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Chapter Eighteenth.



AFTER the result of the different canalling operations was known, being about the first of October, there was a general uneasiness felt throughout the mines, partly owing to the illsuxccess attending the above, and in part to a desire to make preparations for the approaching rainy season, which was expected to set in about the first of November. People were constantly arriving from San Francisco, having been informed that this was the "precise spot." The overland emigration was also arriving, and there was a universal desire to change positions. Those having productive private leads, were anxious to sell, go into the “dry diggings,” throw up dirt, and prepare for operating during the rainy season. Some of the canalled bars were not entirely abandoned, and much of the stock was in market; but those who purchased it, were in a similar condition to the man who purchased the bear skin, the worthy owner of which was running wild in the forest, little suspecting that so important a part of himself, had been made the subject of a mercantile contract.

There were frequent reports of rich discoveries in the moun. tain gorges, and many of them were found quite productive, inducing the occupants to throw up temporary habitations to protect them during winter. Those who wished to retain their claims on the river, would do so by leaving some utensil to keep possession, and spend a week in prospecting in the mountains. If successful in finding a productive spot, the pick-axe would be left in charge. A rich deposit was found in the

mountains about four miles distant, to which the attention of all was directed, and many threw up temporary huts and made preparation for the approaching winter. The place immediately assumed the appearance of a town. Stores were erected and filled, and monte-banks established to amuse the citizens. This newly discovered dry diggings is twelve miles from Coloma, the point at which gold was first discovered; the intervening distance being a succession of mountain gorges, all containing gold, many of the vales being in the possession of herds of wild cattle, that have never, until recently, been visited by man.

Coloma is situated on the south fork of the American River, fifty-five miles from Sacramento City. The valley, though small, is one of the most beautiful in the State, being about threefourths of a mile in width, and walled up on either side by lofty mountains. The saw-mill in the race of which gold was first discovered, is still standing and in operation. (See Plate.) The location of the town is extremely pleasant, being near a bend of the river, and commanding an extended view of the surrounding country. It was once infested by gamblers, but the miners took the matter in hand and drove them out at the point of the bayonet. A gigantic enterprise has been undertaken just below the town, by Mr. Little, of Maine. There is an abrupt bend in the river, the sweep around being three miles, and but a halfmile across ; this half-mile is being tunneled to draw the water from the natural channel, which is supposed to be very rich in gold. A large frame was erected here for a flouring-mill, at the time the saw-mill was erected; but Mr. Sutter changing his plans, had it removed to the fort, and after the breaking out of the gold excitement it was taken to Sacramento City and erected, making the first hotel, in point of size and accommodations, in town, called the City Hotel. On the right of the accompanying plate will be seen a remnant of that persecuted and doomed race, the native California Indians.

Hangtown, now Placerville, is situated three miles from the south fork of the American River, twelve miles from Coloma and fifty-five from Sacramento City. It is a dry diggings, or mountain gorge, and one of the most productive in the State. The surrounding country is extremely mountainous, with innumerable gorges, from which gold has been obtained in great abundance.

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