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Ghost Town USA’s

Biographical Guide to

Mariposa County Pioneers

These brief biographies & listings are about just a few of the people involved in establishing the mining camps and living in Mariposa County, CA., as presented

on these Mariposa County Ghost Town web pages.

 

 

MEET THE PEOPLE

 

SURNAME

GIVEN NAME

BIOGRAPHY

SOURCES

ADAMS

“Mr.”

He and Mr. CARTER owned the ADAMS & CARTER Stamp Mill.

 

ARTRU

Honore Isadore

The Artru Mine was named after this miner who died in 1932 at the age of 83. 

 

ASHWORTH

“Mr.”

Owned a wooden stable in Mariposa.  It was one of the few wooden buildings not burned in the fire of 1866.

11

ASHWORTH

Stonewall Jackson “Jack”

He was born near Mormon Bar November 01, 1862.  His parents settled there after coming from Missouri in 1849.  He first worked for the Yosemite Stage and Transportation Company as a stable boy, began driving for them in 1886, when he was 24. He drove stagecoaches between Raymond and Yosemite Valley until 1916, when he drove the last coach into Yosemite.  He passed away in Merced, February 04, 1960 at the age of 97.

11

BAGBY

B. A.

In 1890 the name of the post office and the community of Benton Mills along the Merced River were changed from Benton Mills to BAGBY, after Mr. B. A. BAGBY who at that time was the hotel owner.

 

BARCROFT

Ralph Wood

Owned and operated the Hornitos Saloon in Hornitos.  He was also the discoverer and early operator of the Barcroft-Enterprise Mine near Hornitos.  There are a number of BARCROFT graves in the Hornitos Cemetery.

14

BELL

“Mr.”

Owned a saloon in Coulterville.  It was flooded during the major floods in January, 1862.

11

BIGLER

Joseph

Original owner of the Bon Ton Saloon in Bear Valley.  It was directly across the street from Fremont’s Oso House.  He was originally employed by the Merced Mining Company, and opened his saloon after saving up enough money to do so.  He was shot and killed while trying to break up a fight between two drunken miners. 

11

 

Margaret

After John’s death, Margaret eventually remarried to a Mr. NEWMAN (see below), who was later the County Assessor, among other duties.  She operated a bakery in the old saloon, until it was sold to the TRABUCCO family.

11

BOND

Stephan

BOND was a storeowner and operated the post office in the small 1850s era mining camp of Bondville, which was named after him.

 

BONDURANT

(Judge) James A.

This early county judge was also a mine owner, operating the 1850s era Bondurant Mine.

 

BRICE

William

In 1909, Wm. BRICE moved a house and store to this location establishing a resort along the Merced River at the junction of SH 140 and Bull Creek Road, nine AIR miles east-northeast of Bear Valley, and nine AIR miles (15.1 road miles) north of Mariposa.  In the 1920s a convict work camp was located across the river, and when it was abandoned in 1926, BRICE moved to the south side of the river.

 

BRUSCHI

Francisco

Built the 1st permanent building in the future town of Coulterville, and for over 80 years his family were leading merchants in Coulterville.  He may also have been involved in the Bruschi Mine near present day Lake McClure, as well as the Texas Mine.

2, 11

CAMPODONICA

“Mr.”

Owned one of Hornitos’ early commercial buildings.

 

CARTER

“Mr.”

He and Mr. ADAMS owned the ADAMS & CARTER Stamp Mill.

 

CASHMAN

“Mr.”

CASHMAN, in partnership with Mr. SULLIVAN owned and operated a brick store in Mariposa in 1852, which was later used by Colonel John C. FREMONT as original offices for his 44,000-acre land grant rancho.  It was spared in the fire of 1866.

11

CASSARETTO

“Mr.”

In 1851, he built a store in Hornitos.

 

CAVAGNARO

“Mr.”

Owned and operated a single story wooden store in early-day Hornitos.  At the time of our visit in April, 2002, it had collapsed.

 

CHAMBERLAIN

Newell D.

Author of the book THE CALL OF GOLD — True Tales on the Gold Road to Yosemite.  The book is now online at: http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/call_of_gold/

5, 11

CHITTENDEN

George

Owned and operated Chittenden’s Mine, located near the Elk Horn Ranch, which was located on the Mariposa-Hornitos Road near Hornitos.

 

CLARK

D. C.

Built a sawmill at the location of the Acorn Inn in 1854.  His home is still standing across the highway from the old inn, which in 2002 was a church/revival hall.

E-mail from Carolyn Ferobin

COOK

Fred S.

Author and publisher of a series of books about various counties and areas in California during the 1970s.  He was the owner of the California Traveler (book store and publishing company), based in Amador County.  Author of HISTORIC LEGENDS of MARIPOSA COUNTY. 

9

COULTER

George W.

In 1849 or 50, Coulter established a store and hotel in the town that would later bear his name. In 1854 the post office and town of Maxwell’s Creek was renamed Coulterville, after Mr. COULTER.  Coulter was originally from Pennsylvania and first opened a store at Soloman’s Gulch, then in 1849 at Maxwell’s Creek, which later was renamed after him. 

1, 2, 4, 11

COUNTS

George

One-time owner of the City Hotel in Coulterville, burned in the fire of July 1879.

11

CROSS

James

The destructive fire of July, 1888 started at his residence and spread through the entire town of Bear Valley.

11

CUNEO

Frank

His home and store in Coulterville burned in the fire of July 1879.

11

DAVIS

Stephan

Owned and operated a store in Maxwell’s Creek (later called Coulterville) from May, 1852 through April, 1854.

11

DEBOLT

John

His restaurant in Coulterville burned in the fire of July 1879.

11

DENNIS

“Mr. & Mrs.”

Their house in Hornitos was one of the first frame buildings in the county, and was still standing in 1939.

 

EARLY

Thomas

In 1850, discovered and named the Early Mine, in the Sweetwater Mining District.  He was the county sheriff between 1855-1857.

1

FREMONT

(Colonel)

John Charles

 

(wife)

Jessie BENTON

A major political figure and owner of the massive Rancho Las Mariposas, in the Mariposa-Bear Valley area.  In 1847 he received this 44,000 acre Spanish Land Grant Rancho as a “reward” for his service in conquering the wresting California away from Mexico during the Mexican-American War.  He originally wanted a ranch near San Jose, but was given this ranch instead.  He was not pleased at the change, BUT that changed in the spring of 1849 when gold-seekers found gold in the vicinity of his rancho.

 

It was famous for “floating boundaries” as it didn’t have fixed borders.  So he would “drift” his rancho borders to cover important gold discoveries, upsetting the miners.  That was eventually resolved when the boundaries were surveyed to include Mariposa, Bear Valley and the Pine Tree & Josephine mine complex.  Lawsuits ensued, and claim jumpers grabbed some of his mines.  In the summer of 1858 a group of armed men seized the Pine Tree Mine, but after five days of armed confrontation with Fremont’s men, they were ordered to pull out by the governor.

 

He also owned and operated the Oso House hotel in Bear Valley, and also owned and operated the famed Pine Tree & Josephine Mines in Hell’s Hollow north of Bear Valley.  They made their home in Bear Valley until 1859, when he bought a home in San Francisco.  He sold his ranch in 1861, and they never returned to Mariposa.  He sold the Oso House to M. E. RICE. 

 

He was involved in politics, with a brief stint as US Senator from California, and took a run at the presidency, losing to James Buchanan.  His political career thus ended, a financially destitute John C. FREMONT died in New York City in 1890.

2, 9, 11

GAGLIARDO

Mr.

Owned and operated a store in early-day Hornitos. 

 

GAINES

(brothers)

Owned the Gaines Mine, located about 4.5 miles northeast of Hornitos.  By they had already sold to the M. Hulling & Co., of Oil City, PA, the same company that owned the Number 9 Mine.

 

GHIRARDELLI

Domenico

In 1855 he built a store of schist and adobe walls, later moving to San Francisco and fame in the chocolate industry.

 

GOSS

Andrew

Erected the first stamp mill for crushing gold ore at Coulterville.

2

GUDDE

Erwin G.

Author of books about the historical sites and gold camps of California.  Two of his books are valuable to researchers of Mariposa County history.   

 

·        CALIFORNIA GOLD CAMPS

A Geographical & Historical Dictionary of Camps, Towns, and Localities Where Gold was Found and Mined; Wayside Stations & Trading Centers.

 

·        CALIFORNIA PLACE NAMES

The Origin and Etymology of Current Geographical Names. 

1, 4

HARLOW

“Mr.”

His blacksmith shop in Coulterville burned in the fire of July 1879.

11

HAYDEN

Charles, David and Willard

They were pioneer miners and owners of the Great Johnson Vein at what later became known as Bear Valley.  In 1850-1852, the early community there was called Haydensville, after them.

 

IRONTON

George

With partner Clement S. SIMPSON, they owned a store advertised in the Apr 7, 1854 Mariposa Chronicle at “Whiskey Flat, Sherlock’s Creek, sign of the GROUND HOG.”

1

JOHNSON

John F. “Quartz”

In the 1850s, he discovered a couple of mines in the county.  The Johnson Flat Mine near Hornitos and the Great Johnson Vein, which later evolved into the Pine Tree & Josephine Mine, were both named after him. 

 

MARRE

Carlo

Ruins of his old c1860s adobe and rock store are still on the east side of the highway in Bear Valley.

 

MARTINEZ

Rosie

In 1851, she owned and operated Hornitos’ only two-story fandango/dance hall.

 

MENTZER

Jonathan

His home and livery stable in Coulterville burned in the fire of July 1879.

11

NEWMAN

“Mr.”

One-time Mariposa County Assessor, among other duties.  Married Margaret BIGLER after the death of her husband.  He also operated a butcher shop in Bear Valley.

11

 

Margaret

A widowed Margaret BIGLER remarried Mr. NEWMAN, after her first husband John BIGLER was shot to death  (SEE above).  In Bear Valley, she operated a bakery in the old saloon, until it was sold to the TRABUCCO family.

11

OLCESE

“Mr.”

Owned one of Hornitos’ early commercial buildings.

 

PEARD

Henry

He owned a saloon in Bear Valley, selling it to John TRABUCCO only three days before the disastrous fire of July 1888.

11

PENDOLA

Mr & Mrs

Their home and outbuildings in Coulterville burned in the fire of July 1879.  The store was spared.

11

PROUTY

Robert

One of the early-day Mariposa County Sheriffs and owner of the PROUTY Ranch, which was on or near Brown’s Creek about seven miles north of Merced Falls (which is in Merced Co.).  His ranch was the site of New Year’s Diggings, an 1850s placer mining camp.

1

REEB

George

Owned and operated a butcher shop during Hornitos’ heyday.  In 1884 his house caught fire creating a little excitement in the town.

 

REED

J.W.

Their home in Coulterville burned in the fire of July 1879, and was the starting point of that fire, which destroyed the booming community.

11

RICE

M. E.

He purchased the Oso House in Bear Valley from Col. John FREMONT. 

11

RIDLEY

Thomas E.

In 1850-1851 he operated Ridley’s Ferry across the Merced River just below (west) of the present SH 49 bridge at Bagby/Benton Mills.

 

RIHN

John C.

His butcher shop and home in Coulterville burned in the fire of July 1879.

11

SARGENT
Shirley

Author of the book MARIPOSA COUNTY GUIDEBOOK – Seven Tours in Colorful Butterfly Country. 

12

SAVAGE

James D.

Established a number of trading posts/stores.  He feared an uprising of the local Native Americans, so he moved from #1 in the spring of 1850 to a location along Mariposa Creek.  Store #2 was burned by Indians in December of that year.  A group of volunteers formed a “militia” and found an Indian village along the North Fork of the San Joaquin River, and attacked it, killing 24 members of the village.  Thus ended the so-called Mariposa Indian War.

 

SAVAGE came to the future Mariposa County in 1846.  In early 1851, SAVAGE was elected mayor of Mariposa, and formed the Mariposa Battalion, a volunteer militia put together to track down and search for any other Indians in the back country.  In their wanderings, the Mariposa Battalion discovered the beautiful and magnificent Yosemite Valley.

 

SAVAGE was killed in August 1852 by a political opponent.

2, 9

SCHLAGETER

H.

Owner of one of Mariposa’s largest hotels, a large two-story brick structure with wide wrap-around balconies.  It burned in the fire of 1866 and was rebuilt, and is still standing today. 

6, 11, 14

SIMPSON

Clement S.

With partner George IRONTON, they owned a store advertised in the Apr 7, 1854 Mariposa Chronicle at “Whiskey Flat, Sherlock’s Creek, sign of the GROUND HOG.”

1

SULLIVAN

Mr.

SULLIVAN, in partnership with Mr. CASHMAN owned and operated a brick store in Mariposa in 1852, which was later used by Colonel John C. FREMONT as original offices for his 44,000-acre land grant rancho.  It was spared in the fire of 1866.

11

THOMPSON

John

Owned the two-story IOOF hall and operated a saloon in the lower floor at Bear Valley at the time of the 1888 fire.

11

TISCORNIA

A.

His home and stable in Coulterville burned in the fire of July 1879.  His store was spared as it was “fireproof.”

11

TRABUCCO

Frank

Owned and operated a wood-frame store in Bear Valley.

 

 
“Mr. & Mrs.” Harold

 

(Daughter) Barbara EASTON

In 1960 Mrs. TRABUCCO and Barbara EASTON owned the newly re-opened Bon Ton Café and Museum in Bear Valley.

11

 
John

(Son of Frank?) Was the owner of the TRABUCCO Store in Bear Valley.  In the late 1880s, he also operated the Bon Ton Saloon after purchasing it from Mrs. NEWMAN (BIGLER).  A Wells Fargo & Company Express office was moved from the Oso House to the Bon Ton.  The Bon Ton was one of the victims of the 1888 fire.  He rebuilt the saloon, but closed it in 1900 when he and his family moved to nearby Mt. Bullion.  He also appears to have been the owner of several saloons at the time of the 1888 fire.

11

 
Louis & Elenor (Eleanor?)

Parents of John, they were early Bear Valley citizens.

11

TRUE

Ed

TRUE was the grandson of M. E. RICE, and owned the OSO HOUSE, in Bear Valley at the time it burned in 1937.

11

WAGONER

“Mr.”

Owned an early day store in Coulterville.

11

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

 

Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America. Gary B. Speck Publications is in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called

The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of “STATE”

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library. 

Thank you, and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

 

For more information on the ghost towns of Mariposa County, CALIFORNIA, contact us at Ghost Town USA.

 

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IMPORTANT

 

These biographical listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in Mariposa County, CA above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same.

When you are exploring the ghost towns of Mariposa County, CA, please abide by the Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

Return to the GTs of Mariposa Co., CA Index Page

 
Mariposa County locations with names beginning:

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Detailed information on individual locations:

AGUA FRIA | BAGBY | BEAR VALLEY | COULTERVILLE | HORNITOS | MARIPOSA | MOUNT BULLION

BIOGRAPHIES | SOURCES

 

 

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***

 

FIRST POSTED:  December 10, 2001

LAST UPDATED: January 02, 2009

 

***

 

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