Biographical Sketches of the life of MAJOR WARD BRADFORD (old Pioneer)
As related by the author who is 84 years of age and nearly blind,
Containing a graphic description of the manners, life of Early Times, Vivid
incidents In Indian Wars, and wilds of the Mountains Life in the Gold Regions
of Nevada; Perils by Land and by Sea!
Together with reliable statements concerning the Products and Resources of many Lands and many Climes.
A, brief-History of the life of Major Ward Bradford: written from memory- in his 82nd year, assisted by his wife, Martha Bradford, in her 63rd year.
Father was Moses Bradford, born in Maine, Descendent of Governor William Bradford of Mayflower fame. Father died at age of 65 and mother, Anna Ward, at 90.
Parents settled on bank of Cuyahoga River, Portage County, Ohio in 1804. I was born there on April 13, 1809.
First incident remembered was father's enlistment in army during war of 1812. Against mothers wishes. Mother shed tears.
Second Incident - Uncle John wounded a deer and called Ward's dog, Gunner to catch It, Dog and deer jumped into river above falls. Carried over and drowned. Caused me to think hard of Uncle John.
Next recollection when father came home from army sick.
In spring of 1810 father moved to Hocking County, Ohio, and settled in woods on head branch of Big Raccoon. Unbroken forests and thinly settled. Bradford's among first settlers.
Bears, panthers, mountain wolves, wild cats, foxes, coons, opossums, deer, turkeys, pheasants, quail, pigeons and snakes of almost all description. and other animals and birds in abundance.
Father built log cabin and started clearing first acre of land. Hard working man but not much of a hunter, but could kill a deer or turkey when necessary.
Bought two cows and few stock hogs. Continued clearing land and raising crops most needed. When father was absent one day big black bear came in dooryard and picked up hog weighing about 60 pounds, Frightened everyone. Next morning father and neighbor with rifles and dogs followed bear trail and found remains of hog covered up in leaves. Bear escaped. Afterwards had to keep stock in enclosure at night.
At 10 became acquainted with grubbing hoe, axe and corn hoe and helped father. Killed first deer at 12. Became quite a hunter. At 16, a stout and able-bodied boy, and expert with above tools. New field opened. With sickle, scythe, pitchfork and rake joined harvesters. Made full hand.
Method of harvesting - -
Formed company of 6 or 8 men. Began on ripest grain first and moved from field to field until done. At sunrise all gathered at place where grain was to be cut, ate little old rye bread and butter and cheese and then marched into field. Header appointed. Started in. Second started after leader had gone about a yard, and so on. Each man cut swath 4 feet wide, laying grain behind him. When across fields hung sickles on shoulders and bounded back across field. At nine o'clock horn blew for breakfast. Most substantial and best prepared meal desired. To field again. Good-natured boy kept old brown jug and bucket of cold water handy. At 12 o'clock had substantial dinner. Rested one hour. At 4 o'clock lunch was brought into field. Seated in shade for half hour. Worked until time to hang up sickles and shock up day's work. One acre per day to the band was called a No.1 day's work. Supper. Most of haying done after grain was cut. Done with scythe rake and pitchfork.
Reader can see chance for education was limited. Had only three month's time each winter to attend school at old log school house from time I was eight till sixteen. At 18 it became my duty to enroll according to military law. Elected first lieutenant. Took pride in this, especially officers drill.
On 20th birthday father called and spoke thus: "My son Ward, upon reflection I have come to this conclusion. We are poor and have a large family, and perhaps will not have anything to give you when you become of age, and as you have been a dutiful and hard-working boy, you may consider yourself free, making your home with us at your convenience." With heavy heart and choked voice I thanked him.
___________________________________________________________ and clearing land by the acre.- In 8 months had $109.00 deposited with mother. Went to Chillicothe land office and bought 80 acres and started work on it. Worked 2 days a week for board at nearest neighbors and other four for myself. Built cabin, cleared and fenced 3 acres and set out orchard.
On Dec, 15, 1831, married Margaret Martin (?) moved
home and continued work.
______________________ ________with father-in-law sold out and moved to Noble County, Indiana, settling in Hawpatch bought 120 acres on Elkhart River, joining town plot of Ligonier, which had just been laid out by Isuele Caven. Purchased lot and built on it. First house built in this now thriving city. Bridge 128 feet to be built across river there. Lowest bidder. Expert with broadaxe and did own hewing and framing.
After done, notified commissioners. Examined work and found it satisfactory. They paid me $500.00 as agreed and made me present of $20.00 besides, for prompt performance of contract.
In fall of 1837 sold out with intention of going to Iowa. Before going there went back to Ohio on horseback, bade father and mother, brothers and sisters and old friends farewell. Returned home. Left Ligonier last of November with three yoke cattle and prairie schooner. Very cold. Ground rough and frozen. Team became footsore. Arrived at South Bend and stopped over one day and had oxen shod. Very cold traveling over plains of Illinois. Crossed Mississippi River on ice at Burlington, settled in Henry County, Iowa within five miles of Mount Pleasant.
Dispute arose relative to line run between Territory of Iowa and State of Missouri. Results: order given to run another line. Beginning at original stake on Missouri River, line ran east, striking Mississippi River 9 miles south of former line. This strip of country, much desired, settled on very rapidly. Iowa and Missouri both claimed authority over it. When Henry County sheriff went on disputed strip to collect taxes and perform other officiaI duties, he was arrested by Missouri sheriff and placed in prison, but by giving sufficient bond, was released. Watched opportunity and in turn arrested Missouri sheriff In like manner, brought him to Henry County and treated him in same way. Brought on border warfare.
Gov. Lucas issued proclamation that all able-bodied males between ages of 18 and 45 should enroll for military duty and that territory be laid off in company districts. I soon received commission as Captain of Baltimore Company and soon had lively time, A Delegation of our representatives met like delegation from Paloyra, Missouri, and agreed to cease hostilities until Congress should meet and settle matter. Wasn't done for three years. In meantime kept well drilled and I received commission as major from Gov. Chambers, our second governor. General training held at Mount Pleasant. Disputed strip ceded to Iowa and called Butternut war. Came by name thus: Missorians dug up butternut roots to color homemade jeans and then began to come over to Iowa for more roots. Iowa objected because they wanted their own roots. Hence name of Butternut Root War.
While in Henry County I frequently visited Nauvoo to gather information concerning my military practice, as they were best drilled in military tactics, Nauvoo Legions would camp on Illinois plains and drill a week at one time in regular army drill. Became well acquainted with Gen. Jo Smith, Hiram Smith and many other leading men of Nauvoo.
In 1844 sold out and moved to Van Buren County where I bought 480 acres of land, partly timber and partly prairie. Located on wall traveled road leading from Nauvoo to Council Bluffs, In fall of 1845 began building hotel. In March 1846 first pioneer company of Mormons, headed by Scott arrived at my place and wished to camp in timber, That night about 6 inches of snow fall and couldn't proceed so asked to lie over for few days. Weather kept cold and wet. Their camp increased in numbers for 12 days, until there were three hundred wagons and 1600 persons in camp. Created lively market. On 8th day of stay Brigham Young and wife drove up, overloaded, so I traded him a wagon for hardware, cutlery and things I needed for new hotel. On 10th day of stay Brigham Young visited me and walked through house. Saw that largest room not occupied, he asked if I was fond of music and dancing. I told him I was, He sent to camp and about 40 of his dancers, and a band of music came to house. All enjoyed evening and party closed by a dance, participated in by Brigham Young and wife and myself and wife. On 12th day caravan passed on way to far west. From this time on my house known for many miles east and west as Mormon Hotel. Was well acquainted with the 12 apostles and many of elders and other leading men. Always treated me with greatest kindness and respect and frequently called on me during spring and summer.
In fall of 1847 I sold out and moved to Alexandria on bank of Mississippi
River in Clark County, Missouri where I built hotel and went into business.
On May Ist, 1848 cholera broke out and several deaths occurred. On
May 10th my wife fell victim to dreaded disease, in 37th year of her life.
Now left with family of 8 children, youngest of whom soon followed its
mother. My business was stopped and I found it very hard and lonesome
to take care of such a large family. I concluded to seek another
companion, and on June 30, 1849 I married Maverna Wood and resumed my business.
Finding that old customers had left me, owing to my misfortune and the
fact of a new landlady, I became very much discouraged. About this
time a strange gentleman by name of Jones called on me, direct from California
and showed me several specimens of gold. He gave brief history and
description of California and Isthmus of Darien, stating that he believed
hotel keeping on Isthmus would be grand speculation. He therefore
rented hotel at that place and offered me $1,000.00 per month if I would
go with wife and two daughters and take charge of it for him. Mr.
Jones would accompany us and remain with us. I accepted and hired
my sister to take care of five remaining children. I settled up business
and rented hotel on Oct. 16, 1849. With Mr. Jones and wife we boarded
steamer "Silas Wright" for New Orleans. Here landed on 23rd of month
at 4 pm.. I started up town to find rooms. As I passed up wharf
in front of many steamers I noticed one backing out into river. Suddenly
most terrible explosion I ever heard took place. I was enshrouded
in total darkness and almost instantly there followed a crash of falling
timber and debris around me. In few seconds gentle breeze drove back
smoke and cinders and opened to my view a most horrible sight, which left
an impression on my mind that will never be effaced. To my right
hand, within six feet of me, lay a mangled mass of flesh which uttered
two or three words and was then silent. On my left was a similar
mass, from which issued a few faint shrieks. By the voice I know
it was a female. In front, wharf was strewn with masses of flesh
and blood in-describable arms, legs, hands, intestines and every other
conceivable matter, nude and black.
Hull of steamer slowly backed out about her length and sank. Bells began ringing up and down whole length of wharf. City responded in like manner. Rumbling sound in moment. In short time thousands of people had gathered. Some frantic with grief, crying at top of voice "Where is my father," "Where is my mother," or brother or sister or friend. Many rushed thru crowd, halting over masses of flesh to identify them if possible. Just before sun went down several drays came and gathered up remains of dead. Multitude began to disperse. Next morning newspapers reported that boiler of "Louisiana" had exploded with 300 passengers on board and all lost but 3. Considered greatest explosion on Mississippi River up to that time.
On Nov. 2nd(1847) we embarked on schooner "Americus" with about 70 passengers on board. On second day out cholera broke out and during voyage seven were buried at sea. Landed at Chargres on 14th of month. I had most lonesome experience as I stood on lone bank of river and viewed surroundings. Along banks was row of bamboo huts with round opening for door. People were small, dwarfish, black or mulatto-colored race, half-clad, some with high cheek bones and black straight hair, like Indians, others had thick lips, flat nose and curly hair like the negro. Mixed race and ignorant class of beings. On third day after we arrived we started up river in a "bunga" rowed by 5 natives whom I had employed. Three or four bows were bent over the center of "bunga" like the bows on a wagon. These covered with raw-hide the boat loaded with our freight. It began to rain and rained hard for three or four hours. The river began to rise rapidly and by dark had overflowed banks so we could not land. Tied headline to limb of tree out over water. Went on next morning and with hard labor reached first point of dry land on river. Found small bamboo house and three Americans and two natives with "bunga" who had landed the night before. Laid over another night. Noisiest and most hideous night I ever experienced. Lowlands overflowed and whole creation driven to this spot of dry land. Grating of alligators, bellowing of baboons, screeching of apes, chattering of monkeys, and sounds of various other animals unknown to me, filled night with their chorus. River had fallen a number of feet by morning and had no further trouble till we landed at Cruces. We remained over night and sent freight by pack train. Hired three ponies for wife and daughter and I walked. I paid $16.00 each for ponies. Arrived at Panama at 9.00 p.m. and all were nearly exhausted.
Next day we were greatly disappointed. Learned that Mr. Jones had not returned in time specified in lease and house had been rented for much higher price. Discouraged Mr. and Mrs. Jones especially Mrs. Jones, very much. Decided to return to New Orleans. This almost paralyzed us for now what should we do. In Panama about 1500 persons bound for California. We made up our minds to stay with Californians. Rented small house outside wall of city at $10.00 per month and began housekeeping. Gave wife and girls employment enough to support themselves and pay rent. In the meantime steamer on Chagres parted cable in night in high water, drifted out of channel and lodged against large tree on bank. Owner of steamer came to Panama to hire help to launch Capt. Rollins of St. Louis. An old steamboat captain agreed to help him. Hired thirty men at $3.00 per day, myself and steward among number. When we reached place found that river had fallen 16 feet and bow extended out of water about one-third of length. I began hewing timbers and men placed them in proper position in ground and in eight days steamer was afloat. When we returned to Panama one of our friends taken sick with Panama fever. Was John Chick, with whom I was acquainted before leaving States. He died at my house and after much difficulty I had him decently buried,
For some time now I was idle. Then Capt. Caleb, Captain of fine ship "Edward Everett" hired me to sail with him to Tobaga Island, nine miles from Panama, to water and ventilate his ship. On her second trip to San Francisco I took charge of four sailors and discharged duty satisfactorily to the captain. When work was finished we sailed back to Panama and found that the steamer had touched and taken away about 1200 passengers at $300.00 each. All right with me as I could not pay that price. Capt. Caleb hired me to solicit passengers for his ship, saying he would sail as soon as he had 200 at $200.00 each. I began on Thursday morning and found there were two other ships waiting for same purpose, and also that there were four hundred passengers, all of whom said they would go on first ship that sailed but would promise me nothing definite. I advised captain to let me take his boat and two sailors and visit the other two ships that I might talk intelligently of their capacities. I boarded "Charleston" and introduced myself to the captain who showed me through the ship, which was old, a slow sailor and poorly furnished as a passenger vessel. I then boarded "Brustus" which was a new ship, a good sailer, and well provided for as a passenger ship. Captain's lady on board, and everything in good order. I returned to "Edward Everett" and resumed my position explaining my visit, which description had a good affect on hearers. On Saturday morning I remarked to Capt. Caleb if he would promise to sail on Monday, I was sure I could accomplish his desire. I also told him I had not enough money to pay the $1,00.00 for my family. He said we would sail. In the afternoon I made arrangements with about thirty men to meet me at this place and walk with me down to the captain's office. They agreed, and we proceeded to the office. I asked captain if he intended to sail on Monday. He said he did. I told him I wanted first five tickets. Tickets made out and I handed him $700.00 which he acknowledged. He owed -me $300.00 at this time for three days soliciting at $100.00 per day. Applied on price of tickets $1000.00. Others asked for tickets and as soon as received them rushed out for friends. Did sail on Monday evening, Jan. 2, 1850 with 214 passengers. I was assigned to best rooms and we fared first class during voyage which was pleasant. Landed in San Francisco on Feb 7th. Trip third fastest ever made with sailing vessel up to that time.
When it became known there was a man and wife and two daughters on board, several gentlemen called on me wishing to rent their hotels. I went with them to examine their hotels and found them fair, considering manners of country. They used many flattering words and prophesied fortune for me in the near future. I asked lowest price. Answers were from $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 per month. Completely knocked prop from under me. Returned to ship again. Boarded schooner "Iowa" for Sacramento. Met same fate. Here met two old friends from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, who advised me to go to Marysville with them. Had come down river in small boat to purchase goods to replenish store. Went with them. Furnished us tent for a few days. Here I ran skiff for short time across Feather River between Marysville and Yuba City. Made $20.00 per day. W.M. Rose offered to rent me cloth tent at crossing of Yuba River, four miles above Marysville at $200.00 per month, assuring me that if I could not pay him at end of month he would not think any less of me. He would furnish flour, meat and other things for table. We accepted and moved. Tent in dusty condition. Table in center of tent and consisted of posts driven in grounds pieces across top of posts, and three boards on them lengthwise. One seat on each side made by placing board on posts. In corner of tent was stove and few tin cans and tin plates. All of outfit. Girls dusted walls and swept off table. I wet down earthen floor and Mr. Rose furnished few yards of domestic for tablecloth and better outfit for table. Second day we rang Spanish gong for breakfast. Boarders increased gradually and month soon passed. I went to Mr. Rose to settle. He asked me if I was able to do so. I asked for amount of bill. Consulted books and answered $700.00. I drew from pocket purse of gold dust and weighed out $900.00. I returned home and made inventory of all on hand. Found we had $I600.00. Continued second month with about same result. Then moved to Colonel Brohy's ranch two miles up river and ran ranch two months at $300.00 per month rent. Here realized about $3,000.00 per month
Wife taken sick. Prepared to go to Marysville for doctor. Before ready, men with drove of cattle called at well for drink of water. I asked if there was a doctor in company. They answered "Yes". I asked doctor to see my wife who was sick. Surprised to see them shake hands. Old friends in Missouri before we were married. His name Condit, and he had been her favorite physician. Wife had congestive chills. He remained with us two days but on July 23, 1860 wife died. Buried in Marysville cemetary. Not policy for me to remain and carry on business with my two daughters and reflecting on my five children at home, we resolved to return. I paid $75.00 for scythe and swath and hired man at $16.00 per day to mow prairie grass. Also hired team to draw and stack grass. About five tons which cost me $300.00. I sold some for $1200.00. Bought one pumpkin at $5.00 and made it into 25 pies. Sold readily at $1.00 each. Eggs at $1.00 each. Price for board $1.50 per meal. Boarders slept under oak trees. Cigars 25 cents each and drinks 25cents. These were prices in California at that time.
Business settled up. Bade Stewart farewell as he wished to remain. We had about $800.00 on hand. Took steamer at Marysville for San Francisco, where we remained for few days and then took English ship "Carbia" for Panama. Had hard trip. Captain very tyrannical, insulting John Bull. Lay in calm 18 days with extremely hot weather. One bottle water per day was our allowance. Gentle breeze sprang up and we resumed journey anchoring in mouth of Spencer River. Expected to take Nicaragua route and were two days preparing for journey. Then sixty persons returned from that route and said we could not pass that way. Boarded bark "Catherine" and after tedious journey of seventy days from San Francisco we reached Panama, crossing isthmus to Cruces, as before with two horses and I on foot. About thirty in our company. I appointed Captain, to make arrangements for descending river. Accomplished in one day and night. Arrived at Chagres again. Remained five days and boarded schooner "Indian Queen" for New Orleans. Pleasant voyage until heavy weather in Gulf of Mexico. Right dark and storm severe. Driven in mud near mouth of Mississippi River. Lay helpless for three days with flag at half mast. Steamer came within two miles or us, cast anchor. We were transferred in our small boats and taken to New Orleans. Remained two or three days. Boarded another steamer for St. Louis. Took revenue cutter for Alexandria. Ran twenty miles up river. Met heavy floating ice and were driven back to citv. Hired conveyance by land to our home in Alexandria. Children well. Friends glad to see us after sixteen months absence. During sixteen months traveling twelve months and traveling expenses were $3,000.00. By being in business four months our profit was $8,000.00. By this almost miraculous journey were $5,000.00 ahead.
I bought some land and built a house. On April 21, 1851 married third wife, Emily Butcher. Thought I would never return to California, but circumstances changed, my mind. In spring ice broke up. Flood came. Valley overflowed from bluffs of Illinois to sand ridges of Missouri, nine miles remained under water for six weeks. Following winter very cold. Sold out and bought three wagons, six yoke oxen, six cows, a horse, saddle and bridle and started for West accompanied by three young men who volunteered to go with me to drive and take care of stock for board. Started April 15, 1852. Family consisted of myself, wife and seven children and men. We numbered twelve. Weather windy and stormy and traveling slow. At Missouri River had to stop a week for chance to ferry over. Bank lined up for great distance with teams and wagons waiting. Where Omaha now stands, then not a house. Road lined with wagons and stock so we slowly moved on long journey. When we reached the Big Platte, cholera broke out. Widespread alarm. As soon as a death took place, hurried burial followed and trains moved on again. Finally reached Salt Lake camped one week visiting old Mormon friends. At Humboldt River about 30 wagons of us took Northern on Oregon route by way of Goose Lake. Land good and we judged would soon be settled. Proved to be so.
One rainy night while encamped on southwest side of Lake, Indians stole several head of stock, Early in morning we pursued and overtook portion of them in afternoon. As soon as Indians discovered us they shot several cattle and scattered in all directions. We returned to camp with all stock we were able to trail, losing one yoke of oxen. I left one wagon and we moved on to Tule River. Here again headed off by Indians, but we struck camp, stood guard overnight and early in morning prepared to fight to finish. Soon saw dust rising about mile ahead and coming rapidly. If recruit for enemy our case lost; if friends, victory ours. No tongue could describe horror of my mind while new arrival approached. Indians began to scatter. Capt. Ben Wright and thirty men came towards camp and took in situation at once. Fired upon Indians, killing several, captured three, two squaws and one buck. We were again at liberty. Grazing good so we remained another day. Toward sundown buck was taken out of camp, shot and scalped. Bloody scalp brought back into camp. I thought this uncalled for. This being dangerous point, Capt. Wright sent from Yreka to relieve suffering immigration. Road clear so we journeyed on in safety. Reached Jacksonville on Sept. 17. Small mining camp. Built large house for myself and engaged to build for others for $700.00. Three boys still with me. Work soon accomplished. Then engaged in other work.
About Sept. 20, sixteen inches snow fell. Feared stock would perish. Man by name of Poole took cattle to Bear River bottom in heavy timber, came out all right. Three small provision stores. All goods used packed on animals from Portland, Oregon three hundred miles over bad road. Soon as snow fell, pack train could not travel, merchants put high tariff on goods. Salt; butter, sugar and tobacco $5.00 per lb. Flour, potatoes $1.00 lb. and other things in proportion. Soon ate up our $700.00. As soon as snow went off we went to work again. Decided that this country would not hold me longer than spring. In fall several men returned. Gave flattering account of coast. Believe man of my energy could cross mountains with wagons. Decided to try it. Several men volunteered to help me. Man with sixteen pack animals to accompany us. About March 20 loaded up and set out. First sixty miles down Applegate River and up Illinois River to junction of trail up mountains. Made without much trouble and struck camp for a time. With rifle I followed trail few miles to prospect route. Impossible for wagons to go farther. I returned to camp and reported result of investigations. Cast gloom over camp. In morning unloaded wagons, turned them bottom up, and put under them such things as we could do without. Packed freight on pack train, reserving gentlest animals for those not able to walk. Resumed journey. With difficulty reached summit and found snow six inches deep. Camped all night in pine grove. Made large log fire. Rained part of night. Had rough time. Spitting snow in morning. Situation unpleasant. As soon as light on our way down grade. Reached Smith River at 12 o'clock. River nearly bank-full here. Unpacked and turned stock loose. Grazing good. Saw first redwood timber. Some of these giants of forest measured forty feet in circumference. Large quantity of flood wood. Began building raft. Cut drift logs in 12 ft. lengths… Rolled them to bank of river. Plenty of pack ropes so built raft of these thus: Rope wrapped around each end of a log and logs rolled into water. Ropes crossed at each end and another log rolled in. In this way until raft 20 ft. long. Other dry logs split into slabs and placed on raft crosswise under logs. River one hundred yards wide. Current smooth and moderate. Remained in camp over night. In morning put part of freight on raft. Poled over river by seven men and unloaded. Had drifted down some in crossing so had to cordelle up to strike place where raft was built. Three men returned with raft. Balance of freight and family put on board and landed safely. Raft returned second time.. Stock driven into river and forced to swim over. Those who remained boarded raft, crossed and unwound ropes. Let noble raft go down river one log at a time. Packed up again and reached coast in evening.
On beach met 30 men. Offered us only cabin they had built and hind quarters of fine elk. Little ship Pomona had left provisions with Mr. Waterman to supply camp until return. I called on him to buy supplies. Very dear…Asked price of rice. $1.00 per lb. He asked me if I had any milk to sell. I said I had. My price $1.00 per qt.. "All right" he replied. After this he had milk with his rice and we had rice with our milk. Now idle three weeks until Pomona returned bringing more men, tools and provisions. All went to work. Place laid off in town lots, called Crescent City. Ocean to south and west. Mountains to north and east. Valley level land, extended 16 miles along coast and three miles back. Shape of half moon. Very heavy timber covered nearly whole of valley.
Began building in earnest. Cheap sawmill built to furnish lumber. I finished first house and opened it as boarding house. Other houses finished and opened in other branches of business. "Pomona" returned for supplies. Country thickly inhabited by Indians. Lived chiefly in villages along coast. Lived mainly on fish. Shy at first but when acquainted were quite trustworthy. In August fine prairie land dissolved at mouth of Smith River twelve miles from city. Company wished me to join them and locate claim. Not convenient for me to leave home, but offered them use of yoke of oxen to do hauling if they would locate claim for me and build cabin on it. Offer accepted. Sixteen men went on ground, located and built cabin on each claim. In spring I went over and examined country. Pleased with future prospects I commenced improving. My family the first that ever landed on beach and after living here fourteen months I rented my house and moved on my claim which we called Smith River Valley. As soon as land came into market I bought one thousand acres. When I first settled here, game plenty, elk, deer, bear, smaller animals geese and ducks by ten thousand. Handy with rifle and many a fine elk I killed within one mile of cabin. Began to improve my farm. Very productive. Prices very good. Stock doing well. Sent to San Francisco for all kinds of fruit tree seeds..Proved success. Soon had enough trees for self and neighbors. Small lot of hogs shipped to Crescent City. Five purchased by myself, four brood sows and one male for $200.00. In proper time I supplied neighbors with a start. Several families moved into valley. I saw necessity of schoolhouse. I received volunteer labor enough to build house. Soon had school started. Had Sunday School and preaching when we could get preacher.
Fishery established at mouth of river. Everything moved on fair and prosperous till 1857 when Indian war broke out in Jackson County, Oregon. Soon spread to coast and our trouble began. Settlers became alarmed. Some moved to Crescent City. I began fort by digging trench three feet deep around house and well. Split ten foot logs in two and stood them on end, one flat side in and one flat side out. Chambering round sides together to be bullet proof. Also made bastion on two opposite corners so we could enter them from inside fort and from porthole look along two of outside walls from each bastion. Kept plenty of guns and ammunition. One man, my son and myself and family held fort while other families moved to city while men were engaged in war. Just before close of war five or six roughs engaged in killing all bucks they could find. Already surrounded two small villages and killed twenty or thirty inhabitants.
One town of this character located on my land near beach. Very ancient village contained about one hundred persons. Roughs threatened this town also. Said they would kill my Indian boy who had lived with me three years. Faithful boy. My Indians became much alarmed. Many of them came to me crying for protection. Three roughs came to my house to kill my boy. Sharp words and serious threats but finally left. Indians had done no harm but were true and trustworthy. My duty to help them. Next morning at break of day I mounted my horse, armed with shotgun and pistols started with boy to Crescent City where I left him with friend of mine. Went to city authorities and asked permission for my Indians to be put on Lighthouse Island in front of city. About fifteen acres of north half covered with scrubby timber made convenient shelter. Permission granted. I returned to Indian Camp and told them to be ready at sunrise on morrow to move to island. Went to camp in morning equipped as before. They were ready. Followed beach to avoid danger. Reached city safely. If I had been caught in act by roughs it would have cost me my life as they still threatened me till peace proclaimed by General Camby about six weeks after Indians moved to island. After war they returned home. Ever remembered me for protection. Considered lives in my hands.
Valley refilled by former occupants. Business revived. I built large barn and new house. Orchard bearing fruit. Good home. Valley very fertile. Good water and finest timber I ever saw. Felled several trees five to six feet in diameter. Sawed off 16 rail cuts each eleven feet long. Average would be 12 cuts of same length. Timber called redwood splits easiest and smoothest of any I ever worked in. Raised 65 bu. wheat to acre, same of barley, 115 bu. Chile oats and 300 bu. Potatoes. When several farms got underway - home consumption overdone. Prices fell so low there was no money in farming and valley so isolated outside market could not be reached with any profit. Country mountainous and of rockiest character. Only one road from valley to interior. Road cost $1,000.00 per mile for first forty miles then less per mile to Rogue River Valley. Placed heavy tax on people. My portion $1,200.00. Road crossed copper belt. Large sums spent in search for copper ore. Search unsuccessful. I worked two summers and spent $1,500 but failure. Went to Copperopolis by way of San Francisco to examine mines there. Copper mining precarious business. I gave it up. Visited San Jose, Watsonville, Santa Cruz and several other smaller towns and Oakland and San Francisco. Had good time. Returned home after journey of 1,000 miles through populous country. Our valley looked very small to me compared to this land with broad and extensive plains. Upon mature reflection made up mind to sell out and leave valley. All daughters except one had married and moved out of country. This one lived in Crescent City. I had now lived in the country nine years, the longest I had ever remained in one place. Had served people as county supervisor for number of terms and had become acquainted with almost every man in county, besides being leading farmer. Seemed to be leaving a good home but finally sold out to Colonel Dave Buell for $20,000.00 Stock and all included.
I then gave my farewell party. Entire neighborhood invited besides friends from Crescent City. Spent twenty four hours in one of most enjoyable and social parties of my life. Table furnished with all comforts country afforded. Plenty of new cider from our orchard, first made in county. Moved to San Francisco in 1862. Met friend lately from newly discovered mine of Reese River town of Austin, Landen County, State of Nevada. He gave very encouraging description of that country. I went with him. Satisfied with prospects of country, bought 30 town lots for $2,200,00 and returned for family. Removed them to Austin. Began building house. Austin about midway of small ravine on canon about mile long. At mouth of canon and at head of Upper Austin was town of Clifton. Three towns vied with each other for supremacy. Caused lively time in building. About this time I began building city hall. Lumber obtained from California and drawn 60 or 80 miles across sandy plains. Therefore, very high. Bought at $200.00 per thousand and No. 1 flooring at $300.00. Only two paying mines opened then and two mills building at $80,000.00 each. About 5000 population in the place. Few families not engaged in building were prospecting for miles around.
Seeing that lodes in ledges were numerous and narrow I began to study possibilities and probabilities of country. All of money in circulation spent in lots and building. No capital invested in mines, which were future hope of maintaining success. I expressed my views to two of my friends. Agreed with me. We admitted three others for consultation. Agreed to keep this a secret matter. I proposed we select one claim each, best we could find, buy out owners, and procure abstracts of title from location with all changes to title, so our title would be perfect. After some time and expense this was accomplished. At same time we had 300 acres of best timbered land surveyed. Other requirements of law being fulfilled we took some rocks from each mine, worked it by mill process, abstracted metal, and molded it into small bricks, the heaviest being $12.00 down to $2.00. Next provided small sacks containing about two pounds from each mine with name of mine on each sack and written description of same and amount of work expended on them. This done, we were ready for election to decide which one of us should start out to raise funds for continuing work. To secure this by selling, leasing, working on shares or in any other way he might desire for benefit of company. To be kept entirely secret till end accomplished. Held election - Bradford 5, Wells 1. I was not satisfied with result as I was an uneducated man and only one of six who had his family in Austin. Asked for election second time. Same result. Made me feel like abandoning scheme, but would not be fair to country, so I consented to go.
San Francisco over run with such enterprises so decided to go to New York at once. Landed in New York an entire stranger and felt like cat in strange garret. Tried to introduce myself and business. Treated very cooly about a month, as this was entirely new business in New York. At length met man by name of Demorest, 131 Broadway, who held some conversation with me about California and its resources. Brought up my subject and business. With his permission I brought my trunk to his office. Matter became quite interesting to him and he invited some of his friends to call and talk with us. Thus I became acquainted with tws brothers by name of Gorman and two others by name of Hoats. All presented to me as men of great wealth. Another man by name of Baldwin. Six men became interested in mining operation and history of country. They said if they purchased they wanted all six mines and timber. I agreed and price agreed upon was $100,000.00 for each ledge including timber and mill site. Payments to be: $50,000.00 on first of succeeding month, and same amount on first day of each month thereafter for four month; then I was to wait on them for four months; then they were to renew payments of $50,000.00 per month till full amount was paid. I paid lawyer $13.00 for drawing up contract and saw that legal revenue stamps were placed upon it. One provision in contract; was to send man with me to Austin with papers and specimens that I had delivered to them and if mines corresponded to these, contract to be valid. Judge Prescott appointed to go with me, $1,000.00 paid to me on contract. We set out on our journey, crossing states by rail to Atchison. Took overland stage route, run by Ben Holliday. Costly and hard route. We paid $600.00 each passage money and $2.00 meals. Stage crowded. Traveled six days and nights without stopping more than thirty minutes at any one time to eat or change horses. Reached Denver where we stayed 24 hours. In course of time reached Salt Lake. Stopped 24 hours. Reached Austin next six days. After few days rest I hired team at $13.00 per day to take Judge to the mines. Examined these critically and said they corresponded to their description correctly. He was to telegraph back report, Found that Indians had destroyed several miles of telegraph poles and Wire. Wrote several letters. Thirty or forty days required for delivery delayed very much. When found out what trade I had made several companies formed in Austin in same manner and took first steamer to New York. Found Mr. Demorest and offered him mines at much lower rate then he was to pay me. Two months had elapsed and $100,000.00 due us. Our company insisted on my returning to New York to collect. My wife in poor health. Took her and our two children with me. Left her with relatives and I continued to New York. Met some of my Austin friends who were offering mines at almost any price. This discouraged Demorest and company. They refused to pay me. I employed three lawyers who examined contract. Pronounced it good. Company would not compromise so we began suit. Suit adjourned from time to time to wear me out. Whenever they adjourned I returned to my sick wife. My lawyers wired me when I was needed in New York. Thus they kept me in trouble for about nine months. Finally by technical point in contract and through some hard swearing on their part I lost case.
I found it was useless for any Western man to go to law against capitalists in that wicked city. I returned to my relatives only to find my wife had been buried two days. Unmanned me for awhile and it appeared to me the world was against me. Alone with my two children I then traveled one year, in which I would have had one of most pleasant journeys of my life had it not been for my severe losses. At this time in my fifty-seventh year. I went to place of my birth. Everything was as strange as if I had never been there, except Cuyahaga River where my little dog Gunner drowned 54 years before. I still remembered Uncle John. Went to Hacking County at which place black bear carried off hog and where I killed first deer. Place also changed. Found seven persons I knew, my sister and husband being two of them. Found sixteen families names in graveyard, fathers name among them. Journeyed to settlement where first married. Here found several old acquaintances among whom were two elderly ladies whose ruby lips I had kissed in twilight while they were in their teens. Bidding them farewell I left for Ligonier, Noble County, Indiana. Here met score of old friends who walked with me to bank of Elkhart River where I built first bridge across in 1834. My friends here vied with each other in offering me their carriages. We visited Haw Patch and other familiar places. Also visited graves of oldest brother and his wife. Ten days I spent in Ligonier in pleasure and luxury.
After this enjoyable visit I bade my friends farewell and left for Mount Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa. Here proudest days of life, have been spent, dressed in Majors uniform, in saddle, a fine parade horse under me, and at head of 1200 men performing our military tactics preparatory to defending our rights in Butternut War. Spent few days in Mount Pleasant with old friends and comrades. Had very pleasant time. Bade them farewell and left for Van Buren County, where I had kept Mormon Hotel, danced with Brigham Young, and became acquainted with most of the elders of the Mormon Church. Again I left friends and proceeded to Alexandria. Here I had lost first wife and married again. From this place had taken "Silas Wright" for California. That was 41 years before. Having now overtaken myself, as it were, first 41 years of my life, I left for New York and again took steamer for California. Made seventh time I had crossed isthmus of Dorien. Landed in San Francisco with my two children, a broken man. Went to Comptonville, New(?)ada County to visit married daughter. Here met oldest son, by first wife. Had just returned from late war. Leaving daughter with her half sister, my two sons and myself went to Yolo County, where I took $400.00 contract. This completed, went to Contra Costa County. Located one-half section of government land, built small house on each quarter and began improving same. Stayed here six months and sold out for $1050.00. Bought two horses and light wagon and started to look at country. After ten days traveling made up minds where we would locate if we could but land on terms that would suit us. Then went to San Francisco to see owner of land and bought two sections at $3.00 per acre on following terms: Three equal payments in 1, 2 and 3 years. We went on land and began work. Oldest son plowed and myself and youngest son began building. In short time sold one section for $5.00 per Acre, receiving my $1,280.00 and purchaser standing good for three annual payments. Bought four horses, and two plows. Kept three teams busy and put in 70 acres wheat and barley during fall and winter. In June sold other sections, crops and all for $11.00 per acre. Had lived on this place seven months and with outside trading in land, had cleared $7,000.00. Returned to Antioch with teams and traded them off for 160 acres of land. Sold land in short time at $200.00 profit.
Oldest son went to Comptonville for my daughter. On return I bought comfortable outfit for traveling. We four started down coast. Visited all towns from Oakland to San Diego. Camped at will and pleasure. Boys shot quail, rabbits, ducks and geese by dozen as they were very plenty along coast. Made this very pleasant journey. Traveled about four hundred miles. Finally settled in Los Angeles County. Bought 300 acres for $7.00 per acre. With W. M. Spurgeon bought sixty acres at same price which I wished to lay out in a town. Hired surveyor, staked off town plat and called it Santa Ana. Built small storehouse for Mr. Spurgeon and house for myself. Offered lots free if person would build on them at once. I then agreed to sell them another lot joining first for $15.00. Town improved rapidly.
Soon man named Tustin laid off a town on 1 larger scale half mile east of us, and a Mr, Chapman laid off a third town about the same distance, northeast of us. Brought three towns in triangle about equal distances apart.. named Santa Ana, Tustinville and Orange. Created deadlock. Well known that county could not support three towns in such close proximity to each other when thriving town of Anaheim was within seven miles of us. Deadlock remained for some time. Not. much change so I became impatient, sold out my interest in town and left for San Diego County which county I traveled over quite extensively. Very large county, some ninety miles wide and 180 long. In one visit I traveled to southwest corner near beach to see monument between California and Mexico. Monument cost Government $40,000.00 and is worth about $4,000,00. I returned. On second trip visited Julian mining districts sixty miles east. Rough and mountainous country. Nothing encouraging there, so returned. Next employed by several men to take trip 100 miles northeast to investigate a mine. I employed four men and finished my work. Carried back 100 lbs. best ore I could select. Tested and found to be of no value. Mine consequently failure.
Three men called on me and asked me to join them in forty mile journey in search of coal. After thorough search I was satisfied it would not be safe to invest in that enterprise. Returned to city. Took several shorter trips and found nothing that would interest me. Very little farming land in county and I could not live on climate and bay. After four months stay I decided to leave San Diego, taking son and daughter out of school, as it had been my practice to send them to school whenever I stopped long enough to be of any advantage to them. Daughter of excellent musical talent and had become quite a favorite at school. With her experience of much traveling and being now about ten years of age, she was quite interesting. Left for Santa Ana again, staying there some time, as my older son had stayed there while we were on San Diego trip. Sold land for $10.00 per acre and left for San Francisco leaving elder son at this place. In few days after arriving at San Francisco we took steamer for Portland, Oregon. Here placed children in school Built house in East Portland for one of my sons-in-law. I then went down Columbia River to Cementville, crossed over mountain to north, visited Shoal Water Bay in Washington, turned east through country where found heavy timbered region. Crossed Lewis River continuing east through thinly settled country to Vancouver, journey of 200 miles, last hundred on foot. Vancouver handsome place on river seven miles northeast of Portland.
After few days rest, my boy wishing to go with me, we started up Columbia River on steamer. Passed up river where grandest scenery I ever saw was in our view. Had to make two portages around falls, passing The Dallas on our right and landing at Umatilla where we took the stage, crossing Blue mountains to Baker City. Stopped, joined three men and mined four weeks, making small wages. Went to Burnt River to Eagle Camp. Business dull. High elevated country. Little timber, mostly sagebrush plains. Very windy and cold in winter season. Invited to visit Copper mines on Powder River. Appeared to be of good quality and quantity but entirely too far from market to be of value. In northeast corner of Oregon. Returned to Portland after journey of 700 miles. My boy returned to school. I went to carpentering again at $3.00 per day till rainy season set in. Boarded at hotel till Feb. 20, when rain gauge marked 5 ft., 7 in. Rivers overflowing banks for last six-weeks. I got tired of this. Portland the wettest and muddiest place I ever was in.
Son now eighteen years of age and wished to remain. Daughter and self returned to Oakland where she went to school. I went to carpentering again. Had been a widower nine years and family had all left me. Made up my mind to marry again. Acquainted with widow, lady for some three years. I proposed to her and we were married on Nov. 25, 1872. I being 63 and my wife 45. We went to Sonoma and bought small vineyard of twelve acres for which I paid $2,000.00. Wine making carried on in county quite extensively. Four of neighbors and myself formed company for that business. Rented wine cellar, bought $4,000.00 worth of cooperage, and I was elected president of board. When grapes were ripe we commenced operation, working about 13 men during season and making 62,000 gallons of wine. Followed this up for four years; when wine being at very low figure. We concluded to close business. Consequently I sold wine on hand to wine merchants in San Francisco, sold cooperage. We settled up and found we had made only monthly wages. I sold out for same that I gave. I made up my mind to go to Texas by way of Kansas to visit relatives. Left wife with her friends. Started June 1879. Arrived at brother’s at Lyndon, Osage County, Kansas. After weeks visit resumed journey to Sherman, Texas. Finding friends there, remained few days. In meantime joined seven men with two wagons who were going to prospect country. Traveled with them about two weeks. Country we traveled through poorly watered. Timber scarse and few inhabitants. Passed thousands of head of cattle. Now and then gang of cowboys and miserable, dirty looking cabin. Finally reaching Wichita River in northeast part of state. Weather extremely hot. Strength and health beginning to fail. Hadn't seen anything in Texas I cared about seeing again. I left company and hired private conveyance to carry me to Fort Sill, one hundred miles. Health still failing. Remained two days and then took passage on buckboard, broke down at Stinking River. One sod house and change of horses. Place properly named. Glad to leave it at nightfall. Renewed journey. In morning when sun arose it appeared to me it had been multiplied in size and heat to wonderful extent. Had to hold umbrella before me to avoid heat. About 8 o'clock fainted and fell to bottom of buckboard. About 8 miles from Fort Reno. Knew nothing until 4 o'clock in evening. When I first came to my senses, I could not tell where I was. Mind floating around in California. Sam, colored man sitting before me, I asked him where I was. He answered "Fort Reno". Mind began to return and I traced up Texas journey. I then felt for my watch to see what time it was and it was gone. I felt for inside pocket and found it empty.
Alarmed me and I asked "Whose hands am I in?" Colored man assured me he would run downstairs and bring man up to see me. Man came to bedside saying if I would be quite he would explain everything to me. He said he had my gold watch, money and papers by which he learned my name was Major Bradford and by my demit that I was a Mason. He told me to be perfectly content, as he was a Mason and other members of house were same; as I was now among brethern, everything should be done for me that they could do, free of charge. Doctor now came to see me. Finding me much better and able to talk with him. Asked me to describe property in my possession when I fainted on buckboard. Answered I had Gold watch and $1050.00 In gold notes and pocketbook, demit and some other papers of less value. Said they were all safe in his hands. reason he took them, he was doubtful of my ever recovering again. Next morning I was able to walk about house and improved rapidly. Officers began to call on me evenings and mornings to take pleasant drive around fort. Remained there twelve days and became acquainted with most of officers who enjoyed my descriptions of California very much. I had gathered variety of tree seeds before leaving California. Had yet. Handed them to General, who said he would have his gardener take good care of them, as he considered them a valuable present. For this I received picture of General and his wife. On last day of stay, an officer invited me to take ride with him to Government corral, three miles away. When we arrived there were 1500 Indians all mounted and armed and 136 Texas steers in corral. As fast as they could be weighed, five at one time, turned out on plains. Indians circling around them. As fast as stock on outside increased, circle inlarged. By time last lot was weighed and turned out, circle had increased 100 to 150 acres. When flag was run to top of mast, firing began and in thirty minutes last steer was dead, lying in grass. Cutting up and packing off began. Two lines of tents bordering timber as far as I could see. Now drove over to agency. About 700 squaws receiving commissaries. We returned to fort.
Next morning took passage on stage to Wichita, Kansas with basket well filled and several bottles English ale at my feet. No charge made for anything received while in Fort Reno. Bidding Ft. Reno friends farewell, I landed in Wichita meeting brother Simeon Bradford, who was attending convention at that place, being a lawyer, of some standing. Remained there until convention adjourned. Accompanied him to his home in Carbondale. Separated and I returned home to Calif. Found my wife well. Without home so we moved to Sutter County. Stayed only short time. Wife wished to visit her two sons at Truckee. While there I saw notice in paper of furnished hotel for rent, located midway between Truckee and Sierra Valley on old and established stage route, owned by stockman who kept stock there through summer and ran hotel himself. Drove stock to valley in winter and rented hotel. Went to see him and he said we might have all we could make if we would take good care of place. Accepted offer. Found comfortable hotel and stock room for 60 head horses with other accomadations. Saw man who had kept it for four winters. Said he had cleared from $700.00 to $800.00 each winter. Concluded to try it. Took possession on Oct 1, For 2-1/2 months did well, Laid in large supply of wood and hay and good stock provisions, knowing snow fell very deep during winter. Had made $250.00 above expenses up to December 16. On the 18th stage returned from Truckee and driver informed us he had received orders from headquarters he must run stage on different route from that date and this was his last trip on that road. Snow twelve inches deep and snowing fast. Bade us good-bye and drove out of sight. Now what were we to do? Could not leave and did not know when we would see friends again. Solemn time. Time passed on. Snow kept falling. About two months before we saw human face, when friend came on snowshoes to find out whether we were dead or alive. Stayed but few hours. Returned to Truckee.
All work I had to do was shovel snow take good care of faithful cow and old dog Prince. Spent time in reading old news over and over again. Much of tire was spent in whittling soft pine into knives, swords and guns. About three weeks after first visitor two men came from Sierra Valley on snowshoes and stayed all night. Left for Truckee next morning. We had two pairs snowshoes. Occasionally would take circle of one or two miles on them. A snowshoe is thin board seven or eight feet long and four inches in width, turned up at forward end, with piece of leather like vamp of boot nailed on center of each shoe, and small crosswise piece for heel to rest against and when foot is in vamp, traveler moves with sliding walk.
On April I began to look for warm weather but to our surprise on 14th of April fell deepest snow of season. Snow eight feet deep, still practiced on snowshoes till wife thought she could go to Truckee on them. On May 1 our time expired and we made arrangements to go. Left cow where she could got plenty of hay and water. Made light hand sled and placed on it two blankets, provisions and a hatchet. At 4 a.m. started on journey with old Prince for our guide. His master had told us that at any time we wished to go to Truckee old Prince would be true and faithful guide. Found it to be so.
Sunrise in morning being three miles on way, I consulted wife whether
we had better continue on journey or return for safety. Her mind
made up to go ahead. Now slid along after old Prince till we came
to half way house where I got under barn and got some water to drink and
ate lunch. Well improved and pleasant place in summer season.
Now clothed with six or eight feet of snow and not a sound of any kind
to be heard. Very lonesome. Traveled on. Old Prince taking
Kept about fifty steps in front of us. Now and then would grab mouthful of snow, look back and wait for us. At Prosser Creek four miles from Truckee, another improved place where we rested short time. Sun shining and snow began to get soft. Snowshoes became burdensome, so left them here and continued journey. Going over summit south now downgrade to Truckee. My wife being fleshly lady journey became very fatiguing to her but her ambition carried her through; confined to bed for three days, snowblind also. Arrived at Truckee at 12 o’clock. Just as bells were ringing for dinner. Our arrival created quite a sensation in town and there was lengthy editorial in paper giving full description of winter’s confinement and our unexpected arrivals. Wife remained at Truckee with her sons while I went to see my children as I had not seen some of them for 18 years. Some lived in Calif. and some in Oregon. I stayed one week with each of my daughters who had traveled with me to California in 1849 and we refreshed our minds of our lonely and perilous journey in those early days. They are both living at this date, the oldest with her family in Crescent City.
During my absence of 18 years I found great change in country. Farmers had gone extensively into business and my Indians had nearly all passed away. I saw my boy Charlie who had the appearance of an old man. Very glad to see me. Several small sawmills built, Lumbering and dairying were principal industries. My house, barn and orchard showed age, and brought back afresh to my mind the nine years of hard toil and pleasant days I had spent in this place. My old friends that yet remained were very glad to see me. Returned to Truckee after spending one month pleasantly with my children. In fall returned to Sonoma County. In May, following with other parties, we removed to Fresno County: here bought land and settled and remained five years. Farming unprofitable being dry country, building of ditches to irrigate being very expensive. We set out fine orchard but in second year grasshoppers destroyed it and our crops. Sold out and removed to Fresno City where we now reside. Next trip was to visit son in Portland, Oregon, who was head sawyer in mill that cut 150,00 feet of lumber per day. Wages were $5,00 per day. His family were all well and his employer gave him his liberty a few days that he might enjoy my company during my stay in Portland. We took in town generally and called on several of my old friends who yet remembered me. I found town had improved very much since last visit, being now rich and wealthy city.
Started out seven miles to see old friend of mine, who joined farms with me in Iowa at time of great Mormon Camp on my place in 1846. When within three miles of his place we learned he had been buried three days. With this sad news we returned back, visiting two other of my old friends. Were confined to their rooms. I learned by letter that both died about one month after my departure. Bade farewell to remaining friends at Portland, and on way home called on one of my daughters in Josephine County, Oregon, and found them well. After short visit returned to Sutter County, California, and visited another daughter, the younger of the two who traveled that long journey in 1849 and 1850 to California and return. Elder one lived 120 miles off my route over Coast Range of mountains and there being no public conveyance, I omitted.calling on her, coming home by way of Oakland and visiting my youngest daughter whom I found in good health. I returned home after traveling circuitous route of 1400 miles which I enjoyed very much. My next trip was short one but somewhat interesting. Wife's brother and wife from Iowa spent summer of 1882 in California traveling quite extensively, visiting Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, returning to Fresno. They remained here about three months and being about to leave for Iowa he remarked to me that they had not visited any of the mountains or large timber that were so much talked of. I told him if he would remain four or five days longer I would go with him to accomplish this object. This being agreed to, I engaged a passage in the stage, while he prepared himself with long and strong twine saying he would measure some of the largest trees and tie knots in line at exact measurement of each tree and carry line home with him and show to people as though this would be positive proof of their size. In morning we took stage and drove forty miles to foot of mountains. Next morning took mountain stage twelve miles to mills when my brother-in-law began to realize what mountains were, as we were now at an elevation of 5,000 feet. We took a stroll around mill and then took dinner.
Found jolly old mountaineer who was going out to mining camp after some ladies who were there on a pleasure trip and wished to return to Fresno. Lucky for us. We got in and rode out, passing through the wonderful mountain forest, some of the trees being eight, and ten feet in diameter, which surprised Mr. Lampson very much. We still rolled on, sometimes up and sometimes down, but about two ups to one down, finally reaching the and of our journey, or as far as a wagon had ever gone in that direction. Here unhitched from wagon, un-harnessed and fed horses at wagon. Took stroll around through mines which were something entirely new to friend Lampoon. Gathered few specimens of mineral rock, called at minor's camp and had an introduction to our three schoolmarms. Returning now to our wagons we built our campfire and got supper. This over, and quite dark. Mr. Lampson asked me where we were going to sleep. I pointed toward a tree and remarked that that would be very good place. At this the old gentleman throw up his head and looked as though he was looking at top of tallest trees and remarked that he had never camped out a night in his life, which brought good deal of merriment to Mr. Music and myself. Then we had to relate some of our experience of camp life; that we had spent many a night on a few pine boughs with blanket spread over them on two feet of snow and when we awoke in morning we found another foot of snow had fallen on top of us during the night.
Thus we spent the evening until time to go to rest. Spread down blankets and informed friend that bed was now ready. Stepped to one side in darkness as though to see if there was any danger approaching us, then quietly went to bad, but could not sleep. Got up several times in night and threw more woods on campfire and was glad when dawn returned. After taking cup of black coffee and cracker we placed some of our blankets on our two horses instead of saddles and two of us mounted the horses and others went on foot. Having three miles yet to go up mountain trail to reach Big Trees arriving there just after sunrise. These were monsters sure enough! Hitched horses. Then Mr. Lampson began to unroll twine. I took end and around I went till I met him, line being tightly drawn, breast high. Knot tied, and we proceeded to measure other trees in same manner, strolling around through woods till we became satisfied and tired. Returned to our horses and as I told them I being youngest man of the three, I would take first walk. So they mounted horses and I struck out. Over rocky places I could beat the horses and road being down grade I reached wagon in forty minutes, horses in sixty. We now ate our second breakfast, hitched up, called on our lady friends and were soon on our way homeward. Our schoolmarms were very musical and Mr. Lampson being an old music teacher himself, we had plenty of fine music, and soon would have had the wagon chock full of it if he had not been so "goldarned sleepy," as he called it, that he would get to nodding and spill it out overboard. Then we would all clap our hands and yell our: "There! there goes a bunch through the woods" Then he would throw up his head and bung out his eyes and stare into the woods when we would have another hearty laugh.
Some places road very sidling and other places steep up and down. Some places few rocks to shake us up, but joking, singing and laughing still continued throughout trip. As we emerged out of lofty pines on to more barren, high ridges, we could see to right and left for miles away the grandest scenery of our journey while straight ahead 5000 feet below us the level plains extended 200 miles to Pacific Ocean. We now descended very rapidly till we reached the Toll House, or what is called the foot of the main mountain where we remained all night. Taking stage next morning we reached home at 4 o'clock that day. After resting an hour or two and dinner being over, Mjr. Lampson sat back and said to his wife, "By gosh I don't want to go to the mountains again!" He said, however, that he had seen more in those four days than he had seen in half his lifetime. His twine being stretched across the yard and being correctly measured the largest tree proved to be 95 feet in circumference. There might have been larger trees in the grove but we were in a hurry to return.
On the first day of last July, I with twelve others set out on journey to Minnesette mines, located in Sierras near, head of San Joaquin River, one hundred miles north east of Fresno, driving first sixty miles in light wagons with outfit for journey. Left wagons and harness, saddled the horses, packed tonnage on pack animals and proceeded single file up and down mountains on narrow trail for two days, when we reached place of our destination. When we reached log cabin, several shots fired as salute on our arrival. Now passed one of wonders of these mines. Iron Mountain which is two miles in length and over three hundred feet wide and stands 1,000 feet high, the ore assaying 93% and is said to be largest and richest iron mine in world. Began to examine general appearance of gold and silver mines, which cover, or rather make their appearance over several miles of country. I have spent several years in mines and mountains and have never seen half of its equal in general outward appearance, although there has been so little work done that as regards its value, I have nothing to say. However, I have seen assays reported from these mines that were extravagantly high. We here located what we call a mine. Carrying no tools nor being able to obtain any, after spending nine days in high altitude of 9,000 feet and not being able to accomplish anything in way of work we returned home leaving our mines as we found them.
Now I am well aware of simplicity and irregularity of this little book which will no doubt call forth many criticisms and remarks, which I am prepared to receive. It is a true saying that the young are looking forward to bright future, to wealth and happiness, while the aged are looking back over their lives of trials and disappointments. With the loss of my eyesight to such a degree, and with my age, I am not able to perform any kind of business. Therefore, I made up my mind to spend a few of my leisure hours in composing these pages. Not being able to write any myself my wife has done the writing for me. I have come to the conclusion however, that I will write a more extensive volumn in the future, giving my forty years experience in this State (?) of agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, with a sprinkling of irrigation and speculation and other topics. I will endeavor to do justice to all sides of these topics, as according to my opinion, there has been a great deal said and written of a one-sided character. I will endeavor to gather such statements and facts as are reliable on all subjects which I shall treat.
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