James Haun Diary, October 1854

Previous Compare to John Haun’s Account Next 

Sunday 1 – We stayed all day in town. Tonight there was preaching by a Methodist by the name of Willanot with Parson Bonner to assist. Squire Stark had to go in the ten pin ally to stop them from rolling while the preaching was going on as the houses were joined together —

Monday 2 – The Johns finished working on the flume. They had also worked on it on Saturday. I, Shaw and others started for the Snake Lake diggins, a distance of 4 miles from Betsey Town. My bill at Vainey was $2.
There is eight of us in the company. All went to work sinking holes, but me and old Davy. We went 5 miles after an oven and coffee pot and pan.

Tuesday 3 – Well, last night Lawrence, Shaw and I spread some of our blankets down on the frosted ferns and other vegetation. Down we lay for a snooze which we relished quite well, but for the backache near morning. We partook very heartily of our meals without table or plate. Late in the evening John came over, as he could do nothing for the want of water —

Wednesday 4 – All eight to work two holes, sinking one, and drifting in. Old Davy and I went after wheel. I told John to take my gun home, as we had no use for him nor it.
So night came on and with it rain. They took a pair of my blankets, nailed each end to poles, and made a kind of tent. We crept under, but our feet would get outside in the rain —

Thursday 5 – We are still pushing our work ahead. The weather is unsettled.

Friday 6 – Still going deeper into the mountains and no prospect yet.

Saturday 7 – Some of our company beginning to weaken. Rather gloomy.

Sunday 8 – Five of us started out early for Betsy Town. Many of the folks had not breakfasted when we arrived. I the foremost, we ran apart of the way. I took Dinner at Varner’s $1. Old Hays did not go back again.

Monday 9 – All seven of us was at our post till noon. One other concluded to leave, so we held a counsel and counted up. Up-take costs and each one’s portion came to $6.25 so we all paid up and six of us went back to work —
Still raining some today.

Tuesday 10 – The two holes had got down to water. All agreed it was no use to go further, as they could not be drained ordinarily.
So, Shaw said I must go home and buy grub for the winter and fix up for mining at home. So I drew the nails out of my blankets, rolled them up and tied on my tin cup and off I started for home. I stopped at Bradley’s and give Pat Hunley $25 for attending to my lawsuit with Vaughn. I then went to Illinois Ranch took dinner $1, and then home. Two more left when I did, and only Shaw, Lawrence and Berryhill are left.
On arriving at home John had got a letter from his ma of date August 21 1854 giving an account of Sam Shepard and young Ross getting married and the election of M. Price, G. Topp, and Bill Bradford &c.  There was one for me from my wife of August 29 18541 giving an account of T.B. White’s failure and the great drought in Kentucky and the high price of provisions. &c, &c…

Wednesday 11 – I and John went out to work. We set the boxes and shoveled in dirt till noon. I started to the Point to see about buying grub for winter. I met Lloyd at his cabin door trying to open it, he was too drunk. His nose and eyes were bruised to black from falling down, having been drunk all week.

P.M. John got gold $4. I got the price of provisions of all the trades and came home. Lloyd was in his bunk all evening. I told him we could not work together in this way. I would not work with a drunken man &c

Thursday 12 – Up before day and read some in the New York Tribune of September 5 1854 giving an account of the drought in Northern states, and fires in the woods, and great destruction of property &c. I examined your letter over again to see if you had got all the letters I wrote you.
I and the Johns went to work. We got gold $32.50. It was cloudy all day, and at dark it commenced raining, only moderately &c. It continued all night, with some snow in the morning.

Friday 13 – Continued cloudy all day with light showers occasionally. We got gold $18. I went down to the Point this morning. The folks were making great preparation for a ball. Ball tickets are $10. The dance is to come off in the gambling and drinking saloon and the supper in Luis and Roots tavern. The ladies had some idea of not attending, as there had been gambling there some time back &c, but they came and danced till 5:00 in the morning.

Saturday 14 – I was down again this morning for the purpose of getting out a warrant. I did so, and took the constable down to Rich Bar to serve it, but the man Goodshall had left this morning for Poorman’s Creek so I went home and will have to pay the cost. On my return home the Johns had got gold $13.50.
Tonight a concert is given in the ball room. A beautiful sunny day.

Sunday 15 – Cold last night but a beautiful day. I was getting wood and poles to fix a prize. I worked to cut down a tree that leans over my cabin all this forenoon.

P.M. I finished my 15th letter to my wife and mailed it, 25 cents. I paid $12.25 for the company. Bought two hickory shirts: one for John and one for myself, paid $2 for them. Shaw came home, and a man by the name of Lawrence with him, late this evening. My lesson was the first chapter of Philippians.

Monday 16 – Four of us went to work. Lawrence, working in the place of Lloyd, complains of pain in his side. I and Shaw moved our hose and pipe and fixtures down to where the Johns have been at work. We helped them some in A.M. In the P.M. we cleaned off the brush and burned it. They got gold $99.50.

Tuesday 17 – All four of us was mining. We got gold $66.
I, John, Shaw and Lawrence went down to the Point after supper. We made out a bill of provision for Olday and Tennerman to fill for us this winter. Fine weather.

Wednesday 18 – Cool nights and pleasant days. Four us at work. Lloyd does not go out to work as a hand, but does little. We got gold $56.

Thursday 19 – Frosty nights and warm days, but cloudy.

P.M. There was a portion of our winter’s grub brought up. We got gold $91, one piece that weighs 2 1/2 oz.

Friday 20 – Cloudy in the fore and after part of day. Eight more sack-loads of grub and 12 yesterday. We got gold $28.50 at bedtime. It commenced to rain, but lightly.

Saturday 21 – Did not rain last night, of consequence. I went down to the Point to pay for what grub was delivered to us amounting to $439.17. 50 cents for whiskey.
The three of us got gold $32.50. The wind is blowing softly through these tall pines. There is some indication of rain, but quite worm &c.

Sunday 22 – It commenced raining early this morning and continued all day, though Nelson Creek and Feather River rose but little. The creek and rive flumes were still standing when I left late this evening. All five of us went down to the Point this forenoon. I paid McFall 1/2 oz for work done for the company. My lesson was the Second Epistle to Timothy.

Monday 23 – Did not rain last night, and but little today. Some sunshine and warm. I went down to the Point in the A.M.

P.M. I was fixing to make leading troughs. The Johns were preparing to work at their same place. Shaw and Lawrence was cleaning off a new place to set up sluice boxes for mining near the Willow Ranch.

Tuesday 24 – Rained all last night here and snow can be seen on the high mountains all round. The Johns were sluicing off the top dirt. Shaw and Lawrence were setting up our sluice boxes near the Willow Ranch. I was hewing out some planks out of slabs to make leading troughs in the A.M.

P.M. Made two.

Wednesday 25 – Raining and snowing some this morning. The Johns and Lawrence was ground sluicing all day. I and Shaw were fixing boxes and cutting a ditch to let the water in, so as to move to our new place. I had some words with a young man this morning about a claim I told him that he should not work. I told him I could whip him. He said I had better try it. I started towards him. He drew a revolver and said I must not come too close to him, as I had hatchet.
Cloudy and drizzly all day —

Thursday 26 – Rained all last night and it was snowing and raining this A.M.
In the P.M. we went to work though it was drizzling rain. I was hewing out slabs to make boxes. The four others ground sluiced.

Friday 27 – I told the men we must set up hose and pipe. We went at it, but we did not have the hose and pipe high enough to get a good fall of water.

P.M. We put it higher. It worked very well. Later the hose busted a little. We mended it and went on again till night. It was a clear day.
An Indian told Shaw that it would rain five days; he told Shaw it would snow 4 feet deep next.

Saturday 28 – A beautiful day. After a cold, frosty morning I was making sluice boxes for Lawrence. The four others were sluicing down with the pipe and hose. The hoses busted twice today. They got gold $18 —
John did some baking tonight and I washed two hickory shirts, one pair socks, and a towel, and then washed myself and wrote this. I dreamed last night that I was in company with Elizur Jenkins and my wife. I talked with them some.

Sunday 29 – As usual I was in my bunk. Awake some time before daylight thinking over things, among the rest I had dreamed of Alvin Duvall and his wife. I thought they were living about my wife’s house and I had just got there. I thought my wife had not much to say to me.
After breakfast I had many little turns to do. One was to cut down a good sized spruce tree that stood near the South corner of my cabin and lent over it. Shaw helped me. It fell within one foot of the West corner.

P.M. I and Lawrence took three picks down to the Point. I paid $2.75 for the company to have them fixed. I gave $3 for two pounds quicksilver2 for the company, for twine 50 cents, a tin bucket $1 for the company. I then gave $1 a letter for John from my wife dated September 3 18543 giving an account of Thomason’s trial for killing his brother, and a long yarn about coming to California, and what Tom Johnson says you ought not to do, &c.
My lesson was the 9th Chapter of Hebrews.
I gave John one of the three linen towels I had left that had not been used since my wife gave them to me, &c.

Monday 30 – Cool and clear last night, and today the wind is from the North. I was fixing riffles and false bottoms. The Johns got gold $10. Shaw and Lawrence starting a new place.

Tuesday 31 – The weather is cool and clear. Last night all were in there bunks but me. I sat up late patching my pants. My left knee had worn out the lining I patched inside. I then put on a cotton patch on my top of a blue linsey patch on my right thigh and sewed up many other little holes.
I then turned in and took a short nap and dreamed I was in Georgetown in front of Pratt’s bar room and little Press West told me that my wife and his ma had gone out to Hutchcraft’s funeral. I thought that my wife knew I was in town. I woke up in the act of leaving Georgetown without seeing her. I did not like the treatment.
The Johns got gold $15.50. Shaw and Lawrence got $1.50. I was tinkering as usual. I put a cotton patch on the seat of my pants tonight. All have gone to their bunks sometime ago. I suppose I had as well close this sheet and turn in too.

Previous Compare to John Haun’s Account Next 
  1. Martha Haun’s letter of August 29 1854 has been preserved and is available here.
  2. Mercury. Used to recover fine gold through a process of chemical bonding. The mercury could later be separated from the gold by heating.
  3. Not included in this collection.