Within a week in 1848, Dayton and McCoon had extracted $10,000 in Gold from this area and started the feverish rush of miners into "Dry Diggins," the first name given to this community. The name "Hangtown," which still persists as a nickname, was no doubt aqcuired because of the many hangings which took place there in 1849.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.
On November 9 of 1849, William Knight was killed in the streets of the town he founded, gunned down by a man whose name is now lost to history. James G. Fair was in town the day it happened. He called it, “one of the most cold-blooded murders” he had ever witnessed. Knight was buried where he fell, in front of the Masonic Hall, on a low hill overlooking the plaza.Read More
James W. Kerrick arrived here in 1853, coming over the Emigrant Trail with nine covered wagons. He built and operated the Crimea House, a combination restaurant, saloon, boarding house, and stable. It was an important stop for freighters and travelers from the San Joaquin and Bay regions who were heading into the Southern Mines. The buildings were destroyed by fire on October 8 of 1949.Read More
Although originally known as Poverty Hill, the name must have come from a miner with a sense of humor, as the area was extremely rich, eventually producing over $15 million in gold. Founded as a placer camp in the early 1850’s, Stent later turned into a prosperous hardrock mining center, competing with its twin camp to the north which was known variously as Quartz, Quartzburg, or Quartz Mountain.Read More
While prospecting the gulches between Deer and Moccasin creeks in 1849, James D. Savage and his party camped one night on a wide flat beneath a large oak tree. The next morning’s panning uncovered rich placers and the prospectors decided to stay. Savage employed a large number of friendly Indians (he reportedly had several Indian wives) to work the streams and surrounding gullies, paying them in merchandise from his trading post.Read More
Was the man hanged from a tree or merely choked to death by a strong miner? Stories conflict. Was he executed for stealing $200 in gold dust, or someone’s horse; for jumping a claim, or killing a fellow miner? Stories conflict. Originally known as “First” Garrote (to avoid confusion with nearby Second Garrote), the name appeared in contemporary newspapers as: Garote, Garotte, Gerote, and Garrotte. Spellings conflict. About the only thing that didn't conflict was the meaning of Garrote; which is Spanish for execution by strangulation.Read More