News & Tall Tales. 1800s.California Gold Song
March 15, 1849, Alta California,
San Francisco California
From the N.O. Picayune
California Gold Song
We are going for gold, for sure we are told
That it's lying in heaps on our new-conquered land
And no time must be lost when we're bound for that coast,
Where the gold is mixed thick with the soil of the strand.
Oh, why should we labor and toil for our bread
Amongst iron and copper, and silver and lead,
Or belabor the earth with harrow and plough,
When a rich golden harvest awaits us now
A harvest we've neither to sow nor to till,
But only to gather, and gather our fill?
The harvest is rich and the fields they are big,
And to fill our coffers we've naught but to dig
Dig, Dig nothing but dig,
To make us all princes we've only to dig!
Then let's off with a will and push on fast and bold,
For we'll still bear in mind that we're going for gold.
No doubt or misgiving shall e'er keep us back,
Or cause us to swerve from our straight golden track.
We'll scorn all provision for tillage or trade,
We carry no tools but a pot and a space;
And if in our passage we happen to meet
A few single pound lumps kicking under our feet,
We'll kick them behind us, and make our march quicker
To where the thirteens lie quite tick, if not thicker!
And then if by chance we should short of prog,
Or wake 'up some morning and find -- outre grog --
That our stomachs a little more breakfast would hold
And we can't find potatoes, we'll make, up with gold.
Gold, gold nothing but gold;
When our stomachs are empty we'll fill them with gold.
New Orleans, December 16, 1848
The Trials of Laura Fair: Sex, Murder, and Insanity in the Victorian West
On November 3, 1870, on a San Francisco ferry, Laura Fair shot a bullet into the heart of her married lover, A. P. Crittenden. Throughout her two murder trials, Fair's lawyers, supported by expert testimony from physicians, claimed that the shooting was the result of temporary insanity caused by a severely painful menstrual cycle. The first jury disregarded such testimony, choosing instead to focus on Fair's disreput able character. In the second trial, however, an effective defense built on contemporary medical beliefs and gendered stereotypes led to a verdict that shocked Americans across the country. Carole Haber probes changing ideas about morality and immorality, masculinity and femininity, love and marriage, health and disease, and mental illness to show that all these concepts were reinvented in the Victorian West.