Early Rare California Mining stock certificate for one share from the Mokelumne Canal and Mining Company
issued around 1852 to William Cooker. This historic document was printed by Lithographers Britton & Rey and has an ornate border around it. This item has been hand signed by the Company’s President, Henry Eno and Secretary, E. H. Pomeroy as and is over 152 years old.
This company was one of many western financed ditch companies organized for bringing water to the fossil placer gold deposits. Mokelumne Hill was in one of the richest areas of California's Mother Lode. This company was the predecessor for the Mokelumne Hill and Camp Seco Ditch Co. They first built a wood flume, but replaced it with a ditch at a cost of $500,000. These ditch or canal companies charged for the water by the inch [ref: Browne, 1868, p195 and Holabird]
The Mokelumne Hill Canal and Mining Company was organized in 1852 and for $180,000 a canal was constructed from the South Fork of the Mokelumne River 16 miles to the mining and agricultural districts surrounding Mokelumne Hill. In 1853 water arrived from the Mokelumne River and the area boomed. This company later reorganized as the Mokelumne Hill and Campo Seco Canal Company and extended to Campo Seco and mining camps along its course. Calaveras Public Utility District later acquired the system and utilized it until 1973.
The population of early Mokelumne Hill was extremely diversified, numbering Americans, French, Germans, Italians, Jews, English, Irish, Spanish, Mexicans, Chileans, Chinese, Negroes, and others among them. The town has the only Jewish cemetery in Calaveras County, along with Protestant and Catholic Cemeteries. Numerous lodges, hospitals, and societies in addition to the more common I.O.O.F., Masonic and E Clampus Vitus, were located in the community, including French, Italian, German, and Chilean hospitals and societies and a hall known as the Manor Char Hall. The large Chinese population settled on both sides of east Centre Street and along China Gulch. They operated stores, saloons, and worshipped at two Joss Houses. The so-called French and American War occurred in 1851 on French Hill in a conflict over mining claims.
Due to its importance as a commercial center, Mokelumne Hill was chosen as the site of the Calaveras County Courthouse in 1852, after its removal from Jackson. The original wooden building, located on Centre Street, was burned in the fire of 1854 and a new stone building was constructed just north of the Leger Hotel. This building remained the seat of County government until 1866 when the Courthouse was moved to San Andreas. Because the county seat was located there for ten years, many lawyers, judges, clerks, and county employees settled in Mokelumne Hill. This permanent population and the commerce it engendered required the opening of numerous businesses on the Hill. Among these were soda works, breweries, saloons, doctor and dentists' offices, drugstores, billiard and pool halls, hotels and restaurants, carpenters and tinsmiths, bakeries, dry goods and grocery stores, livery stables, meat markets, liquor stores and cigar stores. After the Courthouse moved to San Andreas, business slumped off and advertisements proclaiming the sales of businesses and homes filled the newspapers.
History from Calaveras County website.
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