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Guide to the Tuolumne County Water Company Records
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Collection Overview
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The Tuolumne County Water Company (TCWC) Records consist of approximately 10.8 cubic feet of materials dating between 1853-1909 and document all aspects of the TCWC ’s business, with particular emphasis on the company’s financial records. The water company was a large operation and an intricate part of the economic and social life of the area for many years and the documents reflect significant aspects of mining life. Time and wage books and scrip receipts indicate the miners’ dependence on the company; purchase invoices and correspondence detail the costs of constructing the massive flumes and ditches, and shares and stock receipts indicate the relative wealth among the company founders. Other documents indicate the location of specific mines, the ethnic constitution of the townspeople, and the operations of other local businesses. Some correspondence details the problems of the water system itself and the “water war” which engulfed the area and its people with violence and mistrust. The bulk of the collection consists of the financial records of the company, including account books, water receipts for water purchases, and checks and payroll documents.
Emigrants who rushed to California after the discovery of gold in 1848 discovered an environment whose climate and geography were sharply different from home. The California climate, with its periods of wet and dry, drought and flood emphasized the importance of resource management, espcially water management. As well as its domestic importance, large quantities of water were essential to large scale mining operations and the control of water became one of the biggest and most complex struggles facing the settlers and argonauts.
10.8 cubic feet (17 boxes)
Property rights reside with the California State Parks. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact California State Parks, Columbia State Historic Park.
The collection is open for research by appointment only. Appointments may be made by calling (209)532-0150.