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Gold rush diary, 1849-1853
MANUSCRIPT SMCII Box 13 Folders 5-6
Collection Overview


Gold rush diary, 1849-1853
Hosea Dudley gold rush diary, 1849-1853


Dudley, Hosea, 1822-1897, creator


McLean, George.


Holograph diary ([34] p.), unbound and incomplete; 7 leaves of typed excerpts; photocopies of the ship's passenger list and biographical material, including a brief biographical sketch written by Dudley's great-grandson, George McLean; photograph identified as the Dudley store in Jacksonville.
Dudley begins his diary on Feb. 2, 1849, aboard the ship Pharsalia which had departed Boston for San Francisco a few days before with 160 passengers and crew. Much of the diary describes the voyage and daily life aboard ship. "It ceased raining about sunrise and the decks being flooded with fresh water the scuppers having been stoped, all turned out and commenced washing, and it was quite laughable to see so many men all turned washerwomen." In contrast, on holidays such as Washington's Birthday and the 4th of July the passengers mount entertainments including music, dramatics, dancing, and speeches by Robert Pierpont, Mr. Darby, Lt. Crowningshield and others.
There are gentle nature encounters: "We had some viseters from the coast of South American in the shape of butterflies some of which wer caught, rather a long flight for such an insect as we were 5 or 600 miles from land." But the several severe storms they encounter resulting in damage to the ship which further delays progress lead Dudley to quote Byron "Mans control stops with the shore." By July 20th he is most disheartened: "My patience is getting nearly exhausted and I almost begin to think that we ar doomed to the fate of the flying Dutchman. But avaunt thou gost of impatience."
The next day they are in sight of land and on July 23rd there is Dudley's first impression of San Francisco: "Today at one o'clock we entered the "Golden Gate" of the bay of San Francisco and anchored in the harbor front of the town which presents an appearance anything but inviting. The bay is magnificent with its islands on some of which wer thousands of sea birds." His description of the river journey to Stockton follows soon after: "For miles each side of the river the country is perfectly level covered with rushes, or as they are called here (tooleys) some of which measure 15 or 20 feet in length and are 1 ư in. in diameter in the wet season. This land is all overflowed with water. On the hills bordering the bays as we came up we saw numerous herds of cattle feeding among the wild oats with which the hills were white."
The diary continues with an description of mining activity at Sullivan's Diggings near the Tuolumne River: "The ground has been completely dug up some of it two or three times. A portion is wet and requires pumps to keep the water out of the holes while they work them. After digging fifteen or twenty feet deep they come to slated rock on the top of which and in the crivices is found the gold in small lumps from one oz downwards and having the appearance of having been melted. But few are fortunate enough to strike uppon it in digging." Dudley concludes with two long passages summarizing his adaptation to California during 1850 and 1853; the final entry is incomplete.


1849 (issued)


Folder 5: Diary. -- Folder 6: Typescript, photocopies, photograph.


Dudley, Hosea -- 1822-1897 -- Diaries
Voyages to the Pacific coast
Gold miners -- California -- Jacksonville -- Diaries
Pioneers -- California -- Diaries
California -- Gold discoveries
Frontier and pioneer life -- California -- Jacksonville
Gold mines and mining -- California -- Jacksonville
Jacksonville (Calif.) -- History
Jacksonville (Calif.) -- Photographs


Hosea Dudley was born on Aug. 19, 1822 near Waterford, Maine, where he spent his youth, later relocating to Lawrence, Mass., to pursue business interests. In 1849 he sailed for California and spent a brief time mining at Sullivan's Diggings (Tuolumne County) and Mariposa Diggings (finding there a nugget weighing over 6 oz). In 1850 he opened a store in partnership with Perry Gardner and George B. Keyes in Jacksonville. There he met and married Fannie Chase in 1854; they had four children: Julia, Clara, Walter and Alice. In 1856 the Dudleys moved to Coulterville where Hosea engaged in the lumber business and ran a hotel for travelers en route to Yosemite. He died in Coulterville on Aug. 24, 1897.
Hosea Dudley gold rush diary, 1849-1853
Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.



Physical Description:

2 folders (ca. 16 items) : ill.




MANUSCRIPT SMCII Box 13 Folders 5-6



Copyright Note:

Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.