Avery, Ohio: Willcox Print, 1897. ,290pp. Original black cloth, expertly rebacked retaining original gilt backstrip. Very good. Item #WRCAM54900
A little-known, scarce, and valuable account of the Gold Rush. Willcox was an apprentice carpenter in Mystic River, Connecticut at the time news of the California gold discoveries began to spread. He sailed from New York to Panama on Jan. 20, 1852, crossed the Isthmus, and arrived in San Francisco in a very quick thirty-three days after his departure from New York. He gives a good description of crossing Panama and of life in San Francisco and the mines, writing in elaborate detail of the mining camps, outlaw bands, gambling saloons, opium dens, California cattle and agriculture, Vigilance organizations, Indian troubles, and more. Willcox worked as a carpenter and got a job building a bridge over the American River, a sawmill, and a quartz mill. "Somewhat rambling in his recollections, Willcox describes Chinese miners, hydraulic mining, wagon roads, quicksilver mining, and general resources of California" - Kurutz. "His vivid portrayal of mining life in California, from 1850 on is of deep interest. In it he depicts in details the rowdyism, hardships and Indian troubles that best the early miners. A source book of real value" - Norris catalogue. The Graff copy notes the presence of a frontispiece portrait, but Howes asserts that the portrait was printed circa 1901 and only inserted into some copies. The Streeter copy did not contain the portrait, nor does the present copy. Howes notes that not over 100 copies were printed, but Ernest Wessen (who called it a "very rare book") wrote that "one who is said to have participated in the printing of this book has assured your cataloguer that less than seventy-five copies were issued" (MIDLAND NOTES). While rather plentiful in library holdings, this book is scarce on the market. KURUTZ 681. COWAN, p.684. ROCQ 16163. WHEAT, GOLD RUSH 228. HOWES W436, "aa." FLAKE 9865. NORRIS CATALOGUE 4228. STREETER SALE 3024. GRAFF 4673. ADAMS, HERD 2520. ADAMS, SIX-GUNS 2394. HOWELL 50:933. MIDLAND NOTES 3:82.