The Sight of a Pretty Woman

A story told by D. F. Crowder in the Chico Enterprise, December 29, 1917—

Of women in those days there were very few. In fact, women were somewhat of a curiosity. Men would go many miles just to look at a woman and when a woman, a pretty one, came in to camp, the news flew for miles . . .

I remember one woman, a Mrs. A. M. Sadorus, who afterwards settled on Rock Creek and died later in Nevada, who told about the curiosity her presence caused when she came West. . . . It was mooted about that a very comely woman was in camp and one miner, more venturesome than the rest, said his eyes were just watering for the look of a pretty woman  . . .  it would do his heart good to see one of God’s fair creatures again. So he went to the Sadorus camp where Mrs. Sadorus and her husband were resting for a few days. Mrs. Sadorus was in the tent and the miner who wanted just to see her approached the husband who stood outside.

“See here, pard,” said the miner, “If you don’t object I’d like just to look at your woman. I ain’t seen one since I left home, back in the States five years ago. No offense meant and you can tell her for me that if she will come out of that thar tent and let me look at her for just one minute I’ll give her ten dollars in dust.”

Sadorus, being a man of humor and appreciating the situation, and likewise acknowledging the reason for the miner’s whimsicality, laughingly told his wife about it. Mrs. Sadorus entered into the spirit of the occasion and putting on a pretty dress came from the tent and stood before the enraptured miner who had removed his hat in awe.

“God Almighty,” he said, “you air a purtty woman. It does my old heart good to see one of your kind again.”

For a full minute the old miner gazed upon the lovely vision and, pulling out his wallet, he handed her a $10 pinch of dust and took his departure.

I have heard Mrs. Sadorus tell this story many times and there are those here yet who will vouch for its truth.

D.F. Crowder 1909. Photo courtesy Special Collection, Meriam Library, CSUChico.

D.F. Crowder 1909. Photo courtesy Special Collection, Meriam Library, CSUChico.

D.F. Crowder came to Butte County in 1856 at the age of 12. He became a farmer in the area of Mud Creek. I suppose the event related here happened before he arrived. Women were exceedingly scarce in the mining camps and diggins.

From December 28, 1917 to January 28, 1918 the Chico Enterprise printed his recollections in a series entitled The Eventful Yesterdays: The Story of Early Chico. Some very interesting reading there — I’ll share some more soon.

About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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2 Responses to The Sight of a Pretty Woman

  1. Tim Taylor says:

    I do so love reading your retelling of our history, thank you.

  2. nancyleek says:

    Thank you! I love to get comments.

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