Monday, July 27, 2009

Commenced The New Testament Again Tonight

May 1856, did not produce much financial reward for David Lewis Drew and his partners in the Calaveras, California gold fields.  He and his partners were still hoping that their investment in the Know Nothing Tunnel mine would produce some revenue, but it seemed to be a money pit rather than a money producer.  They again met with the other partners in the venture in hope of hearing good news.  Apparently, that wasn’t to be as David noted in his diary that the meeting was laid over to the June.

David again mentions the names of many fellow miners who were from the Plymouth area of Massachusetts.  Given the fact that all of their families had lived around Plymouth for hundreds of years, all were related to each other.  Some were first and many others were second cousins.

Noting the number of visitors to David’s tent, it can be inferred that none of the miners were doing well working their claims.  When times were good, they were too busy working their claims to spend much time visiting others.  David noted that on May 15th, his partner Len Covington, had gone to Shaw’s Flat to try and help Bill find a job.  Bill left again the next day to visit other place hoping to find employment with a Mr. Jarvis.

With little entertainment in the evening hours, David read everything he could find.  His first entry for the month notes that he finished reading the New Testament for the second time that night, followed by an entry the next day stating that he had started to read it yet again.


May 1856.

THURSDAY 1, -- Wrote to Charles Wadsworth to day. Finished the New Testament the for the second time to night.

FRIDAY 2, -- Commenced the New Testament again to night. A couple of spouts tumbled down last night.

SATURDAY 3, -- Feels kind of winterish to night and looks like a storm. Took out $182.53 this week.

SUNDAY 4, -- Went to Sonora to day and come back through the flat. Recived a letter from Harry and one from Frederick A. Drew.

Frederick A. Drew was a distant cousin of David's. We suspect that he held Frederick in particular esteem. (Frederick Augustus Drew married Emilie Gardner and was David's second cousin in Plymouth). Harry was David’s brother, Harrison Warren Drew.

goldrushpanning MONDAY 5, -- Had lots of visitors to day. G. H. Haskins, G Tabor, and E Holbrooks George H. Haskins came down to buy White out.

Haskins we have met before. Gorge Tabor filed a claim in `53, and also was reported as a juror at Sonora in `65. Elisha Holbrooks, from Massachusetts, was listed at Springfield, and was listed in the Sonora Herald for an uncalled for letter on October 23, 1852. Nathan Churchill, in addition to being an incorporator of the New York company, also served in the same capacity in the Stanislaus and Bay State Tunnel Companies.

TUESDAY 6, - Nathan Churchill was down here to day to see our bar claime having a notion to buy it.

WEDNESDAY 7, -- White went up on the Flat to day.

THURSDAY 8, -- Getting to be pretty warm weather again.

FRIDAY 9, -- We had a smash up to day a stump came down while we were at diner and broke one spar and one sauce box and done other damage.

A spar was a mast or a boom, rigged up with ropes, for moving sluice boxes or boulders or other heavy objects.

SATURDAY 10, -- Went up this morning to cut another spar got one cut and part way down hill when it ran against a rock and broke in to in the middle.

SUNDAY 11, -- Went over to Valeceto to day to see the country and have a ride.

MONDAY 12, -- got out another spar to day and got it down to the river. Put another crossing across the river to night.

TUESDAY 13, -- Got our spar up the river and set our sluices this forenoon. This afternoon set up a couple of spots that came down last night.

WEDNESDAY 14, -- Commenced washing again. William Stephens came down here to see us to night.

THURSDAY 15, -- Len went up on the flat to day to try and get a job for Bill.

FRIDAY 16, -- Bill went up on the ranch this (morning) to try and get a job with Jarvis.

SATURDAY 17, -- Was sick to day and did not work. Took out $75.35 this week.

SUNDAY 18, -- Went up on the Flat to day.

MONDAY 19, -- Had quite a tempest this afternoon. the heaviest thunder that I have heard in this Country.

TUESDAY 20, -- Rained nearly all the forenoon. quite an excitement about the King case up her.

James King of William James King of William was the very popular editor of the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin form October, `55 to May 14th, 1856, when he was shot by a corrupt politician, James P. Casey. He died seven days later, and was avenged shortly thereafter by the Vigilante Committee. One of the reasons for the excitement over the King case up in Tuolumne County was that the previous year King's bank had failed due to some very irregular financial arrangements made by the cashier in the Sonora branch. The local citizens raised $31,500 for the benefit of the widow and children of King, as reported in the Sonora Union Democrat, August 15, 1856.

WEDNESDAY 21, -- Come back on the river this afternoon and got a ducking coming down.

THURSDAY 22, -- Showery all day to day.

FRIDAY 23, -- Got papers to night No letters for me this mail guess that they have dried up writeing.

SATURDAY 24, -- Pleasant weather to day the first that we have had this week. Took out $80.25 this week.

SUNDAY 25, -- Went to Sonora to day and came back by the way of Shaws Flat and got diner at Capt Bartletts.

MONDAY 26, -- Tax colector came along to day to colect the pole tax. The tax was three dollars.

This was the principal tax in those days, and was apportioned between the county and state.

TUESDAY 27, --Pretty warm to day It makes the sweat start.

WEDNESDAY 28, -- Len went up to Columbia at noon to get the papers.

THURSDAY 29, -- Shifted sluice this forenoon.

FRIDAY 30, -- The boys below us had a cave in to day and filled there hole full Took out $116.20 this week.

SATURDAY 31, -- Went to Jamestown to attend a meeting of the K N tunnel Co. Concluded to lay it over for another month.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Charly Dug Out A Dead Man Yesterday.

April 1856 started out with an adventure for David Lewis Drew and his gold mining partners in Calaveras County, California. The river was high from the continuing snow melting in the high country and then something unexpected was found.

David’s partner, Charley was digging soil to run through their sluices when he uncovered the body of a man. Returning to camp, he told David that he ‘supposed that he had met with foul play’. Life in a gold rush setting actually seems to have produced a scene from a Hollywood movie for the partners.

David noted that he read three books during the month; Rose Clark and Ruth Hall by the author “Fanny Fern”. Wondering what the books were about, I searched for them on Google Books and found that both are available for download. So, one hundred and fifty three years after my second great grandfather read the books, I will too.

We leave David’s April 1856 diary entries noting that all the hard work did not produce a lot of gold. As noted before, the spellings here match the writing in David’s tiny pocket diary.

April 1856 .

TUESDAY 1, -- Looks rainey and the river is up pretty high. Four years from home to day.

WEDNESDAY 2, -- Cleared up fine to night.

THURSDAY 3, -- Charly dug out a dead man yeasterday. supposed that he had met with foul play.

GoldRushShipPosterFRIDAY 4, -- John and his partner came down to see us this eavening.

SATURDAY 5, -- Finished the history of England this eavening.

SUNDAY 6. -- Went up to Columbia to day. Find it rather dull a loafing around there all day.

MONDAY 7, -- Shifted sauce to day. The watter was so high in the river that it backed into the boxes.

TUESDAY 8, -- Looks like rain to day. but you can not tell much by looks this season.

WEDNESDAY 9. -- Commenced reading Rose Clark. By Fanny Fern.

THURSDAY 10, -- Rained pretty much all day to day.

FRIDAY 11, -- Commenced raining this afternoon about four o’clock. so that we had to quit. Finished reading Rose Clark tonight.

SATURDAY 12, -- Finished ground sluceing to day and I am glad of it. White and Len went up to the log to miners meeting this evening to make some new laws.

"The log" refers to Pine Log Crossing, on the South Fork of the Stanislaus, about 1 3/4 miles above the confluence.

SUNDAY 13, -- Went up on the Flat to day and bought a Horse of George Collingwood and (paid) him one hundred dollars.

Collingwood was another miner from Massachusetts, living at Shaws Flat, and was listed in the census taken in May, 1851.

MONDAY 14, -- Got my horse shoed to day. cost me three dollars. Hauled down lumber for sluces. to day had to pay six $ and a half per foot.

TUESDAY 15, -- Set up sluces to day and got ready to go to washing. Len bought a horse to day. Commenced Ruth Hall to night.

WEDNESDAY 16, -- Commenced washing to day.

THURSDAY 17, -- Finished reading Ruth Hall to night Liked it first rate.

FRIDAY 18, -- Shifted sluce to day Seth Holmes another Mass boy was down here to see us to day and stoped and got diner.

Seth Richard Holmes was involved in the Stanislaus Tunnel Company. His shares were up for sale, according to an advertisement in the "Weekly Columbian" of December 20th, 1856, presumably because he had failed to pay his assessment.

SATURDAY 19, -- White and Len have gone up to the log to night to a miners meeting. Took out one hundred and eighteen dollars and eighty -five cents.

The "Columbia Gazette" of April 26, 1856, reports that White was elected Chairman for the Pine Log Crossing Mining District at this meeting. This district apparently included the downstream bars down to where White was working.

SUNDAY 20, -- Went up to the flat to day Took diner at Capt Bartletts. Took a ride up to Yankey hill this afternoon.

gumtree MONDAY 21, -- Our horses strayed off last night and Len found them up to Jarvis's ranch.

E.S. Jarvis, a `state of Mainer", had a ranch in the vicinity of Gold Springs. This comment and the one about the miners meeting at Pine Log Crossing are two of the good reasons for believing that Drew was mining up near the South Fork. But the horses could easily have strayed up this far from Walker's Bar.

TUESDAY 22, -- Paned out to nigh and got $29.25 our dirt did not pay very well this last two days.

WEDNESDAY 23, -- John and Co were down here last eavening and we had a game of cards for the first time in a good while.

THURSDAY 24, -- Blowed pretty hard down here to day.

FRIDAY 25, -- Took out one hundred and forty eight dollars and twenty four cents this week.

SATURDAY 26, -- Went down to Jimtown to attend a meeting of the Know Nothing tunnel Company. Took dinner with William Bradford.

SUNDAY 27, -- Went up on the Flat to day.

MONDAY 28, -- White went to sonora to day. Rained a little this morning.

TUESDAY 29, -- Charly and his Company commenced work on there claim to day.

WEDNESDAY 30, -- Rained a little to day. Shifted sluce this afternoon. Caught a sheep that had strayed down the hill.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ground Did Not Pay Very Well - Today Only Got Ten Dollars

March 1856 found spring flowers blooming in Calaveras County. Reading the entries in David Lewis Drew’s diary, spring rain and high water from winter snow melt impacted his efforts to recover much gold from the river.

Although David and his partner consistently found gold in their sluices, they had to pay expenses associated with repair materials and investment payments on other mining properties in addition to other living expenses.

David received a letter from his father, David Drew, of Plymouth, Massachusetts in the last week of the month. The mail took 40 or more days to travel across country. Postage costs were very high in comparison to the rates today, so communication by the Massachusetts miners back to their homes in Plymouth were typically limited to once every other month or so.

As noted in earlier posts, David’s spelling has been left intact in this transcription. Writing in a shirt pocket sized diary while sitting on a cot in your tent did not lend to worrying about perfect spelling or lengthy entries.

March 1856

SATURDAY 1 -- finished ground sluceing below the dich to day. here it is spring again time seemes to slip away awfull fast.

SUNDAY 2 -- Went up on the Flat to day. dry times up there watter dried up.

DLD_diary_pg16_sm MONDAY 3 -- Commenced ground sluceing above the dich today.

TUESDAY 4 -- Found the dirt so hard above the dich that we concluded.

WEDNESDAY 5 -- Ground did not pay very well to day only got ten dolars.

THURSDAY 6 -- Quit about the midle of the afternoon. The slide company are sluceing across our dich and cut it away. White went up to Columbia after letters. did not get any.

FRIDAY 7 -- Got our watter on this morning and went to washing.

SATURDAY 8 -- Been to work in a sink to day and it paid pretty well. Got forty dolars. Took out $97.50 this week.

A "sink" is a low spot in the bedrock of the stream bed. Frequently these were especially rich in gold nuggets.

SUNDAY 9 -- Went up to Columbia to day. Paid $26.50 expenses on my Shaws Flat claim.

References to "the flat" may have meant just up on the generally level ground around Columbia, Springfield, and Shaws Flat, or specifically Shaws. The latter was a fairly well established town, and apparently was the headquarters of a number of the Pilgrim Mining company members who came out from Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1849, as well as those, like David Drew, who followed later. Most of the speculative deals in which David was involved were with other members of this group of Massachusetts Argonauts.

MONDAY 10 -- Shifted Sluice and washed the top dirt.

TUESDAY 11 -- Pretty warme to day and does not look as if it was agoing to rain again this season.

WEDNESDAY 12 -- Looked like rain all day to day. but does not seem to make a raise. took out six oz and ten dollars to day.

THURSDAY 13 -- Rained a little last night and has looked squally all day to day. Washed down and shifted sluice this afternoon

FRIDAY 14 -- Rained this afternoon so that we did not work. the river rose so about night that we thought it best to take our boxes and spouts.

SATURDAY 15 -- Good weather this morning. Put in our boxes and spurs and went to washing. Took out $265.25 this week.

SUNDAY 16 -- Went up on Shaws Flat to day. Paid an assessment of $11.00 on the New York tunnel.

MONDAY 17 -- White stoped up to Columbia last night to try and sell some of our shares in the Know Nothing tunnel.

TUESDAY 18 -- White came down to day. has disposed of one share. and there is a prospect of getting clear of the rest.

WEDNESDAY 19 -- Commenced ground (slucing) to day. We have come to the conclusion that it is not going to rain again this year.

THURSDAY 20 -- Been pretty warm too day. and it makes the sweat start. The floweres are a begining to bloom on the hills.

FRIDAY 21 -- The river rose considerable this fornoon. the affects of warme weather

SATURDAY 22 -- Len was not very well to day and so he did not work.

Gold Miners stocking up SUNDAY 23 -- Went up on the Flat to day. Took diner at Capt. Bartletts. set a pretty good table.

MONDAY 24 -- River is up pretty high this warm weather melts the snow.

TUESDAY 25 -- John is down to day a prospecting the bar above.

WEDNESDAY 26 -- It looks as if we might have some rain to night. and I hope that we shall for it is needed bad enough.

THURSDAY 27 -- It looked bad enough to rain too day but it is starlight to night.

FRIDAY 28 -- Len was not very well and did not work.

SATURDAY 29 -- My self and white went to Jim town at day to attend a meeting of the K.N. tunnel company paid an assessment of $13.50 to the share.

SUNDAY 30 -- Staide on Shaws Flat to day raind pretty much all day. Received two letters one from farther and one from Charly Wadsworth.

MONDAY 31 -- Came down from Shaws this morning worked a few minits and it commened to rain and kept it up all day Wrote to farther to day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Commenced The Bible Tonight

David Lewis Drew kept a diary for the year 1856 detailing his life as a placer miner in what is now Calaveras County California. 

His original spellings have been left intact.  The diary was approximately six inches by four inches and although he wrote his entries sitting on a cot in his tent, his script is legible to the reader.

We find David discussing the problems and maladies affecting his life at the beginning of February 1856.

February 1856

FRIDAY 1 -- Put on our hose and got the watter on and found our hose too small took them off and worked the old way. commenced the bible to night.

SATURDAY 2 -- got letters and papers to night. one letter from Mother and one from Sally Ann. answered mothers

    Sally Ann was David's sister, five years younger than he, and was only 12 years old when David left home. He had now been away from home for nearly four years, but he kept in close contact by letter writing with most of his brothers and sisters, as well as with his father and step-mother. In addition to writing to David, they sent newspapers and small luxuries that he ordered that we unobtainable locally except at great expense.

SUNDAY 3 -- Went on the flat. found that they had not been to work on the new claim this week think that it will not pay

goldrush MONDAY 4 -- Rained this morning so we did not get to work until ten oclock we then set our sluces and went to washing the bottom dirt

TUESDAY 5 -- Worked all day to day and an ounce. have not had any brake downs for four or five days

WEDNESDAY 6 -- Did not work this afternoon was not very well

THURSDAY 7 -- Not able to work to day got a kind of disentery

FRIDAY 8 -- Not any better to day Find it dull work laying around in the house.

SATURDAY 9 -- Felt better this morning so I went to work. had a little rain this morning. thought that we'd have rainy day. but it cleared up before noon. Took out this week $130.50

SUNDAY 10 -- Did not feel very well so I staid at home to day and done up my washing and wrote a letter to William Keene

MONDAY 11 -- Had to go up and turn the watter on this morning Have rather bad news from the K.N. tunnel afraid that we have made rather a bad speculation there

TUESDAY 12 -- Fine weather The boys on the flat will (have) a good time to loafe in. there not being any watter to wash with.

    Just as today up here we follow the weather very closely, particularly in the rainy season, so they did during the gold rush. In fact, it was of even greater concern to them because water was the mens of recovering the gold from the placer deposits. Up in the "dry diggins" work could be done only when the ditches brought water to the miners. Down on the river, the water lasted longer, but in dry years the season was considerably shortened.

WEDNESDAY 13 -- Things went on as usual to day. sun lays down on the bak pretty warm

THURSDAY 14 -- Washed until about the middle of the afternoon and then shifted sluce

FRIDAY 15 -- Turned on the watter and went to work about night the watter began to slack off. Wrote to sally ann this evening

SATURDAY 16 -- Had to go up this morning and shift our spouts which took us until ten oclock got a pretty good days work to day four ounces and two dollars. took out $162.38 this week. received a letter from Harry

    Harry was David's brother. Harrison Warren Drew, two years his junior. In this day's entry, Drew refers to the day's cleanup as being "four ounces and two dollars". They received approximately $16 per ounce, and figured the fractional part of an ounce in dollars. We think that spouts )spots, sputs) were the connections from the ditch or flume to the sluice boxes, or from one string of boxes to another.

SUNDAY 17 -- Went up on the flat to day. found it rather dry times. Mr. James Cooper arrived there to day from Plymouth

MONDAY 18 -- Done pretty well to day got six ounces and twelve dolars looks like rain to night

TUESDAY 19 -- Clear weather this morning it does not look as if it was agoing to rain again this winter

WEDNESDAY 20 -- Rained nearly all day to day. went up after diner and took our upper boxes out

THURSDAY 21 -- Clear weather this morning put our boxes in and went to work. quite showery this afternoon with a little thunder

FRIDAY 22 -- Got the watter on and went to work as usual

SATURDAY 23 -- Went to Jim town to day to attend a meeting of the K. N. Tunnel Co. paid an assessment of $25.00 White shot a cat this morning

    Most probably a bob cat

SUNDAY 24 -- Stoped in Columbia last night blowed quite a gale all night. Find it rather dull work loafing around Columbia. taken out this week $275.00

California Columbia 1852 MONDAY 25-- Cleared out our dich and got the watter on and went to ground sluceing White shot a fox last night. I skined him to make a tamborine of Len is sich today

TUESDAY 26 -- Went up to Clumbia this morning to get some boots this makes the second pair of ruber that I have had this year

WEDNESDAY 27 -- White went up this morning to get his boots fixed. Mr. Sisson was down here this forenoon. Milk man came to day. wants a dolar and a quarter a galon for his milk

THURSDAY 28 -- Len went to work this morning. got off a big piece of dirt to day

FRIDAY 29 -- Wrote to Harry and Ausitn this evening

    Austin was David's brother, seven years younger.



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