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Career and Family of Father William Edward McGough


This is a continuation of my page William Edward McGough and James Andrew Grant: Priests in Northern California.

 Table of Contents 

Father McGough's Career in California

When Father James Edward McGough visited Alexander Joseph Grant in Ontario in 1907, he was 36 years old and had been a priest for more than 7 years. Father McGough had been born in Gibson township, Sierra County, California, on June 13, 1871. Gibson township had previously been called Whiskey Diggings township, and was better known by that name. Father McGough had four older sisters, three younger brothers, and one younger sister.

Father McGough entered the seminary at age 19, St. Joseph's College in Illinois. He completed his studies at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore and was ordained in Baltimore on December 23, 1889. When he visited Alexander Joseph Grant in Ontario in 1907, Father McGough was in charge of raising funds for the San Francisco Youth's Directory, which had been demolished in the earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906. At the time of the earthquake, Father McGough had been assigned to St. Francis of Assissi Catholic Church in San Francisco, which was burned out by the fire following the earthquake. In 1910, Father McGough was an assistant pastor at St. Vincent dePaul Catholic Church in San Francisco.

Here is an entry from my page McGoughs and McGues in the 1880 Census of the United States which describes the family of a nine year old who became Monsignor William Edward McGough:

CA - Mendocino County

Anderson Township

(1880) Thomas McGough, age 52, farmer, born in Ireland (T-9, roll 68, page 70, or 315D, line 28; Family History Film: 1254068). [In the 1870 census, this family was in Gibson, Sierra county, California.]

Mary McGough, age 43, keeps house, born in Ireland. [Mary Brown]

Mary Ann McGough, age 12, at school, born in California.

Catharine B. McGough, age 11, at school, born in California.

Rose M. McGough, age 10, at school, born in California.

William E. McGough, age 9, at school, born in California. [In February 1912, Father William E. McGough assumed the duties of pastor at St. Mary's Church in the San Joaquin Valley (Stockton, California) after the death of Father William Bernard O'Connor (born in 1841) on December 26, 1911. Father O'Connor had served as pastor of the church since 1872. History of San Joaquin County, California by George H. Tinkham, pages 174, 300 and 991 (Historic Record Co., Los Angeles, California, 1923, 1627 pages). Father McGough was later to be called the "imperious Monsignor William E. McGough." Catholic San Francisco by Maureen Kramlich. Father McGough served as pastor of St. Mary's for almost 39 years - until his death in 1950.]

John McGough, age 6, at school, born in California. [John Patrick McGough, age 21, height 5 feet 7 1/4 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, dark hair, farmer, born in California, residence at Boonville, Anderson precinct, registered to vote in Mendocino, California, on June 16, 1894. California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898 on]

Thomas P. McGough, age 5, at school, born in California.

James McGough, age 3, born in California.

Eliza McGough, age 11 months, born in California.

John Reed, age 60, laborer, cook, born in Ireland.

St. Mary's Seminary of Baltimore was founded in 1791 and was the first Roman Catholic Seminary in the United States. Father William Edward McGough was educated there. Father William E. McGough and several other young men were ordained to the priesthood in Maryland on December 23, 1899, as reported in the Irish World (New York, NY) on January 6, 1900, page 2.

The Ukiah News of November 30, 1950, contains the obituary of Monsignor William Edward McGough:

Monsignor McGough, Native Son of Mendocino County, Dies in Stockton

Friends and former classmates of Monsignor William E. McGough in Mendocino county received belated news this week of his death in Stockton, Nov. 7. Solemn' Requiem Mass was offered in the Church of ... in the priesthood Dec. 23, 1889. The McGough family settled in Anderson Valley about 75 years ago and the children were raised there and attended the Con Creek school. Msgr. McGough was the fourth child in a family of ten children - six girls and four boys. He is survived by four sisters, Mrs. Mary A. Waltz of Oakland, and Mrs. Ella Cunningham, Kathryn and Rosa M. McGough of San Francisco; a niece, Miss Marie McGough of San Francisco, and a nephew, Ernest T. Waltz of Australia. Kathryn and Rosa McGough and Mrs. Ella Cunningham have devoted their lives to school teaching. Ella was married to the late John Cunningham, member of the prominent pioneer family of Ukiah. He was a brother-in-law of Mrs. Ruby Cunningham, Ukiah postmaster, and of Mrs. Mary Cunningham of Yuba City, a sister of Hale McCowen, Ukiah attorney. "

LENGTHY ILLNESS. Monsignor McGough died Nov. 7 after a lingering Illness. He was a native of Downieville, Calif.; and entered the seminary at 19 at St. Joseph's college in Illinois and completed his studies at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. He was ordained Dec. 23, 1889, by the late Cardinal Gibbons in Baltimore.

Assigned to the archdiocese, of San Francisco, he served as assistant pastor of St. Francis church from 1900 until the fire and earthquake of 1906. For the next two years he was charged with raising funds for the demolished Youth's Directory.* He served as assistant at Mission Dolores, San Francisco, in 1908 and 1909 and as pastor pro-tem at St. Vincent's de Paul's church until 1911, when he was assigned to Stockton. While there he also served as member of-the diocesan charity board from 1934 to 1945.

Interment was in Holy-Cross cemetery, Stockton.

*Here is a 1906 photograph of the Catholic Youth's Directory, Nineteenth and Guerrero Sts., San Francisco, showing the earthquake damage. The Youth's Directory was a temporary home for friendless and abused boys between the ages of 7 and 14. There were 67 occupants of the Youth's Directory listed in the census of 1900, which includes a staff of six and 61 inmates.

A Short History of Saint Francis of Assisi Church — Pro-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of San Francisco — Established June, 1849, describes the San Francisco earthquake of 1906:

On 18 April 1906 at 5:13 AM, the earth trembled violently; the water mains of San Francisco crumbled. Shortly after the earthquake, devastating fires broke out all over the city consuming even the interior of Saint Francis Church. The mighty brick walls of the Church, however, together with its badly scorched towers, remained entirely intact.

After much consideration and careful study the diocese decided to rebuild a new church within the original walls. Engineers drew up the plans to support the floor and roof with steel girders. On 2 March 1919, the Catholic community of San Francisco rededicated the newly restored church.

See also: Landmark 5  — Saint Francis of Assisi Church — 610 Vallejo Street at Columbus  North Beach — Built 1860 — Rebuilt 1919 and Church Wreckage after 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and The San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of April 18, 1906, and their effects on structures and structural materials.  (USGS report, 1907).

In about 1909, Father McGough was appointed acting pastor of St. Mary's Church in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California. Here is an article from the San Francisco Call, Volume 111, Number 65, 3 February 1912 — page 11 

"Rev. W. E. McGough, Who Seeks Priest For Stockton Altar

Archbishop Riordan's Counsel Sought Regarding New Appointment at St. Mary's

[Special Dispatch to The Call]

STOCKTON, Feb. 2.—Rev. Father William E. McGough, who for the last three years has been acting as presiding, pastor of St. Mary's church here, was In San Francisco today conferring with Archbishop Riordan in regard to the appointment of a successor to the late Rev. Father W. B. O'Connor as parish priest. Word came from' San Francisco tonight that the appointment of a pastor of St. Mary's church will be announced next week. Father McGough is a San Francisco man and was educated at St. Mary's college, Baltimore.

When William Bernard O'Connor, who had served as pastor of St. Mary's since June of 1872, died in his priestly office December 26, 1911, he was succeeded. in February, 1912, by Father William E. McGough. San Joaquin County, CA History Transcribed by Kathy Sedler.

Father McGough registered to vote in San Joaquin County, Stockton, Sixth Precinct, First Ward, as William Edward McGough, in 1912–-1918, and William E. McGough, in 1920-1924, clergyman, 203 East Washington, Democrat; in 1926-1928 as William E. McGough, priest, 203 East Washington; 1930-1932, 1934, 1936-1938, and 1942 as William Edward McGough, clergyman, 203 East Washington, Democrat (2nd Precinct, 1st Ward).

On July 18, 1916, a newly built church was dedicated in Mantecca, California, about 14 miles south of Stockton on Highway 99.. In the preceding two years, while the church was under construction, Father McGough of St. Mary's in Stockton came to Mantecca regularly to celebrate Mass in a local hall. Father McGough assisted at the dedication. History of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church Manteca, California.

Our First Church

Before 1914, water was very scarce in the Valley. As such, there were only a few families of varied nationalities living in the area. The Catholics of the district were served in the missions of Atlanta and Lathrop. With the formation of an Irrigation District, however, more families settled into the area. It is believed that in the late 1913 or early 1914, Father McGough and his assistants from St. Mary’s in Stockton started to come to Manteca, regularly, for Mass. At that time, Mass was celebrated in Cowell’s Hall at the corner of Yosemite Ave. and Manteca Rd.

In late 1914, it is believed that $4,000 was raised to build a permanent church. Since there were only about ninety-five Catholic families in and around Manteca, it was extremely difficult to raise funds. At that time, the church owned three lots that were part of the Cowell tract. The property on E. Yosemite Ave. and Sherman St. was chosen as the site of the first church and parish house. The church, one of the prettiest little structures in the San Joaquin Valley, had seating for three hundred people. This project cost approximately $50,000.

The dedication services for Manteca’s new Catholic Church was held on Sunday, June 18, 1916. It was officiated by the Most Rev. Archbishop Hanna of San Francisco. Father Grant of Burlingame, assisted by Father McGough and Father Sorasio, performed the High Mass. The church, on that Sunday morning, was filled to overflowing. In 1917, the Parish of St. Anthony was established. The first pastor was Father Marchisio who served the parish until 1926. As the community grew, additional seats were needed in the church. In 1924, the building was extended by thirty feet and made cruciform. This expansion project increased the seating from three hundred to about four hundred.

Father Tozzi made plans to install a bell in the bell tower when he became the second pastor in 1926. The bell was installed in 1929. On the afternoon of September 12, 1960, the church was severely damaged by fire. The bell was saved and was used in the next church that was built.

The 1920 census of Stockton, San Joaquin county, California, lists (with no address):

(1920) William E. McGough, age 48, single, born in California to parents born in Ireland, priest, Catholic.

Here are excerpts from The First 138 Years from the 125th Anniversary Commemorative Book of St. Mary's High School, Stockton, California:

As Stockton grew, so too did the demands of commerce. Two railways, the Santa Fe and the Copperopolis, passed through the convent grounds on a right-of-way. Then came the streetcar line-virtually through the front garden. Shortly after Father O'Connor died in December 1911, the new pastor of St. Mary's, Father William E. McGough, determined St. Agnes Academy must move. Away from the intrusion-and the flooding, north to where the city was fast moving.

St. Agnes High School, 1914-1931

Father McGough selected as a site for the new school facility, the corner of San Joaquin and Park Streets. By September 1914, students began classes in what the Evening Mail described as being a very modern building, designed by the pastor himself, ' The building was faced with brick. The lower floor held the elementary school, an auditorium with a stage and a small cafeteria. The second floor held classrooms, a commercial room, a good-sized library, study hall, and science laboratory. As well, the Sisters had a plan for continued improvements. The evaluators from the University of California were very impressed and fully accredited the school, Four Sisters taught the high school students, four taught in grammar school and there was a music teacher, as the music department had developed to a point of distinction.

"Like Father O'Connor, Msgr. McGough was the guiding hand. Continually, he visited classrooms, conducted assemblies, administered tests, assigned essays and supervised the writing of the same. He also selected and directed drama productions and taught logic," recalls Sister M. Colette Standart, O.P.


With the Great Depression, it was exceedingly difficult to support two high schools, even with financial support from the Archbishop of San Francisco. In 1930, Father McGough proposed the consolidation of the two high schools as being essential to the survival of even one. The Brothers, who declined to teach high school girls as a matter of policy, left in 1931. The Dominican Sisters taught at the recombined school-called St. Mary's High School—in the newer facility on Lincoln Street.

Construction of a new St. Mary's Church at a different site in Stockton was begun by Monsignor McGough on March 5, 1941.

See Building of the New St. Mary's Church in Stockton, California by Betty McComb in the San Joaquin Historian, volume XI, number 2, April-June 1975 (pages 73-80). The new church was opened for services on December 13, 1942. A solemn high Mass, sung by Msgr. McGough, marked the dedication, which was attended by more than 1000 persons. Here is a one paragraph from the eight page article in the April-June 1975 edition of the San Joaquine Historian:

The funding for the building came largely through the personal efforts of Msgr. McGough who was an astute businessman and personally handled the financing of the new church. In addition to the use of funds derived from church investments, volunteers from the parish were organized to visit members to solicit additional funds. The Monsignor also contributed liberally of personal funds which he had accumulated through the years through wise investments in stock, etc. The combined efforts of the Monsignor and the volunteer solicitors, as well as a stimulated wartime economy, allowed the new church to be paid for fully by the time of its completion in December, 1942.

This article, on page 77, contains a photograph of Monsignor McGough with this caption:

THE BUILDER AND FIRST PASTOR of the Church of the Annunciation. the Right Reverend Monsignor William E. McGough. Assigned to St. Mary's Church in downtown Stockton (on Washington Street between Hunter and San Joaquin streets) in December of 1910, he remained in Stockton until his death in November of 1950. In October, 1944, the Archbishop of San Francisco named Msgr. McGough pastor of the newly-formed parish of the Church of the Annunciation, where he remained until his death.

The Editor's Notes on page 80 of the article make this comment:

Monsignor McGough was something of a legend in his own time in Stockton. A California native, he came to Stockton to relieve the ailing Father William O'Connor who had served as the pastor of St. Mary's for more than thirty years. The Monsignor was destined to serve in Stockton a total of thirty-nine years before he passed away in a San Francisco hospital on November 8. 1950.

In February of 1962 the central California counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Calaveras, and Mono were detached from the century-old Archdiocese of San Francisco. These five counties were formed Into the Diocese of Stockton. and the city of Stockton was declared its episcopal seat. The Most Reverend Hugh A, Donohoe of San Francisco was installed as its first bishop, and the Church of the Annunciation became the cathedral for the Diocese. The name of the Church was then changed from the Church of the Annunciation to Cathedral of the Annunciation. In 1969 Bishop Donohoe was succeeded by the present Bishop of Stockton, the Most Reverend Merlin J. Guilfoyle.

The story of St. Mary’s bell is told in Chapter 2 – The Church in the Valley of the History of the Diocese of Stockton:

In the 1930’s Archdiocesan officials responded to an apparent migration of Stockton Catholics north, away from the neighborhood of Old St. Mary’s, by planning two new parishes. St. Mary’s of the Annunciation would be built in north Stockton. Another parish would replace St. Mary of the Assumption and serve the southernmost part of the city. St. Mary’s was to be razed.

In the early 1940s, the pastor of Old St. Mary’s, Monsignor William McGough, was assigned to build Annunciation. In his enthusiasm, he had the 1,500-pound bell, cast in 1853, relocated from Old St. Mary’s to the new church and mounted in the bell tower behind a foot of reinforced concrete.

Old St. Mary’s parishioners were not pleased with plans to destroy their beloved church. That fact and declining population made fund-raising almost impossible. Old St. Mary’s was spared.

Now the parishioners asked for the return of their bell, not the replacement offered by Monsignor McGough. The Monsignor advised the Archbishop that if he would furnish the dynamite, the bell would indeed be returned. The bell remains in the Annunciation bell tower to this day.

Contractor Corbin Shepherd liked to tell how Msgr. McGough ordered workmen to bury the steel beams which were to be used in the church construction. During World War II, steel was hard to come by, and Monsignor was not about to let his beams go anywhere but into the structure of his church. So the beams were buried and removed from the earth as needed.

Here is an excerpt from an article with the headline Cathedral of the Annunciation's stained glass is a spiritual experience to behold by Michael Fitzgerald dated June 3, 2012, on published by the San Joaquin Media Group:

We can debate Stockton's best building. But there is a runaway winner for Stockton's best windows: the stained glass at Cathedral of the Annunciation.

The magnificent, mysterious, eye-candy windows are not only the city's best religious art. They are probably the best public art of any genre, period.

"The cynical comment would be that if my sermon gets really boring, there's something to look at," joked Monsignor John Armistead, Annunciation's pastor.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Annunciation, a solemn, soaring, modified Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral on Rose Street in Stockton's central section.

The whole cathedral - wrongly omitted from discussions of the city's best buildings - deserves its own tribute.

But the windows are the cathedral's crown jewel.

"Without these beautiful windows this church would be little more than a body without a soul, void of the warmth of life," a local historian wrote 1975.

With them the building is alive with light and upward reach. Though the cathedral's "soul" is as complex as it is beautiful.

Monsignor William E. McGough, the man behind the cathedral project, sketched out their Old and New Testament subjects.

Artisans at several San Francisco stained-glass companies executed the designs. The styles are not identical or even completely harmonious.

What they are: a feast of religious imagery, biblical story telling, arcane symbolism and, above all, color.

The California, death Index, 1940-1997 on lists William E. McGough, born June 13, 1871 in California, died November 8, 1950, in San Francisco, whose mother's maiden name was Browne.

Immigration of Thomas McGough

My educated guess is that Thomas McGough, father of William Edward McGough, emigrated from Ireland, probably county Monaghan, to Boston in 1848 when he was 18 years old. The most likely year of his birth is 1830.

A Thomas McGough, age 18, born in Ireland, arrived in Boston on June 9 (my birthday), 1848. (National Archives' series number M277, roll 24). Boston, 1821-1850 Passenger and Immigration Lists on Thomas was traveling aboard the Telessar (of Wiscasset, Maine, at one time the busiest seaport north of Boston, G. H. Wood, master) from Liverpool with Margaret McGough, age 40, and Pat McGough (male), age 31. Also on the same page of the passenger list was Alice McGough, age 14 (listed under Pat McCormick, age 28, and Biddy McCormick, age 30). All were born in Ireland and intended to become inhabitants of the United States. Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943 on [There is a faint possibility that the Margaret and Patrick McGough on the Telessar were the persons in separate households listed as Margaret McGough, age 37, born in Ireland, and Patrick McGough, age 30, born in Ireland, in the 1850 census of Pawtucket, Bristol County, Massachusetts.]

There are other candidates:

[Thomas McGough, age 19, and Eliza McGough, age 17, arrived in New York from Belfast on the ship Mertome on June 4, 1845. They are listed on the manifest next to each other. Both were born in Ireland and intended to become inhabitants of the United States. Each was listed as a labourer. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, on]

[Thomas McGough, age 21, arrived in New York from Liverpool, on June 19, 1849, aboard the ship London. Irish Immigrants: New York Port Arrival Records, 1846-1851 on]

[Thomas McGough, age 22, a laborer, arrived in New York on June 16, 1849, aboard the British Barque "Tadmore" from Greenock, Scotland. He was from Scotland and intended to become an inhabitant of the United States. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, on]

[Thomas McGough, age 19, a laborer, arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, from Liverpool, on January 19, 1851, aboard the Queen Pomase. New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1945, on]

Naturalization of Thomas McGough in Nevada County, California

Thomas McGough, father of James Edward McGough, was naturalized in the California District Court of Nevada County, California, on November 1, 1856, according to the later voter registrations of Thomas McGough in California.

California Naturalization and Citizenship--History tells us that naturalization proceedings were under the jurisdiction of the district court (a state court not a federal court) from 1850 until 1880. The California, Northern U.S. District Court Naturalization Index, 1852-1989 is online at, but there are no records for Thomas McGough. The records are limited to the United States District Court and do not include state courts.

Nevada County lies immediately south of Sierra County. Nevada County was created from Yuba County on April 25, 1851. The county seat is Nevada City. The county courthouse burned twice, in 1856 and 1863, and many records were damaged. (Sierra County was created from Yuba County on April 16, 1852, and the county seat is Downieville.)

To become a citizen, an immigrant was required to meet a residence requirement of 5 years in the US, and 1 year in the state where the petition for naturalization was filed. A first step, which had to be taken at least three years before filing a Petition for Naturalization, was the filing of a Declaration of Intention. This could be done at any time after the immigrant arrived in the US. The second step was to file a Petition for Naturalization, which required a minimum of five years residency in the US and one year's residency in the state in which the petition was filed. See Naturalization Resources on Fianna Guide to Irish Genealogy.

Family History Library Catalog:

Title Nevada County naturalization, card index, 1856-1950
Authors California. Superior Court (Nevada County) (Added Author)
California. District Court (Nevada County) (Added Author)
Notes Microfilm of card index located at the Searle Historical Library, Nevada City, California.
Contains card indexes, in alphabetical order by surname, to naturalization records and certificates of the Superior and the District courts of Nevada County.

Following the Gold Rush to California

Thomas McGough, father of Monsignor William Edward McGough, was born in Ireland, and came to San Francisco from the east coast of the United States. He crossed the Isthmus of Panama, and traveled from there by steamer via Acapulco, Mexico, and San Diego and arrived in San Francisco on August 8, 1851. He then made for gold country.

Here is a posting by Joan T. Sullivan on the McGeough Genealogy Forum on April 29, 1999:

Thomas McGeough (sic) San Francisco 1851.

On the steamer CONSTITUTION from Panama — no Canal in those days so an overland journey had to be made from the East Coast -which arr Ag. 8, 1851: Thomas McGhough (sic)!!! Very interesting. To me, obviously a McGeough. No name like it elsewhere. I checked the Rootsweb's Surname Helper. See L. Rasmussen's Books: San Francisco Passenger Ships, v. 2 p. 187-8. 

See: San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists contributed by James Smith to NorCal Genealogy. The name is on page 311 of volume 2, the index in Rasmussen's book, as McChough, Thomas, 188 San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists Vol. II [1850-1851] on Here is the information in the book, beginning on page 187:


TYPE: Steamer

FROM: Panama

ARRIVED: August 8, 1851


PASSAGE: From Panama, via Acapulco, Mexico and San Diego, California. Departed Panama on July 15, 1851.

CARGO: None listed.

Passengers ... Thomas McChough ... (among about 150 passenger listed).

The Constitution was a relatively small steamer of 600 tons of the Pacific Mail Steamship Line operating on a route between San Francisco and Panama via intermediate ports. (page xiii of volume 2 of Rasmussen). In the introduction, Rasmussen states:

Volume II of SAN FRANCISCO SHIP PASSENGER LISTS opens with vessels arriving in the Port of San Francisco during April, 1850 and closes, a year and a half later, in November, 1851. Herein, are recorded the names of several thousands who had come to the West in search of the golden goose who had laid the "golden egg." It was gold that attracted them to California -- it was a ship that carried them. ...

During the first quarter of 1851, competition was fast bringing down the cost of travel between the United States and California. The same could be applies in rate travel to California from foreign ports. It was especially true on some parts of the line of travel between San Francisco and Panama. One eastern steamship line reduced their fare passage to one hundred and twenty-five dollars, passage, and between Chagres and New York the rate went even lower. This reduction resulted in an enormous amount of bookings to California. The early day steam voyage must have considered the cheaper passage price a fantastic bargain in comparison with the old rates, when charges were to the tune of one thousand five hundred dollars, exclusive of the cost over the Isthmus.

The California gold rush began in 1948–1949. California became a state in 1850. The California Gold Rush, brought a large increase in the transportation of people from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Steamships brought gold seekers from eastern US ports who trekked across the isthmus by foot, horse, and later rail. On the Pacific side, they boarded Pacific Mail Steamship Company vessels headed for San FranciscoIsthmus of Panama from Wikipedia. See: The Isthmian Crossing -- The Argonauts and  Crossing the Isthmus of Panama, 1849, The Letter of Dr. Augustus Campbell, Augustus Campbell and Colin D. Campbell, California History, Vol. 78, No. 4 (Winter, 1999/2000), pp. 226–237, published by: University of California Press. See also: The Panama Railroad and Jan 28, 1855: First train crosses the Panamanian isthmus.

Here is an excerpt from  “Trains, Boats and Trails: Tracking Levi Strauss in Panama — Day One” by Lynn Downey.

From 1849 until the end of 1851, the only way to cross the 50-mile isthmus from the Caribbean to the Pacific side was in boats on the Chagres River, then by mule or on foot to Panama City over the old Spanish treasure trail. This trip could take days or even weeks, and along the way, travelers encountered bugs, heat and torrential rain, yellow fever, malaria, larcenous boatmen, and violent bandits, who robbed and murdered many a gold rush hopeful. It could also take weeks for a steam ship to show up in Panama City to take the miners and other entrepreneurs up to San Francisco.

Mountains and Molehills, or Recollections of a Burnt Journal, by Frank Marryat, London, 1855, describes. hapter I, Marryat's crossing the isthmus in 1853 and his subseqent 45 day boat trip to San Francisco.

Travel from San Francisco to Marysville, at the western edge of gold country, was by Steamboat. Rasmussen (volume 2, page xvii) lists steamboat routes in California as of August, 1850. Here is his route from San Francisco up Steamboat Slough, the Sacramento River, and Feather Rivers to Marysville at the mouth of the Yuba River:


Miles from each place


Miles from San Francisco
San Francisco to Fremont‡  
Fremont to Nicolaus
Nicolaus to Plumas
Plumas to Hock Ranche*
Hock Ranche to El Dorado†
El Dorado to Eliza
Eliza to Yuba City
Yuba City to Columbiana
Yuba City, via Yuba River, to Marysville

*Hock Farm on the Feather River was the homestead of Captain John Augustus Sutter, located on the west branch of the Feather River. See: Sutter Hock Farm on Wikipedia and California Landmarks in Sutter County; and About Sutter County; and Life of John Augustus Sutter 1803-1880. The fort of Hock Farm was established in 1841 on the banks of the Feather River by John Augustus Sutter and was the first white settlement in Sutter County. See Sutter Hock Farm:

At the age of 31, Sutter left Europe on a French passport and traveled a circuitous route that took him from New York to St. Louis to Oregon to Hawaii and then to Alaska. He sailed from Sitka, Alaska to Yerba Buena (San Francisco), arriving on July 1, 1839, at a time when California was part of Mexico. Sutter took Mexican citizenship on August 29, 1840 and between 1841 and 1844 was granted by Mexican authorities some 145,000 acres of land in the Sacramento Valley, including a portion he named New Helvetia that included parts of present day Sutter County. On some 600 acres along the Feather River in 1841, Sutter established Hock Farm, the first non-Indian settlement in the area. It became the site of a large grain, orchard, cattle and vineyards operation.

There is a sketch map of Hock Farm just south of Yuba City and west of the Feather River on Life of John Augustus Sutter 1803–1880. Here is a photograph of a painting of Sutter's Hoch Farm in about 1849. The painting includes a view of the first steamboat which passed up the Feather River receiving a salute from General Sutter and showing the house, tents, men, and two cannons saluting the steamboat in the river at the right.

†El Dorado, Eliza, and Marysville in Yuba County are on an 1851 map: A New Map of the Gold Region in California by Charles Drayton Gibbes, along with Yuba City, Hock R., Nicholas (sic), Vernon, and Columbiana (on the west side of the Feather River (Rio d. l. (de las) Plumas on the map) to the north of Marysville) in Sutter County. This map shows Fremont on the west side of the Feather River, across the river from Vernon, on the south side of the Sacramento River, (which the map calls the Destruction River) where it joins the Feather River, and becomes Rio Sacramento. The Map is also in the David Rumsey Map Collection.

Fremont Landing in Yolo County.  "In 1851 the town of Fremonts Landing was disbanded; people moved out and took the town's buildings with them." Fremont Landing on Wikipedia. Fremont's Landing was directly across the Sacramento River from the present site of the Verona Marina, 6955 Garden Highway, Nicolaus, Sutter County, California, where the Sacramento River flows into the Feather River. Verona Marina is 10.7 miles south of Nicolaus, California on the Garden Highway, according to Google Maps, 0.9 miles south of the town of Verona. See Verona Marina on, and Verona in Sutter County CA on CA Home Town Locator. Today, the Fremont Weir State Wildlife Area is nearby, at rivermile 83 on the Sacramento River, just west of Fremont LandingVerona Village Resort and Verona Marina are at river mile 79.5 on the Sacramento River. Maps and direction are available on Verona Village River Resort The resort is 10.6 road miles south of Nicolaus, and 0.9 miles (2 minutes) south of Verona, according to Google Maps. The original name of Verona was Vernon, and at one time it was the county seat of Sutter county. Here are excerpts from Two Gentlemen in Verona, California, by Jim Morris:

It turns out this extremely rural area was once the Sutter County seat.  The town was originally known as Vernon and was founded by ship captain James Savage.  Savage was in Chile buying a load of mahogany wood when word of the Gold Rush reached him.  Instead of returning to New York, he traveled to the Sacramento Valley, used the mahogany to build a three-story hotel and set up shop. 

The town of Vernon was born in 1849 and grew to about 50 buildings, including Savage’s hotel, several boarding houses, stores, saloons, gambling houses, a bowling alley, blacksmith shop, butcher, laundry and post office.  It took less than two years for the town to falter, as the high water of the Feather River allowed ships to bypass Vernon and provide Gold Mining supplies to Marysville instead. 

Adding insult to injury, the town name had to be changed from Vernon to Verona. As the local historian explained to me, in the days before zip codes you couldn’t have two towns with the same name in the same state.  Vernon, Sutter County lost out to Vernon, Los Angeles County.  Despite  Despite its brief heyday this community had another important distinction – an impressive diversity. In the early 20th century, residents included Portuguese, Japanese, East Indian, African-American, Korean, Chinese and even Hawaiian settlers.  Historians don’t know why this diversity occurred but it’s another fascinating nugget of information.

Other maps showing Fremont on the west side of the sacramento River, opposite Vernon, include Map Of The Mining District of California by Wm. A. Jackson (1851, published by Lambert & Lane, New York) and A Newly Constructed and Improved Map of the State of California Shewing The extent and Boundary of the different Counties ... with a corrected and improved definition of the Gold Region by J. B.Tassin (1851, published by Cooke and Lecount, San Francisco, in the David Rumsey Map Collection.

The early history of Plumas properly begins with the naming of the river from which its name was derived, and whose arms and tendrils reach out into the county in all directions. Its patron stream, the Feather river, has been for years the fountain of its wealth and the source of its prosperity. In 1820 a Spanish exploring expedition passed up the valley, headed by Captain Louis A. Arguello. By this party the name Rio de las Plumas, or Feather river, was bestowed upon the stream, because of the great number of feathers of wild fowl floating on its bosom. At the same time the Yuba river was christened Rio de los Uva. As the Spanish pronunciation of the word was "Ooba," it is easy to see how it was Americanized into "Yuba " by the heedless miner. Bear river was named Rio de los Osos by the same party. —Illustrated history of Plumas, Lassen & Sierra counties, with California from 1513 to 1850, page 144

The county seat of Sutter County was moved from Vernon back to Nicolaus (where it had briefly been in 1850) from 1852 to1856, then finally to Yuba City. See Table 7.4-2. #27 &28, Historic Sites in Chapter 7, Recreation. on the website of the California Natural Resources Agency.

History Of Yuba And Sutter Counties:

The law creating the county located the county seat at Oro, but that place had no suitable building, so the Court of Sessions at its first meeting decreed that the seat of government should be at Nicolaus until proper buildings were available at Oro. Early in 1851 the county seat was moved to Auburn, but in that year Auburn became the county seat of the newly created county of Placer. Vernon then became the seat of government for Sutter County, and so continued for about a year, when Nicolaus again attained the coveted prize and retained it for two years. In the fall of 1854 a contested election seems — the records are very obscure — to have given the county seat to Yuba City for a few months, but later, on a final decision, to have returned it to Nicolaus. In 1856, however, an election was held, under authorization of the legislature, in which Yuba City was selected by a large majority as the seat of government for the county; and it has so continued to the present day. —History Of Yuba And Sutter Counties, Chapter II.

Named in honor of John Augustus Sutter, Sutter County was one of the original counties in the State of California when the State entered the Union on September 19, 1850. During the first two years of its existence the county seat went to four towns in succession: Oro, Nicolaus, Auburn, and Vernon. The first permanent settlement in the county was an adobe built by John Sutter near Hock farm in 1841. In 1849, Samuel Brannan, Pierson B. Reading, and Henry Cheever laid out Yuba City, marking the beginning of planned settlement in the county. By 1850, three towns were established in the county: Vernon, Nicolaus, and Yuba City. Sutter County remained principally an agricultural area without cities until the incorporation of Yuba City in 1908 and Live Oak in 1847. —Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan—4.3 Jurisdictional Elements, page 181

This comment is made in  History of Yuba County California by Thompson & West, 1879, with illustrations, Chapter IX: Settlements in Yuba County to 1848:

"The contiguity of Yuba and Sutter counties renders the records of their early settlement almost inseparable, and to fully appreciate the situation of affairs during that period, it is well to understand the relative locations in Sutter county.  There were only two settlements of note in that county up to 1848, at Hock Farm and Nicholaus (sic). ...  It was not until  the spring of 1850, after the discovery of gold, that Sutter moved to Hock Farm.  His fort was so occupied with traders, that every available room was taken, and every suitable place was in demand for the numerous stores to supply the rush of miners into the districts." 

See: Exploding gold rush steamboat service, part of My Gold Rush Tales by John Rose Putnam.

Movement of Supplies from Marysville to Mining Camps

Movement of supplies from Marysville, the end of the steamboat service, to the mining camps was often by mule train. See:The Early History of the Yuba River Valley by George Emmanuel Hanson, Chapter XI, The Growth of Cities. See also: The Golden Skein: California's Gold-Rush Transportation Network by A. C. W. Bethel, part of the University of California Press E-Books Collection.

Packing to the Mines

In the absence of roads, supplies at first reached the mining camps by pack mules. The mules were managed by experienced Mexican muleteers, or arrieros . Their Mexican pack saddles rested the load on a straw-stuffed leather bag, called an aparejo, instead of on wooden crossbucks. The aparejo was heavier, but it was easier on the animals' backs, and the Army later also adopted it. A mule could pack from 200 to 350 pounds of freight twenty-five to thirty-five miles a day, depending on terrain. Mule loads included flour, beans, whiskey, chairs, tables, plows, pianos, and iron safes.[29]

Because each miner consumed at least a pound of supplies daily, packing to the mines required large numbers of mules: 2,500 mules carried freight from Marysville to Downieville, for example, providing employment for perhaps four hundred men. One thousand pack mules left Marysville in one day, carrying one hundred tons of freight, the equivalent of two steamboat loads. Packing was a seasonal business, but sometimes pack trains operated in the Sierra winter, carrying barley along with the freight because there was no forage for the animals. Sometimes animals and muleteers froze to death. Other mules perished in falls caused by shifting packs or unstable ground, and robbers and hostile Indians sometimes attacked the trains.[30]

The Rare early gold rush era manuscript map of the Feather River from Yuba City and Marysville north to the town of Featherton and Honcut Creek shows, at the bottom, the towns of Yuba City to the east and Marysville to the west on opposite side of the feather River. Further north along the Feather River are the towns of Columbiana, Oakland, and Featherton, and Honcut Creek. Honcut Creek is described as "the upper boundary of Cap. Sutters land." To the north and off the map is the Oroville Wildlife Area. The map is pictured on an auction site of PBA Galleries, San Francisco, and described as: Lot 412: Ms. Map of Feather River c.1850—Map of Feather River, from the upper bounds of Yuba City to Hancut (sic) Creek, the upper boundary of Cap. Sutter's land:

Description: Manuscript map, pen-&-ink on paper, backed with linen. 68x45 cm. (26¾x17¾").Rare early gold rush era manuscript map of the Feather River from Yuba City and Marysville north to the town of Featherton and Hancut Creek. In addition, there are the towns of Oakland and Columbiana. Featherton and Oakland are listed in Gudde's California Gold Camps*, Hoover's Historic Spots in California, and Durham's California Geographical Names as being founded in 1850 as "speculative cities," but having "no practical existence" (Gudde describing Featherton in particular), so their existence on any map is rare. But the town of Columbiana, just south of Oakland, does not appear in any of those three tomes. Other features of the maps include the division of land along the western back of the river (Sutter's Hok Farm†) into large plots of 700 or so acres each; a place called Murray's where there is a ferry; Mouet's Ranch (actually the ranch of John Monet, who founded the short-lived Oakland), and in the west, the "East end or peak of the Buttes."

*California Gold Camps: A Geographical and Historical Dictionary of Camps, Towns, and Localities where Gold was Found and Mined, Wayside Stations and Trading Centers. Erwin G. Gudde (Elizabeth K. Gudde, ed.). Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press. 467 pp. $19.50 (cloth). (1975)

Feather River from Yuba-Sutter Wiki:

Hydraulic mining was done extensively on the Feather River during the Gold Rush. Due to mine tailings that were dumped into the river and raised the riverbed substantially, the river is no longer navigable north of Yuba City and is only navigable by small boats south of Yuba City. (Before that, the Feather River had been navigable to Oroville.) These mine tailings also caused the river to flood  repeatedly in the 1870s, until steps were taken to better protect Sacramento from flooding.

See: Gold Rivers of Northern California by Marjorie B. Giles, an overview of the Yuba and Feather Rivers, two major gold bearing rivers of the 1849 California Gold Rush.

Whiskey Diggings

Whiskey Diggings and Gibsonville, mining settlements in Sierra County, California, were in a township called Whiskey Diggings in the 1860 census, and Gibson in the 1870 census. (Whiskey Diggings was referred to as the Village of Newark in a separate one page census return in 1880.) Other then Newark (Whiskey Diggings), principal mining towns of Sierra County in 1877 were Howland Flat, Gibsonville, Port Wine, Monte Cristo, Forest City (Bald Mountain), and Alleghany. See: Statistics of Mine and Mining in the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains, being the Eights Annual Report of Rossiter Worthington Raymond, United States Commissioner of Mining Statistics (Washington, Government Printing Office 1877), page 103.

Whiskey Diggings was a small mining settlement to the immediate south of Delahunty Lake in the northwestern part of in Sierra County, California. Whiskey Diggings is about two miles east of the Quincy La Porte Road on the Johnsville McCrea Road. A map is available on a website describing the Whiskey Diggings Cemetery. Here is their description of the cemetery:

Whiskey Diggings was a small mining community. Now, there is a Baptist lodge* and summer camp there. It appears as if the Baptists have tried to change the name of the lake there from Delahunty Lake to Pilot Lake (they have placed a roadside sign that seems to incorrectly identify the lake as such), though their name is not recognized by county, state, or federal authorities. From the outer eastern edge of Quincy, take the Quincy-La Porte Road. This is a very steep and winding road with severe cliffs, hairpin turns, and few guardrails. The road is closed whenever weather conditions do not allow for safe travel. Watch for sinkholes and rock slides. At about 18.3 miles, stay left of the split (County Road 120). At about 22.5 miles, take a left at the sign that reads "Gibsonville/Delahunty Lake." At the first split in the road, stay left (there is a sign that reads "Pilot Lake"). At the second split in the road (about 2 miles from initial turnoff), go right. Follow the road around to the lodge. The cemetery is in front of the lodge. Some of the persons listed here are from a prior survey, or from cemetery records. There are many unmarked graves.

Historically, this area is associated with the La Porte area of Plumas County. The entire La Porte area used to be part of Sierra County. Today, La Porte is part of Plumas County. The old settlement of Whiskey Diggings remains within the boundaries of Sierra County.

Road condition: Good, dirt/gravel. Probably inaccessible in bad weather months. Surveyed by Elizabeth Bullard-Watson, 22 Aug 2004.

*Pilot Lake Wilderness Camp. See also: Pilot Lake Camp and Pilot Lake Regular Baptist Camp.

Since Whiskey Diggings is adjacent to Whiskey Creek, a reasonable conclusion would be that one took its name from the other. The origin of the name for Whiskey Creek, however, has been assigned a different origin than Obed Grey Wilson gives in his book (below) for Whiskey Diggings. From Gold Rush Names Tell Some Rich Stories of Wins and Losses by Don Baumgart:

Gold Rush place names are bits of history, each holding a story, sometimes untold. But there's no mystery connected with the naming of Whiskey Creek.

A prospector was leading a string of pack burros, on one of which he had roped a keg of whiskey. Crossing a nameless creek, the burro swam, the keg sank.

"That keg was worth fifty burros!" the prospector cried as the West's biggest "whiskey and water" washed away down the creekbed. He promptly named the creek after his lost liquid fortune.

See: Whiskey Creek, California and Whiskey Diggings map. Another good zoomable multimap of the Whiskey Diggings/Gibsonville area will be found at Whiskey Diggings: Mine in Plumas County, California, USA. Whiskey Diggings was in Sierra County, about three miles east of the boundary with Plumas County.) Mapquest places Whiskey Diggings about a mile northeast of Whiskey Diggings Cemetery, toward Howland Flat. The map on California Hometown Locator places Whiskey Diggings about 500 yards east of the eastern edge of Delahunty Lake, immediately north of the Johnson McCrea Road, which it also mistakenly places in Plumas County, between Whiskey Creek to the north, and Slate Creek to the south. For a satellite view, go to Traveling Luck for Whiskey Diggings, California, United States, which also has some good photographs and a list of Wikipedia entries close to Whiskey Diggings.

Whiskey Creek ends when it flows into Slate Creek at Whiskey Diggings, and Slate Creek flows to the southwest, forms part of the boundary between Sierra County and Plumas County, and ends as it flows into the North Yuba River, which flows into the Feather River just beyond Marysville.

Here is part of a memo of February 19, 2007, from Chuck Knuthson of Sierra County GenWeb: Re: Where was Whiskey Diggings? (Here is an earlier similar message dated November 19, 2006.)

In Erwin G. Gudde’s book, California Gold Camps: A Geographical and Historical Dictionary of Camps, Towns, and Localities Where Gold Was Found and Mined; Wayside Stations and Trading Cent ers (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 1975), I found the following references: ...

“Whiskey Diggings [Sierra]. On Little Slate Creek, near the Plumas County line. Shown as Whiskey on Trask's map, 1853. The camp is mentioned by John Clark in "The California Guide," September 3, 1852. The _Alta_, February 24, 1854 reprints an item from the Gibsonville _Trumpet_ which reports that a greenhorn picked up a nugget of twenty-seven ounces on his first day of mining. There was prosperous tunnel work in progress when Vischer (p. 240) visited the place in 1859. One of the diggings averaged 700 dollars weekly in the winter of 1861 and 1862 ((Mining Press, March 16, 1861; July 16, 1862). The camp was also known as Whiskey and Newark (Bancroft Scraps, V, p. 1782). The place is still mentioned as a part of the Gibsonville district in 1918 (_Mining Bureau_, XVI, Sierra, p. 11)." [Gudde, p. 368-369.] [There is also a Whiskey Diggings, Hill in nearby Placer County.]

Here are the boundaries of the Gibsonville Mining District that were adopted on January 8, 1857:

"[F]rom the Mouth of the West Branch of Slate Creek on the South to the Mouth of 3rd Ravine with all the Ravines and Gulches putting into said Branch of Slate Creek, and the ground naturally drained thereby."

The West Branch of Slate Creek flows into the East Branch of Slate Creek about 3 miles south of the town of Gibsonville, and it is the west Branch that flows past Whiskey Diggings. On most maps, the East Branch of Slate Creek is designated as such and the west branch is simply designated Slate Creek.

The Census reports Tenth census, June 1, 1880, Volume 14 by the United States Census Office (free Google eBook), at page 293, under the heading Local Mining Laws and Regulations —Precious Metals—Sierra County—Gibsonville Mining District, defines the boundaries of the district: ass passed on January8, 1857:

Article I. The boundaries over which these rules and regulations shall be exercised is from the Mounth of the West Branch of Slate Creek on the South to the Mouth ov 3rd Rave with all the Ravines and Gulches putting into said Branch of Slate Creek, and the gropund naturally drained thereby.

Letter of 1852 from George Huntoon of Whiskey Diggings

Here is a Letter from George Huntoon, Whiskey Diggings, California, to his brother, dated November 18, 1852, published by the Wilmette Public Library Local History Collection:


Dear Brother,

I owe you an apology for not writing to you before this, but before I shall close this sheet you will perhaps see the excuse I had for not writing before. We are all of us in pretty good health and spirits. I hope these lines may find you all in the enjoyment of like blessings. I have received but one letter from home since our arrival in Cala [California], and that one was from my wife dated June 20 in which she stated that you and James Baker had both written to me. I have not seen them. If you would have me get letters direct them to Marysville, Cala [California].

Since we arived [arrived] in this place, we have done as well as we could expect to do under the circumstances. We have had but very little water until within a week past, and for a week or more we have had nothing but rain & snow day and night, we are encouraged to think that as soon as the weather shall settle we can do better than we have done. When there is a sufficient quantity of water [,] the mines here are worked with sluices and gold is taken out with them as safely and with greater facility than with a [?]. I think before you get this that Frank Goodbody will have arrived at home and if you will spend an hour or two with him you will get more information concerning the mines in this place and the mode of working them than I could give you in a whole sheet. Try it.

I wrote a letter to my wife and sent by Frank Goodbody which I expect she has got by this time and 10 oz. of clean dust that I sent with it. Since that time we have laid in our winter's stock of provisions which consist of 700 lbs of flour $21 per hundred [lbs], [illegible] pork $31 per 100 [lbs.,] ½ bbl [barrel?] salmon 18$, 108 lbs sugar [$] 13*, 107 lbs ham [$]32*, 475 lbs potatoes [$]6*, 106 [lbs] onions [$]12* [*a line above the numbers may be an abbreviation for "per 100 lbs"], and other small articles to am[moun]t of 20- hundred and fifty five pound[s]. I've paid $7 per [illegible] freight on it from Marysville to this place on wagons, 85 miles altogether. Our provisions and freight have cost us five hundred dollars. We have good claims that will pay even[?] from the top to the bed rock from 2 to 3 cts [cents] to the bucket[.] others[,] perhaps[,] would not work such ground, but would spend their time and money in looking for something better[,] but we are content to let well enough alone[.] the diggins [diggings] here are new and not much prospected and we have ground enough to keep us at work for two or three years or longer if we should think of staying here. It is impossible to say how long it will take us to make our piles, But I think some of us may[,] if we all have our health[,] be at home about this time another year.

I hope you will answer this as soon as you get it and let me know all the little particulars that you can gather from one end of the Ridge to the other as they will be quite interesting to us you know. Last week I was at Downieville on the north abo[ut] twenty eight miles from this place, and I saw a man by the name of Graham that had been acquainted with Secret Glen Cave he called it and he told me it had all been worked out this last season. I have therefore given up all hopes of even seeing it as long as I can get moderate wages where I am. the only work I have done since I came to this place has been with a cradle and the best earth I have found was 32 buckets $10.50. A few days after Frank left us I got a letter by Express mailed at Sacramento City and directed to Geo[rge] Huntoon and what to make of it I cannot say[.] I will copy it entire below and let you see for yourself if it was not enough to astonish anyone.

Sept.10 — Dear Brother, I take this time to write a few lines to you not knowing wheather [whether] you will get it or not[.] I will not write much. I ar[r]ived here August 29[.] I received a letter from home before I left the States. Started for Calafornia [California] I am now about 30 miles above Sacramento on South fork of the American River about four miles above Mormon Island to work at Macdonal [?] Company at six dollars per day[.] The wages will be better in a few days. If you get this letter, write to me[.] Direct your letter to Sacramento, and I will get it from there by express. I was to Dixon [?] Springs, and Hamblin George has gone home.

William Huntoon to George Huntoon:

I sent an answer to the above letter as soon as I got it, but have heard nothing from it since, and if you can solve the mistery [mystery] for me please do it as soon*

My Adventures in the Sierra by Obed Gray Wilson

In November, 1854, at the age of 18, Obed Gray Wilson left his home, "a secluded one in the upper Kennebac Valley in Somerset County, Maine, and set out for the gold fields of California. He was impelled "by the hope of successfully wooing the fickle goddess of fortune in the newly discovered placer mines of the Northern Sierra mining region." (From page 2 of his book, My Adventures in the Sierras, published in 1902 by The Editor Publishing Company of Franklin, Ohio.

Wilson chose a Nicaragua and Panama route although, as he points out:

The Nicaragua and Panama routes were even more tedious and dangerous, as the transportation and accommodations were very poor, and the exposure of the passengers to the extreme changes of temperature and tropical diseases proved fatal to thousands.

The steamers were almost wholly without sanitary provision, and the second cabin and steering departments kept so foul that cholera, yellow fever and ship fever prevailed to a frightful extent nearly every trip during the summer and fall months.

I chose the Nicaragua route, and on a bright November morning sailed from New York on a crowded steamer, but in a sea so calm and an air so still and balmy as to make the trip delightful in spite of our poor accommodations.

An uneventful run of eight days down the cost and through the pleasant windings of the route among the Bahamas and past toe Antilles into the Caribbean brought us to Graytown, Micarague, where we were transferred to two small steamers that took us up the winding, turbid river of San Juan to Castillo, a picturesque little town of one thousand inhabitants. There we disembarked and walked past the rapids that bar navigation and took smaller steamers for the rest of the trip.

Wilson described his trip across Lake Nicaragua to the Pacific ocean, and his steamship ride to San Francisco, during which he became ill with cholera, had his money belt stolen, and arrived in San Francisco near death and penniless. His treating doctor took his note for the amount of the bill and loaned him $25 to pay for his "expenses to the mountains" (page 19).

"[T]hough still very weak I took passage up the Sacramento river to Marysville, paying nearly half my scanty means for boat fare. From that point my route to the mining town in which my friend lived, lay through the foothills and high up among the Sierra ranges. The distance was seventy-five miles, and I found I could go only about half the way by stage, and would have to complete the trip on Norwegian snow-shoes, as there was no snow trail open. I knew I was far too feeble for such a journey; and besides that I had not enough funds left for my expenses.

With the help of friends from Maine, and a period of convalescence in Marysville, he was, in about March of 1855, "comfortably ensconced in a miner's cabin in a small mining town between the Yuba and Feather rivers, in the very heart of the rugged Sierra." (page 24)

The town was called Camp Warren, and comprised about three hundred cabins and two supply stores, all of which were nearly buried in snow, which had fallen during the winter to a depth of twelve feet and had not yet melted much.

[The Warren Hill mining district was established in Plumas County on October 22, 1853. Creed Haymond was secretary. Historical Sketch of the Mining Law in California, by John Francis Davis (1902), page 27 — a free Google eBook. There was also a water ditch in Plumas County named Feather River and Warren Hill. Report of J. Ross Browne of the Mineral Resources of the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains (1868), page 203 — also a free Google eBook. The Census reports Tenth census, June 1, 1880, Volume 14 by the United States Census Office (also a free Google eBook), at page 279, under the heading Local Mining Laws and Regulations —Precious Metals—Plumas County—Warren Hill Mining District sets out the boundaries of the district:

"[C]ommencing at the Bridge near the Rabbit Creek House as the northwest corner and the Gibsonville thence to the foot of the main hill shall be the northern boundary and a noted slide near the foot of said Hill shall be the northeast corner, thence southerly down a ravine to the Dublin ditch and thence with said ditch to the Bowington Ravine, thence southerly to the Spanish Flat Road, thence westerly to a point on the Rabbit Creek where the trail from Spanish Flat to Secret Diggins crosses said Rabit Creek, thence with said Creek to the place of beginning and all wih said bunary shall be called Warren Hill."]

The mines of that vicinity were operated wholly by the hydraulic method, and as the streams from which the water supply was drawn were frozen up, the miners were idle and impatient for the release of the imprisoned elements and a renewal of the activity and intoxicating excitement of another mining season. (page 25) ...

[In 1956] A hurried walk (from Pilot Peak) of an hour in the twilight brought us to a small mining camp called Whiskey Diggings where we found good accomodations for the night, and to our surprise, found it a very quiet, sober place in spite of its suggestive name. I learned that the peculiar name of the camp originated as follows: Three Irishmen went there two or three years before from an adjacent mining camp tonprosepect, taking a bottle of whiskey with the, and returned drunk and reported that they had discovered not gold but "whiskey diggings," and the place was ever afterward called by that name. (page 117). ...

The next morning we left early for home on a trail that led through the prosperous mining town of Gibsonville, where we stopped to inspect the mining operations and get dinner. (page 118) ...

[In 1957] About the first of March I received a letter from one Doctor Parker of Camp Warren, saying he had located claims for nine of his friends, including myself, in a new mining district adjoining Whiskey Diggins; that he considered the claims very valuable, as an adjoining claim had been thoroughly prospected and found rich; and that he wanted I should meet with him the following week in Whiskey Diggings and assist in organizing a company and arrange for the opening of claims.

He assured me that in case I was not pleased with the prospect his plan presented that I could readily sell my claim for several hundred dollars, as there was quite a rush to the new district and a ready demand for claims near the new ground then being worked.

The distance was about twenty-five miles, and as the country nearly the whole way was still covered with eight or ten feet of snow, there was no visible trail; but the snow was so compact that a pedestrian could make pretty good time o it without snowshoes. I decided to go and started at five in the morning, that I might be sure of time enough to complete the trip that day without hurrying. (page 154). ... I ... reached Whiskey Diggings about sundown.

The next morning I reported to the Doctor and accompanied him and six of the other men for whom he had located claims, out to see the property, which was located about one mile from Whiskey Diggings. (page 157)

Wilson sold his other mining interests, and moved to Whiskey Diggings, where he was made president of a company formed to open and operate a mine. (page 161).

Four of the Eleven members of our company were college graduates and most of the other members were men of some culture and refinement. (page 162).

In 1859, Obed Wilson returned to his home in Mayfield, Somerset County, Maine. Apparently he left his twin brother, Levi Wilson, and his younger brother, Daniel Wilson, behind in Whiskey Springs -- at least they were there on July 12, 1860, when the census was taken. Obed make no mention of his brothers in his book.

Obed Wilson is listed in the 1860 census of Mayfield, Somerset County, Maine, as age 26, a school teacher candidate, in the home of his parents: Daniel Wilson, age 58, born in Maine, a farmer, and Mary Wilson, age 56, housekeeper, born in Maine. Among others listed in the household are two brothers: Levi Wilson, age 26, a miner, born in Maine, and Daniel Wilson, age 25, a miner born in Maine (roll M653_452, page 597;  Family History Library Film 803452). Obed and Levi Wilson were twins. (They are both listed in the 1850 census of Bingham, Somerset County, Maine, as age 15, and their brother, Daniel Wilson, is listed as 14 (roll M432_269, page 240A).

Obed Wilson's two brothers, Levi and Daniel Wilson, are given duplicate listings in the 1860 census of Whiskey Springs, Sierra County, California: Levi G. Wilson, age 25; miner, value of real estate $900, born in Maine; and Daniel Wilson, age 23, miner, value of real estate $900, born in Maine. Adjacent miners born in Maine with real estate valued at $900 were: Joseph Maynard, age 25; Daniel Maynard, age 22; Joseph Stewart, age 31; Alfred Grant, age 25 (in the same cabin as Lyman Grant, age 22, born Maine, with no value of real estate listed) (roll M653_66, page 844;  Family History Library Film 803066). I assume those with a $900 estate were the investors in the mine operating company.

In the 1850 census of Concord, Somerset County, Maine, Alfred Grant, age 14, and Lyman Grant, age 14, both born in Maine and attending school, are listed with their parents, Charles Grant, age 59, farmer, born in Maine, and Betsey Grant, age 35, born in Maine (roll M432_269, page 286A).

The 1870 census of Solon, Somerset County, Maine, lists Joseph Maynard, age 36, a farm laborer, born in Maine, and Daniel W. Maynard, age 32, a farmer, born in Maine, with a wife, Alfreda B. Maynard, age 19, and 8 month old baby, living next to Silas Maynard, age 73, carpenter, born in Maine.

Delahunty Lake and the Delahunty Family

Delahunty Lake is in the arrow-shaped protrusion on the northwestern part of Sierra County into Plumas County, with Plumas County to the west, north, and east. The point of the arrow into Plumas County is Pilot Peak, in the Plumas National Forest, the 7451 feet high point of the the dividing ridge between the waters of the Feather and Yuba rivers. See: Sierra County History — excerpt from Illustrated History of Plumas, Lassen & Sierra Counties with California from 1513 to 1850, Farriss & Smith, 1882, San Francisco.

A map that illustrates the relationship of Delahunty Lake, Whiskey Diggins Cemetery, Whiskey Diggings, Whiskey Creek, Slate Creek, nearby placer diggings will be found at Delahunty Lake, California on TopoQuest and the Onion Valley, California Topographic Map (under Places Within This Map View, click on Gibsonville - the last entry on the list - and move left or click on Union Keystone Mine). All these places are in Sierra County, just east of the boundary between Plumas County and Sierra County,

Delahunty Lake is often mistakenly placed in Plumas County by sources that I would expect to be more reliable -- including several of those cited below.

Delahunty Lake is in Sierra County on the Mount Diablo Meridian, near township 022N, range 010E, section 20. Delahunty Lake is almost 5700 feet above sea level. Because the lake is easy to locate on most maps, I have spent some time on its history. Delahunty Lake is on the iTouchMap of California, which conveniently allows navigation around the area.

The 1870 census of Gibson Township, Sierra County, California, lists this family:

(1870) Thomas Delahaunty (should be Delahunty), age 38, born in Ireland, works in saw mill, value of real estate $3000, value of personal estate $2000. [Thomas Delahunty, age 34, born in Ireland, resident of Gibsonville, a millman, naturalized on April 29, 1858, in Sierra County, registered to vote in Sierra County, California on August 4, 1866. He also registered at age 47, on June 26, 1879, a resident of Gibson. His registration of August 9, 1892, at age 59, shows a height of 5' 10", light complexion, blue eyes, and gray hair, with "three first fingers removed from right hand," teamster, born in Ireland, residing at Gibsonville, California, naturalized on April 29, 1858, in Sierra County. California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898 on Thomas Delahunty, born May 1, 1932; died January 13, 1896, is buried in the Gibsonville Cemetery. Find A Grave Memorial# 13284600.]

Mary Delahaunty, age 24, born in Ireland, keeping house. [Mary K. Delahunty, born March 9, 1846; died, May 27, 1909, is buried in the Gibsonville Cemetery. Find A Grave Memorial# 13284591.

Ellen L. Delahaunty, age 7, born in California, attending school. [The 1930 census of San Francisco lists an Ellen Delahunty, age 67, born about 1863 in California to parents born in the Irish Free State, single, a dressmaker, living with her sister, Mary E. Delahunty, age 65, also single, born in California to parents born in the Irish Free State, a cook in a private home; at 2860 Golden Gate Avenue. The 1900 and 1910 censuses of San Francisco and voting registrations indicate they had a brother, Alfred W. Delahunty, who was born in 1868 to 1870 in California.]

Catharine A. Delahaunty, age 6, born in California, attending school.

Michael F. Delahaunty, age 4, born in California, at home. [Michael Francis Delahunty of Gibsonville registered to vote in Sierra County, California, on September 29, 1888. Michael Frank Delahunty registered to vote in California on August 9, 1892: age 26, 5'9", light complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, scar side left eyebrow, laborer, born in California, resident of Gibsonville, P. O. address of Gibsonville. California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898 on]

Bartholomew Delahaunty, age 11 months, born in June, 1859, in California, at home.

[A Thomas Delahunty, age 21, born in California, resident of Johnsville, registered to vote in Plumas County, California, on July 17, 1890. California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898 on]

[A Walter Delahunty, age 26, a laborer, of Gibsonville, California, registered to vote in Sierra County, California, and is listed under Gibsonville Precinct on the Index to Precinct Register as of October 16, 1906. California, Voter Registers, 1900-1968 on A Walter Delahunty, born August 5, 1871; died June 10, 1878, is buried in Gibsonville, Cemetery. Find A Grave Memorial# 13284612]

[A Francis M. Delahunty, post office address of La Porte, a miner, Democratic, is listed in the Gibsonville Precinct of Sierra County in the Index to Precinct Registers for the general election of Tuesday, November 5, 1918. California, Voter Registers, 1900-1968 on]

[William Delahunty, born June 24, 1834; died May 1, 1869, is buried in the Gibsonville Cemetery. Find A Grave Memorial# 13284623.]

Documents recorded with of the U. S. Department of the Interior -- Bureau of Land Management --General Land Office Records, on October 29, 1930, show that Frank Delahunty and Walter Delahunty were granted ownership of a mining claim covering a large part of section 20 on November 18, 1929, accession 1041493, document 024616. The mining claim claim was described as "the Sierra Placer Mining Claim—placer mining claim, situate in the Gibsonville Mining District of Sierra County, California ... containing eighty acres."

The Gibsonville Cemetery is on the Plumas County/Sierra County line, to the west of the Qunicy La Porte Road:

Some of the individuals listed here are from a prior survey, or from written cemetery records. There are many unmarked graves. The small mining town of Gibsonville no longer exists. From the outer eastern edge of Quincy, turn right on the Quincy-La Porte Road. This is a very steep and winding road with severe cliffs, hairpin turns, and few guardrails. The road is closed whenever weather conditions do not allow for safe travel. Watch for sinkholes and rock slides. At about 22.4 miles, turn right onto a dirt road. The road is not marked. If you get to a sign that says Gibsonville/Delahunty Lake, you've gone too far. The cemetery is at the end of the dirt road and is quite spread out.

Road condition: Good. Dirt/gravel roads. Not accessible in bad weather months. Surveyed by Elizabeth Bullard-Watson and Thomas D. Watson on 22 Aug 2004

Gibsonville is on the east side of the Quincy La Porte Road, 1.4 miles west-southwest of Delahunty Lake. La Porte is 5.6 miles southwest of Gibsonville, while the county seat of Sierra county, Downieville (on the Golden Chain Highway #49), is 25 miles to the south by southeast by torturous roads that are closed in the winter and spring: Poker Flat Road (which joins the Johnsville McCrea Road just west of Delahunty Lake) and Saddleback Road (County Route 509).

See: Database for Cemeteries near La Porte, California and The Tombstone Transcription Project — Plumas County (both Gibsonville Cemetery and Whiskey Diggings Cemetery are listed in Plumas County). The Sierra County Pioneer Cemetery Historic Survey includes the cemeteries of Gibsonville, Howland Flat, and Whiskey Diggings.

Whiskey Diggings Cemetery

Here are the names of the eleven persons buried in the Whiskey Diggings Cemetery, two of whom are listed with Thomas Gough (McGough) in the 1860 census of Sierra County.

Atkins (?), Charles  
10 Feb ????
Marker is mostly illegible
Cook, Andrew  
c. 1811
09 May 1887
1860 census of Whiskey Diggings lists (on the same page as Thomas Gough): Andrew Cook, age 49, hotel keeper, born in Hanover, Germany, with wife Caroline; 1870 census of Gibson Township—age 59, born in Prussia, keeping hotel, with wife Caroline (on the same page as Thomas McGough, age 40, a miner, and his wife Mary, and 3 their children). In 1880, he is listed in the Village of Newark, Sierra County. On August 13, 1866, he registered to vote in Sierra County as Antro Cook, age 55, born in Prussia, resident of Newark, naturalized on October 24, 1851, in Scott County, Iowa; and as Antro Cook, age 68, in Newark on May 26, 1879.
Cox, Louisa  
23 Dec 1869
29 Jul 1874
Hellbach, William  
25 May 1870
01 Jun 1874
1870 census of Gibson Township: Andrew Hellbach, age 27, born in Prussia, waiter in hotel; Catharine Hellbach, age 27, born in Prussia; William and Mary Hellback, both 1 month old, both born in California. Listed immediately after Andrew Cook, above, and and only three lines on the same page separate the Hellbachs from Thomas McGough. The top line in the page lists Anna Scholfield, age 8 months, the daughter of Miles Schofield, age 36, miner, $13,000/$6,000, born in New York, and his wife, Mary. age 20, born ion Wales. Mary Schofield was the sister of George W. Thomas, listed below.) Andrew Hellbah (1843–1901) is buried in the Howland Flat Cemetery.
Schofield, Alice  
28 Jan 1872
24 Jun 1873
Probably a daughter of Mark and Eliza Schofield.
Schofield, Amelia Adaline  
25 Dec 1868
22 May 1871
1870 census of Gibson Township: Amelia Schofield, age 2, born in California, with parents Mark and Eliza, and older sister, Harriet, age 4, born in Michigan.
Schofield, Eliza Ann  
21 Apr 1840
02 May 1877
1870 census of Gibson Township: Mark Schofield, age 34, born in New York, miner, real estate valued at $7,000; his wife Eliza Schofield, age 30, born in England; 3 children, including Amelia, age 2, born in California, and Mary E, age 7 months, born in California.
Schofield, Ida  
26 May 1876
09 Jun 1877
Probably a daughter of Mark and Eliza Schofield.
Schofield, Mark  
14 Nov 1835
22 Nov 1890
1860 census of Whiskey Diggings: Mark Scofield, age 27, miner, $4,000, born in New York. 1870 census of Gibsonville Township: Mark Schofield, age 34, miner, $7,000, born in New York, with wife Eliza (see above). (Listed nearby in the 1860 census is Miles Scofield, age 29, miner, $5,000 and $4,000, born in New York; and in the 1870 census; Miles Schofield, age 36 miner, $13,000 and $6,000, born in New York, and wife Mary, age 20, born in Wales; and daughter Anna, age 8 (4 ?) months, born in February, 1870, who is listed on the same page as Thomas McGough.)
Thomas, George W.  
May 1859
13 Feb 1880
Killed at North American Mine, son of Edward & Prudence Thomas. U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 (on reports that in February, 1880, George Thomas, age 20, born in Pennsylvania to parents born in Wales, a gold miner, a 17 year resident of Sierra County, was killed in an accident. The 1870 census of Gibsonville Township, Sierra County, lists Edward Thomas, age 50, born in Wales an engineer, his wife, Prudence, age 50, born in Wales, and their son, George W. Thomas, age 11, born in Pennsylvania, who was attending school. The 1880 census of North East Township, Yuba County, California, lists Edward Thomas, age 67, born in Wales, no occupation listed,with his wife, Prudence Thomas, age 67, born in Wales, and their grandaughter, Ann E. Scofield, age 10, born in California to a father born in Pennsylvania and a mother born in England. George Thomas was listed as age 1, born in Pennsylvania, in the 1860 census of Lackawanna, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. An older sister, Mary, age 10, was listed as born in Wales. George's parents, Edward and Prudence, both listed as 40 years old and born in Wales in the 1860 census of Lackawanna, were the grandparents of Ann E. Scofield, who was the daughter of Miles and Mary Scofield.
Unknown, Baby Alfred  
No marker
Wolters, Henry A.  
13 Sep 1873
06 Jun 1874
Son of G. & I. C. Wolters [Charles Julius Wolters, age 50, born in Germany, a merchant, resident of Gibsonville, naturalized on September 10, 1868, in Plumas County, registered to vote in Gibsonville on August 17, 1888. The same person registered as Julius Carl Wolters, age 58, on August 10, 1896. California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898.]

Miles and Mark Schofield were both residents of Gibsonville in 1885. The 1885 directory gives this description of Gibsonville:

A mining town of some considerable note, in the extreme northern part of the county, lying on the La Porte and Quincy wagon road, twenty-seven miles from Quincy, seven miles from La Porte, and seventy miles from Marysville.  It is situated on the line of the ancient gold bearing river channel, which was at one time overflowed by lava, and is the first town below the deep lava cap, where gravel is in sight from top to bottom.  For over twenty-five years this locality has been the scene of uniformly successful prospecting, many fortunes having been realized, and the yield has, as yet, scarcely tapped the original sources.  The town has the usual business accommodations of its class, a good hotel, and is the location of some fifteen or twenty mining companies, has post and express offices, and is in the enjoyment of a fair degree of prosperity.  The population is somewhat over three hundred.

Antro Cook is listed as a hotel keeper. Daniel Bolanf is listed as a grocer.T homas Delahanty is listed as a teamster, and Miss Ellen Delahanty is listed as a school teacher. George Wolters is postmaster. Mark Schofield is a miner. Miles Schofield is superintend ant of Niagara Consolidated Gold Mining Company. C. J. Wolters and George Wolters are both lists of Wolters & Bro., general merchandise, post office, agents for Wells Fargo & Co.

Sierra County, CA — 1885 Directory — List of names by town - County History at bottom.

La Porte

The most accessible town of any size to Whiskey Diggings and Gibsonville in the 1850s and 1860s was La Porte:

At the time of statehood in 1850, La Porte was located in Yuba County, one of California's 27 original counties.

In 1852, Sierra County was created from part of Yuba County. After that time, La Porte was located in Sierra County.

In 1854, Plumas County was created from part of Yuba County. In 1866, a further realignment placed La Porte in Plumas County, where it has remained ever since.

Here is article on La Porte from Ghost Towns, Abandoned Villages, and Historical Sites in the United States and Canada:

Now a quaint mountain village, La Porte was once a bustling centre for hydraulic mining until legislation in 1884 made it illegal. The town was originally named Rabbit Creek as it was located on the banks of this tributary of Slate Creek, then renamed Rabbit Town when the post office was established in 1855. In 1857, it took the name La Porte.

A fire in 1855 destroyed the wooden town but by 1857, it had been rebuilt with more permanent structures.

There are signs of hydraulic mining are all around the town. La Porte is in Plumas County northeast of Strawberry Valley on route 120.

Here is an article from More Tales From the Mines — Gold districts of California — La Porte:

Location. This district is in southwestern Plumas County in the general vicinity of the old mining town of La Porte, 25 miles south of Quincy and 50 miles northeast of Oroville. It was one of the great placer-mining districts of the state.

History. The streams were placer-mined early in the gold rush and were reported to have had very rich yields. The town, first known as Rabbit Creek, was renamed in 1857 after La Porte, Indiana. Hydraulic mining began in the middle 1850s and continued through the 1880s. During this time the district was enormously productive; the output from 1855 to 1871 alone was reported to have been at least $60 million. Appreciable drift mining and some lode mining were carried on. Some mining activity continued until the period of World War I. The district was prospected again during the 1930s, but apparently little mining has been done here since. La Porte was a noted early-day "snowshoe" or ski resort.

Geology. The main Tertiary channel of the North Fork of the Yuba River, known as the La Porte channel, extended south-southwest from Gibsonville into this district. From here the channel continued southwest and south again to be joined by a branch from the east from the St. Louis-Table Rock area. The main channel today continues on south to the Poverty Hill and Brandy City districts. At La Porte, the channel is 500 to 1500 feet wide and as much as 500 feet thick. The lower gravels are quartz-rich and up to 80 feet thick. Most of the gold was recovered from near bedrock. The gravels are capped by thick beds of sand and "pipe" clay. During the heyday of mining in the district, these lower gravels yielded from 1/10 to as much as one ounce of gold per cubic yard. To the east the channel deposits are capped by andesite as much as 800 feet thick. Also to the east, considerable faulting has disturbed the channel gravels. Bedrock consists principally of amphibolite, with a one-mile wide belt of slate and quartzite of the Calaveras Formation (Carboniferous to Permian) in the central portion. There are some narrow gold-quartz veins in the district.

Excerpt from: Gold Districts of California, by: W. B. Clark, California Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology, Bulletin 193, 1970. 

Golden Ghosts of the Lost Sierra — Quincy La Porte Road

The National Geographic of September, 1973, published, at page 332, an article by Robert Laxalt entitled Golden Ghosts of the Lost Sierra. A PDF version of the article, which includes several great photographs by David Hiser and a map that is set out below, is available on the Internet thanks to Carrie Hawthorne on her Quincy Blog. (If the link above doesn't work, go to Quincy. In the search box under Can't Finding What You're Looking For? enter: Best Country in the World.)

The article opens with a description of the lonesome road up to La Porte:

This was the "Lost Sierra," an isolated, once all-but forgotten corner of northeastern California the the forty-niners penetrated for gold. In the beginning most of them had abandoned their diggings with the first heavy snowfall and retreated to the protection of the lowlands and valleys below. Then, from Scandinavian miners, they had learned to make skis, and so had conquered a regions that was snowbound for seven months of the year, with drifts as high as forty feet.

In a ski museum at Boreal Ridge, near the Donner pass, I had chanced on some faded photographs of women in long skirts and floppy hats and children in tight-fitting jackets—all wearing skis. In the background were houses with only the rooftops showing above the snow. It was these photographs that had first captured my curiosity and sent me, starting the summer before, in search of old ming camps with such such exotic names as Poker Flat, Port Wine, Poverty Hill, Whiskey Diggings, and La Porte (map, page 137). In my explorings I was to learn that gold and snow were still inextricably entwined in the life of the Lost Sierra. (pages 333-334)

Laxalt gives a glowing description of the beautiful scenery on his 35 mile trip from from Quincy to La Porte on the Quincy La Pore Road that cross the canyon of the middle fork of the Feather River. Of the La Porte area, he says:

The thriving gold camps the forty-niners erected here in the wilderness are nearly gone. Many have vanished, their sturdier buildings moved to towns like La Porte; the others have been completely recaptured by the forest. What little remained of old bottles, iron beds, and discarded skis was taken away by souvenir hunters.

At Whiskey Diggings alone, there had been 20 mining camps in a small perimeter. Now they are marked by little cemeteries, with illegible wooden grave boars and a jumble of brown-board ruins. It is as if the house, untenanted and care for, held on as long as they could, and then collapsed in upon themselves, with a weary sigh.

At uninhabited Gibsonville, Bill Berry and I rummaged through the rem ants of one of these old houses. I found a pair of delicately turned skis that had belonged to a child and gave them to Bill for his Western America Skisport Museum at Boreal Ridge. There he has gathered a formidable display of long-board skis as part of his personal crusade to revive the lost art of long-board ski racing. (pages 343-344)

I was to recall the ghosted gold camp of Gibsonville later, in astonished retrospect, when I visited with 80-year-old Elizabeth Merian* in Oroville. She told me that she had spent her youth in Gibsonville.

"You may have to imagine those towns as I saw them," she said. "The houses were painted white, and there were picket fences, and flower and vegetable gardens, and even orchards. The families with kids had a cow for milk and butter, an a calf and pigs for meat.

"In the winter the houses were often buried under mountains of snow, fifteen to twenty feet deep. When the storms began, we had to lengthen our chimneys to let smoke escape, and we dug slanting access tunnels down to the attic windows, the snow was that deep. Inside, we burned maps all day for light. But winter wasn't a sad time at all. The grown-ups had sewing circles, card parties, and dancing to the fiddles. Us kids skied all day long—but we called it 'snow-shoeing' then." She regarded me with a mischievous smile. "I was a racer, you know, and I raced in short skirts. That really scandalized 'em."

A few miles down the road from Elizabeth Merian's beloved Gibsonville lies La Porte, the hub of the Lost Sierra. In the early 1860's, at least 3,000 people lived in and around the town.

La Porte in its big days was a hydraulic-mining center. Taking advantage of the pressure of water drawn from high up, great hoses tore at gravel deposits and washed gold-bearing sand into races and sluice boxed. Every year the spring runoff gathered up waste material loosened from hillsides by hydraulic mining and carried the entire mass into the Sacramento Valley. (pages 344-345)

* Elizabeth M. Merian, age 47, born in La Porte, Plumas County, California, is listed in the 1940 census of Oroville, Butte County, California, with her husband, Amadeus T. Merian, age 53, also born in La Porte, manager of a dredging company; their son Donald, age 23, born in La Porte, a shovel operator for a dredging company; and Donald's wife, Blanche, age 20. The 1930 census of Oroville lists Amadeus, age 42, as a gold miner, who married at age 24; and his wife, Elizabeth M., as age 37, a mail carrier on a Star Route, married at age 19, and three children. In 1920, they lived in La Porte, in Goodwin Township, Plumas County. The Merian Family Tree on reports that Elizabeth May Robinson was born on November 5, 1892, in California; married Amadeus Thomas Martin (1887–1974) in 1912, and died in Oroville on December 5, 1977. Her parents were August Wenzel Smith Robinson (1863–1946) and Janie A. Robinson (1871– ). She is listed as age 6, with her parents, in the 1900 census of North East Township, Plumas County; her father is listed as a miner.

Here is the map from Robert Laxalt's National Geographic article — thanks to Best Country in the World by Carrie Hawthorne on Quincy. (If the link to the article doesn't work, go to the search box Can't Finding What You're Looking For? and enter: Best Country in the World.) The caption over the map, at page 337 of the article, is:

Pristine pocket laced with rugged canyons, the Lost Sierra slumbered relatively unknown until recent years. Gold-rush towns crumble in its deep valleys and gravel flats. Rock-strewn tracks as well as modern roads thread the area.

(The yellow inset in the upper right corner of the map, showing Los Angeles, is not part of the map; rather, it is the lower part of a sketch of the entire state of California—extending above the map and not reproduced here.)


Map fomr National Geographic


Here is a good map to locate the Quincy La Porte Road and the Little Grass Valley Reservoir to the northeast of Yuba City and Marysville. From Marysville, follow the Oroville Highway (#70) due north to Ramirez Road, turn right and head east until Ramirez Road intersects with La Porte Road, and follow La Porte Road to the northeast, which will eventually turn into the Quincy La Porte Road near the Little Grass Valley Reservoir.

YubaRoots Genealogy & History - Yuba County, CA - Researching in This County - Early Records by Kathy Sedler, gives a history of La Porte when it was in Yuba County:

By the mid 1850's, tens of thousands of people were entering California by wagon and by sea.  Many came thinking that the gold lay easily accessible on the ground or in the rivers, that they could make their fortunes, and then go back "home."  Men of every station in life came in search of instant wealth. Some literally dropped their tools in the field and came.  Others left wives, children and family "back home" and never saw their loved ones again.  In the search for wealth, very few are thought to have made fortunes.  Men stayed for two primary reasons.  Possibly their pride would not allow them to go back home after they did not strike it rich, or they did not have the financial means to leave.  Many hoped that tomorrow they would find their wealth so kept mining.  Some stayed and sent money home for their families to join them.

The first Federal Census was conducted in 1850.  Yuba County was an original County, much larger than what it was to become a few years later.  In looking over the first census, it was clear to me that much of the information on those records was not accurate.  Names, ages and nativities seemed to be guessed at, haphazard or possibly just something put on the paper to fill in the blanks.  It also seemed to stop at the snow line rather than encompass all of the territory of the County! It would have been physically impossible for any one person or persons to have gone up and down all of the rivers and streams in search of those who could be mining.  People very frequently would stop for a few hours or a day at one spot and move on in search of gold.  The names of most of them were never known, or nicknames were used. 

Rabbit Creek changed its name to La Porte in 1857. "In 1866, the county line between Sierra and Plumas was adjusted to annex La Porte to Plumas County. Distance and dissatisfaction with the county seat in Downieville was one of the reasons for the adjustment." Plumas County: History of the Feather River Region by Jim Young.

History of Sierra County

Sierra county lies in the Sierra Nevada mountains northeast of Sacramento on the border with Nevada. The county seat is Downieville. "After the discovery of gold in the Sierra foothills sparked the California Gold Rush, more than 16,000 miners settled in Sierra County between 1848-1860. Most mining settlements in the county sprung up along the North and Middle Forks of the Yuba River, both of which had rich deposits of gold. While some of the mining boom towns faded away once gold fever died down, other settlements such as Downieville and Sierra City have remained." See: Sierra County Gold - The Online Guide to Sierra County. The population of Gibson township in 1860 was 2,115; in 1870, 520, and in 1880, 319. Population Totals by Township and Place for California Counties: 1860 to 1950.

See: Sierra Valley, Sierra County California History (creation of Downieville as a new county seat) and The North Yuba River and the founding of Downieville by John Putnam.

Here is an excerpt from History of Yuba County California by Thompson & West, 1879, with illustrations -- Chapter XIII -- Subsequent History of Marysville Township, And Incidentally of Yuba County:

The original Yuba county embraced the territory now included in Sierra and Nevada counties, but as the legal and county business increased, it was found that the distances from the county seat were too great to accommodate the inhabitants.  April 25, 1851, an act entitled "An Act dividing the State into counties and establishing the seats of Justice therein" was passed, which made the new county of Nevada, taking away a portion of Yuba county.  ...

In the latter part of 1851, the matter of another division of the county was broached and resulted in the segregation of Sierra county by act of the Legislature, approved April 16, 1852. 

1860 Census of Whiskey Diggings

The 1860 census of Whiskey Diggings Township No. 8, in Sierra county, California, part of the Gibsonville district also called Newark) near near Delahunty Lake, Post Office of Table Rock (a mistake, the other 6 pages of census returns for Whiskey Diggings correctly name the post office as Gibsonville), lists:

(1860) Thomas Gough, age 30, a miner, born in Ireland (listed next to Thomas Wilson, age 35, born in Ireland, a miner, and 5 other miners, in a hotel operated by James Lee, age 35, born in Ireland, hotel keeper, and his wife Susan, age 33, born in Upper Canada) (roll M653_66, page 847; Family History Library Film 803066).

There were 7 residents of the hotel, all miners in their 20s or 30s, in addition to the Lee family, which included 5 young children. The census taker may have taken the names off the hotel register. The census was taken on July 14, 1860, by Solon Johnson, Assistant Marshall, and my guess is that his dropped an Mc in copying the name. The name of this tenant was Thomas McGough. [Solon Johnson also took the census of Poker Flat Township No. 3, post office of Table rock, in Sierra County on July 11, 1860, where he listed A. F. Gough, age 27, born in Ireland (?), a miner ( lists his place of birth as Indiana).]

Marriage of Thomas McGough and Mary Brown in Yuba County

A superior website is: Yuba Roots - Genealogy & History. The site includes the marriage record of Thomas McGough and Mary Brown on May 12, 1866, in a ceremony performed by Reverend P. B. Keane, B2 p54. Groom Index M - R.

P 54 -Marriage License - State of California, County of Yuba S.S.  I do hereby authorize and license any  Judge, Justice of the Peace, Clergyman or Preacher of the Gospel residing within the County of Yuba to celebrate and certify the marriage of Thomas McGough with Mary Brown.  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Official Seal this ninth day of May 1866.  (Seal) D. E. Arnold County Clerk by Thos. H. Kernan D.C. - Marriage Certificate -  I certify that in pursuance of the above license Thomas McGough and Mary Brown were by me this day united in matrimony, 12 of May AD 1866.  Rev. P. B. Keane.  Received for record at May 14 1866 at 9 1/2 o'clock P.M. and recorded May 15 1866.  s/L.T. Crane, County Recorder

Listed in the 1860 census of Whiskey Diggings, all in the same residence, are these miners, all all born in Ireland: William Brown, age 32; John Brown, age 26; Edward Brown, age 24; Samuel Brown, age 29; listed in another residence is Maurice Brown, age 28, miner, born in Ireland. Since William, John and Edward all became names used in the family of Thomas McGough and Mary Brown, and since Mary Brown McGough was 27 years old in 1870, I have a hunch that Mary Brown was a sister of these miners who came to Whiskey Diggings after 1860, but I have found no other evidence to support this idea.

The 1910 census of San Francisco, reports that Mary (Brown) McGough, age 68, born in Ireland, a widow, mother of 10 children, 8 living, emigrated in 1863.

[Samuel Brown, age 15, born in Ireland, arrived in New York from Liverpool aboard the ship Pacific on April 1, 1845. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1850, on]

[Samuel Brown, age 4, born in Ireland, arrived in New York from Liverpool aboard the ship Superior on June 30, 1836. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1850, on]

[Thomas Brown, age 35, a weaver; his wife, Mary, age 32; sons, Samuel, age 12, John, age 10; Henry, age 8; and daughters, Ellenor, age 4; and Mary Ann, age 1; all born in Ireland, arrived in New York from Liverpool aboard the ship Aurelius on November 21, 1846. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, on]

[Samuel Brown, a native of Great Britain and Ireland, filed a declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States on October 12, 1863, in the Northern District of California; and John Brown, a native of Northern Ireland, filed the same declaration on November 9, 1865, in the same court.]

1870 Census of Gibson Township, Sierra County

The 1870 census of Gibson Township, Sierra county, California, enumerated on July 6, 1870, lists this family:

(1870) Thos. McGough, age 40, miner, value of real estate $1400, value of personal estate $150, born in Ireland , male citizen of U.S. (roll  M593_89, page 542A; Family History Library Film 545588).

Mary McGough, age 27, keeping house, born in Ireland.

Mary Ann McGough, age 3, at home, born in California.

Kate R. McGough, age 1, at home, born in California.

Rosa M. McGough, 6 months, at home, born in California in December, 1969.

Gibsonville is at the far northwestern edge of Sierra county, near the border with Plumas county, where the Quincy-La Porte Road dips briefly into Sierra county from Plumas County. Little Grass Valley Reservoir is in Plumas county. See: Sierra County California Map. The population of Gibson township (#7) in Sierra County in 1860 was 2,115; in 1870, 520; in 1880, 368; in 1890, 177; and in 1900, 221. Population Totals by Township and Place for California Counties: 1860 to 1950. For a detailed article on the history, topography, and mineral deposits of Gibson Mining District — Including Gibsonville and Whiskey Diggings, see pages 11–13 of Mines and Mineral Resources of Sierra County by Errol MacBoyle, California State Mining Bureau — a free Google eBook.

The location of Gibsonville is now designated by the Gibsonville Marker with this inscription:

Founded in 1850, the town of Gibsonville was named after the man who led a party of miners into this area.

Gibsonville developed into a thriving community, and by 1855 its population was over 700. In its prime, the town had six dry goods stores, four hotels, three saloons, an express office, community hall, and a Masonic Lodge. The town’s population declined in the later part of the 1800’s. Today, all that remains is the town’s cemetery.

Both Gibsonville and Whiskey Diggings (also known as Newark) are close to the Union Keystone Mine, Woodacre Mine, and the Taber Mine, 2 of 150 mines in Sierra county that have been identified by Western Mining History. See Sierra County, CA Mines.

In 1882, Gibson township included Newark (better known as Whiskey Diggings) and Gibsonville. Illustrated History of Plumas, Lassen & Sierra Counties with California from 1513 to 1850, Farriss & Smith, 1882, San Francisco. Gibsonville is 10 miles west of Plumas Eureka State Park and 5 miles east of the Little Grass Valley Reservoir and on the Quincy La Porte Road. The Gibsonville Cemetery is 22.4 miles south of Quincy on the Quincy-La Porte Road, which "is a very steep and winding road with severe cliffs, hairpin turns, and few guardrails." See: Gibsonville District in Western Mining History.

Here is a note on Gibsonville Ridge from California Gold Rush Camps — The Book Club of California 1998 Keepsake by Dr. Albert Shumate:

HIGH IN THE SIERRA NEVADA, along the borders of Plumas and Sierra counties, was a group of rich Gold Rush towns. These included Rabbit Creek (La Porte), St. Louis, Gibsonville, Port Wine, Howland Flat, Spanish Flat, Poker Flat, and Whiskey Diggings. They were a few miles apart, and most are ghost towns. An exception is Rabbit Creek , now known as La Porte. Gold was discovered in the region in 1850, and the district was extremely rich for many years. ...

From Quincy in Plumas County to Rabbit Creek, a stage line ran tri-weekly in the 1870s. The distance was thirty-three miles, and the passage was five hours. The fare was four dollars.

1880 and 1900 Censuses of Anderson Township, Mendocino County, California

Anderson was a settlement in Mendocino County, California, located in the Anderson Valley, about 1 mile northwest of Boonville. A post office operated at Anderson from 1858 to 1875 when service was transferred to Boonville. Boonville is 12.5 miles southwest of Ukiah, the county seat, 115 miles north of San Francisco. Anderson Creek and Indian Creek flow into Rancheria Creek near the town of Philo in the center of Anderson Valley to form the Navarro River. The Navarro River, which originates about 2 miles east of the southeast corner of Hendy Woods State Park, runs to the northwest through Anderson Valley, along Star Route 128 through Navarro River Redwoods State Park, and into the Pacific Ocean at Navorro Beach, just south of Albion Village, a distance of about 20 miles. See: Navarro, California, US — Hendy Woods State Park to Navarro Beach.

The California Voter Registers, 1866-1898, on, lists the registration on August 14, 1875, of Thomas McGough, age 43, born in Ireland, a farmer with a residence of Anderson, Mendocino county. Under the heading Naturalized: Date, Place, & By what Country is the entry: Nov. 1, 1856, Nevada Co., Dist. Subsequent registrations are: July 13, 1880, age 51, Boonville, Mendocino county, naturalization on Nov. 1, 1856, Nevada Co., Cal. District; June 15, 1888, of Thomas McGough, age 60, farmer, born in Ireland, with a local residence of Boonville, Mendocino county, naturalized November 1, 1956, in Nevada county. The registration of July 8, 1892, indicates an age of 61, height of 5' 7 1/2", light complexion, blue eyes, gray hair, a farmer born in Ireland, residing in Anderson Valley, Anderson precinct, post office address of Boonville, with no information about naturalization.

Father James Edward McGough was born in Sierra County on June 13, 1871. His brother John McGough was born about 3 years later, and the next child, his brother John, about 6 years later, in 1874; with the next child, his brother Thomas about a year later in 1875. His father registered to vote in Mendocino County on August 14, 1875. In the absence of better evidence, I would guess that the family moved from Sierra County to Mendocino county in the summer of 1873, but possibly 1872.

I have added notes to the 1880 census of Anderson township, Mendocino county, California, to flesh out the history of the McGoughs. The census return lists this family:

(1880) Thomas McGough, age 52, farmer, born in Ireland (T-9, roll 68, page 70, or 315D, line 28; Family History Film: 1254068). [In the 1870 census, this family was in Gibson, Sierra county, California. Thomas McGough died on February 23, 1905, and is buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, Colma, San Mateo County, California. Find A Grave Memorial# 105010258. ]

Mary McGough, age 43, keeps house, born in Ireland. [Mary Brown (or Browne); Mary McGough died on May 2, 1911, and is buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, Colma, San Mateo County, California. Find A Grave Memorial# 105049014.]

Mary Ann McGough, age 12, at school, born in California. [Mary Ann Waltz, widow of Edwin G. (for George)Waltz, building contractor, and daughter of Thomas McGough and Mary Browne, both born in Ireland, died in San Francisco, on May 26, 1963. at the age of 95. She was born on June 16, 1867, in Sierra County, California, and residing at 1256 Page Street. She was a member of St. Agnes parish, and buried at Holy Cross Cemetery at Colma, California (south of San Francisco in San Mateo County). The informant was Mrs. Ella T. Cunningham, sister, also at 1256 Page Street. San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985, on The 1900 census of San Francisco lists Edwin Waltz, a lodger at 1001 Larkin Street, age 36, born in Nebraska in July, 1863, to a father born in Pennsylvania and a mother born in Indiana, married 5 years, a plaster contractor; with his wife, Marie A. Grant, age 30, born in California in June, 1869, to parents born in Ireland; and son, Thomas E. Waltz, age 2, born in California in November, 1897. The 1910 census of Los Angeles lists at 2117 Montana Street Edwin J. Waltz, age 47, married, 14 years, born in Nebraska to parents born in the United States, a plaster contractor; with his wife, Mary A. Waltz, age 41, born in California to parents born in Ireland, mother of 1 child; and their son, Tomas E. Waltz, age 11, born in California. In the 1920 census of Los Angeles, the same 3 are in a house they owned at 2117 Montana Street; Thomas, age 22, was a musician in an orchestra. In the 1930 census of Oakland, Alameda county, California, they are in a house they owned at 5134 Foothill Boulevard. Edwin G. Waltz, age 66, has apparently retired. Mary A. Waltz, age 60, reports that her father was born in Northern Ireland and her mother in the Irish Free State. The son, Thomas Waltz, age 33, is employed as a lather in the building trades. In the 1940 census of Oakland, Alameda county, George Edwin Waltz, age 76, and Mary Waltz, age 72, are renting at 5134 at 5134 Foothill Boulevard (rear). Edwin G. Waltz, who was born on July 22, 1863, in Nebraska, died in Alameda county, California, on February 8, 1946. California, Death Index, 1940-1997, on He was interred in Holy Cross Cemetery on February 11, 1946. Find A Grave Memorial# 110764330. His wife, Mary A. Waltz, was interred in the same cemetery on May 9, 1963, according to Find A Grave Memorial# 105057357.]

Catharine B. McGough, age 11, at school, born in California [Kathryn McGough was living with her sister, Rosa M. McGough, at 1256 Page Street in San Francisco, when Rosa died on July 29, 1958. See below. Kathryn McGough, 1256 Page Street, San Francisco, died in San Francisco on November 11, 1963, at the age of 94. She was born on September 24, 1869, in Sierra county, California, was single, and without a social security number. Her parents were Thomas McGough and Mary Browne, both born in Ireland. She was a retired school principle with about 40 years in the occupation. Her last employer was the city and county of San Francisco. She was a member of St. Agnes parish and was buried in Holy Cross cemetery. The informant was Mrs. Ella T. Cunningham of 1256 Page Street. San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985, on The Directory of the Public Schools of the City and County of San Francisco, 1911–1912, lists Kathryn McGough. the vice-principal or head of a department, at Fairmount School, and Rosa M. McGough, teacher, at Fremont School, both with home addresses of 1256 Page Street. The City and County Federation of Women's Clubs Yearbook, San Francisco, 1918-1920 Official Directory lists Miss K. McGough, 1256 Page St. 10-14, and Miss Rose McGough, 1256 Page St. 10-57 — posted by Elaine Sturdevant. 10 stands for the Catholic Professional Women's Club, 14 for the Council of San Francisco School Women, and 57 for the San Francisco Grade Teachers Association. Here is an entry under Directors and Supervisors — Elementary Schools from San Francisco Municipal Record (1937), page 29:

Fairmont School — Kindergarten to 8th Grade inclusive. Chenery Street, east side, between Randall and Thirtieth Streets. Principal, Kathryn McGough.]

Rose M. McGough, age 10, at school, born in California. [Rosa M. McGough, born on December 17, 1869, in Sierra county, California, to Thomas McGough and Mary Browne (both born in Ireland), died in San Francisco on July 29, 1958, at the age of 89. She was a retired school teacher, single, who had lived in San Francisco for 50 years and worked as a school teacher for 48 years. She had no social security number. She lived with her sister Kathryn at 1256 Page Street #5 at the time of her death. She was a member of St. Agnes parish and was buried in Holy Cross cemetery. The Informant was Kathryn McGough, her sister. San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985, on Find A Grave Memorial# 106513256 gives the date of her interment as August 1, 1958.]

William E. McGough, age 9, at school, born in California. [In February 1912, Father William E. McGough assumed the duties of pastor at St. Mary's Church in the San Joaquin Valley (Stockton, California) after the death of Father William Bernard O'Connor (born in 1841) on December 26, 1911. Father O'Connor had served as pastor of the church since 1872. History of San Joaquin County, California by George H. Tinkham, pages 174, 300 and 991 (Historic Record Co., Los Angeles, California, 1923, 1627 pages). Father McGough was later to be called the "imperious Monsignor William E. McGough." Catholic San Francisco by Maureen Kramlich. Father McGough served as pastor of St. Mary's until his death in 1950 - for almost 39 years.]

John McGough, age 6, at school, born in California. [John Patrick McGough, age 21, height 5 feet 7 1/4 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, dark hair, farmer, born in California, residence at Boonville, Anderson precinct, registered to vote in Mendocino, California, on June 16, 1894. California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898 on John Patrick McGough, age 35, a furniture handler, Union Labor party, residing at 1256 Page, registered to vote in San Francisco in 1910. California, Voter Registrations, 1900-1968 on John P. McGough was interred at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery on October 30, 1939. Find A Grave Memorial# 105531245.]

Thomas P. McGough, age 5, at school, born in California. [On July 30, 1898, Thomas M. McGough, age 22, 6 feet tall, with a light complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, a farmer, born in California, a resident of Anderson precinct, post office address of Boonville, registered to vote in Mendocino county. Thomas Michael McGough, age 35, Secretary, Democrat, registered to vote in San Francisco in 1910. California, Voter Registrations, 1866-1898 on Here is an obituary from the San Francisco Call of Thursday, April 17, 1913, page 4:

McGough—In this city, April 15, 1913, Thomas M., dearly beloved son of the late Thomas and Mary McGough, and loving brother of the Rev. W. E., John P., Dr. J. A., Kathryn and Rosa McGough and Mrs. E. G. Waltz and Mrs. E. T. Cunningham.

Friends are respectfully invited to attend the funeral today (Thursday), April 17, at 10 o'clock a. m., from his late residence, 1256 Page street, thence to St. Agnes church where a solemn requiem high mass will be celebrated for the repose of his soul, commencing at 10:15 o'clock a. m. Interment private.]

Thomas M. McGough was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery on April 17, 1913. Find A Grave Memorial# 105010259.

James McGough, age 3, born in California. [On July 30, 1898, James McGough, age 21, 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a light complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, a farmer, born in California, a resident of Anderson precinct, post office address of Boonville, registered to vote in Mendocino county. California, Voter Registrations, 1866-1898 on James McGough of 1256 Page Street, San Francisco, is listed as a 1901 graduate of the University of California (page 377) and as a 1901 graduate of the School of Dentistry of McGill University. Dr. James A. McGough died at the age of 72 in San Francisco on October 14, 1950. He was single and living at 1256 Page Street in San Francisco. He was born on May 5, 1878, in Mendocino, California. The funeral home record gives his usual occupation as a dentist, his father's name as Thomas McGough, born in Ireland, and his mother's name as Mary Brown (with an e), born in Ireland. The length of his stay in San Francisco county was 50 years. He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery. The informant was Kathryn McGough of 1256 Page Street (his sister). California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985 on The date of his interment as Holy Cross Cemetery was October 17, 1950. Find A Grave Memorial# 105531244.]

Eliza McGough, age 11 months, born in California.

[Ella Teresa Cunningham, a bookkeeper, a democrat, living at 1256 Page Street, registered to vote in San Francisco on August 3, 1912; and as a teacher at the same address in 1916, 1918, 1920, 1922. California, Voter Registrations, 1256 Page Street San Francisco1900-1968, on Ella T. Cunningham died in San Francisco on May 27, 1972. Her death certificate shows her age at death as 90, and her birth date as July 29, 1881. Her parents are listed as Thomas McGough, born in Ireland, and Mary Browne, born in Ireland. Ella was widowed, last occupation of teacher, 40 years in that occupation, last employed by the San Francisco School Department, her residence at 1256 Page Street #5. Her length of residence in San Francisco county was 70 years. The cause of death was Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease with Generalized Arteriosclerosis and resulting Gangrene of the right lower extremity. The informant was Miss Marie McGough at the same address. She was buried on May 31, 1957, at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, California. San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985, on, which contains a copy of er death certificate. Ella T. Cunningham was interred at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery on May 31, 1972. Find A Grave Memorial# 107417721.]

John Reed, age 60, laborer, cook, born in Ireland.

The 1880 Productions in Agriculture (Schedule) for Anderson township, Mendocino county, California, lists:

Thomas McGough, owner of a farm; 40 tilled acres, 360 acres of permanent meadows, permanent pastures, orchards, vineyards; value of farm, including land, fences, and buildings $5000; value of farming implements and machinery $100; value of livestock $500; spent for wages for farm labor during 1979 (including value of board) $50; 4 weeks of hired labor in 1879 upon farm; estimated value of all farm productions (sold, consumed, or on hand) for 1879 $813; acres of grassland in 1879, mown 4, not mown 360; products harvested in 1879, hay 4 tons; horses of all ages on hand June 1, 1880 - 5; milk cows on hand June 1, 1880 - 5; other cattle 20; calves dropped 7, cattle of all ages purchased 2, sold living 2, slaughtered 1, died, strayed, and stolen, not recovered 7; butter made on farm in 1979 - 200 lbs.; sheep 0; swine 0; poultry on hand June 1, 1880, exclusive of Spring hatching, barn-yard 36, other 36; eggs produced in 1879 180 (?). Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 on

The 1900 census of Anderson township, Mendocino county, lists the same family, but William McGough is not listed in the family home. In 1900. (McGough is misindexed as McGaugh by

(1900) Thomas McGough, age 69, born in Ireland in July, 1830, married 35 years, farmer.

Mary McGough, age 58, born in Ireland in April, 1842, married 35 years, mother of 10 children, 9 living.

Rosa M. McGough, age 28, single, born in December, 1871, in California to parents born in Ireland, school teacher.

John P. McGough. age 26, single, born in April, 1874, in California to parents born in Ireland, farm laborer.

Thomis (sic) M. McGough, age 24, single, born in March, 1876, in California to parents born in Ireland, school teacher.

Lizzie McGough, age 20, single, born in January, 1880, in California to parents born in Ireland, at school.

Ellen T. McGough, age 17, single, born in California in July, 1882, to parents born in Ireland, at school.

1900 Census of San Francisco

The 1900 census of San Francisco, California, lists James Grant, age 32, born in February 1868 in Scotland, who emigrated to the US in 1896, as a Catholic Priest at 2905 24th Street, which was the rectory of St. Peter's Catholic Church near the intersection of 24th Street and Florida Street. The assistant pastor of his church in 1900 was Father Peter Yorke (1864-1925), who served under Father Peter S. Casey from 1900 to 1913 and became pastor upon the death of Father Casey in 1913. See: Father Peter C. Yorke, Irish American Leader, by James P. Walsh and Timothy Foley and Consecrated Thunderbolt: A Life of Father Peter C. Yorke of San Francisco by Joseph Brusher, S.J.

St. Peter's Parish on 24th Street was founded in 1867 and was in the heart of the Mission District of San Francisco - "a working-class, immigrant neighborhood peopled primarily by German and Irish families." When the Germans organized St. Anthony's Parish in the Mission District to serve as their primary Catholic Church, St. Peter's became the "premiere Irish parish" in San Francisco. See St. Peter’s Parish in San Francisco: The Rise and Eclipse of an Irish Parish 1913-1964 by Jeffrey M. Burns where the article may be downloaded.

Death of Thomas McGough in 1905

Here is part of an article from the Irish World (New York, NY) of April 1, 1905, page 11:

California — San Francisco — ...

Within the past few days two of the best known young priests of the Archdiocese has suffered the loss of beloved ones caused by death. The father of Rev. W. E. McGough of St. Francis Church passed away at the age of 75 years ... Thomas McGough was a native of Ireland. He was the beloved husband of Mrs. Mary McGough, and besides the Rev. W. E. McGough, is survived by the following children: John, Kathryn, Rose, Thomas, Dr. J. A., Elizabeth and Ella McGough, and Mrs. E. G. Waltz. ...

Thomas McGough, who died on February 23, 1905, is buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, Colma, San Mateo County, California. Find A Grave Memorial #105010258.

1910 Census of San Francisco

The 1910 census of San Francisco lists at 1256 Page Street::

(1910) Mary McGough (head), age 68, widow, mother of 10 children, 8 living, born in Ireland, immigrated in 1863, own income. [Here is a notice of death of Mary McGough from the San Francisco Call of June 5, 1911, page 4: "McGough (misspelled McCough) — Friends are invited to attend the month's mind mass for the repose of the soul of the late Mrs. Mary McGough, which will be celebrated at St. Agnes church tomorrow (Tuesday), June 6, at 9:30 a. m."]

Kathryn McGough (daughter), age 37, single, born in California to parents born in Ireland, teach, public school.

Rosa M. McGough (daughter). age 36, single, born in California to parents born in Ireland, teach, public school.

John P. McGough (son), age 34, single, born in California to parents born in Ireland, teamster, furniture.

Thomas M. McGough (son), age 32, single, born in California to parents born in Ireland, secretary, American Wheel Co.

Ella T. Cunningham (daughter), age 28, widow, no children, born in California to parents born in Ireland, bookkeeper, insurance company.

Sarah Peake (servant), age 22, single, born in Ireland to a father born in England and a mother born in Ireland, servant, private family.

The 1910 census of San Francisco lists at 2320 Green Street:

(1910) Martin P. Ryan (head), age 48, single, born in Ireland, immigrated in 1890, naturalized, Priest, Roman Catholic Church.

William E. McGough (assistant), age 38, single, born in California to parent born in Ireland, Priest, Roman Catholic Church, living on church property at at 2320 Green Street (St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church).

John Power (assistant), age 35, single, born in Ireland, immigrated in 1904, papers, Priest, Roman Catholic Church.

Egiste Fozzi (assistant), age 27, single, born in Italy, immigrated in 1908, (assistant), Priest, Roman Catholic Church.

Margaret English (servant), age 35, single. born in Ireland, immigrated in 1895, cook, private family.

Ellen Flynn (servant), age 24, single, housekeeper, private family.

1920 Census of San Francisco

The 1920 census of San Francisco, taken January 5, 1920, lists at 1256 Page Street:

(1920) Kathryn McGough (head), owner free of a mortgage, age 49, single, born in California to parents born in Ireland, teacher, public school.

Rose McGough (sister), age 47, single, born in California to parents born in Ireland, teacher, public school, wage worker.

James McGough (brother), age 42, single, born in California to parents born in Ireland, physician, dentistry, working on account, wage worker.

Ella Cunningham (sister), age 36, widowed, born in California to parents born in Ireland, teacher, public school, wage worker.

The 1920 census of San Francisco, taken January 7, 1920, lists at 1854 Howard Street:

(1920) John McGough, age 45, born in California, to parents born in Ireland, teamster, heavy cu (?).

Margaret McGough, age 37, born in California to parents born in Ireland.

James D. McGough, age 8, born in California, attended school.

Florence M. McGough, age 6, born in California, attended school.

1930 Census of San Francisco

The 1930 census of San Francisco lists at 1256 Page Street:

(1930) Rosa M. McGough (head), age 57, owner of real estate valued at $12,000, single, born in California, father born in Irish Free State, mother born in Irish Free State, teacher, public schools.

Katheryn McGough (sister), age 58, single, single, born in California, father born in Irish Free State, mother born in Irish Free State, teacher, public schools.

John B. McGough (brother), age 55, widower, age at first marriage 36 years, born in California, father born in Irish Free State, mother born in Irish Free State, fireman (or foreman) in a food store.

James B. McGough (brother), age 52, single, born in California, father born in Irish Free State, mother born in Irish Free State, dentist employed in an office.

Ella T. Cunningham (sister), age 46, widow, age at first marriage 38, born in California, father born in Irish Free State, mother born in Irish Free State, teacher, public school.

San Joaquin County Public Libary Obituary Index

The California, San Joaquin, County Public Library Obituary Index, 1850-1991 on contains two entries for McGoughs:

Name: Thomas Mcgough
Obituary Date: 1913
FHL Film Number: 1787085


Name: William E Mcgough
Obituary Date: 1950
FHL Film Number: 1787085


Career and Family of Father William Edward McGough
Updated September 2, 2014  
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