James Haun Diary, May 1856

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Thursday 1 – Some ice froze this morning, but it commenced storming. Snow and rain at intervals in the A.M.
Several ladies came over from the American Valley to the ball at Fox’s. Among them were my wife and Liz.
We bought the cook stove from Ed Bass at $40. It took four of us to carry it down to our new cabin. After supper we all went up to the Point to the ball. I stayed all night and slept with my wife—what a time I did sleep!
I gave Frank Goble $5. No work done in our diggins in the last two days on account of rain it has not been safe to drift.

Friday 2 – Snowed some last night, and snowing at intervals today. We all moved into our new cabin today. The inside is lined with canvass. The bunks were finished today, bolts and latches made of wood were put on the doors, and the boys are all gone to bed. I am alone, sitting by the stove making this entry.
I was up at the Point this P.M. and helped my wife off for the valley with the rest of the crowd that was over at the ball.

Saturday 3 – Cold and frosty last night. I, Dave, Kyler, and Len went up to the Point to help Sherwin on the flume. We went up to the mill, but no Sherwin. We went down to his house and found him asleep. I got him up and we all went to work the rest  of the day.

Sunday 4 – Cold and frosty last night. Us four went to work on the flume for Sherwin. Rains, John and Joe came up the flume to see me to get directions for the ranch. John and Joe got gold __$ this week.

Monday 5 – Cold and frosty last night again. I slept with Shults—rather crowded but the best I can do at present. Us four went to work for Sherwin today. Its getting along quite slow. There is a lack of tools, so we have to wait on each other. I’ve been patching up some work that was done the week before last. I am in hope there will be no more of that sort.
John and Joe came down to Rocky Bar early. Joe on his way to Marysville and John off to the American Ranch, so the old mountain diggins is deserted at last, I hope only for a short time.
Quite warm this P.M. for the first time.

Tuesday 6 – Nights are not so cold. Days are getting warm. The four of us are at work on the flume, besides three other men.

P.M. Sherwin came over from the valley and brought me a letter from H.P. dated April 26th.1 Clouded up and rained a very little. Sherwin helped us on the flume and says that 5 or 6 hands is enough for tomorrow.

Wednesday 7 – I left the boys at work on the flume. I went up to the Point and mailed a letter to H.P., cost 25 cents. I gave 25 cents for four boxes of matches. A. Morehead gave me a pair of pantaloons. Shults sent Liz a dress pattern, and Morehead loaned me a mule to ride over to the ranch. I arrived in time to dine with my wife. In the P.M. I and John worked at building a plank fence.

Thursday 8 – Bill went up to the mill after lumber to finish making a plank fence. He got 511 pounds of potatoes of Havland. It was late before he returned.
I and John was making a fence. It rained some this P.M., with thunder and lightning.

Friday 9 – Foggy this morning. I and John were working at the fence. We finished our part this afternoon. It rained quite a shower about noon. Bill made a load of stakes and hauled them. After dinner, he set stakes till night.

Saturday 10 – A storm started early last night—thunder and lightning with a heavy shower of rain and hail. I and John were putting up fence this A.M. In the P.M. all three of us worked at the plank fence and made a finish of it about dark. I received $2 for ranching.

Sunday 11 – The weather is quite warm and pleasant. In the P.M. John and Bill started for the diggins and drove Terwilliger’s yoke of cattle home that we had borrowed, or hired. Soon after they started, Kyler came over from Rocky Bar and then Sam Baloo. He came over for the purpose of having our Sockum Ditch surveyed.

Monday 12 – No frosts of nights, but warm days. Baloo and three other men went and surveyed the ditch. I was starting my new plank fence.

P.M. I was assisting our lawyer to answer a complaint in law. Later Bob Elliott turned in one yoke to be ranched at $4 per month a-head. My wife and Liz went to a concert this evening.
I paid Cross $.50 for smithing.

Tuesday 13 – I was staking plank fence and putting strips on it.

P.M. I and Duesler went to Chapman’s to see a cow, but did not like it. I paid Willman & Co. $60 on account for store goods.

Wednesday 14 – Cold and frosty last night. I was engaged today in making square wash tubs. Bradberry turned a mule on the ranch today. Kyler stopped with us tonight on his way to Rocky Bar.

Thursday 15 – Warm and pleasant again. I and my wife were making a garden.

P.M. I paid Frank Goble $8.50, making in all $48.50 for 21 days work. I collected $40 for ranching 21 head of sheep – Rayes’.

Friday 16 – I planted some melon seed and made two dressing tables to put up stairs. I collected $1 for mule ranching and $3 for the hire of a yoke of oxen yesterday. I paid $4 for a hand saw and made a sliding gate to open into the  pasture, and planted six beach kernels on the west side chicken lot.

Saturday 17 – Days are quite warm. I made wheels and put them on two gates.

P.M. paid $1.75 for coffee. Made handles to a plough all to finishing. I and Myres went Phillips’ security for $500 in a suit-at-law to the supreme court. John and Bill came over this evening.

Sunday 18 – I collected for ranching stock, of Bass $6, of Barnett $2.50, of Willman, on horse $1.50, on sheep $2.25. I also paid Willman $42.75 balance on account in the store, in all $102.75.
I, Bill, John, and my wife took a walk down on the ranch; we returned about noon. Liz went up to Meadow Valley in company with Tro Ward2 and returned.

Monday 19 – Cloudy this morning and rained a considerable shower in the P.M. I finished my plow handles. Bill hauled a load of planks for Garland and Robertson. One of the bands came off the wheel and Crofts put it on again, cost $2, I gave Hundley $25 to pay witness fees and paid Harlan $31 for potatoes. I received $5 of of Garland for hauling and let Bill have $1.

Tuesday 20 – Cool and cloudy. I and Bill commenced to lay out the garden in three foot rows, and to plant potatoes and other things. But Bill quit and went up town and got drunk. After dinner I and John finished laying out. Judge Searls came to hold court.

Wednesday 21 – Cold and rainy. Court was opened. Our case was called and set for tomorrow. Dave came over about noon.

P.M. Snowed considerably. John, Dave and Bill planted the last lot of potatoes. Still snowing and continued into the night.

Thursday 22 – Cold, snowy and unpleasant this morning. Our case was called and went in to trial. 12  jurymen were seated and sworn in. Most of the day was spent taking evidence. The case submitted about 9:00 P.M. and a verdict rendered at 4:00 in the morning.

Friday 23 – The defendant, Terwilliger, is to have 10 inches of water3 out of the disputed creek when it is there, and none when that amount is not there. Also, the disputed ditch, and the interveners are to pay cost of the intervention and get nothing, and we are to have the rest of the water in the creek at all times. When there is not 10 inches in the creek, we are to have the remainder. We are to pay the cost of the suit, except what the interveners have to pay. So may it be.
Cloudy and rainy at intervals. I gave $5 to buy butter. John and Bray went over to Nelson Creek this morning.
Rains hauled home Judkins and company’s plow and harrow, and got them 175 pounds of screenings for chickens and then went to Alford’s and hauled a load of lumber to Betsy Town for Alford. Rains bought a bald sorrel mare and is to pay $135 in 6 weeks —

Saturday 24 – Cloudy and unpleasant. Rains planted some corn, turnip seed, beet, and parsnip seeds. I and Balloo was getting up our costs and trying to ascertain what rights are left us in the suit, &c, &c
Dave and Kyler came over about noon and have gone to Betsy Town. I collected $26 for ranching, and $4.50 from Dickson. Jim Shults came over and stayed all night.

Sunday 25 – Cloudy and rainy, Balloo came over from Nelson Creek and stayed. Terwilliger was gassing about the lawsuit, what he was going to do with us for damages, &c.

P.M. I, Dave and Kyler started for Rocky Bar. I was riding the Rains’ bald pony. We went by my old cabins to see John. He was all alone. He gave me $57.50 in dust—what had been got the week before by him and Rains, and what he had washed out of the square box. We all went down to the Point. I gave Frank Fox $50 and told him to get more and go over to Quincy and pay the cost of the suit. We all went down to Rocky Bar.

Monday 26 – An early breakfast. I and John started for the Point. Dave and Kyler was to take the dimensions of J.C. Lewis’ flume and water ditch, as he is going to improve it. I paid John Thompson $13 for Joe Ficklin and $2.50 stable fee for the bald pony. After 9 o’clock, I and Thompson started for Marysville. There was considerable snow on the way to Grass Valley. There we took dinner and fed the ponies, cost $1.50. We set out again and stopped at Woods’.

Tuesday 27 – After breakfast I paid my bill, $4. We set out for the city. We arrived in town at 1:00 P.M. I was very much fatigued and sore. I lay about the stable on the hay all evening. I took supper at the cost of 50 cents and stayed with Derick all night —

Wednesday 28 – I feel much better. I breakfasted, $.50, and got the pony shod all round, $4, and got me a gold pan cost, $3, and got some oranges, $.75.
I saddled up the pony and went out to H.P.‘s ranch. I paid ferriage $.50. I took dinner with Cath and children. Jack came from the upper ranch. He’d done cutting hay up there and started the machine on the lower ranch and we then started for town and met H.P. I turned back with him. He says there is considerable excitement at San Francisco occasioned by the vigilance committee and the hanging of Casey and Cora.4

Thursday 29 – At half past nine I started for R.C. Bowne. I arrived at 1:00, took dinner, and told Bub my business. We put in most of the evening walking over his ranch. I borrowed $5 of H.P. and $1 of Derrick.

Friday 30 – The weather is cool and pleasant. After breakfast, Bourne started for the mountain mines to get money and I for Marysville. I arrived at H.P. at half past 12 noon, a distance of 25 miles.

Saturday 31 – At about 10:00 A.M. I and Ficklin went a-fishing at Jas Simpson’s lake. We very soon left off. I went in a-bathing and then to town $.50. Later I rode out with H.P. to the ranch.

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  1. Not included in this collection.
  2. Trowbridge Ward, son of Judge William Ward, would later become Liz’s first husband.
  3. The miner’s ‘inch of water’ is a measure particular to the Sierra Nevada gold fields. In flume mining, water was measured according to the size of the opening from the main flume, into an area where it might be used for mining a particular claim. Ten inches of water, therefore, refers to an opening in the flume with an area of 10 square inches. Miners inches were not standardized during the gold rush, since the volume of water flowing from an opening would depend upon the size and pressure of the flume.
  4. James P. Casey and Charles Cora were publicly hung by the Vigilance Committee of San Francisco May 22nd 1856 at 1:20 P.M. from the windows of the committee headquarters on Sacramento Street between Front and Davis. Both had been tried before the committee and found guilty, Casey for the murder of James King, Cora for the murder of General William H. Richardson. For more information, consult the Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco.