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The Adventures of a Forty-niner An Historic Description of California, with Events and Ideas of San Francisco and Its People in Those Early Days   By:

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An Historic Description of California, with Events and Ideas of San Francisco and Its People in Those Early Days




DEDICATED TO Colonel Jonathan Stevenson, Colonel John C. Freemont, and Captain John A. Sutter,


[Illustration: DANIEL KNOWER.]


The discovery of gold in California, in 1848, with its other mineral resources, including the Alamada quicksilver mine at San José, which is an article of first necessity in working gold or silver ore; and the great silver mines of Nevada, in 1860, the Comstock lode, in which, in ten years, from five to eight hundred millions of gold and silver were taken out, a larger amount than was ever taken from one locality before, the Alamada quicksilver mine being the second most productive of any in the world, the one in Spain being the largest, said to be owned by the Rothschilds. Its effect upon the general prosperity and development of our country has been immense, almost incalculable. Before these discoveries the amount of gold in the United States was estimated at about seventy millions, now it is conceded to be seven hundred millions. The Northern Pacific coast was then almost unpopulated. California a territory three times as large as New York and Oregon and the State of Washington, all now being cultivated and containing large and populous cities, and railroads connecting them with the East. Why that country should have remained uninhabited for untold ages, where universal stillness must have prevailed as far as human activity is concerned, is one of the unfathomable mysteries of nature. It is only one hundred and twenty five years since the Bay of San Francisco was first discovered, one of the grandest harbors in the world, being land locked, extending thirty miles, where all the vessels of the world could anchor in safety. The early pioneers of those two years immediately after the gold was discovered (of which I am writing) are passing away. As Ossian says, "People are like the waves of the ocean, like the leafs of woody marvin that pass away in the rustling blast, and other leaves lift up their green heads." There is probably not five per cent of the population of California to day, of those days, scenes and events of which I have tried to portray. Another generation have taken their places who can know but little of those times except by tradition. I, being one of the pioneers, felt it a duty, or an inspiration seemed to come over me as an obligation I owed to myself and compatriots of those times, to do what I could to perpetuate the memory of them to some extent in the history of our country as far as I had the ability to do it.



The California Pioneer Society was organized in August, 1850. The photograph of their building appears on the cover of this book, W.D.M. Howard was their first president. Among their early presidents, and prominent in the days of Forty niners, were Samuel Branan, Thomas Larkins, Wm. D. Farewell, and James Lick who liberally endowed it.


It was organized for the purpose of perpetuating the memory of the events of those days and for the benefit and mutual protection of its members. No person was eligible for membership except he had arrived in California before the 1st of January, 1850, and the descendants of Forty niners when arriving at the age of twenty one are eligible. At the opening of the World's Fair in San Francisco in January last, in the ceremonies in the marching of the procession through the streets of the city, they were received with the greatest enthusiasm and cheers, which was a marked manifestation of the veneration in which they are held by the people of California.


The writer was practising his profession in the city of Albany, his native place, in 1848, when reports came of the discovery of gold in California... Continue reading book >>

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