Author of "The Coming of Portola"
With A Foreward by
Charles A. Murdock
Above the pines the moon was slowly drifting,
The river sang below;
The dim Sierras, far beyond, uplifting
Their minarets of snow.
- Dickens in Camp.
Reminiscences of Bret Harte. "Plain Language From Truthful James." The
Glamour of the Old Mining Towns
Inception of the Tramp. Stockton to Angel's Camp. Tuttletown and the
"Sage of Jackass Hill"
Tuolumne to Placerville. Charm of Sonora and Fascination of San Andreas
and Mokelumne Hill
J. H. Bradley and the Cary House. Ruins of Coloma. James W. Marshall and
His Pathetic End
Auburn to Nevada City Via Colfax and Grass Valley. Ben Taylor and His
E. W. Maslin and His Recollections of Pioneer Days in Grass Valley.
Origin of Our Mining Laws
Grass Valley to Smartsville. Sucker Flat and Its Personal Appeal
Smartsville to Marysville. Some Reflections on Automobiles and "Hoboes"
Bayard Taylor and the California of Forty-nine. Bret Harte and His
Literary Pioneer Contemporaries
Ruins of Coloma, a Name "Forever Associated With the Wildest Scramble
for Gold the World Has Ever Been"
Map of the "Bret Harte Country," Showing the Route Taken by the Writer,
With the Towns, Important Rivers, and County Boundaries of the Country
The Tuttletown Hotel, Tuttletown; a Wooden Building Erected in the Early
Mokelumne River; "Whatever the Meaning of the Indian Name, One May Rest
Assured It Stands for Some Form of Beauty"
"A Mining Convention at Placerville"
South Fork of the American River, Coloma. The Bend in the River Is the
Precise Spot Where Gold Was First Discovered in California
Ben Taylor and His Home, Grass Valley, Showing the Spruce He Planted
Nearly Half a Century Ago
E. W. Maslin in the Garden of His Alameda Home
Angel's Hotel, Angel's Camp, Erected in 1852, as was the Wells Fargo
Building Which Faces it Across the Street
Main Hoist of the Utica Mine, Angel's Camp, Situated on the Summit of a
Hill Overlooking the Town
The Stanislaus River, Near Tuttletown, "Running in a Deep and Splendid
Jackass Hill, Tuttletown. The Road to the Left Leads to the Former Home
of "Jim" Gillis
Home of Mrs. Swerer, Tuttletown. The Hotel and This Dwelling Comprise
All That Is Habitable of the Tuttletown of Bret Harte
Main Street, Sonora, "So Shaded by Trees That Buildings Are Half-hidden"
Sonora, Looking Southeast. "No Matter From What Direction You Approach
It, Sonora Seems to Lie Basking in the Sun"
Main Street, San Andreas, "During the Mid-day Heat, Almost Deserted"
Metropolitan Hotel, San Andreas; in the Bar-room of Which Occurred the
"Jumping Frog" Incident
Mokelumne Hotel, on the Summit of Mokelumne Hill, and at the Head of the
Famous Chili Gulch
Placerville, the County Seat of El Dorado County, From the Road to
The Cary House, Placerville. "It Was Here That Horace Greeley Terminated
His Celebrated Stage Ride With Hank Monk"
Middle Fork of the American River, Near Auburn, and Half a Mile Above
Its Junction With the North Fork
An Apple Orchard, Grass Valley, "The Trees Growing in the Grass, as in
England and the Atlantic States"
The Western Hotel, Grass Valley. "The Well and Pump Add a Quaint and
A Bit of Picturesque Nevada City, Embracing the Homes of Its Leading
In California's imaginary Hall of Fame, Bret Harte must be accorded a
prominent, if not first place. His short stories and dialect poems
published fifty years ago made California well known the world over and
gave it a romantic interest conceded no other community. He saw the
picturesque and he made the world see it. His power is unaccountable if
we deny him genius. He was essentially an artist. His imagination gave
him vision, a new life in beautiful setting supplied colors and rare
literary skill painted the picture.
His capacity for absorption was marvelous. At the age of about twenty he
spent less than a year in the foot-hills of the Sierras, among pioneer
miners, and forty-five years of literary output did not exhaust his
impressions. He somewhere refers to an "eager absorption of the strange
life around me, and a photographic sensitiveness," to certain scenes and
incidents." "Eager absorption," "photographic sensitiveness," a rich
imagination and a fine literary style, largely due to his mother,
enabled him to win at his death this acknowledgment from the "London
Spectator:" "No writer of the present day has struck so powerful and
original a note as he has sounded."
Francis Bret Harte was born in Albany, New York, August 25, 1836. His
father was a teacher and translator; his mother a woman of high
character and cultivated tastes. His father having died, he, when nine,
became an office boy and later a clerk. In 1854 he came to California to
join his mother who had married again, arriving in Oakland in March of
that year. His employment for two years was desultory. He worked in a
drug store and also wrote for Eastern magazines. Then he went to Alamo
in the San Ramon Valley as tutor - a valued experience. Later in 1856 he
went to Tuolumne County where, among other things, he taught school, and
may have been an express messenger. At any rate, he stored his memory
with material that ten years later made him and the whole region famous.
In 1857 he went to Humboldt County where his sister was living. He was
an interesting figure, gentlemanly, fastidious, reserved, sensitive,
with a good fund of humor, a pleasant voice and a modest manner. He
seemed poorly fitted for anything that needed doing. He was willing, for
I saw him digging post holes and building a fence with results somewhat
unsatisfactory. He was more successful as tutor for two of my boy
friends. He finally became printers' devil in the office of the
"Northern Californian," where he learned the case, and incidentally
contributed graceful verse and clever prose.