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Joined: 16 Apr 2007 Posts: 392 Location: Live Oak
Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 1, 1869
Transcription by Norman Poitevin, 2007

Job F. Dye, (now a merchant in Silver City, Idaho Territory) was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, January 17th, A.D.1807. His father, Col. James Dye, also resided in that county, and was married to Elizabeth Percifall in 1802. In the year 1805 the family moved to Allen county, Kentucky where the father of our pioneer died in 1816, at the age of 83 years, and the mother now lives a respected widow, aged 83 years. The family consisted of nine sons and one daughter, who all lived to mature age, except the seventh son who died at seven years of age. Job F. Dye, the subject of our autobiography, the third son was brought up a farmer.
In the fall of 1828, he emigrated to Arkansas then an unexplored wilderness. Although only 21 years old, he at once entered boldly into the struggle of civilizing the savage and taming the wild lands. He remained in Arkansas until 1830. During that time he made two trips to New Orleans, the first on a craft and the latter on a flatboat. While in the Crescent City, after the last expedition, he saw a newspaper advertisement that a company of men were about to start from Fort Smith to the Rocky mountains, for the purpose of trapping and collecting furs. Job F. Dye being ambitious and full of adventure, concluded to try his luck in the occupation, and went up to Fort Smith where he found Capt. Rogers and Capt. Coffee fitting out and filling up a company.
He immediately joined the expedition and obtained his outfit. Everything being complete, the company left Fort Smith on the 7th of May, 1830 and struck, (marched) up the South Fork of the Canadian river; thence over to the North Fork, where they found immense herds of buffalo, deer and turkey, as well as any amount of wild honey. By this time says young Dye (we shall now adapt his own words) “I found myself to be more than an average hunter, and rather enjoyed that kind of living, although our bread stuff had given out; which had, on the start, been a terror to my mind, to think that I had to do without bread for two or three years.
We then struck over the Arkansas river, and on our way we came in contact with a band of wild Comanche Indians — about seventy-five warlike fellows. They immediately opened on us (eight of our hunters) charging on horse back. We returned the compliment, on horseback, shooting at them and retreating. This was kept up for a mile or two, our men shooting at them every opportunity. At length Mr. Kates shot one of their braves in the back, as he turned, and down he tumbled, and our men dispatched him and captured a fine horse and war implements.
At the same time Wm. Bean and myself were out from camp, running and catching wild horses. We caught one and turned it over to our companions. While looking to the south we saw a large herd of horses, and made for them. On our arrival we soon found that each horse had a rider by his side. They raised a white flag. We rode withing 125 yards of the horses and I discovered one Indian open the pin on his gun. I spoke to Bean and told him to look out the savage was going to shoot; he replied, “blast him, I will shoot first.” I replied “no, don’t shoot, keep your charge for close quarters, as we have no arms but a single barreled pistol.”
At this time the Indians gave a keen whistle and every brave (?) mounted his war horse — and here they came, under whip, full speed for us. Now our lives depended on the swiftness of our horses. The savages raised the war-whoop, which frightened our steeds almost to death and we were equally anxious to get out of that place. In running down the level, open plain, all at once, to my great surprise, I saw a deep gulch, about ten feet wide. My horse being very hard on the bit, I knew it was not possible for me to stop or turn him, so I dropped the rein, and he jumped the ditch at a single leap.
This surprised the Indians. The savages being close behind me had time to stop and come to a parley. In the meantime; Bean had kept about fifty yards to the right and thus avoided the ditch, although he lost his hat in the chase. We continued our flight, three or four hundred yards, and then returned to the ditch to find it. When near the ditch about seventy-five warriors were within hailing distance, but we returned with the hat without being further molested. We afterwards ascertained that the cause of the Indians being so docile was that they had discovered the dead body of the one Kates had killed a short time previous, of which we were not then informed.
Our company consisted of forty-three men, but to our misfortune the following day the Comanche fever broke out, and raged with such violence in camp, that seven of our company became disheartened and returned to Texas, leaving us but thirty-six men as follows: Col Robert Bean, (Captain), Wm. Bean, John Sanders, John Porter, Isaac Graham, Henry Nail, George Nidever, Mark Nidever, Alexander S. Clair, Pruett St. Clair, Thomas Durgan, James Anderson, Dr. James Craig, Iassc Williams, Jonas Baker, Joseph Gipson, Frederick Christ, Powel Weaver, Cambridge Green, James Green, Pleasant Austin, Jones Bacey, John Roy, James Wilkson, John Chad, Jouas English, Charles Spalding, John Price, George Gould, Thomas Hammond, John Putium, Cyrus Christian, Ambrose Tomianson, Jacob P. Lee, Job F. Dye and eight others whose names are not recollected by the writer.
With our diminished force we traveled on and in a few days struck the Arkansas river, where we found the buffalo so plenty that it was seldom out of sight of them, which afforded us every opportunity to supply out camp with fresh meat every day. We traveled slowly up the Arkansas river, taking a leisurely view of the situation, without any particular incident or event occurring, until we came to the Big Cottonwood Grove. Below the mouth of the Cimouyrou , we met a party of Pawnees who pretended friendship, and after smoking and begging tobacco, powder and ball, finding that they had a good supply on hand concluded to follow us to our next encampment, where we met a large body of Grovants and Cheyennes, who were very friendly and manifested every hospitality that the Red Man could afford to show.
About midnight the alarm was given by the firing of guns and the Indian war-whoop; this attack was made by our newly ... friends the Pawnees, We didn’t know, at the time, to whom we wee indebted for this treachery, but through the onslaught had been made by the Cheyennes or Grovants and Cheyennes; but very soon we discovered them shooting towards the enemy, and crying out “Pawnee,” “Pawnee.”
The night was dark and rainy, the attack was short and effective, lasting about twenty minutes, when the Pawnee left with seven of our horses, wounding several more of them during the action. The following day we were escorted by the Grovant Chief about twenty miles up the river, where we found a settlement of Grovant, Cheyennes and Snakes, numbering 250 lodges. We stopped with the Grovant Chief, who gave us every attention that the Red Man could bestow upon us. The following day we left on our journey up the Arkansas.
In about seven days we reached the mountains, when buffalo became scarce and the big black tailed deer were plentiful and very fat. Then we struck over on the South Fork of the Platte, (near the line of the present Union Pacific Railroad) and after traveling several days up the river to near its head — we having a sick man in camp, Thomas J. Durgan, who was unable to travel — the command concluded to send out a small party of six men to prospect for winter quarters and game, and the Captain (Bean) selected Isaac Graham, George Nidever, James Basey, Alexander St. Clair, Frederick Christ and myself (Job F. Dye), we having previously volunteered for the expedition.
After traveling about sixty miles we came to the Arkansas river again, where we found a beautiful valley, full of buffalo and other game, with plenty of water and timber, suitable for a winter-camp. We concluded to locate our winter quarters here, and to further the plan sent St. Clair and Christ back to the main party to notify them of our selection and pilot the company into the winter camp.
It was agreed that the four remaining, were to engage in killing and curing meat, for the winter, which we did with tolerable good success. In four days time we had killed and hung up seventeen buffalo and covered them with hides; also a large grizzly bear. Now, the buffalo had left the valley on the fifth day; we were all four in camp, late in the evening, when George Nidever said that he was uneasy in mind and would take a stroll outside of camp.
He took his gun and walked about 400 yards from camp, when he discovered a band of about seventy-five Snake Indians, tearing down our meat and helping themselves. We immediately came to the conclusion that they were hostile, and too numerous for our little force, and it would be advisable for us to pack up our blankets and leave for the old camp. After leaving the new camp we crossed the river and ascended a high mountain, where we had a view of the surrounding country and could look down on the band of Indians plundering our camp just abandoned. About this time Frederick Christ and George Nidever returned, and were taken prisoners by the Indians, as was inferred from finding their names cut in the bark of a log on which they were sitting. The next day the main portion of the company arrived, being guided in by the detailed for that purpose. When they arrived, the dead bodies of Christ and Nidever were found, naked, horribly mutilated and thrown into the creek. We unfortunately missed the company and traveled all the way back to the Platte, where we had left them, which was about sixty miles, and finding that they had left, we took up the trail and followed to their second encampment, where we remained over night.
As we had traveled over sixty miles during the day, I can safely say that it was a weary march, and I never was so tired in my life. The next day we continued our journey, on the trail, until we came within twelve miles of our selected winter quarters, when we heard three shots fired from a small swivel, which belonged to the company. As arranged, we knew they were signal guns of danger and trouble in camp. George Nidever and Isaac Graham volunteered to go to the camp that night. James Casey’s feet were very sorer; his moccasins were worn out, and he said that it was impossible for him to travel and get into camp that night. I told him that I would not abandon him, but that we should share the same fate.


[Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 8, 1869]

Graham and Nidever said that they would leave the trail and strike straight for camp. I told them we would keep on the trail, and instructed them to send us two horses the next day. We accordingly advanced on the trail but had not traveled more than two miles when I made the remark, to Mr. Basey, that it was unsafe for us to continue on the trail; that if there should be Indians in the camp, they would be likely to come out on the trail, and I thought it much safer for us to strike over the mountains to camp. He said, “can you strike camp?” I replied, “I know where the camp is located, and think there is no difficulty.” He then said, “go as you think best.” We then left the trail and had not gone more than three hundred yards when we saw about seventy-five Snake Indians coming up the trail.
By this time we were in a small pine grove, partly concealed. We remained hid, and gazed at them for a few seconds, when Basey started, in double-quick time, and not-with-standing my companion’s feet were badly frozen and his moccasins worn out. I found it very difficult to keep up with him.. We traveled furiously until after dark, and then camped in a deep canyon, in a dense grove of high timber.
Now there was about four inches of snow on the ground, and the weather very cold. We built a large fire, before which Mr. Basey commenced thawing his feet, a process which produced severe pain and intense anguish. I spread down our blankets, and as the pain in Basey’s frost bitten feet increased, he rolled and tumbled over them until near midnight, suffering horrible torture.
In the meantime we had a small piece of buffalo meat which I stuck up on a stick before the fire, to roast; and then went to work earnestly to see what I could do to mend his moccasins, without having any material to do it with. At length I concluded to take the tail of my leather hunting shirt, which I did, and mended them in good shape.
Early next morning we started and traveled about half a mile, when we arrived at the Arkansas river, which was about 2? feet deep, with a tremendous strong current, rapidly gliding over large smooth boulders; the water was cold, with much ice. We stripped off our clothing and waded into the water, waist deep, after much sliding and slipping, with great difficulty we got over nearly frozen, and then traveled down the stream about three miles, when we came in sight of camp and halted. Here we were met by Jacob P. Leese, who spoke with tears in his eyes, when he informed us that the Indians had murdered Mark Nidever and Frederick Christ, and related the cruelty practiced by stripping them of clothing, scalping and mutilating their heads, etc., and throwing them into the creek, where the bodies were found, taken out and buried in the best possible manner.
It was now about the last of November, 1830, and the company having experienced but poor success in catching beaver and killing game, lacking experience in the new pursuit, and besides the Indians were troublesome, having destroyed or stolen all our provisions, we concluded, after holding a grand council, to start for Taos, in New Mexico. So next morning we packed up and started to cross the mountains, ranging between the Arkansas and the Rio del Norte.
The snow was from one foot to over sixteen inches deep, and we found it very difficult to make our way over the hills and through the dense timber and brush in the mountain gorges. But to our agreeable surprise we struck a new trail, made by two buffalo bulls, which was quite fresh, they having just passed on ahead of us. Fortunately it was an old buffalo trail, continuing in the direct line of the course we were making, or wanted to go.
We followed them on this trail for six days, when we found ourselves on the Rio del Norte. Now we have traveled six days without any provisions except a little antelope meat and some coffee, straight without any sugar. On our arrival at the river the two buffalo bulls hove in sight and were soon killed, by a noble man and good hunter, George Nidever. Then the feast began. A fire was built of pine knots and as the famishing men came up, they would skin a small piece and cut off a chunk of meat and throw it into the fire, and there let it remain until it became black and charred, when it was taken from the smoking blaze and eaten, almost as raw as when it was alive in the buffalo’s hide. The hungry men continued to roast and eat, off and on, all night, and by six o’clock next morning, all that was left of one large buffalo, was the skeleton and his hide.
The morning after our feast the company did not feel much like traveling, and so we concluded to lay by that day to recruit, and let our jaded horses rest one day, as they were grazing on good grass. We still had the meat of one buffalo bull to fall back on, and pass the day in feasting. The next day we took up the line of march, and that finished the last of our beef — hump, rump and stump. We proceeded on our way two days, without any rations, when our friend Nidever, discovered a band of buffalo and killed five fat cows, and just at sundown came into camp and made report, when about twenty men started, on foot to bring the meat into camp.
After dark we had to go about three miles and bring it in on our backs, each man packing up his load as best he could, to carry it through the cactus brush, much of which was prickly-pear. My moccasins were thin and well worn out, and before we reached camp I had a numerous amount of thorns in my feet, which caused me to suffer much pain. We were now supplied with grub enough to last us four or five days more, and we traveled on until it all disappeared. By this time we arrived on the Rio del Norte, in a small strip of country where deer were very plenty.
A difference of opinion existed here, thirteen men out of thirty -four wanted to stop and kill meat, sufficient to take us on to Taos, but our commander, Col. Bean, gave the order to proceed on without delay, and they started immediately. Our little party of thirteen remained behind, that day, and killed twenty-three deer and packed them into camp, before twelve o’clock. We barbecued the meat that night and was on the march early next morning, overtaking the main party the same day, who was on a short allowance of meat. The following day we traveled together, and camped in a beautiful pine and oak grove where we found some deer “signs,” and Col. Bean ordered the company to halt one day and kill meat, sufficient to take them into Taos. Our small party having a good supply of nice deer meat, for ten or twelve days, we concluded to proceed on the Taos, and get there as soon as possible.
So we packed up and proceeded on the Rio del Norte till we came to a large flock of sheep which was herded by New Mexican sheep-herders. As soon as they discovered us they fled, and one of them proceeded to Taos, about 45 miles, and gave the alarm; the other after some considerable time came back to the herd. The New Mexican treated us with hospitality and friendship, and three days time we were in the Pueblo Rio ... do, where we found all the luxuries that those people, in their profound ignorance, at that early day, were provided with, or the country afforded. We were now within eight miles of the Pueblo de San Fernando, and it was decided in council that three men should go in and report to the authorities, which we did by informing them that we had no general passport, but was forced by privations and distress to come into the ..., and asked the favor to pass the winter under the protection of Mexico — The Alcalde informed us that he would communicate with the Governor, which he did. In about ten days the reply came to the Alcalde that our company should leave in ten days, but the order was not respected by the people and we refused to obey it, so we remained all winter unmolested.
In the following spring, nearly all our company left on a trapping expedition, and having passed the winter in the store of Sim. Turley, having procured profitable employment, I was induced to remain in his employ, and conduct a distillery until June, following, when I was taken sick with the pleurisy, which for two months confined me to bed and room, thereby reducing my finances to as low a grade as when I first arrived at Taos. I then concluded to change my base and resolved to go to California the first opportunity.
About the first of October, 1831, Jackson, Waldo & Co. commenced fitting out two companies for California, one to purchase mules, the other was a trapping party, to catch beaver and other fur-bearing animals. I became a member of the latter party, which organized under the command of Gwen Young, who had been appointed Captain, and placed in full charge and control. The following is a list of the names, as near as I can recollect: Sidney Cooper, Moses Careon, Benjamin Day, William Day, Isaac Sparks, Joseph Gale, Joseph Dent, John Higans, Isaac Williams, James Green, Cambridge (Turkey) Green, James Anderson, Thomas Low, Julian Bargas, Jose Teforia, John Price, Job F. Dye and nineteen others, whose names I have forgotten.
Capt. Young and party left San Fernando in October, 1831 with thirty-six men, in all. In three days travel we reached Zuni villages, where we remained two days, for the purpose of obtaining from the Indians a sufficient supply of Pinale (roasted corn meal and “pinoche” sugar) and frijoles (beans) required on the route. Afer laying in a full stock of subsistence supplies, we commenced our long march, and proceeded over the mountains to the head-waters of the Blackwater, and thence down that stream to where it empties into Salt River, where we found beaver plenty and caught a great number of them. Game had been very scarce all this time and to our grand surprise we found a few wild turkeys and killed over a dozen of them.
We also shot an old bear and her two cubs, one of the cubs was shot dead, the mother badly wounded, when she made for a man named John Higans, who did not quail or stir an inch, but jerked his gun down, cocked it, and fired in the face of the bear. The gun went off, but unfortunately he had left the wiping stick in his gun, the ball part about half out, wedged in between the barrel and the wiping stick, so that the charge had no fatal effect. The smell of powder caused the bear to turn her course and leave.
The following day Capt. Young and myself seeing a little deer sign, started up the mountain to try our luck hunting. We discovered several small bands of deer, when the Captain would shoot at them at long range, without having the desired effect. At length I saw a very large grizzly bear, traveling up the ridge. We circled around and got ahead of him, when Capt. Young shot, hitting him in the neck and “creasing” him. Old bruin fell, but soon rallied, rose and looked right at me, when I fired and struck him right in the center of the forehead, and as the skull is sharp and smooth, the ball flattened, glanced off and whistled as it went. Capt. Young remarked “you have made him much better than he was before receiving the shot,” — away went the bear helter-skelter, down the mountain — and we had no bear meat for supper that night.
Capt. Young not being a very good hunter and yet over anxious to kill game, I found that it was necessary to separate from him; so I told him that I was going down the hill, following the trail of the bear, directing the Captain to go down on the ridge, to our right, and we would meet about two miles below. I traveled on down the hollow, but could not find the bear’s track. Finally the track was discovered, but no blood, and in a short time I passed by a small clump of oak bushes, when the bear came out furiously, close to my horses heels. I used both whip and spur to the utmost, and it was “nip” and “tuck,” over the rocks and through the brush. At length “tuck” got the best of it by reaching level ground clean of obstacles, and he began to leave “nip” behind, which so disheartened him that he became discouraged, gave up the chase and turned off up the side of the mountain. When I wheeled and shot him as he ran, breaking his right thigh. I hastily re-loaded my gun and again fired, hitting him in the bulge of the ribs, the ball ranging forward. Bruin now came to a pass in the rocks where he had to climb up a perpendicular wall, four or five feet high, and one of his hind legs being broken, when he attempted to rise he would fall back. I had again reloaded my rifle and snapped near a dozen caps at him, and on examination I found that the tube was corroded and the percussion packed hard in it, so I took it off and burned it out.
By this time the bear had managed to get over the rocks and was slowly going up the mountain. My rifle was now in good order and I followed on after the ferocious monster on foot, (as it was impossible for me to go on horseback any further,) until I overhauled and gave him a shot in the head and shattered his brain, leaving him stretched lifeless on the ground. Now, my companion had passed on ahead of me and I did not know how to notify him of the capture, but thought I would fire my gun two or three times, yet received no response. I then yelled vociferously to the utmost strength of my voice, and received an answer by a rifle shot. I then made a fire, so that the ascending smoke would attract and guide him to where I was, which proved successful.


[Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 15, 1869]
On the arrival of Capt. Young, I had a fine, large, fat bear, nearly dressed, that weighed five or six hundred pounds, which was highly prized, in our camp, and was really worth more in our famished condition, than its weight in silver, as it was the only meat we had tasted for several weeks, except beaver — a very poor subsistence for hungry trappers.
The next difficulty was, how to pack the meat to camp, and several expedients were proposed, finally we adopted the plan of cutting the hide in pieces, making two large sacks, which after being laced up were filled with meat and packed on Capt. Young’s mule and my horse. The sacks weighed about three hundred pounds each, and were difficult to handle, but we soon had them securely placed on the animals. We then started for camp, on foot, leading the horse and mule through the prickly-pear, and other cactus thorn bushes. We traveled three or four miles that evening, and after finding water and grass, encamped for the night. Our supper was “bar meat” straight.
My moccasins were now almost worn out, and the thorns, from the ever poisonous cactus had pierced them like a sieve, until my feet were one burning sore. The main question here discussed, was how to reach camp, and what we should do to continue our dreary march without leaving our valuable cargo of meat behind. So I cut the neck off the bear skin and made moccasins which served us until we got into camp, where, you may depend on it, we were received with exclamations of great joy.
After feasting on bear meat to our heart’s content, we traveled on down the stream (Salt River) about three days, when Cambridge Green and James Anderson had a dispute, about setting their traps. Each one claiming that the other had set his trap on pre-empted ground. Anderson had caught a beaver and brought it into camp. When Green complained to Capt. Young, that Anderson had infringed on forbidden ground, and caught his beaver, Captain Young said, “what makes you let him do it — if I could not prevent him any other way, I would shoot him.” Green never replied to this foolish remark, spoken in levity, but buckled on his pistol and picked up his rifle. He then stepped to a large pine tree, and shot Anderson, killing him, as he was standing by our camp fire, smoking his pipe.
On being shot, Anderson raised his head and discovered Green coming out from behind the pine tree, with a pistol in his hand, an then he exclaimed, “You d—d rascal,” at the same time starting for him, but after making two or three steps, he fell dead. We buried him under the tree where he fell. This was one of the most unpleasant incidents of our long and tedious expedition, so dangerous to life and limb.
We continued on down the Jila river until we came near the junction of the San Carlos. While in the canyon, Capt. Young decided to send eleven men to trap through the canyon. This proved a perilous expedition. The Indians pursued us day and night, shooting at us, stealing our traps, and stealing or shooting our mules. One night, James Green being on guard, Santiago Cordero, a New Mexican from Taos, came passing by him in the dark. Green shot and killed Cordero dead. Green was much mortified at this heart rendering event, and wept like a child.
We were twelve days getting through this horrid canyon. When we joined our company, expecting to get a good night’s sleep. But at 11 o’clock I was called on guard, and the camp aroused by the thrilling alarm of “Indians.” We found that the savages had shot several of our mules. I had not been on guard but a short time when I discovered an Indian. I shot and wounded him, he left his rabbit skin robe, bow and arrows and a string of beads where he fell. The next morning we found that the Indians had all left for parts unknown.
The next evening, late, Isaac Williams, Jas. Green, Cambridge Green and myself, while out on a scout, discovered about one hundred Apache Indians, and gave battle, fighting them for one hour and-a-half, successfully. When the balance of the company very opportunely came to our assistance. We made a charge on the Indians, but they had all previously fled but three or four, who were wounded, and consequently over taken and killed.
The next morning, on inspecting the battle-ground, it was found that our little band of four men, had killed fourteen Indians, and that many more had been carried off or escaped, badly wounded. This was the last time the Apaches visited us or gave our party any trouble.
In two days march we reached the Pimos village where we were received with friendship and hospitality, and entertained during our stay. After laying in an ample supply of pemmican (dried neat and fat), pinole and frijetes, we continued down the Jila, in our vocation of trapping for beaver, until we finally reached tide-water below the junction with the Colorado.
At this point we discovered the ruins of an old Mission, where we camped for several days. This was about the 1st of January, 1832. Now, we had been out of meat for several days, and were compelled to kill our horses and mules, to keep from starving, as we had no other resource. I think we killed and devoured twenty-three head of horses while in camp.
After being thoroughly rested, we crossed the Rio Colorado, where thirteen men out of thirty-six concluded to proceed across the desert, direct to California. We started early and after three day’s march, traveling over sand, and suffering untold privations from hunger, thirst and thorns, we arrived safely where water was to be had, and all hands were happy again. We killed a horse and this supplied us with food to travel two days more, when we reached California, where we found large herds of cattle.
To our eyes this was a glorious feast, but not so much as it was to our appetites. We had just crossed to continent, suffering worse than torture, from savages, hunger and thirst, heat and cold, want of rest and clothing, crossing mountains and deserts, traveling without a road or any friendly device or trail to direct our way, and worn out with care and ceaseless vigilance in trapping game and avoiding savage tribes of Indians. You may well believe we were grateful for our deliverance, and felt glad to once more meet with even the semblance of civilization.
On our arrival at the Pueblo de Los Angeles, we delivered the homicide, Green to the authorities, where he was kept in prison over a year, when he made good his escape and joined the Apache Indians, as I was informed some time afterwards.
Now I found myself in California, in a strange land, and among strangers speaking a different language, with only about $130 in my pocket. My purpose, in the first place for coming to the sea-coast of California, was to hunt and kill sea-otter, the skins of which were then worth from $25 to $45 each, in Los Angeles and in China, and $100 in the city of Mexico. On my arrival to Santa Barbara, I purchased a whale-boat and made a short trip up the coast, but had bad luck, only securing one otter-skin.
I then fitted out again and went over to the Islands of San Miguel and Santa Rosa, where I spent about three months, under a license from Don Roberto Pedro, with the understanding that I was to furnish the boat while he procured the license, and that the provisions and out-fit was to be supplied, mutually between us, each providing an equal share. The hunters were to have one-half of what they killed, as restitution. When we commenced the enterprise, Don Roberto had no money, so I furnished the entire out-fit, and paid all expenses incurred. On my return, I had about twenty-four otter-skins which were worth $720, and the “Don” claimed one-half of the skins free of expense. To this unjust claim I would not agree, so he sued and bought me before his compadre, Don Anastaelo Carrillo, where he got judgement for the skins that I had brought in, and took possession of them. Then in a moment, I left five months time all my valuable furs, the $120 I had advanced, and worst of all my license, which had been rescinded; all was gone.
I dare not hunt without a license, and my boat was of no further use to me unless I hunted sea-otter, so I abandoned it and the business, and started up the coast toward San Luis Obispo. After arriving at the mission of San Luis, I made a contract with Padre Luis Taquedo to hunt for the mission, on shares, half-and-half. The Padre to furnish everything belonging to the out-fit, three Indians and one canoe, included. Thus I commenced again without a dollar to back the new venture.
I hunted with much success, until November, when I had secured about $2,000 worth of otter-skins. By this time my rifle had got out of order and I concluded to go to Monterey, in order to get it repaired, which I did, and passed the winter there, boarding with George Kinlock till spring, when I started down the coast with a Mr. McIntosh. During the trip, I killed eighteen otter and McIntosh one, and the profits equally divided between us.
The next fall I entered into a contract with Capt. John B. B. Cooper, of Monterey, to take 217 brood mares and convey them to his ranch on the coast, “Big Sur,” and go into a general stock-raising business. It was designed to raise mules, in the main, and I commenced business in October, 1833, and continued in until the fall of ‘35, when finding it unprofitable, abandoned the stock business and opened a distillery on the Zayante, near Santa Cruz.


[Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 22, 1869]
As heretofore stated, in 1835, I commenced the business of distillery, in Zayante Valley, near Santa Cruz. I rented a portion of Don Joaquin Buelna’s farm — called the “Zayante,”— and created a small grist mill and distilling, in company with Ambrose Tomlinson, who afterwards sold out to Joseph L. Majors, and we continued the business, successfully, until 1840, when I purchased from Majors his interest in the business, and became sole owner of the concern.
In 1840, William Gardner and Isaac Graham had some difficulty. Juan B. Alvarado, then Governor of California, and Jose Castro, reported that Gardner had informed them that Isaac Graham was going to raise a band of Englishmen and Americans and murder every Mexican and Californian over seven years of age. Consequently the authorities ordered every Englishman and American to be imprisoned, which was done, with the exception of a few men of family who had great wealth and much influence. I was lucky enough to be a prisoner only three days, when I was released and set at liberty.
Not so with the others arrested, for fifty-two of them — twenty-six Americans and twenty-six Englishmen — were put on board of the Don Quixote, Capt. John Paty, (a noble man of God’s own make) and sent to Mexico. The prisoners were put down in the ship’s hold, manacled and shackled to a long bar of iron, fastened to the deck, when the ship sailed. In due time the escort arrived at San Blas, Mexico, from whence the prisoners were escorted to Tepic under a strong guard, where they remained over one year.
For a full description of this affair the reader is referred to’s book, extracts of which you have already published, giving full details of the whole matter. It will be seen that all the men taken away as prisoners, eventually returned and had their passage paid, except a few who from choice remained in Mexico.
During this time General Jose Castro was taken prisoner, and also sent to Mexico, where he remained, incarcerated, for two years, when he managed to escape. After regaining his liberty Gen. Castro returned to Monterey, where he was welcomed with much joy by his friends, especially by his family — his wife, Dona M. ... desta, received him with open arms. He was re-installed as Commander-in-Chief of the military forces in California. Under this new order of things the contemplated revolution occurred. I was then doing alternative business in Santa Cruz, merchandising, distilling liquors and running a grist mill. The business was paying, and all my affairs prosperous. The cupidity of the new officials was aroused, and all my property seized. The mill and distillery was stopped and my retail store taken possession of. Afterwards a judgement was obtained, in the name of Joseph L. Majors – who had been my former partner — which I sent to Washington, by Commodore Jones, but as yet have received no satisfaction and the claim has never been paid. The judgement I obtained was to draw $7 per day, as indemnity, until the property taken from me was restored, in as good order as was proven to be when confiscated. This claim now amounts to some $66,025, not including the first cost of the mill, which was about $3,000, nor the 6 per cent interest, per annum, justly due.
Thus, in a moment, my business was entirely destroyed, leaving me in debt several thousand dollars to the various merchant vessels trading on the coast. This disordered state of affairs prevented the collection of debts due me, and finding no settlement could be made, from want of inclination or means to pay, I determined to abandon the place and settle elsewhere.
It was my first intention to settle in Yerba Buena (now San Francisco) but through the counsel and advice of friends, I moved to Monterey, where I commenced a small business again. I was enabled to do this through the friendly aid of Captain John Paty. The business prospered, and enabled me to pay off old debts and make a comfortable living for myself and family. In the meantime, I had obtained a grant of land from the Government of Mexico, containing 26,700 acres, located on the Sacramento river, in what is now called Tehama county. On this ranch I had about 1,000 head of horned cattle and 200 head of horses. At the time of the gold discovery, which occurred in January, 1848, while digging a mill-race for Capt. Sutter, at Coloma, this property became valuable, and I concluded to go up and look after it without delay.
In the month of May, 1848, we started on the expedition. Our party consisted of R. A. Thomas, A. G. Tooms, Dr. McKee, James Meadows and Job F. Dye, with two Indian boys to take care of camp. In visiting the Sacramento thus early, it was it was our intention to look after our ranches, rodeo stock, mark and brand the increase and attend to other interests in that section.
We traveled without any incident worth relating until we arrived at a place between the Lone Tree and the Sycamore Slough, where a middle sized grizzly bear came up out of the tules, some two or three hundred yards ahead of us, making for the foothills. I was riding a fine black Canadian steed, suitable for the emergency. I made a bold rush, and soon overhauled the bear and shot him, but saw no effect. I then put the pistol in my holster, and with lariat in hand kept up the pursuit.

The first throw of the lariat, or lasso, looped him by the hind foot, which gave several falls to the now enraged monster, when A. G. Tooms came to my assistance, with his rifle, and shot the bear low down, through the brisket, which infuriated him much, and he was “on the fight,” and I found it quite difficult to keep the bear from catching my horse, by his sudden and adroit turns and motions. At length the girth of my saddle was loose, and I slackened the lariat when it came loose from the bear’s foot. Now A. G. Tooms thought it was his turn to throw the lasso over a bear. He started for bruin, full pitch, and threw the lariat over him, but as soon as it struck his back the bear suddenly turned, reared on his hind feet and caught Toom’s horse around the neck and held him as firm as if he had been in a vice. At this time I was dismounted, girting my saddle. When I saw that Toom’s life was in danger, I gave the cinch (girth) a pull and jumped into the saddle and made for the bear as fast as the horse could run. The now infuriated monster seeing me coming to the rescue, released his hold and started for me, but the horse was too well trained to be caught in close quarters. I then made an attempt to lasso him, but the tules being close by, bruin made his escape. The battle was a severe one in which both sides came off worsted, the bear receiving a pistol and rifle shot, and Toom’s horse lost a large piece of hide on the fore shoulder. After a few minutes consultation we continued on to Antelope Ranch.
On arrival at the ranch, it took some time to collect the scattered stock together and mark and brand the increase, but we finished in good style, in about two weeks. Now there was some excitement about the new discovery of gold, in the American river. We held a consultation and concluded to fit out a small party for the mines, the best that our scanty means would permit. The proprietors of this new speculation was A. G. Tooms, R. H. Thoms, Grandville Swift, Mr. Gibson, Wm. Moon, James Meadows and myself. We gathered all the old tools belonging to the farms that we thought would be of any account, for mining, and procured an old California ox-cart, and freighted it with tools, provisions and Indian baskets etc.
Our reserve consisted of forty-eight Indians who volunteered to go with us, and for subsistence supplies, we took fifty head of beef cattle and drove them before us to Feather river. We prospected and found gold sufficient to insure the belief that good mines existed on that stream, so we went up the stream and did not go to the American river as we first intended. The first location made was named “Monterey Bar,” afterwards changed to Long’s Bar.
We found the digging very rich, and with our meager means, crude mining tools, want of experience, and being destitute of all skill or knowledge in mining operations, we did very well, considering. The first forty-two day’s work was ended and a settlement made, when we divided $70,000 clear of all expenses, between seven partners — $10,000 to each man. This astonishing return was not a tithe of the gold that might have been saved, for had we been as experienced in working precious metals as the miners now are, we would have made near a million of dollars in the same time.
Notwithstanding the richness of the diggings, I left, intending to visit Monterey. On my way down I stopped at Sutter’s Fort. I sold out to Sam Brannan, in about twenty minutes, and received the money for them, and left with $12,000 in good clear gold dust. But, as yet, no one had the means of testing it to find out the real value of the dust or realize its worth in the bullion market of the world.
On my arrival in Monterey, I exhibited the proceeds of my mining adventure to General Riley, and gave a report of the mines and my operations, which he transmitted to Washington. This report created a great excitement over the world, and consequently a great rush was immediately made for California.
After a short delay and rest, I chartered a small schooner, called the Mary, built in the Sandwich Islands, of 56 tons burden and proceeded to Mazatlan, where I purchased a cargo of merchandise, such as serapes, rebosas, and other Mexican manufactured goods, such as usually worn along the coast. The venture was a success and the clear proceeds, $18,500.
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