While tales of fabulous wealth are the stuff of legend, the pioneer miners of California confronted big obstacles and most barely made sufficient to eat, not to mention get rich. The climate throughout some instances of the 12 months was nice and conductive to their mining and prospecting, however different instances it was bitter and inclement. To eat, they needed to work in the rain and chilly. The winter of 1852-53, was maybe the roughest time ever seen to that point in California. The lengthy spell of rain resulting in excessive water in the rivers and streams obligingly preceded the transportation of provisions from the cities, and there was a lot need, though no precise instances of hunger. Many males lived for weeks on boiled barley. Beans, with out even a ham-bone to season them, furnished, in some instances, the solely meals out there to the gold miners for weeks. At one camp, a pork rind was borrowed from one home to a different, to grease the frying-pan for slap-jacks (pancakes). A story of private expertise of one miner who lived on the south department of Dry Creek, Amador County, in 1852, will give an concept of the issues of that 12 months:
"It had been raining for about six weeks, and our declare had been 4 toes beneath water for a month. There had been no gulches there that may pay, and we had been ready for the rain to settle till each bit of provision of any description Was gone, in addition to cash or mud. Something needed to be completed, even when the rain was coming down in torrents. There had been 4 of us, one Yankee, two younger married males from Illinois, and a person who had served in the United States military in the Seminole struggle, and .Also as a volunteer in the Mexican struggle. We shouldered our picks, shovels, and rockers, and began up in the direction of Indian gulch.After going a brief distance, one of the miners in our group who Had come from Illinois acquired to considering of his younger spouse, and the pleasures of house in contrast with this nation, and, by his emotions, burst right into a blubber of despair, and began on the run for the cabin, the place he was discovered at Night hovering over the chilly ashes of the fire-place, the fireplace completely extinguishing Hed by his floods of tears.
At the head of Indian gulch we discovered some paying dust. We went to work, and by dint of floor sluicing, rocking and panning, about 4 o'clock we had, in all probability, an oz of gold mud. With this I began to Fiddletown to purchase a supper for the boys. "
Now at a value of almost $ 1000 per ounce, an oz of gold mud in the 12 months 2009 will purchase many months price of fundamental meals and provisions for a person, however in these days gold was price solely 20 per ounce. With the prevailing gold rush costs of meals in 1852 (flour at 100 per barrel, and meat seventy-five cents per pound), it was not a lot. Our miner continued his story:
"After standing and considering awhile, I remarked that I believed the rain would maintain up shortly, in order that provisions would get cheaper; consider that I’d purchase however a small amount to-night, and so on. Mr. Wingo, the gentlemanly dealer, did Not appear to note my embarrassment, however politely bought me the little dab of flour and a bit of meat, which went down into the nook of the sack out of sight. I rushed off for the cabin, darkness coming shortly on, and the rain Still falling.
The creeks had been now close to waist deep, however I actually acquired by way of all of them till I acquired to Dry creek. The go surfing which I crossed in the morning was gone, and the water was working excessive over the banks. Two or 300 yards away was the cabin, and I knew, by the brilliant mild shining by way of the cracks of the door, massive fireplace had been constructed to prepare dinner our suppers, out of the proceedings of our day's work, and to dry Our garments, soaked by twelve hours' rain. A council of struggle was known as, and all out there data relating to roads, bridges, and ferries, known as for. The creek was nowhere fordable; That proposal was dismissed of immediately. One witness, or member of the council, had an vague recollection of having seen a tree throughout the creek a mile or two beneath, some days since, however couldn’t vouch for its being there at current. This being the solely data attainable, the commander ordered a change of base, to the potential bridge. Down the creek, in utter darkness, over rocks and bushhes, stumbling and falling, and after an hour's exhausting work, the bridge was discovered. It was a cedar tree, the butt resting on the stump, the massive high reaching to the reverse shore, and the center sagged down in order that the water was working, generally, two toes deep over the trunk, and threatening each second to comb the Tree off its moorings; For, standing on its higher finish, I might really feel it swaying to the motion of the water. But the submerged half had limbs standing up out of the stream, and a cost in drive throughout the bridge was ordered, I with this precaution, 'My boy, when you go overboard, the boys will go with out their suppers.' The reverse financial institution was gained in security, by feeling the means and holding to the limbs; And, an hour later, some bread and fried pork, and a roaring fireplace, introduced us to a cushty situation, andave us the spirit to giggle in any respect our troubles. "
Such had been the struggles and main difficulties of life in the California gold camps in the early days.