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.Read More
California State Highway 49: The Golden Chain
California State Highway 49, the “Mother Lode Highway,” can truly take you back to the days of ’49. The road connects gold rush mining camps, ghost towns and historic sites from Oakhurst in the south, to Sierra City in the north. It’s three hundred miles of beautiful country along the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. Twisting mountain roads, sheer granite walls, precipitous drops to swiftly moving rivers. Old buildings, gold mines, forgotten cemeteries. Let’s go see what we can find.
Before the Gold Rush, Chief Walker and a tribe of Miwok Indians occupied this placid little valley, their camp located near a fine, clear spring. After the Gold Rush, things changed. With the discovery of gold in Coyote Creek, a mining camp appeared almost overnight, a camp that included a church, post office, flour mill, blacksmith, school, two distilleries, several merchandise stores, and seven saloons. Several thousand miners, a mixture of Chileans, Italians, French, English, Irish, Welsh, Danes, Mexicans, and Americans were working the placers, as well as four major mines. And as the Indians no longer had a place to live, they left.Read More
Henry and George Angel arrived in California as soldiers, serving under Colonel Frémont during the Mexican War. After the war’s end, the brothers found themselves in Monterey where they heard of the fabulous finds in the gold fields. The tales proved too strong a lure, so they joined the Carson-Robinson party of prospectors and set out for the mines. The company parted ways upon reaching what later became known as Angels Creek, with the Murphy group heading east and the Carson party continuing south. It was September of 1848.Read More