"What's in a Name?": (Tales, Historical or Fictitious, about 111 California Gold Belt Place Names)

By C. M. Goethe | Go to book overview

SOREFINGER

WHAT'S IN A NAME? In SOREFINGER'S, the work of the Devil. SOREFINGER was struck one afternoon when simultaneously two Covered Wagon caravans unlimbered. The first prairie schooner outfit was from the Mississippi's magnolia-scented plantations. The other, from Vermont's balsam-perfumed Green Mountains. The hair-trigger men from Dixie quarrelled with the Yanks about slavery, about the ability of one Southerner to lick five Yanks, about whether the camp should be named "New Natchez" or "New Rutland."

The dispute had not progressed far when it was discovered the new-laid sluices were being robbed of their amalgam. Both Northerners, Southerners were raided impartially. They therefore ignored all other frictions. Sluice robbing was almost as reprehensible as "hoss-stealin'."

One day, before dawn, "Shorty," six feet six in his stockingfeet, caught the criminal leaning over a sluicebox. His bullet accurately struck the culprit's forefinger. The latter dared not ask for assistance. He went around the camp for four painful hours with his own clumsy, sanguinary bandage. Within the first half-hour, every miner knew the story. At first the gold diggers teased him about it, gave him a nickname, "Sorefinger." It was, however, really no joking matter. Soon he noticed there were ominous whisperings. The Natchez men had a reputation for artistic, likewise painfully prompt, lynching. Sorefinger, by noon, had sneaked over the Divide. The miners, with grim humor, joyously voted to also end the dispute about naming the camp. It was, in his honor, christened "SOREFINGER."


SQUABBLETOWN

WHAT'S IN A NAME? In SQUABBLETOWN'S the concept of what sociologists call "Opposition," "Antagonism," also "Estrangement." To students in sociology, fascinating is certain phenomena which may be labelled as above, or called just "squabbling." Some idealists are passionately devoted to laboring for Cooperation. Anyone thus engaged can understand how those, in California's population mass in the 1850s, would have criticized a community, perhaps just a wee bit notorious for "squabbling." Mingled with such criticism was, of course, the ever present urge to find something humorous about life, just as a cartoonist will overemphasize Hitler's forelock or the three hairs on Bismarck's bald head.

As this is written, the ecclesiastical statesmen are flocking

-159-

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"What's in a Name?": (Tales, Historical or Fictitious, about 111 California Gold Belt Place Names)
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page I
  • Dedication III
  • The '49ers XIII
  • Pioneer Leadership XIV
  • Foreword XV
  • Gold Rush Days' Chinese XVIII
  • List of Illustrations IXX
  • Amador City 1
  • Angel's Camp 2
  • Antelope 5
  • Brown's Valley 13
  • Brandy Flat 18
  • Butte City 20
  • Calico Mountains 22
  • Camptonville 24
  • Carmelito 25
  • Carson Creek 26
  • Cherokee (butte County) 28
  • Cherokee, (calaveras County) 30
  • Chile Gulch 33
  • Chinese Camp 35
  • Coloma 38
  • Coyote Diggings 50
  • Delirium Tremens 51
  • Donkeyville 52
  • Doty's Flat 55
  • Double Springs 57
  • Downieville 62
  • Eel River 65
  • Fiddletown 68
  • Folsom 71
  • Forbestown 72
  • Forest Hill Divide 74
  • Forest Home 77
  • Gold Run 81
  • Gouge-Eye 82
  • Grass Valley 85
  • Growlersburg 87
  • Hangtown 87
  • Hangtown "Fry" 88
  • Hangtown (deer Creek) 91
  • Humbug 91
  • Hundred-Ounce Gulch 92
  • Illinoistown 93
  • Jackass Hill 96
  • Jayhawk 96
  • Jesus Maria 98
  • Kentucky Slide 99
  • Liars' Flat 102
  • Lotus 104
  • Marysville 105
  • Michigan Bar 107
  • Michigan Bluff 111
  • Mokelumne Hill 112
  • Murphy's 120
  • Mad Mule Canyon, Whiskey Creek 124
  • Nevada City 127
  • One-Horse Town 128
  • Oroville 132
  • Paradise 133
  • Pinchemtight 134
  • Pokerville 137
  • Prairie City 139
  • Railroad Flat--Also Bummerville 140
  • Rattlesnake Bar 142
  • Rebel Hill 145
  • Red Dog 148
  • Rough and Ready 150
  • Shingle Springs 152
  • Sicord Flat (not "Sucker Flat") 152
  • Slumgullion 153
  • Smartsville 156
  • Sorefinger 159
  • Squaw Hollow 159
  • Sutter Creek 160
  • Sutter's Fort 162
  • Tiger Lily 164
  • Timbuctu 166
  • Tin Cup 174
  • Twenty-Mule-Team Canyon 175
  • Vallecito 177
  • Virginiatown 179
  • W. Y. O. D. 185
  • You-Be-Damned 187
  • Greeks and Forty-Niners 187
  • Glossary Of California Gold Belt Terms 190
  • Index 199
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