A Lady in the Northern Mines

Just a snippet from a book I was looking at yesterday. I always enjoy reading about women pioneers and the reaction they engendered when they arrived at a mining camp.

The book is The Pierce Chronicle: Personal Reminiscences of E. D. Pierce as transcribed by Lou A. Larrick. Pierce was a forty-niner who mined in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.  He was mining and trading at Scott’s Bar in Shasta County in 1850 or ’51 when the following occurred:

Among the new arrivals was Rev. D. H. Lowery and wife. She was the first Lady that came into camp at the northern mines. Some of the first discoverers of the mines had not seen a white lady for two years when they arrived. The miners telegraph line was hurled through the camp that a lady had arrived.

The men all quit work to come to see her, and seemed to stand and gaze with wonder and astonishment. If a locomotive with a train of cars had passed by it would not have created any more excitement, just to think for a woman to travel horse back two hundred miles in the month of Feb. in a mountainous country, through snow over a rough trail, having to camp out every night. It must have taken a persevering and determined mind and deserved to be applauded by every one.

I have no idea who Mrs. Lowery was or whether she was young or old. If she were young, then she would remind the men of a sister, wife, or sweetheart back home. If she were older, she would remind them of their dear old mother or grandmother. It didn’t matter. Just to see any woman was refreshment.


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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