J. P. CHAMBERLAIN AND J. A. CHAFFEE

These two gentlemen, typical ‘‘old forty-niners,” form an example of life-long friendship between men, that is as interesting as it is rare.  Coming to this State in July 1849, having made the Cape Horn passage together, they have never since been separated, their property interests, their friends and acquaintances belong to both.

Mr. Chamberlain, the elder by two years, was born in Windsor County, Vermont, in 1821, residing in that State, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, by turns, and on reaching a sufficient age he devoted himself to the sash and blind manufacture. In Worcester he met the second named, Mr Chaffee, a Connecticut boy, born in Woodstock, Windham County, in 1823.  The latter had learned the trade of wheelwright, at eighteen years of age, working at that oc­cupation in Worcester, Mass.  The two set sail for Cali­fornia in Janunarv, 1849, and were six months on their voyage. 

On landing in San Francisco, they found employment, re­paid at the rate of sixteen dollars per day.  Even this pay could not keep the ardent young men, so at the end of two weeks they  started for Calaveras County, and went to mining on the Mokelumne River, realizing over ten dollars per day for one month.  Winter then coming on, they turned their footsteps toward San Jose, where they worked at carpentering for James F Reed, Esq. In March, 1851, they came to Swett’s Bar on the Tuolumne, mining there and at Chinese Camp; a portion of the time making high pay, and at other times meeting mostly discouragements.  For some time they were located at Second Garrote where they mined with indifferent success until 1853, when they returned to San Jose, visiting Gilroy, and at last coming back to Second Garrote, where they have remained ever since, with the exception of a short time also spent in San Jose. Their present occupations embrace both mining and farm­ing, Mr. Chaffee attending to the former pursuit, while Mr. Chamberlain’s attention is confined to agriculture. They jointly have under their care a very fine orchard, and enter also into the manufacture of cider and vinegar.

“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Published by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 316.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton  mmelton@rcsis.com