The Argonauts of California: Being the Reminiscences of Scenes and Incidents that Occurred in California in Early Mining Days

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Fords, Howard & Hulbert, 1890 - California - 501 pages
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This is a truly fun read, full of real history and a boatload of yarns, in a style reminiscent of Mark Twain. Featuring lots of super illustrations, it follows the journey of the author from New England, around South America, and up the coast to San Francisco (where there is not yet even a single dock or pier) and then into the mining country. This is a history of early California mining like none other, with the last quarter of the book listing all of the early ships and their passengers. 

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Page 310 - My name it is Joe Bowers, I've got a brother Ike, I came from old Missouri, yes, all the way from Pike...
Page 310 - I used to court a girl thar, her name was Sally Black. I axed her if she'd marry me, she said it was a whack. But then says she, "Joe Bowers, before we hitch for life You ought to get a little home to keep yer little wife." Oh Sally, dearest Sally! Oh Sally for your sake I'll go to California and try to raise a stake.
Page 73 - ... 50, the condition of the mining population, especially their carelessness in regard to appearances, mode of life, and habits in general, showed conclusively that' man, when alone, and deprived of that influence which the presence of woman only can produce, would in a short time degenerate into a savage and barbarous state.
Page 48 - ... thrown off. Beyond these again, and which completed the walk, was a double row of boxes of tobacco, of large size. Although this style of walk may seem very extravagant, even to an old pioneer, yet at that time sacks of Chilean flour, cooking stoves, tobacco, and pianos were the cheapest materials to be found, for lumber was in the greatest demand, selling in some instances at $600 per M., whilst the former articles, in consequence of the great supply, were of little value.
Page 48 - ... by the merchants to help their trade. This famous sidewalk was on the west side of Montgomery street, between Clay and Jackson. It extended from the Simmons, Henderson & Co. building to the Adams Express Company's office. It began with loo-pound sacks of Chilean flour. Then followed a long row of cooking stoves, over which it was necessary to carefully pick your way, as some of the covers were gone. A damaged piano bridged a chasm and beyond this a double row of large tobacco boxes completed...
Page 310 - Her name was Sally Black; I axed her if she'd marry me; She said it was a whack. Says she to me, "Joe Bowers, Before we hitch for life, You ought to get a little home To keep your little wife.
Page 311 - twas all the same to Joe." Joe continues to work in the mines, but he doesn't raise a stake. Time passes and the denoument comes to Joe's little romance in a letter from brother Ike which said "Sally has wed a butcher whose hair is red.
Page 48 - ... Argonauts. He tells of one of the sights which particularly attracted his attention on his arrival in San Francisco. "There was," said he, "a newly constructed sidewalk, commencing at the building at that time occupied by Simmons, Hutchinson & Co., and extending in the direction of Adams & Company's express office for a distance of about seventy-five yards, I think. In any other portion of the earth except California, this sidewalk would have been considered a very extravagant piece of work,...
Page 47 - ... requires special mention. It was in the shape of a huge fanning mill with seives properly arranged for assorting the gold ready for bottling. All chunks too large for the bottles would be consigned to the pork barrels. This immense machine, which during our passage excited the envy of all who had not the means and opportunity of securing a similar one, required the services of a hired man to turn the crank whilst the proprietor would be busily engaged in shoveling in pay dirt and pumping water,...
Page 311 - em yit. At length I went to mining, Put in my biggest licks; Went down upon the boulders Just like a thousand bricks. I worked both late and early, In rain, in sun, in snow; I was working for my Sally — 'Twas all the same to Joe.

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