May 1856, did not produce much financial reward for David Lewis Drew and his partners in the Calaveras, California gold fields. He and his partners were still hoping that their investment in the Know Nothing Tunnel mine would produce some revenue, but it seemed to be a money pit rather than a money producer. They again met with the other partners in the venture in hope of hearing good news. Apparently, that wasn’t to be as David noted in his diary that the meeting was laid over to the June.
David again mentions the names of many fellow miners who were from the Plymouth area of Massachusetts. Given the fact that all of their families had lived around Plymouth for hundreds of years, all were related to each other. Some were first and many others were second cousins.
Noting the number of visitors to David’s tent, it can be inferred that none of the miners were doing well working their claims. When times were good, they were too busy working their claims to spend much time visiting others. David noted that on May 15th, his partner Len Covington, had gone to Shaw’s Flat to try and help Bill find a job. Bill left again the next day to visit other place hoping to find employment with a Mr. Jarvis.
With little entertainment in the evening hours, David read everything he could find. His first entry for the month notes that he finished reading the New Testament for the second time that night, followed by an entry the next day stating that he had started to read it yet again.
THURSDAY 1, — Wrote to Charles Wadsworth to day. Finished the New Testament the for the second time to night.
FRIDAY 2, — Commenced the New Testament again to night. A couple of spouts tumbled down last night.
SATURDAY 3, — Feels kind of winterish to night and looks like a storm. Took out $182.53 this week.
Frederick A. Drew was a distant cousin of David’s. We suspect that he held Frederick in particular esteem. (Frederick Augustus Drew married Emilie Gardner and was David’s second cousin in Plymouth). Harry was David’s brother, Harrison Warren Drew.
Haskins we have met before. Gorge Tabor filed a claim in `53, and also was reported as a juror at Sonora in `65. Elisha Holbrooks, from Massachusetts, was listed at Springfield, and was listed in the Sonora Herald for an uncalled for letter on October 23, 1852. Nathan Churchill, in addition to being an incorporator of the New York company, also served in the same capacity in the Stanislaus and Bay State Tunnel Companies.
TUESDAY 6, – Nathan Churchill was down here to day to see our bar claime having a notion to buy it.
WEDNESDAY 7, — White went up on the Flat to day.
THURSDAY 8, — Getting to be pretty warm weather again.
FRIDAY 9, — We had a smash up to day a stump came down while we were at diner and broke one spar and one sauce box and done other damage.
A spar was a mast or a boom, rigged up with ropes, for moving sluice boxes or boulders or other heavy objects.
SATURDAY 10, — Went up this morning to cut another spar got one cut and part way down hill when it ran against a rock and broke in to in the middle.
SUNDAY 11, — Went over to Valeceto to day to see the country and have a ride.
MONDAY 12, — got out another spar to day and got it down to the river. Put another crossing across the river to night.
TUESDAY 13, — Got our spar up the river and set our sluices this forenoon. This afternoon set up a couple of spots that came down last night.
WEDNESDAY 14, — Commenced washing again. William Stephens came down here to see us to night.
THURSDAY 15, — Len went up on the flat to day to try and get a job for Bill.
FRIDAY 16, — Bill went up on the ranch this (morning) to try and get a job with Jarvis.
SATURDAY 17, — Was sick to day and did not work. Took out $75.35 this week.
SUNDAY 18, — Went up on the Flat to day.
MONDAY 19, — Had quite a tempest this afternoon. the heaviest thunder that I have heard in this Country.
James King of William was the very popular editor of the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin form October, `55 to May 14th, 1856, when he was shot by a corrupt politician, James P. Casey. He died seven days later, and was avenged shortly thereafter by the Vigilante Committee. One of the reasons for the excitement over the King case up in Tuolumne County was that the previous year King’s bank had failed due to some very irregular financial arrangements made by the cashier in the Sonora branch. The local citizens raised $31,500 for the benefit of the widow and children of King, as reported in the Sonora Union Democrat, August 15, 1856.
WEDNESDAY 21, — Come back on the river this afternoon and got a ducking coming down.
THURSDAY 22, — Showery all day to day.
FRIDAY 23, — Got papers to night No letters for me this mail guess that they have dried up writeing.
SATURDAY 24, — Pleasant weather to day the first that we have had this week. Took out $80.25 this week.
MONDAY 26, — Tax colector came along to day to colect the pole tax. The tax was three dollars.
This was the principal tax in those days, and was apportioned between the county and state.
TUESDAY 27, –Pretty warm to day It makes the sweat start.
WEDNESDAY 28, — Len went up to Columbia at noon to get the papers.
THURSDAY 29, — Shifted sluice this forenoon.
FRIDAY 30, — The boys below us had a cave in to day and filled there hole full Took out $116.20 this week.