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October 22, 1863: Scott Bar

October 22, 2013

Scott Bar

Scott Bar; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

[Today] we came on to Scott’s Bar, near the mouth of Scott River. We rode down Cherry Creek a few miles to Fort Jones, which lies in a beautiful valley near Scott River. Mining is going on along all these streams and many clusters of miners’ cabins occur along the route.

Fort Jones 04

Fort Jones; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

From Fort Jones we followed down the lovely Scott Valley for some miles—a rich bottom, with fertile ranches, surrounded with high and very steep mountains, rough and rugged, and furrowed into very deep canyons. Scott River at last flows for some miles in one of these canyons, so we had to go over a high mountain to avoid it. Our road was a mere trail, and the hill was tremendous. We descended the steep slope nearly three thousand feet and struck the river again and followed it down that to Scott’s Bar. This was once quite an important town. Placers, rich and abundant, called together a busy and thriving population. Several hotels and stores and many saloons did a thriving business. But the placers are mostly worked out, the population has started after new mines and fresh excitements, over half the houses are empty, four-fifths of the population gone, business has decayed, and the town is dilapidated. We stopped at a rather large hotel, now desolate—its few boarders look lonely in it. It is kept by a rather pretty grass widow, whose husband has left the sinking town and his unfaithful and too frail wife for the northern mines.

Scott River 02

Scott River; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

The mines are not all exhausted, the deeper bars still pay. Deep excavations are dug below the river bed, large water wheels, turned by the swift current, pump the water out of these claims, and some are paying well. One piece was found this day weighing some two or three pounds, an uncommon good strike. The big wheels creaked dolefully all night long, and seemed to bewail the decline of the decaying town.

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