Skip to content

September 8, 1863: Grass Valley

September 8, 2013

Nevada County Bank

Grass Valley; by cbcastro, on Flickr

[Today] we came on to Grass Valley, a pretty place of three thousand or four thousand inhabitants. We crossed the canyon of Bear River and passed several mining towns—the air hot and the roads dusty in the extreme. There we spent one day. I wanted to establish a barometrical station, so left the instrument with a friend, Mr. Blake, who has a quartz mill near.

Price of gold

Empire Mine State Park, Grass Valley; by cbcastro, on Flickr

This is a rich region and quartz mills abound. The gold bearing quartz runs in veins from a few inches to several feet thick. The quartz is mined, the same as any other mineral, then crushed to a very fine powder by mills. This powder then runs in water in shallow troughs, over quicksilver, which takes up the gold. Sometimes, instead of quicksilver, it runs over blankets, the fibers of which catch the gold; the blankets are washed out every ten or fifteen minutes in a tank of water which has quicksilver at the bottom. Hundreds of men have been ruined by unprofitable quartz mining, and others have become immensely rich very easily.

Here is the famous Allison Ranch. The owners were ignorant Irishmen who could neither read nor write. They spent their money as such men will. One at one time went to San Francisco and bought sets of diamond jewelry to the amount of $12,000, which he presented to the women in a house of ill fame in a noted part of the city. He drank himself to death last year.

Empire Mine Shaft

Empire Mine shaft; by cbcastro, on Flickr

Here also is the Rocky Bar Ledge. Two poor men, brothers, common laborers, discovered it and in eighteen months made, clear of all expenses, $750,000. They are now spending their money very profusely in fast horses and similar luxuries.

Walter Frear lives here, the pastor of a small congregation. I called and found him very pleasantly situated. He has a rather pretty wife and two children. Strange enough, I met here a lady, a widow, now Mrs. Baker, whom I knew twelve years ago in Lancaster, New York, as a Miss Mills. She had entirely passed from my mind, but brought back old memories again.

I found King and the horse all right…

One Comment leave one →
  1. yubahome permalink
    September 16, 2013 3:06 pm

    Blogged today about your excellent site. Thanks for all you do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: