CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH RELIC. OCTAGONAL POLISHED STONE SOUVENIR FROM MOCCASIN CREEK, TUOLUMNE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, DATED 4 JULY 1859. Moccasin Creek, California, 1859. Octagonal polished stone, 8.5 cm (3 1/4 inches) in diameter, 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) thick. Rare late-Gold Rush relic from Moccasin Creek in Tuolumne County. On one side is engraved "Moccasin Creek / Tuolumne / County / Cal," on the other "July 4, 1859 / Eth. D. Halfman." During the height of the California Gold Rush about 2000 people of all nationalities were in Moccasin Creek canyon. It "was teeming with miners ... the side hills were lined with tents and the whole sphere of activity was open to view in the shallow creek bottom. The banks were measled with red shirts. The men who first populated Moccasin Creek shoveled dirt into sluice boxes or squatted at the current's edge slopping water from shallow-beveled mining pans. Every daytime hour was marked by beehive action. If a miner stopped to eat, the watchful but hitherto inert Indians moved in on his claim and the squaws panned industriously until he returned to drive them off. Every foot of the bottom was turned over and for years the long low mounds -- tailings from the long toms -- remained above highwater mark, having evidently been operated from a supplementary ditch. Broken picks, rusted pans, disintegrating gold cradles, old tin cans and whisky bottles lay under the bushes. Now it is all a forgotten thing, buried under tons of rock from recent dredging. When the miners gradually moved out, the mountain lions just as gradually moved in. Evidently the canyon had been a favorite haunt for them and now the coming of ranches with cattle formed an attraction to call back the hungry beasts" (Paden and Schlichtmann, The Big Oak Flat Road: An account of Freighting from Stockton to Yosemite Valley, pp. 108-109). Moccasin (settled in 1849), at the beginning of the steep grade that leads to Priest's Station (founded in 1855) became a stage coach stop on Big Oak Flat Road. Some rubbing and a few small edge chips, very good. (#166992).