A Tramp Through The Bret Harte Country By Thomas Dykes Beasley

 - A Tramp Through the Bret Harte Country

By Thomas Dykes Beasley

Author of The Coming of Portola

With A Foreward - Page 1
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A Tramp Through The Bret Harte Country

By Thomas Dykes Beasley

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.

The Chapters



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 Home

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

The Illustrations

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 Traversed

The Tuttletown Hotel, Tuttletown; a Wooden Building Erected in the Early Fifties

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 Canon"

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 Diamond Springs

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 Characteristic Touch"

A Bit of Picturesque Nevada City, Embracing the Homes of Its Leading Citizens


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.

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