California Gold Rush


Two sons of Joseph & Priscilla Longley's went to California in the 1840s

William Tennessee (1820-1908) & Alexander Preston "Pres" Longley (1819-1912),

Philosopher, Poet, Newspaperman

Both are buried in the DAR Plot at Oroville Cemetery.

Photos Courtesy of Yvonne Adams, Descendant of Mary Catherine Longley Tyler


  Alexander Preston Longley signed his newspaper articles "Pres"

 His brother's simple marker, Wm. Tennessee Longley

Following are three of Pres's newspaper articles, republished in the Dogtown Nugget Souvenir Program, 1972:


Battle Creek, Dec. 24, 1868 - Mr. Editor: Did you ever stand guard on the desert? No? Well, then you may not understand the incidents attending this little narrative. Now, in the course of human events, Messrs. Brooks and Chandler purchased fifty head of extra beef steers at Butte Creek for the Sacramento Market. These gentlemen were fully persuaded that there was not a sufficient number of people this side of that market, who could appreciate a good article of that kind; so they were determined to drive them thither, in order to obtain a price commensurate with their quality. They were the best lot of steers ever raised in Butte County, or drive n out of it - so Brooks says and he knows.

We started with the band in the afternoon, Billy, Charley and I. It was one of those damp, drizzling kind of days that tempt a man out if he has business, and warn him to stay in if he has none.

All went well until we arrived at a point about ten miles due west from the most enterprising and flourishing little town, Oroville. Here night began to cast its shadow over that undulating red land, little known to any of us in the day time, and not at all at night.

Billy was captain of the band, and I, general advisor. Billy advanced to the front to reconnoitre the country, and find out, if possible, the where abouts of our mighty destination, Boulder's Ranch. Charley and I stood guard. We sat on our horses. No sound was heard, save the sweep of the wind and the patter of the rain. Our horses wheeled their tails to the storm, and appeared to think like their masters, wet, cold and hungry, that they had taken their position for the night. The herd put their noses to the ground, only to find that there was nothing to eat there. After a time of silence, save only the noise of the storm, Charley broke it with the inquiry; "Are there any Indians about here?" "No, I think not," I answered, "at least no hostile ones." "I have stood guard; but to stand on guard on a stormy night, without food or fire, in the midst of a civilized community, seems to me to be assuming a rather ridiculous position." "I know of no better way," said I, "than for us to accept the situation. We have got into a scrape, and the easiest way to get out of it the best way."

We concluded that Billy had lost his reckoning, and was probably wandering to larboard, and moved our band in double file. It was stimulating to think that we were driving a band of the best beef cattle that anybody ever got lost with on that red rolling desert. No beacon light appeared by which to guide our craft to port; no "vesper ringing of the bells of Saint Boniface" to guard the weary traveler to light, food and fire.
Presently Billy returned and reported progress. He had been lost, as we supposed, and returned to us by the noise of driving. As captain of the band, he suggested that I should re___________ ________ ____________ ted abode, and I soon saw a light gleaming through the live oaks and shrubbery. Another moment and I had dismounted and sounded the door panel of a two-story house, being all I could see of the town of Hamilton, the ancient county seat of Butte County. Two or three honest faces made their appearance, and with a slight foreign accent gave proposed destination. A few moments more and we took our course as directed, and were somewhat astonished to see the moon shining in the north, as it made its appearance for a moment between the clouds.

It is but just to say that after we had turned and were progressing in the right course, one of the gentlemen from Hamilton rode up to us. He had come out to see if we were on the right road. We thanked him kindly for the pains he had taken in our behalf. When he returned to his home, we all agreed that his conduct was that of a gentleman. We soon arrived at Mr. Boulder's, found plenty to eat, a good fire, and Charley was delighted to think how he escaped standing guard surrounded by civilized people.

Sentinal [signed Pres. Longley ]


Hell Town - Jan. 8, 1870 - The earth has commenced another revolution around her centre, while man with all his ingenious appliances impressed upon the annals of history the glorious achievement of the last year, which will forever remain on the ledger of time as a brilliant epoch in the history of the world. Two continents bisected and two oceans connected by means of the Suez Canal, offers facilities to the commerce of the nations that were never known before, while the great railway thoroughfare across the continent of North America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, awakens the echoes of civilization amid the silent solitudes of a savage domain.

But what may not be reasonably be expected to occur through the instrumentality of science and art in the year 1870? It would seem that man, not satisfied with the natural disposition of land and water upon the earth's surface, had taken into his wise noddle the immense idea of reconstructing the whole thing to suit his own practical convenience, nor do we think it impious for him to make the attempt, since God has given him the earth, "and the fullness thereof," and endowed him with a intellect for the noblest of purposes; Moses smote a solid rock and a stream of clear cold water bursted from it, to allay the thirst of a traveling nation; but we, in our time have accomplished greater wonders than that; we smote the earth, and two continents were rent asunder, and the water of one ocean mingled with those of the other; we send the quick spirits of the air on a wire along the coral clad bottom of the ocean for a distance of three thousand miles in a moment, and they speak of tranquil peace and prosperity, or they speak of battles, bloodshed and disaster. And yet these wonders are not accomplished by man alone, it is God in man, as it was God in Moses when he worked the wonders that astounded Egypt and Israel.

Hence, we believe that all the late, far gone triumphs of science were but the forerunners of mightier achievements that were to follow and in the present year we may expect to see the atmosphere of the earth successfully navigated, we may expect to vault into the heavens with out aviator, fearlessly rise above the regions of the storm and sail to our destination, with cloudless skies above our heads, and mid the pure fields of ether that are lying unoccupied all around this mighty globe of ours, and it may happen, it is quite reasonable to suppose that in these aerial voyages, our minds will be susceptible of higher, grandeur, and more glorious thoughts than we have known before; but there, let us come down; we get tired to stay above the clouds so long; let us come down to railroads, steam plows, telegraphs, printing presses, threshing, mowing and sewing machines, that all admit of and no doubt will this year receive great improvements. Also there is religion and morality that must be fostered, respected, and believed.

"To be truly great, is to be truly good."


Nov. 3, 1908 - The Americans are people of impulse, progress, improvement nd discovery. They are perhaps the most peculiar people in the world. They will lie down in the midst of the most appaling danger with perfect equanimity, but when calamity falls upon them they rouse like lions, and resist it with infinite rage.

When gold was discovered in California by Marshall on Sutter Creek, an excitement ensued that had no previous parallel in the history of the world. Men of wealth, men of talent, with nothing but energy, muscle and youth dropped their vocations and started in hot haste for the fabulous gold-fields of the West.

It was an irresistible stream of humanity that weathered the perils of Cape Horn, by the ocean route, and other vast crowds fought their way over thousands of miles of desert plains, confronted by hostile Indians, starvation and death. Many of these daring spirits fell by the way, many made fortunes and returned to the bosom of their families, while many thousands remained in the land and by their energy, intelligence and patriotism built up one of the grandest commonwealths in our great republic.

From Sutter Creek, where Marshall found his first nugget, the prospectors took divergent courses. Some went south and found rich diggings along the foothills of the Sierras; some went north and scattered themselves along the great watersheds of the Sierras, where they found rich deposits of the needful, building mining towns, digging trails over impossible mountains, bridging roring cataracts, fluming rivers tunneling gravel channels and knocking into atoms vast gravel mountains with their hydrants.

But in this great rush for gold they did not lack the ability to organize counties and courts of justice, for within that vast army of gold hunters could be found eminent lawyers, shrews politicians, skilled doctors, intellectual journalists, big-hearted merchants, and last but not least - the preacher of glad tiding stood up and reiterated the simple story of the Cross and, though it had been 2000 years ago, it seemed as new to them as though it had only happened yesterday.

Many of the early mining camps contained men of genius and eminence, disguised with mud and patched garments, who, to a careless obserer, would seem an insignificant nobody; but when the occasion called them to the front they astounded the beholder with a flood of eloquence. I recollect an incident that occurred on Feather River in 1852. A valuable mining claim was in litigation. The rightful owner was on the point of being ousted by a party that had lots of money and influence. The case was to be decided by a miner's meeting, as usual. An obscure-looking individual, wearing an old slouched hat, his garments covered with dirt and mud, and his pants patched with flour sacks, stepped up to a man who was on the point of losing his claim and told him he would gain his claim for $100. The claim owner had but few friends in camp, and accepted the offer. The meeting was called to order, witnesses examined, and the crowd leaned fearfully towards the side of whiskey and influence. But old slouch came forward and said the miners of California had always been celebrated for their love of justice, and hoped they would give the claim to its rightful owner, in fact he warmed up on his subject, and inundated the crowd with a gust of eloquence that would carry a jury out of its boots. The vote was taken, and resulted in the young man getting his claim, which was a very rich one. When they came to find out, the orator was "Tom Cox," one of the most celebrated lawyers of Nashville, Tennessee.