The winter was very rainy but not cold. As the long walk, four miles, was too much for Jim before and after a days work, we moved to the mine in February. There was a cabin, eight by sixteen feet wide by sixteen feet long on one side, which had belonged to the former owner. Jim replaced the windows which had been stolen, also put in a rough board ceiling, and I papered the black boards with clean newspapers. We had a nice heater and wood was to be had for the cost of picking it up, so we were warm and comfortable if one didn't ask too much. Of course we didn't intend to stay there very long. It was a sort of get-rich-quick proposition and we would soon be out and away.
My brother Dan was a partner in the mine with Jim, and they went right to work to take out a crushing. It wasn't long before they had ten or fifteen tons of quartz on the dump, all of which prospected well, and they were in good spirits. Poor boys, when the returns came back they received less than forty dollars on an expected two hundred fifty or more. Of course they said what most everyone says at such times, the gold was allowed to run off the plates, or the mill man helped himself. What a year that was, and the years that followed.
They kept on summer and fall with no better results. In the fall sometime, a mine at Railroad had been bought by some capitalists and Jim and Dan got work there. Before going to work Dan moved his family, and we, my sister Anna Finette "Nettie" Pillsbury and I, and the children, were left in the woods alone.
(to be continued)
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I am so glad that I can stalk my grandchildren's
Facebook pages and get cute old pictures.
Nieces and nephews of Aunt Kate;
Jenna, Marki, Timothy, Tanner and Alex.
Since the birth of my first child I had never felt very well and the coming of two more babies into the family did not make me feel better. I was in no condition to engage in any kind of work, but our financial circumstances were such that I felt ready to grasp at anything.
The hotel was the best offer and we took it. At that time there were six permanent boarders in the house besides my family and quite a few transient customers. The morning after our arrival we took over the management. My sister Nettie, who made her home with me now that my father was gone, helped me prepare breakfast for a dozen people. Our sleeping quarters were on the upper floor, and there was no way of warming the rooms to make them comfortable for the children, but we dressed the two older ones and rolled the baby in a blanket and brought them all down stairs. I made a bed in an old fashioned rocking chair for my baby and put it close to the stove and went to work.
That was forty seven years ago and more was eaten for breakfast in those days. At the hotel a three course breakfast was always served from six to eight o'clock. My sister and I did all the work, cooking, dish washing, waiting on table, and chamber work. I did the cooking myself which included the baking of bread, pies, cakes, in fact, everything that comes out of an oven. I often wonder how I did it. A women scarcely able to walk, nursing one and caring for three children the hours filled the with work from morning until late at night, it seems almost incredible, but - I did it.
During the summer and fall months times were fairly good but by October, everything was at a standstill. It would not pay to keep the hotel open so we moved to private life, and Jim took a job at forty dollars a month for the winter. In the Spring he went into a mine with some of the other men, one of those specimen rock mines that were never known to pay, and came out in June with the usual outcome, - nothing.
It is said that hope springs eternal in the female breast and maybe it does, but about that time hope was lying quite dormant in my heart. With Jim it was different, bless him. He and my brother Dan were going to try a place on the Stanislaus River that had never been touched. Above and below this place fabulous sums had been taken out but this part of the stream was just as nature and formed it. This story had been told to my brother by a very aged Mexican who had been in the neighborhood since the earliest of days, perhaps prior to 1849. A fortune waited for those who would go there, blast out the rocks, as large as a house, some of them, get down to bed rock in the river bed, and take out gold. What wonderful golden dreams people have. Before going, Jim made arrangements with a store in town to supply his family with whatever was necessary, and in June 1894, he and Dan left to find a fortune in the Stanislaus. (to be continued)