James White was a 21 year old farmer from Quincy, MA. In 1849 he sailed from Boston around Cape Horn to San Francisco and the gold diggings of California. In all he spent 6 months at sea and a year in California. I've transcribed his journal and am publishing it here as well as on Amazon/Kindle and Apple/iBooks.
Sunday June 16th.
Contra to my wish & good breeding, we packed our oxen & started down the river. Latham, Clark & myself went as far as Weaver Creek & camped. Travelled 10 miles today. Crossed the Trinity by ferry canoe.
This night was very cold. Froze water in camp. I woke up in the night half froze. Got up and build a good fire to warm up. This for traveling Sunday.
Made but little progress down the river today. We prospected on the bars as we went down. Road very rocky & bad for the poor cattle, but found gold but very fine and miners making only 1/2 oz. per day. Travelled 9 miles today.
Travelled to the end of good going for cattle, 7 miles. Camped at 2 P.M. on a bar looking favorable for gold. This is the last of bull driving I hope. Oh how vexation. Got very much put out with Clark for being so careless & reckless. Everything went to distraction under his charge. Growing warmer as we proceed down this river.
Wednesday the 19th.
Latham & myself went down the river 5 miles further with mining tools & to prospect for a good location. Pitched upon one in the afternoon where six men were to work making their oz. per day. Concluded to once more harness the bulls or horned horse and move for the last time.
Thursday June 20th.
According to the word we were off in the morning early. Arrived about noon over a bad road. Found a little feed for cattle in the afternoon. Sat the long tom and made about $4 between us. Found it was not going to work there not being full of water enough.
Bothered with the long tom in the forenoon & gave it up. Made today about $4. Small pay & hard work. Some cussing, but not at all discouraged.
Saturday June 22d.
Poked around with the rest. Thought the bar would pay well when the water got down. We wanted a common rocker very much. Vexed with lazy Clark for not making one. Very much disappointed in the man. Short acquaintance. Wrote a letter to have Davis come on. Went down the river 4 miles to meet a mule train to send it by. Successful. Vexed with Nellson for his delay. Wished I had my money back in my pocket. I would take lazy b? I could do better alone than with the damn Housers. Today Latham found a place he thought we could do well at about a mile further down.
Sunday June 23d.
Went down to Latham's hope with picks pans etc. to make a claim. Panned out 2 ox without trouble.
Clark and myself went to work making rocker. Cut a tree down. Split out the boards. Gave it up & bought one handy for $32. Thought it would be cheaper.
All went to work rocked out $39. Clark not satisfied though. He was homesick. Oxen went off 3 or 4 miles. How admirably every thing works.
Wednesday June 26th.
Clark went after the oxen. Lathem and myself went to work & made $16 in forenoon. Concluded to slaughter one of the oxen in afternoon. Clark sold the big steers for $385. Culled the other in the afternoon. Sold part of him for 45 & 50 cts pr lb. Dried & eat the rest part of him.