Sacrificed to Gold

Jared Dixon Sheldon, a Vermont native and carpenter by trade, is thought to have arrived in California, then a province of Mexico, in 1839. When authorities at Monterey, the capital, hired him to build a customhouse for them, he asked for payment in the form of a future land grant at such time as he found land he wanted.   Continue reading Sacrificed to Gold

A Gold Miner’s New Year

During the early Gold Rush years, the fever to find riches was too hot for most gold miners to take time out to relax and celebrate New Year’s Day, although some of them did spend a few hours visiting friends in other camps. If their claims were below the snow line, many just fired their pistols in tribute and went on prospecting.

Gold Near the Surface

“Placer” is the name given to gold (and other minerals) found in alluvial deposits of sand and gravel in modern or ancient stream beds that are near the surface when found. During the California Gold Rush, prospectors used shallow metal pans or water-tight Indian baskets with sloping sides to mine placer gold. After filling Continue reading Gold Near the Surface

Mariposa County Then & Now

Mariposa Cnty - Monarch ButterflyOrganized in 1850 as one of the original 27 California counties, Mariposa was the largest county in geographical terms, with an area of about 30,000 square miles covering one-fifth of the state. It included most of present-day Mono and Inyo counties, all of present-day Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Kern Continue reading Mariposa County Then & Now