Posts Tagged ‘Mining Town’

Placerville: Miners, Bankers, and Runaway Hogs

April 15, 2010

Miners’ Meeting.

At a meeting of the miners of Smith’s Flat, on the evening of September 21st, 1854, E. Gage, Esq., was called to the chair, and T.M. White appointed secretary, and the following laws for the government of claims in Smith’s Flat District, were unanimously adopted.

Mining Laws of Smith’s Flat.

1. The boundaries of Smith’s Flat Mining District shall be as follows, viz:

Beginning at the south east corner of Negro Hill District, thence east until it strikes where the road running through Smith’s Ranch intersects the emigrant road East; thence south until it strikes the Coon Hollow ditch; thence west, along said ditch, until it strikes Spanish Hill District; thence north to the south line of Negro Hill District; thence east on said line to the place of beginning.

2. The size of mining claims shall be 50 by 100 yds.

3. Each miner may hold two claims — one by location and one by purchase, or both by purchase.

4. All claims must be recorded by a Recorder duly elected; and he shall receive one dollar for recording each claim. He shall set a permanent stake at each corner of each claim, and put a written notice on each, giving the name or names of the party or parties, having such claims recorded, with the number of the claim and time of recording, and shall file a duplicate of such notice in a book kept for the purpose. It shall be his duty, also, to record all claims that he may be requested to.

5. No claim shall be forfeited by not being worked between the first day of July and the first day of December; provided the owner of any claim shall notify the Recorder of his intention to work said claim before he leaves it.

6. Any person having a claim shall forfeit it, by neglecting to work it one whole day in every seven, between the 1st of December and the first of July following.

7. Any person having two claims may hold both, by working either, as above mentioned.

8. Any difficulty that may arise relative to mining interests, shall be referred to a jury of five miners; — four of them to be chosen by the parties, and the fifth by these four.

9. Any person having a claim that requires a tail race, shall have the privilege of cutting it through the claims adjoining it below, (provided, said cutting shall not interfere with the working of the same,) until he has obtained sufficient fall for all reasonable mining purposes. But he shall in no case permit his tailings to accumulate on the claims below, to the detriment of the working of said claims.

Hill Claims.

1. A tunnel claim shall be 150 feet front, and run to the centre of the hill.

2. A claim must be worked within ten days from the time at which it is taken up, and as often as one day in each week thereafter.

3. Two or more holding claims, may form a company to work any one of them, without being bound to work each of them.

4. Any miner or miners finding new diggings in this district, shall be entitled to one extra claim for each member of the company, on any vacant hill ground in the district.

5. Any tunnel company who shall have expended $200 upon notifying the recorder of their intention to leave their claim, shall not forfeit the same, provided, they resume operations within three months from the time of giving said notice.

Resolved, That the old code of laws be repealed, so far as they conflict with those now adopted.
Resolved, That the above be published in the Mountain Democrat.
Meeting adjourned.
E. GAGE, President.
T.M. WHITE, Sec.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Sep 30, 1854


Owing to the scarcity of water in many localities, mining is not carried on so actively as in the early part of the summer. But, where water is to be had, at Negro Hill, the Reservoir, and the various tunnels in the vicinity supplied by the South Fork Canal, and on the creeks and bars, the miners are making their usual good wages. Next month the South Fork Canal will be completed, and will afford an abundance of water. We may then look for an activity in mining operations, that has not been equaled in any portion of the State heretofore, during the dry season.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Jul 22, 1854

A Placerville Church (Image from

NEW CHURCH. — The enterprising citizens of Negro Hill have erected a fine church and school house at this point, which was dedicated to religious and educational purposes, on last Sunday evening, by Rev. G.B. Taylor.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Dec 23, 1854

Placerville - 1851 (Image from


“Let other poets raise a fracas
‘Bout vines an’ wines, an’ drunken Bacchus,
An’ crabbit names an’ stories wrack us,
An’ grale our lug,
I sing the juice Scot’s bear can mak us
In glass or jug.”

The above verse, as every body knows, is the beginning one of Robert Burns’ eulogy on “Scotch Drink;” the peculiar national beverage of his fatherland. The pride which animated him in the witty composition may have been different in [spirit], yet the same in kind with ours, in referring to the excellence and completeness of our street improvements. San Francisco, Stockton, and Sacramento have, for months, literally “grated our lug” ’bout piles, and planks, an’ pitfull sidewalks, while it has been equally the custom of visitors from either of those illustrious localities, to harp and carp about the alternate dust and mire of our mountain City.

In the future, however, for these croakers, “Othello’s occupation’s gone.” The principal streets of Placerville now present an appearance of substantial firmness not equalled in the State. Not of combustible or decaying boards — eternally wearing and shivering into yawning man-traps and requiring a perpetual re-taxation for repairs, — but deeply Macadamized with imperishable stone alike impervious to heat or cold. — The substratum is of stone blocks of considerable size, covered with gravel or small cobbles, which effectually fill up all the interstices, and render the surface smooth as a carpet.

You will not, O denizens of plank-bottomed towns, hope, therefore, any reciprocation from hitherward, of your melting records of fractured limbs or skulls insensate — the fruits of planking discrepancies.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Feb 3, 1855



OWNERS of hogs within the city limits, are hereby notified that the City Pound had been moved to the alley in the rear of the Station House; and that sales of hogs that may be impounded, will take place every Saturday, at 11 o’clock A.M. — commencing on Saturday, the 3d day of March.

RENICK CONE, Pound Master.
City of Placerville, Feb. 24, 1855

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Feb 24, 1855

From the Town Talk.

A Node to a Bank.

Oh, Bank, grate malstrom for koin!
How yew swaller up things. What
A maw yew hev got for Bull-Lion.
And when yu hev filled yourself chock
Full how yew luv to bust up
And brake things.

Yew grate malstrom for koin!
Grate bank! What air you good for
Eny how, yew overgrown cirtter, but
To chaw up all a feller has got
and then larf into his face and sa,
“Oncet I had koin but now eye’m
Bust and can’t do nothink!”

Grate malstrom for koin!
Yew are a ga deceiver — yew fell
Into a feller’s pocket for speshe and
Tickle him up ’bout keepin it safe
Wen you knowd yew warnt
Safe enny how. You’ve played H-ll.

Grate malstrom fur koin!
How du yew feel now, yew old buster?
Yew hev dun it — yew hev
Put your foot into it and
Yew hev split menny hopes.
Where do you Xpect to go tu,
Yew old buster? Hev yew
Kicked up sich a dust that
Yew can’t tell what its all
About? Hev yew?
You nasty, vile malstrom fur koin?


Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Mar 31, 1855

From the Mountain Democrat

Part 2


Auburn Ravine (Image from


One day last week three miners in prospecting a ravine emptying into the South Fork, opposite the mouth of White Rock Canon, took out a lump weighing twelve ounces besides other gold, amounting in all to near sixteen ounces, and have been making good wages since.

Would it not be a good idea in some of those who are lying around the taverns doing nothing, to start out with a pick and shovel and try their luck a little further in the ravines hereabouts?

There are many hillsides that have not been prospected at all, which, perhaps, are richer than any that have yet been opened in our vicinity. No miner is “hard up” long at a time who is industrious and persevering. Dame Fortune, like the rest of her sex, is capricious; and if she frown, to-day may relent to-morrow; and is sure to reward, with her choicest favors, continued exertion.

“Better luck next time” must be the miners motto if he would succeed; he must [keep at work] if he would make money. We were once a miner ourselves and know from experience, that loafing is a poor way to strike good diggings, and that playing seven up for the whisky won’t pay board bills.

Mountain Democrat, The (Placerville, California) Apr 22, 1854

A Comstock Miner Murdered in Bodie

September 21, 2009
BODIE, CA pre 1932

BODIE, CA pre 1932

Image from, where there are lots of nice photos, although most are more current, they still give you a good idea of what the town looked like.

A Comstock Miner Murdered in Bodie

The Murderer Escapes.

BODIE, Jan. 14.

About 2 o’clock this morning Thos. Treloar, a mine, was assassinated by a Frenchman named James DeRoche. Treloar’s wife was attending a ball, and he had ordered her not to dance with DeRoche.She did so, however, to his great annoyance. At the hour mentioned the two men met, and DeRoche shot Treloar through the head, the ball entering just below the left ear.

A crowd gathered and the murderer was arrested. At this moment Treloar’s wife came along in company with a gentleman and his wife, when DeRoche shouted: “Mrs. Treloar, I have killed your husband!” He was taken to jail, but, upon pretext that the vigilantes intended to hang him before morning, Deputy Sheriff Joseph Farnsworth took the prisoner to his boarding house handcuffed. Durning the night DeRoche mysteriously disappeared while Farnsworth was asleep.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 15, 1881



The Hanging of De la Roche by Vigilantes — The Victim Receives the Benefit of an Informal Trial.

Says the Carson Tribune of yesterday: “Word was received here to-day that the Bodie Vigilantes had captured and hung De la Roche, the murderer of Treloar. The particulars, so far as we can learn, are that a pursuing party of the vigilance committee followed a scent to a place called Smith’s Dump, distant about ten miles from Bodie. The vigilantes interviewed two French Canadians residing at the Dump and demanded to know the whereabouts of De la Roche, who denied all knowledge thereof. They were then strung up, and under torture revealed the hiding place of the murderer.

The vigilantes captured their man and the mob clamored for his immediate execution. Pat Reddy, the lawyer, appealed to the mob to let the law take its course and to allow the man to be tried by the courts, assuring his hearers on his honor that he would prosecute him to the bitter end. The mob listened respectfully, but refused the request. The leaders, however, agreed that De la Roche should have an informal trial, and the crowd adjourned to a house, where a court was organized. Twelve of the leading men of Bodie were chosen as a jury. Mr. Reddy conducted the prosecution and Hon. J.R. Kittrell appeared for the defense. We have not learned who acted as Judge. The result of the trial was that the jury found the defendant guilty and he was sentenced to be hung immediately, and the sentence was put into execution at once.

The particulars of the crime for which De la Roche suffered, briefly stated are these: He knew Treloar’s wife in the East, and was criminally intimate with her. Treloar was jealous and forbade his wife to go to a ball with De la Roche. She disobeyed, and at 2 o’clock in the morning, while the ball was still in progress, the two men met and Treloar was killed. De la Roche was arrested and given into the custody of a deputy Sheriff, who handcuffed him and took him to a lodging house, and during the night the prisoner escaped.

Farnsworth, the deputy Sheriff, was threatened with lynching, but escaped to Carson. He was arrested yesterday on a telegram from Bodie, and is now held on parole. He refuses to swear out a writ of habeas corpus, saying he is innocent of criminal intent; that the man escaped while he was asleep, and he is willing to go back to Bodie as soon as the excitement dies out and meet any charges that may be brought against him.”

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 18, 1881


Mrs. Treloar narrowly escaped being lynched in Bodie with her paramour Da Roche. A noose had been provided for each, but Mrs. Treloar’s life was saved by one dissenting vote in the Vigilance Committee meeting. The woman made all the trouble, and her execution would have excited little pity.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 20, 1881



Particulars of the Hanging of DaRoche by a Vigilante Committee.

The Bodie Free Press of Jan. 18 contains a long account of the lynching of DaRoche, from which the following particulars are taken. (DaRoche murdered the husband of a woman he had seduced):

“After the adjournment of the Court and DaRoche was taken back to his narrow cell, a mysterious committee was organized, the like of which has existed in many towns on this coast since ’49, and whose work has been quick and thorough. This committee held a long session, and its conclusion resulted in the lynching of DaRoche. Between 1:30 and 2 o’clock Monday morning a long file of masked and unmasked men were seen to file out of a side street into Bonanza avenue. There must have been two hundred of them and as the march progressed to the jail the column increased. In front were the shotguns carried by determined men. They were backed by a company which evidently meant business, and no ordinary force could foil them in their progress. When the jail was reached it was surrounded and the leader made a loud knock at the door. All was dark and quiet within.

The call had the effect of producing a dim light in the office, and amid loud calls of “DaRoche,” “Bring him out,” “Open the door,” etc., Jailer Kingen appeared, and responded by saying: “All right, boys; wait a moment; give me a little time.” In a moment the outside door was opened slowly and four or five men entered. Under instructions the door of the cell in which the condemned prisoner lay was swung open. The poor wretch knew what this untimely visit meant, and prepared for the trying ordeal and his humiliating death.

It was some moments before he was brought out, and the crowd began to grow impatient. With a firm step he descended the steps and came out on the street in a hurried manner, closely guarded by shotguns and revolvers. The order to fall in was given, and all persons not members of the committee were requested to stand back. The march was rapid. Not a word was said by the condemned man, and his gaze was fixed on the ground. When Websr’s blacksmith shop was reached a halt was made. In front of this place was a huge gallows frame, used for raising up wagons, etc., while being repaired. “Move it to the spot where the murder was committed,” was the order, and immediately it was picked up by a dozen men and carried to the corner of Main and Lowe streets.


When the corner was reached the heavy gallows was placed upon the ground, and the prisoner led under it. On each end of the frame were windlasses and large ropes attached. The rope placed around the prisoner’s neck was a small one, and when the knot was made it rested against the left ear. It was at least three minutes before everything was ready. DaRoche was asked by the leader if he had anything to say. He replied: “No; nothing.” IN a moment he was again asked the same question, a French-speaking citizen being requested to receive his answer. The reply this time was: “I have nothing to say, only O God.”

“Pull him,” was the order, and in a twinkling his body rose three feet from the ground. Previous to putting on the rope the overcoat was removed. A second after the body was elevated a sudden twitch of the legs was observed, but, with that exception, not a muscle moved while the body hung to the cross-beam. His death took place without a particle of pain. The face was placid, and the eyes closed and never were re-opened.

Strangulation must have been immediate. While the body swung to and fro, like the pendulum of a clock, the crowd remained perfectly quiet. No one spoke a word, excepting one of the leaders, who constantly requested the crowd “to keep back and give the man all the air possible.” While the body was still hanging a paper was pinned on his breast bearing the inscription:

“All others take warning. Let no one cut him down. Bodie 601.”

At the expiration of twenty minutes the pulse beat rapidly, but at the end of thirty it ceased to move and the man was pronounced dead. However, to be sure of the fact, Dr. Deal was summoned and asked to inspect the body. He felt of his pulse and pronounced life extinct. In another moment H. Ward had the body cut down, placed in a plain box and removed to his undertaking rooms. The mysterious committee had completed its work, and the captain gave out the order “All members of the Bodie 601 will meet at their rendezvous.” In a moment the scene of death was deserted. To use a familiar expression DaRoche died game. He as firm as a rock to the last and passed out into the unknown without a shudder.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 20, 1881


Old Timer Says:

“The Vigilantes over in Bodie were busy. Thomas H. Treloar was shot down by Joseph De Roach on January 11 and buried on the 13th by the fire department and miners’ union. That night the vigilante committee hunted all over Bodie for De Roach. Not finding him they called on Sheriff Farnsworth to produce De Roach or take the consequences. De Roach was captured on the 17th and after a short trial before Judge Lynch was sentenced to be hanged. He was that day.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jan 9, 1931


You can read more about the Treloar murder in:

Bodie’S Gold: Tall Tales And True History From A California Mining Town
By Marguerite Sprague (pages 110-114)

Also on Google Books:

Violence in America: The history of crime
By Ted Robert Gurr (pages 137-139)