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News & Tall Tales. 1800s. Bound for California


To California Gold.

Lament of the Irish Gold Hunter

Written for the Alta California, San Francisco, July 19, 1849

TUNE--"I'm sitting on the stile, Mary."

Gold Panning Kit.

I'm sitting on the stile, Mary
Away up in the mines,
A looking out for lumps of gold,
And pockets all I finds.
But the lumps I find is precious small,
And very few at that,
And I feel that I have been, Mary, A most almighty flat.

There's lots of change up here, Mary,
Tho' you'll find none in me,
For I spent the whole that I was worth in coming o'er the sea:
And though they says you've only got
To take your pan and pick
A pocket full of gold you'll find
It isn't quite so thick.

I bless you for that nice hung beef You put into my trunk,
For when I got it 'tween my teeth I felt that I was hunk.
I bless you for the sausages
That lasted me so long--
Tho' I'm thankful they are gone,
Mary For they smelt a little strong.

I'm very dirty now, Mary, For water's hard to get
Unless it rains, and then you're sure
Of getting pretty wet,
For there are no umbrellas here,
And the rain comes through the roof--
And then you'll have a cold or cough,
Unless you're waterproof.

I bless you for the bottled beer
That you put in my head
To take, to keep my spirits up,
Though I found it very dead!

Irish in California 1846.

I bless you for the friendly cheese
You put into my locker
But 'twas filled chock full with maggots,
And one a perfect whopper!
I'm brading you to keep quite well
Until the time arrive
That I return again to you If I should be alive,
For though there's bread and work for all,
I would a great deal rather
Die in old Ireland once a week
Than live here all the year.

And often right into the woods I'd go--if I could get--
For here it is so awful hot
I'm always in a sweat;
For--there is neither trees nor shade,
And I find but little gold;
And so, upon the whole,
I think I'm regularly sold.

June 7, 1851, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

Irish Entertainers in San Francisco 1851.

October 13, 1853, Daily Alta California, San Francisco

ARRIVAL OF JOHN MITCHELL

The Irish patriot, John Mitchell, arrived yesterday in the Julia Ann from Tahiti, to which island he had been taken by the Orkney Lass.Mrs. Mitchell and their six chidlren came from Melbourne in the Julia Ann, and stoipped at Tahiti with the expectation of meeting him there.

December 9, 1853, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California

Letter from Thos. F. Meagher.

— The Irish patriot, has written a letter to a gentleman of San Francisco, which we find in the Bay papersa. He declined a public reception tendered to him by the citizens of New York for the purpose of hastening his visit to California where he will probably arrive by the next steamer. The letter alluded to is as follows:

Metropolitan Hotel, New York, November 4, 1853

I leave this to-morrow fortnight, (the 19th inst.) for San Francisco, via Nicaragua. Let me get in quietly - without the least fuss - I don't intend to make a public character of myself at all, or to the smallest extent. I go simply and solely as a lecturer, and to do nothing else. Like a good friend, will you impress this upon the people? It is my intention to live with perfect quietness, avoid all display and go through my business just like a plain man of business, and nothing more. My lectures are ready I have written them purposely for California. They are entitled "The Irish Orators." One is on Grattan, a second on Curran, a third on Shiel, a fourth on O'Connell, a fifth on Sheridan, and so on. Anticipating my arrival to occur about the 16th December, I purpose delivering two lectures before Christmas— say one on the 21st, and the second on the 23d. Then a third on the 27th, and the fourth on the 29th. What say you to this?

don't think I have anything further to say, unless it be once more to impress upon you my earnest desire to avoid and to be exempt from all publicity outside of the lecture room.

I am, my dear sir, yours' faithfully,
T. F. Meaqher.


Irish California, Patrick J. Dowling.Irish Californians: Historic, Benevolent, RomanticIrish California
Patrick J. Dowling
a collection of brief biographies of Irish immigrants that he found admirable. Published when Patrick was 94, this book contains Irish heroes, entrepreneurs, and colorful characters from Timothy Murphy, who came to California before the American conquest, to Thomas Sweeny, who tried to invade Canada, to Eleanor Martin, a doyenne of San Francisco high society.

The Birth of the Fenian Movement: American Diary, Brooklyn 1859
Fenian Movement.
Birth of the Fenian Movment.Birth of the Fenian Movement.(Classics of Irish History)
James Stephens
American Diary uncovers the difficulties facing the movement's founders, and offers insight into mid nineteenth-century American life and the Irish-American community. It is also one of Stephens's scarce full-length pieces and one of the best written, although it has not previously been published in its entirety. James Stephens (1825-1901), born in Kilkenny, founded the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish branch of the Fenian movement, in 1858.

Irish Families on the California TrailIrish Families on the California Trail.
Irish Families on the California Trail.Irish on the California Trail.Michael C. O'Laughlin
An amazing story that includes the Mexican Regime; the Gold rush days; and statehood. The Irish and Irish-Americans came from New York, Boston, Canada, Missouri, and the south. Many rode the California and Oregon Trail by land. Some sailed 14,000 miles around Cape Horn, thousands came via Panama. They had reached the end of the rainbow. The first Irishman is found in the 1700's under the Mexican regime. Governors; rogues; 49rs; pioneers; Mormons and millionaires. The untold story of the Irish in the Donner Party; the two early Murphy Families; Lola Montez; and Brannan the Irish Morman who began the first newspaper in San Francisco before the gold rush..

Ridgeway.Fenian Movement.
Ridgeway: The American Fenian Invasion and the 1866 Battle that Made Canada
Padraig O Concubhair
A study of the Fenian Rising, its background, and the foundation of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. It examines the 1867 Rising in detail, providing descriptions of the battles, the British response, and the civilian casualties that resulted. Padraig O Concubhair is a member of the Clogher Historical Society, former President, and current Vice-President of the Kerry Historical and Archaeological Society. Vividly illustrated, the research is careful and thorough. -Irish American News.

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California, various Maritime Museums around the world.

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