The season of placer mining in David Drew’s life was coming to a close by September 1856. He was barely making enough money to satisfy debts and sustain life.
His days of living exclusively along the rivers in the Stanislaus were numbered although it would be years before he fully abandoned his quest for gold. As expected, his diary entries for September 1856 are brief, hurried entries. The spelling is frequently ‘off’ a little. His enthusiasm for this lifestyle was definitely waning.
TUESDAY 2, — Commenced striping on our out side piece. My horse fell off the bank to night and came pretty near brakeing her neck.
WEDNESDAY 3, — Kate is pretty lame this morning.
Kate, of course, is Drew’s horse.
THURSDAY 4, — Set up sluice and got ready for washing.
FRIDAY 5, — Commenced washing this morning. Jackee Stevens paid us a visite to day.
SATURDAY 6, — Went a guning this afternoon but did not see any game.
SUNDAY 7, — Staid at home to day for the first Sunday in a long time.
MONDAY 8, — Our ground has not pay very well. Only got eleven dolars in a day and half.
TUESDAY 9, — Kates shoulder is a getting along first rate.
WEDNESDAY 10, — Paned out to day and got eleven dolars in three days.
THURSDAY 11, — Have got tired of mineing. Think that I shall sell out the first chance and try something else.
The entries have been getting more laconic and every now and then David skips an entry. He is discouraged, for the claim seems to be playing out, the speculations are not doing well, and after four years of hard mining, the grass looks greener elsewhere. But he had the mining fever in his blood, and he continued mining, off and on, for another fifteen or twenty years along the Stanislaus or close by.
FRIDAY 12, — Paned out again to day, and come to the conclusion that it will hardly pay to work.
SATURDAY 13, — Len and George went up the hill this afternoon.
SUNDAY 14, — Stayed at home to day.
MONDAY 15, — Cut wood a little while this morning and then went up the hill and hauled some hay down.
TUESDAY 16, — Finished hauling down our hay and then went sawing wood.
WEDNESDAY 17, — Went at work a triping off another pit to day.
THURSDAY 18, — Commenced washing this morning.
FRIDAY 19, — Our dirt does not look very rich.
SATURDAY 20, — Washed out to day and got ten dolars for three days washing.
SUNDAY 21, — Went up to Columbia to day.
MONDAY 22, — Went up on Shaws flat this forenoon.
TUESDAY 23, — Went up to French Camp to find some poles too put up our floom with.
French Camp was on the South Fork about four miles above Pine Log Crossing.
WEDNESDAY 24, — Commenced washing an old hole.
THURSDAY 25, — Finished washing. Was not very well this forenoon and did not work.
FRIDAY 26, — Done nothing.
SUNDAY 28, — Stoped up in Columbia last night. Took a ride down on the Flat this forenoon.
MONDAY 29, — Commenced putting up our fluming.
TUESDAY 30, — Len went up the hill this forenoon to get our level fixed.