Posts Tagged ‘Watertown Boys’

Arrival of the Watertown Boys: Letters from John C. Gilman

February 17, 2011

Previous posts about the Watertown boys:

Forty-Niner Profiles: The Watertown Boys

Watertown Boys Head For California


Good News From California

Sunday’s mail brought California letters from Gen. GILMAN, H. WALDRON, S. STIMPSON and Dr. MEYER. The gratifying intelligence is conveyed by these letters, that all the Watertown boys had reached the El Dorado of their hopes, after long and patient toils and privations, in good health and high spirits. We have been kindly furnished the general’s letter for publication. It will be read with interest by his numerous friends here.

Mr. WALDRON‘s letter states, among other things, that the oxen, wagons, &c., of the company which cost about $900, had been sold for something over $1,000.

SACRAMENTO CITY, Oct. 14, 1849.

Here I am in California, upon the bank of the Sacramento river, and in the city of Sacramento — a city four months old, whose buildings are mostly made of cotton cloth — a city containing from fifteen to thirty thousand inhabitants; nobody knows the exact number. A great amount of business is done here. Some thirty ships lie along the river opposite the town, many of them from Boston and New York. Every business and laboring man seems to be making money at a rate unheard of before. Prices of manufactured articles and labor are very high. — Common labor is $10 per day and found. Mechanics get from $20 to $25 per day. Pork per barrel $40, flour $9 per hundred, beans 8c per lb., potatoes $1.25 per lb., onions $1.25 per lb. I paid a few days ago 50c for one onion which weighed 7 oz! Board at the public houses is $4 per day. Women’s work is very high — washing, for instance, is $12 per dozen, and every thing else in proportion. In the common eating houses, (and there are many of them,) we can get a meal for a $1. Apple or grape pies, baked upon a common breakfast-plate, are 75c. I paid yesterday $6.25 for a new 5 gallon keg. I filled it with molasses syrrup, at $1.25 per gallon. I paid $16 per hundred for Sandwich Island sugar, a good article; 60c per lb. for dried apples, 75c per lb. for dried peaches, tea $6 for an 8 lb. caddy. Fresh beef sells at the butchers from 20 to 25c per lb.

The price of labor in this country is governed by the amount of gold realized by the miner per day. A laborer gets from $250 to $500 per month. Every body is willing to admit that a man in the mines can make his ounce per day. Some men who came here in July or August, have made and brought to the city 40 or 50 tons of hay, which they are now retailing out at 10c per lb. Oregon sawed lumber sells for from $350 to $500 per thousand. Shingles $50 per thousand.

I am preparing and am nearly ready to go to the mines. I intend to dig this winter — am going in company with Stimpson, Glines and a German from Milwaukee.

We arrived here on the 7th of this month, and after selling our team and all  traps, and dividing the money, I had about $100 for my share. My poney, which would have brought me $100 at auction, strayed from me a day or two before we came here. I had my health good all the way after I left Independence, except some slight affection of scurvy, a disease which prevailed among the emigrants in the latter part of the journey. We surmounted all the dangers and difficulties of the journey without the loss of an ox or any accident of any kind, except the breaking of an axeltree, and that was done near Independence. I kept a daily journal of the whole route, which when I have time I intend to write and send you.

I cannot advise any friend of mine who intends to come to this country, to take the overland route. There are too many dangers and difficulties to contend with. It requires the most indomitable energy, perseverance, watchfulness and incessant labor to effect the journey successfully. There is no lack of feed for stock until you come to Fort Laramie. From that to Green River, on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, the country is a barren waste. Feed for teams is scarce, frequently having to drive our oxen 4 and 5 miles from the road to get grass for them. From Green River onward until we got about one-third part of the way down the Humbolt, grass is abundant. From thence until we came to Carson River, the country is a dismal desert. The water is all bad, and in most instances poisonous to man and beast. The only safe water is the sluggish Humbolt, which continually grows worse as it approaches the sink. It then becomes so foul cattle which drink of it will die in a few hours. Men have dug wells at the sink, whose water is taken to last man and beast 45 miles, the distance from the Sink over the desert to Salmon Trout river, (the old route,) and that of the new one by Carson river, is about the same, 45 miles. This distance cannot be made in the day time. Cattle cannot stand the heat of the sun, when reflected from the surface of the sandy desert. Salt an inch thick lies upon the surface. — From Carson river we had grass until we came within about 60 miles of the western foot of the Siera Nevada. Thence to the foot of the mountains, our only feed for cattle was oak leaves, procured by chopping down trees and turning our cattle loose to them — thence dry grass to the Sacramento.

No rain falls during the summer season west of the Laramie; consequently a cloud of dust constantly enveloped man and beast, which was our greatest annoyance.
Now, my advice to any one and every one, who wishes to make a fortune in the shortest possible time, is to come here. I do not care what a man may set himself about; if he is prudent, he can clear from two to fifty thousand dollars in a year, provided he has his health. I intend to dig until spring in the mines, if I have my health — then I may do something else.


Watertown Chronicle – Jan 2, 1850

California — Letter from General Gilman.


MY CHILDREN — I am now in the mining region, and located for the winter. I am on the Calabarus river, about 20 miles from its mouth. You will see my location by referring to Fremont’s map. Our party consists of six, viz: Stimpson, Glines, Blaucher, (of Milwaukee,) a Dutchman, a Scotchman and myself. We have been digging gold about ten days. We do not get it as fast as many anticipated, or many at home suppose. The product of our labor has varied from 1 1/2 to 7 ozs. per day. Day before yesterday, we got the latter quantity — yesterday about 3 ozs.

Glines has worked but little. Stimpson has not been out of the camp since we came here. He has not yet got rid of the scurvy, and consequently is lame in his limbs. My own health is good, except that I feel the effects of the scurvy in my knees, but not to hinder me from working.

The whole country has gold. Every river and brook, every ravine and gorge of the mountains, has more or less of the precious metal. In prospecting, I find gold in every place. But the ravines, which are called “gulches” here, are where it is dug for. — That which we have obtained is called coarse gold. In size it varies from a three dollar piece down to a pin’s head, is round, and in every other possible shape. It has all been melted, and thrown out by the action of volcanic fire.

I would advise none of my friends to try the overland route. Tell them to go by way of Panama. *  *  *  I have not eaten from a table, or slept on a bed, since the 18th of May last. *  *  *  The largest piece of gold which I have seen, weighed five ounces. *  *  *  Provisions very high, and freights from Stockton to this place, (40 miles, and road good,) 50 cents per pound! *  *  *  Our currency is pounds and ounces, and not dollars and cents.

In haste,


Watertown Chronicle – Jan 30, 1850

1849  Stockton Main St. image from the San Francisco City Guides website.

California Letter.

The following is a letter from Gen. JOHN C. GILMAN, of Watertown, now in California, to our fellow citizen, Wm. M. Dennis, Esq. who has kindly handed it to us for publication, that the numerous friends of Gen. C. may know of his whereabouts and learn of his welfare.

January 9, 1850.

DEAR SIR, — I have located myself for the winter upon the Caladarus River, nearly due east from Stockton and San Francisco; Stockton is 45 miles distant. The winter here is made up of rainy days, and weeks of fine weather. It is the Spring of Wisconsin — April and May weather. The rainy season commenced about the middle of November. We expect it to cease about the middle of February. Vegetation commenced with the rain; and although I am among the hills, which form the base of the mountains, I have seen but few frosty mornings. I am upon the western verge of the gold regions.

The diggers in our vicinity make from five dollars to an ounce and a half per day. I have, since I stopped here, made two ounces in about half a day; it is not frequent that such an amount can be got in this vicinity. The ravines all have more or less gold — none very rich, and very few entirely destitute.

The one upon which we designed to dig for the winter was a good one. We found forty or fifty Chilinoes at work in the gulch (ravine). Soon other Americans came, and we have a village of tents and log huts of some twenty in number, each containing from two to four men. The men of Spanish descent, (Mexicans and Chilinoes,) are, in point of numbers, the dominant party in these southern mines. They not only assume the right to dig, but to dictate to Americans when they may or may not dig. This assumed right the Chilinoes commenced to practice upon with our own village.

Image from the Kidport Reference Library article on Gold Rush Law and Order.

Some three or four of our men went with their mining tools into a gulch, where a camp of about thirty Chilinoes were at work, our men were soon surrounded by the Chilians, armed with knives and pistols, who ordered them to leave, which they did, leaving behind their washers and mining tools, which the Chilians destroyed. A complaint was made to our Alcalda, who sent a force, and arrested the Chilians, and had them before him — fined them, and ordered them to leave the place. This was on or aobut the 18th of December. On the 28th of December, at ten or eleven o’clock at night, some detached camps of our village were assaulted by some fifty or sixty Chilinoes, all armed, and two of our most worthy men murdered upon the spot, and the ballance of the men of these camps were made prisoners and marched off, three or four of whom were badly cut and wounded — twelve prisoners in all.

These camps are about one-third of a mile from my tent, and where the most of the settlement is; we knew nothing of it until the next morning. I was upon the inquest held upon the bodies. Major Andrew Elliott, of Orlenas Co., State of N.Y., was one of the murdered men, and a Mr. Star, of the same place, the other. Their bodies had ghastly stabs and cuts made with large knives upon them; one dead Chilano lay near, with a bullet hole through the face and head. Our men mustered, and followed the Chilian band. They took the road to Stockton. The prisoners were all rescued, the whole band made prisoners and marched back to our camp; they were forthwith tried by a jury of twelve  men, (the Alcalda acting as judge,) sentenced — three were executed by shooting, one whipped and his ears cut off, and the remainder received from twenty to one hundred lashes upon the bare back, and ordered to quit the country. They obeyed the order without the least hesitation. I can tell you that Chilanoes and Mexicans hereafter will be mighty scarce in these diggings, I mean those that have whole skins.

With regard to the country generally, in my opinion, it has not been over-rated in any particular; its agricultural susceptibility, its now spontaneous productions, and its present herds. Why, the truth has not been half told, or if told, has not been understood. The common cattle of California are the largest and finest I ever saw; and as for fat and good beef, I never saw its equal in any market. I believe also, that the mineral wealth of California is yet to be developed in the main; all the gold yet taken is surface gold — not a vein or a lode has been found or worked, with the exception of two, one on the Maralumny River, found this winter, and the other is on the Maraposa River, and worked by Colonel Fremont’s indians.

Image of Chinaman in 1860 San Francisco from the San Francisco Images blog.

A man with some means can make a fortune here quicker than to dig for it; one or two thousand invested rightly in goods in N.Y., and sent round the Horn, is all that a man accustomed to trade wants. The common Stoga boots are selling this winter in San Francisco and Stockton from two to four ounces per pair, shoes of the same quality half an ounce. I am now wearing a pair of boots which cost in Stockton two ounces of pure gold, such boots as you sell in Watertown for $2.50. Pants, flannel shirts and drawers, are equally high in the mines; the common blue blanket sells at the mines for thirty or forty dollars per pair, and vegetables and eatables of all kinds are still higher. Flour $1.25 per lb., pork $1.00, beans $1.00 per lb., potatoes $1.00 per lb., onions the same, brandy per bottle $4.00. The man who travels the road from San Francisco to the mines, pays at the tents which are set up for entertainment $1.50 for a meal of victuals, $1.00 per quart for barley or corn to feed his mule, $1.00 for sleeping on the floor in his own blankets, and fifty cents for any kind of spirits per glass. Men cannot be hired to work for less than ten dollars per day, at the same time one half of them does not make five clear. I cannot particularise farther, the foregoing is true, and such is the chance to make fortunes; the prudent and industrious will make money, the idle, the dissipated, and those out of health, will be as poor here as in any other place.

If some of you speculators will come out, and bring with you a stock of goods, and open at Stockton, I will come in with you and operate in the mines.

Stimpson has left the camp, and gone to the Sandwich Islands sick with the scurvy. Glines has left our company for Stockton very much out of health, his lungs are affected, and some degree of scurvy; as to myself, the slight attack of scurvy I had on the Humbolt is wearing away, and my health is pretty good, and I have every confidence of enjoying good health in this country. The rest of the Watertown boys I have not seen or heard from since I left Sacramento; I think they must have gone up the American fork. I have not yet received the first letter from home. I cannot write to all I would wish. Please pass this round to Enos, Chappell, Besley, Ned and P.V. Brown, also to my children. If any of my friends come out, let them come by Panama, there is too many great dangers attending the overland route, waggons and pack mules are equally exposed, a correct idea of which I could not give you by letter without some more labor and time than I have at present to spare.

Gambling is done in the towns in this country on the big side; all the taverns and dogeries, and all saloons (and there are many,) are gaming houses. In the best house in Stockton, which is a tavern, there is one faro bank, three monta tables, two roulettes, and one billiard table, all in the bar-room.

Thousands of dollars lie stacked up on each table. I was at Stockton a few days ago, and stopped at this house for a day or two, and witnessed some of their operations. Money changed hands rapidly — thousands of dollars would be won and lost in a short time — all were cool, and no excitement — not a word of discord between the better and the dealer — one hundred eagles bet upon a single card.

The above is a fair sample of the business done in this line in California. Monta is the favorite game of the South Mexicans and Chilians, and they all bet with apparent carelessness.

Taft, of Milwaukee, U.S. House, and Robert Maloney, got up and opened a large tavern house in Stockton, some time in december, at an expense of thirty or forty thousand dollars, in about ten days from opening of the house, it took fire and was burnt down, all was lost — Taft has gone to the mines. I heard of Bristol at San Francisco, he was in the public hospital and not expected to live. Saw B. Crangle at Sacramento, he was home-sick, and talked of returning home. W.S. Hamilton and Olinger is on the American fork; O’Neal of Mineral Point is in our camp; Doctor More of Beloit is at Sacramento; Lieutenant Wright I cannot hear of.

As soon as the rainy season is over, I intend to explore some of this mining region; it is believed here that the Gold Region Proper is far up in the mountains to the east. I have seen a newspaper report of an Exploring Expedition which went out last Summer, they report the whole western slope of the Serra Nevada Mountains to be composed of quartz rock, and all bearring gold; their experiments and tests show that the least quantity of gold extracted from the pound of rock was one dollar, and that the best yield of pure gold to the single pound was fifty-four dollars and fifty cents.

Specimens of every variety of the rack have been forwarded to Washington by the senators elect from the State. All the gold taken in California is called by miners surface gold, it has escaped by some means from the place of original deposit, and has been scattered into all the ravines, brooks and rivers, by the agency of water, and that the places of the original deposit will shortly be discovered, I have no doubt.

Yours truly,


P.S. — I now think that letters addressed to me should be directed to Stockton.

Democratic State Register (Watertown, Wisconsin) Apr 9, 1850


A number were received in town by Monday’s mail. Mr. STECK writes that he is employed in the Sacramento postoffice, at a salary of $200 per month. He had either seen or heard from most of our “boys” a short time previously. They were all well. Gen. GILMAN does not write very flatteringly. We judge from what we have heard of the tone of these letters, that our friends there are not realizing their expectations.

We also received a letter from the “Rothschild of Coloma,” inclosing some beautiful specimens, to the value of eight or ten dollars. Thanks, brother LITTLE!

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Oct 16, 1850

Image of San Francisco Harbor – 1851 from the Sparkle Tack blog.

From California.

Letters were received in town by Monday’s mail, from Gen. GILMAN, H. WALDRON, A. STECK, and J. ROGAN. We make the following extract from the letter Gen. G.:

The river turning business has proved total failure throughout the mines generally. Homeward bound vessels are filled with passengers, but still the increase of population is wonderful. Trade increases, and cities rise upon the plains. Thousands are turning their attention to agriculture and cattle growing, and yet the mines are overrun with diggers. Thousands will return home as poor as they came, and many much more so, while others will return rich. Many return without an effort to make money. A more disappointed lot of men I never saw, than those who came over the plains this year.

Watertown Chronicle – Dec 4, 1850

California Matters.

We have a letter from Gen. GILMAN, under date of Feb. 28th. We make an extract, from which it will be seen that the prospects of miners and business men in California, are gloomy enough:

“There has been but two rainy days since the  season for rain commenced — not enough to produce the usual vegetation. This dry winter is decidedly adverse to the interests of the miners. They have no water in the gulches to wash gold with. If the season should continue dry as it now is, there will be a general break down of the business men of California, and Stockton and Sacramento will almost cease to be places of trade. The success of all business men is this country depends upon the success of the gold digger. A great change in prices of almost every thing has already taken place. All necessaries are much cheaper than heretofore, and the tendency of prices is still downwards. — The forced sales of imported goods at San Francisco alone, is sufficient to supply the demand in the country. Comparatively few immigrants arrive this winter, and those mostly from Europe, while the homeward bound steamers are crowded with passengers — many of them poor.”

Watertown Chronicle – Apr 23, 1851

Forty-Niner Profiles: The Watertown Boys

February 10, 2011

Watertown, Wisconsin – 1908

During the California Gold Rush era, Watertown, Wisconsin was so many other villages, towns or cities across America — It was hit by the fever, the gold fever.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Jan 31, 1849

“We’re bound for Californy,
Our pockets for to fill!”

Yesterday morning seven of our own citizens and two of neighboring towns, took up their line of march for California. They are to proceed by wagon to Galena, thence by steamboat to St. Louis and Independence, and thence as “circumstances” may dictate to the “diggings.” Their names are —

Stephen Stimpson,  Louis Meyer,
Henry Waldron,   James Stevens,
Martin P. Glines,   Luke Colburn,
Amos Steck,   Ole Hanson.
Nelson Whitney,

Among this list will be recognized some of our oldest and most respectable citizens. They leave in high spirits, hardly realizing, we fear, the hardships and privations before them. While we regret to part with them, we cannot but hope that their most extravagant expectations may be fully realized, and that within two years from this time, we may hail the return of each, with “all their pockets” well filled with the precious metal.

They intend celebrating the 4th of July at the South Pass, making those wild and distant hills and valleys re-echo, for the first time, the songs and the sentiments of liberty.

Watertown has contributed liberally to the mighty stream of emigration that is setting toward California. In addition to those given above, five others have left within a few weeks past, viz:

Francis McCluskey,   Henry Helman,
Philip Johnson,   Bernard Crangle.
Darius Gibbs,

There are others here who have caught the fever, and we should not wonder if they, too, should soon be “carried off.”

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Apr 11, 1849

MORE EMIGRANTS. — Last week Messrs. FRANCIS McCLUSKY, PHILIP JOHNSON and BERNARD CRANGLE, of this village, took their departure for California. The two former started with an ox team, and intend going by way of Independence. We have some other citizens who are in the last stages of the disease and it is feared they will be “carried off” about the first of next month.

Watertown Chronicle – Mar 14, 1849

WISCONSIN CALIFORNIANS — The Watertown Chronicle says that the following company left that village on Tuesday, the 10th inst: Stephen Stimpson, Henry Waldron, Martin P. Glines, Amos Steck, Nelson Whitney, Louis Meyer, James Stevens, Luke Colburn, Ole Hanson. It says “Among this list will be recognized some of our oldest and most respectable citizens.”

Weekly Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Apr 18, 1849

So, who were the Watertown Boys, and what were they doing before the they hit the trail in search of California Gold?

Nelson Whitney, listed as the vice-president of the Temperance Society, and also listed among the Friends of Ireland was born about 1821, somewhere in Vermont. He wrote several letters from “the road,” and from California, which I will be posting in the future. Perhaps he was a farmer in Wisconsin prior to catching the Gold Fever, as I don’t find any business advertisements for him in the papers.

Temperance Meeting.

An adjoined meeting of the friends of temperance was held on the 14th of March, 1848, in the Methodist Church, in this village.
The committee appointed at the previous meeting, to prepare a Constitution, submitted the following, which was adopted:

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Mar 22, 1848

At a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Watertown Temperance Society on Tuesday morning, June 27th, an invitation was received from the Dodge County Temperance society, inviting this society to be and unite with them in a temperance celebration at Oak Grove on the 4th of July. The committee after deliberation, unanimously agreed to accept the invitation, and hold the anniversary of the society at Oak Grove. A full delegation from this society is earnestly desired. By Order &c.,

A. STECK, ch’n.

Rock River Pilot (Watertown, Wisconsin) Jun 28, 1848

The Age-of-the-Sage website has a page for The European Revolutions of 1848, which includes a map.

Demonstration of Republican Sympathy.
The usual common place busy hum of our business village was very agreeably diversified on Wednesday evening last by a well arranged demonstration made by our German fellow citizens, expressive of their sympathy with the Republicans of Europe.

Rock River Pilot (Watertown, Wisconsin) May 17, 1848

Image from the Irish History Links website.

The Ohio University website  has an Encyclopedia of 1848 Revolutions, which includes: Young Ireland.



The friends of Liberty in every Country are looking with anxious hope for the success of the Irish arms over those of their English oppressors. The patriots of Ireland have lately shown to the world by the defeat of one fourth of the British army — in a single battle killing and wounding 6,000 men — that they are in earnest; and determined to be free, despite the voice of royal proclamations, and roar of royal cannon.

Friends of Liberty! the voice of struggling Ireland calls on you for aid. The battle has commenced, the people of the civilized world recognize the cause as a just and holy one, and none but despots and slaves refuse their aid or their sympathy.

Irishmen! the land of your birth cannot call in vain for aid from her sons.

Your compatriots throughout the Union are active in the cause of their struggling country, and earnestly ask you to co-operate with them.


Rock River Pilot (Watertown, Wisconsin) Aug 30, 1848

Bank of Watertown image from Buchheit – Myers Genealogy blog.

AMOS STECK was born in 1822, Lancaster, Ohio. He supported the German people in their revolution, and like N. Whitney, was a member of the Temperance Society . On the genealogy blog linked above, it states Amos Steck took an active interest in establishing the Watertown Bank. Evidently he was a lawyer, as he  is listed as an “Esq.”  in  the following “Horse Thief” newspaper article:

HORSE THIEF AND COUNTERFEITER. — A young man by the name of Walker, formerly of this village, was apprehended at Fox Lake, on Sunday last, by officer KELLY, of this village, charged with having stolen on the 8th inst., two ponies, the property of JOHN P. BEAN, of Green Lake. He was examined on Monday before A. STECK, Esq., and a default of security for his appearance for further examination, was committed to jail in Jefferson. Officer K. is entitled to much credit for his vigilance in the arrest of the prisoner, aided as the latter was in his attempts to elude justice.

The ponies were sold to a man by the name of Sabin, of Racine county. As rather a “remarkable coincidence,” we may mention, that during the examination of Walker, Deputy Sheriff PHELPS, of Dodge county, passed through our village, having Sabin in tow as a prisoner, he having been apprehended on the charge of passing off counterfeit Land Warrants to an Illinois drover, in exchange for horses. He has dealt more or less extensively in horse flesh for some time past, and is supposed to be connected with the same gang to which Walker belongs. Quarters have been provided for him in the Milwaukee jail.

Watertown Chronicle – Jun 21, 1848

Amos Steck also wrote several letters to the Watertown Chronicle, which I will be posting in the future.

I believe this is the same Amos Steck, who went to California in search of gold:

According to the Buck Fifty website, Amos Steck – standing, second from the right and was the Denver, Colorado sheriff at the time this 1864  photo was taken. Follow the link for context of this photo.

In  the Denver & Rio Grande website’s article,  Taming a Wilderness, it mentions Amos Steck,was also at one time,  the Mayor of Denver:

The first telegraph wire to reach Denver was ready for business October 10, 1863. Mayor Amos Steck received the first message over it, which was a congratulatory wire from the mayor of Omaha.

The next Watertown Boy,  Henry Waldron, was born about 1819,  in Vermont. He and his partner,  Hazen Mooers operated a Tin Shop. They seemed to form and dissolve their partnership every so often, according to these newspaper announcements:

Watertown Chronicle – May 17, 1848

Watertown Chronicle – Jun 14, 1848

Watertown Chronicle – Jul 26, 1848.

Watertown Chronicle – Mar 29, 1849

Watertown Chronicle – Apr 4, 1849

It appears Henry Waldron, wife and daughters were in California in 1860, so he must have gone home to get them. On the 1860 San Fransisco  census, he was listed as a merchant, and his wife as an oil painter AND then they are listed again in Rose Bar, Yuba Co. where he is listed as a clerk, and several years younger.


Francis McClusky appears to have been a tailor:

Rock River Pilot (Watertown, Wisconsin) Jan 5, 1848


Stephen Stimpson was born about 1818 in New York. His wife’s name was Catherine, and in 1850 their son, George, was five years-old. He was an auctioneer by trade, as well as a public notary for a time, and also ran for sheriff. On the 1860, Stephen Stimpson was listed as a Saloon Keeper and by then had a daughter, Adie, who was 7 years-old. By 1870, his son, George was living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, running a billiard hall. Stephen Stimpson may have died, as it appears his wife and daughter are living at West Washington Place, in New York City!

Daily Sentinel and Gazette (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Jun 18, 1847

Watertown Chronicle – Jul 7, 1847


Wisconsin Argus (Madison, Wisconsin)  Oct 26, 1847

Watertown Chronicle – Oct 25, 1848


It has proven difficult to find information on some of these “Watertown Boys.” Bernard Crangle, born about 1810 in Ireland, and that is about all I have on him, but  I did find the picture of a house he and his brother built for their parents in Watertown, Wisconsin:

Here is the information that accompanies the photo:

This was the home of Bernard & Rose Crangle,Sr. built in Watertown, Wi in 1840 by Bernard, Jr. and Henry Crangle for their parents before they emigrated from Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. It was in this house that the first Catholic services were held and the organization of St. Bernard’s Parish, Watertown. Thanks to Mary Beggan Mueller for the photo.

Posted by Craig Gavin – Nov. 2010. Here is the LINK if you have an membership.

UPDATE- CORRECTION: I just re-read one of the letters from Nelson Whitney and he states Bernard and P.C. were traveling together. In a later letter, he mentions and I. and P.C.,  but the I. may have been a newspaper typo, or possibly Bernard’s middle name initial, as the P.C was written as C.P as well.

I think Bernard Crangle went to California, and then sometime after two of his brothers followed, P.C. (Charles P) and probably Henry, who according to the family tree where the picture was found, died in California in 1862. These brothers are mentioned in one of the letters published in the newspaper, which I will post in the future.

This cooperage factory image from the DeForest Area Youth Council is from a library event, Barrel-Making in Wisconsin: The Story of the Frank J. Hess Cooperage.

Another of the Watertown Boys was Darius Gibbs, who was born about 1816, also in Vermont. In 1850, he was listed as a basket maker, and in 1860, as a cooper, which was someone who made casks, kegs, etc. In 1850, he was living in Emmit, WI, and in 1860, in Watertown, WI. Sometime in between, he went to Missouri for awhile, as his two children listed on the 1860 census, ages two and three, were both born there. Darius and his family moved to Iowa, sometime between 1870 and 1880, where he continued to work as a cooper.

According to Find -A-Grave, Darius Gibbs was also a Spanish and Civil War veteran. He died in 1890, and was buried in Iowa. It appears his descendants added a more modern gravestone, which you will find at the link.

In regards to the other names listed as “Watertown Boys,” they remain a mystery, as I can’t find any information or census records for them.