California eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 127 pages of information about California.

CHAPTER VI.

  The journey delayed
  A walk to the camp
  A list of wants
  Captain Sutter’s account of his first settlement in California
  How he served the Indians, and how he civilised them
  Breakfast
  Captain Sutter’s wife and daughter
  Ridiculous stories about the discovery of the goldmines
  Joe Smith’s prophecy
  An Indian ghost
  Something about a ship-load of rifles.

May 30th.—­To my great disappointment, our journey was not resumed to-day.  As I had expected, Malcolm had found there was no chance of getting the farrier’s assistance yesterday, and he came to me in the evening to inform me that he and the rest were going into camp for the night.  Bradley and myself found an ample supper prepared for us; and, after doing due justice to the eatables, and dressing Bradley’s arm, I shortened the night a couple of hours by jotting down the events of the day.

This morning I rose early and walked to the camp, which I found, about half a mile off, under some oaks in a piece of pasture land on the Captain’s farm.  I had some difficulty in finding it out, for there were at least fifteen or twenty tents of one kind or another in the “bottom.”  The party were all roused, and breakfast was preparing under Don Luis’s superintendence.  It was the general opinion that we must buy two extra horses to carry our breadstuffs, etc.  Malcolm reported that there were a variety of articles we were still in want of; namely, tin drinking-cups, some buckets for water, with forks, and other small articles.  He recommended that a couple more axes and a strong saw be bought at Brannan’s, together with hammers, nails, etc., and some of the Indian baskets which seem to be so common about here.

On my return to the Fort, I fell in with the Captain, rigged out in a military undress uniform.  I chatted with him for half an hour about his farm, etc.  He told me that he was the first white man who settled in this part of the country; that some ten years ago, when the Mexican government was full of colonization schemes, the object of which was to break up the Missions, and to introduce a population antagonistic to the Californians, he received a grant of land, sixty miles one way and twelve another, about sixteen or seventeen hundred acres of which he had now brought under cultivation.  “When I came here,” said the Captain, “I knew the country and the Indians well.  Eight years ago these fields were overgrown with long rank grass, with here and there an oak or pine sprouting out from the midst.  You can see what they are now.  As to the Indians, they gave me a little more trouble.  I can boast of fourteen pieces of cannon, though one has little occasion for them now, except to fire a few salutes on days of rejoicing.  Well! most of these guns came from Ross within the last four years; but when I first arrived here, I

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California from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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