Letter from a Gold Miner


We carried our dirt in hand barrows some fifty to seventy-five yards to the creek where we had two sluice boxes and a long Tom to wash the gold. One dug down the dirt and helped carry the barrow, the other helped carry the barrow and washed the dirt. We made from $4 to $6 or $7 per day, each of us, and if we had known how to wash with sluices and had brought water in, could have made $15 to $30 per day easier than with barrows. We did not stay long for our pay dirt did not all prospect as well.


When we were at Minersville a man kept a store, named George Rogers, and some packers from Oregon came there and stayed a few days till they sold out the loading of their train; they had potatoes, onions and flour and bacon. Flour was worth $60 to $75 per hundred, Potatoes and onions $65 to $70 a hundred lbs., beef thirty to forty cents per pound, bacon seventy-five to eighty cents a pound, apples a dollar and a quarter per pound, or six for $1.25.…We used to buy milk for our coffee; it was $12 per gallon; it had to be brought on pack mules from Yreka, about 14 miles. We would buy a quart and keep it in pint bottles in the cold creek water, and it would last us four days. Shovels were $12, picks $12, gum boots $32, hats from $5 to $8, socks $2, blankets $8 to $16 per pair; sardines half-boxes $3; whiskey fifty cents per drink.