Letter from Placerville (10 cents), forwarded to St. Louis (5 cents more)
Cold Spring (often Cold Springs) was a short-lived mining community about six miles north of Placerville, upstream from where Cold Springs creek now crosses Cold Springs Road. Its name was derived from a spring of good, cold water located near the edge of Cold Spring creek, in the upper end of the town.
Gold was first discovered at this location in 1849 and soon a road to both Coloma, to the north, and Placerville, to the south, was constructed. This road, that still bears the name of Cold Springs Road, soon became the main travelled road between those two places, with Cold Spring being at the half-way point.
By the summer of 1850 some 600 to 700 miners pitched their tents or built cabins on the flat below the town, each working a 15 foot square claim on the bed of the creek. The stream bed was so rich with gold that the possibility of the camp becoming permanent led to the almost immediate construction of a business district to serve the miners and the numerous travellers along the road.
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A few years ago it was discovered that the County of El Dorado had been mistakenly using the Official Seal of the Superior Court as its own. After much consternation, it was decided to adopt a new seal, a modification of one previously created by a local artist for a book on the county.
One evening I thought about the issue, and, with the kind assistance of several glasses of local wine, I came up with a fable, which I submitted to the local newspaper under the name Norm DePlume.
I made sure that they knew it was a fable and that they would not use my real name, however, after passing through several hands, it ended up being published as a true story, and with my real name.
Needless to say, a number of local historians called, first to ask where in the records the story had been found and, secondly, if it was true. All in all, it was a fun week or two.
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In Part 7, two writers introduced us to a person named Richard Crone, who was also known as Irish Dick, Bloody Dick and a few other names. Apparently he was hanged from the famous tree a couple of years after the famous first three.
In “A Vulcan Among the Argonauts – being vivid excerpts from those most original and amusing memoirs of John Carr, Blacksmith,” edited by Robin Lampson and published in San Francisco in 1936, there is a very interesting story on this hanging and Placerville in the early 1850s.
“We found Hangtown, or what is now called Placerville, to be two rows of houses with a street between them, The houses were built principally of shakes, with posts driven into the ground on which to nail the shakes. There were about fifty or sixty of these houses in the place when we arrived there (August 9, 1850), the largest four of which were run as gambling houses, and were in full operation at that time. All sorts of games were in full blast, such as monte, faro, lansquenet and French monte, sometimes called three-card monte.
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