Began building in earnest. Cheap sawmill built to furnish lumber. I finished first house and opened it as boarding house. Other houses finished and opened in other branches of business. "Pomona" returned for supplies. Country thickly inhabited by Indians. Lived chiefly in villages along coast. Lived mainly on fish. Shy at first but when acquainted were quite trustworthy. In August fine prairie land dissolved at mouth of Smith River twelve miles from city. Company wished me to join them and locate claim. Not convenient for me to leave home, but offered them use of yoke of oxen to do hauling if they would locate claim for me and build cabin on it. Offer accepted. Sixteen men went on ground, located and built cabin on each claim. In spring I went over and examined country. Pleased with future prospects I commenced improving. My family the first that ever landed
on beach and after living here fourteen months I rented my house and moved on my claim which we called Smith River Valley. As soon as land came into market I bought one thousand acres. When I first settled here, game plenty, elk, deer, bear, smaller animals geese and ducks by ten thousand. Handy with rifle and many a fine elk I killed within one mile of cabin. Began to improve my farm. Very productive. Prices very good. Stock doing well. Sent to San Francisco for all kinds of fruit tree seeds..Proved success. Soon had enough trees for self and neighbors. Small lot of hogs shipped to Crescent City. Five purchased by myself, four brood sows and one male for $200.00. In proper time I supplied neighbors with a start. Several families moved into valley. I saw necessity of schoolhouse. I received volunteer labor enough to build house. Soon had school started. Had Sunday
School and preaching when we could get preacher.
Fishery established at mouth of river. Everything moved on fair and prosperous till 1857 when Indian war broke out in Jackson County, Oregon. Soon spread to coast and our trouble began. Settlers became alarmed. Some moved to Crescent City. I began fort by digging trench three feet deep around house and well. Split ten foot logs in two and stood them on end, one flat side in and one flat side out. Chambering round sides together to be bullet proof. Also made bastion on two opposite corners so we could enter them from inside fort and from porthole look along two of outside walls from each bastion. Kept plenty of guns and ammunition. One man, my son and myself and family held fort while other families moved to city while men were engaged in war. Just before close of war five or six roughs engaged in killing all bucks they could find. Already surrounded two small villages and
killed twenty or thirty inhabitants.
One town of this character located on my land near beach. Very ancient village contained about one hundred persons. Roughs threatened this town also. Said they would kill my Indian boy who had lived with me three years. Faithful boy. My Indians became much alarmed. Many of them came to me crying for protection. Three roughs came to my house to kill my boy. Sharp words and serious threats but finally left. Indians had done no harm but were true and trustworthy. My duty to help them. Next morning at break of day I mounted my horse, armed with shotgun and pistols started with boy to Crescent City where I left him with friend of mine. Went to city authorities and asked permission for my Indians to be put on Lighthouse Island in front of city. About fifteen acres of north half covered with scrubby timber made convenient shelter. Permission granted. I returned to Indian Camp and told them to be ready at sunrise on morrow to move to island.
Went to camp in morning equipped as before. They were ready. Followed beach to avoid danger. Reached city safely. If I had been caught in act by roughs it would have cost me my life as they still threatened me till peace proclaimed by General Camby about six weeks after Indians moved to island. After war they returned home. Ever remembered me for protection. Considered lives in my hands.
Valley refilled by former occupants. Business revived. I built large barn and new house. Orchard bearing fruit. Good home. Valley very fertile. Good water and finest timber I ever saw. Felled several trees five to six feet in diameter. Sawed off 16 rail cuts each eleven feet long. Average would be 12 cuts of same length. Timber called redwood splits easiest and smoothest of any I ever worked in. Raised 65 bu. wheat to acre, same of barley, 115 bu. Chile oats and 300 bu. Potatoes. When several farms got underway - home consumption overdone. Prices fell so low there was no money in farming and valley
so isolated outside market could not be reached with any profit. Country mountainous and of rockiest character. Only one road from valley to interior. Road cost $1,000.00 per mile for first forty miles then less per mile to Rogue River Valley. Placed heavy tax on people. My portion $1,200.00. Road crossed copper belt. Large sums spent in search for copper ore. Search unsuccessful. I worked two summers and spent $1,500 but failure. Went to Copperopolis by way of San Francisco to examine mines there. Copper mining precarious business. I gave it up. Visited San Jose, Watsonville, Santa Cruz and several other smaller towns and Oakland and San Francisco. Had good time. Returned home after journey of 1,000 miles through populous country. Our valley looked very small to me compared to this land with broad and extensive plains. Upon mature reflection made up mind to sell out and leave valley. All daughters except one had married and moved out of country. This one lived in Crescent City.
I had now lived in the country nine years, the longest I had ever remained in one place. Had served people as county supervisor for number of terms and had become acquainted with almost every man in county, besides being leading farmer. Seemed to be leaving a good home but finally sold out to Colonel Dave Buell for $20,000.00 Stock and all included.
I then gave my farewell party. Entire neighborhood invited besides friends from Crescent City. Spent twenty four hours in one of most enjoyable and social parties of my life. Table furnished with all comforts country afforded. Plenty of new cider from our orchard, first made in county. Moved to San Francisco in 1862. Met friend lately from newly discovered mine of Reese River town of Austin, Landen County, State of Nevada. He gave very encouraging description of that country. I went with him. Satisfied with prospects of country, bought 30 town lots for $2,200,00 and returned for family. Removed them to Austin. Began building house.
Austin about midway of small ravine on canon about mile long. At mouth of canon and at head of Upper Austin was town of Clifton. Three towns vied with each other or supremacy. Caused lively time in building. About this time I began building city hall. Lumber obtained from California and drawn 60 or 80 miles across sandy plains. Therefore, very high. Bought at $200.00 per thousand and No. 1 flooring at $300.00. Only two paying mines opened then and two mills building at $80,000.00 each. About 5000 population in the place. Few families not engaged in building were prospecting for miles around.
Seeing that lodes in ledges were numerous and narrow I began to study possibilities and probabilities of country. All of money in circulation spent in lots and building. No capital invested in mines, which were future hope of maintaining success. I expressed my views to two of my friends. Agreed with me. We admitted three others for consultation. Agreed to keep this a secret matter. I proposed we select one claim each, best we could find, buy out owners, and procure abstracts of title from location with all changes to title, so our title would be perfect. After some time and expense this was accomplished. At same time we had 300 acres of best timbered land surveyed. Other requirements of law being fulfilled we took some rocks from each mine, worked it by mill process, abstracted metal, and molded it into small bricks, the heaviest being $12.00 down to $2.00. Next provided small sacks containing about two pounds from each mine with name of mine on each sack and written description of same and amount of work expended on them. This done, we were ready for election to decide which one of us should start out to raise funds for continuing work. To secure this by selling, leasing, working on shares or in any other way he might desire for benefit of company. To be kept entirely secret till end accomplished. Held election - Bradford 5, Wells 1. I was not satisfied with result as I was an uneducated man and only one of six who had his family in Austin. Asked for election second time. Same result. Made me feel like abandoning scheme, but would not be fair to country, so I consented to go.
San Francisco over run with such enterprises so decided to go to New York at once. Landed in New York an entire stranger and felt like cat in strange garret. Tried to introduce myself and business. Treated very cooly about a month, as this was entirely new business in New York. At length met man by name of Demorest, 131 Broadway, who held some conversation with me about California and its resources. Brought up my subject and business. With his permission I brought my trunk to his office. Matter became quite interesting to him and he invited some of his friends to call and talk with us. Thus I became acquainted with tws brothers by name of Gorman and two others by name of Hoats. All presented to me as men of great wealth. Another man by name of Baldwin. Six men became interested
in mining operation and history of country. They said if they purchased they wanted all six mines and timber. I agreed and price agreed upon was $100,000.00 for each ledge including timber and mill site. Payments to be: $50,000.00 on first of succeeding month, and same amount on first day of each month thereafter for four month; then I was to wait on them for four months; then they were to renew payments of $50,000.00 per month till full amount was paid. I paid lawyer $13.00 for drawing up contract and saw that legal revenue stamps were placed upon it. One provision in contract; was to send man with me to Austin with papers and specimens that I had delivered to them and if mines corresponded to these, contract to be valid. Judge Prescott appointed to go with me, $1,000.00 paid to me on contract. We set out on our journey, crossing states by rail to Atchison. Took overland stage route, run by Ben Holliday. Costly and hard route. We paid $600.00 each passage money and $2.00 meals. Stage crowded.
Traveled six days and nights without stopping more than thirty minutes at any one time to eat or change horses. Reached Denver where we stayed 24 hours. In course of time reached Salt Lake. Stopped 24 hours. Reached Austin next six days. After few days rest I hired team at $13.00 per day to take Judge to the mines. Examined these critically and said they corresponded to their description correctly. He was to telegraph back report, Found that Indians had destroyed several miles of telegraph poles and Wire. Wrote several letters. Thirty or forty days required for delivery delayed very much. When found out what trade I had made several companies formed in Austin in same manner and took first steamer to New York. Found Mr. Demorest and offered him mines at much lower rate then he was to pay me. Two months had elapsed and $100,000.00 due us. Our company insisted on my returning to New York to collect. My wife in poor health. Took her and our two children with me. Left her with
relatives and I continued to New York. Met some of my Austin friends who were offering mines at almost any price. This discouraged Demorest and company. They refused to pay me. I employed three lawyers who examined contract. Pronounced it good. Company would not compromise so we began suit. Suit adjourned from time to time to wear me out. Whenever they adjourned I returned to my sick wife. My lawyers wired me when I was needed in New York. Thus they kept me in trouble for about nine months. Finally by technical point in contract and through some hard swearing on their part I lost case.
I found it was useless for any Western man to go to law against capitalists in that wicked city. I returned to my relatives only to find my wife had been buried two days. Unmanned me for awhile and it appeared to me the world was against me. Alone with my two children I then traveled one year, in which I would have had one of most pleasant journeys of my life had it not been for my severe losses. At this
time in my fifty-seventh year. I went to place of my birth. Everything was as strange as if I had never been there, except Cuyahaga River where my little dog Gunner drowned 54 years before. I still remembered Uncle John. Went to Hacking County at which place black bear carried off hog and where I killed first deer. Place also changed. Found seven persons I knew, my sister and husband being two of them. Found sixteen families names in graveyard, fathers name among them. Journeyed to settlement where first married. Here found several old acquaintances among whom were two elderly ladies whose ruby lips I had kissed in twilight while they were in their teens. Bidding them farewell I left for Ligonier, Noble County, Indiana. Here met score of old friends who walked with me to bank of Elkhart River where I built first bridge across in 1834. My friends here vied with each other in offering me their carriages. We visited Haw Patch and other familiar places. Also visited graves of oldest brother and
his wife. Ten days I spent in Ligonier in pleasure and luxury.
After this enjoyable visit I bade my friends farewell and left for Mount Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa. Here proudest days of life, have been spent, dressed in Majors uniform, in saddle, a fine parade horse under me, and at head of 1200 men performing our military tactics preparatory to defending our rights in Butternut War. Spent few days in Mount Pleasant with old friends and comrades. Had very pleasant time. Bade them farewell and left for Van Buren County, where I had kept Mormon Hotel, danced with Brigham Young, and became acquainted with most of the elders of the Mormon Church. Again I left friends and proceeded to Alexandria. Here I had lost first wife and married again. From this place had taken "Silas Wright" for California. That was 41 years before. Having now overtaken myself, as it were, first 41 years of my life, I left for New York and again took steamer for California. Made seventh time I had crossed
isthmus of Dorien. Landed in San Francisco with my two children, a broken man. Went to Comptonville, New(?)ada County to visit married daughter. Here met oldest son, by first wife. Had just returned from late war. Leaving daughter with her half sister, my two sons and myself went to Yolo County, where I took $400.00 contract. This completed, went to Contra Costa County. Located one-half section of government land, built small house on each quarter and began improving same. Stayed here six months and sold out for $1050.00. Bought two horses and light wagon and started to look at country. After ten days traveling made up minds where we would locate if we could but land on terms that would suit us. Then went to San Francisco to see owner of land and bought two sections at $3.00 per acre on following terms: Three equal payments in 1, 2 and 3 years. We went on land and began work. Oldest son plowed and myself and youngest son began building. In short time sold one section for $5.00
per Acre, receiving my $1,280.00 and purchaser standing good for three annual payments. Bought four horses, and two plows. Kept three teams busy and put in 70 acres wheat and barley during fall and winter. In June sold other sections, crops and all for $11.00 per acre. Had lived on this place seven months and with outside trading in land, had cleared $7,000.00. Returned to Antioch with teams and traded them off for 160 acres of land. Sold land in short time at $200.00 profit.
Oldest son went to Comptonville for my daughter. On return I bought comfortable outfit for traveling. We four started down coast. Visited all towns from Oakland to San Diego. Camped at will and pleasure. Boys shot quail, rabbits, ducks and geese by dozen as they were very plenty along coast. Made this very pleasant journey. Traveled about four hundred miles. Finally settled in Los Angeles County. Bought 300 acres for $7.00 per acre. With W. M. Spurgeon bought sixty acres at same price which I wished to lay out in a town. Hired surveyor, staked off town plat and called it Santa Ana. Built small storehouse for Mr. Spurgeon and house for myself. Offered lots free if person would build on them at once. I then agreed to sell them another lot joining first for $15.00. Town improved rapidly.
Soon man named Tustin laid off a town on 1 larger scale half mile east of us, and a Mr, Chapman laid off a third town about the same distance, northeast of us. Brought three towns in triangle about equal distances apart.. named Santa Ana, Tustinville and Orange. Created deadlock. Well known that county could not support three towns in such close proximity to each other when thriving town of Anaheim was within seven miles of us. Deadlock remained for some time. Not. much change so I became impatient, sold out my interest in town and left for San Diego County which county I traveled over quite extensively. Very large county, some ninety miles wide and 180 long. In one visit
I traveled to southwest corner near beach to see monument between California and Mexico. Monument cost Government $40,000.00 and is worth about $4,000,00. I returned. On second trip visited Julian mining districts sixty miles east. Rough and mountainous country. Nothing encouraging there, so returned. Next employed by several men to take trip 100 miles northeast to investigate a mine. I employed four men and finished my work. Carried back 100 lbs. best ore I could select. Tested and found to be of no value. Mine consequently failure.
Three men called on me and asked me to join them in forty mile journey in search of coal. After thorough search I was satisfied it would not be safe to invest in that enterprise. Returned to city. Took several shorter trips and found nothing that would interest me. Very little farming land in county and I could not live on climate and bay. After four months stay I decided to leave San Diego, taking son and daughter out of
school, as it had been my practice to send them to school whenever I stopped long enough to be of any advantage to them. Daughter of excellent musical talent and had become quite a favorite at school. With her experience of much traveling and being now about ten years of age, she was quite interesting. Left for Santa Ana again, staying there some time, as my older son had stayed there while we were on San Diego trip. Sold land for $10.00 per acre and left for San Francisco leaving elder son at this place. In few days after arriving at San Francisco we took steamer for Portland, Oregon. Here placed children in school Built house in East Portland for one of my sons-in-law. I then went down Columbia River to Cementville, crossed over mountain to north, visited Shoal Water Bay in Washington, turned east through country where found heavy timbered region. Crossed Lewis River continuing east through thinly settled country to Vancouver, journey of 200 miles, last hundred on foot. Vancouver handsome place
on river seven miles northeast of Portland.
After few days rest, my boy wishing to go with me, we started up Columbia River on steamer. Passed up river where grandest scenery I ever saw was in our view. Had to make two portages around falls, passing The Dallas on our right and landing at Umatilla where we took the stage, crossing Blue mountains to Baker City. Stopped, joined three men and mined four weeks, making small wages. Went to Burnt River to Eagle Camp. Business dull. High elevated country. Little timber, mostly sagebrush plains. Very windy and cold in winter season. Invited to visit Copper mines on Powder River. Appeared to be of good quality and quantity but entirely too far from market to be of value. In northeast corner of Oregon. Returned to Portland after journey of 700 miles. My boy returned to school. I went to carpentering again at $3.00 per day till rainy season set in. Boarded at hotel till Feb. 20, when rain gauge marked 5 ft., 7 in. Rivers
overflowing banks for last six-weeks. I got tired of this. Portland the wettest and muddiest place I ever was in.
Son now eighteen years of age and wished to remain. Daughter and self returned to Oakland where she went to school. I went to carpentering again. Had been a widower nine years and family had all left me. Made up my mind to marry again. Acquainted with widow lady for some three years. I proposed to her and we were married on Nov. 25, 1872. I being 63 and my wife 45. We went to Sonoma and bought small vineyard of twelve acres for which I paid $2,000.00. Wine making carried on in county quite extensively. Four of neighbors and myself formed company for that business. Rented wine cellar, bought $4,000.00 worth of cooperage, and I was elected president of board. When grapes were ripe we commenced operation, working about 13 men during season and making 62,000 gallons of wine. Followed this up for four years; when wine being at very low figure. We concluded to close
business. Consequently I sold wine on hand to wine merchants in San Francisco, sold cooperage. We settled up and found we had made only monthly wages. I sold out for same that I gave. I made up my mind to go to Texas by way of Kansas to visit relatives. Left wife with her friends. Started June 1879. Arrived at brother's at Lyndon, Osage County, Kansas. After weeks visit resumed journey to Sherman, Texas. Finding friends there, remained few days. In meantime joined seven men with two wagons who were going to prospect country. Traveled with them about two weeks. Country we traveled through poorly watered. Timber scarse and few inhabitants. Passed thousands of head of cattle. Now and then gang of cowboys and miserable, dirty looking cabin. Finally reaching Wichita River in northeast part of state. Weather extremely hot. Strength and health beginning to fail. Hadn't seen anything in Texas I cared about seeing again. I left company and hired private conveyance to carry
me to Fort Sill, one hundred miles. Health still failing. Remained two days and then took passage on buckboard, broke down at Stinking River. One sod house and change of horses. Place properly named. Glad to leave it at nightfall. Renewed journey. In morning when sun arose it appeared to me it had been multiplied in size and heat to wonderful extent. Had to hold umbrella before me to avoid heat. About 8 o'clock fainted and fell to bottom of buckboard. About 8 miles from Fort Reno. Knew nothing until 4 o'clock in evening. When I first came to my senses, I could not tell where I was. Mind floating around in California. Sam, colored man sitting before me, I asked him where I was. He answered "Fort Reno". Mind began to return and I traced up Texas journey. I then felt for my watch to see what time it was and it was gone. I felt for inside pocket and found it empty.
Alarmed me and I asked "Whose hands am I in?" Colored man assured me he would run downstairs and bring
man up to see me. Man came to bedside saying if I would be quite he would explain everything to me. He said he had my gold watch, money and papers by which he learned my name was Major Bradford and by my demit that I was a Mason. He told me to be perfectly content, as he was a Mason and other members of house were same; as I was now among brethern, everything should be done for me that they could do, free of charge. Doctor now came to see me. Finding me much better and able to talk with him. Asked me to describe property in my possession when I fainted on buckboard. Answered I had Gold watch and $1050.00 In gold notes and pocketbook, demit and some other papers of less value. Said they were all safe in his hands. reason he took them, he was doubtful of my ever recovering again. Next morning I was able to walk about house and improved rapidly. Officers began to call on me evenings and mornings to take pleasant drive around fort. Remained there twelve days and became acquainted
with most of officers who enjoyed my descriptions of California very much. I had gathered variety of tree seeds before leaving California. Had yet. Handed them to General, who said he would have his gardener take good care of them, as he considered them a valuable present. For this I received picture of General and his wife. On last day of stay, an officer invited me to take ride with him to Government corral, three miles away. When we arrived there were 1500 Indians all mounted and armed and 136 Texas steers in corral. As fast as they could be weighed, five at one time, turned out on plains. Indians circling around them. As fast as stock on outside increased, circle inlarged. By time last lot was weighed and turned out, circle had increased 100 to 150 acres. When flag was run to top of mast, firing began and in thirty minutes last steer was dead, lying in grass. Cutting up and packing off began. Two lines of tents bordering timber as far as I could see. Now drove over to
agency. About 700 squaws receiving commissaries. We returned to fort.
Back to beginning of Ward Bradford journal.