Sixteen Months at the Gold Diggings Daniel B. Woods

1975 Southern California Quarterly  
IT is almost inconceivable what an excitement was produced upon nations and individuals by the discovery, less than four years since, of gold among the mountains of Upper California. Tides of human life soon set in toward this one point; currents here met, whirling and contending with Sixteen months at the gold diggings. By Daniel B. Woods increasing force; and, where all was silent and calm before, was heard the roar, and seen the violence and agitation of
more » ... the maelstrom. The writer was for sixteen months employed in the gold mines, chiefly upon the American and Tuolumne Rivers and their tributaries. His reasons for compiling his notes and presenting them to the public may be briefly stated. It was the request of several friends that he would keep a journal of his mining life, exhibiting its lights and shades, its fortunes and misfortunes. This he did, jotting down from day to day the incidents as they occurred. Many mining companions, aware of this fact, requested him to prepare his journal for the press, that their friends might thus have a view of their circumstances and employments. Having so long been a miner, and acquainted with all his privations and sufferings; having experienced vi his elation at success and his depression at failure; having passed through the trying season of acclimation, and lain once beneath a lone oak, expecting, as he looked up to the stars shining clear above him, there to end his days; having rocked the gold-digger's cradle, wielded his pick and spade, messed and slept with miners, he is prepared to present a correct view of his subject for those who have friends at the mines. He considers that it will be proper to present incidents of travel on his journey to California, in connection with the more important object, both to afford a view of the dangers and difficulties of the earlier emigrants to this country, and also to maintain the unity of his plan. He hopes to make this little volume useful to those who are, or who expect to be, engaged in the arduous employments of mining. If any shall be encouraged to perseverance-especially if any young men who shall be thus thrown into circumstances where immorality and vice are so prevalent, and to which many give themselves up too easy victims, shall be put upon their guard, his best wishes will have been accomplished. He recalls, with sadness, the case of a merchant of education and refinement, who left a large circle of friends and a young family. With bright hopes he started for the gold placers. Disheartened by several failures, depressed at his separation from his family, he sought in the social cup to forget his sorrows and disappointments. Within three months Sixteen months at the gold diggings. By Daniel B. Woods from the time he arrived in the country he became a subject of mania a potu, and died vii in the streets of San Francisco. The path of vice in California lies not through the ordinary influences of life; it leads not, as elsewhere, through a long course. It lies rather on an inclined plane, and speedily runs down into despair and ruin.
doi:10.2307/41170580 fatcat:f7br7k6sqfcbxgvfrgb4xpjhzu