Showing posts with label mining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mining. Show all posts

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"What Wonderful Golden Dreams People Have"

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. 

Chapter 7 

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. 

Chapter 8 

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)

Grammy T. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"I was afraid all of the time"

Nephew of Aunt Kate
Arthur Wayne Pillsbury 1921-2009 

Chapter 6

After our visit in San Francisco, we went to Angels Camp where Jim went to work in the Angels Mine. We were there from May to October. Those days were not very pleasant. In fact they were horrible. I was afraid all of the time, afraid that every time Jim went down into that dreadful mine he would never come out alive. It's something I don't care to think about even now.

Our next place was the Union Mine about three miles south of San Andreas. He and some other miners took a contract to sink the shaft a certain number of feet at a certain sum per foot. But to get a house to live in we were obliged to board the men at the mine that had no home close by. Before April, when we went away there, I had twelve people to cook for. But Jim made money on his contract and was able to carry away a thousand dollars.

In July 1888 my baby Kathryn Grace Ham was born and I tried to feel well again, but I had worked too hard in those months before her coming to gain any health. It looked as the months passed on as if I would never be well again. Fifteen months later another baby was born, a boy , now I had two babies to care for and no health.

My father was aging fast and it made me feel rather unhappy to have to recognize the fact. He was sixty three when he passed away in April 1889. After my father's death, we moved from the home place to a small house in town, and in October of 1889 James Jr. came. 

Jim Sr. had had a bad cough every once in awhile for a long time and it was coming more frequently and getting worse with every recurrence. That spring the La grippe first made its appearance, he coughed so hard that I made him go to San Francisco to consult a physician. The doctor examined him and said that his lungs were perfectly healthy: the trouble was his throat and was nothing to worry about. It was hard not to worry. 

Time passed on until 1893. There was another baby in the family and no money. Jim's cough was worse and he was not able to work in the mine. The outlook was very dubious and what to do was the question. When the baby was six weeks old we heard of an opening in a hotel in West Point and we took it. The winter had been very stormy and the rivers were very high. The south fork of the Mokelumne River, which we had to cross, was unbridged and the water came into the bed of the wagon. We crossed over safely however and reached West Point. (to be continued)


Grammy T.