The California Gold Rush
In Their Own Words and Images
Excerpts of a letter by Tallman H. Rolfe to H.C. Rolfe

April 15, 1857

   Civilization goes on apace and California is gradually being looked upon as a permanent institution despite the growls of the pessimists with their fear of the mines “petering out” …

   There are a number of swelled heads and scarred faces at Cody’s saloon and billiard rooms. The weapons were cues, balls, glass tumblers, and furniture generally and the contestants numerous. Some fifteen or twenty, only one broken nose and that was on the tea kettle. For the small sum of $5.00 one could get lots of fun there.

   For those who preferred faro or twenty-one, an outlet for his enthusiasm and purse could be found most anywhere at any old time on any old street. … Mrs. Lesdernier made her first appearance on Nevada boards that night in Lucretia Borgia and as the wicked Lucretia was life like. She was called before the footlights and received rapturous applause.

Courtesy Searls Memorial Library
Tallman H. Rolfe arrived in California in 1847. During his early years in California he worked for the California Star, the first newspaper published in San Francisco (then known as “Yerba Buena”). In 1851 he joined his brother Ianthus at the new city of Nevada (Nevada City) and worked at the Nevada Journal. He became one of the prominent citizens in town. In 1854 Tallman and Ianthus purchased the Young America newspaper and changed the name to the Nevada Democrat.

The Land of Glittering Dreams
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