Mountain Democrat Excerpts

The First Toll Bridge

In 1850, a tree fell over a flooded stream between Hangtown and Diamond Springs. A miner camped by it and charged four bits to everyone who crossed. He got away with it, part of the time, thus establishing the first paying toll bridge in the County.

First merchant: Mark Hopkins, a 49er

Mark Hopkins, the oldest of the four great California railroad kings, landed in San Francisco in 1849. Later in Sacramento he bought a stock of groceries and loaded them on a wagon, went to Hangtown and opened a store. By this he was having the distinction of being one of the first merchants of this community.

First to Cross the Plains

Charles P. Jackson gives J. H. Burgess, John Kilpatrick & Judson C. Harmer the credit of being the first men who crossed the plains in 1849. They arrived in Hangtown on July 31.

Pie Queen wins Divorce

The first divorce case tried in El Dorado County was decided in favor of the fair plaintiff, one Mrs. Wakefield who was famous for her apple pies of which she made a small fortune. The pies were made of dried apples and baked in tins. They retailed for $2 each, or $1 for one slice with a cup of coffee and were very popular with the miners.

The decision in her favor not only gave to her own house in which she lived, but even another house owned by her husband. The extreme goodwill the jury gave her claims was thought to be due to the fact that she was a very handsome woman. The jury was composed of mere men, one of who afterwards married her.

Placerville 135 years ago

The year is 1862.