Christmas in the Goldfields

Merry Christmas! I’ve been in my Briar Patch this morning reading about other Christmases in times past. I found an interview of a man who was a miner in the 1849 Gold Rush with two partners. Due to a flood on a creek, they’d lost almost all of their provisions. They were despondent, hungry, and lonely. Their skillet was empty and they thought they were at least 100 miles from another living soul. When one of them remembered it was Christmas morning, they felt even worse. One of the miners, to cheer up his partners, played Santa Claus. With much flourish, he pulled out two small gold nuggets from inside his belt and gave one to each man. In the middle of the goldfields, this was a lot like giving someone a rock. When they were at their lowest, there came the musical chant of voices singing Adeste Fideles. They followed the sound and found four well-provisioned young men from Boston who shared food and song with them. On the menu: flapjacks fried in bacon grease, bootleg coffee, a Johnny Cake baked on a shovel, and a flask of spirits. I wish I could tell you more, but space is limited and I need to go look for a shovel…and a Johnny Cake recipe (source: Christmas in the Gold Fields, 1849- California Historical Society).

Happy Holidays to all, Janelle

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