Amador City

Amador City

The creek, the town, and the county all take their name from the same man, Jose Maria Amador, Indian fighter, rancher, miner. On August 17 of 1835, Amador was granted an immense 16,517 acre tract of land known as the Rancho San Ramon, where he settled down and built one of the few two-story adobes in California. Amador began producing leather, soap, saddles, blankets, shoes, and wagons using Indians from mission San Jose, and was soon one of the wealthiest rancheros in the province.

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Volcano

Volcano

Who the first men were to mine this region is not known for certain, but legend has it that among the earliest were members of Stevenson’s Regiment who chanced upon the diggings in 1848. They found the placers exceedingly rich, averaging $100 a day per man, with some spots yielding up to $500. The claims in Soldiers Gulch were paying so well that no one took the time off from mining to build any kind of permanent shelter. So when the first snows began to fly, most of the men packed up their gear and headed for friendlier climes.

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Jackson

Jackson

Empty bottles left alongside a year-round spring located on the trail between Drytown and Mokelumne Hill gave rise to the site’s first name, Bottilleas, most likely an American corruption of the Spanish word for bottle, Botella. That name didn’t last long; however, as by 1849 the small settlement was known as Jacksons Creek, or more simply, Jackson. The camp was probably named in honor of Andrew Jackson, although some claim it was so-called for Colonel Alden Appolas Moore Jackson who may have mined here briefly in 1849, before moving on to the Tuolumne River where he established the mining camp of Jacksonville.

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Big Bar

Big Bar

At one time the most important camp on the Mokelumne River, Big Bar quickly disappeared when the gold played out and the miners left for the richer diggings of Mokelumne Hill. The spot was first mined during 1848, at which time it was almost impossible to cross the wild Mokelumne River. To remedy this situation, a whaleboat ferry was established in 1849, which operated until 1852 when it was swept away in a flood. A toll bridge was built to replace the ferry and it did a booming business until it was swept away by the flood of 1862. Following that disaster, a somewhat higher bridge was built which served the area for many years after.

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Chili Gulch

Chili Gulch

The quiet, pastoral appearance of Chili Gulch today belies its early day reputation as the richest and most-worked gulch in the county. As early as 1848, three camps were located along the gulch, mostly populated by Chilean miners. It was near this site in 1849 that the Chilean War occurred.

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Jenny Lind

Jenny Lind

This old mining town, located on the banks of the Calaveras River, started out as a rich camp back in the early 1850’s. The river received its name from Gabriel Moraga who visited the region in 1806. Believed to be the first white man to enter what is now Calaveras County, he found many skulls along the banks of the river below San Andreas, prompting him to call it Calaveras, meaning “skulls” in Spanish. The river was rich and was widely worked during the Gold Rush. Placering, hydraulic mining, and dredging all took place in this area.

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Butte City

Butte City

A shallow basin rich in gold was discovered in 1850, about one and a half miles south of Jackson. Miners flocked to the area and for a very brief time the town known as The Bute, Butte City, and Greaserville rivaled neighboring Jackson in size and importance By 1851, several hundred inhabitants called Butte City home. Numerous buildings once lined the town’s main street, housing the merchants, businessmen and miners during the camp’s brief existence, brief because the gold gave out early and the town was abandoned almost faster than it was built.

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Westpoint

Westpoint

Gold was first discovered in the area in late 1848 or early ’49. Located in the Sierra Nevada east gold belt district, the neighboring areas of Skull Flat, Bummerville, Pioneer Station, and Buckhorn were also extensively mined during the Gold Rush.

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Railroad Flat

Railroad Flat

The place was settled in 1849, and proved to be a rich placer and quartz mining area for a short while. During its popularity, the town had a three-story hotel, seven saloons, several stores, a school, butcher shop, shoe maker, restaurant, and numerous homes scattered about the hillsides.

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Mokelumne Hill

Mokelumne Hill

A group of prospectors from Oregon are credited with discovering the rich placers here along the Mokelumne River. It happened in October of 1848, a little way below the town’s present site, and the diggings were rich; so rich that even with their provisions almost gone, the men chose to risk starvation rather than abandon their claim to make the long trip to Stockton for supplies. A man named Syree was finally persuaded to go and when he returned, he set up a trading post atop a hill near the scene of operations. In a canvas tent he sold food, tools, and supplies at a price that more than made up for any mining he had missed.

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1850 Baldwin $10 Gold Horseman

1850 Baldwin $10 Gold Horseman

With the large number of prospectors, gamblers, storekeepers and settlers pouring into California during the early years of the Gold Rush, coins were in scarce supply. A small number of firms began striking private issue Gold coins to solve the problem. Of course, some of those coins didn’t contain the amount of gold they were supposed to, but that’s another story.

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Campo Seco

Campo Seco

 Forty different nationalities were represented among the miners of Campo Seco during the early years, making it perhaps the most cosmopolitan of all the mining camps in the Gold Country. The area was first prospected by Mexican miners in 1849, and by the following year quite a camp had grown up around them. It was due to the severe scarcity of water that the place got its name, Campo Seco, meaning "dry camp" in Spanish.

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San Andreas

San Andreas

The naming of this camp had nothing to do with earthquakes. A small group of Mexican miners were the first prospectors here, arriving sometime during the winter of 1848. Locating their camp on a gulch about one-quarter mile above the present center of town, they commenced mining the ravine by sinking holes down to bedrock and then washing out the dirt with batteas. The first Mass held in the new camp took place on November 30, Saint Andrew’s Day, of 1848, which may have been responsible for the camp being called San Andreas.

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PC - Volcano, Calif 1850s

PC - Volcano, Calif 1850s

Who the first men were to mine this region is not known for certain, but legend has it that among the earliest were members of Stevenson’s Regiment who chanced upon the diggings in 1848. They found the placers exceedingly rich, averaging $100 a day per man, with some spots yielding up to $500. The claims in Soldiers Gulch were paying so well that no one took the time off from mining to build any kind of permanent shelter. So when the first snows began to fly, most of the men packed up their gear and headed for friendlier climes.

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Fourth Crossing

Fourth Crossing

The rich placers of San Antonio Creek were first located in 1848. Shortly afterwards, David Foreman settled in the area and established a combination trading post, saloon and hotel for which the site was early known as Foremans Ranch. The place soon came to be called Fourth Crossing; however, as it was located at the fourth river crossing on the road between Stockton and Angels Camp. The four crossings were at the Calaveras River, the north fork of the Calaveras, Calaveritas Creek, and San Antonio Creek.

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Altaville

Altaville

Also known as Cherokee Flat, Forks in the Road, and Winterton, Altaville was established on Cherokee Creek, northwest of Angels Camp in 1852. According to legend, the area was a favorite haunt of Joaquin Murieta, the bandit, who supposedly spent so much time here that a mountain northwest of the creek was named Joaquin Mountain. While rich pockets of gold, the "richest of the state," were discovered here in 1854, the gold only lasted a short time. The town was also an important point for supplies and machinery; however, which enabled it to survive even after the gold was gone. The camp eventually became a part of Angels Camp as that town continued to grow and expand into the outlying areas.

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Murphys

Murphys

John and Daniel Murphy arrived in California in 1844 as members of the Stevens-Townsend party, the first immigrant party to bring wagons across the Sierra Nevada to Sutter’s Fort. The brothers made their living as traders for several years, but turned to prospecting after they heard of Marshall’s discovery on the American River.

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