The Yuba collection contains business files and documents pertaining to the activities of
Wendall P. Hammon and the founding the Yuba Construction Company and Yuba Consolidated
Gold Fields, including annual reports of both companies and reports of other mining
companies. Also included in the collection are specifications and estimates for dredge
building, orders for new dredges, blueprints of dredges, photographs, maps and Hammon's
scrapbooks on dredge and other mining.
Gold dredging in California began in 1850 when a small river boat was fitted out as a
dredge and gravel mining was attempted above Marysville, California on the Yuba River.
The first successful gold dredge in California was built in 1898 by Biggs, Butte County
resident Wendell P. Hammon, the "Dredger King," and his partner, Thomas Couch, a Montana
mining businessman. This first model and those that followed consisted of a floating
hull, a digging ladder, an endless chain of buckets, screening apparatus, gold-saving
devices, pumps, and a stacker. The California dredge was developed from models used
earlier in New Zealand and in Montana, proving to be much more efficient than earlier