Wednesday 4 – All dates previous to this are lost by the burning of the cabin and my trunk. Still working in the drift all day came to where the bedrock run up nearly perpendicular–a bad sign for gold. About to give it up and try another place. Pa went to the Point in the evening to send a letter below. No more today.
Thursday 5 – We went a little farther into the hill to see the end of it. Very cold today, the coldest we have had this winter. Dave Willam came over to see me and took dinner with me. I cut out a pair of gloves after supper. Nothing of particular interest today.
Friday 6 – Nothing new today. Done no work worth naming today. Went to the hole and found it filled nearly full with water caused from the ditch above. We fished out our tools and came home. Cut and carried wood. Having nothing else to do, done some sewing on my gloves made of flower sacks. Very cold today, every thing froze up about as cold as it ever gets this far up in the Sierra Nevada. Nothing more new today I believe.
Saturday 7 – Nothing new today. Very cold today. Hardly know what to do. Water still froze up in the ditch and in the drift. We started a hole near the creek a little farther down the creek but did not get to the bottom before night. Smale came up from American Valley1 and stopped awhile with us. Also McDonald.
Sunday 8 – Nothing new today. Very pleasant today. Laid around the cabin all day. Finished my glove, cut some wood &c. John Smale came from the Point and stayed all night with us on his way to the Valley. Baked pies in the evening. Nothing more new today.
Monday 9 – Nothing new today. Worked in the hole near the creek got to the bedrock in the evening and drifted in a piece. Got some small prospects on the bedrock. Williams came by after Smale on his way to the Valley prospecting. The men in the other cabin commenced moving their provisions up Nelson Creek2 to their cabin. Cloudy all day and sprinkled a little in the evening but none to signify.
Tuesday 10 – Nothing new today. Still working in the drift near the creek still in hopes of finding something soon. Very warm and cloudy nearly all day. Snow melting some little. The men in the cabin have abandoned the diggings, I suppose for a while at least. No more today.
Wednesday 11 – Nothing particularly new today. Still drifting near the creek. Worked hard all day still in hopes of finding something soon. Vary and cloudy and windy all day.
Thursday 12 – Rained a little after supper and the wind blew very hard. Rained all day steady. Went up the ditch in the evening broke up the ice and let the water down. Got wet through. Came to the cabin and put on dry clothes. Ground sluiced in the foot of the ravine in the evening so as to get to washing and make some money.
Friday 13 – Rained all day. Worked hard all day repairing the ditch and dammed the water in its proper place. Ground sluiced some in the forenoon. Rained all night on the 12th Hitrich came up after his things about noon.
Saturday 14 – Nothing of interest today. Snowed very hard after we got up. I found the snow about 12 inches deep and still snowing fast. Repaired the ditch in the forenoon and ground sluiced some. Saw a mountain cat while we were at work. I stayed in the cabin in the morning and baked bread and cooked apples. Done some washing after supper. Nothing new today.
Sunday 15 – Nothing new today. Snowed all day. stayed in the cabin all day and mended our old boots. Dreary cloudy weather.
Monday 16 – Snow upwards of 3 feet deep near the cabin. Weather warm and pleasant for the quantity of snow on the ground. Done no work as to mining. Went over to the ravine to see about the water and to get the tools. Hardly any water running. Got up wood in the forenoon. Nothing of interest today.
Tuesday 17 – Nothing particularly new today. Still snowing a little all day. Done no work today the snow being so deep. stayed in the cabin all day and read a novel to pass away time, having nothing else to do.
Wednesday 18 – Nothing new today snowed all day hard done no work of consequence today. Made a road through the snow to the spring otherwise stayed in the cabin and read novels. Snow about three feet deep in places. Cannot mine any as long as the snow continues so deep. Felt restless all day thought a great deal about past events and times gone by. Nothing new today.
Thursday 19 – Nothing of consequence transpired today. A good deal colder than usual. Made a road through the snow to get wood to burn. Done no work otherwise today. stayed in the cabin all day and read, baked some pies &c &c
Friday 20 – Very cold today. Everything froze up. We had to get up in the night to warm; could not sleep. McDonald and Stirling came up today. Mc stayed all night with us. We loaned them a sack of flower &c. Nothing more today.
Saturday 21 – Snow still on the ground. Not melting much. All of us went to the Point with Mc to grind our axe and bought a shirt for 3$. The coldest day that has been this winter Feather River froze up under the bridge. Nothing more today.
Sunday 22 – Stayed about the cabin all day. I got up wood nearly all day. Cloudy all day, moderated considerably. Snowed after dark a little. I sorted our potatoes, some of them being frozen. Nothing new today.
Monday 23 – Nothing new today. Warm and cloudy nearly all day. Snowed also today. Stayed about the cabin all day and read novels. Nothing new today.
Tuesday 24 – Warm, cloudy and rained all day. Nothing of interest today. Done no work today. Snow melting very fast all day. Stayed in the cabin and read novels and finished one after supper. Nothing else today.
Wednesday 25 – Nothing particularly new today. Snowed early in the morning a little but cleared off and became a pretty day, warm and pleasant. Went over to the ravine to see about the water but done no work, not having enough water. Got wood the balance of the day. Made a cover over the wood to keep it dry.
Thursday 26 – Clear and sunshiny all day but cold in the evening. Water still froze up in the ditch. Got up wood today, split some wood for boards. Snow still on the ground and not melting much. Nothing more today.
Friday 27 – Nothing new today. Cloudy nearly all day. Water still froze up. Done no work as yet. Stayed about the cabin all day. I bursted my carbine. No more.Saturday 28 – Nothing more than usual today. Calm and still today. Stayed about the cabin all day. Split some logs for wood. Cannot mine, any water being froze up or stopped up by the snow. Jacobsen cut my hair &c &c.
Sunday 29 – A clear beautiful sunshiny day. Dobson and myself went visiting for the first time since I have been in the country. Went to McDonald’s cabin but he was not at home. Came home about noon. I set a snare for a coyote. I thought a great deal about home as I walked along the side of the mountain. Everything looked beautiful from the reflection of the sun. Pa went to the Point in the evening and came back about dark. Nothing more new.
Monday 30 – A clear beautiful day. Went up to the ditch to see about the water. Repaired the ditch and caulked the first flume and started the water down. Nothing else today.
Tuesday 31 – Nothing new today. Another beautiful day. Went up and cleaned the snow out of the ditch and got the water running down and ready for work. Nothing else today.
Thursday 1 – The rats have annoyed me lately of nights. I fixed a deadfall,1 so I caught two last night. I did some sewing on the hose.
P.M. All was at work doing well, but it could not hold out so, for the hose burst—our new one at that. I was the rest of the day mending it, John and Roister was cleaning up bedrock and got gold $44.
Thursday 2 – We took out two pieces of old hose. It took me some time to fix them up and slip them over the main ones. That done I went to piping again in the left set of boxes. We got but little out of them. John was cleaning up bedrock in the middle set and got gold $25. Streater, the tax assessor, came to our diggins late in the day and assisted me.
Friday 3 – We are taking the world easily. Remained in bed until after sunrise (what a bed!) and then cooked our own breakfast. This is what one would call a retired way of living. I’m not fond of company. Shaw and Lawrance came to our diggins early. They wanted we should pay them off before the time. We concluded to do so, if they would knock off a liberal discount. We are to let them know on Sunday. That is a busy day is this country. We got gold $14.
Saturday 4 – I dreamed last night that I was in company with my wife and sister Mary, on horse back. I was riding old Trump. My wife said he was nearly starved to death. I know not where we were going. I thought John was riding his pony in some town. I felt that my wife did not treat me as she ought to have done. She seemed distant. Well, we worked steady and hard all day and only got $26. We have so much moving of boxes and hose and pipe. We had a pleasant haze at noontime, but no appearance of rain. I so often think of my wife. Will she come out this fall with Dave?
Sunday 5 – Well this is another sabbath. I’ve read the first and second chapters of Colossians, it being my place of reading. We next got down our sand bottle and emptied it into a pan. I poured in quick silver and paned out the sand and got out of the quick silver, $17. We rocked out of the square box and got $5.50, but stopped for the want of a better rocker. Shaw came up to see if we was ready to let him off, so we all went down to the Point. I gave Roister his share of last week’s work, it being $41.75. I then collected $200 in gold dust from John Bass for the purpose of paying off Shaw, but he said he would not leave until Wednesday morning. Besides, he did not want to pay me $25 discount before it was due. John was in the express and got two letters from his ma, the first one written to him on June 19th2, and three sheets full with a piece of poetry to me dated June 23 18553 giving an account of Moore’s4 treatment to her and Lizzie, and other things too tedious to mention, also some lines of poetry—very appropriate indeed. She gave an account of the death Alex Keene and Mrs T. White and Mrs Grant and the breaking of some of my acquaintances, and her not being not so low spirited as she was when she wrote John’s letter, but winds up by saying that she does not want to come to California. I gave $1 for a brush to brush down the gold in the boxes and 50 cents for the two letters.
Monday 6 – We been a little lazy of late in getting up. The sun is generally up before we get up. Breakfast is soon got and then to work. We cut down two small trees moved the logs out of the way. We washed down one of the stumps.
P.M. I did some mending on the hose. John cleaned some bedrock got gold $9.
Tuesday 7 – We was at work as usual. We built a log heap and then fixed for mining. John went to let the water on the pipe and saw it was muddy. He then went up to the reservoir and found two men at work near it. He told them not to muddy the water.
P.M. I went up there and told them that they was at work on my ground and it was no use for hem to prospect it. I had a notice on it two days previous. They quit work for the present. I told them that Shaw knew we hit the ground for more than a year. Shaw told them so. I paid Shaw $530 for the note he held against us instead of $550 due on the first of September, and borrowed $104 of John Thompson. Besides I loaned Roister $60 to pay off Lawrance, the Yankee knave.
Wednesday 8 – We went on Tuesday to the diggins for the purpose of working, but did very little in the A.M. John went to see Lawrance at the Willow Ranch to get 3/8 of $8 that Lawrance had washed out of a sand bottle, but he would not let him have it. So I went down and made him shell it out. A mean yankee — Well, next this company said they were going to work that ground or die, so I told them I would keep them from it if I could. They accordingly went to work again. They are using our water and making it very muddy. We cleaned out the ditch below them that leads the seep water into our hose and pipe. I took off a piece of hose as it was too long, and had to sew on a short piece. We got all ready again for tomorrow. John paid the Bucks $1 for whiskey.
Thursday 9 – We was at work in fair time and let the water on our hose and pipe, but is was not long before the muddy water was down on us from the mines between our reservoir and our seep ditch. we was compelled to quit work. We all three went up to where they were at work. I told them that we was compelled to quit work that they muddied our water so the screen would choke up and the water run over. They swore they would work it or die. Old Lloyd was there. We started away, and he commenced to talk. I went back and told the good for nothing old murderer not to open his mouth. I told him to ask Jennings Clark what he was good for. He had been stealing money out of draw. I then told him if ever I heard a word that he said about me I would punish him for it and that I meant to make him eat his words, what he had said about me. I dared to repeat it. He was afraid to say one word even. So, I wrote a letter to H.P. stating to him my troubles and for Jack to come up. Also, my 21st letter to my wife. All three of us went down to the Point. I mailed the letters and paid $.25, and John got a letter cost $.25 from H.P. stating that there were all well and that he was a candidate for the senate and would be elected. We got gold $27 —
Friday 10 – Up this morning before sunrise and called the rest up. We went to work, but it was not long before the muddy water came down on us. My friends Duesler and Shaw came up early. I threw off my rubber clothes and we three went up to the place where they were using our water. I told them again, you have stopped us from work and our hose was choked with mud this morning. They had a riffle, revolver and dirk knife each. I told them they seemed to be well armed, as to my part, I had nothing, but I said to them that I would try them for stealing—a penal offense. I got Duesler to look at the position of the water and ditches and reservoir, and so they did not muddy our water this after noon. I suppose they did not work. We got gold $17.50 —
Saturday 11 – We fixed for cleaning up bedrock and did so. Got gold $32. The men did not muddy our water but for a short time this A.M. After supper all three of us went down to the Point, to get two picks and hatchet sharpened. I paid Thompson $80 of the $104 that I had borrowed, and joined the W.K., at the cost of $4. We then came home.
Sunday 12 – It was quite late when we breakfasted. I read the First Epistle of Paul to Timothy. I made a pick handle. I and John started up the ditch with tools and rifle. We laid out, and dug a ditch from the largest ravine to the entry of our ditch. That done, we went home and had some dinner rather late. We next went up the Pike ditch and worked on it until night. Then John half soled his gum boots. I cut and split some wood. I took out the ashes and got new and irons. I built a fire and lit a candle and read the Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy while they were baking bread and getting supper. I shed many tears of grief, while thinking of our lonely condition and that of my poor wife, separated as we were. I tried to sing some old fashioned hymns but I am in a strange land, my harp is hung upon the cedars. O, weep not for me my own dearest wife. In noting this down I’ve shed tears that burned my cheeks as they pass down among the unshaven beard. For nearly two years we have been apart.
Monday 13 – I and John was taking our rest after sunrise when all of a sudden Roister wrapped several times quite hard. We soon got ready for work and fixed for cleaning up bedrock — but it was not long before our water was made muddy by those intruders. It remained muddy till noon, and soon after we got done cleaning up. It was late before we got ready for piping but we made a start. We got gold $16.
Sunday 14 – Well, we done a great amount of work with hose and pipe to have only got $2, besides our water was made quite muddy most of the day. I was up sooner this morning than previous ones. Our notice was renewed up on the reservoir flat —
Wednesday 15 – Well, we worked over considerable ground and did not make two bits. We run the bedrock out of the ground and came to where the channel split. We quit the one on our left and followed the one on our right. We had to set out boxes anew and made a commencement.
Thursday 16 – We are at work alongside where John and old Lloyd worked this time last year, but I fear there there is not so much gold to be had as was then. At least our day’s work is quite slim, only $9 — I dreamed of my wife the last two nights in connection with some other young woman: the first night she was with Lizzy and last night Miss Tess Connor.
Friday 17 – We have run our diggins to the top of the ground, what I would call entirely out of gold. We scrapped and cleaned about, and only got $1 by noon. So we concluded to move our tools. We set to work in the P.M. cleaning the brush off the ground claimed by Roister, down below where we first commenced on these claims. I mended a piece of hose to lengthen those we are at work with, in order to get a head on the pipe. I dreamed of G. Toppass. I thought he was broke and that his sisters broke him. I still think of two woman and I hope they will make their appearance soon.
Saturday 18 – We worked till noon cutting and burning brush and small logs on Roister’s claim. In the P.M. we mended up the heap and cut a small ditch to run the water onto the diggins. It was cloudy all day and sprinkled a very little this P.M. We quit work much before sunset and all took a good wash, as we were quite black and dirty. After supper we went down to the Point. It was quite late when returned to our cabins.
Sunday 19 – Rained some this morning before daylight to cover the dust a little. We were rather late getting breakfast. I and Roister went down to the Point. I took dinner with F.S. Fox, the present proprietor of the Thompson House, formally the cook for Thompson. After dinner I was invited in to see Mrs Fox, the mother of F.S. Fox. I talked with the old lady for more than one hour. I wore a read flannel shirt outside my pants and an old dirty cotton shirt. No cravat or socks. On first acquaintance I was treated quite cleaver indeed. I excused my self for having occupied so much of her time. Dinner $1. I read the general Epistle of James. Cloudy. Thundered and rained a little in the P.M.
Monday 20 – We was till noon setting our boxes and penstock and leading troughs. After dinner we commenced to pipe down and wash dirt for gold again. We got $9, much more than we expected for a start. We have come to the conclusion to move lower down, as we think it will pay. We expect to do so tomorrow.
Tuesday 21 – I paid Duesler $2 for our share of the planks last Saturday night. We accordingly moved penstock, hose, boxes, and the rest our tools downhill to where there has been a little mining. We got ready for work a short time after dinner, but it was not long until our hose burst the sewing. I was sometime in mending it. We turned on the water again and did considerable washing. We cleaned up and got gold $1 rather low down. I dreamed of my wife last night. I thought I was in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Wednesday 22 – We concluded to run a narrow cut up, until it pays better. We let the water on, but there was not enough to do any good. John went up to the reservoir and let out some. After dinner I applied calk to the boxes that brought in the water, known as Pike’s ditch. John and Roister got gold $5.
Thursday 23 – Again we are found at our post, ready to dig out the shining stuff, but our water is failing some, and at a time when there is none to spare. John went up to the reservoir and let out some water. At noon we stopped the water. After noon we let it out again. We have to be very careful of the water, or else we cannot get enough to work with. Late in the morning the hose ripped. It took me the rest of the day to mend it up again. We got gold $10.
Friday 24 – I woke out of sleep this morning sometime before day. I was too warm, so I threw off the blankets and thought of my wife. Where shall I look for her? I’ve tried to fix a day, but cannot make it out. I fell to sleep again. I dreamed of her being with me, and it was not at all unpleasant. I was up at day light. Breakfast was soon over and then to work. There is more or less time taken up in fixing for work. The dirt is hard to wash. Late in the evening our hose ripped again, and the rest of my time was put in mending it. We got gold $16.50. After supper I set in the doorway and looked at the moon and towards my native home. I felt low spirited, but again when I leave the cabins for work I’ve caught myself looking back to see if wife is not coming up the hill.
Saturday 25 – The clouds that had the appearance of rain the last 24 hours have passed off. We three—it is hardly worth while to call us, the once big mountain company—but we are at our posts from day today. We got gold $21.50. After supper we all went down to the Point. I paid Thompson $29 for beef and grub. I paid him for a new grey shirt $1.50, and paid Mrs Duesler $1.50 for washing four hickory shirts, plus 25 cents for a letter from my wife dated the 2nd July 1855.5 Her letter gives an account of her then happy condition, compared to what it had been. I must confess that I am truly glad to hear it, but it is far from my fix. I think if I only could lay eyes on her I should then feel like myself again. I still hope the time will soon come, &c. We took down a dozen empty bottles and got one filled with whiskey in exchange, not to drink, but to put in our vinegar keg. I read the letter to John after returning home and he is now playing on the old fiddle while I am noting this down.
Saturday 25 – A man by name Frank Walker went up to the bridge that crosses Feather River above Nelson Creek and stopped off to take a wash. He made a dive and struck his head against a rock. Those present became alarmed on account of his long absence under water, and then, seeing the blood in the water, next saw him struggling. They sprang in and hauled him out. That was on Friday evening the 24th, and this evening he is dead. Root was seen gambling witness Roister.
Sunday 26 – We were late getting up, as it was late before we went to our bunks. When breakfasted, we started up the ditch and then up to the spring in the mountains. The coldest water naturally I ever drank for August. We claimed the water and surveyed the rout. We came home, took dinner, and went down to the Point. Got some beef and vegetables &c., and ground John’s ax and the hatchet. I read for my lesson the three first chapters of Revelations.
Monday 27 – We moved our penstock up the hill some to get the full length of the hose straight in a line. The hose will not be so apt to burst, and the pipe shoots harder. Hannibal Bray came up to see us, so I left the other two at work. Noon came and we all four went and took dinner. Afterwards I did some mending on the hose and then went home with Bray. His water failed so that he can’t work. He showed me his diggins and fixtures. I got home as John arrived from work. We got gold $5; no good.
Tuesday 28 – I was up at day light. I saw a rat in the cabin. I called up John and we killed him, we put in our time at work very constant. We got $24.
Wednesday 29 – The weather is clear and delightful. You are not disagreeably warm. Is it not strange? You scarcely even hear it thunder. Our work is pretty much the same. I did some cutting and burned of a small heap of logs and trash. We washed and got gold $15.50—much better than I expected. After supper I left John trimming a ham that the rats had gnawed considerably, to put it on to boil.
Thursday 30 – After a hearty supper and a hard day’s work I am setting in my cabin alone and making this entry and thinking about why am I not ready to start home. Maybe it is not my pleasure, well so be it. We were piping down till noon. We concluded to cle an up the boxes and got gold $11. We then put our boxes on poles above where they were, in order to clean up the cut and make it deeper to get more fall. We have got it near half done. We did not clean up the boxes tonight, as we will have to do it at noon tomorrow.
Friday 31 – It was quite cool this morning. The fire felt very comfortable. We cleaned up the cut, or rather, where we’ve been at work for the last two weeks. It look us all day. We got gold $29.50. Now, today closes the last summer day in ’55. Could I have look forward 24 years ago up to this time and saw myself, setting down to a center table of my own making, and making some of my thoughts legible, while John is amusing himself playing on the old fiddle and Roister with us &c —
Friday 1 – Breakfast and lodging $1. Before sunrise I was on the road for Marysville, a distance of 19 miles, which which I made before noon. I paid $1.50 for whiskey I had a mule ride 6 miles I then went to Row & Haun’s office and had a consultation about my suit, in which they both said there would be no difficulty in gaining it for me in the supreme court, only I had to send back the papers and have them maid out anew on paper of a certain kind before they would be admitted in that court. I paid $1.50 for paper and $1 for the express to take it back. I then went to the stable to Derick. He did not know me for some time. I went home with H.P. Cath1 is not well, quite feeble, and little Cath has got the chills and the nerves. H.P. is not in good health either. Derick is well. Cloudy the last two days.
Saturday 2 – H.P. and I went to town and stayed all day. I gave 25 cents for grapes to eat and got acquainted with Bob Bowen whom Dave called “little Bub,” &c. So we two went home with the judge at dark. Cloudy today.
Sunday 3 – Rained all day. Bowen asked me to loan him $1000 at 3 per cent a month, and he would make me safe by mortgage. I agreed to send it down as soon as practicable. We stayed all day at the Judge’s —
Monday 4 – Bowen started home. I and the Judge went to town and then to the post office. I got two letters, one from my wife dated October 18 18542 giving an account of old Ben Ford’s death, and the reception of a bill of exchange for $200, and her determination to remain in Kentucky for the present, and one from Lizzy of October 253, which says she wants us to come home in the spring, if we could. I stayed in town all day. After dinner Jack came in. He did not know me at first. I went out with the Judge at dark, &c —
Tuesday 5 – Jack came out before breakfast. I and the judge went to town, he on the hunt of beef cattle, and I to get two gum coats, white $16; and two pair of gum overalls, $6; one cover to a hat, $1; two red flannel shirts, $3.50; four pair socks, $2; one pair gum boots, $7; five fiddle strings; and a pair of tweezers, $1.25. I left Row $30 to pay the entrance fee of suit to the clerk of the supreme court, and 25 cents for grapes. I slept in the stable was quite sick all night.
Wednesday 6 – Paid $10 to ride up to the Columbus House in the stage. Cold and foggy at Marysville. Dinner $1 at the Oregon House. We got to the Columbus at 8 o’clock P.M. I took supper, $1, and went to bed, $.50, and took breakfast, $1.
Thursday 7 – I gave $6 to ride a mule to Gibsonville and got my dinner there, $1, at 2:00 P.M. I then had to foot it two miles home which I did arriving a little after dark, carrying quite a pack. I spent 50 cents for whiskey at the Point.
Friday 8 – We all went to work including Cook, a hired man. We cleaned off tailing and top dirt, but did not clean up our boxes. All well. Weather clear and cool. The moon has just rose above the hills, and the men have turned into their bunks. I will soon follow.
Saturday 9 – Quite cool of nights and mornings, so much so that our water in the ditch is nearly blocked up with ice till noon when the sun melts the ice some. Shaw, John, I, and Cook, a young man that we hire, were striping today, though we got gold $2.50. Lloyd and Lawrence continued striping.
Sunday 10 – Cool and clear. We divided our dust from the last two weeks, getting $111.50 per share, after paying $23 for the company for hired help to John Bull. My lost time amounted to $28. For two pairs of gum gloves I paid $3.50. I wrote a letter to H.P. and sent him a check for $1,500 by F.H. Everett & Co. Express to be loaned at 3 per cent a month. I bought an ax and handle, paid $3, whiskey 50 cents &c. My lesson is the 10th Chapter of Matthew —
Monday 11 – All six of us were at work on the ditch, covering it to keep it from being filled up with snow and breaking the levy, as was done last year. John is 20 years old today, and John Lloyd 50.
Tuesday 12 – The nights are quite cold, so much so that the water is frozen considerably in the ditch. Where it is covered it does not freeze.
Wednesday 13 – Still putting brush over the ditch. Six men have been at work on the ditch for four days each. The nights cold and days warm. The yellow jackets are flying about at noon. The wind does not blow the least bit, only its clouding up for rain or snow.
Thursday 14 – We finished covering the ditch with brush. Delightful sunshine, very pleasant to work.
Friday 15 – I and Lawrence was cleaning rocks out the ditch till noon. The other four was setting up the boxes and hose and cutting down some small trees and brush off the diggins. After dinner four of us got gold $44. The sun shines warm and pleasant. I paid 25 cents for paper tax —
Saturday 16 – I, Shaw, Lloyd, and Levi Lawrence gathered up six picks, and each one of them gathered their gum boots, and I took John’s, so that we had four pairs in all, and we went over to Betsey Town. He had the boots half soled with leather, cost $2.50, and the picks steeled and sharpened. I met a woman in company with a man dressed in men’s clothes and riding straddle. She is quite common stock. Another woman has left her husband, one of the proprietors of U.S. Hotel in Betsy Town, and gone with her lover. This took place some three weeks ago. My dinner and supper $2, plus lodging.
(Two men worked one day each on the ditch, 2 others one half day each.)
Sunday 17 – After breakfast, $1, we started for home and arrived at 1 o’clock. We took dinner and went down to the Point. The county clerk had made out the papers again on the right kind of paper for my suit with Vaughn. I sent them by Everett’s Express to Marysville, to Row and Haun. &c. Cost 50 cents. My lesson is Matthew, Chapter 21.
Monday 18 – Four of us went to work at our diggins. The water soon ran out where Levi and Lloyd were at work, on account of the reservoir being at their chocked up by the cold, and no rain or snow to raise the break. The nights are cold and the water freezes. The days are dry and pleasant. We had to stop work till noon. We then had water till night and made $28. Levi and Lloyd do not weigh their gold till the close of the week, &c.
Tuesday 19 – We was ready for work betimes as usual, but there was no water to work with. Shaw, Lloyd and Lawrence went up the ditch to the bear trap and took out what is called a “cat.”4 His front is grey and the hind part of his body grows gradually black. His long bushy tail, his legs and feet, his head, eyes and ears resemble those of a bear. They lassoed him in the trap and choked him till quite dead. Then they tied him before he came to again. We got some coarse wire and made a chain. I paid off Cook for 12 days work $24. I went down to the Point with him. I returned at noon. After dinner I and John cut and split some wood, as none of the company worked in the diggins.
Wednesday 20 – After breakfast I, John, Lloyd, Shaw, and Lawrence and two other men who are prospecting near our cabins all concluded to go down to Rich Bar and cross over Feather River and up Winters Creek. We tied up some bread and meat in a handkerchief to eat. We went right over Slate Mountain. It was very difficult to get down, I had to hold on to the rocks and bushes. We went up Winters Creek and arrived at the place where crystallized quarts has been got. I picked up a piece and took it to my cabin. We spent the day in climbing over the mountains and ravines. Lloyd went up the river to the Point and got a letter for himself and one for John dated October 25 18545 from his ma. She said a great deal about our coming home in the Spring, and about a conversation she had with Littiss. There was also a letter for me from my wife dated November 13 18546, giving an account of her unhappy situation in being separated from us. She wants us to come home in the spring any how. Well, we have not worked any today on account of the water being froze up. The nights are cold but the days is so delightful.
Thursday 21 – Cold nights and pleasant days. The first thing we done was to plague our pet until he broke the chain and none of us could catch him again. He is free again, except a collar around his neck and some little chain to it. We did nothing at mining. I and John was getting wood. We cut up the tree that lay just behind our cabin and split some of it, &c., &c.
Friday 22 – Last night a man came up after Shaw, telling him to go down to his ranch. Accordingly this morning he started. Hannibal Bray came up according to appointment. Two others and myself took a tramp over the mountains but made no new discoveries. I was at home by 2:00 P.M. I ate dinner and split wood until night.
Saturday 23 – I, John Lloyd and Lawrence was all at work. We had plenty of water. John and I got gold $7.50. Lloyd and C. did not weigh. It was somewhat cloudy today.
Sunday 24 – Warm and cloudy, with wind blowing from the South. I split some wood that lay near my door and piled it up in anticipation of rain and snow. I finished my 16th letter to my wife and went down to the Point and mailed it (25 cents) and got a letter (50 cents) from H.P. acknowledging the receipt of a check for $1,500. I got John a hickory shirt for $1, and then got drink and went home. I gave $3.50 for whiskey. I did wrong. I own up, and ask for forgiveness.
Monday 25 – Christmas morning. Up before day and built up a fire. I would like to catch my wife again in a Christmas gift. A little two far off. Cloudy, and wind blowing from the South. My lesson is the 8th Chapter of Mark. All four of us went to work. I and John got gold $57.50. It rained some in the forenoon. In the afternoon it was somewhat cloudy with sunshine at intervals, and all clear by bedtime.
Tuesday 26 – Cold last night. Charles Allen, one of Shaw’s friends came to my cabin after dark. I hired him to work for Shaw while he is gone. So, we three got gold $21. It snowed a little in the evening and after dark the ground is a little white.
Wednesday 27 – Cloudy last night, but no snow fell of consequence. It is somewhat cloudy today, but quite cool. We three got gold $10.50.
Thursday 28 – So cold last night that the water in the ditch froze up entirely. I, John and Charles were clearing off the ground of brush and small trees, and burning some heaps that we made last winter. Lawrence and Lloyd was at the same in the morning. They went up to the trap before dinner and found another cat in it. After dinner John went up to get it out, but choked it to death. Its of no account —
Friday 29 – Cold. The water is still froze up in the ditch. I and John were getting wood today —
Saturday 30 – Last night it was cold, but its warm today and somewhat cloudy. We finished off cutting and splitting wood, done up in good style. We went out and mended up our log heaps. John washed three shirts, a towel, and pair of socks for me, and some for himself. He had cleaned the table and furniture before, so we are in good shape for the New Year. After supper I washed myself, and then a pair of socks, and then went to bed. Lawrence and Charles went over to the American Valley after his blankets and other fixtures. They got back a little after dark.
Sunday 31 – Warm and cloudy. Snow commenced before day. Sometime after breakfast I, John and Lawrance went up the ditch to look after the water. It was making its way down slowly. While we were up there it commenced raining and left off snowing. After returning we took diner and supper at the same time. Lloyd went down to the Point and has not returned. It continued to rain all day and late at night there was thunder. My lesson is the first chapter of St. Luke. I read four chapters and did some mending to my old duds, &c.
Friday 2 – We were nearly all day ground sluicing, washing off the top dirt that has no gold in it.1 Got gold $2.50.
Saturday 3 – Fine weather. Got gold today $23.
Sunday 4 – Very pleasant indeed. We go about with cotton and flannel shirts on, pants and no drawers, and comfortable at that. There is some snow yet in spots. Off a few miles it is quite deep. It commenced raining this afternoon, but very moderately. I finished my bathing box this evening. Wouldn’t I like to see you bathe in my new box? O, yes. Last night I washed a shirt, a pair of socks and then washed myself. I sat down before the fire an hour and thought–are we so far apart? I sometimes think that you are on your way from Marysville up into these mountains. Why do I keep thinking so. O, foolish thoughts. John went down to the Point and mailed a letter to his ma. I read the testament of late a good deal. I scarcely see a newspaper.
Monday 5 – Cloudy got gold today $23.00.
Tuesday 6 – Clear and pleasant. Gold today $11.00.
Wednesday 7 – I went over to the American Valley to prospect and stayed until Sunday the 11th. I started home. I and John met on the road as we came to our cabin. I did not succeed in finding a good prospect. It was quite foggy at the valley and rainy. They got no gold today—
Thursday 8 – Got gold today $1.00.
Friday 9 – Got gold today $9.00. Rained this evening and changed to snow.
Saturday 10 – Snowing off and on all day, no work done.
Sunday 11 – Fine day. No snow in the valley but the mountains around is covered, even the green trees is made white.
Monday 12 – The coldest night we’ve had last night. Was cloudy all day. Seven of us got gold today $12.50, but three of the seven is sinking a hole and was at it all last week. It is 20 feet deep, 5 feet wide, dirt on top the rest is rotten through with round boulders and rock. The water comes in quite fast, but we want to see the bedrock and see if there ain’t gold there. John’s birthday was Sunday the 11th. We had nothing extra on the occasion. Snow six inches deep Tuesday morning.
Tuesday 13 – Got gold today $5.00.
Wednesday 14 – Got gold today $5. Somewhat cool.
Thursday 15 – Got gold today $1. Quite cool.
Friday 16 – Froze up the water in the ditch.
Saturday 17 – Still cold of nights, and mornings no water to wash with. All hands a-prospecting but me. I am making pick handles. Washed out the square box at the spring. Got gold $__. The men in the other cabin had a big fuss among themselves, whiskey is the cause. Not settled yet.
Sunday 18 – John Dobson came over to my cabin and brought his provisions.
Monday 19 – Nothing done. All in confusion.
Tuesday 20 – Snowed all night and today one foot deep.
Wednesday 21 – Can’t work, water is froze up.
Thursday 22 – Beautiful weather overhead, the snow is settled down some.
Friday 23 – Dobson and I went down to the Point. No letters yet for me. What can the matter be? I paid Thompson $75.00 and we got $8.75 worth of fresh meat and little notions for a Christmas dinner. I got a new red flannel shirt.
Saturday 24 – Dobson and John set to and made a lot of mince pies for a start.
Sunday 25 – Up before day as usual and caught the boys in a Christmas gift all right. I hauled on my new red shirt. Ate breakfast and then the Johns to making peach pies and plum puddings for dinner, all to our three selves. It snowed on Friday night and Saturday six inches deep on the top of what was on the ground.
Monday 26 – Quite cool today. We cannot work, our ditch is froze dry. We were all day sewing. I lined my casinette pants outside in front with cotton and put a big patch on the seat of the same. Covered the bottom of my socks with cotton and made me a pair of mittens out of the legs of John’s blue pants.
Tuesday 27 – Quite pleasant today, and warm. We three went prospecting, did not get down.
Wednesday 28 – We went a-prospecting and did not as much as get the color. Warm and cloudy. Commend snowing this evening.
Thursday 29 – Continued our prospecting from Tuesday.
Friday 30 – Sunk a hole on the creek in back of the cabin, pitching bedrock.
Saturday 31 – Washed several pans, got better as we went uphill. We knocked off before night. Ate dinner and John washed three shirts and three pairs of socks for him and me. We’ve had nothing to do with the men in the other cabin since the fuss. One of them told me that they were building a cabin up Nelson Creek and were going to move their provisions as soon as they could. I suppose we will have these diggings all to our three selves.
Tuesday 1 – We did not go to work today. I believe the most of us is some what discouraged because we can’t find good diggings. In the evening I cut wood for the cabin till late. Dave proposed to go up ditch so off we went, and John too. As we returned near the cabin I got a shot at a coyote but did not kill, I suppose.
Wednesday 2 – Three of our company have left off working their claims and gone over to the American Valley to prospect. The other five of us worked today and got $4.25 in the forenoon. In the afternoon, we moved the boxes higher up in the gulch.
Thursday 3 – Us five is the company now. We worked faithfully and got $4.50—
Friday 4 – We moved our sluice boxes still higher up the gulch and set them up by noon. After dinner Dave said he would leave us so none of us went to work in the middle of the afternoon. He bid us adieu and went down to the Point to get a mule ride over to Grass Valley and on to Marysville. He could not get well, or feel well. I had the blows the balance of this day and night. Time cures all things.
Saturday 5 – Five of us got today $16.50. Quite an improvement. After supper I washed shirts,1 pair socks and one of those linen towels Lou give me. It is the only one I have with me. The rest remain in my trunk. I then washed myself and went to bed long after the moon had set.
Sunday 6 – Up before day. Built a good fire as wood is cheap. Dried a shirt and did some mending on it. I took down the last pair of those gray-footed socks and darned the white in the heel, with the top of another old gray pair of the same. You do not know how careful I am of these old duds that was put together by your fingers. I feel like I’ve parted with a friend when I’m compelled to lay them aside. I always burn them. John is mixing up dough for bread. Breakfast is over and I’ve made this entry. I had like to have forgotten last night. I did some mending on my casinett pants that I got from S. R. Betts— them and the blue is all I’ve worn in this country. The day is past and gone, no more to return and how have I put in my time. Thoughts, I’ve many. Cut a ditch on the upper side of my cabin to keep the rains from flooding my cabin floor as a storm is looked for. Somewhat cloudy and the wind from South West. John has gone to bed. In the afternoon, went up the ditch with my Virginia friend saw two Grisly tracks one a small cub. I’ve finished my wooden wash bowl tonight. It looks very much like something you know that has a handle on the outside. Good night.
Monday 7 – Got gold $25. Somewhat better. Fine weather, no rain, cool mornings and warm days. Yellow Jackets are flying about of days, plenty.
Tuesday 8 – Got gold $11. Quite cool this morning, ice all about our boxes and froze. Our water scarce in the ditch. Had to send two men up it, to tramp the bottom.
Wednesday 9 – Got gold $8. Warm but cloudy all day. Commenced drizzling late in the evening. On reaching my cabin, my Virginia friend had been to see me as the card pined to my cabin door plainly indicated. All right, Mr. Small, I can’t visit you this evening–its too unlikely over head.
Thursday 10 – Rained all last night very light and cloudy all day. We got gold $21. The other three partners came home at noon. They say they have found good diggings over at the American Valley. There is no telling.
Friday 11 – Up before day, from 1 to 2 hours. Have a good pine and oak fire to sit by and not the slightest sound of animal or beast to interrupt my reflections, except an occasional twist or grunt from John as he part on the bed and the balance on the floor.
I often think–and sometimes speak of it to John–that I would not be surprised to see you out here at any time. But maybe, I wish it so. We got gold $11. I concluded, as we’ve made but little of late, to take rest tomorrow, as I’ve not lost a day willingly since I began to work in the mines.
Saturday 12 – John, myself and G. Kline took a walk up into the mountains. The weather was delightful. We stood upon one of those bald peaks, north of the volcanic Slate Mountain on Feather River. We could see a great way, nearly all around us. The air was cool up there. We concluded to retrace our steps to the cabins.
Sunday 13 – Nine of us concluded to visit Slate Mountain today. We set out about 10 o’clock and after much hard climbing we arrived at the peak. It was up hill all the way down Feather River. We all went up on the highest peaks of the rocks. It rained against us while up there and on us when going home and continued all night. The pattering on the boards was something new and interrupted my sleep somewhat.
Monday 14 – Rained all day, occasionally mixed with snow. This I suppose is the commencement of the rainy season. How I am to stand California for the next six months I can’t tell before hand.
I concluded to put lining in the casinett pants I got from S. R. Betts, so I set myself about it. I had some scraps of cotton. I spread my pants out on the table and lay the cotton on and cut a front for one leg and then turned it, cut two others by them. It took some time to do the piecing. At all events, I finished them before I went to bed, which was late.
Tuesday 15 – Rained more or less all day.
Wednesday 16 – Commenced snowing early in the morning. It soon stopped at 4 inches deep. Three of us went up the ditch hunting. By night the snow was quite gone. Cut wood and lay it in the corner to have it handy, as I get up from 1 to 3 times in the night. I keep a good fire all night. John does the cooking, we have not dug any since Friday last.
Thursday 17 – Beautiful day. Seven hands went to work, got gold today $14.50. My Virginia friend is gone this evening over to the American Valley to take up claims for us there if he gets a good prospect. John has just washed out half a dozen flour sacks to line his pants with and is now lying in bed reading some novel.
Friday 18 – Cloudy all day. Got gold $22. I made a new pattern riffle box to catch gold. Two hands set up one set of the boxes near our cabins.
Saturday 19 – Raining some this morning. Did not work today. Mr. Small, my Virginia friend, came back from American Valley today while we were at dinner, to get some tools. He is well pleased and said two men has taken out $7,000 in six weeks. John and I expect to go over with him in the morning. John is washing shirts at this time for us. After nightfall he baked three loves of bread, and I cut and packed a good lot of oak wood and set it up against the house by the door.
Sunday 20 – Up before day and breakfast over by sunrise, and, Small on hand, we set out for the American Valley. We arrived about ten o’clock a.m. We then went two miles farther up the valley to Sister Betsy Gulch1. We looked about last night of plowing up a great quantity of gold, some pieces as large as my fist and some smaller. I told of my dream before I went there, so in looking around I picked up a piece that weighed $10.50 off the ground. We stayed all night at the American Ranch. Bradley is one of the proprietors that married a cousin of D. Sullivan by the name of Lucinda Dogg who says she will visit all of her kin in Kentucky when she returns form California. Ah, I heard a cock crow. This valley near Sister Betsy’s is like a new town going up of log cabins. A great rush for these new diggins. Only been found a few weeks.
Monday 21 – John and I went out a prospecting with two others and took up one whole hillside and commenced sinking a hole. So, we took dinner on the ground near Sister Betsy’s cabin, and shortly after John and I left for home leaving our two friends to finish the prospect. I think if you was out here you would be delighted with the climate — frosty nights, but warm days. The valley is several miles long but narrow. In going up the valley at this time we can see the snow all round on the high mountains, and yet it is so pleasant in the valley. There is from ten to twenty females here, such as they be. Only three last year. We landed at our cabin after sunset, and that too after a fast walk of 14 miles. John complains of being very sore, tried and is lying down. Paid tavern bill to Bradley, $2 each, $4.00. The company got today $29.50.
Tuesday 22 – Got today $7. We changed both sides of our sluice boxes —
Thursday 24 – Got today $12.50. Dobson and I went a-prospecting. We got as much as from 10 cents to 50 cents to the pan of dirt. I dreamed that you had come out to this country but you hardly knew me. Ah, this hairy face of mine, that is it.
Friday 25 – Before daylight, well the wind did blow. I went out and looked up to see these large, tall pines, the tops were bending about so that I ran in the cabin again. If one could have seen me a-dodging and cringing when a dead limb would fall on the cabin roof, he or she might have laughed if they could. I thought if the Lord was on my side I was safe, and down I lay. It rained all day today, and the night following.
Saturday 26 – Snow and rain mixed in the fore-part of the day, and the after all snow. Clear all night.
Sunday 27 – Commenced snowing at daylight again, ah. I took two flour sacks and cut a lining for John’s everyday pants and fixed them in. He was all of Saturday sewing the lining to the pants. After breakfast John went down to the Point. He paid Thompson $107.45 and paid Lewis and Roots $10.50, and then got a letter from my wife of dated September 26, 18532. This is the second one to John since I have got any. This letter gives an account of her unhappy condition. Also of Uncle Solomon’s daily expected death and boarding at Mrs. Chambers’. You stated in John’s letter that you had written one to me two weeks ago. It has not came to hand and none other since the one dated 27 June3 last — It has snowed all day. With some rain this evening to pack it down it is near a foot deep and falling still. John got a ham, cut the canvass off, cut the ham in two and while it is cooking I made him a towel by hemming it, as it was coarse linen, so much better than cotton.
Monday 28 – Somewhat cloudy. All went to work.
Tuesday 29 – All worked, but rained some about noon. Got gold last two days $16—
Wednesday 30 – Beautiful weather, warm and pleasant. Got gold today $57— The snow is quite all melted off.
Saturday 2 – Moved up to Independence Bar1 and paid our board for the week each $11, $22.00. Set up troughs to wash dirt.2
Sunday 3 – Let the water on.
Monday 4 – Worked hard all day, the four of us and made $10 in all.3
Tuesday 5 – Continued our work.
Wednesday 6 – Made $8 the two last days.
Thursday 7 – Worked hard all day and got $5 in all.
Friday 8 – We closed out today with only $25.50 the week for four of us, which was a little over one half for our board, it being $48 for the week so I paid out for John and I $11.25 and sold my pan for $1.75. After dinner I put on a clean shirt that John had washed out with soap and cold water, as he had done twice before. It was well done. We don’t iron — We the shouldered our blankets and tools for new diggins.
Saturday 9 – We found ourselves at mouth of Nelson Creek late in the evening. I sent by the express this week to Marysville for letters, but he arrived without any for us.4
Sunday 10 – After Breakfast, felt very uneasy about our condition all day. A party of old miners went out prospecting and returned late in the evening with a favorable report. The company was made up of eight men and would not take another in. They met in private to form the rules of the company and two backed out. So I sent in a petition with two others to be admitted. They were chosen and I was left out. Late at night I went to bed but could not sleep for a time.
Monday 11 – So it was I got up early in the morning to hunt a place to dig in. I called John but he said he was too sleepy, so I left and took up a claim by sight. Came back to breakfast. Tom Williams had just got up my petition in the company. He said he would sell out to me. So I gave him for his interest in the claim $40 in cash and a promise of $100 more if it turned out well, &c. John is to work for Vaughn in the same claim.
Cash for whiskey $1.25.
I will here state it is universally the case that card playing is done all day of Sundays by the miners. On Monday the fourth of July there was a ball given at American Valley 7 miles north of this. Broke up in a row.
Tuesday 12 – Paid for board from Saturday evening until Tuesday, each $7, $14.00 The company then shouldered blankets, tools and provisions. We arrived on the ground about noon for the first time. We all walked about over the ground. I then picked up a small sack of dirt and washed out, $1 to the pan. I thought to myself, I’ve found the place at last. We then went to work and built a brush tent with a few fir boughs and an old buffalo robe. Down we lay for the night.
Wednesday 13 – Up before sunrise, setting by the fire to warm, looking around at natures’ productions, the tall pines firs and Arborvitae. The first bears a crop on its top. After surveying the rout today to bring water onto the company’s diggings, I went 1 1/2 miles to mouth Nelson Creek. I there got a letter from you5 dated 24 May6. I then went back to camp and read by pine knot light. The long-looked-for treasure. O, what a pleasure. You have not said what letters you received from me. You must give me the news of the church.
To cash for letter, $1.00
Thursday 14 – Commenced diggin the ditch to bring in water.
Friday 15 – Our work the same.
Saturday 16 – Still the same.
Sunday 17 – We all went over to mouth Nelson Creek, except John.
Dinner for myself, $1.00
I bought a pair boots, $8.00
And cotton for straw bed, $1.25
Went back to camp to sleep. John had washed one shirt for me and two for himself.
Monday 18 – I and John were levying and marking out the new ditch rout. At night, stayed on my straw bed tick.
Tuesday 19 – I and John finished levying the ditch at noon. John to digging and I to clearing away the brush. Tonight finish my bed tick.
Wednesday 20 – I went to work clearing away the track and John to digging with the rest. Tonight I put a whopping big patch on the right knee of my blue military pants out of twill cotton flour sack.
Thursday 21 – Our work the same Friday 22, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24. I and John went down to Willow Ranch and cut a lot of grass to fill our tick with butcher knives.
Monday 25, Tuesday 26, Wednesday 27 – Was cloudy all day and thundered some, but no rain fell. All sunshine.
Thursday 28, Friday 29, Saturday 30, Sunday 31 – I and John built a bedstead, under a pine tree so we can sleep off the ground. We’ve killed several large rattle snakes.
This week paid for 4 gunny bags, $1.50
To three candles. 50.
Paper tax $.50, $1.00
To one letter from W. G. Haun, $1.007