Criminal Annals,Part 90 – Mining News, etc.

Continuing with the early issues of the Sacramento “Daily Union,” we find in the May 10, 1852 edition a number of items under the general heading of “El Dorado.” Although there is no crime involved this time, there is a bear attack and quite a bit on mining, along with interesting articles on road and canal construction.


“We condense the following intelligence from the El Dorado News, of Saturday:

“A few days since two brothers named Ira and Daniel Perry were hunting in the vicinity of Cache Creek [Yolo County?], when they suddenly encountered eight grizzly bears. They retreated, and Ira succeeded in climbing a tree, but the other was not so fortunate being closely pursued by a large she bear. As she was nearly upon him Ira fired, wounding her; the other brother had by this time reached a tree and was about springing into it when the bear made a pass at him, tearing his powder flask off, and biting him in the fleshy part of the leg below the knee, inflicting a terrible wound. He again attempted to draw himself up the tree, when the infuriated animal caught him by the ankle and once more brought him to the ground – At this critical juncture Daniel’s dog came to his assistance and commenced an attack upon the rear of Bruin, which gave Daniel and opportunity of climbing the tree. The bear then started off for the tree in which Ira was, intending doubtless to pay him off for past favors, but she soon got a ball in the back of her head which stretched her lifeless at the foot of the tree. The wounded man was conveyed home by some Spaniards, who came up at the time. His wounds were dressed, and although his recovery is certain, it is feared he is lamed for life.

“(A pretty fair bear tale)

“MINING AT COLOMA. – the Coloma Bar Company are making extensive arrangements for mining this summer. A meeting was held last Saturday, and a joint stock company formed. They have taken up the ground from the falls to the Sutter Saw Mill; and in a few weeks the river will be drained for the distance of a mile. Last summer they expended thousands of dollars, and were unable to get into the stream in consequence of their machinery being inadequate to pump out the deep holes.

“GOOD YIELD. – Mr. Tallmadge [likely D. P. Talmadge, an early Coloma settler] and his two partners, who are at work on a claim in this place, near Thomas & Young’s store, took out $256 during Wednesday and Thursday. For the month ending the 6th inst., they have taken out of this claim $1700.

“A company of seven miners who have been at work within fifty yards of our office for six weeks, have averaged eight dollars per day to the hand, during all that time. They have plenty of ground left to keep them employed for three months to come.

“NEW ROAD. – A county road is being opened from Coloma to Georgetown, via Kelsey’s [probably Bayne Road]. Nearly all the travel will go in that direction as soon as Messrs. Rowen & Pearis complete their splendid bridge across the South Fork, which will be in the course of a few weeks.

“RED HILLS. – The canal which is to convey water from Coloma to the Red Hills [part of Michigan Flat, on the north bank of the South Fork of the American River, near where Greenwood Creek enters], a distance of six miles is nearly completed. The ditching is completed, and Messrs. Brooks, Clark & Co. will soon have their contract finished, when the water will be let into the work. This canal will water one of the richest placers in El Dorado county, and furnish employment for a large number of sturdy miners.”

In the same edition is some information from Calaveras county, which at that time abutted El Dorado County on the south because Amador county did not exist until 1854. It appears they had a busier week than other counties.

The local newspaper there was the “Calaveras Chronicle,” which was published in Mokelumne Hill from 1851 until 1874.

“The following items are from the Chronicle:

“ACCIDENT. – On last Saturday night, a Chilean named Esteban Bolta, was killed in Jackson, by the accidental discharge of a rifle in the hands of another Chilean. Bolta was in the street talking with two others when the gun was discharged in a house near by, the ball striking him in the head and killing him instantly. It was proved to the satisfaction of the coroner’s jury, that the shot was accidental, and they rendered their verdict accordingly.

“MURDER. – We learn that on Friday of last week, the dead body of an American was found on Sutter’s Creek, about two miles below that village, who had evidently been robbed and murdered. An inquest was held on the body by Justice Dunham, of Jackson, but the jury were unable to discover his name or find any clue to the detection of the murderers.

“ANOTHER. – Since the above, another murder has been perpetrated in the vicinity of Sutter, the circumstances connected with which are wrapped in as much mystery as the first. The victim was also an American, and was know to have had twenty-one ounces of gold dust the day before his body was discovered. Suspicion rests on certain Chileans who have lately arrived in the country. The miners around Sutter are much exasperated, and should the murderers be discovered, the county will be put to no expense in their trial and punishment.

“CELESTIALS. – Our neighbors across the river have serious cause for complaint in the constantly increasing number of Chinamen, by whom the diggings in that directions are almost overrun. We are informed that there are nearly two thousand in a circuit of two miles around Jackson alone, and that they are constantly increasing numbers. Last Saturday 300 arrived at that place from Sacramento, in one band.

“LARGE LUMP. – A lump of gold was taken out of a sluice claim at Rancheria, by Messrs. Lingeon and Hilgedick, on Thursday last, weighing sixty-five ounces and ten dollars. It is almost entirely pure, there being by about three ounces of rock in the whole piece.”

Note: The largest gold nugget found in the United States was taken from the Morgan Mine at Carson Hill, Calaveras county, in November 1854. When weighed on Adams Express Company’s gold scales in Stockton, it balanced the scales at 214 pounds and eight ounces, Troy.
At that time native gold brought about $16 per Troy ounce and a Troy pound has 12 Troy ounces.



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