How the West Was Won – Go East Young Man?

August 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

An article within a  National Intelligencer from January 18, 1849 instantly expanded my perspective on the California Gold Rush of 1848-1851. Heretofore I had only viewed the rush traffic flowing in a single direction. Apparently, as revealed in the article shown below, this was limited thinking. In retrospect, I wonder how many would have wished they had stayed and purchased beach-front property? Note: The Sandwich Islands mentioned are what is now known as the Hawaiian Islands.California Gold Rush

Just another reason not to smoke…

May 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

This advertisement for the “Beauty” Bower cigar, found in the Daily Free Press, June 3, 1881, from Bodie, California doesn’t seem to hold true to its name. If this is what the smokers looked like “after”, I’d hate to see the “before”. I wonder if 19th century travelers to the region where confronted with signs stating, “Beware of non-smokers!”.

Galt, California, among our Old West titles…

March 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We have many issues of the “Weekly Galt Gazette“, California, in our Old West inventory, but perhaps few of our collectors know this city–current population of some 23,000, in Sacramento County–had its start in the California Gold Rush.

In 1850, a group of farmers settled around the banks of a small stream, Dry Creek, close to Galt. Their plans were to grow beef and dairy products. In the year 1869, the town of Galt was laid out by the Western Pacific Railroad Company. The name Galt was given at the request of John McFarland, a local rancher, in honor of his home town in Canada. It was previously called Dry Creek Township after the stream by which they settled. By 1869, the community consisted of blacksmiths, dairymen and cattle ranchers. Raising cattle was the main occupation.

Galt was built almost entirely of wooden structures making fires the biggest problem for the town. However, many of the old original homes are still standing, in excellent preservation, around town.

In 1880, Galt had two general merchandise stores, one variety store, one hotel, one harness shop, two blacksmith shops, two wagon and carriage manufacture and repair shops, one wood yard, one livery stable, two barber shops, two shoe stores, two saloons, one meat market, one barely mill, Wells Fargo & Co.’s Express Office with three physicians and one attorney-at-law in town.

By the turn of the century, cattle raising and dairying gradually decreased and agriculture took over. The principal grain was wheat.

(credit: City of Galt)

A witty five year-old…

May 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

This item appeared n the “Santa Cruz Sentinel“, California, on April 18, 1871:

California’s first newspaper…

November 9, 2009 by · 5 Comments 

CalifornianFor much of the information below we credit John Oswald’s work “Printing In The Americas”.

Printing in California began in 1825 when it was under Mexican rule, being not much more than engraved wood blocks used to make seal impressions. Some years later in 1833 with a new governor for the province an announcement of his arrival in California was issued, being the oldest known California imprint.

As for newspapers, the very first published in California was on August 15, 1846 with the beginning of the “Californian” in the city of Monterey, just five weeks after the United States flag has been raised over the city and California was proclaimed a part of the United States. The newspaper was published by Rev. Walter Colton, a champlain of the U.S. frigate ‘Congress” docked at Monterey and a one time editor of the Philadelphia “North American“, and Robert Semple. On April 24, 1847 Semple became the sole proprietor of the “Californian” and two weeks later he moved it to San Francisco.

The second newspaper in California was published as a venture of the Mormons. They created the “California Star“, the first regular number of which appeared January 9, 1847.  On November 18, 1848 the Californian” and the “Star” merged, the name becoming the “Alta California“.

Since the population of California was relatively small before the gold rush of 1849 newspapers from this decade are exceedingly difficult to find. They become much more numerous from 1850 onwards, but any title from the 1846-1849 period would be considered a terrific find by any collector.

Not written by the California Tourism bureau…

November 7, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The piece shown appeared in the “National Intelligencer” newspaper of Washington, D.C., December 25, 1847, although as noted it was reprinted from the “Detroit Daily Advertiser“.  Some curious comments on California.


Competition isn’t always friendly…

July 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

competiton_unfriendlyThe “Amador Dispatch” newspaper from Jackson, California—small mining town in the northern part of the state—has two related items in its April 8, 1882 issue. The first is a report from the neighboring “Plymouth Reporter” newspaper concerning a pen knife which was found noting the owner could have it by proving ownership & by paying for the newspaper notice. The other is an editorial note from the competing “Dispatch” which includes: “…why in thunder don’t you give it up to her without putting her to the trouble of proving property, and charging her for such a small notice. We hate to see such petty avariciousness on the part of a high toned editor.”

I guess competing newspapers were not always friendly towards one another.