If you find accounts of life in early California fascinating, as I do, then the Library of Congress has a treasure trove for you. California as I Saw It contains first-person narratives of life in early California, from 1849 to 1900.
This collection includes more than 180 accounts by men and women who came to California in its formative years. Some of the writers are well-known figures, like Jessie Benton Fremont, John Bidwell, and Richard Henry Dana, the author of Two Years Before the Mast. Many others are remembered only because they kept a diary or later wrote a memoir, like Luzena Stanley Wilson, and numerous male Forty-Niners.
You can find Luzena’s full account here, as well as some other people I have written about, such as Edward McIlhaney and H.H. Bancroft. Here is where you can read Sim Moak’s The Last of the Mill Creeks. Check out the list of collection items, or search by contributor. Every item can be read online or downloaded.