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Register of the Demarest Family Collection, 1849-1967
Mss28  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The Demarest family collection consists chiefly of an unpublished typescript, "California Gold," by David Durie Demarest's oldest son, David Clarence Demarest(1866-1962). It embraces 51 chapters divided into three volumes. The work's preface is followed by a typescript copy of David Durie Demarest's overland diary (1849), the original of which is in the Bancroft Library at the University of California. The first volume of "California Gold" is devoted to descriptions and history of the mining towns and mines of Calaveras County. The second volume contains biographies of pioneers and leaders of the area. The third volume consists of 126 captioned photographs. The collection also contains additional photographs and family correspondence.
Background
David Durie Demarest (1824-190?) of New Jersey, came overland to California via Galveston, El Paso and Yuma with two friends, Dr. William Jones and George Griffith (1849). The three soon settled at Altaville in Calaveras County, where they established the Union Water Co. (1852). This organization created, under the supervision of engineer, George Griffith, a dam fifteen miles above Calaveras Big Trees on the Stanislaus River and diverted water thence by flume some twenty miles to Murphys, Angels Camp and Altaville. The Company sold water for irrigation as well as for mining. Having thus helped create a comfortable living for himself, Demarest returned to New Jersey (1856) and induced his brothers, Cornelius Blauvelt (1836-1911) and Abraham Demarest, to return with him to California. Although Cornelius remained here only eight years before returning east, he later penned a memoir (c1910) which is one of our principal sources of information about Demarest family enterprises during the Gold Rush era (Las Calaveras, 1976-1977). Cornelius Demarest took over the Altaville Iron Works from 1861 until his return East. At that time, David D. Demarest assumed control of the foundry, renaming it the Angels Iron Works and operating it in partnership with Thomas H. Fullen, then with his son Clarence and Lawrence Monte Verda, throughout the rest of the 19th century. D.C. Demarest later maintained that Angels Iron Works built more stamp mills than any other company in the state. Angels also supplied mines in the Klondike and in Mexico. The Central Pacific Railroad established a branch line to Milton (1871) largely to facilitate shipment of mining machinery from Altaville to these distant locations.
Availability
Collection is open for research.