DIRECTORY OF THE CITY OF PLACERVILLE AND TOWNS OF UPPER PLACERVILLE, EL DORADO, GEORGETOWN, AND COLOMA, CONTAINING A HISTORY OF THESE PLACES, NAMES OF THEIR INHABITANTS, AND EVERYTHING APPERTAINING TO A COMPLETE DIRECTORY. TOGETHER WITH A BUSINESS DIRECTORY
by Fitch, Thomas, & Co.: [Placerville, California]
Placerville: Republican Printing Office, 1862. 128pp. 12mo. Original half leather and printed boards, spine gilt. Portions of spine perished, corners bumped, a few chips at edges. Ownership stamp on and correction slip tipped to front endpaper recto. Scattered foxing, else internally clean. Very good, in unsophisticated original condition. In a red cloth clamshell box. The first directory of this important gold mining region, and the first book printed in Placerville. James Marshall discovered gold in nearby Coloma in 1848 (he is listed in the Coloma section herein as "gold discoverer, south side Church street"), and the area became a center of gold mining activities for many years. By 1854, Placerville was the third largest town in California. The text contains a valuable history of the towns of Placerville (originally called "Dry Diggings" and also known as "Hangtown"), El Dorado, Georgetown, and Coloma, a directory of residents, municipal officers, churches, societies, etc., and advertisements for a variety of local businesses. Also included is a table of distances between principal cities in California. Thomas Fitch, the compiler, was publisher of the PLACERVILLE REPUBLICAN. He went to California in 1860, where he was active as a journalist, lawyer, and politician. He served one term as a U.S. Congressman from Nevada (1869- 71). Quebedeaux notes an errata slip, present in this copy, reading: "The sobriquet of 'Hangtown' was applied to Placerville not from the hanging of 'Irish Dick,' in 1850, but from the summary execution of the two Frenchmen and the Spaniard, who were hung in 1849, and not in 1854, as stated on page 11. No hanging, by a mob, has occurred here since 1850." This copy bears on the front endpaper recto the ink ownership stamp of James B. Hume, a well-known western lawman and a detective for Wells Fargo. Hume became the City Marshall of Placerville in 1864, then served as Sheriff for El Dorado County from 1865 to 1870. He became a Wells Fargo detective in 1872 and acted in that capacity until his death in 1904. In his most famous case he tracked down and arrested the stagecoach robber known as Black Bart in 1883. His stamp reads: "James B. Hume, Special Officer W.F. & Co. San Francisco, Cal." "Rare....Without a doubt...one of the most important historical sources of the California gold region" - Quebedeaux. A vitally important source, and a rare and early California directory, with an interesting association. This copy realized $9600 at the Sloan auction in 2006. QUEBEDEAUX 11. GREENWOOD 1685. HOWES F159, P405, "aa." COWAN, p.171. ROCQ 1822. GRAFF 1339.
(Inventory #: WRCAM51656)
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