and 
when he reached for his gun, she attempted to escape 
and was shot when passing out of the door in the 
rear of the building. One Joe Brown, a noted char- 
acter, and a few other persons determined that Devire 
was guilty of murder, and that justice would only )>e 
satisfied by life for life ; consequently he was hung by 
this mob from the limb of an oak tree on the hill, 
south side of the head-waters of Empire canyon, op- 
posite the old town. The tree still stands there, a 
monument to the so-called justice. In April 1851, 
Wm. Allen, of Missouri, shot Cha.s. Roux in Oregon 
canyon on account of personal affairs; Allen gave 
bonds and fled the country. 

The lower or southern part of the town was a com- 
nnmity in itself, they claimed to be the first settlers 
and the only connecting link with the old George's 
town. The denizens were called the growlers, and 
they accepte'd the name- from thence that portion was 


Which, though dei)opulated, retains its name if not its 

How one after another all the old relics of early 
days are going shows the old Marion England place, 
north of town, owned by T. Lebouf, and of late occu- 
pied as the residence of M. P. Baldwin. This house 
was built by P. C Currier and party in December, 
1849, and probably was the oldest house on the 
Georgetown divide. Originally it had been a log 
cabin, but was remodeled in 1852, by leaving the old 
logs as they were first ])laced; and notwithstanding its 
thirty-three years of service, was yet a substantial 
building, when 1 itely in the absence of the occupying 
family it was consumed by fire, with all its contents. 
Near the house was a remarkable fine specimen of ar- 
bor vitae tree, Californian cedar, measuring one foot six 
inches in circumference in 1849, and nine feet six 
inches in 1879, a growth of eight feet round in thirty 


Were first discovered by one Ayers in Spring of 
185 1, there being many bottles laying around, where the 
place derived its name from. These diggings proved 



exceedingly rich and became a great attraction between 
the miners of early days. The St. Louis Tunnel Co., 
a company of eight men, took out in one week in 
1854, ninety-four pounds of fine specimen gold. 
Bottle Hill was incorporated as a town in 1854, its 
streets bearing the names; Main street, Forrest street. 
Bottle Hill street and Georgetown street. 


The derivation of the name is uncertain ; some 
take it from a book that miners of the earliest times 
were reading, others say its origin is to be looked for in 
" Mama look," the expression of a child to its mama. 
The diggings were discovered by Messrs. Klepstein 
and Keiser in 1851 ; Henry Garay came in 1852. 


Originally called Georgia, was worked as early as 
I 849, by a party of Georgia mii-.ers, some time later a 
big slide came in, which caused the change of the name 
in Georgia Slide. In 1850, a party of Oregonians 
were known to be engaged on Canyon creek and the 
slide, but they were very secret workers and, though 
they had a rich thing, they would not let on, contrary 
did every thing not to excite any attraction. Wm. 
Hughes from New York, who came to California with 
Stevenson's regiment, claims that he saw in passing by 
here, what he could estimate, about two hundred 
pounds of gold spread for drying on blankets. Yan- 
kee Sullivan used to live here in 1850, kee])ing bar at 
the time. It was then and for years afterwards a wild 
and rough place, no other travel except on pack mules 
was possible. The first store in the place was owned 
by B. Spencer, a brother to Pat. Spencer of George- 
town, in 1 85 1 and 1852, and, after change.s, came, in 
1859, into the possession of (i. F. Barklage. The lar- 
gest piece of gold that was taken out here, as far as 
Mr. Beatty knows from, was weighing sixty ounces. 


Was named after its locator, James Edward Jones, 
of Hannibal, Missouri. 


The old town of Kelsey is located about seven 
miles in a northwesterly direction from Placerville, 
occupying an elevated plateau on the higher side of 
the South Fork of the American river. In the flush 
times of placer mining it was the business center for 
an extensive and a wonderfully rich mining district, 
embracing a large number of creeks, ravines, gulches, 
flats, etc. In those days the old town supported twelve 
stores, perhaps twice that number of saloons and 
gambling houses, half a dozen hotels and hay-yards, 
and other places of business in proportion. As be- 
fore remarked, the placer mines of this district were 

wonderfully rich ; ' it was characteristic of the gold 
taken from these gulches, ravines or flats, perhaps in 
a greater degree than that from any other mine in this 
State, that it was rough, and in a large proportion had 
small fragments of quartz attach -d to the particles of 
gold, indicating to thoughtful observers, that the 
places where it was found, were not far remote from its 
original place of rei)Ose in a quartz ledge. But in 
large proportion the old brood of placer miners were 
not the men to follow up such indications. ^Yith 
them it had become a habit, which gradually assumed 
the character of second nature, that they could not 
wait longer than a week to "clean up" and realize the 
result of their labor. Rather than follow the indica- 
tions that led to a quartz ledge, though close at hand, 
they would wander off to Frazier river, Kern river. 
Skagitt, or some other distant field in which rich pla- 
cer mines were reported. And so it happened that 
with the exhaustion of the placer mines about Kelsey 
district there was observable a similar exhaustion in 
energy, spirit and enterprise of the mining and busi- 
ness community, until latterly the old town has dwin- 
dled and is comprising but one boarding-house, one 
saloon, and three or four residences. 

The place was named after a man by the name of 
Kelsey who also lent his name to the town of Kelsey- 
ville, Lake county. Samuel Smith, of Baltimore, who 
came to California in 1843, kept the first store, and 
Mr. Paul the first hotel. The first school in the dis- 
trict was taught by Mr. Pease, and Miss Slater, now 
Mrs. Shankland succeeding; the school house was lo- 
cated east of J no. Poor's place. A Post Office was 
established here in 1856 or 1857, Jno. White, first 
Post Master, and an Express office was opened by 
Thos. McManus, which connected either way to 
Georgetown and Placerville, as the pioneer stage line 
run through town. 

The town was destroyed by fire in 1853, and in 
1856 Kelsey introduced the run of destructive fires 
of that year that visited Placerville, Diamond Springs, 
Georgetown, etc.; a big blaze originated in an old de- 
serted shanty, unoccupied for weeks, and destroyed a 
large part of the town on New Years day 1856. 

Of all other mining places of early days in Kelsey 
township; Louisville, Columbia, Irish Creek, American 
Flat, Spanish Flat, Fleatown, Elizaville, Yankee Flat, 
Chicken Flat, Stag Flat, Barley Flat and Union Flat. 

Has always been the most important ; and while 
most all those above named are entirely gone or 
shrunk into one single settlement, Spanish Flat has 
preserved quite some townlike appearance. The town 
is located on the stage road from Placerville to 



Georgetown, about six miles south of the latter place. 
The diggings here were near the site of the vil- 
lage, first worked by the Spaniards, from whom the 
name was derived. This same claim was known af- 
terwards as the "Frazier Claim" or "Deep Hole," 
worked by M. S. Frazier & Co., consisting of Jno. 
Kennedy, Geo. Hunsucker, Amos Blundell and John 
Hunsucker, over $100,000 have been taken out of 
this claim. The first store in town was opened by 
Frank Johnson, from Missouri, in 1849, in a small log 
cabin. The first hotel of any note was built by one 
Parker, on the site of Mr. Roelke's present building; 
the house was kept by Parker and Perrins, Mrs. 
Parker being the first white woman in town. Of 
the prominent business men we give the names of : 
James Muncy, Jacoby, Capt. Henry Tucker, Glass- 
man &: Forrester, Lausbaugh & Tobener, Steam & 
Levy, C. S. Wattles and other?. The first saloon was 
kept by Johnson in connection with his store; the 
round tent was a gambling establishment kept by 
Aleck. Alexandria. 

There were two or three bakeries, two blacksmith 
shops, one kept by ^Vorthen, besides a butcher shop, 
etc. , in town, representing cjuite a nice and lively 
mining place. Dr. E. M. Alderman was the town 
physician ; and school was first taught here by 
Sarah TuUy. An order of Sons of Temperance was 
established in 1854. The Masons and Odd Fellows 
both had lodges here which were in a flourishing con- 
dition. Morning Light Lodge, No. 89, I. O. O. F. 
is still in possession of a two-story building located 
in the village. 

No murder or lynching occurred here in early days; 
the resolute miners kept the Spaniards down, and 
other rogues away. M. S. Frazier, J. N. Laumann, 
H. Wal ^eck, \Vm'. Selby, \\'m. F. Coe, G. H. Roelke 
and some others constitute the present population ; 
Roelke and Frazier are the oldest settlers. 

A flourishing settlement, exists in Mosquito Valley, 
about six miles southeast from Garden Valley, or nine 
miles east from Placerville, having nearly the altitude 
of Georgetown. The visitor is astonished to find in 
this hidden place so many enterprising and well-to-do 
farmers, as may be seen without in<iuiry, observing 
the fine dwellings, large barns and thrifty fields of 
grain and clover ; the numerous ca