Showing posts with label Railroad Flat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Railroad Flat. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The voice said "Get out of here NOW!"

Rail Road Flat, CA : Miners shack -downtown Rail Road Flat, CA
Old Miners Shack in Railroad Flats, CA
Railroad Flat Cemetary
In 1980 I went to Railroad Flat to do some poking 
around and to hunt for the Pillsbury property 
to see where my grandfather had been born 
and where his father had died. 

First I went to the Calaveras County Courthouse 
to get directions and other information. 

I was very excited to go. I was alone 
and had enjoyed my trip so far....
until I got into Railroad Flat. 

There I got a foreboding feeling right away 
that I didn't like and then down one 
of the roads I found 
the graveyard. 

I had been poking around looking at headstones
for a few minutes when a voice said to me 
"Get out of here, 

Maybe I'd better I thought.

Just then a truck load of guys came 
tearing down the dirt road. 
I pretended like I wasn't
paying attention to them 
at all but I was watching 
them with my 

They had gone down to the end of 
the road and I knew they 
would be turning around 
in a few seconds. 

I didn't have far to go to get to my van, 
thank goodness, so when they 
were out of sight I ran 
as fast as I could, 
jumped in the van, 
locked the door and got 
the heck out of there 
before they could 
make it back 
to where 
I was. 

By the time they returned 
I was turned around and 
on my way back 
to town. 

(that is using the term town loosely).


A few days later I went to Sacramento 
to see my dad and I told him that I had been 
snooping around Amador and 
Calaveras County. 

I told him "No way" on the 
"We just grew potato's" 

I told him that I had been spooked
 and was so disappointed because 
I had to leave RR Flat 
without finding my family's 

Guess what he said???

"Your grandfather would never go back to RR Flat 
for hunting or fishing or anything... ever. 
He hated the place and felt like 
it was haunted."

"Good to know just a little too late"
 I said.

So my question dear readers is... 
Was my Papa Pills the one who 
told me to get out of there 
and to be quick about it 
or did I just pick up 
on his vibes?

Or what?

All I know is that it was a 
close call!!

Granny T.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"The doctor said I had tuberculosis and wouldn't live three weeks"~Aunt kate


Chapter 17
What a blessing is work and what a comfort it has been to me. Monday morning I resumed my school duties and there was plenty to keep both myself and the pupils busy. But the work seemed to tire me more than formerly. For some reason the walk uphill to the school house wasn't as easy as it had been and my breath became shorter. But I was never one to pay attention to such minor afflictions so I kept right on without doing anything about it and it seemed to pass on its way. 

When school was out in June, I went to Stockton for a rest and a change. During the summer I felt far from well, and suffered for weeks with neuralgia. At the end of vacation I went back to Eureka to open school. It would be my fifteenth year.

When I returned in August, as far as I knew I was feeling all right, just a little shortness of breath, but not anything serious so I paid no attention. In September however I developed a cough, something I had not been troubled with since girlhood. After a very severe attack of fever in my nineteenth year, I was left with a bad cough. My father called a doctor who frightened him very badly by saying that I had tuberculosis and wouldn't live three weeks. Since that time I had been free from coughs and it was hard to understand why this was so persistent. In October, Institute was held in Sacramento and while attending I consulted a physician who said I would have to be very careful as my heart was in a dangerous way. He prescribed treatment for me which I followed very carefully, but without any good results. I bought many kinds of cough remedies but nothing seemed to help me, and so many drugs were hurting me in other ways. All of this time I taught everyday, and often locking my school house at four o'clock in the evening I wondered if I would be there to unlock it the next morning. At last I realized I was not getting better but worse, and I quit all medicine and recovered without it. It was a strenuous battle and I would not like to have to fight it again. 

When school closed in June, as far as health was concerned, I was better, but I knew it would not be fair to myself to return to the old surroundings. I had spent too many lonely and pain racked hours alone at night in that cabin, fighting sorrow to ever want to return to the scene. I realized a complete change was what I should and must have. 
(to be continued)

Friday, February 18, 2011

"It Was All Over" ~ Aunt Kate

Chapter 16

Well, it was all over. Jim had passed on. The farm was placed in the hands of a real estate dealer for sale by the boys, the car disposed of, and the time had come for me to return to my school. It wasn't easy to go back to the cabin at Railroad Flat where I had lived. It held too many memories.

I arrived at my hometown on Saturday and once again I stood alone before my empty cabin. Everything all around looked so desolate that it was depressing. I unlocked the door which was chilled by the cold of weeks, made a fire in the stove, put on the tea kettle and rubbed off the steam that was now dimming the windows. 

I took the broom and gave the house a vigorous sweeping. I did everything I could to keep from thinking. The long lonely evening was coming and I dreaded it. I prepare something to eat and planned to bake the next day. "Maybe I'll bake a pie. I know little Charlie will like a piece Monday when school opens. It is lovely that I have cords and cords of nice dry wood and that everything for my meal is ready. I'll not set the table that would make it too lonesome. I'll just sit here by the fire in the big chair and eat out of the kettle. I don't think I'm very hungry, though, but I'll drink the tea. No I don't think I want any tea. I'll just sit here and watch the fire, and maybe take little catnaps. I'll not think of those dark days just passed. I am glad that he is at rest, he suffered so. Never again will he be wracked with that awful cough, nor suffer such pain. I'll not think of him as dead. He is just away."

And so my thoughts wondered on and on. At twelve o'clock I was prepared for bed but hour after hour I lay there awake until night brightened into day, and I arose and began another day. 

Grammy T.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"I Would Kill Every Rattlesnake In The Yard"~Aunt Kate

A. W. Pillsbury at the graves in West Point, CA. 

My dad,  A.W. Pillsbury and his sister 
Patricia Ellen Pillsbury Youmans  
at the Pillsbury graves in Sutter Creek, Ca.

You could see why the rattlesnakes could be a 
problem in that country. 

Chapter 14

I have said that I did not intend to teach. I intended to continue to keep my home running smoothly, work in the garden and among my flowers, look out for the sheep and cattle of which we had a good many, and doctor them when they need such attentions, that the chickens went to roost at the proper time every evening, and if there were no men around, kill every rattlesnake that ventured into the yard. But according to the old adage, "Man proposes and God disposes". The old order of my life passed from my hands that year.

At that time there was a big water project, the construction of a dam, going on high up in the Sierras at Relief, and Jim Jr. and his father, went there to stay until operations should close for the winter. After working for a month or so, the work was stopped, and the men laid off. My men came home, the elder Jim being filled with the idea of building or quartz mill on his own mine and crushing his own quartz. It all sounded very promising. There was rock enough at the dump on the shaft to make a net cleanup of a thousand dollars if it could be crushed in his own mill. 

Well, the mill was built. Timbers had to be taken out, a mortar block furnished, shakes made, lumber and machinery bought, and living expenses for five persons. I couldn't see anything else but that someone had to go out and get a job. I applied for the primary department of the West Point District School and was hired at sixty dollars a month. My board and room at the hotel were ten dollars. I went home every Friday night in the low back-cart behind old Bill, wearing the same hat and shoes that had done me duty in Sonora. On Saturday I laundered my clothes and did the family washing, starched and ironed my one school dress, a gray chambray, and Sunday afternoon went back to West Point. I was at this school eight months and I think I proved satisfactory.

When I went out to teach I thought it would be for one year only. By the time school would be out, the school would be finished, the rock crushed, and we would be on easy street. When all was done and the clean up made, there wasn't enough left to pay the mill man. Just another one of those things that came our way. 

The failure of that rock was a keen disappointment to us all. Jim felt it worse than anyone else, and for that reason I hid my emotions all that I could, in order to keep his spirits from falling. He was anxious to try it again, so the next year I taught at Railroad Flat in the Eureka District. I was here fifteen years. 
(to be continued)

Grammy T. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"That Night A Premature Boy Baby Was Born." ~ Aunt Kate

Nieces of Aunt Kate, Jenna, Alex and Marki in New York

Chapter 10

In November Jim wrote that he was coming home. They had removed all the debris and found, when they reached the river bed, that it had already been worked by someone. Those huge rocks and been deposited in that place in the river by a flood, a cloudburst probably higher in the mountains. So that was that.

One afternoon I saw someone approaching the house with a little bundle on a stick over his shoulder. I didn't recognize him. As far as dress was concerned he bore no resemblance to the spic and span Jimmie Ham who left West Point in June. But it was Jim arriving just in time to summon the doctor. For two or three days I had been feeling sick, and at the time of his coming, I was suffering such pain that medical help was imperative. At twelve o'clock that night a premature boy baby, who lived but a few minutes, was born, our fifth and last child.

Now that Jim was at home with empty pockets and I was able to be up and around, what to do next was the problem uppermost in our minds. It was a period of hard times, the depression of 1893 in its second year. There was no work to be had and Jim's thoughts turned to mining for himself as a solution. There were a number of prospects in this mining district on which the required assessment work had not been done, and according to mining law, they were open on the first of January, for any person to relocate. At one minute past twelve o'clock on January 1st, 1895, Jim put a notice of location on the Crown Point Mine. This mine had been discovered and worked in the early days by a company of men from New York, and it had paid very well. They abandoned it for better prospects closer to a mill. Since then it had been "jumped" a number of times by different parties and was open to relocation when Jim took it. 
(to be continued)

Grammy T.