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Sutter's Diary
Entries for 1838

Sutter's Diary
Entries for 1840

Sutter's Diary
Entries for 1844

Sutter's Diary
Entries for 1845

Sutter's Diary
Entries for 1846

Sutter's Diary
Entries for 1847

Sutter's Diary
Entries for 1843

14 Lithographic Views of the California Gold Rush 1850-1857
in PowerPoint (900 Kb)

Capt. Sutter tells of the Gold Discovery - 1854

The Discovery of Gold, by John A. Sutter - 1857

An Eyewitness to the Gold Discovery

A Rush to the Gold Washings – From the California Star

Military Governor Mason's Report on the Discovery of Gold

William T. Sherman and the Gold Rush

Dramatic Impact of the Gold Discovery, by Theo. H. Hittell

The Discovery – as Viewed in New York and London

Ulysses S. Grant and the Gold Rush

Gold Rush and Anti-Chinese Race Hatred

Gold Mining Terms and Methods

Other Museum Gold Rush Items

California Gold Rush Chronology 1846 – 1849

California Gold Rush Chronology 1850 – 1851

California Gold Rush Chronology 1852 – 1854

California Gold Rush Chronology 1855 – 1856

California Gold Rush Chronology 1857 – 1861

California Gold Rush Chronology 1862 – 1865

Steamer Day in the 1850s

Sam Brannan Opens New Bank – 1857

Return to Diary of Johann August Sutter.
April, 1838

I LEFT the State of Missouri (where I has resided for a many years) on the 1th April, 1838, and travelled with the party of Men under Capt Tripps, of the Amer. fur Compy, to their Rendezvous in the Rocky Mountains (Wind River Valley); from there I travelled with 6 brave Men to Oregon, as I considered myself not strong enough to cross the Sierra Nevada and go direct to California (which was my intention from my first Start on having got some informations from a Gent'n in New Mexico, who has been in California.)

[Sutter's spelling is often phonetic; Dalls for Dalles.]
Under a good Many Dangers and other troubles I have passed the Different forts or trading posts of the Hudsons Bay Compy, and arrived at the Mission at the Dalls on Columbia River. From this place I crossed right strait through thick & thin and arrived to the great astonishment of the inhabitants. I arrived in 7 days in the Valley of the Willamette, while others with good guides arrived only in 17 days previous my Crossing. At fort Vancouver I has been very hospitably received and invited to pass the Winter with the Gentlemen of the Company, but as a Vessel of the Compy was ready to sail for the Sandwich Islands, I took a passage in her, in hopes to get Soon a Passage from there to California, but 5 long Months I had to wait to find an Opportunity to leave, but not direct to California, except far out of my Way to the Russian American Colonies on the North West Coast, to Sitka the Residence of the Gov'r, (Lat. 57). I remained one Month there and delivered the Cargo of the Brig Clementine, as I had Charge of the Vessel, and then sailed down the Coast in heavy Gales, and entered in Distress in the Port of San Francisco, on the 2d of July 1839. An Officer and 15 Soldiers came on board and ordered me out, saying that Monterey is the Port of entry, & at last I could obtain 48 hours to get provisions (as we were starving) and some repairings done on the Brig.

In Monterey I arranged my affairs with the Custom House, and presented myself to Govr. Alvarado, and told him my intention to Settle here in this Country, and that I have brought with me 5 White Men and 8 Kanacas (two of them married). 3 of the Whitemen were Mechanics, he was very glad to hear that, and particularly when I told him, that I intend to Settle in the interior on the banks of the river Sacramento, because the Indians then at this time would not allow white Men and particularly of the Spanish Origin to come near them, and was very hostile, and stole the horses from the inhabitants, near San Jose. I got a General passport for my small Colony and permission to select a Territory where ever I would find it convenient, and to come in one Years time again in Monterey to get my Citizenship and the title of the Land, which I have done so, and not only this, I received a high civil Office ("Representante del Govierno en las fronteras del Norte, y Encargado de la Justicia").

[S. J.; Sandwich Islands. Sutter uses the dotted German "j" for "i."]
When I left Yerba Buena (now San Francisco) after having leaved the Brig and dispatched her back to the S. J. I bought several small Boats (Launches) and Chartered the Schooner "Isabella" for my Exploring Journey to the inland Rivers and particularly to find the Mouth of the River Sacramento, as I could find Nobody who could give me information, only that they Knew that some very large Rivers are in the interior. [William Heath Davis commanded the Isabella and Nicholas which Sutter had chartered from Nathan Spear.]

It took me eight days before I could find the entrance of the Sacramento, as it is very deceiving and very easy to pass by, how it happened to several Officers of the Navy afterwards which refused to take a pilot. About 10 miles below Sacramento City I fell in with the first Indians which was all armed & painted & looked very hostile; they was about 200 Men, as some of them understood a little Spanish I could make a Kind of treaty with them, and the two which understood Spanish came with me, and made me a little better acquainted with the Country. All other Indians on the up River hided themselves in the Bushes, and on the Mouth of Feather River they runned all away so soon they discovered us. I was examining the Country a little further up with a Boat, while the larger Crafts let go their Ankers. On my return all the white Men came to me and asked me how much longer I intended to travell with them in such a Wilderness. I saw plain that it was a Mutiny. I answered them that I would give them an answer the next Morning and left them and went in the Cabin.

The following Morning I gave Orders to return, and entered in the American River, landed at the former Tannery on the 12th Augt. 1839. Gave Orders to get every thing on Shore, pitch the tents and mount the 3 Cannons, called the white Men, and told them that all those which are not contented could leave on board the Isabella next Morning and that I would settle with them imediately and remain alone with the Canacas, of 6 Men 3 remained, and 3 of them I gave passage to Yerbabuena.

The Indians was first troublesome, and came frequently, and would it not have been for the Cannons they would have Killed us for sake of my property, which they liked very much, and this intention they had very often, how they have confessed to me afterwards, when on good terms. I had a large Bull Dog which saved my life 3 times, when they came slyly near the house in the Night: he got hold of and marked them most severely. In a short time removed my Camps on the very spot where now the Ruins of Sutters fort stands, made acquaintance with a few Indians which came to work for a short time making Adobes, and the Canacas was building 3 grass houses, like it is customary on the Sandwich Islands. Before I came up here, I purchassed Cattle & Horses on the Rancho of Senor Martinez, and had great difficulties & trouble to get them up, and had to wait for them long time, and received them at least on the 22d October 1839. Not less then 8 Men wanted to be in the party, as they were afraid of the Indians and had good reasons to be so.

["f" and "v" with Sutter were interchangeable-- save becomes safe.] Before I got the Cattle we was hunting Deer & Elk etc and so afterwards to safe the Cattle as I had then only about 500 head, 50 horses & a manada of 25 mares. One Year, that is in the fall 1840, I bought 1000 head of Cattle of Don Antonio Sunol and a many horses more of Don Joaquin Gomez and others. In the fall 1839 I have built an Adobe house, covered with Tule and two other small buildings in the middle of the fort; they was afterwards destroyed by fire. At the same time we cut a Road through the Woods where the City of Sacramento stand, then we made the New Embarcadero, where the old Zinkhouse stands now. After this it was time to make a Garden, and to sow some Wheat &c. We broke up the soil with poor Californian ploughs, I had a few Californians employed as Baqueros, and 2 of them making Cal. Carts & stocking the ploughs etc. [manada : the Spanish for drove or herd.]

In the Spring 1840. the Indians began to be troublesome all around me, Killing and Wounding Cattle, stealing horses, and threatening to attack us en Mass I was obliged to make Campaigns against them and punish them severely, a little later about 2 or 300 was aproching and got United on Cosumne River, but I was not waiting for them. Left a small Garrison at home, Canons & other Arms loaded, and left with 6 brave men & 2 Baquero's in the night, and took them by surprise at Day light. The fighting was a little hard, but after having lost about 30 men, they was willing to make a treaty with me, and after this lecon they behaved very well, and became my best friends and Soldiers, with which I has been assisted to conquer the whole Sacramento and a part of the San Joaquin Valley. [The French lecon for lesson : Sutter's polylingual accomplishments creep in here and there.]

They became likewise tolerable good laborers and the boys had to learn mechanical trades; teamster's, Vaquero's, etc. At the time the Communication with the Bay was very long and dangerous, particularly in open Boats; it is a great Wonder that we got not swamped a many times, all time with an Indian Crew and a Canaca at the helm. Once it took me (in December 1839.) 16 days to go down to Yerbabuena and to return. I went down again on the 22d Xber 39. to Yerbabuena and on account of the inclemency of the Weather and the strong current in the River I need a whole month (17 days coming up) and nearly all the provisions spoiled.

March the 18th [1840]

Dispatched a party of White men and Indians in serch for pine timber and went not further up on the Amer. River as about 25 miles, found and cut some but not of a good quality and rafted it down the River. On the end of the month of March there was an other conspiracy of some Indians, but was soon quelled when I succeeded to disarm them.

August 17th.

The men who crossed with me the Rocky Mountains with two others had a chance to come from Oregon on board an Amer. Vessel which landed them at Bodega, at the time occupied by the Russians. When they told the Russian Governor that they wanted to join me, he received them very kindly and hospitable, furnished them with fine horses, new Saddles etc. at a very low rate and gave them direction whereabout they would have to travell, without being seen by some Spaniards, which would have them brought to Sonoma in the prison and after a many difficulties they found me at last. I was of Course very glad having these brave men again with me, and employed them, and so I became strong at once.

August 23d.

Capt. Ringold of Comadore Wilkes' Exploring Squadron arrived on the Embarcadero, piloted by one of the Launches Indian crew; without this they would not have found so easy the entrance of the Sacramento. They had 6 Whaleboats & 1 Launch, 7 Officers and about 50 men in all. I was very glad indeed to see them, sent immediately saddled horses for the Officers, and my Clerk with an invitation to come and see me. At their arrival I fired a salut, and furnished them what they needed. They was right surprised to find me up here in this Wilderness, it made a very good impression upon the Indians to see so many whites are coming to see me, they surveyed the River as far as the Butes. [Ringgold of Commodore Wilkes' expedition.]

September 4th.

Arrived the Russian Govr Mr. Alexander Rottcheff on board the Schooner Sacramento, and offered me their whole Establishment at Bodega & Ross for sale, and invited me to come right of with him, as there is a Russian Vessel at Bodega, and some Officers with plein power, to transact this business with me, and particularly they would give me the preference, as they became all acquainted with me, during a months stay at Sitka. I left and went with him down to the Bay in Company with Capt. Ringold's Expedition. What for a fleet we thought then, is on the River. Arriving at Bodega, we came very soon to terms, from there we went to fort Ross where they showed me everything and returned to Bodega again, and before the Vessel sailed we dined on board the Helena, and closed the bargain for $30,000, which has been paid. And other property, was a separate account which has been first paid. [The clerk was John Bidwell.]

September 28th.

I dispatched a number of men and my Clerk by Land to Bodega, to receive the Cattle, Horses, Mules & Sheep, to bring them up to Sutter's fort, called then New Helvetia, by crossing the Sacramento they lost me from about 2000 head about a 100, which drowned in the River, but of most of them we could safe the hides, our Cal. Banknotes at the time.

I did send a Clerk with some men in charge of these Establishments and left the necessary horses and Cattle there. The Schooner Sacramento keept up the communication between the Coast and here, and brought me as freight the Lumber, to finish the House in the fort. I was just building and errecting the fort at the time in Aug. & Sept. for protection of the Indians and of the Californians which became bery jealous seeing these fortifications and 12 Canons and a field piece mounted, and two other brass pieces unmounted at the time. [1844 Fremont's first appearance in California.]

October 18th.

A party of Comodore Wilkes' Exploring Squadron, arrived from Oregon by land, consisting of the Scientific Corps, a few Naval Officers, Marine Soldiers and Mountaineers as Guides under Command of Lieut. Emmons. I received them so well as I could, and then the Scientific Corps left by Land for San Jose and the Naval Officers & Marines I dispatched them on board of one of my Vessels.

March 6th. [1844]

Capt. Fremont arrived at the fort with Kit Carson, told me that he was an officer of the U. S. and left a party behind in Distress and on foot, the few surviving Mules was packed only with the most necessary. I received him politely and his Company likewise as an old acquaintance. The next Morning I furnished them with fresh horses, & a Vaquero with a pack Mule loaded with Necessary Supplies for his Men. Capt Fremont found in my Establishment every thing what he needed, that he could travell without Delay. He could have not found it so by a Spaniard, perhaps by a great Many and with loosing a great deal of time. I sold him about 60 Mules & about 25 horses, and fat young Steers or Beef Cattle, all the Mules & horses got Shoed. On the 23d March, all was ready and on the 24th he left with his party for the U. States.

As an Officer of the Govt. it was my duty to report to the Govt., that Capt. Fremont arrived. Genl. Micheltorena dispatched Lieut. Col. Telles (afterwards Gov. of Sinaloa) with Capt., Lieut. and 25 Dragoons, to inquire what Captain Fremonts business was here; but he was en route as they arrive only on the 27th. From this time on Exploring, Hunting & Trapping parties has been started, at the same time Agricultural & Mechanical business was progressing from Year to year, and more Notice has been taken of my establishment. It became even a fame, and some early Distinguished Travellers like Doctor Sandells, Wasnesensky & others, Captains of Trading Vessels & SuperCargos, & even Californians (after the Indians was subdued) came and paid me a visit, and was astonished to see what for Work of all kinds has been done. Small Emigrant parties arrived, and brought me some very valuable Men, with one of those was Major Bidwell (he was about 4 Years in my employ). Major Reading & Major Hensley with 11 other brave Men arrived alone, both of those Gentlemen has been 2 Years in my employ, with these parties excellent Mechanics arrived which was all employed by me, likewise good farmers. We made imediately Amer. ploughs in my Shops and all kind of work done. Every year the Russians was bound to furnish me with good iron & Steel & files, Articles which could not be got here, likewise Indian Beeds and the most important of all was 100 lb of fine Rifle & 100 lb of Canon powder, and several 100 lb of Lead (every year). With these I was carefull like with Gold. [The Bartleson party which included John Bidwell arrived in November, 1841 Reading and Hensley came in 1843.]

From the Hudsons Bay Company I received likewise great supplies, and particularly Powder, lead, and Shot, Beaver Trapps and Clothing (on Credit, to be paid for in Beaver and Otter Skins). They would not have done this to everyone; but as I has been highly recommended to these gentlemen from England and personally acquainted, they have done so. Once I received a visit of Mr. Douglas, who was the Commander in Chief of the establishments on the Pacific & the mountains, after Dr. McLaughlin resigned. With such a supply of Powder, Amunition & Arms, I made a bold appearance. The fort was built in about 4 years of time, as it was very difficult to get the necessary lumber we was sawing by hand Oak timber. Under Gen'l Micheltorena our Govr. I received the rank and Title Capt. of the Mexican Army. He found it his Policy to be friend with me, as he was all time threatened with a Revolution of the Californians notwithstanding having about 1000 troupes (Mexicans). Having the rank as Capt. and Military Comander of the Northern frontieres, I began to drill the Indians, with the assistance of two good Non Commissioned Officers from my Country, which I promoted to Capt & first Lieut't & got their Comissions and from the time I had a self-made Garrison, but the Soldiers to earn for their Uniforms & food etc. had to work when they was not on Duty. During this time my Stock was increasing; had about then 8000 head of Cattle and 2000 horses and breeding Mares and about 4000 Sheep. Of the Wool we made our own Plankets, as we established under great Difficulties a factory. Plankets, like nearly all other articles was very scarce and sold to very high prices at the time.

Emigration continued in small parties, just strong enough to protect themselves travelling through a Country of hostile Indians, all of them was allways hospitably received under my roof and all those who could or would not be employed, could stay with me so long as they liked, and when leaving, I gave them Passports which was everywhere respected. Was some trouble below, all came immediately to me for protection. Of the different unfortunate Emigrations which suffered so much in the Snow, it is unnecessary to speak of, as it was published in the papers throughout the States.

In the fall 1844, I went to Monterey with Major Bidwell and a few armed men (Cavallada & Servants); how it was customary to travell at these times, to pay a Visit to Gen'l Micheltorrena. I has been received with the greatest Civil and Military honors. One day he gave a great Diner, after Diner all the Troupes were parading, and in the evening a balloon was sent to the higher regions, etc, etc.

At the time it looked very gloomy; the people of the Country was arming and preparing to make a Revolution, and I got some sure and certain information, of the British Consul and other Gentlemen of my acquaintance which I visited on my way to Monterey. They did not know that the General and myself were friends, and told and discovered me the whole plan, that in a short time the people of the Country will be ready to blockade the General and his troupes in Monterey, and then take him prisoner and send him and his Soldiers back to Mexico, and make a Gov'r of their own people etc. I was well aware what we could expect should they succeed to do this; they would drive us foreigners all very soon out of the Country, how they have done it once, in the winter 1839. Capt. Vioget has already been engaged by Castro & Alvarado to be ready with his vessel to take the Gen'l and his Soldiers to Mexico.

I had a confidential Conversation with Genl. Micheltorena who received me with great honors and Distinction in Monterey. After having him informed of all what is going on in the Country, he took his measures in a Counsel of war in which I has been present. I received my Orders to raise such a large auxiliary force as I possibly could, and to be ready at his Order, at the same time I received some Cartridges and some small Arms which I had shiped on board the Alert, and took a Passage myself for San Francisco (or then Yerba buena). If I had travelled by land, Castro would have taken me a Prisoner in San Juan, where he was laying in Ambush for me. In Yerba buena I remained only a few hours as my Schooner was ready to receive me on board, having waited for me at Ya.  Ba.  [Yerba Buena] I visited the Officers of the Custom house and Castro's Officer, which immediately after I left received an Order to arrest me, but I was under fair Way to Sacramento.

After my Arrival at the fort, I began to organize a force for the General, regular Drill of the Indian Infanterie took place, the Mounted Rifle Company about 100 Men of all Nations was raised, of which Capt. Gantt was the Commander; as all was under fair way and well organized, and joint with a Detachment of California Cavallry (which deserted from Vallejo) we left the fort with Music and flying Colors on the 1th January 1845, to join the General, and comply with his Orders. Major Reading was left with a small Garrison of Frenchmen, Canadians and Indians, as Commander of the upper Country.

Castro had his Headquarters then in the Mission of San Jose. He did not expect us so soon, as he was just commencing to fortify himself, he ran away with his Garrison, was collecting a stronger force, and want to trouble us on our March, but as he saw that I was on a good Qui Vive for him, he left for Monterey to unite with the forces that was blockading the General and his troops in Monterey, and advanced or runed for the lower Country, to call or force the people there to take Arms against the Government. On the Salinas River near Monterey the Genl. was encamped, and with our united force, about 600 Men (he left a Garrison in Monterey) we pursued the enemy, and had to pursue him down to Los Angeles. The first encounter we had with the enemy was at Buenaventura, where we attacked him and drove them out their comfortable quarters. While at and near Santa Barbara, a great Many of Soldiers of my Division Deserted, over 50 men of the Mounted Rifles, the Detachment of Cala. Cavalry deserted and joined their Countrymen the Rebells, likewise a good number of the Mexican Dragoons.

Near San Fernando (Mission) the enemy occupied a fine position, and appeared in full strength, joined by a company of American Traders coming from Sonora and another Company of the same consisting of Traders and Trappers and the whole force of the enemy was over thousand Men, well provided with everything, and our force has been no more as about 350 or 375 Men, and during the battle of Cahuenga near San Fernando, the balance of the Mounted Riflemen, and the Artillerie deserted, and myself fell in the hands of the enemy and was taken prisoner and transported to Los Angeles.

A few days after this, the General, surrounded by the enemy, so that he could get nothing more to eat, capitulated, and after the necessary Documents was signed by both parties, the Genl. was allowed to march with Music and flying colours to San Pedro, where some vessels was ready to take him and his troops on board, and after having delivered their arms etc. proceeded up to Monterey to take the remaining Garrison, the family of the General and his privat property, likewise the families of some of the officers. This was the End of the reign of Genl. Govr. Manl. Micheltorena.

The new Govt. under Gov. Pio Pico, and General Castro, etc. had the intention to shoot me. They was of the Oppinion, that I had joined Genl. Micheltorena Voluntarely, but so soon as I could get my Baggage and my papers, I could prove and show by the Orders of my General that I have obeied his Orders, and done my Duty to the legal Government. And so I was acquitted with all honors, and confirmed in my former Offices as Military Commander of the Northern frontier, and encharged with the Justice, with the expressed wish that I might be so faithful to the new Govt. as I had been to Genl. Micheltorena.

While I was in Santa Barbara had a Conversation with Genl. Micheltorena, in reference of the expense, etc., because at the time I had already an Account of about $8000, without counting a cent for my own services, and for my whole rendered services from beginning of my different Offices which I held under Alvarado & the Genl. never they have paid me, even for a Courier, and never furnished me with a Govts. horse. The General told me that he knew this very well, and as he had no money, he would let me have some land, and even if I should like the sobrante for which I applied when last in Monterey, and which Document was mislaid or destroyed by Dn. Manuel Timeno. I told him that I would be contented, and as we are in Campaign and might be killed by the enemy I wish that the Document would be writen in the name of my eldest Son and my whole family.[sobrante: an extension of area to land previously granted.]

The Genl. did send for one of his Aid-de-Camp Capt. Castaneda, who was acting Secretary. This Gentleman wrote the Document (he is alife yet), he has given his testimony before the Land Commission about 2 years ago. This Document with a many others has been given to John S. Fowler in Care while he was acting as my Agent, and was afterwards destroyed by fire.

After a return of hardship from San Fernando through Tulare Valley, we turned all out again to our former Occupations, and arrived at the fort on the 1th April 1845.

September 27th. [1845]

A large party of emigrants arrived. On the 30th dispatched a party of men to assist them.

October 7th.

Another large party arrived (about 60 Wagons). Visitors and letters from the U. States.

October 21st.

Received Bandas (Proclamations) and Orders of Governor Pio Pico and Genl. Castro. This was on account rumors was circulating that war had been declared between the U. States and Mexico. On the 23d a Meeting was held of the Emigrants at the Fort (Thursday). After the Proclamations had been translated to the Meeting, they adjourned over until Monday next.

November 11th.

was the Day when the Commissioner from Mexico, Don Andres Castillero arrived at the Fort in Company with Genl. Dn. Jose Castro, Col. Prudon, Ma. Lees, staff and Escort of Castro. A salut was fired. [Major J. P. Leese.]

After having refused to let them have the fort for $100,000, or for Castros offer for the Mission of San Jose etc, etc, they left the next day. Salut fired.

December 10th.

Capt. J. C. Fremont arrived again.

December 12th.

Delivered him 14 mules.

December 13th.

Left for the South to meet Capt. J. Walker. On the same day, two Blacksmiths of Fremonts arrived, to take charge of one of the Blacksmith Shops, to make Horse Shoes Nails etc. [Jos. Reddeford Walker]

December 23d.

Indians was driving of Stock, some of it we got back again.

December 25th.

Arrived Capt. W. L. Hastings direct from the U. States crossing the Mountains with 11 men, among them was Doctor Semple, if they had arrived one day later they would have been cut off by the immense quantity of Snow. I keept the whole party over winter, some of them I employed.

January 14th. [1846]

Capt. Leidesdorff U. S. vice Consul & Capt. Hinckley, Capt. of the Port of San francisco, arrived on a friendly Visit. On the 15th January Capt Fremont returned, not beeing able to find Capt. Walker. As we were two officers of the Mex. Govt. with the Vice Consul of the U. S. we put ourselves in Uniform, and visited Fremont in his Camp, and invited him to dine with us at the Fort, which he accepted, put himself in Uniform and joint us, as we approached the Fort a salute was fired.

January 17th.

Supplied Fremonts Camp with Provisions.

January 19th.

Capt. Fremont with 8 of his men took passage on board my Schooner for Yerba buena.

January 30th.

Received a Visit of Major Snyder and Mr. Sublette, they brought the News of War being declared between the U. S. & England.

February 19th.

News was sent to me that no Mexican Troopes has arrived, which were daily expected in the Country, and that probably California is about to be delivered up to the U. S.

March 14th.

Doctor Marsh sent an Express with information of Fremonts Difficulties with Castro. Capt. Fremont was blockaded near Monterey by Castro and his Troopes, and refused him to proceed to the South through the Country on the Coste, etc. The foreign Residents wanted to assist Fremont, but he refused their aid.

March 21st.

Capt. Fremont returned and camped on the other side of the Amer. Fork, and looking out for the Californiens, and in a few days left for the upper Sacramento, and for Oregon.

April 28th.

Arrived Lieut. A. Gillespie of the U. States Marine Corps, who had secret Dispatches for Fremont, and wanted to overtake him on his route to Oregon. I furnished him with Animals, he went up to Peter Lassens with my Guide. At P. Lassens he hired Men and bought Animals to overtake Fremont. After a sharp riding he succeeded to overtake him, and returned with him to the Sacramento Valley.

May 25th.

Saml. Neal passed on a secret errant for Monterey.

May 30th.

Lieut. A. Gillespie arrived from the Upper Sacramento Valley, and left on the 1st June on board my Schooner for Yerba buena.

June 3d.

I left in Company of Major Reading, and most all of the Men in my employ, for a Campaign with the Mukelemney Indians, which has been engaged by Castro and his Officers to revolutionize all the Indians against me, to Kill all the foreigners, burn their houses and Wheat fields etc. These Mukelemney Indians had great promesses and some of them were finely dressed and equiped, and those came apparently on a friendly visit to the fort and Vicinity and had long Conversation with the influential Men of the Indians, and one Night a Number of them entered in my Potrero (a kind of closed pasture) and was Ketching horses to drive the whole Cavallada away with them. The Sentinel at the fort heart the distant Noise of these Horses, and gave due notice, & imediately I left with about 6 well armed Men and attacked them, but they could make their escape in the Woods (where Sac. City stands now) and so I left a guard with the horses. As we had to cross the Mukelemney River on rafts, one of those rafts capsized with 10 Rifles, and 6 prs of Pistols, a good supply of Amunition, and the Clothing of about 24 Men, and Major Reading & another Man nearly drowned.

Some Men remained on the dry places as they had no Clothing nor Arms, the remaining Arms and amunitions has been divided among the whole, and so we marched the whole Night on the Calaveras, and could not find the enemy. In the Morning by Sunrise we took a little rest, and soon dispatched a party to discover and reconnoitre the enemy. A Dog came to our Camp which was a well known dog of the Mukelemneys, a sign that they are not very far from us; at the same time a Courier of the party came on galloping, telling us that the party fell already in an engagemt with the enemy. Imediately we left galloping to join in the fight; already some of our Men was wounded and unable to fight. We continued the fighting until they retired and fled in a large hole like a Cellar in the bank of the Calaveras, covered with brushes and trees, firing and shooting with their bows and arrows, but we had them blockaded, and killed them a good many of their Men, but on account of having no more powder and balls, we found it very prudent to leave the Scene slowly, so that it appeared as we wanted to Camp, and so we made a forced March and Crossed the Mukelemney, and returned from this Campaign on the 7th June.

June 8th.

Arrived Lieut. Francisco Arce with 8 Soldiers & Govt. horses from Sonoma for Genl. Castro.

June 9th.

Departed Lieutenant Arce for Monterey.

June 10th.

A party of Americans under Command of E. Merritt, took all the horses from Arce at Murphey's.

June 13th.

The Portsmouths Launch arrived under Command of Lieut. Hunter, in Company with Lieut. Gillespie, Purser Waldron & Doctor Duvall.

June 14th.

Lieut. Gillespie & Hensley left for Fremont's Camp near Hock farm.

June 16th.

Merritt & Kitt Carson arrived with News of Sonoma beeing occupied by the Americans, and the same evening arrived as prissoners Genl. Vallejo, Don Salvador Vallejo, Lt. Col. Prudon & M. Leese, and given under my charge and Care, I have treated them with kindness and so good as I could, which was reported to Fremont, and he then told me that prissoners ought not to be treated so, then I told him, if it is not right how I treat them, to give them in charge of somebody else.

June 17th.

Departed the Portsmouth Launch for Yerba buena. Capt. Fremont moved Camp up to the Amer. fork, a good many people joining Fremonts Camp.

June 18th.

Arrived Express from Sonoma with letter from Capt. Montgomery.

June 19th.

Arrived Capt. Fremont with about 20 Men from Camp. Jose Noriega was detained prissoner. Fremonts Blacksmiths were busily engaged. Vicente Peralta, who was up in the Valley on a visit, was detained prissoner.

June 21st.

Capt. Fremont & Camp deposited the Packs and then camped across Amer. fork. Major Reading and my Trappers joined the Camp, and left for Sonoma as a strong Detachment of Californians crossed the Estrecho de Carqinas at Benicia.

June 26th.

Lieut. Revere & Dr. Henderson of the Portsmouth with a party of Men arrived in a Man of War Boat. A party of Men arrived from Oregon by land, which joined Fremont.

June 28th.

Arrived Lieut. Bartlett of the Portsmouth and organized a Garrison.

July 10th.

[Fremont] Arrived or returned from Sonoma with his Company. On this trip or Campaign to Sonoma some cruel actions has been done on both sides.

Capt. Montgomery did send an Amer. flag by Lieut. Revere then in Command of Sonoma, and some dispatches to Fremont, I received the Order to hist the flag by Sunrise from Lt. Revere. Long time before daybreak, I got ready with loading the Canons and when it was day the roaring of the Canons got the people all stirring. Some them made long faces, as they thought if the Bear flag would remain there would be a better chance to rob and plunder. Capt. Fremont received Orders to proceed to Monterey with his forces, Capt. Montgomery provided for the upper Country, established Garrisons in all important places, Yerba buena, Sonoma, San Jose, and fort Sacramento. Lieut. Missroon came to organize our Garrison better and more Numbers of white Men and Indians of my former Soldiers, and gave me the Command of this Fort. The Indians have not yet received their pay yet for their services, only each one a shirt and a pre. of pants, & abt. 12 men got Coats. So went the War on in California. Capt. Fremont was nearly all time engaged in the lower Country and made himself Governor, until Genl. Kearny arrived, when an other Revolution took place. And Fremont for disobeying Orders was made prissoner by Genl. Kearny, who took him afterwards with him to the U. States by Land across the Mountains. [Sutter was second in command.]

After the War I was anxious that Business should go on like before, and on the 28th May, 1847, Marshall & Gingery, two Millwrights, I employed to survey the large Millraise for the Flour Mill at Brighton. [pre: French abbreviation of une paire: pair.]

May 24th. [1847]

Lieut't Anderson arrived with a Detachment of Stevenson's Regiment of N. Y. Volunteers for a Garrison, and to relieve my Indian Soldiers from their Service.

May 31st.

Mr. Marshall commenced the great work of the large Millraise, with ploughs and scrapers.

June 13th.

A visit of Genl Kearny and his Staff and a few other Gentlemen. A salut was fired and the Garrison was parading.

June 14th.

A diner given to Gen'l Kearny and Staff. Capt. Fremont a prisoner of Gen'l Kearny. Walla Walla Indian Chiefs and people visited Fremont and wanted their pay for Services rendered in the Campaign when they was with Fremonts Battaillon, he then ordered one of his officers to pay them with Govt's horses (Horses which has been taken from the people of the Country was called Govt. horses and war horses).

June 16th.

Gen'l Kearny, Staff & Escort etc. left for the U. States across the Mountains.

June 22nd.

The Walla Walla Indians have done a great deal of Depredations on their return march to Oregon, stole horses of mine and other people, stole from a many Indian tribes and maltreated them. They are a very bad Tribe of Indians and very warlike.

July 20th.

Got all the necessary timber for the frame of the millbuilding.

July 21st.

Left with Marshall and an Indian Chief in search for a Mill site in the Mountains.

July 17th, 18th & 19th.

Went on a visit to Comodore Stockton in his Camp on Bear creek. The Comodore left with a Strong party for the U. States across the Mountains. Made a present to the Comodore with my best and finest horse of my Cavallada. Great Sickness and diseases amongst the Indian tribes, and a great Number of them were dying notwithstanding of having employed a Doctor to my hospital.

August 2d.

Major Cloud, paymaster & Capt Folsom quartermaster arrived; the former paid off the Garrison at the fort. On the 4th, these two Gentlemen left on Horseback. I accompanied them, and we was only but only 1/2 mile from the fort Major Cloud fell from his horse senseless and died in the evening. The Surgeon of the Garrison & my own Doctor have done what could be done to safe him. On the 6th, Major Cloud was burried with military honors. Capt. Folsom commanded the Troops, as Lieut't Anderson was sick.

August 25th.

Capt Hart of the Mormon Battaillon arrived, with a good many of his Men on their Way to great Salt Lake. They had Orders for Govt. Horses, which I delivered to them, (War Horses) not paid for yet. They bought provisions and got Blacksmith work done. I employed about Eighty Men of them, some as Mechanics, some as laborers, on the Mill and Millraise at Brighton; some as laborers at the Sawmill at Columa.

August 28th.

Marshall moved, with P. Wimmer family and the working hands to Columa, and began to work briskly on the sawmill.

September 10th.

Mr. Sam'l Brannan returned from the great Salt Lake, and announced a large Emigration by land. On the 19th the Garrison was removed, Lieut't Per Lee took her down to San francisco.

September 21st.

Employed more Carpenters to assist Brouett on the Grist Mill.

October 3d.

A great many Emigrants arrived, and so it continued through the whole of the month.

October 12th.

A small Store was established by S'l Brannan & Smith in one of the houses near the fort.

November 1st.

Getting with a great deal of trouble and with breaking wagons the four Runs of Millstones, to the Mill Site (Brighton) from the Mountains.

December 22d.

Received about 2000 fruit trees with great expenses from Fort Ross, Napa Valley and other places, which was given in Care of men who called themselves Gardeners, and nearly all of the trees was neglected by them and died.

January 28th. [1848]

Marshall arrived in the evening, it was raining very heavy, but he told me he came on important business. After we was alone in a private Room he showed me the first Specimens of Gold, that is he was not certain if it was Gold or not, but he thought it might be; immediately I made the proof and found that it was Gold. I told him even that most of all is 23 Carat Gold; he wished that I should come up with him immediately, but I told him that I have to give first my orders to the people in all my factories and shops. [Marshall picked up the first flakes in the mill race at the Coloma sawmill Jan. 24, 1848.]

February 1st.

Left for the Sawmill attended by a Baquero (Olimpio). Was absent 2d, 3d, 4th, & 5th. I examined myself everything and picked up a few Specimens of Gold myself in the tail race of the Sawmill; this Gold and others which Marshall and some of the other laborers gave to me (it was found while in my employ and Wages) I told them that I would a Ring got made of it soon as a Goldsmith would be here. I had a talk with my employed people all at the Sawmill. I told them that as they do know now that this Metal is Gold, I wished that they would do me the great favor and keep it secret only 6 weeks, because my large Flour Mill at Brighton would have been in Operation in such a time,  which undertaking would have been a fortune to me, and unfortunately the people would not keep it secret, and so I lost on this Mill at the lowest calculation about $25,000.

March 7th.

The first party of Mormons, employed by me left for washing and digging Gold and very soon all followed, and left me only the sick and the lame behind. And at this time I could say that every body left me from the Clerk to the Cook. What for great Damages I had to suffer in my tannery which was just doing a profitable and extensive business, and the Vatts was left filled and a quantity of half finished leather was spoiled, likewise a large quantity of raw hides collected by the farmers and of my own killing. The same thing was in every branch of business which I carried on at the time. I began to harvest my wheat, while others was digging and washing Gold, but even the Indians could not be keeped longer at Work. They was impatient to run to the mine, and other Indians had informed them of the Gold and its Value; and so I had to leave more as 2/3 of my harvest in the fields.

March 21st.

Threatened by a band of Robbers, from the Red Woods at San Francisquito near Santa Clara.

April 2d.

Mr. Humphrey a regular Miner arrived, and left for Columa with Wimmer & Marshall. Entered with them in Mining, furnished Indians, teams and provisions to this Company, and as I was loosing instead making something, I left this Company as a Partner. Some of the Neighbors, while the Mormons left, became likewise the Goldfever and went to the Mountains prospecting and soon afterwards moved up to digg and wash Gold, and some of them with great success.

April 16th.

Mr. Gray (from Virginia) who purchased Silver Mines in the San Jose Valley for a Compy and was interested himself. At the fort he learned the news of the Gold discovery. I presented him some Speciments of Gold. He left for the States across the Mountains. Some families are moving in the Mountains to camp and settle there.

April 18th.

More curious people arrived, bound for the Mountains. I left for Columa, in Company with Major P. B. Reading and Mr. Kembel (Editor of the Alta-California) we were absent 4 Days. We was prospecting and found Silver and iron ore in abundance.

April 28th.

A great many people more went up to the Mountains. This day the Saw mill was in Operation and the first Lumber has been sawed in the whole upper Country. [Kemble, later editor of the alta,was then editing the California Star,San Francisco's first newspaper.]

May 1st.

Saml Brannan was building a store at Natoma, Mormon Islands, and have done a very large and heavy business.

May 15th.

Paid off all the Mormons which has been employed by me, in building these Mills and other Mechanical trades, all of them made their pile, and some of them became rich & wealthy, but all of them was bound to the great Salt Lake, and spent there their fortunes to the honor and Glory of the Lord!

May 19th.

The great Rush from San Francisco arrived at the fort, all my friends and acquaintances filled up the houses and the whole fort, I had only a little Indian boy, to make them roasted Ripps etc. as my Cooks left me like every body else. The Merchants, Doctors, Lawyers, Sea Captains, Merchants etc. all came up and did not know what to do, all was in a Confusion, all left their wives and families in San francisco, and those which had none locked their Doors, abandoned their houses, offered them for sale cheap, a few hundred Dollars House & Lot (Lots which are worth now $100,000 and more), some of these men were just like greazy. Some of the Merchants has been the most purdentest of the Whole, visited the Mines and returned immediately and began to do a very profitable business, and soon Vessels came from every where with all Kind of Merchandise, the whole old thrash which was laying for Years unsold, on the Coasts of South & Central America, Mexico Sandwich Islands etc. All found a good Market here.

Mr. Brannan was erecting a very large Warehouse, and have done an immense business, connected with Howard & Green; S. Francisco.

May 21st.

Saml Kyburg errected or established the first Hotel in the fort in the larger building, and made a great deal of Money. A great Many traders deposited a great deal of goods in my Store (an Indian was the Key Keeper and performed very well). Afterwards every little Shanty became a Warehouse and Store; the fort was then a veritable Bazaar. As white people would not be employed at the Time  I had a few good Indians attending to the Ferry boat, and every night came up, and delivered the received Money for ferryage to me, after deduction for a few bottles of brandy, for the whole of them. Perhaps some white people at the time would not have acted so honestly.

May 25th.

The travelling to the Mines was increasing from day to day, and no more Notice was taken, as the people arrived from South America, Mexico, Sandwich Islands, Oregon, etc. All the Ships Crews, and Soldiers deserted. In the beginning of July, Col. Mason our Military Governor, with Capt. Sherman (Secretary of State) Capt. Folsom, Quartermstr, and an Escort, of which some deserted, and some other Gentlemen, travelled in Company with the Governor.

As we wanted to celebrate the 4th of July we invited the Governor and his suite to remain with us, and be accepted. Kyburg gave us a good Diner, every thing was pretty well arranged. Pickett was the Orator. It was well done enough for such a new Country and in such an excitement and Confusion. And from this time on you know how every thing was going on here. One thing is certain that the people looked on my property as their own, and in the Winter of 1849 to 1850, a great Number of horses has been stolen from me, whole Manadas of Mares driven away and taken to Oregon etc. Nearly my whole Stock of Cattle has been Killed, several thousands, and left me a very small Quantity. The same has been done with my large stock of Hogs, which was running like ever under nobodies care and so it was easy to steal them. I had not an Idea that people could be so mean, and that they would do a Wholesale business in Stealing.

On the upper Sacramento, that is, from the Buttes downward to the point or Mouth of feather River, there was most all of my Stock running and during the Overflow the Cattle was in a many bands on high spots like Islands. There was a fine chance to approach them in small Boats and shoot them. This business has been very successfully done by one party of 5 Men (partners) which had besides hired people, and Boats Crews, which transported the beef to the Market at Sacramento City and furnished that City with my own beef, and because these Men was nearly alone, on account of the Overflow, and Monopolized the Market.

In the Spring of 1850, these 5 men divided their Spoil of $60,000 clear profits made of Cattle. All of them left for the Atlantic State; one of them returned again in the Winter from 1850 to 51, hired a new band of Robers to follow the same business and kill of the balance or the few that was left. My Baqueros found out this Nest of thiefs in the their Camp butchering just some heads of my Cattle. On their return they informed me what they have seen. In the neighborhood of the same Camp they saw some more cows shot dead, which the Rascal then butchered. Immediately I did send to Nicolaus for the Sheriff (Jas. Hopkins) as then at the time we had laws in force?!? After all was stolen and destroyed the Sheriff arrived at Hock farm. I furnished him a Posse of my employed Men. They proceeded over on the Sacramento to where the thiefs were encamped. As the Sheriff wanted to arrest them they just jumped in their Boats and off they went, the Sheriff threatened them to fire at them, but that was all, and laughing they went at large.

One day my Son was riding after Stock a few miles below Hock farm. He found a Man (his name was Owens) butchering one of our finest milch Cows (of Durham stock of Chile, which cost $300.) He told the Man that he could not take the Meat, that he would go home and get people, and so he has done, and he got people and a Wagon and returned to the Spot but Owens found it good to clear out. Two brothers of this Man was respectable Merchants in Lexington Mo. and afterwards in Westport well acquainted with me. He came one day in my house and brought me their compliments, I received him well, and afterwards turned out to be a thief. How many of this kind came to California which loosed their little honor by crossing the Istmus or the plains. I had nothing at all to do with speculations, but stuck by the plough, but by paying such high Wages, and particularly under Kyburg's management, I have done this business with a heavy loss as the produce had no more the Value like before, and from the time on Kyburg left I curtailed my business considerable, and so far that I do all at present with my family and a few Indian Servants. I did not speculate, only occupied my land, in the hope that it would be before long decided and in my favor by the U. S. Land Commission; but now already 3 years & two months have elapsed, and I am waiting now very anxiously for the Decission, which will revive or bring me to the untimely grave.

All the other Circumstances you know all yourself, perhaps I have repeated many things which I wrote in the 3 first sheets, because I had them not to see what I wrote, and as it is now several months I must have forgotten. Well it is only a kind of memorandum, and not a History at all, Only to remember you on the different periods when such and such things happened.

I need not mention again, that all the Visitors has allways been hospitably received and treated. That all the sick and wounded found allways Medical Assistance, Gratis, as I had nearly all the time a Physician in my employ. The Assistance to the Emigrants, that is all well known. I dont need to write anything about this.

I think now from all this you can form some facts, and that you can mention how thousands and thousands made their fortunes, from this Gold Discovery produced through my industry and energy, (some wise merchants and others in San francisco called the building of this Sawmill, another of Sutter's folly) and this folly saved not only the Mercantile World from Bankruptcy, but even our General Gov't. but for me it has turned out a folly, then without having discovered the Gold, I would have become the richest wealthiest man on the Pacific Shore.

The Diary of Johann August Sutter / with an introduction by Douglas S. Watson. San Francisco : Grabhorn Press, 1932.

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