James Haun Diary, September 1855

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Saturday 1 – This is one of those delightful days that is so common in this country and especially in the dry season of the year. Our work was anything but pleasant this A.M., carrying some large boxes and setting them up to wash dirt through. We got gold $22.50. After supper I and Roister went down to the Point. We were till 12 at night getting back.
Twenty-four years ago I was married to one of the best women that I’ve known. Tonight I am a-climbing over these Feather River mountains by the light of the moon, for she is at least 1 1/2 hours since rose. I still live, think, move, and feel—yes, and hope—my dear wife, we will not pass another 12 months until we shall be happy in each others embraces again. May God speed the time, for our reunion again —

Sunday 2 – Rather late getting getting up after keeping such late hours. Breakfast over, I read the 12th, 13th and 18th chapters of Revelations and now, for the want of better employment, I hunted up some cotton damask to put in the bottom of an old cradle rocker to make it answer to rock out the square box that we pan out in every night.
I, Roister and John all put to work. They finished about 4:00 P.M., so I finished my 22nd letter to my wife and will take it down to the Point this evening and mail it.
We cleaned out one of the pans. It had $32. The other we will have to quicksilver, as the gold is fine. I and Roister brought up some beef. Supper over, we washed up the dishes and baked a loaf of bread for tomorrow. All three of us is setting in my cabin, a good comfortable fire and not a word said, but John playing that some old fiddle —

Monday 3 – We got along very well with our work. One of our troubles is to keep from getting wet. We have to put on two gum coats, as they are leaky. We got gold $16.

Tuesday 4 – I dreamed of my wife last night and thought she was traveling on water and had two other little girls besides Lizzy to raise. I thought they were nieces —
We rolled two logs out of the way and have three others burning off to get out. We got gold $27.
After supper Roister and I went down to the Point. We had four political speeches and good order—something uncommon. The speaking over, we put out for home.

Wednesday 5 – Somewhat cool this morning but no frost. It was with some difficulty that we got to work, owing to the constant application and getting wet more or less everyday, but there is no other alternative.

P.M. we three went down to the Point to the election. John and Roister came up in time to work some, and got gold $10.50. I stayed the rest of the day to see if I could collect the $300 I had loaned to Isaac Jennings. He did not get the money for me. I paid tax on $1000, in the amount of $12. I feel out of sorts and quite unhappy.

Thursday 6 – I dreamed that I was in Georgetown, but nothing pleasant occurred.
As I  was out of sorts on last evening and I felt down in spirits all of today, we was late getting to work. Roister complained of rheumatism in his left shoulder. In consequence his inability I had the more to do. Well, so be it. We got gold $38.
Tonight I’ve been making a cape of my boot leg tops and putting it to my gum coat to keep my shoulders dry.

Friday 7 – We worked all together on the left side. My object in so doing was to prove it, which we did, and got gold $9. It is much deeper than the right side as we go up.

Saturday 8 – We fixed our boxes to work the right side of the channel and got $17. We rolled out three large logs that I’ve been burning into for the last weeks. I’ve been all day cleaning off brush and cutting small trees and logs. Duesler stayed all night.

Sunday 9 – Duesler started home before breakfast. After breakfast I moved some wood, raked up some chips, set a fire and threw on two of my flannel shirts. John is quick-silvering some fine gold to keep from loosing it. It netted $40.50 —
I cut down the cedar tree that stood within three feet of the  north west corner of my cabin. It lent over the cabin, but we pushed it away from the cabin. We then went up the Pike ditch and did some calking to the boxes that the water runs in. We came home to eat dinner and then went down to the Point. I paid Thompson $33.25 for grub and the smith $4, all for the company. Shaw and Rains arrived. Rains went home with us; bad news for the locals. All got beat, below and up here.
My lesson is the 1st chapter of Matthew.
I dreamed of being in bed with my wife and thought I was enjoying myself and felt pleasant twice and waked up making the third effort; but all a dream.

Monday 10 – Rains went down to the Point and we to our work. We had the penstock to move; it took us till noon.

P.M. I was cleaning up brush and cutting up logs. John and Roister got gold $8.50. Rains came up while we were at supper.

Tuesday 11 – John and Roister went to mining and I and Rains went up the Pike ditch to take out the water higher up the canyon to keep it from running through the dam. We cut the ditch longer and ran the water in without a dam. We finished in the middle of the afternoon and then went up our ditch and stopped some leaks. Night drove us in. The boys got $37.

Wednesday 12 – I dreamed of my wife having been traveling on the sea and that we were together. I thought Jane Cooper was with us and that she was in great distress, but quiet I thought. I kissed her and my wife said she was so sorry for her. I did not think Jane was married.
I and Rains went to cutting and rolling off logs. John and Roister to mining.

P.M. We rolled a log into the cut and broke the boxes all to pieces. We had to cut it in two twice to roll it it out again. While the boys was fixing things up again I went to the cabin and made one box. I’ve another on the way. We could not clean up.

Thursday 13 – I dreamed of my wife last night and thought she was taking a bath in some pond of water, swimming about with great ease. I was standing on the bank looking on.
John and Roister got gold $26 and I and Rains were cleaning up and setting heaps afire till noon.

P.M. I and Bill went up to the upper diggins to cut a pile of logs the rest of the day. After supper I wrote Jack a letter and posted the books. John has been playing on that same old fiddle.

Friday 14 – I and Rains cut and piled the timber that I, John and Dobson had cut down in March 1854. John and Roister got gold $11.50. After supper John and Rains went down to the Point and mailed a letter to Jack.

Saturday 15 – All hands went to mining. The boxes was set to work the left hand channel, as we concluded it was worth working. I managed the pipe. Roister and John raked down, and Bill went to forking out the rocks. We got gold $31.
I dreamed last night that I was the father of a little boy baby. I did not know its mother.
It commenced raining about sunset, but a light prickle after all the blowing.

Sunday 16 – I read the 12th chapter of Matthew.
After breakfast all four of us went up the the reservoir then into the tunnel that those intruders had cut. I measured it: 114 feet into the hill. It is cut through a rotten pile of boulders. We then went down and mended up the log heaps and on to the cabin.
We divided our dust and went down to the Point. John paid $4 for one pair of pants and 75 cents for washing two shirts. I got pair of half soles to bottom my gum boots for 50 cents and paid 25 cents in paper tax. We all went home to eat dinner. I had to put the half soling on my gum boots. That done, I split up two cedar logs that was cut last fall —
Cloudy all day. Commenced raining at dark very moderately.

Monday 17 – It rained quite a little shower in the fore part of the night. It has laid the dust. We’ve had 1/3 more water today then yesterday. I made some three riffles or false bottoms for the sluice boxes. In the A.M. the hose ripped. I mended it in the P.M. and went to mining with the rest.
Cloudy, thundered and rained a light sprinkle. We partially cleaned up and got gold $15. I looked to see when Lloyd’s time was up to keep the peace in. It so happened that today closes out his time. He used to say that his hands was tied; he could do nothing on that account. What next?

Tuesday 18 – Foggy this morning. We were rather late getting out to work. The sun shone out at intervals, thundered this evening and late into the night.
Our hose ripped again. We got gold $18.50 —

Wednesday 19 – Quite foggy this morning. Cold dew on the leaves. It was a pleasant day, though a little cloudy. I had the hose to mend before we could work to any advantage.

P.M. Nothing hindered us. We washed down a quantity of dirt and got gold $27. After supper I attempted to wash two hickory shirts and my towel. They look rather dark to be well done. If they will only feel a little soft to my back it is all I want, while I sleep by myself, what say you pot?

Thursday 20 – These mornings feel a little cool. It makes me feel like flinching when it comes to put myself where the water splashes all over me. We did more work today than usual and only got gold $11. Roister went down to the Point and got a fiddle string and John is playing the fiddle. I hear the geese going South.

Friday 21 – Some frost here last night. We was at work early. Somewhat cloudy in the A.M. but pleasant in the P.M. Got gold $28.

Saturday 22 – I dreamed of wife again. O, the grateful delusion—
There was quite a frost last night. I called up all hands at daylight. We worked in the deep channel and got gold $22.50.

Sunday 23 – As usual I was up soon. I took a hip bath or washing down at the box and read the 24th chapter of Matthew. I put a handle in Roister’s ax and made a pick handle. We divided our dust and set up. We took dinner, and all hands went down to the Point. No letters. I am disappointed very much. I paid 3/4 of $29.50 for 102 pounds bacon hams to Timberman, and $2.50 for a hoe to Thompson. Roister paid me $8 for water. John paid $1.50 for two pair socks.

Monday 24 – I dreamed of having good diggins.
Rains did not work today. We was at a loss to know how to work. After dinner we commenced piping, but the hose ripped. I soon mended it and we went at it again. I was the rest P.M. mending an outside pipe hose.
After supper, with the moon two hours high, I took the rifle and set in the door of the other cabin watching for the mountain cats or fishers.1 One came up to the slop hole. I shot at it but missed. I loaded and waited for another. It soon came. I made it squall, and yet it was able to get away.
We did not clean up tonight —

Tuesday 25 – I dreamed of being in company with my wife. As she was passing by I  caught her by the foot in play. It seemed that it was in Georgetown —
I called up the men and got out early. We were soon stopped by the hose ripping twice—once in the A.M. and once in the P.M. We got gold $6.50. I hope to do better tomorrow.

Wednesday 26 – I dreamed last night of being in company with my wife again. I thought that we were together in some city, and alone. She had on a dress for bed, as I thought. I asked her where she slept. She told me in some tavern, but I forgot the name of the house. I then asked her if  she could accommodate me. She told me if I would give  her all the money I could conveniently do without, that she would. I was about to swear by God and I changed to the holy Saint Patrick. I was so much vexed that I woke up immediately and did not sleep good again the last half the night —
besides, I’ve felt uncomfortable all day. The dream was in my head all the time.
We was at work early but the water has failed us so we cannot half work.

P.M. John and Roister went up the ditch to see if all was right. I went to sewing the hose. We got to piping late and did not clean up.

Thursday 27 – I slept more composed last night. I only dreamed of seeing Jas Barlow. I do not recollect at what place.
The weather was never more pleasant and dry. The water is quite gone—not enough to fill the pipe half the day with all we can save in the reservoir. Its after noon and I am sewing the hose to be ready when the water comes again.
Roister sold out to Rains for $150, so this P.M. Roister quit work and Rains took his place. We cleaned up and got gold $10. We took out while Roister was in the company $1085 at $16 per ounce.

Friday 28 – I dreamed of my wife again. I certainly will see her soon.
I called up all hands at daylight. Roister had got back. After breakfast we settled up and paid $8 for beef and tea. Our share and then weighed out in gold dust at $17.50 per ounce. $100 was loaned to Rains to pay Roister. He divided out his wearing apparel to us and bid us a final adieu. It brought tears in his eyes to leave us. I threw an old shoe after him. We then went to work with the pipe till noon.

P.S. I was sewing the hose, besides there was no water to work the pipe. We got $6.50.

Saturday 29 – We were at work as usual and washed quite a lot of dirt up to noon.

P.M. I was sewing the hose. Rains and John cleaned up $15.

Sunday 30 – The sun had risen an hour before we crawled out of our bunks. After breakfast we went to the reservoir and examined the drift that the intruders is making. We then went down to the diggins and set about mended some log heaps.
Then we went by the cabin that old Lloyd stays in. While there, he came in. I told him we owned 4/5 of it. He said it was a damned lie. He drew up his rifle to cock it as he had it when he came in, but I stuck too close to him. He then tried to get to his bed and get his knife but I got between. He gave back and got out of doors and I close alongside of him. He commenced to halloo for the Bucks and them other fellows. Two of them came to his assistance. He talked keen for a fight, so I handed my gun to Rains and pulled up my shirt to let him see that I had no weapons. He still hung on to his rifle. I took hold of the muzzle and snatched it away from him. He then struck me and I gathered him and threw him in a bunch of bushes. His thumb was soon between my ivory and my fingers in his eyes. He sung out for help, but Rains and John would not let me be taken off him till he sung out again and again. Then Rains took me off him. He went in the cabin and got his butcher knife and got to the door. By this time I had my riffle cocked and invited him out. He did not come.
So, we went home and took dinner after a while and then went down to the Point. There I saw the old cock again. He commenced to abuse me again, so, whack, I took him over the head and bled him good. I had him lying on his back across the counter when I was pulled off him. So we closed, except a few thrusts with the unruly member. Him with gauged eyes, a badly chewed thumb and a bad cut on the head, and i barely scratched.
I wrote a letter to Jack and paid the postage  $.25 and then home. After supper I read the 7th and 8th chapters of Mark. I hope God will pardon me for today’s conduct.

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  1. Mountain lions and fishers are both native to the Sierra Nevada.