April 11 1855 – Martha Haun to James Haun

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In this long letter, Martha Haun debates traveling to California and rebukes her husband for the tone of his most recent letter.

April the 11th 18551

My Dear Husband,

I received your letter dated February the 15th. I had written one to you about ten days before I got yours. I told you in that one about my getting home on the 3rd of March and all about myself. We are all well and doing as well as we can these hard times for it is said to be the hardest times that has ever been known in Kentucky. It is almost a famine here now. There was so little raised here last summer on account of the drought.

I told you in my last that I was again boarding at Pratt’s, that I had put Lizzie to school in Midway, and I keep Anna with me. I find with all the economy that I can possibly use it is cheaper to board than to keep house. I have tried it effectually and know it to be so, though if times had not off got so tight I should have continued to keep house for the satisfaction of it–but I have got the room that Mrs Holtzclaw occupied when you left, a very comfortable retired room. I am very comfortably situated.

Old Mrs Beaty was buried yesterday. She had another stroke of palsy. Ed Applegate and Darinda Maddox get married next Wednesday. I believe I told you in a former letter about Ellick Carrick and Queen Cantrell running off and getting married, and about Frank Rankin joining the reform church. Frank sticks up to his profession well. The church is in a very lukewarm condition, though we have John Ganoe to preach one Sunday in the month for us. There has been several families had to break up and leave town because they could not get provisions to eat. Everything is so high. Johnny Beatty, Rose and J.H. Thompson has left for the present while times are so tight. Mike Algiers’ stables, buggies, hacks, and horses was sold yesterday by his  creditors to pay his debts. He is broke, as industrious as he has always been, he is broke. He says he can pay his debts and have a thousand dollars left to begin with. His dwelling house has not been sold. I suppose his farther will keep that from being sold. Ben Finnell is pretty badly bent. Harvey Graves’ house was burnt down one night last week with very nearly all of its contents. Some of the family did not save one suit of clothes. They get some few things out, though nothing of much importance. They discovered the fire at two o’clock in the night. From all appearances it must have been the work of an incendiary, though they do not like to think so, or they do think it, but do not say it. His loss is estimated at seven thousand dollars, besides the insurance. It was insured for three thousand and the furniture at one, making four thousand in all. He is a-going to build immediately and build nearer the road. Persons say he is going to build a much finer house than the other was.

You spoke in your last letter of what Jack and Dave told you W.G. said about your not paying him. I do not know whether it is so or no and even if he did say so I would not, if I were you, suffer it to make any impression my feelings, nor would I ever attempt to pay him, and I would not hesitate to tell him so, for I know to my own certain knowledge that he justly owes you more than that, nor will he say half as much about it, nor care half as much as some of the balance of them. Them that told you such stuff has no regard for your feelings nor his. I do most honestly think he is the best hearted brother you have, though you know he always keeps himself in such a press for money. That makes him do things he would not otherwise do.

Sant told me to write to you and put on your guard. I told Sant that you owed him, and he said in justice you did not, and further said it would do Bill no good if you was to pay him, that that it will only go with the balance some of this days to pay his debts and that
amount would not keep him from breaking no how. He said you would be foolish to labor where you are to make money to pay that debt. It would be just like throwing it away, for it would then do neither of you any good, where if you would keep it yourself it would do your family some good. Sant told me if I did not write to you this way that I was not as smart as he took me to be. You must not say a word to any one about what Sant says; it would get him into a fuss and he is mad and grumbling more than half his time at Bill any how. He says just as many hard things of Bill now and more than he used to and still makes his house his home–but I know he has talked as hard of him to me as he could more than once. I do not know how to take any of this, but this much I know: that do as you will they will talk hard of you so I want you to do as the balance: take care of yourself. They will say hard things of you, do as you may, and you might just as well give them something as not. They would think just as much of you and more too. If I was you I would tell Billy G. plump and plain that I did not intend to  go to the mines and work, and make my child work to get money to pay him merely because he had a claim according to law when if justice was done you do not owe him one cent. He would think just as much of you. Now keep this to yourself but act it out for your child’s sake.

Sant asked me one day if I ever lived as easy a life as Ray. He said, “no, by God, nor you never will. I know you never did and I know you never had everything thrown into your lap without ever asking for it as she has.” He said to me, you see for yourself that he would, and does, make a slave of anybody, even his own child to keep her humored. He would make every drop of kin he has labor to keep her up in her laziness. Then Sant said, when you see and know what he would do, if you let Jim pay that money you would be very foolish. I told him I could not prevent it if you took a notion to pay. He said I ought to try and you ought to listen to it, for Bill would not stint one day for all the kin, children not excepted, of anything she might want, no matter how foolish, not to say any of their lives. I do say of a truth, she is the laziest, crossest, dirtiest, most extravagant woman I ever saw in all my life before. He certainly has less satisfaction in his house than any poor devil I ever saw. I never felt as sorry for any man I ever saw as I did for him. Oh how it made me think of you, how hard you would think of me always if I ever got fretted and grumbled. How mad you would always get at me for it, and I always a-doing and trying to do something for my family. To see the contrast–she does nothing under the heavens nor takes no care, no interest in anything, no more than a stranger. She then quarrels and fusses continually and he puts up with it and tries to humor her and never scolds at her, let her do as she will. I know such a wife would run you mad, but it is their lookout, not ours. I tell you these things for the purpose of letting you know that your brothers that have wives care only for themselves and their family that you may act to them as they would to you–but by this time you certainly have found it out.

Now about my going to California. I came home fully determined in my mind to go out there the first of May and I have thought and studied every way about it. I think if I had never of written to you about coming that you would never said to me come. Well I would get to thinking about you, and I would feel sometimes that I could not stand to be separated from you and that I could brave anything to get to you. Then I would write and tell you how I felt, not thinking it would be the means of causing any unhappiness on your part, but I done wrong. I thought to you I could express my feelings and you would not think hard of me, but I have got so some times now that I can think reasonably about it and at other times again I cannot reason. My feelings rule but, oh, it is one constant effort on my part to subdue feelings and let reason and interest gain the ascendancy. I have done it to some extent, as I said before.

I had determined to make an effort to go and to keep an eye to what would be to our interest at the same time. It was to make money that we made the sacrifice of parting in the first place and we have gone through the worst part of it, Well, to sell the negroes now they would not bring much over half as much as they would have done one year ago, for they are down now very low, so it would not do at all to think of such a thing now. We would loose too much. For me to go leave them would be almost like throwing away that much money to go some where else to make it. I thought at one time I could do it but after trying I found it not so easy to leave them in the hands of a man that had nothing. It would not do. How easily they could be run off or be sold and we would never hear of them and the men say they had run off. Well, if he had no property we would be at the end of our rope, and again to leave them with a responsible man. That sort of man does not like to take such a responsibility and if they would consent to do so, I know people well enough to know that they would care very little whether they lived or died, so I could not feel satisfied to leave that much property at the  mercy of people that could not, nor would not, feel much interest in our welfare–not enough to put themselves to much trouble whether we made or lost. This is a very selfish world, I have long since learnt. By my going out there it would make us run the risk of loosing more than we would probably make.

(When I told Sam and Bet I had a  notion of going to California Sam said he had rather die almost than for me to go and leave them. He said it was bad enough when I was here for them to get along and they could not do it all without me, that whenever I was away they was public property. And he said there was plenty of people that envied others their Negroes and would delight to abuse them whenever they had it in their power. He had learnt that while I was away the winter and two since you have left.)

Then why, when money is our object, place our property in jeopardy? I think it would be very unwise under all the circumstances for me to go and leave it, though as I said before, I was so anxious to be with you that I thought I could just as well go as not–until I began to make an effort to go.

Then I saw it was not so easily done without risking too much. Then will you think of all these things and not think hard of me for expressing the wish I did to be with you, or for causing you to feel so bad as you said it did. Oh, have you forgotten that I am a mother and a devoted wife that cannot control my feelings as regards my love for you so, or to be always on my guard how I speak to you, or always and at all times take a deliberate view of what would be to our interest. You speak of your hard and unpleasant life. I know it, and it is that that has ever made me feel that I wanted to share it with you. It makes me so sorry to think of it that. I feel like I could live on bread and water if you and John were only happy. I care but little for myself. God knows it is for you I have felt and on your account. I wrote about going to you thinking I could be of some little comfort to you if I were with you. I am willing to sacrifice myself for you at any time, but I do not think, when money is the object, that we ought to sacrifice our property here, to go there to make it. It is not selfishness in me, nor because I do not want to go, but because I do not see how it is possible for me to go, the way I am situated without running the risk of too much loss. So I will say no more about going until I get further orders from you, but will rest content to hold on here and take care of what we have here until you feel satisfied to come home believing it to be the best thing I can do, and, oh, do not think that I am enjoying life as you seem to do in your last letter while you are toiling and suffering privations.

You wrote so cold and seemed to blame me and think that I was taking my pleasure. Oh God have you forgotten that there is no pleasure for a lone woman, as I am now, with none to care for me, but many, yet many that would delight to hurt my feelings? Yes, it is an unfriendly world and I am alone in it a-trying to bear up and philosophize with myself to bear my lot for your sake and my child’s–and then for you to write me such a letter as the last one, blaming me and intimating to me that I am living by pleasure while you are living by faith. It was so cold! Not one word of affection or tenderness–yes those anxiously looked-for letters–and oh when I read it, how it pierced my very soul–you, my husband! It put me to bed for three days. It seemed to me that you had lost all the love you ever had for me, not to let me have a word of tenderness or love in your letters–for it is all I get or expect of love or tenderness from you. The cold, selfish friendship of the world has almost froze my heart, and when I get a letter how anxious I am to read it and look for love and tenderness from you, and how my heart delights to dwell on any little expression of tenderness, be it ever so slight–but in your last I was made to feel that you had grown cold towards me. I felt for a time that I was ready to die, that for you I lived, for you I give up everything else on earth, and for you I give up everything else on earth, and for you I suffered–and then to think that you had ceased to care for me! But I do not believe it now. I cannot–I have so much confidence in you that it can only be lost with life. Then, oh, think of me as I am, a poor lonely, heart-stricken, desolate woman, and not living in pleasure as you intimated, but only trying to live at all. Please don’t write me a cold letter and blame me so in it, for I live or die upon the contents of your letters. My God, you are my all on this earth. To you I cling and if you grow cold I am truly without one on earth to look to or cling to, for I shut myself out as much as I can from the world and live on the hope of meeting you again and in the discharge of my duty as near as I can. This is truly all the comfort I have: to do right and hope for a reward.

I read a letter from Larue to his wife yesterday. It was full of love and sympathy and tenderness. In the same evening I read one from Laura Stiller to her mother. It was the same way, expressing the tenderest regard and feelings– and oh when I read them and thought of my own letter. What a difference! How it made my heart sink within me and made me think what have I ever done, or even been more than they, that I must have to bear so much more in the way of coldness–but my sweet husband I do not believe you wrote that way to wound my feelings. Oh, no, it would break my heart were I to believe you did not love me nor care for my feelings.

As to trouble or being unpleasantly situated and having unpleasant things to bear with, my situation is by far more unpleasant than yours. It is true I have more comforts than you have but as for work, I idle no time, not as much by half as I did when you was here. You have nothing but your work to annoy you but, oh, think for one moment of my situation and my feelings, and you cannot envy me my pleasure. I am not as a widow even at liberty to seek society and enjoy it, and more I have no task for it for my treasure and my love is on the earth and my heart is with them and I sit in solitude keeping all my feelings and love locked up in my own bosom waiting the time to come when I can throw myself once more in your protecting arms and pour out on your bosom my soul’s joys and sorrows, for my feelings must all stay locked in my own breast until I do see you. I have none to tell my secrets to, no one but you to confide in. I can and will cheerfully bear my situation if it is to be to our mutual benefit, and you will give me a word of encouragement in your letters, for I stand much more in need of encouragement than you do, for mine is the hardest lot of the two. If you will only think impartially you must know it to be so. I am a helpless woman and have to be strictly on my guard in all things and at all times, while you are a man and can do as you please and do not have that lonely helpless feeling that a woman has…

But I will now say to you, to wind up all this long letter, that if I have said one word to hurt your feelings in any way I pray you forgive it–for I would rather suffer anything than to write one word to wound your feelings. Oh God, I meant to comfort you and you to comfort me. Let us try to comfort each other in our letters, for I can say of a truth, my greatest comfort is a letter from you. Now let me say to you: exercise your own judgement about how long you stay and what you do and it will all be right with me. I would not under any consideration have you leave on my account until you are satisfied to do so. Lay your own plans and do what you think best, and if you love me still and won’t blame me when I am doing the best I know how. It will all be right with me. I cannot go with the encumbrance I have here and be anything like satisfied or feel like I was doing my duty. As for any of my kin I would be better without any, for they are anything but a satisfaction. I will write you again soon and tell you how Moore and Liz treated me and  little Lizzie. You may look for a letter the next mail after you get this.

And now my precious husband and child, keep in good heart and do just whatever you think best, for on your judgement I rely, knowing it is so much better than mine. If you only write to me that you are in good spirits and not hurt with me I am satisfied and will be and do the best I can. Write me soon dearest. I dreamed I was in your arms the other night Oh how happy it made me-but it was all a dream.

I remain your devoted and true wife until death,

M. Haun

Metadata: Sender’s location: Georgetown, KY | Recipient’s location: Nelson Creek, CA

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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James Haun Diary, February 1855

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Thursday 1 – Clear and pleasant this morning. I made two pick handles. I then cut and split some dry wood. After dinner I and John split some logs for back sticks. We went up to the reservoir and shut the gate, and then down to the diggins and home, after cutting an oak stick for pick handles. Cloudy this afternoon and commenced raining at dark.

Friday 2 – We fully expected a good rain and snow last night and today. It cleared off at noon, however, without rain to do any good, and no snow either. We went out to fix for mining, as there is water to answer if it will only keep from freezing so hard at night.
We commenced piping but our hose burst. We mended up and done considerable work, after all the trouble.

Saturday 3 – I, John and Shaw was piping off tailing and picked up $6.50. Lawrence is stripping by himself. Lloyd has not got back from below.

Sunday 4 – After breakfast as I pulled of my hickory shirt and put on another, of Johns washing. I’d only wore it two weeks. As I was dressed up and clean, I went down to the Point. I still thought to hear from my wife. Accordingly I got a letter from her dated December 22 18541 giving an account of somewhat of her trip to Iowa, and the big dinners, &c., &c. There one to John from his ma written from Iowa dated December 24 1854,2 and giving an account of the Iowa folks. It cost $2 for the two. I was expecting to hear that she was fixing to travel to California, but, O, the disappointment, blackness, darkness, all most ready to give up in despair.
This was one of those still delightful sunny days, warm and pleasant, as is so common. My lesson was the first chapter of Ephesians. I wrote my 17th letter to my wife.

Monday 5 – The hose slipped off the pipe and needed patching.We piped off tailings after it was mended. In the afternoon a pine burr run in the pipe. It took some time and hard punching to get it out. We picked up gold $7.

Tuesday 6 – We was at work betimes as usual. We had just fairly got underway when our hose burst. It took me till noon to sew it up again. I sent my 17th letter to wife by Lawrance to the express office, cost 25 cents. We got gold $41.50. It was warm all day, and cloudy.

Wednesday 7 – Cloudy, hailed a little at noon and later rained some. We were at work early but the hoses burst in two places. After dinner I and John took them down and carried them to the cabin to sew them over again. Later I went down to the Point to get twine. I saw Lloyd. He has got back, but is too drunk to come to the cabin. We got gold $18.

Thursday 8 – Cloudy weather. It was drizzling most of the day. At one time it was mixed with snow. I was at work in the cabin sewing the hose and am not done yet. John and Shaw gold gold $32. Lawrance is doing well. Lloyd has not got home yet. I suppose he is still drunk.

Friday 9 – Cloudy this morning but it cleared off, and was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. The wild geese were flying North. A yellow jacket came flying about in the cabin. Shaw and John got gold $16.50. I was in the cabin all day sewing the hose, still not done.

Saturday 10 – Clear and frosty last night but clouded up this forenoon.

P.M. Commenced raining good, and alternately it would snow, and keep at it. John and Shaw got gold $29 with me to help them from the middle of the afternoon, as I finished sewing the hose. Lloyd is not at home yet

Sunday 11 – Cleared off last night and froze. After doing some needle work this morning, we four went out to the diggins to see what harm was done by the rush of water. While out there we picked up $4. We cleaned out Lawrance’s boxes and went to the cabin, eat dinner and then went down to the Point.
Late in the evening a man by the name of Cook, asked me to drink with him and Vaughn. Vaughn said he did not ask Mr Haun to drink with him. I told Vaughn I did not drink with such a man as he was. He stepped forward one step and said I was a damned knave. I rose up and stepped towards him two steps. He drew a large Bowey knife and said, draw and come ahead. He was drunk and drinking. He is two cowardly to act so when sober. I felt very much like killing the rogue and doing murder. But the thought of doing what whiskey will soon do in any case, and sending Vaughn to and a just God —
I paused and reflected. I did not come to this country to fight and pitt my life against such great odds. He has nothing to live for but to get drunk.
This is the third time that a deadly weapon has been Pointed at me, but I was not much scared —
I got 1 1/8 inch sole leather, $1; paper tax 25 cents.

Monday 12 – Cold last night and clouded up this morning. We all four was running tailings off. Lawrance’s Diggins took out no gold today.

Tuesday 13 – I was making false bottoms for Hungarian Riffles. I got them made in time enough to put them in the boxes. Shaw and John was cleaning up bedrock till noon and got gold $8. After noon we were setting boxes and fixing on the hose that I mended last week.

Wednesday 14
– I, John and Shaw was mining today, washing down new dirt with hose and pipe. We took out $118, one piece weighing $53, and one $24, and one $22.50. The balance was small dust, cloudy or hazy. It commenced to rain after dark.

Thursday 15 – Did not rain much last night. Somewhat cloudy and foggy this morning, but turned out a beautiful, warm, sunny day.
We was piping away when the hose split–not the thread but the cloth, for the first time. It took me the whole evening to put on a patch. We got gold $32.50. If the hose didn’t rip —

Friday 16 – Fine weather today. It is the first day that we have been able to work all day with the pipe and hose for months past. We a good head of water and nothing to break. We took out $131.50, one piece weighing 5 1/4 oz or 84$, as we count. Lloyd came home to  day with Delirium-tremens.

Saturday 17 – Cool and clear. We fixed to clean up bedrock and got gold $143. This is what makes my time pass off much easier and faster than I want it to.

Sunday 18 – Cold this morning. I made three Hungarian Riffles for Lawrace, and made a level. After dinner I went down to the Point and mailed a letter for John to Pauline Haun, 25 cents. I got three boxes matches, 25 cents, and hired J. Shults to fill Lloyd’s place, as I do not intend to have anything more to do with a drunkard, than I can possibly help—

Sunday 18 – We had a settlement with Lawrance. He took out $67.50 in the last 14 days – we had to pay him $20 out of it for lost time. We then got $24 out of it to divide in four shares. It has been warm and pleasant today. My lesson is the 3rd Chapter of Hebrews — I had to patch the right sleeve of my hickory shirt, before I went to bed.

Monday 19 – Cool this morning, and continued to freeze all day. Cloudy, with wind from North. Some little snow fell. We cleaned up bedrock and got gold $27.50. James Shults came up and worked in Lloyd’s place with Lawrance. I am to give him $75 per month. Lawrance mended my boots tonight — I paid Shively, the constable, $3 for going down with me to Winters Creek to serve a process and attachment and summon witnesses, but Henry Goldshall was gone.

Tuesday 20 – Cold last night. The water froze up so that we could not work. I, John, Shaw and Lawrance took five picks to the valley had three sharpened, $1.50, and two steeled, $3. Three meals and lodging at Betsy Town each, $3 for me and $6 for John.

Wednesday 21 – We then took dinner at American Ranch, $1 each for I and John, and them came home before sundown. The weather is cool, and it froze considerable last night. Our water ditch is still froze up; no water to work with.

Thursday 22 – I dreamed last night that my wife was with me, and that John Hurst and his son Albert had come to California.
It was snowing a little this morning when I got up. The old snow was quite all melted off and today it is slightly covered again. We can’t work in our diggins. I went down to the Point and paid Roots and Lewis all we owed them, $13.25, as $8.50 was marked paid; $5 for John’s hat and $3.50 for whiskey. I gave Mrs Doussler $2 for an oven and lid for the company.

Friday 23 – Snowing this morning and continued more or less most of the day. Shaw and I had a settlement and divided out $4 in four shares. He got one and I kept three. I then paid him off 7 1/2 oz in gold dust that I had borrowed. In all, he loaned me 12 oz. I previously paid 4 1/2 oz. P.M. Shaw, Lawrance and I went down to the Point as we can’t work. Lloyd is anxious to know whether I will let him work again with us or not. I saw a son of Sam Brown’s that Cash Clay had the fight with.

Saturday 24 – Clear and cold last night. Three inches of snow on the ground. We are not doing anything like work. Warm and hazy today. I went down to the Point and learned for the first time that Adams & Co. Banking Express has failed. I had two old blue shirts. I cut one up to patch the other late at night. The snow it quite all gone.

Sunday 25 – Cold and clear last night but warm and cloudy today. I finished mending my shirt and read the first and second chapter of the First Epistle General of Peter. After dinner I went down to the Point. I learned from Whitney that the vigilance committee3 had called a meeting yesterday and added 10 more to their number, making 25 in all. They are determined to resist the civil law in the case of Captain Fagan, as the Grand Jury found a true bill against the vigilance committee three weeks since. It commenced snowing late this evening and was at it when I turned in.

Monday 26 – And was at it this morning. Four of us went up the ditch to put some new timber across the ditch to hold up the covering that had been broke down by the big snow we had at Christmas time. We finished at noon. It commenced to rain and continued all evening. After dinner I and Lawrance went up again and calked the long flume. We cleaned the rocks and snow out of the ditch as we came home. The water was nearly down to the reservoir —
This makes three days work done on the ditch.

Tuesday 27 – Cloudy and warm last night. Not much rain fell. The snow is fully half gone, about 10 or 12 inches deep. It is warm and cloudy all day without rain. The water made its way down to the diggins by 1/2 past 1:00, but not enough to work with. I, John and Shaw went up the ditch to see what was the matter. All was right, except the ground soaks up so much water.

Wednesday 28 – Commenced raining last night after dark and continued all night and all day today very hard. The snow is quite gone from about here. We all went to work, except Lloyd. we got gold $2.50. Jim Shults is at work for me.

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