Gold Mining


Mining in the Douglas Flat-Vallecito Area

Like many regions in Calaveras County, gold was mined in the Douglas Flat-Vallecito region with pans, rockers, and long toms along Coyote Creek, and by drift mining on both sides of the creek and under Table Mountain, as well as by ground sluicing the gulches with water from the various mining ditches on the hillsides. Although the exact locations of most of the individual claims have been lost to history, many of their names and associations have been preserved in documentary and oral records.


Placer Mining in and Around Angels Camp

The names of those who first placer mined in the project area are lost to history, but undoubtedly they first found “color” in Angels Creek and its tributaries, including China Gulch south of the project area. Rock-lined channels, piles of hand-stacked waste rock, and random piles of stream gravels and cobbles were found throughout the drainages. On nearby Slab Ranch, a “colony” was established in the earliest years of the Gold Rush, settled by prospectors and their families who built cabins and homesteads along Angels Creek and its tributaries.


Mining on Bald Hill

Drift mining on Bald Hill evidently began in the early 1850s, as noted by someone named “Swoggle” in his discussion of Altaville:

Near here are several claims in the end of Bald Hill, that paid well for more than two years. There is plenty of ground in the range, but it is deep and wet. On the hill in ’52 and ’53, I helped to sink 246 feet and $5,000 [San Andreas Independent, February 13, 1858].