Life in the Mines

The first town I passed through was a newly discovered mining town called French Corral. Here I found an old Wisconsin friend Wm. Sublet, the foster father of the accomplished wife of Mayor S.W. Boring of San Jose. From here I went to Marysville. The storm had been raging high in the mountains for some days, and the Yuba river rising fast, overflowing its banks as I walked into town, and the next day the merchants were very busy piling their goods above high water mark. I went to a hotel and called for a bed. “Yes,” says the landlord “Is your name John or Peter?” I told him William, which he set down in his book and we went up stairs to the best room which was fitted up with berths three tiers high on each side, and only one or two empty ones. He looked around for covers, but none could be found unoccupied, but one fellow who was sound asleep and snoring awfully, so he took the blanket off from him saying: “He wont know a thing about it till morning, be jabers, so don’t say a word.”

Next morning the river was booming, its surface covered with all sorts of mining outfit such as flume timber, rockers, various qualities of lumber, pieces of trees as well as whole ones, water wheels and other traps. The river between Downieville and here must have been swept clean of all material that would float, including “long Toms.” The water continued to rise till it covered the Plaza, and in two days a steamer came up and sailed across the public square. This looked like a wet season to me, and when the boat was ready to go down the river I went on board, bound for Sacramento. Here it was also getting terrible wet and muddy, and the rain kept pouring down. In the morning I worked my way up J street and saw a six-mule team wading up the streets the driver on foot, tramping through the sloppy mud, occasionally stepping in a hole and falling his whole length in the mud. On the street where so much trouble was met by the teamsters, a lot of idlers stood on the sidewalk, and when a driver would fall and go nearly out of sight, they would, like a set of loafers, laugh at him and blackguard him with much noise, and as they were numerous they feared nothing.

Suddenly a miner, who had lately arrived from the mountains, raised his room window in the second story of a house, put out one leg and then his body, as far as he could, and having nothing on but his night clothes, shouted to the noisy crowd below:–“Say can’t you d—-d farmers plow now?” At this he dodged back quickly into his window as if he expected something might be thrown at him. The rain continued, and the water rose gradually till it began to run slowly through the streets, and all the business stopped except gambling and drinking whisky, which were freely carried on in the saloons day and night.

While here in Sacramento I was sufficiently prompted by curiosity to go around to the place on J street where the Legislature was in session. I stood sometime outside the enclosure listening to the members who were in earnest debate over a question concerning the size of mining claims. They wanted them uniform in size all over the state, but there was some opposition, and the debate on this occasion was between the members from the mining counties on one side and the “cow” counties on the other. The miners took the ground that the claims were of different richness in the different mining localities and that the miners themselves were the best judges of the proper size of claims, and were abundantly able to make their own laws as they had done under the present mining customs, and their laws had always been respected, making any further legislative action unnecessary.

While this wrangle was going on. Capt. Hunt, of San Bernardino (our guide from Salt Lake in 1849), came along and stopped where I stood, shaking me heartily by the hand, inquiring where I was from, and when I told him I was from the mines he said he thought the cow county fellows were trying to make the miners some trouble. I told him the present mining regulations suited us very well, and after he had talked with me a little he went inside and whispered to some of the silent members that the miners wanted no change, for he had just consulted a miner to that effect. When occasion offered he called for a vote which resulted in the defeat of the cow counties and a postponement of the measure indefinitely.

My next move was to try to find a dryer place so I took a boat for Benicia, then for Stockton, where I found a sea of mud, so that a man needed stilts or a boat to cross the street.

Here in a livery stable I found my old Platte River boss, Chas. Dallas, for whom I drove in 1849, but he did not seem to know me and took no notice of me, but talked “horse” and horse-racing to the bystanders very loudly. I suppose that Dallas had made money and did not care for a poor ox driver, and on my part I did not care very much for his friendship, so I walked away and left him without a word.

Every way I looked was a sea of black, sticky mud; dogs mired in the streets and died, and teams and animals had forsaken the usual route of travel. The gambling houses and saloons were crowded, gum boots in demand, and the only way to get out of town was by water. I took this way out, and on the same boat by which I came, going to San Francisco. This was high and dry enough to be above the highest floods of Yuba, Sacramento or San Joaquin, but all business except the saloons was dull. Fronting on Portsmouth Square was the Hall of Corruption. Inside was a magnificently furnished bar, more than one keeper and various gambling tables, most of them with soiled doves in attendance. The room was thronged with players and spectators, and coin and dust were plenty. The dealers drew off their cards carefully, and seemed to have the largest pile of coin on their side.

I climbed Russian Hill and to take a look over the city. It seemed poorly built, but the portion that had been burned in July 1852, had been built up again. The business part was near the beach and north of Market street.

I had never lived in a town and did not know its ways, so I strolled around alone, for without acquaintance I did not know where to go nor what to look for. I therefore thought I would see some other part of the country. I found that a schooner was about to sail for San Pedro, near Los Angeles. I took hold of a rope to help myself on board, when it gave way and I found myself floundering in the water. They helped me out and the Captain gave me a dry suit to put on, I was profoundly grateful for the favor, and found him a generous man.

We sailed away and stopped at Monterey for 24 hours which gave me a good chance for a good look at the old Capitol houses, which were of adobe, and to find that this city was also liberally supplied with gambling, card and billiard tables. The majority of the people were Spanish and fond of gaming, and the general appearance of the place was old and without good improvements, though there were more two-story houses than in most places in California.

Some houses were of stone, but more of adobe, and there seemed to be no fertile country round, and the hills about had small pines on them.

Some of the sailors went out and gathered a large bag of mussels and clams, from which they made a liberal allowance of chowder for the table. After seven or eight days we arrived in San Pedro, and found the town to consist of one long adobe house. The beach was low and sandy, and we were wet somewhat in wading through a light surf to get on shore. We had on board a Mr. Baylis, who we afterward learned came down with Capt. Lackey on a big speculation which was to capture all the wild goats they could on Catalina Island, and take them to San Francisco for slaughtering.

The goats were easily captured and taken on board the schooner, and thence to shore but many were drowned in the transit, and when driven to San Francisco the dead were scattered all along the route. Although wild they seemed to lack the vitality that tame goats possess. The speculation proved a disappointment to the projectors.

At the adobe house, kept by a Spaniard we had breakfast, then shouldered our packs for the march of ten leagues to Los Angeles for there was no chance to ride. It was night before we reached the City of Angels, and here I staid a day to take a look at the first city I saw in California in March 1850.

I inquired for my mining companion, W.M. Stockton who worked with Bennett and myself near Georgetown in 1850, and found he lived near the old mission of San Gabriel nine miles away, whither I walked and found him and family well and glad to see me. He had jumped an old pear orchard which was not claimed by the Mission Fathers, although it was only three-fourths of a mile away. The trees were all seedlings and very large, probably 50 or more years old. Some of the Mission buildings were falling down since they had been abandoned, and the Americans would go to these houses and remove the tile flooring from the porches and from the pillars that supported them. These tiles were of hard burned clay, in pieces about a foot square, and were very convenient to make fire places and pavements before the doors of their new houses. Out-side the enclosed orange and fig orchard at this place were some large olive and fig trees, apparently as old as the mission, being a foot or more in diameter and about 50 feet high. I had never seen olives, and when I saw these trees covered with plenty of fruit about the size of damson plums I took the liberty of tasting it and found it very disagreeable, and wondered of what use such fruit could be.

Mr. Stockton fenced his orchard by setting posts and tying sycamore poles to them to keep the stock away, built an adobe house on the claim and called the property his. I went to work for him at once, pruning the trees, which improved their appearance, and then turned on a little stream of water which ran through the place, and on down to the mission. With this treatment the trees did well without cultivation.

I bought one half the stock consisting of some Spanish cows, one yoke of oxen and some horses, worked enough to pay my board, watched the stock and still had plenty of time to ride around over the adjoining country.

When the pears were ripe the Spanish men, women and children eagerly bought them at 25 cents per dozen and some Sundays the receipts for fruit sold would be as high as $100. That taken to town would bring from $5. to $8. per box, the boxes being a little larger than those in present use. An Indian woman, widow of a Mr. Reed, claimed a vineyard near the orchard, and laid claim to the whole property, so Stockton gave her $1000 for a quit claim deed.

Near by was a small artificial lake made by a dam of cobble stones, laid in cement across a ravine, which was built perhaps 50 years before, and yet the tracks of a child who had walked across before the cement was dry, were plainly seen.

Stockton and I visited Mr. Roland, an old settler who lived south of San Gabriel river, and staid all night with him, finding him very sociable and hospitable. All his work was done by Indians who lived near by, and had been there as long as he. He had a small vineyard, and raised corn, squashes, melons and all that are necessary for his table, having also a small mill near by for grinding corn and wheat without bolting. The Indians made his wine by tramping the grapes with their feet in a rawhide vat hung between four poles set in the ground. The workmen were paid off every Saturday night, and during Sunday he would generally sell them wine enough to get about all the money back again. This had been his practice for many years, and no doubt suited Mr. Roland as well as the red men.

Roland was an old Rocky Mountain trapper who came to California long before gold was discovered, and during the evening the talk naturally ran to the subject of early days.

Mr. Roland related that while his party were in camp in the upper Colorado they were visited by a small band of Indians who professed friendship and seated themselves around the fire. Suddenly they made an attack and each trapper had an Indian to contend with, except Mr. Roland who was left to be dispatched afterwards. But as he ran, a squaw among them followed him, and after a while overtook him and showed friendship. He had neither gun or knife and so concluded to put faith in the woman who safely guided him in a long tramp across the desert where they both came near starving, but finally reached Los Angeles Valley, when the brave squaw mingled with her own people and he lost sight of her forever.

No white man could alone have traversed that desert waste and found food enough to last him half the journey.

He gradually learned to speak Spanish, and was granted the piece of land he applied for, and where he then lived; married a Spanish girl, with whom he had a happy home and raised a large family, and grew rich, for they were both industrious and economical. The first wife died, and he was persuaded to marry a Texas widow, and now had to buy the first carriage he ever owned, and furnish a fine turn-out and driver for the lady, who wore much jewelry and fine clothes, and spent money freely. Roland was not a society man, his thoughts and habits were different from his wife, and he staid at home, better contented there.

There were many other pioneers in the neighborhood, Dan Sexton, Col. Williams, of Chino ranch, Workman, B.D. Wilson, Abel Stearns, Temple, Wolfskill and many others, Scott and Granger were lawyers. Granger was the same man who read the preamble and resolutions that were to govern our big train as we were about to start from Utah Lake.

Scott was quite a noted member of the bar, and when Gen. Winfield Scott ran for President, some wide awake politicians caused the uneducated Spaniards to vote for their favorite lawyer instead of the redoubtable general, and they did this with a good will for they thought the famous avocado was the best man, and thus the manipulators lost many votes to the real candidate. Scott was afterward retained by many of the Spaniards to present their claims for their land to the U.S. Government and was considered a very able man.

Mr. Stockton related that when he left his family here to go to the mines he rented one half a house of Michael Blanco who had a Spanish wife and children, and these and his own were of course constant playmates. When he returned in the fall he found his children had learned to speak Spanish and nearly forgotten English, so that he had to coax them a great deal to get them to talk to him at all, and he could not understand a word they said.

I now tried to learn the language myself. I had money to loan, and the borrowers were Spanish who gave good security and paid from 5 to 25 per cent interest per month, on short time. Mrs. Stockton assisted me very much as an interpreter.

I bought young steers for $8. each and gradually added to my herd. I got along well until next spring when the beef eating population began to steal my fat cattle, and seemed determined I should get no richer. The country was over-stocked with desperate and lawless renegades in Los Angeles and from one to four dead men was about the number picked up in the streets each morning. They were of low class, and there was no investigation, simply a burial at public expense.

The permanent Spanish population seemed honest and benevolent, but there were many bad ones from Chili, Sonora, Mexico, Texas, Utah and Europe, who seemed always on an errand of mischief a murder, thieving or robbery.

Three or four suspicious looking men came on horseback and made their camp near the Mission under an oak tree, where they staid sometime. They always left someone in camp while the others went away every day on their horses, and acted so strangely that the report soon became current that they were stealing horses and running them off to some safe place in the mountains till a quantity could be accumulated to take to the mines to sell. On this information the Vigilance Committee arrested the man in camp and brought him to a private room, where he was tried by twelve men, who found him guilty of horse stealing, and sentenced to be hung at once, for horse stealing was a capital offence in those days.

To carry out the sentence they procured a cart, put a box on it for a seat, and with a rope around his neck and seated on the box, the condemned man was dragged off by hand to an oak tree not far away, whither he was followed by all the men, women and children of the place, who where nearly all natives. While preparations were being made under the tree some one called out that men were riding rapidly from the direction of Los Angeles, and from the dust they raised seemed to be more than usually in haste. So it was proposed to wait till they came up. It was soon known that an Indian had been sent to Los Angeles to give news to the man’s friends there, and they had come with all the speed of their horses to try to save his life. They talked and inquired around a little and then proposed the question whether to hang him or to turn him over to the lawful authorities for regular trial. This was put to a vote and it was decided to spare him now. So the rope was taken off his neck, and he was turned over to Mr. Mallard the Mission Justice of the Peace, much to the relief of the fellow who saw death staring him in the face.

The Santa Anita ranch, now owned by E.J. Baldwin, was owned by Henry Dalton, an Englishman, who came with a stock of goods worth $75,000, years before, but now had only the ranch left. The Azuza, a short distance south was occupied by his brother.

I became well acquainted with many of these old California natives, and found them honest in their dealings, good to the needy and in all my travels never found more willing hands to bestow upon relatives, friends or strangers ready relief than I saw among these simple natives. Their kindness to our party when we came starving on the desert in 1850, can never be praised enough, and as long as I shall live my best wishes shall go with them.

I was one day riding with Vincent Duarte down toward Anaheim when he suddenly dismounted to kill a large tarantula by pelting him with stones. It was the first one I had seen, and seemed an over-grown spider. I asked him if the thing was harmful, and he replied with considerable warmth, “Mucho malo por Christianos” and I wondered if the insect knew saints from sinners.

This spring we concluded to go to the Mormon settlement at San Bernardino and secure some American bulls to improve our stock, and starting late one day I rode as far as the Azuza Rancho where I staid all night with Mr. Dalton, reaching the holy city, a branch of Brigham Young’s harem next day. Here I found a town of log houses in a circle, enclosing a plaza. There was a passage between the houses. I stopped at the principal hotel kept by a vigorous and enthusiastic Mormon woman, who delighted to preach the doctrine.

Walking around on the outside of the fortifications I came across Capt. Hunt, the man who was hired in the fall of 1849 to bring the big train from Salt Lake to San Bernardino.

I told him who I was, and what I wanted, and he seemed to know me, inviting me in the most friendly and social manner to take supper with him, which I did. He sat at the head of the table and introduced me to his three wives. The furnishing of the house was cheap and common, but the table was fairly provided for. He said he would help me to find the animals I wanted, and in the morning showed me two which he had, that were young and suitable, and a larger one which he said I could have if I could drive him.

I soon found out that I had better move or sell my cattle, for with all my watching I could do they gradually disappeared, and hungry thieves who could live on beef alone, visited my little band of cattle too often and took what they wanted, and I could not detect them. I soon sold to four buyers from the north, L.D. Stevens, David Grant, Sam Craig and Mr. Wilson, and hired out with my two horses to help them drive the band north, at a salary of $100 per month.

Disposing most of my money with Palmer, Cook & Co., I went to see my mine at Moore’s Flat. There were two boats leaving at about the same time, one for Stockton, and one for Sacramento, the latter of which I took, and Rogers the other. Both landed at Benecia, and when we swung away from that wharf Rogers and I saluted each other with raised and swinging hats, shouted a good bye, and I have never seen him since.

At Moore’s Flat I found my mine well and profitably worked by Mr. Tyler and as his lease was not out I returned to San Jose, as I had learned from Rogers that Mr. A. Bennett was at Watsonville, and Mr. Arcane at Santa Cruz, and I desired to visit them. I rode back across the country and found Mr. Bennett and family at the point where the Salinas river enters Monterey Bay. They were all well, and were glad to see me for they did not know I was in California. Mrs. Bennett was greatly affected at our meeting and shed tears of joy as she shook hands.

Bennett had a nice Whitehall boat and we had a genuine happy time hunting, fishing and gathering clams, and also in social visits among the neighbors and old acquaintances, among them one Jacob Rhodehouse of Wisconsin.

While here I rode my horse around to Monterey and to Carmel Mission, where I staid two or three days, with Mr. Gourley, a brother of Mrs. William M. Stockton, who was here engaged in raising potatoes. I walked along the beach near some rocky islands near the shore, and on these rocks were more sea lions and seals than I supposed the whole ocean contained–the most wonderful show of sea life on the California coast. Returning I staid all night at the crossing of the Salinas with a colored family who gave me good accommodations for self and horse. I heard afterward that this family was attacked by robbers and all but one murdered.

Mrs. Bennett’s father D.J. Dilley lived near here also, and I had not seen him since the time in Wisconsin, when he hauled my canoe over to the river in 1849. One day while fishing on the beach we found the body of a man, which we carried above the tide and buried in the sand.

I gave one of my horses to Geo. Bennett, and went over to Santa Cruz, where I found Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Arcane and son Charles in a comfortable home, well situated, and overjoyed to see me.

He knew everyone in town, and as we went about he never missed to introduce me to every one we met, as the man who helped himself and family out of Death Valley, and saved their lives. Arcane was a very polite Frenchman and knew how to manage such things very gracefully, but with all his grace and heartiness it made me feel quite a little embarrassed to be made so much of publicly and among strangers. He took me in his buggy and we drove along the beach, and to the lime-kiln of Cowel & Jordan, also to the court house when court was in session.

Upon the hill I met Judge Watson, the father of Watsonville, and a Mr. Graham, an old settler and land owner, and on this occasion he pulled a sheet of ancient, smoky looking paper from beneath his arm, pointed to a dozen or so of written lines in Spanish and then with a flourish of the precious document in Watson’s face dared him to beat that, or get him off his land. I must say that never in my life was I better entertained than here.

From Santa Cruz I crossed the mountain on a lonely and romantic trail to San Jose again, finding very few houses on the road. Here I went to work for R. G. Moody building a gristmill on the banks of the Coyote Creek, to be run by water from artesian wells. When the mill was done I went for my horse, and on my return I ran very unexpectedly upon Davenport Helms, to whom I had sold my little black mule in 1850. Our talk was short but he told me he had killed a man in Georgetown, and the sheriff was looking for him. He was now venturing to town for tobacco, and would hurry back to the hills again where he was herding cattle.

He said he kept them off at one time by getting in a piece of chaparral and presenting his gun to them when they came near, they dare not advance on him. Then he laughed and said–“And all the time my gun was empty, for I did not have a d—-d thing to put into it.” “I tell you they don’t catch old Davenport. Now don’t you tell on me. Good-bye.” I saw him no more after that.

The town of San Jose was now more of a town than it was a few years before. The “Forty Thieves,” and others, commenced building a city hall of brick on the top of old adobe walls, and this was the principal improvement, except the Moody mill near the Sutter house, one street north of Julian.

After finishing work on the mill I drew my money from the bank in San Francisco and started for the mines on horseback. Near French Camp, on the east side of the San Joaquin Valley, many cattle were feeding on the plains, and among them, much to my surprise I found “Old Crump,” the ox that brought Bennett’s and Arcane’s children safe through from Death Valley in February, 1850. He was now fat and sleek and as kind and gentle as when so poor upon the terrible journey. I got off my horse and went up to him, and patted my old friend. I was glad to find him so contented and happy, and I doubt not that he too was glad. I met a man near by and asked him about the ox, and he said that the owner would not sell him nor allow him to be worked, for he knew of the faithful part he performed in the world, and respected him for it.

At Sacramento I deposited my money with Page, Bacon & Co., a branch of the St. Louis firm of the same name, considered the safest bank in the United States. Their bills were taken in payment of Government land. Some rascals had some counterfeit bills on their bank, and traded them off for gold with the Missourians who were going home, and the poor fellows found themselves poor on arrival.

Going to my mine, where I left only a cabin or two, I found quite a village with two hotels and a post office.

News soon came that the banks had closed their door, and Page and Bacon also, so I concluded that I was broke. The “Pikers” said Page and Bacon could not, nor would not fail, but news was against them. The boys now tried to persuade me to go to Sacramento, and try to get my money and if I succeeded, to bring up a good stock of goods and they would buy of me in preference to any one else. On this showing I went down, and finding my old friend Lyman Ross (well known in San Jose) who was keeping a fruit store. I told him my business and he took me to L.A. Booth, Carrol & Co., and I stated to him the facts about my money in the bank and the doors closed. I told him if he would assist me I would buy $2000 worth of his goods, and send them to Moore’s Flat. I endorsed the certificate over to him, and in half an hour he came back with the coin. How he got it I never knew, but he did me a great favor, and we have been good friends ever since. I was no merchant, nor had I any mercantile education, so I took lessons from Mr. Booth, and allowed him to make out for me a bill of goods such as he well knew I needed. With these we loaded up two 6 mule teams, and started for the mountain.

I had about $700 left besides paying for the goods, but I felt a very little troubled as to my prospect for success, for it was a new business to me. Mr. Booth in a business way was a true father to me, and the much needed points in trade which he gave me were stored away for the use I knew I would make of them. Of all those whom I bear in grateful remembrance none stand higher than this worthy man.

I went first direct to Nevada City to take out a license that I might best protect myself against oppositions and from there I had a walk of 18 miles over a rough mountain trail to my selected place of business. Climbing the great hill of the S. Yuba river I often tired and sat down to rest, and I used this time to study my bill of goods, and add the freight and profit to the cost, so as to be well posted, and able to answer all questions readily when I unloaded the stock. The new trade seemed quite a task to learn, but I felt that I was compelled to succeed, and I worked manfully at it.

When I reached Moore’s Flat I found that the boys had rented a store for me, and their welcome was very hearty when they found how lucky I had been in securing my money and starting out as their “grub supplier.”

Four of us now located some mining claims, and began a tunnel both to drain the ground, and to work through the bed-rock. This we named The Paradise, and we expected that three or four months would elapse before we made it pay, but there was in truth two years of solid rock-work before we got under the ground, but it paid well in the end.

The largest nugget of gold ever found before this time was a quartz boulder from the Buckeye sluice, about 8 by 10 inches in size, and when cleaned up at the San Francisco mint the value was about $10,000.

Two of my partners in the work, L.J. Hanchett, and Jas. Clark ran out of funds at the end of the first year, and I took as much of the expense as I could upon my own shoulders.

About this time learning by a letter from her father that Mrs. Bennett was lying at the point of death at Mr. L.C. Bostic’s in San Jose, I left H. Hanchett in charge of my business, and in four days I stood beside the bedside of my friend, endeared through the trials when death by thirst, starvation and the desert sands, stared us in the face with all its ghastliness.

She reached out her arms and drew me down to her, and embraced me and said in a faint whisper–“God bless you:–you saved us all till now, and I hope you will always be happy and live long.” She would have said more, but her voice was so weak she could not be heard. She was very low with consumption, and easily exhausted. I sat with her much of the time at her request and though for her sake I would have kept back the tears I could not always do it. Two doctors came, one of them Dr. Spencer, and as I sat with my face partly turned away I over heard Dr. S. say to his assistant–“He is a manly man.”

This presence and the circumstances brought back the trying Death Valley struggles, when this woman and her companions, and the poor children, so nearly starved they could not stand alone, were only prevented from sitting down to die in sheer despair by the encouraging words of Rogers and myself who had passed over the road, and used every way to sustain their courage.

She died the following day; with Mr. Bennett, I followed her remains to Oak Hill cemetery, where she was buried near the foot of the hill, and a board marked in large letters, “S.B.” (Sarah Bennett) placed to mark the mound. The grave cannot now be found, and no records being then kept it is probably lost.

I went home with Mr. Bennett to his home near Watsonville, and spent several days, meeting several of our old Death Valley party, and Mr. D.J. Dilley, Mrs. Bennett’s father. Mrs. Bennett left surviving her a young babe.

I returned to Moore’s Flat, and soon sold out my store, taking up the business of purchasing gold dust direct from the miners, which I followed for about two years, and in the fall of 1859 sold out the business to Marks & Powers. I looked about through Napa and Sonoma Counties, and finally came to San Jose, where I purchased the farm I now own, near Hillsdale, of Bodley & McCabe, for which I paid $4,000.

In the fall of the same year my old friend W.M. Stockton of Los Angeles Co. persuaded me to come down and pay him a visit. His wife had died and he felt very lonely. I had been there but a few days when my old friend A. Bennett and his children also came to Stockton’s. The children had grown so much I hardly knew them, but I was glad indeed to meet them.

I found Mr. Bennett to be a poor man. He had been persuaded to go to Utah, being told that a fortune awaited his coming there, or could be accumulated in a short time. He gave away the little babe left by his wife to Mrs. Scott, of Scott’s Valley, in Santa Cruz Co. and sold his farm near the mouth of the Salinas River. With what money he had accumulated he loaded two 4 mule teams with dry goods, put his four children into his wagon, and went to Cedar City, Utah.

He gave a thrilling account of passing through Mountain Meadows, where he saw, here and there little groups of skeletons of the unhappy victims of the great massacre at that place of men, women and children, by J.D. Lee, and his Mormon followers and told me the terrible story, which I here omit.

Smarting under the terrible taxation of one tenth of everything, Bennett grew poorer and poorer and at last resolved that he must go away, but his wife could not leave her own people, and so he set off with his children, somewhat afraid he might be shot down, but he reached Los Angeles Co. in safety. One daughter married a lawyer in San Bernardino, and died a few years afterwards. The other married a Capt. Johnson of Wilmington, and Bennett and two sons went to Idaho.

A few years ago in passing from San Jose to the Coast, my wife and I spent Sunday at Scott’s Valley. Mrs. Scott invited us to visit them in the evening at the house when all would be at home. Mrs. Scott was the lady to whom Bennett gave his girl baby when he started away for Utah, and I felt very anxious to see her now she was grown up. Mrs. Scott introduced us, and I sat and looked at the little woman quite a long time, but could not see that she resembled either father or mother. My mind ran back over the terrible road we came and I pictured to myself the woman as she then appeared.

I studied over our early trials, crossing the plains over the deserts and our trying scenes out of Death Valley and turned all over in my mind for some time and finally all came to me like a flash and I could clearly see that the little lady was a true picture of her mother; I now began to ask questions about her folks, she said her father lived near Belmont, Nevada, and her grand-father died at the Monte, Los Angeles county Cal.. Our visit now became very interesting and we kept a late hour.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top