California Genealogy and History Archives

The Argonauts of California

Being The Reminiscences
Of Scenes And Incidents That Occurred In
California In Early Mining Days

A Pioneer

And believing that it will be of some historical value as well as of interest generally to know the names of those who were the first to venture forth in the search of gold, and by whose energy and labor the foundations of a great state were laid, and also a general prosperity created throughout the entire country, I have therefore prefixed to the work the names of those that I have been able to obtain, numbering about 35,000, and including among them the names of several thousand who are now living in the various States of the Union.

Text and Illustrations Drawn From Life
by Charles Warren Haskins

Published For the Author,
By Fords, Howard & Hulbert
New York



WHILE residing in the village of Kingston, located upon the Coeur D'Alene River in the silver mining regions of northern Idaho during the winter of '87-'88, and being compelled to remain within doors during the winter in consequence of the great depth of snow and intense cold, in order to pass away the time I amused myself by writing an account of scenes and incidents that occurred in California in early days in the mining regions, and which came under my observation. These events are written entirely from memory, but I have endeavored to give as near as possible the correct date of the events and incidents mentioned, as well as their location and names with all of which I was familiar. As to the the correct description of scenes and events, I ask the remnant of that band of sturdy Argonauts who laid the foundation of a great State to bear me witness.  C. W. HASKINS.


CHAPTER I—The News. Looking Forward. The Start. - 9-15

CHAPTER II—Arrival at St. Catherina. American Pluck. The Four Brave Tourists. - 16-23

CHAPTER III—A Gale. The Ocean Swell. Cape Horn. The Magellan Cloud. The Native Tradition. - 24-29

CHAPTER IV—Arrival in Callao. The Relics of the Earthquake. The Frolic with the English Officers. Target Shooting. The Calm. Water Spouts. The Shark. - 31-45

CHAPTER V—The Arrival in San Francisco. Gold Machines. Going to the Mines. The Bullwhacker. Arrival in Hangtown. The View from the Hill. - 46-61

CHAPTER VI—Business in the Mines. The Various Mining Camps. Physicians in Camp. Dr. Rankin. Coloma. Process of Mining. The '49 Emigration. Sauerkraut. Female Influence Illustrated. - 62-76

CHAPTER VII—The Kanakas. The Dry Diggings Deserted. Admission of the State. Scarcity of Reading Matter. The Cost of Letter Postage. The Ingenious Bartender. Prices of Drinks. Celebrating the Fourth of July. Hard Characters. - 77-96

CHAPTER VIII—Climatic Changes. Appearance of Familiar Herbs. Rats. The true Theory. Fall Emigration. The Johnson Cut Off. The Target. The First Young Lady. A Spartan Mother. The Boys Up a Tree. - 97-115

CHAPTER. IX—Sickness in the Mines. Earthquakes. The Steamboat Men. A Miners' Meeting. Lucky Bill. Kit Carson. The Financial Condition of the Miners. Australian Mike and His Tin Can. Portuguese Jo. The Divining-rod. - 116-133

CHAPTER X—Where the Rich Placers were Found. Miners' Superstition. The Blue Clay Deposit. Gold Machines. - 134-147

CHAPTER XI—The Indian War. A Change in the Social Conditions. The Desperado. The Sailors. The Mines Worked Out. - 148-165

CHAPTER XII—Mining Speculators. The Lost Brother. Gambling. A Generous Gambler. An Important Discovery. Beginning of Fruit Culture and Wine Manufacture in California. The First Church Organization in the Mining Regions. "Old Nick" and His Animals. "Old Syd." - 166-186

CHAPTER XIII—Emigration of '51. Churches Erected. Mines Deserted. The Chinese Miners. Hill, River and Quartz Mining. Nature Frowns. The Course of Events Change. Fruit Raising. Prospecting. On the Homestretch. - 187-203

CHAPTER XIV―The Discovery of Silver in Nevada. The Stage Road. Hank Monk. Road Agents. The Parson. The Stool Pigeon. Spirits. The Boys Who Captured the Thief. A Young Dick Turpin. The Irishman and the Road Agent. - 204-222

CHAPTER XV—Where are the Pioneers ? The Overland Stage. Pony Express. The Sound of War. A Wet Winter. The Hotel on the Road. The Railroad. - 223-229

CHAPTER XVI—The Forty-niner. Syd at the North Pole. The Homes of the Old-timers. The Remains of the Cabins of the Forty-niners. Panning out the Old Cabins. - 230-242

CHAPTER XVII—Meeting of the Old Timers. The Buckeye Tunnel. The Best as It is. Bozer Who Got Skunked. The Hydraulic Miner. Mike's Explanation. - 243-259   

CHAPTER XVIII—Why are so Many of the Old-timers so Poor? The Uncertainty of Mining. Tex and Barton Lee. Tex and the Hound. Tex on Board the Steamer. Tex at Golgona. - 260-273

CHAPTER XIX—Tennessee's Letter from Tex. The War in Chili Gulch. Sam Brown and the Chap with the Mild Blue Eyes. Sam Brown and the Policeman. Old Kentuck and Sleepy Ben. - 274-284

CHAPTER XX—Yank Visits the Old Mining Camp. Yank Seated Upon the Boulder. The First Loaf of Bread. The Bean-pot Comet. How Julius Sailed Up the River. Jeff's Plum Duff. The Stone Statue. The Old Miner Who was Robbed on Board the Steamer. The Coeur d'Alene Mines. Coasting. - 285-302

CHAPTER XXI—Their Names Unknown. The Types of Men the Mines. Pike Illustration of Missouri Character. Bob the Fiddler. The Power of Music Illustrated. John Kelley the Musician. Joe Bowers, Jeff Visits Pioneer Hall. Old Miners in San Francisco. - 303-315

CHAPTER XXII—Pioneer Hall. Old Mike Explains. Something Wrong. The Business of Mining. Mike's Philosophy. Yank at the Bay. The Expressman and the Broom Peddler. Lucky Bill and the Gamblers. Sam Plunket the Arkansas Beauty. Pete, The Boss Liar of the Yuba. - 316-334

CHAPTER XXIII—Bill Burnes Lynching the Colored Man. Dick Arnold. The Mining Regions. The Old-timers Disperse. The Phantoms of the Forty-niners. Forty Years have Passed. The Argonaut's Soliloquy. The Great Changes. The Flight of Time. The Number of Pioneers Now Living. - 335-347

CHAPTER XXIV—"Good Morning, William." The Return. Great Changes. - 348-359

Index to the Names of the Forty-niners

Members of the various Pioneer Associations in the U. S. who are now living. Page 360
Forty-niners residing in various parts of the Union who do not belong to any Association Page 385
Survivors of Col. Stevenson's Regiment
Survivors of Colonel Stevenson's Regiment
Page 394

Forty-niners now living in the Atlantic States

Pioneers Residing In The Atlantic States

Page 395

Forty-niners who went overland to California

Pioneers Who Crossed The Continent For California 1849

Page 395

Forty-niners who sailed from City of N. Y

Passengers That Sailed From New York For California 1849

Page 414

Forty-niners who sailed from the States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut

Page 453

Forty-niners who sailed from New Orleans, Philadelphia, Baltimore and other Southern ports

Page 476

From various Eastern ports

Vessels And Their Passengers That Sailed From Various Ports to California in 1849

Page 495