This collection covers the dramatic decades between the Gold Rush and the turn of the twentieth century. It captures the pioneer experience; encounters between Anglo-Americans and the diverse peoples who had preceded them; the transformation of the land by mining, ranching, agriculture, and urban development; the often-turbulent growth of communities and cities; and California’s emergence as both a state and a place of uniquely American dreams.
The books in this collection are first-person accounts from the time of the Gold Rush and California statehood through the turn of the century. They provide detailed information about localities and people important to the state during the latter half of the nineteenth century, when large numbers of English-speakers flowed into the far West, encountering a variety of Native American groups and the Spanish-speakers who had preceded them to the region. The accounts convey a sense of America’s westward movement in the post-pioneer era and offer the emigrants’ reactions to the wilderness environment they traversed and settled.
For the period 1849-1860, the Gold Rush and the variety of new settlers it attracted to California overshadowed all else. Newspapers in New York and London sent reporters to the Pacific Coast of North America to send back their reports, and even a fairly ordinary man or woman who participated in the rush to settle California might expect to find his or her letters home published in a local newspaper in Ohio or Massachusetts, perhaps collected and published as a book not long after.
As the Gold Rush ended, California began to attract people for reasons unrelated to mining and overnight wealth. Climate and natural beauty drew a new generation of “pioneers” hoping to recover their health and to explore the picturesque terrain of the still-wild West. By the 1880s, California had become the romantic destination of choice for thousands who came to “take the waters” at mountain resorts or to tour Yosemite and other natural wonders. Settlers also continued to arrive, hoping to take advantage of the state’s continuing development. Later writers tended to focus on California’s advantages as a vacation spot or a place for making a new home far from the harsh winters of the East and Midwest.
- A year of American travel
Jessie Benton Fre´mont (1824-1902), the daughter of a Missouri Senator and wife of explorer John Charles Fre´mont, first came to California in 1849, when she and her young daughter spent six months at her husband’s newly-acquired ranch at Mariposas, 140 miles east of San Francisco. The Fre´monts also spent the years 1851-1852 and 1857-1861 at the Mariposas ranch before moving to St. Louis during the Civil War. They returned to California in 1887 and made Los Angeles their home for the rest of their lives. A year of American travel (1878) was written by Mrs. Fre´mont to earn badly-needed money for her family after her husband went bankrupt in 1873. Here she describes her first trip to California in 1849: the voyage and crossing at Chagres, life on the Mariposas ranch, visits to San Jose´ and Monterey, the life of women in California, the plight of the Mission Indians, the slavery controversy in the territory, and the Monterey Constitutional Convention of 1849. The book closes with the Fre´monts’ return to the East when Fre´mont assumed his seat in the U.S. Senate.
- Gospel pioneering: reminiscences of early Congregationalism in California, 1833-1920
The son of a Maine Congregational leader, William Chauncey Pond (b. 1830) sailed around the Horn to California as a “home missionary” in 1853. Gospel pioneering (1921) presents highlights of his career in the West: creation of San Francisco’s Greenwich St. Church; ministry in the Sierra County mining town of Downieville; story of The Pacific, a Congregationalist-Presbyterian journal; founding of the Pacific School of Religion; and Pond’s ministry to Chinese immigrants, centered on San Francisco’s Bethany Church.
- The narrative of a Japanese; what he has seen and the people he has met in the course of the last forty years
Joseph Heco (1837-1897), a native of the province of Sanyodo, went to sea in 1850. When his ship was dismasted, he and other members of the crew were rescued by an American ship which took Heco to California, and the young Japanese did not return to his native land until 1859. The narrative of a Japanese, vol. 1 (1895) contains Heco’s reminiscences, based on diaries that he began to keep as soon as he had mastered English. In the first volume, he describes his boyhood in Japan and the voyage that brought him to America; a trip to Hong Kong; and a return voyage to San Francisco, where a local businessman sponsors Heco’s education and travels to New York and Baltimore. This volume concludes with Heco’s return to Japan in 1859 and work as interpreter for the U.S. consulate and a second trip to America, 1861-1862. Vol. 2 (1895) contains Heco’s reminiscences of his adventures, picking up the story shortly after Heco’s return to Japan after his second journey to America in 1862. His later experiences in Japan include an eyewitness account of key events in the Revolution of 1868.
- Life by land and sea.
Born in Sag Harbor, Long Island, Prentice Mulford (1834-1891) sailed to San Francisco on a clipper in 1856 and remained for sixteen years. He left for a long tour of Europe in 1872 and then settled in New York City where he became known as a comic lecturer and author of poems and essays and a columnist for the New York Daily Graphic (a serial), 1875-1881. He founded the popular philosophy known as “New Thought.” Life by land and sea (1889) contains Mulford’s adventures at sea and in the West, 1856-1872: life on a clipper and a California coastal schooner hunting whales and seals, gold prospecting in Tuolumne County, accounts of camp life and experiences as a school teacher and minor local politician, copper mining in Stanislaus County, and career as journalist for the San Francisco Golden Era.
- The round trip from the Hub to the Golden Gate
Susie Champney Clark was a Boston matron who visited California as a member of an organized rail tour forty years after the Gold Rush. The round trip from the Hub to the Golden gate (1890) describes that rail trip, with special attention to stops at Chicago, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Sonoma County, the Lick Observatory, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Yosemite, and Salt Lake City.
- A start in life; a journey across America; fruit farming in California
English businessman Charles Finch Dowsett (1835 or 1836-1915) travelled across America by rail in 1890 to become an agent for land sales in Merced County, California. A start in life (1891?) is a book-length piece of promotional literature written and published by Dowsett to extol Merced County’s virtues, focusing on the prospects for fruit farming in the region. He also describes his cross country rail journey.
- Early recollections of the mines, and a description of the great Tulare valley
James H. Carson (d. 1853) wrote this volume, supposed to be the first book printed in Stockton, not long before his death. Early recollections of the mines (1852) first appeared as a supplement to the San Joaqui´n Republican in 1852 and was published shortly afterward as a bound pamphlet. The version published here was reprinted in the Magazine of history, 1931. Carson offers a lively narrative of early California history before turning to brief anecdotes of miners’ lives in 1848 and 1849 and a glowing promotional description of the Tulare Valley.
- California. A trip across the plains, in the spring of 1850, being a daily record of incidents of the trip … and containing valuable information to emigrants …
James Abbey was a member of a party that left New Albany, Indiana, for California in the spring of 1850. California. A trip across the plains (1850) is reprinted here from a version published in the Magazine of history, 1933. It is based on the diary kept by Abbey during that journey and letters he sent to friends at home as his party made their way from Indiana to St. Louis, where they joined a larger wagon train, and on to California via Fort Laramie, South Pass, Salt Lake, and Carson Pass. The story continues with accounts of his first days as a prospector near Weaverville after the party reached California in August.
- California in 1849
Charles F. Hotchkiss (b. ca. 1807) was a New Haven, Connecticut merchant, who sailed to California in December, 1848, bringing a cargo of goods for the miners across Panama at Chagres. California in 1849 (1933) was written out by Hotchkiss at the age of seventy-three and published more than fifty years later in The Magazine of history. He recalls his experiences as a merchant in San Francisco and Stockton before his return to Connecticut in 1850 with a profit of $23,000.
- California gold; an authentic history of the first find, with the names of those interested in the discovery
James Stephens Brown (b. 1828) was one of James W. Marshall’s companions on January 24, 1848, when Marshall discovered gold in the raceway of a mill his workmen were constructing for Johann Sutter at Coloma. Brown later settled in Utah. California gold (1894) is here reprinted from a version published in the Magazine of history in 1933. Brown recounts his association with Sutter and Marshall as well as the events of January 24, 1848.
- Sketches of California. An account of the life, manners and customs of the inhabitants. Its history, climate, soil, productions, &c.
Frederick A. Gay, proprietor of “Gay’s Canchalagua” at 36 Broadway in New York City, had developed a patent medicine based on canchalagua, a California herb. Sketches of California (1848), printed here from a version published in the Magazine of history of 1925, is an early piece of pre-Gold Rush promotional literature for California settlement in which Gay focuses on the region’s potential for agriculture and livestock, with special emphasis on canchalagua.
- Life and adventures of Col. L.A. Norton
Lewis Adelbert Norton (b. 1819) grew up in Canada and western New York. Banished from Canada for taking the Patriot side in the Rebellion of 1837-1838, Norton settled in Illinois, where he raised a regiment for the Mexican War. On his return home, he led an overland party to California. Life and adventures of Col. L.A. Norton (1887) describes Norton’s early life and his journey west. Of his life in California, he chronicles careers as miner, lawyer, and merchant in Placerville. In 1856 he moves to Healdsburg, where his law practice involves him in the Squatter War on the Russian River. The book closes with his account of an 1874 rail trip east, revisiting Canada, New York, and New England before returning to Healdsburg.
- The Indians of southern California in 1852; the B.D. Wilson report and a selection of contemporary comment
Benjamin Davis Wilson (1811-1878) of Tennessee came to California in 1841, married into the prominent Yorba family, and acquired a vast property, including a ranch that encompassed the site of modern Riverside. He was elected mayor of Los Angeles in 1851 and was named sub-agent for Indian Affairs for Southern California not long after. The Indians of southern California in 1852 (1952) reprints a report Wilson prepared in collaboration with Benjamin Hayes after being named a federal Indian agent. The document identifies two major problems: the security of ranches and settlements from Indian raids and the plight of the mission Indians. He recommends a reservation system as the solution to both. John Walton Caughey’s introduction provides useful background, supplemented by his appendix of “Contemporary Comment.”
- The condition of affairs in Indian Territory and California. A report
Charles Cornelius Coffin Painter was an agent of the Indian Rights Association, headquartered in Philadelphia. The condition of affairs in Indian Territory and California (1888) reports Painter’s findings at the Seger Colony and Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Anadarko, Iowa, Comanche, Wichita, and Ponca agencies and reservations in the Indian Territory. In California, he visits Indian settlements and reservations at Cohuilla, Agua Caliente, San Ysabel, Mesa Grande, Captain Grande, and San Jacinto. He discusses incursions on Native American lands and schools for the Mission Indians and legal actions on behalf of the San Fernando Indians.
- Gerstäcker’s travels. Rio de Janeiro–Buenos Ayres–Ride through the pampas–Winter journey across the Cordilleras–Chili–Valparaiso–California and the gold fields
Friedrich Gersta¨cker (1816-1872), a native of Hamburg, left Germany in 1837 for a six-year stay in New York. On his return to Germany, he published two travel memoirs, and the Frankfurt government subsidized his return to America in 1849 to collect information for prospective emigrants to California. On his return home, he published several books dealing with his travels. Gersta¨cker’s travels (1854) is the English edition of the author’s Reisen, published in Germany not long after his return to California. Nearly one half of the book is devoted to the sea journey with stops in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and the Argentine pampas, crossing the Cordilleras to Valparaiso, Chile, where he obtained passage to California. He describes San Francisco and Sacramento in the fall of 1849 as well as his experiences as a prospector on the Feather River. Leaving the gold fields, Gersta¨cker then spends several weeks at the Mission Dolores before trying his luck in 1850 at the goldfields beyond Stockton at Murphy’s Diggings, San Antonio, and Mokelumne. He concludes with his voyage home from California via Honolulu, Australia, and the Dutch East Indies.
- California letters of Lucius Fairchild
Lucius Fairchild (1831-1896) left Madison, Wisconsin, for California in 1849 and remained in the West until 1858. On his return to Wisconsin, Fairchild carved out a remarkable career as a soldier-politician: serving in a Wisconsin regiment in the Civil War, winning election as governor in 1866, and then representing the United States abroad in a variety of diplomatic posts. California letters of Lucius Fairchild (1931) records his overland journey to California, gold prospecting from Calaveras County to Scott Valley, business partnership with Elijah Steele in farming, mining, and butchering in Scott Valley.
- Life on the plains and among the diggings; being scenes and adventures of an overland journey to California: with particular incidents of the route, mistakes and sufferings of the emigrants, the Indian …
Born in Aurora, New York, Alonzo Delano (1806-1874) moved on to the Midwest as a teenager. July 1848 found him a consumptive Ottawa, Illinois, storekeeper, and he joined a local California Company. He remained in the West after the Gold Rush, winning fame as an early California humorist. Life on the plains and among the diggings (1857) is based largely on letters from Delano published in Ottawa and New Orleans newspapers of the day (see Alonzo Delano’s California correspondence ). Covering the period April 1849-August 1852, he discusses his voyage to St. Joseph and an overland journey to California; sojourns in Sacramento, Marysville, and San Francisco; and experiences as a storekeeper at Mud Hill, Stingtown, Gold Lake, and Grass Valley. Other topics include quartz mining, crime and vigilantism, and real estate investment.
- An excursion to California over the prairie, Rocky mountains, and great Sierra Nevada. With a stroll through the diggings and ranches of that country.
Englishman William Redmond Kelly (1791-1855) visited California in 1849 and 1850, and his account of that trip was widely read. An excursion to California (1851) is the two-volume account of Kelly’s trip to the American West. The first volume takes him from England to California, January-July 1849. After landing in New York City, Kelly records his route through Buffalo, Detroit, Ottawa, Illinois, and St. Louis, before joining an overland train at Independence, Missouri in April. He records scenery and wildlife and Native American tribes as well as buffalo and antelope hunts and the party’s stay in Utah. The book provides exceptional depth of detail on the mechanics of a wagon train’s operations. The volume closes with Kelly’s arrival in California and remarks on gold mining. The second volume was published separately the next year as “A stroll through the diggings of California.” Here Kelly describes gold prospecting and life in mining camps on the Sacramento River and Rock, Middle, and Salt Creeks as well as visits to Sacramento, San Jose, and San Francisco. Throughout, he offers details of daily life and work and observations on native ethnic groups and European immigrants.
- A California tramp and later footprints; or, Life on the plains and in the Golden state thirty years ago, with miscellaneous sketches in prose and verse … Illustrated with thirty-nine wood and photo-engravings
Thaddeus S. Kenderdine made his way from Philadelphia to Michigan in 1858, staying only a month before he determined to head to California. He remained for only a year, returning to New York in 1859. A California tramp (1888) describes Kenderdine’s adventures in 1858-1859: his trip west as a driver on a California wagon train, visits to San Francisco and life as tramp and ranch hand in Sonoma County. His memoir closes with his return via Panama in 1859. The last quarter of the book is a miscellany of Kenderdine’s prose and poetry. Kenderdine’s association with California was renewed almost forty years later when he made a second trip west; see his California revisited (1898).
- California: a pleasure trip from Gotham to the Golden Gate, April, May, June, 1877
Miriam Squier (1836-1914), an actress turned journalist who eventually became a powerful figure in American publishing, married publisher Frank Leslie in 1874. In 1877, the couple traveled to California, and Mrs. Leslie recorded details of their luxurious transcontinental rail trip. California: a pleasure trip from Gotham to the Golden Gate (1877) chronicles the scenes they passed en route, as well as San Francisco’s welcome for the visiting Eastern notables. Her account gives special attention to that city’s Chinatown as well as the attractions of Los Angeles and Yosemite. On the return journey, Leslie pictures the desolation of the mining town of Virginia City, Nevada, and the prosperity and progress of Salt Lake City, where she interviewed Brigham Young. The editor’s introduction provides details of the attacks brought by publication of the book, with critics exposing Mrs. Leslie’s illegitimate birth and complicated marital career.
- Pilgrimage of Mary commandery no. 36, Knights templar of Pennsylvania to the Twenty-ninth triennial conclave of the Grand encampment U.S. at San Francisco, Cal.
Clifford Paynter Allen (b. 1841) was a member of the Mary Commandery of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Knights Templar, a Masonic Order. Pilgrimage of Mary commandery no. 36 (1904) is his account of the chapter’s rail trip to the Knights Templar’s 1904 convention in San Francisco, with side trips en route to Yellowstone Park, Tacoma, and Fort Vancouver. After the convention, the group returns home via the southern route, with stops at Monterey, Los Angeles, Riveside, the Grand Canyon, Pike’s Peak, and the St. Louis World’s Fair.
- Crusoe’s island
John Ross Browne (1817-1875) of Kentucky, the official reporter for the California State Constitutional Convention of 1849, came to California in 1849 as an employee of the government revenue service. He traveled widely in the next two decades, including a stay in China as U.S. minister, before settling down in Oakland in 1870. Crusoe’s island (1864) contains four short works: (1) Crusoe’s island, an account of his visits to Juan Fernandez, the island off the Chilean coast where Alexander Selkirk’s experiences are supposed to have been the basis of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe; (2) A dangerous journey, an account of Browne’s 1849 journey by horseback from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo; (3) Observations in office, which summarizes his experiences as a functionary of the Treasury Department sent to the Pacific Coast in 1858 to examine customs houses, with chapters on a controversy in Port Townsend, Washington, concerning the sale of liquor to Native Americans and on the exploitation of Native Americans in California; and (4) A peep at Washoe, inspired by the latest “rush,” that for gold in the Washoe region of the Sierra Nevada, including Browne’s reflections on mining fevers and his recollections of his own travels through Nevada and California mining districts.
- Recollections and opinions of an old pioneer
Peter Hardeman Burnett (1807-1895) spent his early years in Tennessee and Missouri, serving as a district attorney in the latter state. In 1843 he joined an emigrant party bound for Oregon, where he became a prominent and controversial lawyer, judge, and politician in the new territory. In 1848, he went to California in search of gold and soon became a business and political leader of that territory. Recollections and opinions of an old pioneer (1880) contains Burnett’s recollections of his early life in Missouri, his career in Oregon, and his decision to join a wagon train to California in the summer of 1848. There he seeks gold for six months before resuming the practice of law and the pursuit of politics. Elected a judge in August and governor in December 1849, Burnett turned to the practice of law in the 1850s and the business of banking in the 1860s. He touches on his various professional pursuits and his home life in Sacramento.
- Touching incidents in the life and labors of a pioneer on the Pacific coast since 1853
Joseph Wilkinson Hines (b. ca. 1824) left New York State in 1853 as a Methodist missionary to Ohio. He later settled in Santa Clara County, California, where he was a prominent Republican and anti-slavery advocate. Touching incidents in the life and labors of a pioneer (1911) is a collection of unrelated papers by Hines: speeches and poems touching such subjects as missionary experiences in Oregon, the history of Santa Clara, Sir George Seymour, Mount Hood, Klamath Indians, woman suffrage, and the University of the Pacific.
- Wonderland; or, Twelve weeks in and out of the United States. Brief account of a trip across the continent–short run into Mexico–ride to the Yosemite Valley–steamer voyage to Alaska, the land of glaciers–visit to the Great Shoshone Falls and a stage ride through the Yellowstone national park
Edward S. Parkinson was a New Jersey newspaperman who traveled to California and Alaska in 1892. Wonderland, or Twelve weeks in and out of the United States (1894) is his account of that three-month adventure: a rail trip from New Jersey to California with side trips to Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Highlights include visits to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite, Portland and Shoshone; with a chapter on California resort hotels.
- California all the way back to 1828
Englishman Michael White (1801-1885) went to sea and was left ashore at San Jose´ del Cabo in 1817. He made California his home thereafter, becoming known to many as “Miguel Blanco.” Once he left the sea, he still traveled widely and was a pioneer settler on Catalina Island and in modern San Marino. California all the way back to 1828 (1956) is a modern edition of reminiscences White dictated in 1877 to researchers working for Hubert Howe Bancroft, the great California historian. White recalls his boyhood at sea and his later adventures taking vessels between Mexico and California. His reminiscences picture San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and San Pedro in the 1820s and 1830s and a journey to New Mexico in 1839. Settling in southern California at his San Isidro ranch near Mission San Gabriel, White becomes involved in the revolt against Micheltorena in 1844-1845.
- Gold and sunshine, reminiscences of early California
James J. Ayers left St. Louis, Missouri for California in 1849. He remained to carve out a career for himself in journalism. Gold and sunshine (1922) was completed by Ayers in retirement at Azusa in 1896 but not published until after his death. He recalls his 1849 voyage to California and brief career as a miner in Calaveras County, newspaper publishing in Mokelumne Hill (1850-1852), and San Francisco (1850s). Ayers also discusses local and national politics for all periods as well as a theatrical tour in the Gold Rush, a Civil War visit to the front and meeting with Lincoln, Nevada gold and silver mining, the California Constitutional Convention of 1878, and Sacramento in the 1880s.
- Addresses, reminiscences, etc. of General John Bidwell
John Bidwell (1819-1900) was born in Chautaugua County, New York, and lived in Ohio when he decided to seek his fortune in California in 1841 and journeyed west as part of the first emigrant train going overland from Missouri to California. There he found work at Fort Sutter. He sided with governor Micheltorena in the 1844 revolt but aided the Bear Flag rebels in 1846. After serving with Frémont, he returned to Fort Sutter. Among the first to find gold on Feather River, Bidwell used his earnings to secure a grant north of Sacramento in 1849, and he spent the rest of his life as a farmer at “Rancho Chico,” becoming a leader of the state’s agricultural interests. A Democrat and Unionist during the Civil War, Bidwell served in the U.S. House, 1864-66, and was the Prohibition Party’s candidate for governor (1890) and President (1892). Throughout his life in California, he was a friend to Native American tribes. Addresses, reminiscences…(1906) includes a biographical sketch of Bidwell as well as Bidwell’s own reminiscences and political speeches. The Bidwell first-person narrative interspersed through this volume is based on the text that first appeared serially in the Century Magazine in 1890. The first section of the memoir, journal entries for May 8-November 6, 1891, together with a summary of Bidwell’s activities in the following months and a meteorological register for November 1841-April 1842, was published by a friend in Missouri some time in 1843 or 1844. (“A Journey to California” pp. [66-98]). Subsequent portions of the memoir were composed by Bidwell much later, probably in the late 1880s. Bidwell’s memoirs focus on his overland journey to California and life in his new home state before the discovery of gold. He offers details of Johann Sutter and his colony, the Frémont expedition, Native Americans, California politics under Mexico, and early discoveries of gold. The Bidwell speeches published here include several papers delivered before local agricultural societies and political addresses delivered by Bidwell as a candidate.
- Seventy-five years in California; a history of events and life in California: personal, political and military; under the Mexican regime; during the quasi-military government of the territory by the United States, and after the admission of the state to the union: being a compilation by a witness of the events described; a reissue and enlarged illustrated edition of “Sixty years in California”, to which much new matter by its author has been added which he contemplated publishing under the present title at the time of his death.
William Heath Davis (1822-1909) was the son of a Boston ship captain engaged in the Hawaiian trade and a Polynesian mother. He visited California twice on trading voyages before setting up business there in 1838. In 1845 he settled permanently in San Francisco, becoming one of the city’s leading merchants. His marriage to Mari´a de Jesus Estudillo tied him to the Hispanic community in his adopted region. Seventy-five years in California (1929) is an expansion of Sixty years in California, a book Davis published in 1889. It is a history of California as well as the author’s memoirs of his life through the mid 1850s with an emphasis on the transformation of Yerba Buena to San Francisco, the Gold Rush, and the imposition of United States power in California.
- In the footprints of the padres
Charles Warren Stoddard (1843-1909) and his family left Rochester, New York, for California in 1855. In the 1870s and 1880s, he became a well known writer of travel books, most notably his South-Sea Idylls. He taught at Notre Dame and the Catholic University of America before retiring to California at the end of his life. In the footprints of the padres (1902) recalls Stoddard’s boyhood and family life in San Francisco: schools, Chinatown, social life, Happy Valley, and the Vigilance Committee. He also describes a voyage to New York in 1857 with his ailing older brother and offers miscellaneous anecdotes of California missions, Monterey, and Theresa Yelverton.
- Thirty years in California; a contribution to the history of the state from 1849 to 1879
Samuel Hopkins Willey (1821-1914), a Presbyterian seminarian in Massachusetts, sailed to California as a home missionary in December 1848. He was a chaplain of the 1849 constitutional convention and served churches in San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Benecia. From 1862 to 1869 he headed the College of California at Berkeley, which was turned over to the University of California. Thirty years in California (1879) contains his recollections of Presbyterian congregations in Monterey and San Francisco and the founding of the Howard Presbyterian Church in Happy Valley. He describes religious and civil affairs in San Francisco through the 1850s and his role as head of the College of California.
- Echoes of the past about California
John Bidwell (1819-1900) was born in Chautaugua County, New York, and was living in Ohio when he decided to seek his fortune in California in 1841. He journeyed west as part of the first emigrant train going overland from Missouri to California, where he found work at Fort Sutter. He sided with governor Micheltorena in the 1844 revolt but aided the Bear Flag rebels in 1846. After serving with Frémont, he returned to Fort Sutter. Among the first to find gold on Feather River, Bidwell used his earnings to secure a grant north of Sacramento in 1849, and he spent the rest of his life as a farmer at “Rancho Chico,” becoming a leader of the State’s agricultural interests. A Democrat and Unionist during the Civil War, Bidwell served in the U.S. House, 1864-66, and was the Prohibition Party’s candidate for governor (1890) and President (1892). Throughout his life in California, he was a friend to Native American tribes. John Steele (1832-1915) traveled overland from Wisconsin to California in 1850 and remained for three years. Returning east, he taught school, served in the Union Army, and became an Episcopal minister after the Civil War. Echoes of the past about California and…In camp and cabin (1928) reprints works by Bidwell and Steele published earlier. Bidwell’s narrative was composed in 1889 and first published in 1890 in the Century Magazine. The version published here as “Echoes of the past,” however, was based on a somewhat different version published in pamphlet form by the Chico, California Advertiser after Bidwell’s death in 1900. This version does not include Bidwell’s “Journey to California,” the journal that he kept in 1841 and which was published in Missouri in 1843 or 1844 (and appears as part of his Addresses, reminiscences…, 1906). The memoir focuses on Bidwell’s overland journey to California, with some attention to his early years in the West: acquaintance with Johann Sutter, and early gold discoveries. Steele’s In camp and cabin, first published in 1901, recounts Steele’s experiences mining in camps near Nevada City and the American River, with tales of trips to Feather River, Los Angeles, and an expedition to San Andres and camps on the Mokelumne, Calaveras, and Stanislaus Rivers. He provides numerous anecdotes of the people of the camps and their varied national and ethnic backgrounds with many tales of crime and lawlessness. He also discusses contrasting mining methods and gives special attention to Hispanic and Native American Californians whom he met.
- Up and down California in 1860-1864; the journal of William H. Brewer …
William Henry Brewer (1828-1910) was a professor of chemistry at Washington College in Pennsylvania when he joined the staff of California’s first State Geologist, Josiah Dwight Whitney, 1860-1864. On returning east, Brewer became Professor of Agriculture at Yale, a post he held for nearly forty years. Up and down California (1930) collects Brewer’s letters and journal entries recording his work with Whitney’s geological survey of California, chronicling not merely the survey’s scientific work but the social, agricultural, and economic life of the state from south to north as the survey’s men passed along.
- From the Kennebec to California; reminiscences of a California pioneer
Henry Hiram Ellis (1829-1909) of Maine sailed round the Horn to San Francisco in 1849. From the Kennebec to California (1959) contains various versions of his reminiscences covering his adventures as a gold miner, captain of a Sacramento River boat and Pacific merchant ship, San Francisco police officer and Chief of Police (1875-1877).
- California sketches
A Southern Methodist minister, Oscar Penn Fitzgerald (1829-1911) of North Carolina was sent to California as a missionary by his denomination in 1855. He remained for more than twenty years, winning appointment as state superintindent of public education in 1867 despite his pro-Southern position during the Civil War. In the late 1870s, Fitzgerald returned to the East, editing the Nashville Christian Advocate, 1878-1890, and accepting appointment as a Southern Methodist bishop. California sketches (1880) is the first of his books dealing with his stay in California, providing brief anecdotes of his life in California in the mid 1850s: pastorate of churches in the gold-mining town of Sonora, 1855-1856, and in Santa Rosa and Santa Clara; editing the Pacific Methodist Advocate in San Francisco; and conflict between Northern and Southern Methodist churches in California.
- California sketches. New series
A Southern Methodist minister, Oscar Penn Fitzgerald (1829-1911) of North Carolina was sent to California as a missionary by his denomination in 1855. He remained for more than twenty years, winning appointment as state superintendent of public education in 1867 despite his pro-Southern position during the Civil War. In the late 1870s, Fitzgerald returned to the East, editing the Nashville Christian Advocate, 1878-1890, and accepting appointment as a Southern Methodist bishop. California sketches: New series (1881) is the second installment of his reminiscences, again focusing on his Southern Methodist ministry in California, 1855-1880. Topics include his pastorate in Sonora, clergy in California, rivalry with Northern Methodists, and the Pacific Methodist Advocate.
- Far-West sketches
Jessie Benton Frémont (1824-1902), the daughter of a Missouri Senator and wife of explorer John Charles Fre´mont, first came to California in 1849, when she and her young daughter spent six months at her husband’s newly-acquired ranch at Mariposas, 140 miles east of San Francisco. The Frémonts also spent the years 1851-1852 and 1857-1861 at the Mariposas ranch before moving to St. Louis during the Civil War. They returned to California in 1887 and made Los Angeles their home for the rest of their lives. Far-West Sketches (1890) was inspired by Mrs. Frémont’s 1887 railroad trip to California, a journey that prompts her to reminiscence about her earlier stay in the state in the 1850s with anecdotes of the minefields, ranching, and a home in the bustling town of San Francisco. The reminiscences center on homemaking and childrearing.
- The Gregson memoirs, containing Mrs. Eliza Gregson’s “Memory” and the statement of James Gregson …
Eliza Marshall Gregson (b. 1824), a millworker, and James Gregson (b. 1822), a blacksmith, were natives of England who married in Rhode Island in 1843 and almost immediately schemed to escape to the West. In 1845 they set out for Oregon, eventually joining a California party. Johann Sutter aided them, and the Gregsons lived at his fort until 1847. James Gregson enlisted in the U.S. Army under Fre´mont in 1846 and prospected for gold in 1848 and 1849 while his wife bore and raised their children and took in washing and sewed to support the family. In 1850, the family settled down on a ranch in Sonoma County. The Gregson memoirs (1940) prints James Gregson’s brief “Statement” of the facts of his life and his wife’s longer “Memory” of her experiences as a wife, mother, and businesswoman in pioneer California.
- California ’46 to ’88
Jacob Wright Harlan (b. 1828) grew up in Indiana and moved to Michigan where he joined an uncle who organized a wagon train to California in 1845. California ’46 to ’88 (1888) contains Harlan’s memories of his overland journey to California in 1846, acquaintance with rescuers and survivors of the Reid and Donner Parties, Frémont’s battalion in 1846-1847, San Francisco milk and livery businesses, storekeeping in gold camps near Coloma and Sonora, farming and ranching in and near San Jose´, San Joaquín Valley, Alameda, and Choloma Valley. He then recalls his second overland trip to California, 1853, as part of cattle drive and real estate development in San Leandro.
- The life and adventures in California of Don Agustín Janssens, 1834-1856
In 1825, Victor Janssens (1817-1894) and his French-Belgian family sailed to Mexico. Nine years later he joined the Padre’s expedition of colonists in California, where he was part of the colony at Sonoma. A rancher at Santa Fé for many years, he moved to Santa Barbara in 1856. The life and adventures of Don Agustín Janssens (1953) is based on a memoir that Janssens contributed to the archives of historian Hubert Howe Bancroft. It was not translated and published until nearly sixty years after his death. He describes the Revolution of 1836 and the personalities and allegiances of the local landholders and discusses the problems of Native American tribes. With secularization of the mission, Janssens becomes administrator of San Juan Capistrano; under the U.S. government, a judge.
- The early days of my episcopate
William Ingraham Kip (1811-1893) left New York in December 1853 to become Missionary Bishop and later the first Diocesan Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church for California. The early days of my episcopate (1892) contains reminiscences of his rectorship of Grace Church, San Francisco; visits to Sacraments, Stockton, San Jose´, Monterey, Benecia, and Los Angeles; experiences in mining camps in Marysville, Grass Valley, and Nevada; and the history of church politics and rivalries.
- Six years experience as a book agent in California, including my trip from New York to San Francisco via Nicaragua
Mrs. James W. Likins (b. ca. 1825) and her family left Akron, Ohio, in 1868 for a fresh start in California. Once there, her husband’s illness forced her to become the family breadwinner. Six years experience as a book agent in California (1874) recounts the family’s steam voyage and Panama crossing and Mrs. Likins’s initial experience selling subscriptions for engraved portraits of Ulysses S. Grant and his family. She soon expands her sales list, adding more engravings and books such as Mark Twain’s Innocents abroad and gives lively accounts of her adventures as a female sales representative in San José, Santa Clara, Gilroy, Stockton, Sacramento, and Calistoga.
- Recollections of a ’49er. A quaint and thrilling narrative of a trip across the plains, and life in the California gold fields during the stirring days following the discovery of gold in the far West
Edward Washington McIlhany (b. 1828) left West Virginia for the California gold fields in 1849. Recollections of a 49er (1908) describes his overland journey west, gold prospecting on Feather River and Grass Valley, hunting and trapping, proprietorship of a general store and hotel in Onion Valley, the Colorado gold rush, and Missouri railroading after the Civil War.
- The last of the Mill Creeks, and early life in northern California
Sim Moak (b. 1845) left Albany, New York, to join his older brothers in California in 1863 and settled in the town of Chico. The last of the Mill Creeks (1923) offers Moak’s anecdotes of California during the Civil War around Chico, with special attention to hostile relations with Native Americans, the status of Chinese immigrants, and incidents of crime and hangings through the 1870s.
- The new and the old; or, California and India in romantic aspects
John Williamson Palmer (1825-1906), a Maryland physician, came to California in 1849 and left the following year for Hawaii and the Far East. In 1853 he settled in New York and pursued a new career as a writer, a career interrupted by his service in the Confederate Army and resumed in peacetime. The new and the old (1859) is divided equally between ancedotes of his medical practice in San Francisco in 1849 with colorful (and probably fictionalized) tales of a few of his friends and patients (including Karl Joseph Krafft) and similar tales drawn from his stay in India.
- Eldorado; or, California as seen by a pioneer, 1850-1900
David Augustus Shaw left Marengo, Illinois, in 1850 for the overland trail to California, where he settled in Pasadena and was an active member of the local Society of Pioneers. Eldorado (1900) records Shaw’s first stay in the West, 1850-1852, when he worked as a miner and rancher; his return to Illinois and second overland journey west, 1853, this time bringing a herd of horses; and a third round trip to the East, 1856, this time crossing at Panama. In California, Shaw works as a miner and rancher. He offers anecdotes of Salt Lake City and the Mormons, trappers and mountain men, Hangtown and Placerville, and criminal justice.
- Old Californian days
James Steele visited California in the 1880s. Old Californian days (1889) is the book Steele based on that trip. He provides a sketch of the history of California before the Gold Rush and surviving remnants of that history: the mission churches (San Gabriel and San Juan Capistrano), Spanish-American culture in modern California, and Native American tribes.
- California life illustrated
William Taylor (1821-1902) was a Methodist minister specializing in “street preaching” in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., when the Methodist church sent him to California as a missionary evangelist in 1849. He remained in the West for seven years, going on to become one of the church’s most tireless worldwide evangelists. He later conducted crusades in Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa. In 1884 he was named Missionary Bishop for Africa and he focused his energies on missionary activities on that continent. Taylor spent his last years in California, the site of his first mission. California life illustrated (1858) expands on his reminiscences in Seven years’ street preaching in San Francisco (1857). He describes his voyage to California and gives details of family life, social life, politics and church history in San José, Santa Cruz, and Sacramento. He comments at length on California agriculture and mineral resources and offers a chapter on mining camp life. After founding the Powell Street church, Taylor explains, he undertook a mission to sailors in San Francisco which left him so burdened by debt that he returned east to publish books and conduct revivals in the hope of putting his finances in order.
- California, 1849-1913; or, The rambling sketches and experiences of sixty-four years’ residence in that state
Lell Hawley Woolley (b. 1825) left the Green Mountains of Vermont to cross the plains in a mule train to California in 1849. There he tried gold mining in Weaverville and Beal’s Bar and hotelkeeping in Grass Valley before his marriage and the responsibilities of a home and family took him to San Francisco. There he went into business and was active in the Vigilance Committee of 1856. California, 1849-1913 (1913) offers anecdotes of these adventures as well as brief notes on San Francisco personalities and business life in the 1850s and 1860s, with some references to later decades.
- Incidents on land and water, or Four years on the Pacific coast. Being a narrative of the burning of the ships Nonantum, Humayoon and Fanchon, together with many startling and interesting adventures on sea and land
A native of Kingston, Massachusetts, Mrs. Bates sailed to California in 1850 on board the Nonantum, a coaler commanded by her husband. On reaching that state, the Bateses undertook hotelkeeping in Marysville, 1851-1854. Incidents on land and water (1857) contains Mrs. Bates’s hair-raising account of her voyage to California, when fires forced the scuttling of three ships on which the Bateses sailed. Mrs. Bates recounts hardships of the mining town, with special attention to the life of women and children in the camps, and gives details of a tour of the Sacramento Valley.
- Recollections of a long and somewhat uneventful life
Stephen Allen Bemis (1828-1919) left Massachusetts for Chicago, Illinois, in 1846 and spent the years 1852-1854 and 1860-1867 in California. Recollections of a long and somewhat uneventful life (1932) are Bemis’s reminiscences of his 1852 trip to California and Panama crossing but shed little light on his first stay in the West. He provides more details of his second California residence: an overland crossing driving a herd of livestock in 1860, reunion with his wife and children in San Francisco, where he tried a variety of businesses, and his 1867 removal to St. Louis.
- Edmund Booth (1810-1905) forty-niner; the life story of a deaf pioneer, including portions of his autobiographical notes and gold rush diary, and selections from family letters and reminiscences
Edmund Booth (1810-1905) of Massachusetts lost his hearing and part of his sight by the time he was eight years old. Despite these disabilities, Booth led a full and adventurous life, leaving his Iowa farm in 1849 for nearly five years in the California gold fields. On his return to Iowa he left farming for journalism and became editor of the Abolitionist Anamosa Eureka. Edmund Booth (1810-1905) forty-niner (1953) contains Booth’s diary and letters chronicling his overland crossing; prospecting at Feather River, Hangtown, and Sonora; visits to Sacramento, Columa, Columbia, and Stockton; and return voyage via Nicaragua, 1854.
- Three years in California [1851-54]
Edinburgh-born artist John David Borthwick (1825-c.1900) left New York for California in 1851, crossing the Isthmus at Chagres. In 1860 Borthwick returned to Britain, where his paintings were exhibited in several galleries including the Royal Academy. Three years in California (1857) focuses on his experiences mining gold and quartz at Hangtown, Foster’s Bar, Downieville, Mississippi Bar, Jacksonville, and Carson’s Hill. He devotes much attention to social life in the camps as well as mining techniques, describing crime, the Chinese and French and other ethnic groups, and holidays and public entertainments. Borthwick illustrated the book with eight of his own lithographs which are considered the most realistic of the period for California.
- Index … Three years in California, by J.D. Borthwick … William Blackwood & sons, Edinburgh and London, MDCCCLVII
Despite its title, this is not an index but an analytical table of contents for Borthwick’s Three years in California (1857).
- A Yankee trader in the gold rush; the letters of Franklin A. Buck
A native of Maine, Franklin Agustus Buck (1826-1909) was working in New York City when he heard of the gold strikes and set out for California in January 1849. A Yankee trader in the gold rush (1930) contains Buck’s letters to his sister in Maine. They chronicle his first dozen years in the West: a voyage round the Horn to San Francisco; prospecting and storekeeping in various gold camps and the towns of Sacramento, Downieville, North Fork, Marysville, and Weaverville; and a trading voyage to Tahiti and Hawaii. Politics interest Buck, and he pays close attention to the issues in the 1852 election, local secessionist debate, and the impact of the Civil War. In the 1860s, Buck turns to agriculture, raising fruit and cattle at farms in Weaverville, Oakville, and Red Bluffs. Discoveries of silver lead him back to mining at Treasure City, Meadow Valley, and Pioche, Nevada.
- Six months in the gold mines: from a journal of three years’ residence in Upper and Lower California. 1847-8-9
Edward Gould Buffum (1820-1867), a New York journalist, came to California as an officer in the 7th Regiment of N.Y. Volunteers during the Mexican War. He stayed on to seek gold and edit a California newspaper before returning east to become Paris correspondent of the New York Herald. Six months in the gold mines (1850) is Buffum’s vivid account of his regiment’s voyage west in 1846 to help secure California for the United States. He describes his discharge from the army in Monterey and his subsequent adventures as a gold seeker, sailing up the Sacramento to reach the Sierra Nevadas above Sutter’s Fort. He describes prospecting along the Bear and Yuba Rivers, Weber Creek, and Middle and South Forks of the American River, Foster’s Bar, and Weaver’s Creek, 1848-1849. He concludes with the story of his work for Alta California in San Francisco and the growth of San Francisco.
- The diary of a forty-niner
Chauncey de Leon Canfield (1843-1909) first published “The diary of a forty-niner” in 1906, and 1,200 of the 2,000 copies in that edition were burned. Joseph Gaer’s Bibliography of California literature, 20 describes this book as written in the form of a diary, but fictional.’ The diary of a forty-niner (1920) reprints Canfield’s 1906 publication. It purports to be the diary of Alfred T. Jackson, of Litchfield County, Connecticut, during his days as a gold prospector, 1850-1852. Jackson offers firsthand accounts of Nevada City and neighboring Rock Creek; descriptions of Grass Valley, North and South Yuba Valleys, and the Sierra Mountains; details of gold mining with accounts of pioneer overland crossings, and foreign mineworkers (including Chinese). Entries concerning Jackson’s personal life include details of his courtship of a French woman in the camps.
- One man’s gold; the letters & journal of a forty-niner, Enos Christman
Enos Christman (1828-1912), a West Chester, Pennsylvania printer’s apprentice, left for the gold fields in June 1849, returning in October 1852. One man’s gold (1930) contains both sides of his correspondence with his fiancee and his former boss in West Chester and his journal of his experiences in the West. Highlights include his brief career as prospector on the Calaveras River and Mariposa diggings and his partnership in publication of the Sonoma Herald and life in that town, 1850-1852.
- The Shirley letters from California mines in 1851-52; being a series of twenty-three letters from Dame Shirley (Mrs. Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe) to her sister in Massachusetts, and now reprinted from the Pioneer magazine of 1854-55; with synopses of the letters, a foreword, and many typographical and other corrections and emendations
Educated in Amherst, Massachusetts, Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe (1819-1906) accompanied her physician-husband to California in 1849. The couple first lived in mining camps where Dr. Clappe practiced medicine and then moved to San Francisco, where Mrs. Clappe taught in the public schools for more than twenty years. The Shirley letters (1922) is the book edition of a series of letters written by Mrs. Clappe to her sister in 1851 and 1852. They were first published under the pseudonym of “Dame Shirley” in the Pioneer magazine, 1854-55. In these letters Louise Clappe writes of life in San Francisco and the Feather River mining communities of Rich Bar and Indian Bar. She focuses on the experiences of women and children, the perils of miners’ work, crime and punishment, and relations with native Hispanic residents and Native Americans. Bret Harte is said to have based two of his stories on the “Shirley” letters.
- Three years in California [1846-1849]
Walter Colton (1797-1851) of Vermont had a career as clergyman and journalist before sailing to California as naval chaplain of the Congress. In July 1846, Commodore Stockton named him alcalde of Monterey, a post to which he was elected a few months later. He remained in California until 1849, using his time to found the state’s first newspaper and building its first schoolhouse. Three years in California (1850) contains Colton’s memoirs of that period, including descriptions of the U.S. military occupation of California, social life and customs of Monterey, discovery of gold and firsthand impressions of the Sonora mining camp in the Southern Mines, visits to Stockton and San José, John Charles Frémont, the Constitutional Convention of 1849, and California missions.
- Memoirs of Elisha Oscar Crosby; reminiscences of California and Guatemala from 1849 to 1864
Elisha Oscar Crosby (1818-1895), a New York lawyer, fell victim to “California fever” and sailed for the West in December 1848. In California he had a distinguished legal and political career that led to a diplomatic appointment. Memoirs of Elisha Oscar Crosby (1945) prints handwritten reminiscences and anecdotes prepared by Crosby in his old age. Topics include: early life in New York, the voyage west via Panama, law practice in mining camps, the 1849 Constitutional Convention, and service in the state senate. Crosby also reflects on the inequities of the California Land Act of 1851 and his term as U.S. minister to Guatemala, 1861-1864.
- California gold rush merchant; the journal of Stephen Chapin David
Stephen Chapin Davis (1833-1856) and his brother left Nashua, New Hampshire, to act as agents for local merchants in Gold Rush California. Before he was done, young Davis crossed Panama four times in the period June 1850-May 1854. California gold rush merchant (1956) prints Davis’s journal entries from the original in the Henry E. Huntington Library. Highlights include his Panama crossings; descriptions of Marysville, Long Bar, Coulterville, Stockton, and San Francisco; and a side trip to Oregon. His business interests included both general stores and a boardinghouse in mining camps.
- Alonzo Delano’s California correspondence: being letters hitherto uncollected from the Ottawa (Illinois) Free trader and the New Orleans True delta, 1849-1952
Born in Aurora, New York, Alonzo Delano (1806-1874) moved on to the Midwest as a teenager. July 1848 found him a consumptive Ottawa, Illinois, storekeeper, and he joined a local California Company. He remained in the West after the Gold Rush, winning fame as an early California humorist. Alonzo Delano’s California correspondence (1952) is an annotated twentieth-century reprinting of his letters, April 1849-August 1852, to newspapers in his home town of New Orleans. They cover his voyage to St. Joseph and an overland journey to California; sojourns in Sacramento, Marysville, and San Francisco; and experiences as a storekeeper at Mud Hill, Stringtown, Gold Lake, and Grass Valley. Topics include quartz mining, crime and vigilantism, and real estate investment. In 1857, Delano revised and expanded these letters for his book Life on the plains and among the diggings.
- A Gil Blas in California
Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) was one of France’s most acclaimed novelists of the nineteenth century. A Gil Blas in California (1933) is an English translation of a work first published in Brussels in 1852, with Dumas presenting it as his rendering of a young Frenchman’s firsthand account of his adventures in the California Gold Rush. Many critics doubt its claims as a work of non-fiction. The tale covers a voyage round the Horn from Le Havre, life at French Camp, San Francisco fires, California farming and wildlife, hunting trips near Sonoma and in the Mariposa Valley, and a visit to San José.
- Early voyages to California …
Albert Peabody (1806-1879) and John Eagleston were Salem, Massachusetts merchants who sailed to California in the last months of 1848 to exploit the market for Eastern goods among the miners. Early voyages to California (1874) reprints two pieces from the Historical Collections of the Essex Institute. In the first, Peabody describes his December 1848 sailing with a cargo of foodstuffs and mining tools for the California gold camps, where he remained until 1851. Highlights include a voyage round the Horn and business life in San Francisco and Sacramento. In the second, Eagleston recounts his voyage in October 1848 and his brief stay in San Francisco to sell his cargo before returning east in the summer of 1849.
- California, in-doors and out; or, How we farm, mine, and live generally in the Golden State
During her three years as matron of the Female Prison at Sing Sing, 1844-1848, Eliza Burhans Farnham (1815-1864) tried to institute reforms based on phrenology. Discharged from the post, she soon learned that her lawyer-husband had died in California, leaving her with affairs to settle there. Farnham set about organizing a pioneer party of single, educated women to join her in the voyage round the Horn. California, in-doors and out (1856) opens with a description of her harrowing voyage round the Horn in 1849. In 1850 Farnham and her children moved to El Rancho La Libertad, the Santa Cruz farm left to her by her husband. She describes her experiences as a farmer, the position of women in California, mining life, the history of the Donner Expedition based on interviews with survivors, and the 1856 San Francisco Vigilance Committee.
- Scenes of life in California
Friedrich Gerstäcker (1816-1872), a native of Hamburg, left Germany in 1837 for a six-year stay in New York. On his return to Germany, he published two travel memoirs, and the Frankfurt government subsidized his return to America in 1849 to collect information for prospective emigrants to California. On his return home, he published several books dealing with his travels. Scenes of life in California (1942) is the English translation of Californische skizzen, published in Germany in 1856. Here Gerstäcker describes his westward voyage in 1849, stops at Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, crossing the Andes to reach Valparaiso, and his sea journey to San Francisco. He next recalls his fourteen months in California, September 1849-November 1850, which saw him prospect for gold and keep store at Feather River, Murphy’s New Diggings, and Mosquito Gulch. Several of the incidents described at length in these scenes are touched on briefly in his longer work Gerstäcker‘s travels (1854), which also describes his stays in San Francisco and his voyage from that port to Honolulu, Australia, and the Dutch East Indies on his way back to Germany.
- Records of a California family; journals and letters of Lewis C. Gunn and Elizabeth Le Breton Gunn
Lewis Carstairs Gunn (1813-1892) and Elizabeth LeBreton Stickney (1811-1906) made their home in Philadelphia after their marriage in 1839, and Lewis left for California in 1849, with his wife and four children joining him two years later. Records of a California family (1928) begins with Lewis Gunn’s journal describing his journey from New Orleans to Mexico and then to San Francisco and his life as a miner on the San Joaquin, 1849-1850. Mrs. Gunn’s letters chronicle her voyage round the Horn with four children in 1851 and their life in Sonora (1851-1861), where her husband published the Sonora Herald and owned a drugstore. She records the affairs of a family (housework, schools, medical care), newspaper publishing, and politics. The Gunns were longtime abolitionists, and Lewis’s role in keeping California a free state is detailed. In 1861 the family moved to San Francisco, and the book closes with chapters by Anna Marston summarizing their life there in the 1860s and their later experiences in San Diego.
- Notebooks of James Gillespie Hamilton, a merchant of old Westport, Missouri (1844-1858)
James Gillespie Hamilton (1816-1869) of Missouri first visited California in 1857. Notebooks of James Gillespie Hamilton (1953) prints his brief journal notations for January-May 1858, tersely recording travels to Santa Barbara, Laguna, Los Angeles, and San Francisco and his voyage east via Panama to New York City, May-June 1858.
- Around the Horn in ’49; journal of the Hartford Union Mining and Trading Company. Containing the name, residence and occupation of each member, with incidents of the voyage, &c., &c.
Linville John Hall, a Hartford, Connecticut, printer, was a member of the Hartford Union Company, a joint venture that purchased the Henry Lee and outfitted the ship with supplies and equipment for gold prospecting in California. All but one of the passengers and crew on the vessel in January 1849 were members of the company. Hall remained in California until 1851, returning to Connecticut to become a Protestant clergyman. Around the Horn in ’49 (1898) can be divided into two sections. The first and longer section reprints the text of a journal kept on board the Henry Lee and set in type by Hall during the voyage, February-September 1849. There is some reason to believe that this journal may have been written by a member of the company, George G. Webster, a Hartford lawyer. Journal entries for the first portion of the voyage were apparently sent back to Hartford when the ship stopped in Rio, and were printed in Connecticut three months before the Henry Lee reached San Francisco. The rest of the journal was set in type as the voyage progressed, with the last signature set while in San Francisco: this section records the creation of the Company and details the passage round the Horn and landing in San Francisco. The second section is an appendix that continues the story of the company in the gold fields, 1849-1850, with prospecting around Weaverville and other camps. Hall describes his work as an itinerant printer and mining near Placerville. He next describes his work as a printer in San Francisco and gives an eyewitness account of the fire of May 1851.
- The land of gold. Reality versus fiction
Hinton Rowan Helper (1829-1909) of North Carolina became one of the South’s most controversial figures in the 1850s for his criticisms of slavery in The land of gold and his better known book, The impending crisis. Indeed, he found it prudent to move to New York before the Civil War, and he received diplomatic appointments in Latin America from the Lincoln administration. The land of gold (1855) draws on Helper’s three years residence in California and leads him to the conclusion, “California is the poorest State in the Union.” Aside from gold, he can see nothing to recommend the state economically, and his book damns the state’s populace in terms of morals and intelligence. He spends three chapters dismissing San Francisco (although he later has good words for the Vigilance Committee), is disgusted by the Digger Indians at Bodega, finds fault with Sacramento, and reflects on prospecting on Yuba River and at Columbia. Some good words are reserved for Stockton, but on the whole, Helper writes to discourage emigrants from retracing his course round the Horn.
- California: its gold and its inhabitants
Sir Henry Veel Huntley (1795-1864) was a British naval officer and colonial administrator. California: its gold and its inhabitants (1856) contains his experiences in California in 1852 as the San Francisco-based representative of a British gold quartz-mining company. He describes business and social life in San Francisco as well as visits to Marysville and Sacramento and two months at Placerville supervising large-scale mechanized mining operations. Special attention is given to shipping news, crime and violence and political corruption and disasters such as the Marysville flood and Sacramento fire.
- Glances at California, 1847-1853, diaries and letters of William Rich Hutton …
William Hutton (1826-1901) left Washington, D.C. for California in 1847 as a clerk to his uncle, an army paymaster. He remained for six years, returning east to a distinguished career in civil engineering. Glances at California (1942) chronicles his six years in the state, beginning with his voyage via Panama and life with the U.S. Army occupation forces, 1847-49, and travel to Monterey, Santa Barbara, San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Mazatla´n. In June 1849 he accompained Edward O.C. Ord on a surveying expedition to Los Angeles and later worked as a surveyor in San Luis Obispo and as assistant to Henry W. Halleck at a Santa Clara County quicksilver mine and a San Francisco law office.
- Sights in the gold region, and scenes by the way
Theodore Taylor Johnson of New Jersey sailed to California in February 1849 and had returned home by the end of June. Sights in the gold region (1849) is the first published book to relate authentic personal experiences in the California gold fields. Johnson describes his voyage to California and Panama crossing and prospecting in the Culomma Valley. He also writes of his return to San Francisco in the hope of finding work at the end of spring and his discouraged decision to take passage home, again crossing the Isthmus again at Chagres. Personal recollections are fleshed out with second hand discussions of the state’s history and culture.
- California sketches, with recollections of the gold mines
Leonard Kip (1826-1906), a young Albany lawyer, sailed for California in 1849. On his return east in 1850, Kip resumed the practice of law in Albany and published stories, articles, and novels. California sketches (1946) reprints accounts of his adventures that Kip sent home for newspaper publication and that were published as a pamphlet in 1850. The eight chapters describe his arrival in San Francisco, journey through Stockton to two months of gold-mining on the Mukelumne, and reasons for his abandonment of California.
- Gideon Lee Knapp and Augusta Murray Spring, his wife: extracts from letter & journal
Gideon Lee Knapp (d. 1875) married Augusta Murray Spring (1822-1885) in 1842 in New York City. In January 1849, Knapp sailed for California, while his wife remained behind with their children. Knapp returned east in October and made New York his home for the rest of his life. Gideon Lee Knapp and Augusta Murray Spring (1909) contains Gideon Knapp’s shipboard letters from his voyage round the Horn to California, but most of the pages are filled with letters to and from his wife and children, and his wife’s journal entries during his absence in 1849, and later by family letters and journal entries through 1874.
- The adventures of a forty-niner. An historic description of California, with events and ideas of San Francisco and its people in those early days
An Albany, New York, physician, Daniel Knower (b. ca. 1818) sailed for California in 1849 with twelve prefabricated frame houses for the San Francisco market. The adventures of a forty-niner (1894) describes Knower’s business and real estate speculations in San Francisco as well as an extended visit to a mining camp near Coloma and the life of prospectors there.
- From East Prussia to the Golden Gate
Frank Lecouvreur (1829-1901) was born Franz Lecouvreur in Ortlesburg, Prussia. Educated as an engineer, he left home for California in 1851. From East Prussia to the Golden Gate (1906) draws on Lecouvreur’s letters and journals to describe his journey from Prussia to California and his life in his new home. His letters from the gold mines on the Yuba River offer an unusually professional analysis of mining methods at Hopkinsville and Long Bar and continue with a series of odd jobs in San Francisco and trips to Alameda and San Jose´, 1853-1854. In 1855, Lecouvreur moves to Southern California , and scattered diary entries cover his service as Los Angeles county clerk and deputy county surveyor and businessman, 1855-1868.
- The argonauts of ‘forty-nine, some recollections of the plains and the diggings
David Leeper (1832-1900) left South Bend, Indiana, for an overland trip to the California gold fields in February 1849. The argonauts of forty-nine (1894) details Leeper’s journey west and his life in California, 1849-1854: prospecting at Redding’s Diggings, Hangtown, and the Trinity River; lumbering around Eureka; and early Sacramento and Humboldt Bay. Leeper shows special interest in the Digger Indians, illustrating the book with sketches of tribal garb in his personal collection.
- California illustrated; including a description of the Panama and Nicaragua routes
John M. Letts of New York sailed for California via Panama in January 1849. California illustrated (1853) describes that voyage and his landing in San Francisco. Next he travels to Sacramento and the Northern Mines of the American River, where he describes gambling and crime in the camps, Native Americans, and mining techniques. He devotes considerable attention to politics in the camps, focusing on the California Constitutional Convention and debate on slavery 1849. He describes his trip home, with stops at Sacramento and San Francisco and his return to New York via Panama, with notes on stops in Acapulco, Managua, and Chagres.
- A pioneer at Sutter’s fort, 1846-1850; the adventures of Heinrich Lienhard …
Heinrich Lienhard (1822-1903), son of a Swiss farmer, sailed for America in 1843. After three years in the Midwest, Lienhard and four other young European immigrants set off by wagon for California, reaching Johann Sutter’s New Helvetia in October 1846. After a few months in the U.S. Army, Lienhard returned to Sutter’s settlement. In 1849 Lienhard returned to Switzerland to accompany Sutter’s family to the New World. Disillusioned by the changed California he found in early 1850, Lienhard returned to Switzerland in July. A pioneer at Sutter’s fort (1941) is based on a diary kept in his years in California and focuses on Johann Sutter, his family, and his settlement on the Sacramento. It also covers Lienhard’s experiences as a farmer and a miner and his crossings of Panama and the Atlantic in 1849-1850.
- California as I saw it; pencillings by the way of its gold and gold diggers, and incidents of travel by land and water. With five letters from the Isthmus
Dr. William S. McCollum (1807/1808-1882) was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Niagara County, New York. He went to California in 1849, returned to New York the following year and then paid a second visit to California as a physician for the Panama Railroad Company. California as I saw it (1960) reprints McCollum’s 1850 book describing his first visit to the West: San Francisco in 1849, a journey to Stockton and the Southern Mines and to Sacramento and the Northern Mines, prospecting near Jacksonville, and medical practice in Stockton and San Francisco. After describing his return voyage east via Panama, McCollum closes with advice and reflections on the law of the mines, Native Americans, the life of women in California, etc. The book’s Appendix include letters written from Panama by H.W. Hecox, McCollum’s fellow passenger on the voyage to the Isthmus, February-March 1849. Hecox was so disheartened by his wait for passage to California that he returned to the United States without ever seeing the Pacific Ocean.
- Narrative of Edward McGowan, including a full account of the author’s adventures and perils while persecuted by the San Francisco vigilance committee of 1856, together with a report of his trial, which resulted in his acquittal …
Edward McGowan (1807-1893) left behind a controversial career as a former Pennsylvania legislator and police superintendent when he came to San Francisco in 1849. There he entered Democratic politics and earned the nickname “the ballot box stuffer.” He was acquitted when the Vigilance Committee indicted him for complicity in the killing of James King of William in 1856, but his power in California was at an end. He later served in the Confederate Army and had brushes with the law in Canada before returning to San Francisco in his old age. Narrative of Edward McGowan (1857; reprinted 1917) presents his version of his role in James King’s shooting by James Casey in May 1856. Next he discusses the subsequent creation of the Vigilance Committee and his flight from the vigilantes and his life as a fugitive in the Santa Barbara area. He closes with a lengthy discussion of the promise that prompted him to emerge from hiding to stand trial.
- McNeil’s travels in 1849, to, through, and from the gold regions in California
Samuel McNeil left his shoemaking business in Lancaster, Ohio, in January 1849 for a trip to the California gold fields via Panama. Unlike many 49ers, he had sense enough to return home when he had accumulated enough gold to meet his needs. McNeil’s travels in 1849 (1850) recounts the shipwreck that forced McNeil and his compatriots to travel overland from Texas to Mazatla´n, where they obtained passage to San Francisco. He then describes prospecting at Smiths Bar on the North Fork of the American River, Bear River, Weaver’s Creek, and other Feather and Trinity Rivers camps until August, when he took his stake of 2,000 and booked passage east.
- Mountains and molehills; or, Recollections of a burnt journal
Frank Marryat (1826-1855) left England for California via Panama with a manservant and three hunting dogs in 1850, hoping to find material for a book like his earlier Borneo. On his return to England in 1853, Marryat married and brought his bride back to California that same year. Yellow fever contracted on shipboard forced him to cut the trip short and return to England where he died two years later. Mountains and molehills (1855) is a sportsman-tourist’s chronicle of California in the early 1850s: hunting, horse races, bear and bull fights. It also includes an Englishman’s bemused comments on social life in San Francisco, Stockton, and the gold fields.
- A Frenchman in the gold rush; the journal of Ernest de Massey, argonaut of 1849
Ernest de Massey was the younger son of a well-to-do French family that sailed to America and the Gold Rush in the spring of 1849. He eventually settled in San Francisco, where he lived until his return to Europe in 1857. A Frenchman in the gold rush (1927) is a translation of de Massey’s journal covering his voyage to California, gold mining on the Trinity River, 1850, and visits to San Jose´, Santa Cruz, and San Juan Bautista; and his career as a San Francisco businessman and journalist, 1850-1851.
- Bound for Sacramento; travel-pictures of a returned wanderer
Carl Meyer was a German-speaking Swiss who traveled to California in 1849. Bound for Sacramento (1938) is the English translation of Nach dem Sacramento, published in the Swiss town of Aarau in 1855. Meyer begins with his 1849 voyage from New Orleans, continuing with tales of the Mariposa and Trinidad gold mines, Stockton, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Mormon Island.
- The inside story of the gold rush
Jacques Antoine Moerenhout (1796-1879) was the French consul at Monterey in 1848. The inside story of the gold rush (1935) contains Moerenhout’s official dispatches concerning the discovery of gold in California. He reports his trip to the goldfields above Sacramento in July 1848 as well as later developments in the Gold Rush, 1848-1850.
- The autobiography of Charles Peters, in 1915 the oldest pioneer living in California, who mined in … the days of ’49 … Also historical happenings, interesting incidents and illustrations of the old mining towns in the good luck era, the placer mining days of the ’50s
Charles Peters, born in Portugal in 1825, first visited California in 1846 as a merchant seaman, returning three years later to seek gold at Columbia, Jackson Creek, and Mokelumne Hill. The autobiography of Charles Peters (n.d., ca. 1915) is the old man’s brief memoir of his life through the 1850s, followed by a series of “Good Luck” stories, miscellaneous tales of the mining camps, a few of which seem to be credited to Peters although most are the work of another author, drawn from many sources.
- A forty-niner speaks; a chronological record of a New Yorker and his adventures in various mining localities in California, his return trip across Nicaragua, including several descriptions of the changes in San Francisco and other mining centers from March 1849 to January 1851
Hiram Dwight Pierce (b. 1810) was a successful blacksmith in Troy, New York, when news arrived of gold discoveries in California. Leaving his wife and seven children behind, Pierce set out in March 1849, crossing the Isthmus to reach San Francisco. A forty-niner speaks (1930) prints the contents of notebooks kept by Pierce from the day he left Troy until his return in January 1851. He describes his journey west and work in the gold fields near Sacramento, the Stanislas mines, and the Merced River at Washington Flat, until his return home via Panama. Pierce offers an excellent account of the details of a prospector’s life and the organization of miners’ camps as business companies and local government units.
- Personal adventures in Upper and Lower California, in 1848-9; with the author’s experience at the mines. Illustrated by twenty-three drawings …
An Englishman, William Redmond Ryan (1791-1855) enlisted in an American regiment bound for California and sailed round the Horn in 1847. Personal adventures in Upper and Lower California (1850), vol. 1, describes that voyage to California as well as military life during the Mexican War in Monterey, La Paz, and San Jose (lower California). The first volume closes with Ryan’s description of the peacetime rush to the gold mines and his own journey from Monterey to the San Joaquin Valley to the Stanislaus Mine. Vol. 2, continues his story with a chronicle of daily life at the Stanislaus Mine; his career as a trader; travels through Stockton, Monterey, and Sacramento; life in San Francisco, 1849; the Constitutional Convention; and return voyage via Panama, 1849.
- Sketches of travels in South America, Mexico and California
A native of Frederick, Maryland, Luther Melanchthon Schaeffer sailed around the Horn to California in 1849. He spent most of the next two-and-a-half years in the gold fields, mining on the Feather River, Deer Creek, Grass Valley (Centerville) and other Nevada County sites. Sketches of travels in South America, Mexico and California (1860) gives an excellent picture of the international, interracial community of miners, with comments on social patterns, creation of local government, vigilance committees, and legal disputes in this society. Schaeffer also describes visits to San Francisco and Sacramento, Mexico, and Panama before his return to the East in 1852.
- Scharmann’s overland journey to California, from the pages of a pioneer’s diary
Herman Scharmann left Germany as head of a company of gold-seekers bound for California in 1849. Scharmann’s overland journey to California (1918) describes his family’s journey from New York to their wagon train in Independence, Missouri, and the trip across the Plains via Fort Kearny and Fort Laramie. When his wife and daughter die shortly after reaching California, Scharmann and two sons push ahead to the gold fields at Feather River and Middle Fork, and the American River and Negro Bar. He offers a brutal picture of the exploitation of emigrant parties and of the drudgery of prospecting and of towns like Marysville, Sacramento, and San Francisco, 1849-1851.
- Ramblings in California; containing a description of the country, life at the mines, state of society, &c. Interspersed with characteristic anecdotes, and sketches from life, being the five years’ experience of a gold digger
Pringle Shaw was a Briton or Canadian who spent five years in California in the 1850s. Ramblings in California (1857?) falls into two parts. The first half is an analytical study of California’s varied residents (European, Asian, United States emigrants); a history of mining and the evolution of society and law in mining camps and towns; and discussion of the state’s prospects for farmers, women, and children. Shaw describes San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Benecia at length and provides a county-by-county and town-by-town analysis of the state’s climate, soil, commerce, and demographic patterns. The last half contains anecdotes of Shaw’s own experiences as a miner and merchant in both the Northern and Southern Mines, with special notes on routes to California and an account of his passage at Chagres.
- Golden dreams and waking realities; being the adventures of a gold-seeker in California and the Pacific islands
An Englishman, William Shaw was in South Australia when he heard of the California gold rush, and he sailed across the Pacific from Adelaide in 1849. Golden dreams and waking realities (1851) describes that voyage, his visit to San Diego and his landing in San Francisco. Then follows an account of the long trip to the gold fields and details of life as a prospector in the international community of the camps. Leaving the mines for Stockton, Shaw is befriended by Mission Indians. Leaving Stockton for San Francisco, Shaw takes a series of odd jobs in the city before moving on the Mission of Dolores until the New Year, when he finds passage back to Australia, all the while recording the social life and business activities he saw. Next he records the changes observable in Hawaii on his return voyage, a visit to Samoa, and his reception on his landing at Sydney.
- Recollections of California, 1846-1861
William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) of Ohio won military fame as one of the greatest Union generals in the Civil War. His association with California began when he served as an aide to Generals Philip Kearny and Richard Barnes Mason during the Mexican War. He remained in California as an adjutant to General Persifor Smith. Sherman’s military tour in California ended in January 1850, but he resigned his Army commission in 1853 and returned to California as manager of a new bank. Barring a brief trip east to bring his wife and daughter to their new home in San Francisco, Sherman remained until 1857. Recollections of California (1945) contains extracts from Sherman’s published Memoirs dealing with his life in California as well as two letters written by Sherman from Monterey in 1848. These cover his voyage round the Horn and landing in Monterey and military missions to Los Angeles and San Francisco. He discusses the Army’s problems of establishing military rule and recalls the discovery of gold, which transformed the military mission and his own life. Sherman chronicles his part in Governor Mason’s historic inspection trip to the gold fields near Sutter’s Fort in 1848 as well as his own business ventures of the time: a store at Coloma, surveying a channel through Suisan Bay, a ranch at Cosumnes River, and Sacramento land speculations. He describes San Francisco and the flood of immigrants to California, 1848-1849. From his later residence, he recalls the bank run of 1855 and the Vigilance Committee crisis of 1856. The excerpts end with Sherman’s recollections of his life as attorney and educator, 1857-1861, before the Civil War called him back to military life.
- A letter from a gold miner, Placerville, California, October, 1850
S. Shufelt, a resident of Windham, New York, sailed to California via Panama in May 1849. A letter from a gold miner (1944) prints Shufelt’s letter from Placerville recounting his voyage and offering details of the everyday life of a gold prospector.
- Life sketches of a jayhawker of ’49
Lorenzo Dow Stephens (b. 1827) was born in New Jersey and raised in Illinois, where he joined a party for Califoria in 1849. Life sketches of a jayhawker (1916) begins with Stephens’s overland journey west, including Brigham Young’s sermons at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake. He describes prospecting on the Merced River, farming in the Santa Clara Valley, and cattle drives from San Bernardino and San Diego. His memoirs continue through the 1860s, including his part in the 1862 British Columbia gold rush.
- The diary of Johann August Sutter
John Augustus (Johann August) Sutter (1803-1880) left Switzerland for America in 1834. By 1839, he had worked his way west to California, where he became a Mexican citizen and obtained an enormous land grant at the juncture of the Sacramento and American Rivers. Discovery of gold on Sutter’s land in 1848 ruined him, and he spent his last years in bitter poverty. The diary of Johann August Sutter (1932) reprints a narrative written in 1856 by Sutter in the hope that it would bolster his legal claim to lands in California. The “diary” picks up the story of his life in 1838, when he journeyed west from Missouri to California. He describes his colony on the American River, unrest of 1845, American military occupation of 1847, and the discovery of gold and impact of emigrants and miners on the Sacramento Valley.
- A trip to the gold mines of California in 1848
John Swan (1817-1896), an English sailor, settled in Monterey in 1843 and joined other Californians in the rush to the gold fields to the north in July 1848. A trip to the gold mines of California in 1848 (1960) prints a memoir written out by Swan in 1870 giving an account of his ride north to Log Cabin Ravine and daily life as a prospector on the American River. A few months in the mines satisfy Swan, and he recounts his return to Monterey, where he spent the rest of his life. His book offers lively anecdotes of mining methods and miners in 1848 as well as of the land and people.
- Eldorado, or, Adventures in the path of empire: comprising a voyage to California, via Panama; life in San Francisco and Monterey; pictures of the gold region, and experiences of Mexican travel
Bayard Taylor (1825-1878) was already a well-established writer when he traveled to California as special correspondent for the New York Tribune in the summer of 1849. On his return to New York, Taylor established himself not only as one of America’s great travel writers but as a true man of letters, producing distinguished novels and poems as well as nonfiction for the next quarter century. Eldorado (1850) consists of Taylor’s rewritten dispatches to his paper. Volume 2 tells of the 1849 elections, horseback tours of the Sierras, gold camps on the Mokelumne River, analysis of the 1849 overland emigration, San Francisco social and cultural life, and a return to the East with stops in Guadalajara, Mazatla`n, Mexico City, Popcateptel, and Vera Cruz. Thomas Butler King’s official report on California, 22 March 1850, is printed as an appendix.
- Diary of a physician in California; being the results of actual experience, including notes of the journey by land and water, and observations on the climate, soil, resources of the country, etc.
Dr. James L. Tyson sailed from Baltimore for California in January 1849, crossing the Isthmus and sailing on to San Francisco. Diary of a physician in California (1850) recounts his 1849 tour of the Northern Mines in search of a likely place for his medical practice and his hospital at Cold Spring, where his patients included a number of Oregonians. Tyson closes his hospital at the end of the summer, sailing from San Francisco as a ship’s physician, crossing the Isthmus and landing in the United States in December 1849. His diary pays special attention to miners’ health and working conditions.
- Notes of a voyage to California via Cape Horn, together with scenes in El Dorado, in the years of 1849-’50. With an appendix containing reminiscences … together with the articles of association and roll of members of “The associated pioneers of the territorial days of California.”.
Samuel Curtis Upham (1819-1885) was a clerk in a Philadelphia merchant house when he decided to try his luck in California in January, 1849. Sailing round the Horn, he visited Rio de Janeiro and Talcahuana before landing in San Francisco. After a brief career as a gold miner at the Calaveras diggings, Upham moved to Sacramento, where he published the Sacramento Transcript, May-August 1850. Notes of a voyage to California (1878) includes Upham’s memoirs of his early years in California, with special attention to Sacramento’s colorful history in 1850. He closes his narrative with a brief description of his return to Philadelphia that same year via Panama. The book’s lengthy appendix contains chapters on California journalism, the California exhibition at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, and various reunion dinners and other events sponsored by the California “Pioneers” association.
- California. Four months among the gold-finders, being the diary of an expedition from San Francisco to the gold districts.
Henry Vizetelly (1820-1894), a London engraver and author, was a pioneer in the publication of inexpensive illustrated books and magazines. Edwin Bryant (1805-1869) was a Kentucky journalist before coming to California in 1846. He served under Fre´mont in the Mexican War and was then made alcalde of San Francisco. California. Four months among the gold-finders (1849) by “J. Tyrwhitt Brooks, M.D.” is a fictional account of the Gold Rush that purports to have been sent to the author’s brother from Monterey in October, 1848. In truth, Henry Vizetelly wrote the book without ever leaving London, supplementing easily available official accounts of the Gold Rush with his own imagination. The secret of his authorship and the book’s fictitious nature did not become public knowledge for some forty years after its original publication. “Brooks’s” account begins with his arrival in San Francisco, continuing with a trip to the goldfields near Sutter’s Fort and a try at prospecting at Weber’s Creek and other camps. What I saw in California, the second portion of the volume, originally published in 1848, contains Edwin Bryant’s more authentic account of life in pre-Gold Rush California, 1846-1847, including the U.S. Army occupation of the territory. Other documents in the appendix are letters concerning the Gold Rush that had appeared in the public press.
- The gold seekers of ’49; a personal narrative of the overland trail and adventures in California and Oregon from 1849 to 1854.
Kimball Webster (1828-1916), a New Hampshire farmer, began his overland journey to California in April 1849, and remained in California and Oregon until 1854. The gold seekers of ’49 (1917) uses Webster’s diary as the basis for the account of his trip to California via a wagon train from Independence, Missouri, and his first weeks in the Sacramento Valley. A much later narrative picks up the story of his later career in California as a goldseeker on the Feather River and Nelson’s Creek mines, 1849-1850; descriptions of Sacramento, Yuba City, and Marysville; and surveying in Oregon, 1851-1854.
- Early days in California; scenes and events of the ’50s as I remember them
Lee Summers Whipple-Haslam was the daughter of Franklin Summers, who came to California from Missouri in 1850 and mined enough gold at Shaw’s Flat (near Sonora) to return east and bring his family west in 1852. Early days in California (1925?) chronicles her life in Shaw’s Flat, Sonora, and other Tuolumne County communities, 1852-53; and the family’s new home on Turnback Creek in Tuolumne’s “East Belt” of minefields, 1854-60. There her mother kept a boarding house while her husband prospected, and their guests included Mark Twain. The author reminisces of neighbors at the camp, Native Americans and miners alike. A contemporary reviewer in 1923 commented that the reminiscences were “colored by time and approaching fiction.”
- A picture of pioneer times in California, illustrated with anecdotes and stories taken from real life.
William Francis White (1829-1891?) and his young wife sailed from New York in 1849 round the Horn to San Francisco, where he set up an import business. He later represented Santa Cruz in the state constitutional convention and served as a bank commissioner. A picture of pioneer times in California (1881), written under the pseudonym “William Grey,” presents White’s revisionist version of California history challenging the picture presented in the 1854 Annals of San Francisco. In particular, he attacks the Annals’ discussion of the Mission Fathers and the Mission Indians, the United States conquest of California in the Mexican War, discovery of gold at Sutter’s Fort, and the role of women during the Gold Rush. He also reminisces about his voyage to California and experiences as a San Francisco merchant, 1849-1850, as well as legends of the gold mines. The volume concludes with three fictional tales of California in the Gold Rush.
- California as it is & as it may be; or, A guide to the gold region
Felix Paul Wierzbicki (1815-1860) left his native Poland after participating in the doomed revolution of 1830. He made his way to America where he received a medical degree and practiced in Providence, Rhode Island. When the Mexican War broke out, Wierzbicki enlisted in the Army and was sent to California. Wierzbicki left the Army shortly after reaching the West and practiced medicine until the discovery of gold drew him to prospecting on Mokelumne Hill. In 1849, he returned to San Francisco, where he spent the rest of his life. California as it is (1849) was the first English-language book printed in California. It is a valuable guide to California for prospective settlers that includes a survey of agriculture, hints on gold mining, a guide to San Francisco, and a chapter on California’s Hispanic residents and Native American tribes.
- Luzena Stanley Wilson, ’49er; memories recalled years later for her daughter Correnah Wilson Wright
Luzena Wilson (b. ca. 1821) came to California from Missouri with her husband and two children in 1849. The family first settled in Sacramento, where they kept a hotel. After the Sacramento flood of 1849, they moved to a mining camp, where Mrs. Wilson ran another hotel until 1851, when the Wilsons journeyed to their new farm near modern Vacaville. Luzena Stanley Wilson, ’49er (1937) contains reminiscences of her overland journey and early years in California dictated to her daughter in 1881. Mrs. Wilson chronicles pioneering in Vaca Valley and her Hispanic neighbors, closing with comments on Vacaville’s gradual anglicization and urbanization.
- Personal recollections
Harvey Wood (1828-1895), a young clerk in a New Jersey store, joined the Kit Carson Association of would-be California miners that set out from New York in February 1849, sailing to Texas and crossing Mexico overland to find passage north to San Diego. Wood reached the Southern Mines in July 1849, spending the next seven years searching for gold on the Merced and Stanislas Rivers. In 1856 he purchased an interest in Robinsons Ferry across the Stanislas River, a business he maintained the rest of his life. Personal recollections (1955) reprints a memoir written in 1878 and first published in 1896. Wood describes his voyage to California and his experiences as a miner in modern Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties, 1849-1850.
- Sixteen months at the gold diggings
Daniel B. Woods of Philadelphia sailed to California in February 1849, crossing Mexico to San Blas, and arriving in San Francisco in June. Sixteen months at the gold diggings (1851) recounts those travels as well as his experiences as a prospector in the Northern Mines on the American River and at Hart’s Bar and other camps in the Southern Mines before starting home in November, 1850. His book offers an exceptionally realistic picture of the drudgery of mining and the business side of miners’ companies.
- Recollections of pioneer work in California
A native of Massachusetts, James Woods (1814/5-1886) served a church in Alabama in 1849 when the Presbyterian mission board selected him for duty in California. Recollections of pioneer work in California (1878) describes the Woods family’s voyage round the Horn and early stay in San Francisco before moving to Stockton, where Woods ministered for more than four years. He describes his Stockton ministry in detail, also reminiscing about other Protestant clergy in the neighborhood. Briefer notice is given to his later pastorates in Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, and Healdsburg.
- Californian pictures in prose and verse
New York journalist Benjamin Parke Avery (1828-1875) emigrated to California and became part owner of the Marysville Appeal in the 1850s and later published a newspaper in San Francisco and served as state printer. Californian pictures in prose and verse (1878) contains his “word-sketches,” which are largely confined to California scenery, although some picture Native Americans and miners whom he knew when he prospected on the Trinity River in 1850 as well as the city of San Francisco. Most of the book is devoted to poems and essays dealing with mountains of the Coast Range, the Sierra Nevadas, and the Santa Cruz range and their passes and lakes; Yosemite, upper Sacramento Valley, Mount Shasta, and the geysers.
- California and the West, 1881, and later …
Lloyd Briggs (1863-1941) of Boston interrupted his studies at Harvard Medical School to travel to Hawaii for his health. He first visited California on his return from Honolulu in 1881, and his mother and sister joined him in San Francisco. Briggs earned his long-delayed medical degree in 1899 and soon became one of Boston’s most distinguished psychiatrists. California and the West (1931) includes accounts of Briggs’s several trips to the state. His first visit in 1881 took him to the Napa Valley, Calistoga, the mineral springs, geysers, and Vallejo; with highlights of San Francisco, including Garfield’s funeral procession, Chinatown and Chinese exclusion, and local theatre. January 1882 sees the Briggses to Los Angeles for the winter and early spring. Later chapters cover Briggs’s visits to the Chicago World’s Fair (1893) and an 1895 trip to California via the Canadian Pacific Railroad, including a brief stop in San Francisco. This book continues with a description of a 1904 trip to the St. Louis World’s Fair followed by a rail trip west to Yosemite and Yellowstone. Next comes an account of a brief 1920 visit to Santa Barbara and a longer trip west in 1921 that took Briggs to Lake Tahoe, Mono Lake, Yosemite and Yellowstone, San Francisco, Monterey, and Santa Barbara; and another brief trip to Santa Barbara in 1923.
- The lure of the past, the present and future
George W. Bryan (b. ca. 1844) of Indiana was living in Los Angeles when he wrote this book. The lure of the past (1911) begins with the story of his kinfolk William E. Bryan and his wife Mary, who left Carthage, Kentucky for an overland journey to California in 1853. He describes their life on a ranch near Virginia Flat, El Dorado County, before moving on to a ranch outside Sacramento. Next come Bryan’s philosophical musings and reminiscences of Indiana and an account of a rail journey from Indianapolis to California, with stops at San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Riverside.
- California sketches
Thomas S. Chard made a rail journey from Chicago to California in 1888. California sketches (1888) describes the sights seen during his busy five-week stay: San Francisco, Monterey, San Jos, Yosemite, Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Geysers.
- “Little sheaves” gathered while gleaning after reapers. Being letters of travel commencing in 1870, and ending in 1873.
Caroline M. Nichols Churchill (b. 1833) moved from Chicago to California in 1870. “Little sheaves” (1874) recounts her experiences in the West, with special attention to San Jose´, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Gilroy, Petaluma, Santa Rose, Healdsburg, and Los Angeles; and Reno, Carson City, and Virginia City, Nevada.
- Over the purple hills, or Sketches of travel in California, embracing all the important points usually visited by tourists.
Caroline M. Nichols Churchill (b. 1833) first came to California from Chicago in 1870. Over the purple hills (1881) continues her tales of California begun in “Little Sheaves” (1874), beginning with an 1874 rail trip from San Francisco to Bartlett’s Springs, Stockton, Napa, and Lake Tahoe. She also details undated visits to Yosemite Valley and Salt Lake City and a rail journey from Visalia to Monterey, Vallejo, and Placerville. Throughout she shows a sharp eye for matters of interest to women and tourists.
- Two years in California
A resident of Marietta, Ohio, Mary Cone spent two years in California in the 1870s. Two years in California (1876) is more a guide than a first-person narrative of her experiences in the West. She treats the state’s history, climate, agriculture, and geography before turning to its regions: Southern California (San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara), the Sacramento and San Joaqun? Valleys (with chapters on individual Sacramento ranches), Northern California’s redwoods and Mount Shasta and the same region’s other tourist attractions (San Francisco, Mount St. Helena). Separate chapters discuss the Chinese in California and the author’s visit to Yosemite.
- Appreciation of loved ones who made life rich for many. My father, John Francis Cross; my mother, Sarah Jane Cross
Lilian A. Cross was the daughter of carpenter John Francis Cross (1828-1910) and schoolteacher Sarah Meservey (1835-1928) who came from Maine to California in the 1850s. Appreciation of loved ones (1933) is Lilian Cross’s account of her family’s life in California after her father came west in 1852 to work as a carpenter in Benecia. He returned east to bring back his new bride, and the young couple moved to Sacramento County in 1855, living on various farms there for more than thirty years, with Mrs. Cross teaching and supervising several local schools. With the family’s move to Oakland in 1892, this becomes a story of town-dwellers, not farmers. Throughout, Cross gives special attention to her mother’s experiences as wife, mother, schoolteacher, and independent widow.
- À la California. Sketch of life in the Golden state
Albert S. Evans (1831-1872) was a New Hampshire-born California journalist, serving as correspondent for the New York Tribune and Chicago Tribune. A´ la California (1873) is a volume of reminiscences and anecdotal history published after Evans’s death at sea. He begins by taking his reader on a tour from the Sierra Morena through the San Andreas Valley, south to Pescadero and Santa Cruz, up the Napa Valley and Mount St. Helena. He offers several chapters on San Francisco, with special attention to the legends of the Barbary Coast and Chinatown and tales of miners in the Gold Rush.
- The Californians
English writer Walter Mulrea Fisher (1849-1919) lived in California for four years in the 1870s. The Californians (1876) is his account of that stay, a gossipy social analysis of the people of California, with only a brief summary of California geography and climate and no itinerary of his travels. Thus there are separate chapters for early California settlers, Hispanic Californians, women and family life, Chinese immigrants, politicians, local authors and newspaper publishing, and religious life.
- Summer saunterings
Frank Harrison Gassaway used the pseudonym “Derrick Dodd” for his numerous writings in the San Francisco Evening Post. Summer saunterings (1882) contains travel letters originally published in the Post. They report transportation routes, hotels and camping sites, natural wonders and man made tourist attractions, and local lore in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Jose´, Napa, Saucelito, San Rafael, Santa Rose, Yosemite, and other popular spots.
- Granite crags
Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming (1837-1924) was an Englishwoman who sailed from Tahiti to San Francisco in April 1878 and remained in California for five months. Granite crags (1884) is a volume of her travel letters detailing visits to San Rafael, the redwood forests, the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys, Yosemite, Oakland, and Tulare Lake. She evinces great interest in hydraulic mining operations and quartz mining near Sonora and the Stanislaus River and gives special attention to the region’s botany and agriculture as well as recounting tales of the Gold Rush and San Francisco in the lawless 1850s.
- My seventy years in California, 1857-1927
Jackson Alpheus Graves (1852-1933) and his family left Iowa in 1857 for a life as ranchers and farmers in Marysville and San Mateo, California. After graduation from St. Mary’s College and a clerkship in a San Francisco law office, Graves moved to Los Angeles in 1875 and became one of the city’s leading attorneys and bankers. My seventy years in California (1927) describes Graves’s boyhood and education in northern california and Los Angeles as he found it in 1875: Democratic politics, the position of Hispanic citizens, conflicting land claims, railroad interests, the legal profession, social life, and farming. He offers anecdotes of thirty years of law practice in the city as well as his personal interests: hunting trips in Southern California and Oregon, a San Gabriel Valley ranch, a beach home on Terminal Island, and yachting to Catalina. After 1904, Graves’s professional life centers on his work as vice president and president of the Farmers & Merchants Bank, and his book details the banking community and his interests in orange growing and the petroleum industry.
- Letters from California
Harriet Harper of Maine paid a six-month visit to California with another young woman in 1888. Letters from California (1888) describes their travels within California via rail and coastal steamship to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Tijuana, and the San Pedro wineries.
- Travels with jottings. From midland to the Pacific
Edward Dwight Holton (1815-1892) was a New Hampshire-born Milwaukee merchant and banker who took his wife and grandson on a rail tour to California in November 1879. Travels with jottings (1880) describes that trip, beginning with the northern part of the state, including San Francisco and its new cable cars, the Cliff House, Oakland, the Santa Clara Valley, Almaden quicksilver mines, San Jose, the San Joaquin Valley, the Sonoma Valley, Yosemite, and Santa Barbara. In southern California, the Holtons visit Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. Throughout, Holton shows a keen interest in agriculture and industry.
- Letters of travel in California, in the winter and spring of 1896
Loraine Pratt Immen (b. 1840) of Grand Rapids, Iowa, visited Loraine Pratt Immen (b. 1840) of Grand Rapids, Iowa, visited California in the winter and spring of 1896. Letters of travel (1896?) first appeared in a local newspaper. Mrs. Immen reported visits to Echo Mountain, San Diego, greater Los Angeles, Yosemite, Oakland, Santa Clara, San Jose, and San Francisco.
- California revisited. 1858-1897
Thaddeus S. Kenderdine made his way from Philadelphia to Michigan in 1858, staying only a month before he determined to head west. He remained in California for only a year, returning to New York in 1859. This visit is described in A California tramp (1888). California revisited (1898) recounts his second trip to California after an absence of forty years, an 1897 rail trip to a Christian Endeavor meeting in San Francisco with a stop in Salt Lake City. He contrasts his two journeys west as well as the changes in San Francisco and its neighborhood. He also visits Monterey, San Jose´, Los Angeles, Pasadena, and San Pedro; as well as the missions at San Fernando, Santa Barbara, San Juan Capistrano, and San Miguel. His stay in San Francisco coincides with beginning of Klondike gold fever and he revisits old mining camps in the Sacramento Valley before returning via the northern route with a stopover at Yellowstone Park.
- Recollections of a newspaperman; a record of life and events in California
Frank Aleamon Leach (b. 1846) published the Vallejo Evening Chronicle, 1867-1886; and the Oakland Enquirer, 1886-1898. He retired from journalism to become superintendent of the San Francisco Mint, 1897-1907. Recollections of a newspaperman (1917) begins as Leach and his mother leave Cayuga County, New York, to rejoin the boy’s father in California, where the elder Leach had set up a bottling plant in Sacramento. Leach recalls his boyhood there and in Napa, where the family moved in 1857. He tells of experiences as a printer and newspaper publisher in Napa, Vallejo, and Oakland. Other topics are a rail trip east in 1875, mining speculations, a term in the state legislature, Republican Party politics, ranching, railroad strikes, and his campaign against Oakland bosses and the rail interests. Highlights of his years after journalism are his work at the mint and the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906.
- Notes of two trips to California and return, taken in 1883 and 1886-7
Solomon Mead (1808-1897) of Greenwich, Connecticut, first visited California in 1883 as part of a Cook’s railroad tour, the “Continental Excursion Party,” and he returned with one of his sons in 1886 by steamship via Panama. Notes of two trips to California and return (189-?) first recounts the 1883 luxury tour to the Far West, with stops in California at Los Angeles, Madera, Yosemite Valley, the Cliff House, San Francisco, Monterey, and, on the return leg of the journey, at Salt Lake City. In the trip of 1886-1887, Mead takes a coastal steamer to San Pedro, thence to his son’s ranch near Glendale where he remains for several months, assisting in farming and investing in real estate before returning east by rail.
- The mountains of California
Famed naturalist John Muir (1838-1914) came to Wisconsin as a boy and studied at the University of Wisconsin. He first came to California in 1868 and devoted six years to the study of the Yosemite Valley. After work in Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, he returned to California in 1880 and made the state his home. One of the heroes of America’s conservation movement, Muir deserves much of the credit for making the Yosemite Valley a protected national park and for alerting Americans to the need to protect this and other natural wonders. The mountains of California (1894) is his book length tribute to the beauties of the Sierras. He recounts not only his own journeys by foot through the mountains, glaciers, forests, and valleys, but also the geological and natural history of the region, ranging from the history of glaciers, the patterns of tree growth, and the daily life of animals and insects. While Yosemite naturally receives great attention, Muir also expounds on less well known beauty spots.
- California: for health, pleasure, and residence. A book for travellers and settlers
Charles Nordhoff (1830-1901) and his family came to America from Prussia when he was a boy and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. Winning a reputation as a journalist and writer on the sea, Nordhoff was managing editor of the New York Evening Post, 1861-1871. He spent 1872-1873 travelling to California and Hawaii, and returned east to become the Washington correspondent of the New York Herald. He continued to visit California frequently and spent his last years in Coronado. California: for health, pleasure and residence (1873) was an extremely popular guidebook that persuaded many to settle in California. It opens with descriptions of the various routes available to the traveller to California and the visitor to Yosemite. Next come suggested points of interest; California agriculture (with hints to prospective settlers); and notes on the Southern California climate.
- Letters from California: its mountains, valleys, plains, lakes, rivers, climate and productions. Also its railroads, cities, towns and people, as seen in 1876.
David L. Phillips (1823-1880) took his tubercular son to California in 1876 in hope that the change of climate would aid the boy. Letters from California (1877) were originally published in the Illinois State Journal. They describe the Phillipses’ rail journey west; San Francisco; a voyage to San Diego; the Santa Clara, Gilroy, Pajora, and Salinas Valleys; Monterey; California railroads; the Missions and Mission Indians; a Southern California tour, with stops at Tehachipi and Los Angeles, San Pedro, San Bernardino, Riverside, Anaheim, and the San Fernando Valley; economic conditions, with special attention to labor; Chinese residents; agriculture; politics; the religious history of California; and the pair’s return rail journey.
- Six months in California
J.G. Player-Frowd was an English visitor to California in the early 1870s. Six months in California (1872) is a traveler’s guide based on that visit, recounting stays in Omaha, Salt Lake City, the Sierras, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, San Francisco, Calistoga, Stockton, and the Yosemite Valley. Player-Frowd discusses topics such as California climate, agriculture, mining, and lumbering.
- Ranch life in California. Extracted from the home correspondence of E.M.H.
The author, Evelyn M.H., was a young Englishwoman who accompanied her husband and his two brothers to California in 1885. Ranch life in California (1886) is based on her letters home, beginning with her Atlantic voyage and a cross-country rail trip to San Francisco. There the party purchases a ranch at Lower Lake in Burns Valley, where they find a sizable English community. Evelyn describes her introduction to the life of a farm wife while her husband and his brothers (all former stockbrokers) learn to be farmers over the next eighteen months.
- Letters from the Pacific slope; or First impressions
Harvey Rice (1800-1891), a Cleveland lawyer and newspaper publisher, and his wife traveled by rail to California in 1869. Letters from the Pacific slope (1870) contains Rice’s account of that journey, broken by side trips to Salt Lake City, Carson City, and Lake Tahoe. Spending nearly a month in and near San Francisco, the Rices sail south to San Pedro and Los Angeles with a stop at Santa Barbara. They visit ranches, vineyards, and orchards in the neighborhood.
- Camping out in California
Mrs. Jacob Rideout of California was a member of an 1888 camping party in northern California. Camping out in California (1889) describes their adventures at the redwood forests, the coast near Mendocino, Sonoma, the Santa Clara Valley, a G.A.R. conclave in Santa Cruz, Mount St. Helena, and a side trip to San Francisco.
- A journey to, on and from the “golden shore”
Sue A. Pike Sanders (1842-1931) traveled by rail from Delavan, Illinois, as part of the state’s delegation to the Grand Army of the Republic encampment at San Francisco in 1886. A journey to, on and from the “golden shore” (1887) describes that leisurely trip west with stops in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Salt Lake City, Reno, and Sacramento. Once in San Francisco, Sanders provides details of the program for the G.A.R. convention and its attendant parades and receptions, Bay excursion cruise, and tours of Chinatown. She makes side trips to Oakland, San Jose´, Napa Valley, the geysers, and Yosemite. In Southern California, Sanders and her party visit Los Angeles to embark on their return journey, which takes them to Flagstaff and Albuquerque.
- Adobe days; being the truthful narrative of the events in the life of a California girl on a sheep ranch and in El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles while it was yet a small and humble town; together with an account of how three young men from Maine in eighteen hundred and fifty-three drove sheep and cattle across the plains, mountains and deserts from Illinois to the Pacific coast; and the strange prophecy of Admiral Thatcher about San Pedro harbor.
A native Californian, Sarah Hathaway Bixby Smith (1871-1935) was born at her family’s sheep ranch near San Juan Bautista, where she lived until the family moved to Los Angeles some six years later. Her father, Llewellyn Bixby, had left Maine to settle in the West in 1851, and he and his brothers became one of southern California’s most influential families. Adobe days (1925) is Mrs. Smith’s account of her early childhood on the ranch and trips east to visit relatives in Maine, girlhood in Los Angeles, visits to Los Cerritos and Los Alamitos ranches, and her education in Los Angeles public schools and at Pomona and Wellesley Colleges. She supplements this with the life of her father, Llewellyn Bixby: his journey to California via Panama and months as a prospector at the Volcano Diggings, cattle and sheep drives across country, and real estate investments in Los Angeles and neighboring counties. More generally, she discusses the role of Mexican and Chinese servants and other aspects of housekeeping and childrearing, sheep husbandry and the wool business, Los Angeles’s growth, the history of Southern California under the Spanish, and the evolution of Pasadena, Riverside, Anaheim, and San Bernardino.
- The Silverado squatters
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) traveled to California in 1879 in pursuit of Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne, the Oakland woman with whom he had fallen in love in France. The two were married in the spring of 1880 and honeymooned in a cabin at Silverado, a mining ghost town on Mt. St. Helena. In the next fourteen years, Mrs. Stevenson nursed her husband while he produced the verses, stories, and books of travel and adventure that made him famous. Silverado (1888) tells the story of the newlywed Stevensons’ trip to Silverado. Stevenson writes of their journey from San Francisco up the Napa Valley to Calistoga and then up the mountain to their goal. He describes their neighbors, and recounts tales of the town in its glory days as a silver mining camp.
- Between the gates
Benjamin Franklin Taylor (1819-1887) won renown as a war correspondent for Chicago newspapers during the Civil War. In peacetime he became a freelance writer best known as a poet. Between the gates (1878) is an account of Taylor’s journey by train from Chicago to San Francisco in the 1870s and his summer in California. The trip west is covered in great detail as is his lengthy stay in San Francisco, with its Chinatown. From there, he journeys by rail to the Sonoma Valley, on to the geysers and petrified forest, the Russian River and Mammoth Cave, continuing by horseback through the San Joaquin Valley to the Yosemite. Briefer attention is given to his rail trip to Southern California with stops at Tehachapi, the Mojave Desert, Los Angeles, and the San Gabriel mission.
- The sunset land; or, The great Pacific slope
John Todd (1800-1873), a Congregationalist clergyman in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, wrote widely and published several religious magazines. The sunset land (1870) contains Todd’s experiences as a visitor to California in the mid 1860s, with essays on the state’s history, climate, agricultural products, and geology; gold mining; the Calaveras redwoods; and Yosemite Valley. He devotes a chapter to Mormonism and what he believes to be its inevitable decline; another, to the triumph of the transcontinental railroad; and a third, to the city of San Francisco.
- California notes
Charles Beebe Turrill (1854-1927) was a California historian and promoter. California notes (1876) is a guide for travellers, offering details of the state’s weather, geology, and vegetation as well as recommended travel routes, historical notes, business statistics, and sightseeing tips for visitors to San Francisco, Stockton, Calaveras County and its mammoth trees and caves, the gold mining district, and the Yosemite Valley.
- Glimpses of hungryland; or, California sketches. Comprising sentimental and humorous sketches, poems, etc., a journey to California and back again, by land and water …
W. S. Walker left Mason City, Illinois, for New New York City and his first trip to California (via the Isthmus) in 1864. Glimpses of hungryland (1880) describes his stay in the West: a series of odd jobs in Sonoma County, gold prospecting at Park’s Bar on the Yuba River, and a revival camp meeting near Healdsburg. In 1879, he takes his family from Omaha to California by rail on the “Emigrant Train” and gives a tourist’s account of San Francisco.
- A winter in California
Mary H. Wills left Norristown, Pennsylvania, to spend the winter of 1888-1889 in Southern California. A winter in California (1889) describes the highlights of her stay: visits to Pasadena, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Riverside, San Diego, Ojai Valley, Monterey, and Yosemite Valley. She shows special interest in climate, mission churches, shops, Chinatowns, hotels and restaurants. Her return rail journey allows a visit to Salt Lake City.
- To and fro in southern California
Emma Hildreth Adams of Cleveland, Ohio, visited Southern California in 1884 and 1886. To and fro in southern California (1887) is the book edition of Mrs. Adams’s travel letters originally published in a Cleveland newspaper. She writes at length of her rail trips west and stops in New Mexico and Arizona. In California, she focuses her attention on Los Angeles, with visits to Downey, Anaheim, Pasadena, and San Pedro. She discusses area schools, agriculture, regional flower-growing, irrigation projects, the position of women, and schools; and reports an interview with Hubert H. Bancroft.
- Reminiscences of a ranger; or, Early times in Southern California
Horace Bell (1830-1918) left Indiana to seek gold in California. In 1852, he moved to Los Angeles and later became involved in American filibustering in Latin America and saw service in the Union Army before returning to Los Angeles after the Civil War to become a lawyer and newspaper publisher. Reminiscences of a ranger (1881) includes anecdotes of Bell’s experiences as a Los Angeles Ranger pursuing Joaquin Murietta in 1853, a soldier of fortune in Latin America, a Union officer in the Civil War, and a Los Angeles newspaper editor. He provides lively ancedotes of Los Angeles and its residents under Mexican and American rule, emphasizing cowboys and criminals and native Americans. Throughout, Bell gives special attention to the fate of Hispanic Californians and Native Americans under the United States regime. For another collection of Bell’s reminiscences, see On the old west coast (1930).
- A tenderfoot in southern California
Mina Deane Halsey (b. 1873) was a New York writer. A tenderfoot in southern California (1909) is her spoof of accounts of California travel and recounts a “tenderfoot’s” rail journey west, stays in Los Angeles and Pasadena, Mount Lowe, Hollywood, and Catalina.
- Pioneer notes from the diaries of Judge Benjamin Hayes, 1849-1875
Benjamin Ignatius Hayes (1815-1877) was a Maryland lawyer living in Missouri in 1849 when he decided to make the overland journey to California. There he became a leader of the Los Angeles bar. Pioneer notes (1929) is based on Hayes’s diaries. The entries chronicle his trip west and his career as an attorney and judge in Los Angeles 1850-1877, including his experiences riding circuit to San Diego and San Bernardino. The volume also includes entries from the diaries of his wife, who recorded her trip to California in 1851 and the challenge of childrearing and homemaking in Southern California. As Catholics living in Southern California, the Hayeses boasted a wide circle of friends among their Hispanic neighbors, and their diaries reflect a special interest in the Missions and Mission Indians.
- Glimpses of California and the missions
Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885) of Amherst, Massachusetts, turned to writing after the death of her first husband in 1863. Her marriage to William Jackson, a wealthy Denver Quaker, brought her to the West in 1875, and she soon became a Native American rights activist. She was sent west as part of a federal commission to investigate conditions among the Mission Indians in 1882, and her experiences as part of that commission inspired her famous 1884 novel Ramona. Glimpses of California (1902) reprints articles Jackson first published in 1883. She offers a narrative history of the California mission system and the early years of Los Angeles as a Hispanic community and the work of Junipero Serra as well as an analysis of the fate of the Mission Indians after those missions were dismantled. This section of the book is followed by a chapter on Southern California’s “outdoor industries” — livestock ranching and farming — and one on Jackson’s visit to Oregon.
- Happy days in southern California
Frederick Hastings Rindge (1857-1905) moved from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles in 1882 and bought the famed rancho at Malibu, which he dubbed “Laudamus Farm.” Happy days in southern California (1898) opens with a history of the region, followed by chapters dealing with different lifestyles in the area: “seaside life” at Redondo, Santa Monica, and Santa Catalina, and the fish and animals of the sea; ranch life; climate; horseback riding; and mountain climbing.
- A truthful woman in southern California
New England humorist Kate Sanborn (1839-1917) wrote widely and taught at Smith College. A truthful woman in southern California (1893) offers sage and amusing advice to tourists planning a rail trip to Southern California, ranging from recommendations for one’s wardrobe to suggestions for the itinerary. She shares her personal experiences in visiting Coronado Beach, San Diego, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Mount Wilson, San Bernardion, Riverside, and Santa Barbara.
- Beyond the Rockies; a spring journey in California
Charles Augustus Stoddard (1833-1920), a Presbyterian clergyman, was the editor of the New York Observer, 1885-1902. Beyond the Rockies (1894) recounts his train trip to California with his wife in early 1893. Their route through the south allowed for stopovers in New Orleans, San Antonio, El Paso, and an Indian Bureau school near Tucson. The Stoddards visit California from south to north, including Coronado Beach, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and the missions, Yosemite, the redwood forests, Hetch-Hetchy Valley, the Santa Clara Valley, San Francisco, and Sacramento. Eastward bound, he describes stopovers in Salt Lake City, Leadville, Colorado Springs, Manitou, and Denver, and the Chicago World’s Fair.
- Semi-tropical California: its climate, healthfulness, productiveness, and scenery …
Benjamin Cummings Truman (1835-1916) of Providence, Rhode Island, was a Civil War Union officer and newspaper correspondent before coming to California in 1866 as a special agent of the Post Office. In 1870 he was sent to Washington as correspondent for the New York Times and the San Francisco Bulletin but soon returned to become editor of the Los Angeles Evening Express, and owner of the Los Angeles Star. In 1879 he became chief of the literary bureau of the Southern Pacific Railway. Semi-tropical California (1874), written during his tenure at the Los Angeles Star, defines “semi-tropical” California as portions of Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties, but devotes most of its attention to the city and county of Los Angeles and neighboring San Gabriel Valley. Truman discusses specific mines, residences, fruit orchards, vineyards, and ranches as well as general patterns of agriculture, sheep and cattle raising, irrigation, and mineral resources. Beyond Los Angeles, he describes the towns and cities of Anaheim, Wilmington, and San Bernardino.
- “Both sides told,” or, Southern California as it is …
Mary C. Vail was a resident of Southern California. “Both sides told” (1888) is a pamphlet written by Vail to provide an accurate but cautionary description of Southern California as an antidote to the unrealistic claims that had accompanied the region’s real estate boom and bust of the 1880s. She warns of the sandstorms and dust in an area where drinking water must usually be piped in many miles and many crops will demand irrigation. Admitting that her home region is not a paradise, she points out that its climate remains healthful and that opportunities remain for those willing to work.
- Our Italy
Famed essayist and journalist Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900) was the editor of the Hartford, Connecticut, Courant and a contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine. Our Italy (1891) is Warner’s account of a trip he made to Southern California in 1890. He describes conditions after the collapse of the 1886-1887 real estate boom and dubs the state south of the Sierra Madres “our Italy.” He focuses on the region’s economic future: its promise as a healthy, productive residence, agricultural developments (particularly the citrus industry), climate and industry. He devotes less attention to beauty spots and tourist attractions, but he does discuss the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Monterey.
- Death Valley in ’49. Important chapter of California pioneer history. The autobiography of a pioneer, detailing his life from a humble home in the Green Mountains to the gold mines of California; and particularly reciting the sufferings of the band of men, women and children who gave “Death Valley” its name.
William Lewis Manly (1820-1903) and his family left Vermont in 1828, and he grew to manhood in Michigan and Wisconsin. On hearing the news of gold in California, Manly set off on horseback, joining an emigrant party in Missouri. Death Valley in ’49 (1894) contains Manly’s account of that overland journey. Setting out too late in the year to risk a northern passage thorugh the Sierras, the group takes the southern route to California, unluckily choosing an untried short cut through the mountains. This fateful decision brings the party through Death Valley, and Manly describes their trek through the desert, as well as the experiences of the Illinois “Jayhawkers” and others who took the Death Valley route. Manly’s memoirs continue with his trip north to prospecting near the Mariposa mines, a brief trip back east via the Isthmus, and his return to California and another try at prospecting on the North Fork of the Yuba at Downieville in 1851. He provides lively ancedotes of life in mining camps and of his visits to Stockton, Sacramento, and San Francisco.
- The expedition of the Donner party and its tragic fate
Eliza Houghton (b. 1843) was the youngest child of George Donner, one of two Springfield, Illinois, brothers who organized the ill-fated California-bound emigrant party that bore their name. Eliza and her older sisters were rescued by relief parties that made their way to the stranded travellers at Donner Lake, but their parents perished, and the girls were left to make their way alone in the West. The expedition of the Donner party and its tragic fate (1911) begins with Mrs. Houghton’s account of her childhood and the family’s tragic overland journey, and rescue. She continues with her life as an orphan, first at Fort Sutter, and then with a family in Sonoma and with her older half-sister in Sacramento. She describes the impact of the gold rush and new immigration on the area, farm work and domestic work, and her own education in public schools and St. Catherine’s Convent in Benicia. She writes at length of the emotional scars caused by contemporary rumors of cannibalism among the Donner Party and offers full accounts of Donner family history as well as the background of her husband, Samuel Houghton. An appendix contains several documentary sources for the history of the Donner Party.
- Early days at the mission San Juan Bautista
Isaac Mylar (b. 1847) and his family came overland to California in 1852. For three years his father prospected for gold at Shaw’s Flat before settling in the town around the old mission of San Juan Bautista in San Benito County. Early days at the mission San Juan Bautista (1929) begins with the history of the mission and memories of Mylar’s boyhood and schooling in the town and his growing acquaintance with the mission church and the priests and brothers who administered it. He recalls life in the town in the 1850s when San Juan helped supply the nearby mines, and in later decades: political and business leaders, schools and churches, streets and houses, bandits and other criminals, hunting, hotels and stage lines.
- Ten years in Paradise. Leaves from a society reporter’s note-book.
Mary Bowden Carroll left Otsego County, New York, for San Jose´, Santa Clara County, in 1892. Ten years in Paradise (1903) is less a personal memoir than a piece of promotional literature for her adopted home: summary of Santa Clara’s social history, descriptions of local towns, tributes to the valley’s commerce and industry, and attractions for the home seeker. A substantial portion of the book consists of brief descriptions of local clubs and societies with lists of their membership rolls.
- Los Angeles in the sunny seventies. A flower from the golden land,
Flower from the golden land
Ludwig Salvator (1847-1915), Archduke of Austria, was the son of the Duke of Tuscany. Raised in Florence and Rome, Archduke Ludwig had already published several German-language travel books when he visited Los Angeles in the winter of 1876, not long after the city was linked directly by rail to the East. Los Angeles in the sunny seventies (1929) is an English translation of the archduke’s account of that visit, published in German in 1878. It is organized to guide prospective emigrants considering the region as a place of settlement. Topics include climate, demographic patterns, agriculture, cattle-raising, industry, rail and steamship routes and postal service, and housing, as well as a brief history of the region and the problems of Chinese and Native American residents. The book closes with statistic-laden descriptions of visits to the San Gabriel Valley, Santa Monica, and Wilmington.
- Sixty years in Southern California, 1853-1913, containing the reminiscences of Harris Newmark
Harris Newmark (1834-1916), son of a modest Prussian Jewish merchant, sailed to America in 1853 to join his older brother in Los Angeles. He made a fortune in real estate, the wholesale grocery business, and hides and wools, becoming a leader in the local Jewish community and the city at large. Sixty years in Southern California (1916) begins with his description of Los Angeles as he found it; judges and lawyers, merchants and shops, churches and other landmarks. In the chapters that follow, Newmark organizes his materials chronologically and outlines his various mercantile partnerships and traces changing patterns of social life in Los Angeles, political factions, railroad construction in southern California, crime and vigilantism, the Chinese Massacre of 1871, and real estate speculations. In a more personal vein, he chronicles Jewish family life and philanthropy.
- The Indians of Los Angeles County: Hugo Reid’s letters of 1852.
Hugo Reid (1811-1852) left Scotland at the age of eighteen and settled in California in 1832. He married a woman of the Gabrielino tribe and became a rancher near the San Gabriel mission near Los Angeles. The Indians of Los Angeles County (1968) reprints letters first published in the Los Angeles Star in 1852. Reid’s fortunes faltered with United States seizure of California, and he may have written the letters in hope of being named a federal Indian agent. They focus on the Native American tribes of Los Angeles County and the history of the San Fernando and San Gabriel missions.
- Memories; my seventy-two years in the romantic county of Yuba, California
William Turner Ellis (b. 1866) was the son of a Marylander who became a well-to-do merchant in Marysville, California. Turner carried on the family business and served on Marysville’s Levee Commission for forty years. Memories (1939) contains Ellis’s account of his boyhood in Marysville and the town’s early history from the 1850s and his experiences as a local business and political leader. More than half the book is devoted to Ellis’s service on Marysville’s Levee Commission. He proudly displays the knowledge of flood control that helped protect Marysville from the Feather and Yuba Rivers and recounts related controversies including the impact of hydraulic mining on flood control costs.
- Men and memories of San Francisco, in the “spring of ’50.”
Theodore Augustus Barry (1825-1881) and Benjamin Ada Patten (1825-1877) established their credentials as California pioneers by arriving in their adopted state before January 1, 1850. Men and memories of San Francisco (1873) gives later arrivals a detailed picture of the city as it existed a few months before California statehood. They describe the streets and the residences and business that lined each thoroughfare and alley as well as the men and women who owned those homes, boarding-houses, hotels, restaurants, saloons, stores, offices, and shops. They also chronicle the fire of May 1851 which destroyed so many of the structures they describe. While they focus on the city as it was in early 1850, their sketches of its residents extend further, often forming capsule biographies of their subjects.
- Reminiscences and incidents of “the early days” of San Francisco
The English-born John Henry Brown (1810-1905) went to sea at an early age and was living among the Cherokees in 1843 when he set out for the Pacific Coast. Reminiscences and incidents of “the early days” of San Francisco (1886) describes his early work at Sutter’s Fort before his permanent move to San Francisco, where he became a saloonkeeper and hotelkeeper. He offers a painstaking picture of the transformation of San Francisco’s people and business patterns with the discovery of gold and provides lively tales of miners, gamblers, gangs and vigilance committees, shopkeepers, and real estate speculators. He lists early white women in San Francisco and provides a map showing San Francisco’s building lots and their occupants in this early period.
- Chambliss diary; or, Society as it really is.
William H. Chambliss (b. 1865), a Mississippian, came to California as a member of the crew of the U.S. Essex in 1886 and made San Francisco his home base for the next five years as he shipped out on a succession of merchant vessels. He then tried to make his way in the city in advertising. Chambliss’ diary (1895) describes his years at sea and voyages to Japan, China, Australia, Hawaii, and other Pacific ports of call as well as his life as a San Francisco man-about-town. The book consists largely of gossip and scurrilous rumors about leaders of San Francisco’s “parvenucracy” of the late 1880s and 1890s: the Crockers and De Youngs and less-well-known pretentious upstarts, cardsharps and gambling hustlers, and society publicists like E.M. Greenway.
- A backward glance at eighty, recollections & comments
Charles Albert Murdock (1841-1928) left Massachusetts for California in 1855 with his mother, sister and brother. For many years he was editor of the Pacific Unitarian Magazine and one of the state’s most distinguished printers. A backward glance at eighty (1921) begins with Murdock’s memories of his trip west and reunion with his father, who had settled in Arcata on the Humboldt River. Murdock recalls life in the town and recounts stories of his father’s early years on the Humboldt, the evolution of the region’s Republican Party, acquaintance with Bret Harte, the printing business in San Francisco, 1867-1910, and the San Francisco Board of Education.
- My own story.
Journalist Fremont Older (1856-1935), born in Appleton, Wisconsin, went to California in 1873 and became one of the state’s most controversial newspapermen in his work at the San Francisco Call and Bulletin. My own story (1919) first tells Older’s story as the editor of the struggling Bulletin in 1895. He provides fascinating details of his fight against political corruption in San Francisco in the next fifteen years, a chronicle of graft, labor violence, fraud, and rampant bribery centering on his fight against the Southern Pacific Railroad and its political “ring” and personal battles with Republican boss Abraham Ruef, Mayor Eugene Schmitz, and Patrick Calhoun, head of United Railroads.
- Seven years’ street preaching in San Francisco, California; embracing incidents, triumphant death scenes, etc.
William Taylor (1821-1902) was a Methodist minister specializing in “street preaching” in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., when the Methodist church sent him to California as a missionary evangelist in 1849. He remained in the West for seven years, going on to become one of the church’s most tireless worldwide evangelists. He later conducted crusades in Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa. In 1884 he was named Missionary Bishop for Africa and he focused his energies on missionary activities on that continent. Taylor spent his last years in California, the site of his first mission. Seven years’ street preaching in San Francisco (1857) offers Taylor’s memoirs of his career in the West, concentrating on open-air evangelism in general and experiences on the street corners of San Francisco and Sacramento and in camp-meetings in the mine fields, 1849-1856. The book focuses on the nature of the sinners who repented at Taylor’s words: drunkards, gamblers, seamen; and on the moral and political depravity of San Francisco that culminated in the creation of the Vigilance Committee. For a second installment of Taylor’s memoirs, see California life illustrated (1858).
- A pioneer pastorate and times, embodying contemporary local transactions and events
Albert Williams (1809-1893) was pastor of a church in Clifton, New Jersey, when the Presbyterian Board of Missions sent him to California via Panama in February 1849. A pioneer pastorate (1879) recalls his five years in San Francisco, 1849-1854, in which he organized the First Presbyterian Church and witnessed fires, earthquakes, and cholera epidemics. He offers vignettes of other clergy in the San Francisco area, missionary work among the Chinese, and accounts of visits to San Jose´, Sacramento, and Oregon.
- Santa Barbara and around there.
Edwards Roberts was a resident of Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara and around there (1886) is a useful guide to the tourist attractions of the city and nearby Santa Ynez, the Ojai Valley, and Santa Clara Valley. Roberts provides tips on hotels and railroad routes as well as tables of climate and temperature.
- Two years before the mast; a personal narrative
Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882) of Boston left his studies at Harvard in 1834 in the hope that a sea voyage would aid his failing eyesight. He shipped out of Boston as a common seaman on board the brig Pilgrim bound for the Pacific, and returned to Massachusetts two years later. Completing his education, Dana became a leader of the American bar, an expert on maritime law, and a life-long advocate of the rights of the merchant seamen he had come to know on the Pilgrim and other vessels. Two years before the mast (1911) is based on the diary Dana kept while at sea. First published in 1841, it is one of America’s most famous accounts of life at sea. It contains a rare and detailed account of life on the California coast a decade before the Gold Rush revolutionized the region’s culture and society. Dana chronicles stops at the ports of Monterey, San Pedro, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Clara. He describes the lives of sailors in the ports and their work of hide-curing on the beaches, and he gives close attention to the daily life of the peoples of California: Hispanic, Native American, and European. The edition of the book reproduced here includes the chapter “Twenty-four Years After” prepared by Dana to accompany the “author’s” edition published in 1869 as well as his son’s “Seventy-six Years After,” an appendix prepared in 1911.
- Report of the debates in the Convention of California, on the formation of the state constitution, in September and October, 1849
John Ross Browne (1817-1875) of Kentucky, the official reporter for the California State Constitutional Convention of September-October 1849, came to California in 1849 as an employee of the government revenue service. He traveled widely in the next two decades before settling down in Oakland. Report of the debates of the Convention of California (1850) comprises the official records of the convention. Browne had been a shorthand reporter for the U.S. Senate before coming west, and he provides transcripts of the proclamation calling the convention, proceedings of the convention, text of the state constitution adopted by the delegates, and official correspondence regarding the convention and the institution of state government under that constitution.
- Personal reminiscences of early days in California : with other sketches
Born in Connecticut, Stephen Johnson Field (1816-1899) was practicing law in New York City when word of the Gold Rush arrived. He sailed to California in 1849, crossing Panama at Chagres. He soon became a leader of the California bar, going on to sit on both the State Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. Personal reminiscences of early days in California (1880) focuses on Field’s first years in California, centering on his experience as practicing attorney and first alcalde or magistrate for the lively mining town of Marysville, 1850-1857, a period rich in crime and political skullduggery. In a second section, Field relates anecdotes of his later career as justice of the California Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court, where his knowledge and expertise in western land law served him well.
- Literary industries. A memoir.
Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832-1918) moved to California from Buffalo, New York, in 1852. After a brief exposure to gold mining, he returned to the profession of bookselling, setting up shop in Crescent City. In 1856, he moved to San Francisco, where he founded H.H. Bancroft & Co., which soon became the state’s premier bookseller and publisher. From 1871 to 1889, Bancroft labored on his Native races and history of the Pacific states, western Canada, and Alaska, which he published beginning in 1874, hiring qualified authors for the volumes and even sending out field workers who obtained dictated reminiscences from surviving pioneers. Literary industries: a memoir (1891) recounts his early life and experiences in California. He recounts his career as a businessman and his growing fascination with his hobbies of collecting books on Pacific Coast history and amassing the source materials for a multi-volume study of the subject. This is a book about the writing of history and preservation of source materials as well as the recollections of a leading early California businessman.
- California copy
George F. Weeks (b. ca. 1852) was a young reporter in New York City in 1876, when tuberculosis drove him to the healthier climate of California, where he spent his first months at a sanatorium near San Bernardino. He then worked on the San Francisco Chronicle and later published papers in Bakersfield and Alameda. California copy (1928) contains Week’s memoirs of his journey west, and his life as newspaperman, with tales of politics, crime, and labor violence in the cities where he worked. His move to Mexico around 1906 ends Week’s chronological narrative, and the last third of the book is devoted to unrelated pieces: reminiscences of a stagecoach ride, tales of California miners, an earthquake, fishing, Ambrose Bierce, etc.
- Roughing it.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), better known as “Mark Twain,” left Missouri in 1861 to work with his brother, the newly appointed Secretary of the Nevada Territory. Once settled in Nevada, Clemens fell victim to gold fever and went to the Humboldt mines. When prospecting lost its attractions, Clemens found work as a reporter in Virginia City. In 1864, Clemens moved to California and worked as a reporter in San Francisco. It was there that he began to establish a nationwide reputation as a humorist. Roughing it (1891), first published in 1872, is his account of his adventures in the Far West. He devotes twenty chapters to the overland journey by boat and stagecoach to Carson City, including several chapters on the Mormons. Next come chronicles of mining life and local politics and crime in Virginia City and San Francisco and even a junket to the Hawaiian Islands. The book closes with his return to San Francisco and his introduction to the lecture circuit.
- Phœnixiana; or, Sketches and burlesques.
George Horatio Derby (1823-1861) of Massachusetts graduated from West Point in 1846 and served in the Army Topographical Engineers at Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo before being sent to California in 1856. He remained there for seven years, leading three exploring expeditions and winning a place as one of the state’s first humorists with pieces published in the San Diego Herald and republished around the nation. Phoenixiana (1903) reprints a book originally published in 1855. It contains Derby’s pieces as “Professor John Phoenixiana” and “Squibob,” poking fun at such topics as military surveyors and explorers; contemporary travel accounts of the Mission Dolores, Benecia, Sonoma, San Francisco, and San Diego; literary societies and women’s clubs; astronomy; and Army life.
- Life in the open; sport with rod, gun, horse, and hound in southern California
Charles Frederick Holder (1851-1915), a founder of Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses, came from a wealthy Massachusetts Quaker family. After working as a curator at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, Holder moved to Pasadena in 1885. A passionate naturalist throughout his life, he became known in Pasadena as a businessman, philanthropist, and conservationist/sportsman. Life in the open (1906) is Holder’s account of hunting and fishing in the counties of Santa Barbara, San Buenaventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego. The topics include horseback hunts for lynx, fox, and wolves; fishing for trout in the Sierra Madres and for game fish off Catalina; pursuit of shore birds and water fowl; mountain lions and mountain goats; and photographic hunts for sea lions. Throughout, Holder argues for the sportsman’s role in conservation.
- Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada
Clarence King (1842-1901) of Rhode Island was a Yale-educated geologist and mining engineer who rode horseback across the continent in 1863. In California, he was hired to work on Whitney’s geological survey of the state, and he went on to a distinguished professional career. Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada (originally published 1872) begins with a summary of the geological history of the Sierras and then recounts King’s experiences in the range, both as a member of the Whitney expedition and as a mountain climber, 1864-1870. Highlights include his ascents of Mount Tyndall, Mount Shasta, and Mount Whitney; survey of Yosemite Valley; and field trips in the Merced Valley. King provides anecdotes of the mountains’ people and natural history along the way.
- My first summer in the Sierra
Famed naturalist John Muir (1838-1914) came to Wisconsin as a boy and studied at the University of Wisconsin. He first came to California in 1868 and devoted six years to the study of the Yosemite Valley. After work in Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, he returned to California in 1880 and made the state his home. One of the heroes of America’s conservation movement, Muir deserves much of the credit for making the Yosemite Valley a protected national park and for alerting Americans to the need to protect this and other natural wonders. My first summer in the Sierra (1911) is based on Muir’s original journals and sketches of his 1869 stay in the Sierras. Hired to supervise a San Joaquin sheep owner’s flock at the headwaters of the Merced and Tuolumne Rivers, Muir sets out for the mountains in June, returning to the Valley in September. He describes the flora and fauna of the mountains as well as his visits to Yosemite and his climbs of Mt. Hoffman and other peaks in the range.
- Ramblings through the High Sierra.
Joseph Le Conte (1823-1901) of Georgia earned a medical degree at Columbia University but devoted most of his life to the study of the physical sciences. During the Civil War, he served in the Confederate “science department” and after the war moved to California, where he became Professor of Geology and Natural History at the new University of California. Ramblings through the High Sierra (1890) appeared in the Sierra Club Bulletin as Le Conte’s edited version of a journal he kept in the summer of 1870, when several members of the first class of the University of California invited him to join them on a camping trip to the Yosemite Valley and the High Sierras. He describes their five week journey on horseback.
- Discovery of the Yosemite, and the Indian war of 1851, which led to that event.
Lafayette Houghton Bunnell (1824-1903) was a member of the Mariposa Battalion that became the white discoverers of the Yosemite Valley in 1851 when they rode out in search of Native American tribal leaders involved in recent raids on American settlements. Dr. Bunnell later served as a surgeon in the Civil War. Discovery of the Yosemite, and the Indian war of 1851 (originally published 1880) contains his account of that event, beginning with the history of the battalion and the tribal unrest that inspired its creation. He goes on to chronicle the unit’s march from its camp near Agua Fria into the mountains down the South Fork of the Merced River. Bunnell recalls his comrades’ reactions to the natural grandeur they encountered in the Yosemite Valley as well as the trivia of camp life and encounters with the native tribes they were sent to pacify. The book concludes with chapters of the Valley’s history after 1851, discussions of the region’s flora and fauna, and a chapter on the discovery of the sequoias and their later exploitation.
- The land of little rain
Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934) moved with her family from Illinois to the desert on the edge of the San Joaquin Valley in 1888. In the next fifteen years she moved from one desert community to another, working on her sketches of desert and Indian life. Spending the last years of her life in Santa Fe, Austin remained a lifelong defender of Native Americans and was recognized as an expert in Native American poetry. The land of little rain (1903), Austin’s first book, focuses on the arid and semi-arid regions of California between the High Sierras south of Yosemite: the Ceriso, Death Valley, the Mojave Desert; and towns such as Jimville, Kearsarge, and Las Uvas. She writes of the region’s climate, plants, and animals and of its people: the Ute, Paiute, Mojave, and Shoshone tribes; European-American gold prospectors and borax miners; and descendants of Hispanic settlers.