Criminal Annals, Part 45 – The Placer Times: Unfortunate Accident

In the Monday, June 3, 1850 edition of edition of the “Placer Times,” there is an article pertaining to a gentleman who accidently went for a swim with about 11 pounds of gold in his pockets. Although no crime was committed, common sense was ignored.

“UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT. – On the downward trip of the Gov. Dana, on Friday last, Mr. Harris Goldstein, a merchant of Marysville, fell overboard in an attempt to get a bucket of water from the river, about 4 miles below Marysville. He swam well at first, and all on board, including his son, about 14 years of age, had perfect confidence that he would reach the shore. He was observed to turn on his back, as if to rest himself, and then sank to rise no more. He had some $1600 in dust on his person. We are furnished with numerous testimony to Capt. Young’s exertions to rescue him. The scene, when hope had fled, was most distressing. The agony of his son drew forth many a manly tear of sympathy, and the truest commiseration was expressed for the wife and children at home in New Orleans.”

In the Wednesday, June 5, 1850 edition is a very short note regarding a stabbing.

“LO, THE POOR INDIAN.– One of these unfortunates got stabbed in the groin out at Norris’ the other day. He now lies very low at market house in town, if he is not dead. In the latter case, it is quite likely the other Indian who stabbed will soon be so likewise, on the grounds of retributive justice, as understood on our ‘frontier.’”

In the thirteen months that the Placer Times has been in circulation, a number of other newspapers have been established in Sacramento. In addition to that, it is getting easier to obtain newspapers from San Francisco and other locations. All of this affects when and if a newspaper is published.

Although the Placer Times has changed editors a couple of times, there has been no real indication of any major changes in the newspaper. However, in the June 5, 1850 edition there appears a very flowery worded note with the title “To the Public.”


“Circumstances which have confined the wishes and intentions of the proprietors of this paper to promises alone, for a few months past, have at length yielded in the assured prospect of satisfactory, a well as an immediate consummation of their business plans; while they are enabled, in accordance with previous announcements, to enter upon the field of enterprise long since contemplated, desiring, for the delay occasioned, the indulgence, which from the calamitous nature of the circumstances offering hindrance, they have reason to expect of the their patrons.
“Next week they propose to commence the publication of the DAILY PLACER TIMES. It will be printed on new and beautiful type, ordered for the purpose, in an enlarged form, and an edition adequate to the greatest demand, on a quality of paper not excelled by an American journal. The most liberal terms will be offered advertisers, and redoubled energies applied to secure the most extensive circulation for this, the first paper published north of San Francisco in California. Associated in the editorial management of the Times will be gentleman whose interests are purely local, and whose qualifications to serve the public truly and well cannot be questioned. It will maintain its position – an unswervingly independent press.

“A change in the proprietorial department will permanently attach one of the Times’ publishers to Sacramento, by identification with its every interest, and association with sense of its daily life and prosperity. Confident in their integrity of purpose, and assured by the encouragement which has sustained them even when destitute of the facilities for serving, in their capacity, the public wants the fairest prospects and broadest hopes of the Proprietors.”

This edition and the next, which would mark the end of the tri-weekly Placer Times, contain very little local news and devoted a lot of space to discussions regarding John Sutter and his land grant and taking a few “pot shots” and other newspapers.

There is one advertisement of local interest to El Dorado County in the last edition.

“GREEN SPRINGS HOTEL, At Green Springs, on the Coloma and Sacramento City road [Green Valley Road], is offered for rent, on reasonable terms. The house has four rooms on the first and four on the second floor; a fine garden attached, in which vegetables may be raised during the whole year, and an abundance of the best spring water close to the door. As this house is situated on a constantly travelled road, it affords an eligible opportunity to any person disposed to keep a hotel.
“Birch’s line of stages pass by the door.

“Apply to N. HOBART AND BROTHER, on the premises.”

The successor to the Placer Times, the “Daily Placer Times,” would only be published until March 5, 1851 and then be succeeded by the “Sacramento Daily Times,” which would last less than a month. It would then become the “Daily Sacramento Placer Times,” which would follow suit and also last less than a month. Then it would finally join with “The Transcript” and become the “Placer Times and Transcript” for the next two years, at which time it would move to San Francisco.

Since there are few if any early copies of the newspapers that succeeded the Placer Times, and those being difficult to obtain, it is difficult to continue with news from Sacramento. However, having taken a good look at the general situation of the government (or lack of same) in California during 1849 and early 1850, we can now direct our attention back to the numerous stories, from various sources, of the local history of El Dorado County.



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