James Haun Diary, September 1853

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Thursday 1 – I frequently though of our marriage 22 years past, but worked all day.

Friday 2 – We are not making expenses.

Saturday 3 – Some cloudy. Commenced raining at dark. The bark covering my bunk would not keep out the rain. We got under the straw bed, but the water run under me and on the planks. I got wet threw. It stopped raining and I got up built a large fire and laid a plank down before it. I took a pair of blankets and down I lay before the fire. John stayed in the bunk.

Sunday 4 – Got up soon and went up the ditch to head 2 1/2 miles. Frost up here this morning. John got breakfast. At dinner we had dried apple pie for desert. John washed a shirt apiece and two towels.

Afternoon – The man that lost his wife a few days past shot the one that had her.

Monday 5 – He is not dead yet but it is thought he cannot live. The miners are trying the man for shooting.1
We are trying a new place today for gold.

Tuesday 6 – Our new diggings turns out poorly. Dobson and myself prospected another gulch and got from 24 cents to $5 per pan.

Wednesday 7 – A good prospect in another place of the same gulch. This afternoon all hands went to the state election except John, and voted the Democratic ticket for governor John Bigler2.

Thursday 8 – Moved one set of sluice boxes to our new gulch. Four of us set them up and went to washing dirt opposite our brush tent. Got but little gold here as yet.

Friday 9 – Four of us commenced work in the new gulch. We got about $25 today.

Saturday 10 – We went to work in good spirits all eight hands. Took $85 today, and we have not got down to the bedrock yet. O, the lumps as big as the ends of fingers.

Sunday 11 – After breakfast John made up two loaves of dough. He then took his and my picks to Nelson Creek and had them sharpened and bought 11 pounds beef at 30 cents per pound and 7 1/2 pounds bacon at 40 cents per pound. I stayed in camp and took the roof off my 5×6 foot bunk and put it on again, so if it does rain again I don’t think it will leak on us. I dreamed that I was in Georgetown and that you wanted me to go to bed with you &c—

Monday 12 – We took out $308 today. I dreamed that I was in General Pratt’s and you with three other ladies came in. You was nursing a baby about 3 years old. I did not understand that.

Tuesday 13 – Changed out boxes to get more gold. Did not weigh today. One half worked in daylight the other half all night. I was one of the night hands. Cloudy and rained some.

Wednesday 14 – John and the three other hands went to work after breakfast. I and the rest went to bed. Cloudy all day. After supper my turn came for the night. After midnight, it rained on us till sunrise. It continued to rain off and on all day.

Thursday 15 – No work done today. I took a good nap today. It rained a good shower but my bunk did not leak so as to wet me.

Friday 16 – All hands went to work today and gave up night work. We took out $210.50. I am making money faster than in any other part of my life.

Saturday 17 – Beautiful weather. All hands at work. In the afternoon Vaughn, Dave, and two other gents came to the diggins. I was very glad to see him. He has been sick and came up to recruit his health. He brought a letter for John that you wrote on the 14th July3 giving an account of the great excitement of the election of Breckenridge. Mind you, we all three slept on my 5 x 6 foot bunk very comfortable. We took out today $63.50 —

Sunday 18 – After breakfast we all went down to Nelson Creek to lay in a supply of provisions. The mountains are very steep and high, yet we pack 50 pounds very easily on our backs. What a gratification it is to have an appetite to suite the times.
We came back to camp and took dinner good light bread and tea beef stake potatoes and onions boiled beans and butter.
After dinner we commenced to build a cabin. We got up six logs 16 x 14 feet long. One other man to help.

Monday 19
– All hands to digging gold. We took out today $136.50. After dinner Dave was at work knocking down a log for the cabin and stuck the ax to the bone up and down in the instep of his left leg. He sewed up the cut himself. The bunk is house and bed. Alls well, delightful weather.

Tuesday 20
– Took out today $79

Wednesday 21
– Took out today $58.25

Thursday 22 – Took out today $176.25. John and I went down to the Point and got medicine for Dave. He had the fever.

Friday 23 – Took out today $54. Dave continues taking medicine all day. Rained some in the night.

Saturday 24 – Dave wants the doctor to see him. Took out today $40 —

Sunday 25 – Got our cabin ready to put boards on. Sawed off three logs to make our door and chimney piece.

Monday 26 – The doctor came to see Dave. He is getting well. This is the third time he has had the fever.
This evening took out today $56.25 —
It rained and hailed at sunset so much that Dave had to leave the bunk and go into an new cabin that is just finished.

Tuesday 27 – Took out today $127.50 —

Wednesday 28 – Took out today $161.50 —
After supper went down to Nelson Creek and packed up provisions. Dave is well of the fever.

Thursday 29 – Took out today $84 fine weather.

Friday 30 – Took out today $120.50 fine weather.

  1. This incident was also described by Fariss and Smith (pg 210 – 211). A couple by the name of Gilson kept a boarding house on Henpeck Flat. In the fall of 1853, Mrs Gilson ran away with one of their boarders, a Mr. Wilson. A few days later, the abandoned Gilson caught sight of his wife and her lover through a window, seated on together on a sofa. Enraged, he strode up to the window and shot the man inside, in full view of his boarders. A meeting of the miners was called, and nearly a thousand men gathered; jury, judge and clerk were selected, a trial held and Gilson acquitted. The victim, Wilson, survived the incident, and, after his recovery, left the region. Mrs Gilson returned to her home in Michigan for a time, but later reunited with her husband.
  2. The third governor of California, serving from 1852-1856.
  3. Not included in this collection.