James Haun Diary, May 1858

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Saturday 1 – We went out to diggins. I made a riffle. We reset the boxes and put another in. While we were fixing the boxes some three new miners came to us. They wanted to work for hire or dig for themselves. So, I let William Davenport sit in as a partner. We cleaned up at noon. We got gold about $15.
I fixed up and started for the American Valley. I wore a pair of gun slippers so as not to have to carry another pair of boots back. By so doing I blistered my feet. I arrived in good time. My wife was at the old house yet, but fixing to go to the tavern to eat supper. We soon did so and took up our lodgings there also.

Sunday 2 – All seems to be going on in the same way, but I am at a loss living at the American Hotel as my wife is proprietress, and our house locked up looks rather deserted. I am made to feel very sad on account of poverty. Will it never alter in my time? I’ve moved often enough.

Monday 3 – My wife is very busy getting dinner for the public, as the grand jury is coming in town. At noon the bell was rung. Quite a number was to dine.

P.M. I handed in my report as overseer of road section number 13 and also my resignation from that post of honor. I collected $12 more in road tax and levies, minus $18. I settled with Tom Carter. He wants to call it even.

Tuesday 4 – Breakfast over, I got ready, shouldered a sack full of one thing and another—a hoe, my rifle and shot pouch, and powder horn, and my old hickory cane—and set out a foot for my diggins. I arrived there at noon after having stopped on the road from Illinois Ranch to my cabin, it being 6 miles less 300 yards. The boys were getting dinner. It over, we went out to work and got gold, some $10 or $12.

Wednesday 5 – I and Mac is alone. We were out in good time. We cleaned up the rest of the boxes, and turned a head of water into another. We was cleaning up bedrock the rest of the day. Got some 2 ounces of gold I suppose, much to the pleasure of Mac.
Before noon our William came to the cabin and got his kit and wardrobe and left  without letting us know about it. After supper I gave my check shirt a cold water rinse and hung out to dry.

Thursday 6 – Mac was mining all day. I went up Nelson Creek and bought some hose and pipe. I gave $20 for it, and I sold what dust I had on hand. It amounted to $82. I also got 40 yards canvas at 65 cents per yard, some beeswax, needles and a palm to sew with. I got to the cabin in the afternoon. I went out to help Mac clean up. We got some $20 in dust, as near as I can guess.

Friday 7 – Mac went down to the Point, got 12 pounds beef and a bottle of ground pepper,  returned, and went to mining. I was making a hose today. Later I went out and helped Mac clean up two boxes and got gold, I guess, about $8. Jake Jourdon came to see if I would let him work with us. I agreed to it.

Saturday 8 – Early in the morning Jake was up with his pick and shovel, so we concluded to repair the chimney. Mac and Jake went at it. I was sewing on hose.

P.M. Mac started for the valley and still later John came over on a horse after me. I concluded to go over and left Jake to take care of the cabin, &c.

Sunday 9 – All’s well. My wife is getting along as well as could be expected. She dislikes to be a lone, or without me. It can’t be helped.
The grand jury closed its session last night at 10:00 P.M., and at about 2:00 P.M. I, Mac and Bill Mackmanaway started for the cabin. We were there before sun down and had supper. Then the two Macs went down to the Point to get some blankets. Bill and I ran some bullets for my revolver, as there is a good deal of excitement about the Indians of late out at Honey Lake. 1and thereabouts.

Monday 10 – The Macs went to sluicing, I to making hose, and Jake to knocking old boxes to pieces. We also did some packing of boxes. I got done sewing one seam of the new hose. Jake helped me to turn it.

Tuesday 11 – The Macs were sluicing this A.M. In the P.M. they cleaned up and got gold. Jake made two sluice boxes in the A.M. After, he went down to Point after some grub. I was making hose.

Wednesday 12 – The Macs is cleaning up for gold. Jake is making flume boxes to conduct water to the pen stock. In the P.M. he went down to Point after nails. I finished the new hoes. The boys got some gold.

Thursday 13 – The Macs are cleaning up. They get gold every day. Jake is making flume boxes. He finished by noon. I cut open and sewed up some 10 feet of old hose by noon. After, I and Jake fixed four boxes to clean up about the cabins that were burned. We cut a small ditch and soon had the water running through the boxes. I put in some dirt.

Friday 14 – Bill did not work this forenoon. Nealy was cleaning up. I and Jake was cleaning up around my old cabin and got some gold.

P.M. I was panning it out. Jake was cutting poles to put up the flume. We all carried a box this afternoon. McNealy went down to the Point. He got back about dark. There was $11.37 in gold about the burnt cabins.

Saturday 15 – The Macs put up the lead boxes to the pen stock and dug a ditch. John came over with 100 pounds flour and 115 pounds of potatoes. We got gold this week $50.37 in all. Mac made a stool. Jake put up a bunk. I made a lead box.

Sunday 16 – The Macs went a-prospecting. I and Jake went out to the diggins. We got the picks and took them to the blacksmith’s. We had three sharpened and a hoe mended at the cost of $2. We went down to Point. I settled with Fox and paid him $45.37 for goods previously gotten, and $7 for Bill Mcmanaway, and $20 for John. We then got $23.50 worth of grub that is to be paid for. Mac came down and helped me pack them home. We left Jake down there playing at cards. I saw four more of the Maston family fresh from Mississippi to the American Valley.

Monday 17 – Jake and Mac cleaned up. They’ve done well. I and Bill were cutting ditches and fixing to pipe in the A.M. In the P.M we got at it, but have not a big enough head of water.

Tuesday 18 – We went out to work, but found that we had not water enough to pipe. So, I let the boys have a sluice head to run off top dirt. We took a cold dinner and all four went up the ditch and repaired it, took a box out of it, stopped the break, and mended up the flume, &c.

Wednesday 19 – We took some rags up the ditch to caulk the flume and threw out the rocks and shoveled out the dirt in places. By noon we had the water running down again and Jake helped the water in the ditch to bring the sluice box down to the diggins, but it was raining too hard. So, we left off and went to cabin and got dinner. We all stayed in as it continued to rain in the evening.

Tuesday 20 – Jake and Mac was sluicing down this forenoon. In the P.M. we were shoveling in for pay. I and Bill put two sluice boxes in ahead of the rest in the cut. Later we piped down. It rained with sunshine all day at intervals. No gold today.

Friday 21 – Sun up. Jake got breakfast as usual. That over, we—I and Bill—went to piping down. We tried our boxes for gold at noon but got none, so I closed work at this place at night. Jake and Mac got gold today and finished the place In the P.M. they moved down to another spot.

Saturday 22 – We all four worked at the same place sluicing down. Got some gold in the A.M. After did not work. John came over by noon and led Carter’s mare for me to ride over to Quincy, which I did this P.M.

Sunday 23 – At the American Ranch Hotel with my wife and John. All’s well. Not much doing in the way of hotel keeping. I spent the day in talking politics and so on. It rained quite a shower at Quincy yesterday evening before I got there.

Monday 24 – I gave John $60 to pay off Manges in Marysville. I got a letter from him and H.P. stating there was yet due $55. I then left for the mines on foot in company with four others and carried a large rope, we got over before noon and took dinner. I and David Thurington went up the ditch and up the mountain on the snow hunting for the blue lead. We brought home a mess of wild onions.
It rained quite a shower before we all went to bed. The boys we sluicing down today, but got no gold.

Tuesday 25 – Bill said he was sick and started for the American Valley. I gave him $5. Jake and Mac went to mining. I went down to the Point with Fox. I paid him for $37 for grub and sold him $48.37 cents worth of dust and got two bottles of brandy at the cost of $1.50. I came upon Roots on the hill and had to go to his mill to get a chisel and came home by noon. After grinding it, I made a windless.2 The boys got a little gold today.

Wednesday 26 – The boys are out mining, I finished the windlass and put on the rope with the tub. I made stool and so on by noon. It is still raining.

P.M. It continued much harder. the boys did not go out to work. I made another stool.

Thursday 27 – I, Jake and Mac were all out mining this forenoon. The picks are broke and dull. In the P.M. I took them down to the Point and had four upset and sharpened. I paid the smith $5. The boys were mining and got some gold —

Friday 28 – I went down with Root to see his claims on the Feather River opposite the old Bray diggins. We got the color in every pan, and once three, so we went down to the Point. I got four pounds sugar and 11 1/2 pounds beef and got home by noon. The boys had been out mining.

P.M. I made a pick handle and was to help them the rest of the day. We got gold.

Saturday 29 – Mac is at work by himself, as I and Jake is prospecting some old holes near the cabin. In the first one we could get the color every pan of the bedrock. The second we have got the water out off. We are now getting dinner.
After, Mac helped us. We got the mud out by hard tugging and got some gravel off the bedrock, but not the right kind. It has some gold in it, but I fear not enough to make it pay. So says Jake.

Sunday 30 – We indulged ourselves in lying in our bunks till late, but, breakfast over, we all set out—I and Jake for the Point and Mac up the Feather River to see some diggins. We stayed all day at the Point. I gave $1 to Pike for billiards.

Monday 31 – We all took the windlass and things belonging and carried it up on the reservoir flat and picked out a place to sink a shaft. I set to work at it myself. Jake and Mac went down to the diggins to set sluice boxes and clean up some bedrock. They got some gold and one piece about $10 by noon.

P.M. Jake was to help me sink the hole and Mac is by himself sluicing down. Dick was over to see me yesterday. All’s well. I saw a man by the name of Berry on Sunday last, that was well acquainted with W.G. in Iowa.

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James Haun Diary, April 1858

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Thursday 1 – It rained last night and continued all day very hard, some times snowing. I and John fixed up the hay ladders in the rain and then put up one load hay before noon.

P.M. John hitched up the oxen and drove to Betsy Town to the butcher. I was a lounging or loafing. Carter started out with mail but returned again in the P.M. Dick went up to the diggins.

Friday 2 – The weather is unsettled. I and John hauled wood for the house, and in the P.M. hauled one load of short wood that was cut for Bass.

Saturday 3 – The sun has come out warm and pleasant. I and John hauled the rest of the short wood, one load to Bass and another for the house of another quality.

P.M. We sacked up 2,786 pounds wheat and John took it to Judkins’ mill. John let Judkins have 800 pounds wheat to pay him $40 that he held my note for. John Overton has come over to get some interest money of me. He took supper with us this evening.

Sunday 4 – It is snowing again this morning and looks rather gloomy, as I’m pressed.

P.M. The weather is inclined to clear up storming but it is hard to tell when it is done.

Monday 5 – John hauled 925 pounds wheat to Burkholder at $5.50 per pound, and brought back some slats to make a pole fence. I cut and split 1 cord wood for Newton. Late in the P.M. I and John staked and rigged up a log fence.

Tuesday 6 – I and John were all day taking our blue potatoes out of the ground. We put them in the wheat house. Carter was sawing and pointing palings till noon. After, he started down with the mail. Jack Stinson got home early this morning.

Wednesday 7 – John and Truit took a load of lumber to Varner on Badger Hill. I and Jack made 20 posts and set them for fence paling in the A.M. After, it commenced to rain and continued till night.
We put on some palings, McNealy helped us. I paid $1.50 for coffee and salt and got six pounds nails on credit. I let Newton have 50 pounds potatoes.

Thursday 8 – There was some snow on the ground this morning. John went to the mill and got some slab scanting and slats for palings, and hauled 200 feet scantling for G. Apple. I and Mac made paling fences, and later Jack helped.

Friday 9 – John and Truit went to hauling plank. I, Mac and Carter went up on the ridge at the head of Mill Creek to find new diggins, but did not succeed. It was very cold up there.

Saturday 10 – John and Truit went to work hauling plank. I went up to Curtis Point to see Squire Reese to get some money. He promised to bring it down tomorrow. Mac was cutting potatoes to plant.

Sunday 11 – The weather is warm and pleasant. Judge Sexton came into town yesterday to hold circuit court. Late this evening Reese came down and loaned me $200 at 5 per cent per month. Hogan is also on the note as a joint party.

Monday 12 – I sowed about two acres of wheat in the garden. John harrowed it in. Mac laid off the potato ground. I planted 8 rows. I and Duesler paid a debt to Jas Viers of $696 including debt, interest and cost. My part is $201.

Tuesday 13 – John and Truit went to work hauling plank on Badger Hill. I and Mc planted blue potatoes. We’re not half done.

Wednesday 14 – I and John laid into the ground again, and run another furrow over the rest of ground that was not planted in potatoes. Mc worked at cutting in the P.M. Jack helped us. When we got done John and Truit went to mill after a load lumber.

Thursday 15 – John and Truit took another load of lumber to Badger Hill. I and Mc finished the paling and did some other things.
After dark we had a meeting in the courthouse to pass resolutions to sustain Douglass in his course against the Lecompton, Kansas swindle,1 but it was no go. I paid the express $3.25 for services and $2.25 to Bass and Houk on settlement.

Friday 16 – The day is warm and pleasant, though somewhat cloudy. Nothing doing. Coffin got 500 pounds cabbage. In the P.M. John and Mac loaded on hay for G. Apple.

Saturday 17 – It has been several days since I wrote down any transactions, but I was around town as usual.

Sunday 18 – May God help us. We are in a bad fix and see no way to get out of it. We are to be as poor as the poorest, duns from all quarters, and nothing to pay with but the ranch.

Monday 19 – I was helping Maston to fix three picks, cost $1.50 each, in all $4.50. In the P.M. I had him make a claw to draw nails with. I gave $2 for it. John and Mac was fixing the fence down the lane till noon. After they hauled wood for Maston, two loads wood, four cords, for a total of $6.

Tuesday 20 – Early. Watpain came with two pack mules form Coffins to take our grub and tools to the mines at Willow Ranch. Mac and I set out after a short embrace of my wife. My blankets and some of my clothing was on hand. It has been two years since, on the 10th of last March, we all left the same place to live in the American Valley—but what a change! Lizzy has ran off and got married. Dave is gone to Marysville, and John is low spirited with his mother on the ranch. She too, O God, is very unhappy. I left her weeping —
We arrived at the cabin about about noon. We found the camp occupied by two poor dirty miners. We unpacked the mules then took out some provisions that my wife had prepared for us before we left and sat down out of doors to eat. Then we cleaned out the cabin and the area in front, and put our things in. We then went out where these men were mining and saw them clean up. They had $9.
I spread my blankets on a very narrow bedstead and woke up very cold in the night. I got another pair of blankets and tried it again, but with no better success —

Wednesday 21 – I and Mac went down to Rocky Bar and dined with Kyler and company. After, he gave us cups and saucers, knives and spoons, two fry pans and a skillet. We put out for home. At Nelson Point we got $10.50 worth more grub and tools. So, we put for the cabin with our  packs, we took supper as our cooked provisions was not all gone yet.
I changed my bed Wednesday night and slept somewhat better, though I dreamed that John Hurst had came to this country to see after his daughter. Lizzy he seemed very much dissatisfied about him.

Thursday 22 – As we do no cooking breakfast is easy got. After, we started up the ditch to see if all was right. We soon found plenty of water. As we went along the ditch we cleaned it out and cut some brush out of the way that had grown up since I left it. The flume is much out of order, though plenty of water is passing still father up. It has been cut and stopped again recently, and near the head it has broke down and a sluice box has been put in by someone, but it is not large enough to carry the water so it runs over. We stopped some of the water out of the head of the ditch, went home and got diner. After we was hunting for a place to prospect. Mac made up some dough for bread as neither of us had done it.

Friday 23 – We went over to the main ravine to prospect every pan. We put in the day to very little effect.

Saturday 24 – Root was up here last evening and promised to be here soon this morning. We went up the ditch and left him. He overtook us. We examined some diggins at the head of the ditch to the left and found gold on the bedrock and a shovel, sluice, fork, root ax, and three of my sluice boxes. We went up the ravine, but there was too much snow to see the character of the ground, so we returned home and took dinner.
We went down to Willow Ranch then to Nelson Point and stayed till near night. We learned there of quite an excitement in Honey Lake Valley. The Indians is gathering to fight the citizens of that valley, Indian and American. They take the miners as they come to them.
We went home to cabin and as night approaches my thoughts and feelings are anything but pleasant as the distance of 10 miles separates me from my wife and John.

Sunday 25 – It was daylight when I awoke, after dreaming that old Charles was altering some negro boys 8 or 10 years old, as if they were so many pigs.2
In time we had out breakfast. Mac made up some dough for bread. We then went to to reservoir and tried two pans of dirt, but got no color. We came back to the cabin. Mac was baking bread.
After dinner we went down to the Point stayed till the next night. I bought some beef, butter and molasses, which cost $7.50 in cash altogether, then went home. Emmonds brought four letters over from Quincy, two from Marysville, one from Georgetown, Kentucky, and one from my wife. She is about to take charge of the old American Hotel at Quincy.

Monday 26 – Early in the morning I and Mac shoulder our tools and went up to the reservoir to prospect. We set two sluice boxes, one with a riffle in it, turned in the water, and set to diggin. We quit early and cleaned up and got gold.

Tuesday 27 – I came to the conclusion to work at another place for the present until we can get a hose. We are a going to try the channel that Dave left off in. I fixed up three old sluice boxes that was near by, set them up, and had the water running through them. We had to move a part of the rock pile that was under a large pitch pine that had been dug up by the roots.

Wednesday 28 – I dreamed that my wife said some hard things to me. I said nothing in return.
Early in the morning I was making a sluice box out of some old lumber. Mac is out digging or running the top dirt off. I carried the box out.
It commenced snowing, so we quit work and went to the cabin. We stayed inside the rest of day. I drew up some accounts. It snowed all day.

Thursday 29 – Very cold this morning. The ground is covered with snow and clouds from the North. I continued drawing up accounts. We took dinner and went out to ground sluicing. I repaired another old sluice box and put it in below.

Friday 30 – Another beautiful morning. Mac is getting breakfast. Once over, we went to ground sluicing till noon. After we tried to clean up but the cement is so very hard that we made but little headway. At all events, we cleaned up the boxes and got about $4 for a start.