December 19 1855 – Martha Haun to James Haun

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This note was sent by Martha and Lizzie from Rabbit Creek, where the two had been snowed up since December 11 and would remain until the 22nd.

19th December 18551

Mr Haun,

There has been mules gone from here since you left to Gibsonville. Hence we have had no chance of going, as we could not go alone on foot. If you can come over we will try and walk it as they tell me here there is chance for mules to get through.

I am more than anxious to get home. Tell John if we do not get home before Christmas eve he must come over if he can possibly get here. There is to be a large ball here and I want him to come if he can get here. Do come and try and get us home if there is any possible chance for it. If we cannot go at all you had better try and get here and we had better rent a room and do our own cooking. It would save enquires.

I am in a great hurry as there is some men just a going to start on foot to Nelson Creek and will take this note. I have not seen them but some man told me at diner about their going over and said if I would write a few lines they would take it for me.

We are well.


Do make haste and come, you and John. I want to see you so bad.       – L.

Metadata: Sender’s location: Rabbit Creek, CA (modern day LaPorte, CA) | Recipient’s location: Nelson Creek, CA

John Haun Diary, March 1856

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Saturday 1 – The house caught a fire from the stove pipe up stairs but no damage done. Some fellows had a fight before day. We all started for the Point after breakfast a while and got there about noon. We stopped at Sherwin’s a while and had some fun. I took dinner at Fox’s and started home but Lizzie stayed. I started for the Point late in the evening and met Fox and Lizzie coming home. Also met Dave going to the Point in the evening to carry some letters to the office. I met Duesler going to the Point. Dave and Duesler came back and Duesler stayed all night. Bill had a fight and got whipped as usual, got his eye gouged smartly but came home after supper. Nothing else today.

Sunday 2 – Stayed about the house all forenoon. Duesler came to see if we were going to the American Ranch. We had a long talk about it. Duesler left for the Point before dinner. Dave and I sewed some on the hose after dinner. Pa came out after a while and sewed on them also. I came to the house and made me a book to keep a journal in. Some girls stopped at the cabin awhile on their way home but I was not at the house.

Monday 3 – I went to the Point after breakfast to see about some butter of Brays being brought over to Massack I took a pair of shoes back to Timberman’s that was got for Ma  I took dinner at home and started for the diggings and got there early in the evening I saw Mat Wheeler at the Point just from below John Shults was in the place of Carroll. Nothing else today.

Tuesday 4 – Beautiful day clear, and pretty. Bray, Shults and I shoveled in the boxes all day. We had a good head of water. We did not clean up. Fox had no hand to play.

Wednesday 5 – Shoveled in the boxes all forenoon and cleaned up after dinner and got but very little we then went prospecting.  We sunk a hole in a ravine above the cabin but got nothing, then commenced another in the big ravine near the cabin, but did not finish it. Fox absent a hand today.

Thursday 6 – Bray, Shults, and I went up the ravine and finished out hole but got nothing. We went up the ditch to prospect but did not sink a single hole. Bray got separated from us and we did not see him anymore until he came to the cabin. We came on home and I met a couple of men that lived on the Massack ravine and they gassed considerably about the law suit. They bought somebody’s rights and title in the Terwilliger water. They showed some bills of sale to the effect.

Friday 7 – Bray a little sick today. Terwilliger still at work. Also the Zark company. Bray, Shults and I started for home. Shults stopped at the ranch. Bray and I came in home found Pa, Dave and Bill at work. Bray took dinner with us. Pa went to the Point and I worked in his place. We took out $15. John Shults came by the diggings after dinner and went to the Point. Pa bought the American Ranch1 for $5,716. Pleasant all day.

Saturday 8 – Pa and I started for Quincy early in the morning to close the trade with  Jennings. We took dinner and supper with Mrs Jennings’ and we slept at Ward’s. Nothing more today.

Sunday 9 – We took Breakfast with Jennings and started home and got there a little after noon. Pa and Bill went to the Point to see the rest of the company, Bray, Fox &c to see about getting somebody to stay at Massack diggings to attend to the ditch.

The end of the book. First March 1856.

Widow Machre2
Widow Machree its no wonder you frown,
Och, hone! Widow Machree;
Faith it ruins your looks that same dirty black gown
Och, hone! Widow Machree.
How altered your air,
With that close cap you wear—
‘Tis destroying your hair
Which should be flowing free;
Be no longer a churl
Of its black silken curl,
Och, hone! Widow Machree.
“Widow Marchree now the summer is come,
Och, hone! Widow Machree.
When everything smiles, should a beauty look glum?
Och, hone! Widow Machree.
See the birds in pairs,
And the rabbits and hares—
Why even the bears
Now in couples agree;
And the mute little fish,
Cant speak, though they wish
Och, hone! Widow Machree;
Widow Marchree, and when winter comes in,
Och, hone! Widow Machree.
To be poking the fire all alone is a sin,
Och, hone! Widow Machree.
Why the shovel and tongs to teach
To each other belongs
And the kettle sings songs
Full of family glee,
While alone with your cup,
Like a hermit you’ll sup,
Och, hone! Widow Machree.
“And how do you know, with the comforts, I have told,
Och, hone! Widow Machree;
But you’re keeping some poor fellow all out in the cold
Och, hone! Widow Machree;
With such sins on your head,
Sure your peace would be fled,
Could you sleep in your bed,
Without thinking to see,
Some ghost or some sprite
That would wake you each night
Crying, “Och, hone! Widow Machree.”
Then take my advice, darling Widow Machree.
Och, hone! Widow Machree.
And with my advice, why I wish you’d take me,
Och, hone! Widow Machree,
You have me to desire
Then to stir up the fire;
And sure hope is no liar
In whispering to me,
That the ghost would depart
When you’d me near your heart
Och, hone! Widow Machree.

Monday 10 – I started after breakfast for Marysville. Got with a man at the Point named Tell that got his feet frozen about Christmas. He was on his way to  San Francisco. We took dinner at the American house Gibsonville. Tell got some blankets that he left on his way up. I assisted him in carrying them to Rabbit Creek. We met Jon Thompson3 and his pack train about 3 miles from Gibsonville coming to the Point for the first time this spring. They were nearly worried out in the snow. We got to the Creek a little before 3 o’clock I saw Brown and Neal. I stayed the balance of the evening in town. Tell went to Secret diggings, distant 1 1/2 miles, and came back after supper. Stayed all night at the A. Creek house. A pleasant day. No more.

Tuesday 11 – We started before day and took breakfast at the American house and dinner at the New York House. Our feet got very sore and we washed them in a branch. We stopped at a house 20 miles of Marysville kept by Abbott. Took super and stayed all night. Nothing more today. We stopped before sunset.

Wednesday 12 – We started about 2 hours before day on our road. We could hardly see the road. We took breakfast at the Peoria House about 15 miles from Marysille. We got to Marysville about 2 o’clock and we took dinner at Frank’s Restaurant. I then went to the stable and found Durrich. I got his horse and went out to H.P.’s. Found  them all well. Mrs Weston House was there. H.P. came out shortly afterwards. Nothing else today.

Thursday 13 – I went to town with H.P. in the forenoon and stayed until late in the evening. I bought a pair of fine boots for $7.25 and took my watch to a jewelers to get repaired. Kath went home with Mrs. Weston House and left little Kate down there &c &c.

Friday 14 – I started in the morning for Bourn’s Ranch. It commenced raining after I started and continued all day. I got very wet and cold. I got there about 4 o’clock. I dried myself and clothes and stayed all night but got no money. Nothing more today.

Saturday 15 – I took breakfast and went in and seen his wife and daughter and talked awhile with them and started home.  Bub promised to bring down the money within a week I got to H.P.’s after 3 o’clock. They were all away from home but Rath. They came in about supper time.

Sunday 16 – We all went up to the upper Ranch to look at the grain. I stayed about the house the balance of the day. H.P., Fox, Durrich and I started for Weston House but we met Miss America and a Mr Shepard so we turned back. They took Tea before they left &c.

Monday 17 – We all went to town to the election and stayed all day. Great excitement all day. Seen several fights during the day  Jack and Durrick stayed  all night. I came out with H.P. We forded the river today. Nothing else of consequence to day.

Tuesday 18 – I went to town again today and stayed until evening and we all came out to the ranch. I saw Dr. Reins and got some medicine from him. Nothing today unusual.

Wednesday 19 – Jack and I went to the upper Ranch to look at the grain. Came back and went to the garden while the hands were building a fence after dinner and went to town. Bill Rains came to the stable in the afternoon to get some oxen to take to American Valley. Bill and I took a walk around town. Jack came out to the Ranch and stayed all night. Kath and family went to town today visiting &c &c.

Thursday 20 – Jack and I drove up the oxen to look at them and pick out a couple yoke to take to the mountains. Mrs Buchannan and Taylor spent the day with Kath. Bill and I went to town in the evening and stayed until night and came out to the Ranch. H.P. sold a yoke of cattle to a man from Downieville. Nothing else today.

Friday 21 – Bill Rains started for home this morning with the oxen. Durrick just commencing at the stable again. I went to town again today with H.P. and Jack. Very warm today. No more.

Saturday 22 – H.P. and family started for Nevada City this morning on a visit. Jack and I drove up the colts from off the plains to work them. Jack, Joe Ficklin and I went to town in the evening they rode the colts and I Durricks horse to get him shod, his feet being sore.

Sunday 23 – Jack, Joe and I harnessed up the colts to the buggy and drove them around a little. Jack had some visitors in the evening but soon went away. We harnessed up again and drove down to the river and came back and found old Bourne at the house with no money for me. He stayed all night. Nothing else today.

Monday 24 – Jack and I went to town in the morning and worked the colts. They came pretty near running off with us. I bought a pair of pants for $8. We drove to the upper Ranch to look at the grain. H.P. got home about supper time. Cloudy and looked very much like rain. Nothing else today.

Tuesday 25 – H.P. Jack and I went to town. Worked the colts. Old Mart Edwards and I went to the trial of some Chinamen and heard their sentence for stealing. It was 15 lashes &c &c. I stayed all night at the stable with Durrick. I made preparations for starting in the morning for home. Nothing else new today.

Wednesday 26 – Started about 5 o’clock in the morning for home. We took breakfast at Zabriskyey’s and stopped at the New York House for dinner but I did not eat any. We got to Columbus House about 4 o’clock. I then took it afoot and got to the diamond spring house took supper and stayed all night. Nothing otherwise today.

Thursday 27 – I got up and started on my road and took breakfast at the American House and went on to Rabbit Creek and got somethings out of the trunk and started about 9 o’clock. I saw Brown as I was leaving town, and I met John Buckby on his way to the states I took dinner at the Mountain Cottage in Gibsonville and started on. Got to Onion Valley about 3 o’clock and got home about supper time. I stopped a while with Mrs Reel. I heard that Pa was sick at the Valley. Nothing else of interest today.

Friday 28 – I started in the morning for the valley. It rained off and on all day. Bill was hauling rails to the house we went home and got dinner and I helped him the balance of the evening. We pulled out a fellow that got stalled in the mud. He broke one of his yokes. The doctor came to see Pa in the evening.

Saturday 29 – I started in the morning for Nelson Point. I got something to eat at the cabin and started to Rocky Bar to see if I could borrow some money of Dover. I got the promise of it. Rained all day. I stopped a while in Lawrance’s cabin. I came home in the evening pretty hungry. Jim Shults started to the valley about noon. Nothing else today.

Sunday 30 – Found the snow about 6 inches deep in the morning and still snowing. Dave and I went up the big ditch to bring down the water but fount it coming and the reservoir full. We cleaned out the trash and put in cross pieces where they were broken. We got all of the water down. We then got wood the balance of the day from across the ravine. Bill Rains came over about noon and got some things & went back. He rode Bass’ mare. Nothing else today.

Monday 31 – The snow about 8 or 10 inches deep this morning. We went up the pike ditch and got the water down and laid the hose at the diggings. Shults came from the valley about noon and went to the Point after dinner and stayed all night. Dave and I cut a tree down after dinner that was in the way at the diggings. We piped all evening and cleaned up the boxes and got about $5 did not weigh it. Winnowed some today. Nothing else today of interest.

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John Haun Diary, December 1854

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Friday 1 – Worked as usual and took out $6 run off tailings in the forenoon and cleaned bedrock in the after. On account of the hose bursting, all hands went to building a bear trap to catch a grizzly. Worked all day, cool and windy all day. Charlie Allen came in about supper time from the valley and stayed all night with us.

Sunday 3 – Went to the Point after breakfast to hire a man but did not get any. I got some beef to bate the trap with. We finished it in the evening. Allen started for the valley after dinner. Rained nearly all day but quit about night. Nothing more today.

Monday 4 – Damp and cloudy all day but no rain. Shaw and myself run off tailings in the forenoon and mended the hose and washed with the pipe in the evening. A man came from Winters Creek1 to hire on. Nothing more today.

Tuesday 5 – Worked today as usual and took out 6 oz, $11. The hired man set in to day. Very cool in the morning. Nothing otherwise today.

Wednesday 6 – Worked as usual today and took out $94 Lawrance and Lloyd doing a little better today.Nothing more new.

Thursday 7 – Today worked as usual and took out 6 oz, $2.50. Pa came back about dark from below and brought a lot of gum clothes with him. No more today.

Friday 8 – Washed off tailings in the forenoon and set the pipe and washed in the evening. Nothing else new today.

Saturday 9 – Worked with the pipe today and took out nothing of consequence.

Sunday 10 – Went to the Point in the forenoon, and ground our axes and got a new one. Came back and done some washing. Cut some wood &c. Pa sent off some gold to Marysville about $1,500. Nothing else new today.

Monday 11 – My birthday. We commenced to cover the ditch today. Very cool in the morning, froze up the water in the ditch. Worked very hard all day. No more today.

Tuesday 12 – Worked on the ditch all day covering it. Nothing more today.

Wednesday 13 – Still at work on the ditch. Worked hard all day. Nothing more today.

Thursday 14 – Still on the ditch today and finished it to the reservoir. Old Cornelision a man named Payne came from Elizabethtown prospecting. No more.

Friday 15 – Worked in the diggings today and took out 2 3/4 oz. Nothing else today.

Saturday 16 – Everybody started for the American Valley early in the morning to get their boots soled and picks sharpened. Billy, Cook and I covered the ditch above the middle flume to the trees. Nothing else uncommon today.

Sunday 17 – Stayed about the cabin all day. Cornelison and Payne sunk a hole on the hill above the cabin about 30 feet deep. They got home from the valley about noon. Pa went to the Point after dinner. Nothing more today.

Monday 18 – Went to washing and done but little, having but little water. Washed in the evening and took out 1 3/4 oz. Nothing more new today.

Tuesday 19 – Done no work today on account of the water failing. It dried up having no rain for some time. Shaw and Lawrance caught a cat2 in the bear trap and brought it home and chained it.

Wednesday 20 – All of us started with Cornelison and Payne for Winters Creek. We went over the mountain and down the other side to the river, and such a tramp as we had of it! We arrived at the creek about noon and only stayed a little while. We went up Bachelors Creek and had a long jaunt of it over the mountain. Lloyd started for Nelson Point from Rich Bar and got a letter for Pa and myself from home3. Nothing else today.

Thursday 21 – Done no work in the diggings today. H Bray came up in the evening and stayed a while. Our cat made his escape by breaking his chain. A man came after Shaw from below to go to his ranch on business. Nothing more today.

Friday 22 – Shaw started this morning below. H Bray and another man came up. Pa and Lawrance went with them up the mountain to look at the country. Cornelison and Payne still sinking a hole above the cabin. Nothing more new today.

Saturday 23 – Worked today in the diggings and made but little. Lloyd and Lawrance done pretty well today. Cornelison and Payne left for the valley yesterday morning for their things. No more today.

Sunday 24 – Stayed about the cabin all day. Pa went to the Point in the evening and came home tight. Very windy all day and looked like rain. Nothing else.

Monday 25 – Christmas Day. Worked as usual. Pa and myself took out 3 oz, $3.50. A big day at the valley–a ball at the American Ranch. Allen came in about supper time. Nothing more new today, I believe.

Tuesday 26 – Worked as usual. C. Allen worked in Shaw’s place. Piped in the forenoon but the hose burst in the afternoon. We cleaned bedrock and took out $21. Commenced snowing in the evening but quit about dark. Too cold to snow. Nothing more to day.

Wednesday 27 – A little shiff of snow on the ground all day. The coldest day we have had this winter. Took out $10.50 today. Lawrance and myself went to the bear trap after dinner to set it. A cat got in and gnawed out. No more.

Thursday 28 – Done no mining today, the water being frozen up in the ditch. Cleared off some ground ahead of us in the ravine and set fire to it. Caught a cat in the trap today. Nothing more of interest.

Friday 29 – Very cold again today. Got wood all day. Clouded up in the evening and the wind blew, but no rain. Nothing else today.

Saturday 30 – Nothing particularly new today. Cut and split wood all day and done some washing. Lawrance and Allen went to the valley today and got back after dark. Nothing more, I believe.

Sunday 31 – Found a little snow on the ground this morning but it commenced raining after dinner and continued all day. Lawrance, Pa and myself went up the ditch ditch in the forenoon to see about the water. Lawrance and myself fixed up the old sled. I altered my gum coat a little.

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James Haun Diary, December 1855

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Saturday 1 – A cool morning. We fixed up the last load of wheat that filled the engagement of 1,000 bushels. We then took a rabbit hunt and caught two. H.P. went to town and sent to San Francisco after the trunks that had been freighted across the isthmus.

Sunday 2 – A cool morning. I, Dave and Henry had several chases with dogs and hares early. Bow and Rose came and spent the day. Cath had a good dinner. Alls well.

Monday 3 – I and Derick started for Bob Bourne’s 24 miles away.  We arrived at 2:00 P.M. and stayed all night.

Tuesday 4 – Cloudy, has rained a very little. Bob paid me $100, all he could do. We started home again. We went by Tucker Flat and saw the Miss Daugherty. We got home after sunset. H.P. has been sick the last two days.

Wednesday 5 – Raining. I , Jack, Dave, Derick, and two hired men went up to the upper ranch and moved a house out of the field near the roadside. It rained off and on all day.

Thursday 6 – Its raining still. I and Jack went to town to see after getting up in the mountains again, and came to the conclusion to go into town again in the morning. Whiskey $.75, medicine for John $3. Went to H.P.’s at 4:00 P.M.

Friday 7 – Raining, and foul weather. The mountains are covered with snow— looks rather gloomy with snow at a distance. Dave, Liz, my wife, and me got ready and H.P. took us to town in the A.M.
We stopped at the Western House. Paid $1.50 drayage1 to move three trunks from the boat to Western House.Dave paid $.50 in freight on three trunks to Marysville. I sent $103 to H. Rankin, $283 to John Pratt and $60 to San Francisco. Also borrowed money of S.S. Burkley and others, and exchanged $11.50.

Gum coat and boots for Dave, $14
Two gum coats, $15
Boots for my wife and Liz, $7
Stage fare to Rabbit Creek, $40
Freight on three covered trunks to Rabbit Creek $30
Tavern bill $10
Tobacco $.50
Fiddle string $.75

Saturday 8 – Partially clear last night and cloudy this morning. We set out for the mountains. We took breakfast at Peoria House, $4, and then the stage stopped at the Oregon House at noon. We did not dine.

P.M. Raining a little. We got to the New York House. The stage stopped here and will up no farther. There is considerable snow here.

Sunday 9 – Rained all night here. The saddle train and about a dozen passengers started for Rabbit Creek early. We had to lie over on account of the ladies’ saddles.
9 o’clock A.M. The sun is shining out bright and warm and continued so till noon.

Monday 10 – Cloudy this morning. We had breakfast early. Out board here was $20 for all four. We mounted our mules, putting one of the trunks on a mule and leaving the other three behind, and started for Rabbit Creek. We got along very well. It commenced raining about noon and then snowed the rest of the day. We made Rabbit Creek just before dark, all wet and cold.

Tuesday 11 – Cleared off in the night and was frosty in the morning. The snow here is 3 1/2 feet deep and is settled down almost enough to bare a man. The sun shone out bright and warm all day. We all stopped for the day.

Wednesday 12 – Quite clear, with wind from the North. At 10 o’clock I and Dave started for Gibsonville, leaving my wife and Lizzy at the Rabbit Creek House to board at the rate of $14 apiece per week.2
We arrived on foot at Gibsonville at 1:00 P.M. The sun shone warm and pleasant all day.

Thursday 13 – Cloudy this morning. We had made a pair of snow shoes apiece and, after paying our bill for three meals and lodging each, $6, at the Mountain Cottage, we started for Nelson Point. We got about one mile and had to return. I forgot my revolver, besides we could not keep our snow shoes on. We again started after 10 A.M.  and with much difficulty and tying we got out shoes to stay on. By this time the snow had begun to fall and the wind to blow.
We got to Onion Valley after noon, waited 1 1/2 hours for dinner $2. It was still snowing a little. We tied on our shoes and again started out, the wind blowing a perfect gale. The snow was drifting and light. We arrived at the Point after sunset, quite fatigued and the skin rubbed off our feet in several places, but we went on home.

Friday 14 – I found all well. John and  Rains and James Shults is boarding with us. The snow is about one foot deep here after setting. The boys have not been able to do any work in the diggins since I’ve been gone on account of water.
The sun has shone out most of the day, but looks rather stormy. We made a road between the cabins and to the ditch to get water. The boys hauled up some wood. I tool a warm bath last night and slept fine.

Saturday 15 – Commenced snowing early last night. This morning the new snow was six inches deep. It continued snowing and misting all day. We don’t so much as think of going to work and eat twice a day.

Sunday 16 – Rains and Shults did not come home last night, but Shults came early this morning and says Bill is drunk. I read six of the last chapters of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. After breakfast I, Dave and John set to work and made four pairs of snowshoes out of  hoops and flour sacks, intending to go after my wife and Lizzy as soon as the weather is favorable.

Monday 17 – Cloudy and misty all day. We fixed up our snowshoes. In the after noon I, John and Dave went up the ditch to see after the water. It is making its way down 1/2 mile from the reservoir. Our snowshoes is very imperfect from trial made.

Tuesday 18 – Up two hours before daylight and breakfast over, waiting for day. Cloudy. John started for Quincy to get the clerk’s certificate of release for I. T. Pratt and D. H. Smith, freeing them from continuing my security any longer as guardian for my son John, as he is now of age. The sun shone out all day. I was fixing snow shoes. John got home about sunset with the certificates from the clerk and judge.

Wednesday 19 – Clouded up last night, with the wind blowing from the South. Its raining and snowing a little today.
I and Rains went up the Pike Ditch to see what had become of the water. The levy was broken in many places, the water running out. We mended it up. There is almost enough water for the pipe head.
We did intend to go over to Rabbit Creek after my wife and Liz today, if the weather would have permitted. It is now bedtime and raining considerably.
John paid $2 for the clerk’s certificate of release, and $8 to Duesler.

Thursday 20 – Breakfast is over and consultation has been had. I, John and Dave put on our snowshoes and carried a pair for my wife and a pair for Liz. Also a pair of my best pants for my wife to put on. We took dinner at Gibsonville, $3 for us three, and then on to Rabbit Creek about sunset.
The day was cloudy at intervals.
I received a letter3 from my wife on the road written the day before, stating that she wanted us to come after her.

Friday 21 – It commenced snowing early last night and kept it up all day.
We went to a dance last night. I gave Dave $1.50.

Saturday 22 – It snowed all of last night but cleared up this morning. I mailed three letters for $.75. One of them was to D.H. Smith containing a release deed from John as my security as guardian for John. I paid the bill at Rabbit Creek House for 90 meals $62, then filled a carpet sack, flour sack and basket. Off we started on foot—I, John, Dave, my wife, Liz, and a man by named Smith, wading through the snow. My wife gave out at the Mountain Spring House.

Sunday 23 – Clear, cold and frosty last night. I, my wife and Liz tried to sleep together. It was too cold and the bed was so very hard we slept but little.
After breakfast was over we dug up a sledge out of the snow. I went and got a young fir tree and made half soles for the runners. Then I tied on our luggage and put my  wife on. I paid the landlord $10 and off we started—four of us to pull and Liz to get along the best she could. As soon as we got in the woods the snow crust broke through. So, Dave went on to Gibsonville after our snowshoes and met us 1 1/2 miles from Gibsonville. We arrived at noon, took dinner, $6, and soon after started for the Onion Valley. But got to the foot of the hill and returned again to the Mountain Cottage.

Monday 24 – Clear and very cold last night and all of today. After 10 A.M. we paid our bill $12. We set out again with some three men to help us and got half way up the hill, but the wind blew from the North East so cold we was afraid to risk the top, for fear of freezing my wife and Liz. We turned about again and went back to the Mountain Cottage and put up for the day. I and John went out and got some timber to make a new sledge. We succeeded in getting it partially made.

Tuesday 25 – Christmas morning and cold yet, but moderated somewhat and cloudy. We set to and finished our sledge and harnessed up. We paid our bill, $16, and off we started. We had gone 1/2 mile when 13 men overtook us to help us over the mountain. We hauled them mostly up to it top. Some four returned and the rest went on to Onion Valley. We put up for the night. The men took an hour to eat dinner and then returned to Gibsonville. It was snowing.

Wednesday 26 – Snowed all night and at this place the wind blew a heavy gale with the snow falling fast. After a late breakfast we hitched up. We paid our bill, gave those that helped us the day before $18 and asked their aid to draw our sledge load through the snow a part of the way. Seven men turned out. When we had gotten over the hardest places three turned back and the other four went on with us to Nelson Point. We arrived all in good order and on time. We put up at the Thompson House. It’s snowing still.

Thursday 27
– Rained last night and rained and snowed all of today. So, after dinner, I, my wife and Liz started for our cabins. It was as much as my wife could do to walk home. Dave and John went home yesterday evening and found Shultz and Rains drinking and gambling at the Point. I paid my bill at the Point. John, his ma and Liz got supper.
On last Monday the 24th several men had their feet frosted considerably passing between Onion Valley and Gibsonville.

Friday 28 – I was up before daylight as I got cold in the bunk I was sleeping in. I was not in my old cabin—we had concluded to stop in the other cabin. Liz and John got breakfast. That over, I concluded to move back into my own cabin. I took down the old bunks and put up two double ones, one above the other. I and my wife take the under, and Liz the upper one.
Clear and cold last night and all of today. The women has been cleaning up today.

Saturday 29 – Clear and cold last night and all of today.
I was fixing up my old cabin—chinking the cracks on the inside with rags and taking down some old shelves. John, Dave and Rains cut a set of cabin logs by noon to make a store and cook house. Dave broke my ax cutting today.

Sunday 30 – Cold and clear. We all put in our time rather poorly. The cold weather, the lack of comforts for females all tend to make our time drag, heavily on, and it is entirely too cold to do anything at mining.
I read the last two chapters of Fist Corinthians. I wrote a letter to H.P. The days and nights are very cold, and our water ditches are frozen dry.

Monday 31 – Still cold and clear. John went down to the Point yesterday and got a crosscut saw. Today we sawed blocks and laid the foundation of a new cabin. I had two sledges to mend, as they bear up the log and our selves. The team, my wife and Liz were washing our duds and doing the cooking.

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James Haun Diary, September 1854


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Friday 1 – 23 years ago I was married. My prospects were bright and flattering, and I had a young wife to cheer me on and give me that pleasure that no other life can afford. O, what a change a short period of 23 years can make in human affairs. I am now sitting in my cabin all alone in a pine forest and surrounding mountains, in Plumas County, California, near opposite the mouth of Nelson Creek, and my wife is in Georgetown Kentucky. May we yet live together a score and three years, to help each other while passing over the down hill of life, and finally to put our trust in Him that is able to help in time of need, &c.
I gave lawyer able $25 to assist in my suit with Vaughn.
We got gold $10.50 —

Saturday 2 – I and Shaw are working the same spot of ground that I and John worked the 9th of September last, alongside of two pitch pines, one large. I cut the small one down last September and the large one blew up by the roots last winter. So we worked under the roots of the large one today and got nearly all of $81 gold, one piece weighing $35.50. The Johns got gold $16, the first they have taken out in 6 1/2 days. We divided out $58.62 and 1/2 cents apiece, after paying $22 expenses &c.

Sunday 3 – My partner Shaw left this morning to go down to his ranch. I and the Johns took three axes to grind and a pick to be sharpened at the Point. I got a letter from my wife dated June 31 18541 and another of July the 24 18542 as the figures indicate. She received a letter from me of date Sunday 3 May 28th on 28th June 1854. Her letter gives an account of Tom Johnson and Laura Miller running off and getting married and many other things too numerous to mention.
My lesson is Act Chapter 18 &c — I now shall retire to bed, but the thought of seeing my wife in these mountains is what I cannot not understand.
I paid $1 for letters and $1 for an ax handle for the company —

Monday 4 – The Johns went to work as usual. I knocked to pieces three old sluice boxes and made a trough off them, and took it out before noon. After dinner I went to work with them. We got gold $29. After supper all three gathered in my cabin and John played the fiddle, the tune
“Old Flies at Home.”

Tuesday 5 – I was at work all alone. Got gold $24. The Johns got $38, making in all $62. John forked out among the rocks a piece that weighed $24.50. He saw it when he threw it away with the rocks and went and picked it up. It is flat and rough, a nice specimen. After supper I and Lloyd went down to the Point to hear the news. All is quiet except the candidates.

Wednesday 6 – I got gold $5.50 by noon. The Johns got $18.50 all day. After dinner we went down to the Point to the election. Late in the evening, two gamblers went in to a vegetable store and took a Watermelon without the consent of the owner. They then went back to get another but the owner struck one of them on the head with a rock and knocked him down. He got up again and got a butcher knife and run the proprietor out and off— The two gamblers then turned and tore down the storehouse and threw all that was in it into Nelson Creek and then dared anybody to take it up. I’ve not seen anything to equal that. There was at least 100 men looking on &c56

Thursday 7 – I and John started to the American Valley to see after my lawsuit with Vaughn. By staying all day I found out that, by consent of the lawyers, my case would come off next Tuesday at 10 o’clock. So John and I started from Bradley’s Ranch late in the evening for home. I’ve walked several miles in the dark. I had been all day on my feet without eating any dinner.
I went up to Sister Betsy to see my lawyer. Found him sick in bed. He could not tell me when the county Judge would hold court, though Able, my other lawyer, told me.
On arriving at home McFall told me the miners rose and took the two gamblers and were trying them for tearing down the fruit store. The sheriff had come over and demanded the outlaws but the miners did not like to give them up. Lloyd came home from the trial and said that the sheriff had got them from the miners. One, by the name of George Asberry, is from Kentucky. The other is called Buck and comes from the East.
I saw a piece of gold taken out at Sister Betsy’s today weighing 8 oz and $14 with a hole in the middle of it. The diggins I took up last fall up there is very rich. I was trying to get some of them back again but did not see how I was to go about it, so I concluded to hold off for the present.

Friday 8 – McFall, the man I hired for Shaw, and I went to work and got gold $14. The Johns got $20.50.
The sheriff took Buck and Asberry over to the American Valley. They were tied on mules’ backs as they passed the Willow Ranch this morning —

Saturday 9 – I and McFall got gold $10.50 and the Johns got $19, in all $29.50. After supper I and Lloyd went down to the Point. There is great excitement among the miners on account of Buck and Asberry being turned loose again by the civil atrocity, as they have been making some threats &c.

Sunday 10 – I wrote my wife my 14th letter and sent her $200 bill of exchange payable at New York by Adams & Co. express. I was down at the Point and mailed it. The miners met and appointed a committee to look after depredators. My lesson is Chapter 11 of Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

Monday 11 – I went up to the Independence to serve a subpoena on Pat Carley for a witness in the case of Freer and Vaughn. He refused to go. I made him a tender of $8. He was afraid not to take it.
I put in the day in looking around. I hired old McFall to work in my place. Shaw went up the ditch. The three of us got gold $13.50 —

Tuesday 12 – John, I and McFall went over to the American Valley in due time. Court was opened. Ward was the judge. Pat Hunley undertook my case in the place of Able. Tom Cox was sick. The plaintiff filed five different objections but was over ruled and the case tried on its merits. Four witnessed against and two for me. The witnesses were heard and the case presented. It was decided against me.
I paid for dinners and whiskey $4. At sunset, after paying Black Hawk $5 for two picks and a hoe, I and John went four miles to Illinois Ranch where we stayed all night. I am to pay $29.50 for company goods.

Wednesday 13 – Paid 50 cents for our lodging and went six miles home to breakfast, and then out to work. I and Shaw and the Johns and McFall dug down there by the big pine tree today. We all got gold $30.
I dreamed I was in Georgetown and went with my wife to her rented house, and we got in bed together and that Sam was killing hogs &c.

Thursday 14 – I and Shaw got gold $19.50 working in the old ravine that was so rich last year. The Johns got gold $34. McFall was not at work.

Friday 15 – I, Shaw and McFall was at work in the old ravine and got gold $34 and the Johns got $38. The water is so weak we don’t use the hose and pipe. It threatened rain yesterday and last night, but none fell.

Saturday 16 – I and Shaw went to work in the old ravine for the last time. We was at it till noon and got gold $5. The Johns were mining all day and McFall with them till noon.

P.M. We three went to the Willow Ranch to help raise a barn. After supper I and McFall went down to the Point. I paid Thompson $4.50 for beef. Green McHatton had left me the $100 I  loaned him. The Johns got gold $44.

Sunday 17 – I, Shaw and McFall started for Sister Betsy’s after settling the past week’s work. We took dinner at Colonel Russell’s in the American Valley. We then stopped at Bradley’s and saw my lawyer. He told me the judge had granted a new trial with Vaughn. Late in afternoon we landed at Betsey Town.

Monday 18 – We started out a-prospecting and put in the day. Did nothing else of importance. My back paid the penalty for sleeping on a hard bed last night.

Tuesday 19 – We bought a claim of Isaac Adams for $150 and put McFall to work our interest &c

Wednesday 20 – There was two old tarrs a-prospecting at the foot of Sister Betsy’s ravine. They asked me to take an interest with them.

Thursday 21 – I and Shaw set in with them and sunk it to the bedrock 24 feet and 16 feet under water. We got no gold

Friday 22 – We were examining our diggins and took up two claims adjoining the ones we bought. Last night there was a ball at one of the Hotels. I was looking on to see how they done up things of that sort in California. Old married woman of all ages up to 5 and 40 was on the floor all the night. Scarcely half-a-dozen girls at the ball.

Saturday 23 – After breakfast we paid our bills. Mine was $9.50. We started for home. I stopped at Bradley’s some time and then went to Russell’s and took dinner.

P.M. Went by Myers and saw a quarter race and a first fight. I then started for home with Shaw. I had hot not slept in the same bed two nights, in consequence I was lousy. We got home in good time for supper.

Sunday 24 – I took off my duds last night and laid them aside. I took a cold bath and put on a clean shirt and to bed. I slept comfortable. Got up in the morning, bathed again, breakfasted, and settled our affairs.
I and Lloyd went down to the Point and got some dust changed. I sent Lloyd back with the money for Shaw, as he was going to Sister Betsy’s to work our interest. I stayed till late and saw a fight in which Pat Curley, one of my old partners, got whipped quite easily by Jim Pike, as they call him. We got no money in our new claim. The Johns got gold $62.75. My lesson is the 12th chapter of 1st Corinthians.

April, Directions by Givens 1854

To see that portion of California which is desirable to settle in, start from the Mission of San Jose, and travel on horse back to Monterrey passing by the Mission of Santa Clara up the Pueblo Valley to the Mission of San Juan, then to Monterrey

Monday 25 – I and the Johns went to cleaning out the ditch by stopping the water and cutting out the roots and shoveling out the bottom. We have not got sufficient water to wash for gold.

Thursday 26 – We three are still at work on the ditch.

P.M. McFall said he would help us and did so. I have a very bad cold last night. I lay with a wet towel on my forehead to ease the aching.

Wednesday 27 – I, the Johns, and McFall still at work on the ditch.

Thursday 28 – We four are still cleaning up our ditch.

Friday 29 – We four finished cleaning out the ditch. Shaw came home because we had to quit working the claim we bought at Sister Betsy. Other men than those we bought it off claimed it, so they had to fork over our money again, at least $90 and $60 on Sunday next.

Saturday 30 – After breakfast I and Shaw started for the new diggins near Snake Lake. I rolled up two pairs of heavy blankets and a towel, and tied on a tin cup, my rifle and ammunition, the butcher knife tinning at my left side. We stayed all night at Sister Betsy’s after traveling only 12 1/2 miles. Our dinner 75 cents.

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James Haun Diary, June 1853

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Wednesday 151 – For medicine, $.50
For mending boot, $.60
For Breakfast in Marysville, $.50
To ferrying about, each $25-50
To carpet wallet, $2.00

Thursday 16 – To packing up cloths

Friday 17 – To starting on tramp and packing gun and wallet at the Ten Mile House
To apple pie and Buttermilk, each $.50, $1.00

We traveled 17 miles and put up for the night. Our feet badly blistered.

Saturday 18 – To supper, breakfast, each $2.00, $4.00.
We are resting at the Oregon House. 7 1/2 miles this morning; our feet quite sore. We continued our tramp until near night and took super, which cost us $1.00 each, $2.00.
We then continued our walk some time in the night in company with a Virginian who had a horse that carried our wallet and coats. We three then spread down his blankets under a pine tree and went to sleep.

Sunday 19 – Got up early Sunday morning and packed up, started on our way. Stopped and took Breakfast, each1$, $2.00.
We continued journey until 1:00 o’clock P.M., put up for the day at Strawberry Valley. Ate supper and lodging, $1.25 each, $2.50.

Monday 20 – Early in the morning we started for Grass Valley. Arrived early in evening. The 4 day travel is called 75 miles. We breakfasted about 10 today, cost us 1$ each, $2.00.
The last 5 miles we passed a quantity of snow some 2 or 3 feet deep in spots about on the ground. Our feet is quite sore, yet while I write there is several men playing at cards, which is the case everywhere I been in public houses, Sundays not excepted.

Supper each $1, $2.00.

Tuesday 21 – Breakfast each 1$, $2.00.
Old Virginia left his horse today for Major Brookey to ride as he got on a spree last night and was not able to travel today. John and I shouldered the gun and wallet and Old Virginia with us off we started for Nelson’s Creek. Its called 18 miles over high mountains and snow, some 3 or 4 miles over snow that was 10 feet deep. We passed through Onion Valley where the snow had been 50 feet deep. The natives showed me a pine tree near their houses that was trimmed for the wood. That looked as high to me as the sycamores I trimmed for Sam Thompson.
The last five miles was down the mountain that we had been on top of. We got so weared in our knees that we was often compelled to an sit down and rest. We made the tramp in the afternoon in good time and put up with Dr. Vaughn, a brother of Jim Ware’s wife. I had not long been here before he asked me if I was not a brother of Judge Haun’s. I asked him why he asked the question. He said because we favored. I then told him I was an elder brother. We are within 30 steps of the mouth of Nelson Creek that emits in the middle fork of Feather River. There is a continual roaring of the water. There is diggins all about here.

Supper each $1, $2.00.

Wednesday 22 – Breakfast each $1, $2.00
Dinner each $1, $2.00
Set about all day. In the evening saw 5 dollars washed out.
Supper each $1, $2.00

Thursday 23 – Breakfast each 1$, $2.00

The balance of our company arrived last evening. Lying by today. Expect to start a-prospecting in the morning after breakfast.
I went in a bathing. I found it cold at the middle fork of Feather River just above the mouth of Nelson Creek. I then went a little up Nelson Creek I saw four men digging. They took out $8 per man.

Dinner each $1, $2.00

Our guide continues to drink. I’ve done nothing today but visit the diggings as we could not get off ourselves, it being my birthday, and 42 years old at that.

I was anxious to start a-gold hunting. This evening I saw two pans, the work of six hands today–about 4 oz2 all told.

Supper each $1, $2.00

Friday 24 – Breakfast each 1$, $2.00
1 pair blankets, $8.00
1 pan, Iron, for washing gold, $2.00
6 lbs meat and bread, $2.40

Old Virginia, John and I started up Nelson Creek to prospect. We called a halt at Independence 2 1/2 miles. At noon we crossed Nelson Creek and took up Dickson Creek. Washed out several pans and got the color every pan.3 Old Virginia said it would not do. We came down again to Nelson Creek and took tea. Our supper consisted of soda crackers, cold roast beef, and midlen meat and water. We spread our blankets and down we lay for the night. O, that hard bed —

Saturday 25 – Our breakfast was of the same, that our supper consisted of. Crossed Nelson Creek and commenced panning out. We got the color, but Old Virginia said it would not pay, so we put out for the mouth Nelson Creek. Took dinner and supper of the same, stopped at the inn to eat breakfast, each of us.

Sunday 26 – I washed some of my clothes and shaved. I wrote my fourth letter to my wife. John added a few lines and gave it to the express man. I paid him 25 cents to put it in the office at Marysville.
Cloudy all day. It snowed an inch or two deep on the mountain a traveler said. It rained here late in the evening.

Dinner each $1
Supper for John, $1

Monday 27 – Breakfast each $1

Clear cool but pleasant.

Tuesday 28 – Out hunting for gold.

Wednesday 29 – Out hunting for gold.

Thursday 30 – Out hunting for gold.

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