Lot 97 of 539:
19th c. California ledger from time of the Klondike gold rush  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$330
$500 - $800

19th Century California Lumber Mill Ledger


Ferndale, CA




Approx. 400 pp. 39.2x17 cm. (15½x6¾"), grey cloth stamped in black with leather corners, all edges marbled.

19th century manuscript ledger from a thriving lumber mill in northern California. This early volume dates from 1896-1899 and was kept by a mill located in Ferndale, California, a Victorian village in Humboldt County, first settled in the 1850s.

Volume contains nearly 400 pages of handwritten entries chronicling transactions at this busy Humboldt County lumber mill. Entry dates here coincide with the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899), during which prospectors and fortune seekers descended on the Klondike region of the Yukon by the thousands. Many passed through northern California on their way to Seattle, the jumping off point for major routes to the Klondike.

Nestled in a valley near northern California's Redwoods, Ferndale soon became home to a prosperous dairy industry, earning it the nickname of "Cream City". The city's many splendidly ornate buildings constructed in the 1800s are known as the "Butterfat Palaces of Cream City". The accounts of several local creameries can be found throughout the present volume, along with many other businesses and organizations such as the Ferndale Hotel, Ferndale Cemetery, Ferndale Catholic Church, Ferndale Fair Association, Ferndale Building Association, etc. The mill also had an account with the city of Ferndale itself, which was a regular customer, as was Humboldt County.

Majority of entries throughout ledger describe various mill products and byproducts. Refuse generated by the mill was a big seller, as wood scraps in various sizes were sold to numerous individuals and businesses for heating fuel and other purposes. Other transactions include redwood and pine flooring, shingles and fancy shingles, shakes, boat lumber, fence posts, pickets, wainscoting, fish boxes, apple boxes, etc. There are also entries here for commodities such as bricks, loads of gravel, yards of stone, kegs of butter, pork, bacon, ham, lard, etc. Entries for various activities can also be found here such as hauling sand and hay, hauling to Occidental ranch, painting a house, etc. Other assorted entries include labor and wages paid, property improvements, bills receivable, inventory, lumber, discount, profit & loss, etc.

Ledger is a treasure trove of both Ferndale and Humboldt County history, as the names of numerous parties with whom the lumber mill dealt can be found throughout volume. Businesses here include several creameries such as the Hydesville Creamery, Eel River Creamery, Grizzly Bluff Creamery, Diamond Springs Creamery, etc. Also entries here for the Pacific Lumber Company, Eel River & Eureka Railroad, Bryant Mill, Rohnerville Methodist Church, Fortuna Building & Loan Association, Pacific School District, 9th District Fair Association, Humboldt County District  2, Banner School District, Fortuna School District, Price Creek Hatchery, Salt River School District, Norwegian Church, Hackett Brothers, Rowley & Sons, Swartzel & Williams, Lamb Brothers, etc. In additional to Ferndale, several other Humboldt County communities are mentioned throughout including Centerville, Eureka, Fortuna, Grizzly Bluff, McDonald's Ferry, Newburg, Paradise, Salmon Creek, etc.

Lot Amendments

Moderate cover wear, hinges cracked, mild toning internally, generally clean internally with ink bold and legible throughout; overall very good.

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