Dear Sir, I did not get yours of yesterday until 11/2 o’clock P.M. Consequently, you will not hear from me until tomorrow morning unless I should get a chance to send this to you this evening. The reason that I did not get it is this – The canal broke about one mile below this place about 8 o’clock last night. Consequently, I was not here when the stage came in and Mr. Baldwin gave you letter to Woods and he did not give it to me until this afternoon.
1860 Census data confirms the prominence of Chinese immigrants along the North Fork Ditch in Placer County. U. S. born residents were a minority.
David, the gentleman Ann wrote had been shot in the back, did make it to California. David Beach was also a cousin of Amos Catlin and several people wrote to Amos about news of David’s gunshot injury. Of the other men listed in the letter to Amos Catlin, Judge Hastings was most likely Serranus Clinton Hastings. Judge Hastings lived and practice law in Iowa. He found his way to California and was appointed to the California Supreme Court and later won the election to become the state’s Attorney General.
If you think you can escape from my hands after such dealings, you are mistaken. For by the God who made me, I will have satisfaction, which if it does not shake your pocket will shake your damn cowardly nerves.
The two letters differ in tone and substance. However, they each give a glimpse of the 7-month ocean voyage around Cape Horn, South America. Amos Catlin’s decision to join the Gold Rush seemed somewhat out of character for a 26-year-old man who had spent his adult life studying and then practicing law in New York. These letters exhibit his detailed observations that would be reflected in letters Amos wrote later while living in California.
Even though the miners paid for the water on a daily basis, it was assumed that the mining day was 10 hours long, after which the water was shut down. If a miner continued using water during the night, it was understood they were trying to steal extra water. During his tenure as superintendent, Amos estimated the North Fork Ditch was carrying 2200 to 2300 inches of water as measured under 6 inches of head pressure.
The description within the receipt also provided information on the wage rate. For white laborers, the daily rate was $2.50. Chinese labor was paid at $1.50 per man per day. I created a spreadsheet to compare the Chinese labor costs to that of white labor employed by the American River Water and Mining Company. Where the number of men and daily rate was not specifically mentioned, I imputed the daily rate by the total dollar amount. For example, Ah Sune was paid $13.50 for nine days work on cleaning out the Fox’s Ravine ditch in the Rose Springs district. Nine days times $1.50 per day comes out to $13.50.
“Amos P. Catlin, The Whig Who Put Sacramento On The Map,” chronicles Amos’ life from his arrival in California in 1849 to his death in 1900 in Sacramento. Particular attention is paid to Amos’ work on organizing and building the Natoma water ditch in the early 1850s. It was during the ditch construction that Amos was elected to the California Senate. He wrote the bill to relocate the state’s capital to Sacramento. However, Amos did not consider the water projects or the state capital his most significant accomplishments in life.
A dam site at Salmon Falls was too low in elevation to allow for the ditch to exit the river canyon between Red Bank and Mormon Island. Consequently, the dam site was moved to Rocky Bar which had an elevation of approximately 450 feet. With a small dam across the river, the headwaters for the canal would be elevated to 465 feet. The minimal slope of the ditch line would put the water canal at between 390 to 395 feet of elevation at the saddle.
By 1849, because of the Gold Rush, Sacramento had become a magnet for immigrants seeking their fortune in the gold fields. The Sacramento River was the primary conduit for passage from San Francisco. The importance of the river corridor prompted an 1850 hydrographic expedition to map the Sacramento River and associated sloughs, along with the […]