The Adventures of a Forty-niner eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 121 pages of information about The Adventures of a Forty-niner.
ago from the pen of the pioneers, but there has been no book published as a standard work for the present and future, and the participants in it are passing away, for it is forty-five years since they occurred.  California is three times larger in territory than the State of New York.  Its population before the discovery of gold, including Indians and all, was but a few thousand.  Cattle could be bought for $1 per head, and all the land they ranged upon thrown in the bargain for nothing.  They were killed for their hides, and the meat thrown away, as there was no one to eat it.


San Francisco bay, first discovered the 25th of October, 1769.  The first ship that ever entered the harbor was the San Carlos, June, 1775.  The mission of Dolores founded by the Jesuit Fathers in 1769.  Colonel Jonathan Stevenson arrived at California with one thousand men on the 7th of March, 1847.  The treaty of Hidalgo ceding California to the United States by Mexico, officially proclaimed by the president, July 4, 1848.  Gold first discovered by Marshall, January 9, 1848.  January, 1848, the whole white population of California was fourteen thousand, January, 1849, the population of San Francisco was two thousand.  The three most prominent publicmen at the time of my arrival in California were Colonel Freemont, who had conducted an expedition overland; Colonel Stevenson, who came by sea with one thousand men, appointed by William L. Marcy, who was secretary of war during the conflict with Mexico, from whom I had a letter of introduction as a family connection of Governor Marcy, similar to the following letter to Brigadier Major-General P.F.  Smith, which was not delivered: 

     ALBANY, June 24, 1849.

My Dear Sir—­I desire to present to your favorable notice, the bearer hereof, Dr. Daniel Knower.  He is on the eve of departing for California.  He is a family connection of mine, a gentleman of talents and respectability, and I commend him to your favorable notice.

     Yours truly,


     BRIG.-GEN.  P.F.  SMITH.

I soon found the colonel one of the warmest of friends.  Captain John A. Sutter, who was a captain in the Swiss Guards of Charles the Tenth of France, after the revolution of 1830 in that country, came to the United States, who some years previous had wandered across the country to Oregon, and the Russian Fur Company secured for him a large grant of land from Mexico in California, on which the city of Sacramento now stands, extending back from that city many miles to where the gold was first discovered.  He was having a raceway dug on the American river for the purpose of erecting a saw-mill, as there was no lumber in the country.  He had constructed a fort some miles back from the Sacramento river, where he made his home.  The object of the Russian Fur Company was to have a place where they could purchase grain, as there was none raised there at that time, and they had a contract with him, and that they were to send a vessel at such a time, and he was to settle up the country and cultivate it.  Sutter was the most social and generous of men.  The latch-string of his cabin was always on the outside, and all callers were welcome, and the hospitalities of the fort extended to all callers.

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The Adventures of a Forty-niner from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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