Scope and Content
Title: Demarest Family Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1849-1967
Collection number: Mss28
Extent: 1.8 linear ft.
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Demarest Family Collection, Mss28, Holt-Atherton Department of
Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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.
David Durie Demarest married Salina Ward (1861) and fathered three children: David
Clarence, Cornelius and Lillie. David Clarence Demarest later moved to the San Francisco
Bay area (c1909), where, for many years, he operated the D.D. Demarest Mining Machinery
Co. Many of the family's early records were destroyed when D. Clarence's Berkeley home
was destroyed by fire (1923).
Scope and Content
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.