NMHS Newsletter, November 2017

Henry Lantz (1817-1865)

HENRY LANTZ (1817-1865)...California Gold Miner (1852-1855)


Henry Lantz and Other Gold Miners from the North Manchester Area
Edited by John Knarr

In 2009 our Center for History received donations from Alice Sheak, a resident of New Haven and a great granddaughter of Henry Lantz. Among the items accessioned were photos, correspondence and a diary belonging to the Henry Lantz family. Recognizing their historical significance, the abundance of local connections and revelations, Joyce Joy and Allan White proceeded to transcribe the contents of this remarkable correspondence collection and diary. In the following biographical outline with material extracted from the larger archive, Henry Lantz’s [HL] own words are italicized, as transcribed by Joyce and Allan.

 Sept 7, 1817              Henry Lantz was born in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania to Samuel and Magdalena (Martz) Lantz. HL: My father Samuel, was a man about five feet, ten inches tall, robust and well built. His weight about 240 pounds. My mother was tall, well built and stout.  …My father was a wagon maker by trade. He worked part of his time as wagon making, the balance of his time he worked at fulling mill, wool carding, saw mill, grist mill and at farming. He was a good liver, had plenty of the comforts of life about him. He was a hard working, saving and industrious man and had accumulated a goodly portion of this worlds goods.

 1821-1838                 HL: When I was somewhere in or about my fourth year, I happened to be standing by the side of a large grindstone, which was accidently upset upon me and broke in my right breast bone, so that it compressed my lungs too much to enjoy good health. After I was old enough to go to school, my father would send me three month in the winter season, and in the summer, I would have to do a little work in the carding machine and sometimes on the saw mill or farm. So I would be changing from one thing to the other, until I was about eighteen years old, then I worked on the farm till I was twenty-one years old. My father would always keep me busy at something, never allow me to idle away anytime. He was very particular with me to keep me from associating with bad company. Neither would he allow me to run about on Sunday, but he always allowed me the privilege of visiting certain neighbors and also the connections at home and abroad. He also was very liberal with his money. I never was in want for pocket change or good and fine clothing. My father and mother both were pious parents. They both made it their aim and study to bring me up on the admonition of the Lord, and if I have not walked in the path of rectitude, the fault rest with me alone and not with them.

 1838-1839                 HL: In the fall [1838], I left home and went to Mercersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, to school, to an institution called Marshall College. I had intended to take a regular course, took the Latin, Greek, German and English languages, also ancient and modern geography. Remained here about nine months, then had to quit my studies on account my health, the close confinement being too hard on my constitution, so that during my short stay here, I merely had made a good beginning at my studies.

 1839-1840                 Attended an academy at Smithsburg, Washington County, Maryland to study geometry and surveying, thinking that I would not be so much confined here. I remained here six months, made very good progress.

 Spring 1840               HL: In the spring of 1840, I went back to my father’s, remained there about four or five weeks. My health not being very good, I then made up my mind to go to the Iowa state on purpose of getting employment at surveying. [Editor: After J.J. Tomlinson had surveyed the town of Manchester in 1836-1837 for Peter Ogan, Tomlinson left Indiana for Iowa where he surveyed a number of towns, including Rochester, Tipton, and Canton, Iowa. See NMHS Newsletter, February 2015.]

 April 20, 1840           HL: I started for the west in company with William Culp, a young man who had been working about two years for my father. When we started, we had intended to walk as far as Pittsburgh. We were on the road about two weeks and got as far as the summit of the Allegheny Mountains, then took stage for Pittsburg. Whilst we were here, we were busy in going about seeing the manufacturing establishments. After we had seen enough, so that we were satisfied to leave. Then we took a steam boat for the city of Cincinnati. Here I bought me a surveyors compass.

 May-Sept, 1840         HL: Then we concluded that we had better not go to Iowa till in the fall, after the sickly season would be over. We then went to Montgomery County, Ohio where there were some of my mother’s first cousins living by the name of Martz. At this place I took up a school, taught four months, then quit it. I did not like to be confined so much. During this time, I had a very hard spell of sickness and not being well satisfied with the treatment I had during my sickness, I was induced to make up my mind to get married and not go to Iowa that fall. I then made my intentions known to my comrade, Mr. William Culp in order to find out whether he would be willing to give up the idea of going to Iowa, to which he agreed at once.

Fall 1840                   HL: I then began to look out for a partner for the balance of my stay, whom I had but little trouble to find, and in the course of a few weeks, the agreement was made, that I should go to Indiana that fall, stay there during the winter in order to know whether I would like the country, then return in the spring and marry. I then took a contract to cut some cord wood. I cut about thirteen cord, then started for Wabash County, Indiana.

 October 1840             HL: The country then was new. The most of the way and roads very bad in the fall of the year which made traveling very slow and fatiguing. I was nine days on the way and nearly worn out by the time I got through. I come to Samuel Bussards, who lived in the north part of the county [Wabash Co.]. After arriving here I had an offer for a school three miles east of this, in the settlement Gabriel Swihart and Michael Knoops, which school I took up for three months at eighteen dollars per month and boarding in. The country being so new and wild that I got very tired of staying in the house, I then left the school eleven days before the expirations of the school and went back to Ohio.

 April 8, 1841             Henry Lantz married Caroline Bussard, daughter of Samuel Bussard, who lived near Germantown, Montgomery County OH. HL: Samuel Bussard emigrated to Ohio from the state of Maryland when Caroline was about five years old. His fore-parents emigrated from England. I think his wife was a Delawter [DeLauter] by her maiden name and Christian name Mary, and I think of Irish descent. Samuel Bussard was a hard working man, has a good farm, things plenty and convenient about him. His wife was also a very hard working and industrious woman. She was member of the German Reformed Church. They had nine children, six boys and three girls.

 June-October, 1841    HL: Caroline and I went to Maryland to see her connections. [i.e. relatives] From there we went to Pennsylvania to my father’s. Remained there till August, then we, in company with my father returned to Ohio.

 Nov 1841-Fall 1846   HL: In November, we moved to Wabash County, Indiana. There settled on an eighty acre tract of land, all in the timber, which farms. Cleared off about forty acres, built a two story log house and a frame bank barn. Also built a saw mill in partnership with Samuel Bussard. Then we enjoyed tolerable good health for first year or two and time went off pleasantly.

 Aug 9, 1842              HL: August the ninth we had a daughter born. We named her after both of her grandmothers, Mary Bussard and Magdalena Lantz [Mary Magdalena Lantz]. She was a very pleasant, agreeable girl and possessed a good portion natural mother wit.

 May 21, 1845            HL: May the twenty-first, our second daughter Susannah Lantz was born. She always has been a stout and healthy child.

 Fall 1846                   HL: In the fall we went to Ohio on a visit and at the same time bought a stock of goods of Fred Kern, took them to Manchester, Indiana. Also moved our family to Manchester the same fall.

 Aug 8, 1847              HL: August the eighth, Sarah Catharine, our third daughter was born. She is not as healthy and stout as Susannah, but more lively and quicker in her turns.

 Aug 30, 1847             Mary Magdalena Lantz deceased, aged five years and twenty-one days.

 1847-1850                 HL: This summer I was afflicted all summer with boils, up to this time, my partner, Samuel Davis and I had very good success in the way of merchandising till October, 1847 we lost one stock of goods on the Juniata River, Pennsylvania, then bought the second and as it froze up, all winter so that we had no new goods during this winter. From this time we met with a continual stream of misfortunes, one kind or other until we were reduced so low that we were not able to pay off all of our indebtedness. Our final breakdown or windup in goods business happened in the spring (1850).

Dec 28, 1849             Henry Lantz was a charter member of the Masonic Deming Lodge, No. 88, F. & A.M.  Other charter members included Isaac J. Garwood, Jacob Simonton, Robert Harper, James Wilson, Henry Eichholtz, L.J. Groninger and Curtis Pauling.  Groninger and Wilson were to join Lantz in going to California in 1852. Pauling started out but turned around after four weeks. Pauling  located his dwelling along the Plank Road built southeast of Liberty Mills. Clark Williams was received into the fraternity in January 1850; also Lewis Davis and Dr. C.V.N. Lent. The early meetings of the lodge were held in the room over the Lantz-Davis store in Manchester, and later in the room over David Frame’s store. In 1857, a third story was added to the cabinet shop of T.I. Siling (known later as the Keller House) and for fifteen years the meetings were held there. Then in 1872 a lodge room was erected over the L.J. Noftzger’s hardware store on the south side of Main Street. [See Helm, History of Wabash County (1884), p. 281.]

 March 14, 1850         Henry Lantz was a charter member of Ebronah Encampment, No. 21, I.O.O.F. organization. Other charter members included James Davis and Erastus Bingham, both of whom joined Lantz in going to California in 1852 during the Gold Rush. [See Helm,  232.]

 1850 (?)                    Henry Lantz was a charter member of the Sons of Temperance, as he wrote in one of his letters [July 8, 1854, to Caroline] while living in California

 Jan 22, 1851              Anna Lantz was born. Anna died a year later while Henry Lantz was en route to the gold mines in California. Henry only heard about Anna’s death in May of 1852 after he had arrived in Sacramento in August 1852.

 1850-1851                 HL: From the spring of fifty to the fall of fifty-one, we kept tavern [Lantz House at northwest corner of  Second and Walnut Streets] and I attended some to settling up our goods business. In the fall we left the tavern and then I was out of employment and harassed so much by our creditors, that I made up my mind to go to California, thinking to make enough to get me out of my embarrassments. My wife objected very much to my going so that it took hard struggling to get off.

 Jan 10, 1852              Henry Heeter wrote to his father Abraham Heeter: “There is a company of Boys a going to start to Calliforny in three weaks   manchester Henry Lance  Jacob Abbet  George Cole  Widner Price  Liberty [Mills] Henry waker [Walker]  Jacob Swinhart  John Brumbaugh  Brotherinlaw Benjimen Calklesser [Colclesser] 7 more that I dont know.” See Lester H. Binnie, ed. Heeter Family Letters, 1842-1888, p. 28.

 Jan 19, 1852              Henry Lantz started for California on a four-horse sleigh, picking up James Davis and James Wilson in Wabash, and riding 150 miles to Xenia OH, then railroads to Cleveland, Erie PA, Elmira NY, New York City.

 Feb 3, 1852               HL: We left New York City on board the Steamer Crescent City, for Shagnes [Chagres], in the state of New Granada.Henry took “steerage passage” with some of his friends, including Jim Wilson, Rastus Davis, John Cowgill and Erastus Bingham. “Rastus” was appellation with a Biblical basis, meaning “old friend” or “beloved comrade”.

 Feb 15, 1852             HL: Landed at Shagnes [Chagres] in the morning. Here the sea was very rough, which made it difficult to get on shore. The water being too shallow on the coast, we had to anchor some distance from shore. This is a low marshy country in the vicinity of this town. Here we took breakfast, after breakfast we hired some of the native men to take us in small boats up the Shagnes River to Gorgona, a distance of sixty miles, each of us paying six dollars. This day we went ten miles, stopped over night at small village on the banks of the river.

 Feb 18-19, 1852        HL: This day at 12 o’clock we landed at Gorgona, a small village near the head of the Shagnes [Chagres] River, about 25 miles from Panama. Here we took dinner. About one hour before sunset, myself and five others left for Panama. Kept walking slowly all night and in the morning at sun rise we were in Panama. Here we found from four to five thousand emigrants on their way to California, waiting for a passage.

March 9, 1852           HL: This evening about sunset, we set sail for the boundless deep. The passengers in all, numbered, about three hundred and fifty (350). Our stock of provisions and water was calculated to last us two months and the voyage from Panama to San Francisco was to be made in forty days.

 April 30-May 1, 1852 HL: Calm. Still low with diarrhea, not expected to live from one day to another. I would frequently hear my room mates whisper to one another predicting how soon or as what time I would have to be put overboard. By this time about one third of our bread was spoiled and cast overboard, also considerable of the drinking water leaked out, so that we were very much in want for bread and water. Our rations too short to keep soul and body together very long. Not able to be out of my bed. Thomas Roberts of Kosciusko County, Indiana died. He was a room mate of mine. Weather very calm and warmer.

 June 9-June 22, 1852 HL: I remained here [San Blas, a Mexican seaport town in State Jalisco]  till 22nd of June, when a Frenchman by name of Burtrand fitted out a small brig, called the Brig Condor of Mazatlan. The captain agreed to carry 70 at seventy dollars a passenger. There were about sixty-five who had money to go. I being entirely out of money, the captain agreed to take me by me giving my note payable in eight days after arriving at San Francisco.

 July 4, 1852               HL: Landed at San Jose on the Cape of San Lucas. Here we took some cattle on board the ship for beef. We had to anchor out from shore about two miles from shore, swam the cattle out to the ship, then put a rope over their head and hoisted them up by their horns.

 Aug 22, 1852             HL: Sunday landed this morning at San Francisco after so long a voyage, in all from New York, being seven months and 20 days. After I had landed here I felt somewhat at a loss how to get along, not having any money, but as good luck would have it, I soon found a friend, a Mr. Mahlon C. Waldron, who gave me money to pay my passage from San Blas to San Francisco, and also to take me to the mines. As I was short in means, I did not stop any time here.

 Aug 23-Aug 31, 1852 Lantz took a steamer from San Francisco to Sacramento; rode a stage coach for about ten miles and then left on foot for Auburn. HL: Aug 25. This night I had to sleep out in a pile of barley straw, five miles from Auburn. Sick with a pleurisy pain. The night was so cool, that I thought I must freeze. Lantz then visited various mining sites: Illinois Town, Bear River, Yankee Jims, Chilean Bar, south fork of the American River, eventually meeting up with Robert English of Lagro, Indiana, who was mining at the Chilean Bar.

 Sept 1, 1852-1855      Lantz commenced working for Robert English.  Lantz’s mining experiences were varied but never very lucrative. He tried mining various stream beds as well as searching for the mother lode, tunneling inside hard rock mountains. Several of the mines were some 30-50 miles from Sacramento and in the vicinity of the American River or Placer County-Gordon Hill, Gold Hill, Dotas Ravine, Pleasant Bar, Maumaluk Hill, Georgia Flat, Georgia Slide, New Castle. Lantz bought shares in some of the operations or was a partner in other mines. Lantz at times engaged in non-mining activities. Henry partnered with Bingham and Wilson in building a house and store selling groceries to the miners and engaged in butchering. To make his fortune, Henry sometimes entertained the dream of driving cattle across the plains to the mining camps, but his wife and father tried to throw “cold water” on such plans. Henry partnered with Isaac Thorn for a very brief stint during 1853 as California farmers but their land on the banks of the Feather River was prone to flooding. There were also land title issues that needed addressing. At the end of 1853 Henry hired out to tend a saw mill at a hundred dollars per month. But the lack of rain that fall caused the mill to cease operation. HL: …few are able to do anything at mining on account of not having water enough, which makes times very dull and money scarce more so than it ever has been here.

 Feb 13, 1853             HL: It is true the land is as pretty and as rich as the world can produce but they are shaking with the ague in every corner. …I think there is money to be made farming but I had sooner be without money than to be here shaking and fighting mosquitoes. There are plenty of them now and how bad they will be in the summer there is no telling. If it was as healthy here as it is in the mountains I should like to make this my home. We are on the banks of Feather River, five miles above the mountains but as for me, give me health before wealth.

 Feb 26, 1853             HL: …we had a Masonic funeral here which afforded me much satisfaction to know myself as a member of that ancient and honorable institution, to witness the interest that the brothers took in behalf of this poor family. The man died of consumption which he brought with him to this country, but the Masonics fraternity provided for them so that they have not been in want for anything. His widow is expecting an heir every day, and the brothers have made up money for her so that she can hire a nurse for herself and as soon as she is able they will make up money and send her back to the states. And let me assure you that it afforded me much good to throw in my might. And I intend always to divide the last with hungry and needy. I know that I have been too liberal, but the old Barque Emele made me more so with the hungry in particular and I have seen the time twice since I have been here that I divided the last of my provisions and it done me as much good as if some person had made me a present of a thousand dollars.

 March 6, 1853           HL: …at the time I last wrote you, I was mining and shortly after that it failed so that it would not pay wages anymore, and upon the whole I lost about forty dollars in money, besides about two months labor and by this time a Mr. Thorn, brother of Wm. Thorn in Manchester who used to sell goods there, came along and he had lost all he had by mining and as both of us had some notion of bringing our families to this country, we concluded to go down into the valley and each of us take up a quarter section of land, make garden, sow barley, etc.

 March 6, 1853           HL: The gold in the mountains is coarse. If you find any at all, you will find something worth while, but then it is as fine as flour and where I am mining now, the water costs four dollar per day to wash with, then by the time you pay for water and board there is but little left. There is perhaps one out of every two hundred that will stumble on a fortune, even in these parts. About two miles from here a man took his prospect pan with the intention of finding a place to mine and got pretty near seventeen hundred [$1700.00] in one pan full of dust.

 March 13, 1853         HL: We hit some good streaks this week and got as much as one dollar to the pan. We have averaged seven dollars and thirty-seven cents [$7.37] clear of expense per day this week.

 July 27, 1853             HL: On last Saturday, I took that letter to I. Thorn. found him and L.J.G. [Leonard Groninger] in good health, came back last night. I bought an interest in the flume which they are at work now. In about three weeks they will have the water in it. I promised you to come home next spring which I intend to stick to if life and health is spared. So I calculate to put in the best licks and make or break, I would just as leave go home straight as to have but a five hundred dollar. I also bought an interest in another flume, next one above where Isaac & Groninger is. Bought, but half share in each one. Gordon Hill did not give down any this month yet. I think it is likely that the water will fail here in a week or two, then I intend to go up on the river and leave Gordon Hill for next winter.

 Aug 23, 1853             HL: Today is one year since I landed in California. One year more if my life and health is spared, I expect to be back and be enabled to speak to you face to face. Next winter I think I shall spend on Gordon Hill.

 Jan 1, 1854                HL:  L.J. Groninger was here yesterday. He and I bought into another claim on Mamaluke Hill at nine hundred and fifty dollars [$950.00], four hundred and fifty [$450.00] down and five hundred and fifty [$550.00] the first of April next. If this claim proves as good as the others in the same hill, we will do well. There is ground enough to last five years, but they have not got into any pay yet. Have gone nine hundred and about forty feet [940 ft] through the solid rock and one hundred and fifty feet [150 ft] underground. There is a rail track laid into the tunnel and the dirt is run out on a car. There are only six men at work. Groninger and myself do not work in it. We pay ten dollars per week. I wish for you [Henry’s wife Caroline] to keep it to yourself that I bought another claim. If there is good pay found in it I intend to leave it in the care of Mr. J. Boles and start home in the spring. If not, it will be sometime in the summer before I will be able to start for home. This Mr. Boles is a man from near Huntington and has an interest in the saw mill here and as fine and honest a man as ever lived and is also interested in the tunnel.

 Jan 22, 1854              HL: …I begin to feel very anxious to go home, but when that time will come, I cannot say yet. I may come by the time I have set, and I may perhaps stay three, four, five, or six months longer, but if I have enough to bring me home, I will not stay over another winter.

 Feb 22, 1854             HL: I have worked and lived hard since I am here and sometimes, I think, since I had given you [his wife Caroline] and the children so much trouble and exposed myself in coming that I should not give up, so long as there was any hope at all and then on the other hand, I think what is a little money in comparison to a good home, and living at home, and above all for a man to be with his family at least so long as there is that affectioned feeling between them, so that they are both willing to share alike in their sympathizing for each others woes to which I doubt not in the least we are both prepared to answer in the affirmative.

 May 28, 1854            HL: I have been working on the saw mill for the last two months, half the night and most of the time nearly all day. …We are going to work as soon as I get back to repair the mill and my business there will be to attend to the lumber yard and building flumes while the millwright does the balance. There are three share holders in the mill and I have the managing of two shares now, which gives me a pretty good chance to control the whole concern and work after my own notion. …[I] saw half a night, then in day time, measure out and sell about two thousand feet of lumber, have the books to tend to, two teams agoing and from eight to ten hands to oversee all the time….

 July 8, 1854               HL: I am still at the saw mill. Get five dollars & board per day, which is very good for this country at this time, and had I worked for wages all the time since I have been here, I might have considerable money now.

 Sept 12, 1854            HL: Mr. I.L. Boles, the man whom I am at work for has been elected a member of the California Legislation and is very anxious for me to stay at the saw mill till spring, but what I will do in this case, I am not able to say yet. …[Father] wishes for me to go home this fall, but about going home, I feel about not exactly equally balanced. The strongest horse pulls for California yet, but I think the little fellow is beginning to fatten up a little and perhaps will out pull the big one soon.

Dec 23, 1854             HL: I am out of debt here now. Have my claim paid for and about two hundred dollars ($200.00) left.

 June 1855                  Henry Lantz returned to his family and North Manchester.

July 23, 1856             A son Samuel was born to Henry and Caroline Lantz.

June 10, 1858            A daughter Ada was born to Henry and Caroline.

January 28, 1860       Daughter Emma was born.

 July 20, 1858             Henry Lantz purchased 14 acres, west of Manchester from Daniel and Susan Cripe. [See Wabash Co. Deed Record T, 411] Lantz erected a flour mill on Clear Creek [also known as Crooked Creek] and engaged in milling until he died. See W.E. Billings, “Water Mills of Crooked Creek,” Tales of the Old Days (1926), pp. 54, 57.

 Nov 17, 1865             Henry Lantz died. Age 48 yrs, 2 months and 10 days.

April 26, 1866-June 18, 1866                     Estate of Henry Lantz declared insolvent. Claims against the Lantz estate were ascertained to be about $18,352.80. [Probate Order Book #5, p. 213, Wabash Co. Common Pleas Ct]

 Dec 16, 1866             Caroline Lantz married Isaac B. Hymer. Hymers divorced in 1877.

 While the Lantz archive of letters and diary provides numerous names and local connections, there were many more who were infected with California gold fever. The following list summarizes some information we currently have; an asterisk (*) denotes that the person was referenced in the Lantz papers.

 Henry Heeter [Heeter Family Letters, 1842-1888, p. 28] identified several who headed to California in early January: Henry Lantz, Jacob Abbott, George Cole, Widner Price-all four from Manchester; from Liberty Mills: Henry Walker, Jacob Swinhart, John Brumbaugh, Benjamin Colclesser. Heeter also mentioned seven that he did not know. Helm’s History of Wabash County (1884) made no mention of Jacob Abbott, John Brumbaugh, Benjamin Colclesser or Widner Price. [Ed. Note: Sarah Lantz, daughter of Henry and Caroline Lantz, married Abner Heeter.]

 George W. Cole was killed in action at Champion Hills, May 16, 1863. [Helm, 207]

 Daughter of Jacob and Mary (Ault) Swihart, Barbara Swihart married John W. Cook who was born in Montgomery County OH Dec 21, 1824. John Cook’s parents came to Wabash County IN in 1841. [Helm, 289]

 Henry Walker was identified as a carpenter in Liberty Mills [Helm 285] Henry Walker married a daughter (Oliva) of Michael and Nancy Knoop.  [Helm, 293] Lantz referenced a “Capt Walker from Wabash Town”.

William Burns Marshall, born October 3, 1829, was a younger brother of Dr. Daniel Marshall and an uncle to Thomas Riley Marshall. According to Voter Registers and census data, Marshall spent a lifetime in California’s gold mining district. He died March 19, 1904 of pneumonia at age 74 at the Placer County Hospital, Auburn, California, and was buried in the Old Auburn Cemetery. HL never mentioned Marshall, but frequently mentioned Auburn. Interestingly it was a Marshall (James W.) who discovered shiny gold flecks in a mill race that started all the frenzy in 1848-1849..

 Jacob Tridle (*) was listed as “farmer”, age 36 in the 1850 Census for Clay Township, Kosciusko County. Packerton and Claypool are located in Clay Township. Two Crill families were neighbors to the Tridles. HL (July 8, 1854): Jacob Tridle intends to start for home on fifteenth of this month.

 J. [Jacob] Olinger (*). In the 1850 Census, Jacob Olinger, age 30, was listed as a neighboring farmer to Jacob Tridle.

 Joseph Mower (*). HL (Feb 25, 1854): Joseph Mower is going to start for home in the morning.

 Erastus Bingham (*) in 1842 started a store in Liberty Mills and in 1842 established an “ashery” or potash manufactory. “Both enterprises prospered for a while, but the proprietor finally met with misfortunes, and was compelled to abandon his business.” [Helm, 285] Bingham in 1850 Census was listed as a farmer with real estate valued at $5600. Bingham was enumerated on same census sheet as were Dr. Cyrus V.W. Lent, physician, and John Comstock, age 48.           

 Wesley Bussard (*). Charter member of North Manchester Lodge, No. 264, I.O.O.F. organized in November 20, 1866. First met in Haney building on Main street. In January 1868, the lodge room was removed to the second story of the Heeter building on the north side of Main street.  In 1875 the order added a third story to the brick business house of J.H. Straw on the south side of Main street. [Helm, 281] HL referenced John Bussard (*). Wesley was in North Manchester during a good bit of Henry Lantz’s time in California, apparently running the tavern/hotel at the Lantz House. Billings in Tales of the Old Days (1926) claimed that Wesley Bussard, Henry’s brother-in-law  went to California on two different occasions.

 William Naber (*) came to Wabash County IN in 1844, and purchasing eighty acres on Section 35 of Pleasant Township, lived there seven years. In 1852, he went to California and remained there nineteen months; finally returning to Wabash County. Mr. Naber is a prosperous and successful farmer. [Helm, 463]

 John Grow, of Portland, Oregon, will receive a copy of the Journal, ordered by his brother, of this city. Mr. Grow went to the Pacific coast during the gold mining excitement in 1852 and after spending several years in the mines drifted to the city of Portland where he is now a well known business man. [North Manchester Journal, March 9, 1893, p. 8]

 John Shallenberger came to Manchester in 1837, went to California in 1850, where he spent 2 years in the gold diggings. Shortly after his return he commenced business in Manchester. He was a surveyor and engaged in butchering and selling groceries. “Shallenberger’s corner” (northwest corner of Main and Walnut) was one of the landmarks in Manchester. [The Manchester Republican, February 19, 1874] Shallenberger’s meat market was known for its innovative meat locker or large vault in which the temperature came within eight degrees of freezing and “One can keep meat in it forever.” [The Manchester Republican, June 26, 1873] HL in correspondence (Oct 24, 1852) referenced Aaron Shellenberger (*).

 Isaac Thorn (*) went to California during the gold rush. While he was gone Mrs. Thorn kept a millinery store in her home. She often made the remark during this time that she reared Thomas R. Marshall on her door step, as his mother would put him in his cart outside her door, for her to watch while his mother was busy. [Wabash Plain Dealer, March 7, 1923, obituary of Abi (Cowgill) Thorn] In the 1850 census, Isaac Thorn was listed as living with his mother Nancy W. Thorn; his occupation “Drug & Shoe Store”.

 In 1852 John L. Cowgill (*), leaving his family in North Manchester, went to California and spent eight years in the gold fields of that country. He returned to Wabash County in 1860. [North Manchester Journal, Sept 16, 1909, obituary John L. Cowgill]

 Joe Crill.  The story is told that during the time the Eli Harters lived on a farm just south of State Road 114 on the Laketon Road at the creek, the hired hand, Joe Crill, came in from the field one day and told Harter he was going to California and get enough gold to buy the Harter farm. He did just that and brought back $5,000 in gold and bought the farm. The Eli Harters then moved to the Treaty Creek Mill south of Wabash which they operated and built a substantial brick house. Eli Harter had built the second house [second to Peter Ogan] in Manchester, which stood just west of the town hall. [Don H. Garber, “The Harter Family in Wabash County,” NMHS Newsletter, February 1992]  In 1858 the German Baptist Brethren erected a church two miles west of North Manchester in Pleasant Twp on land donated by Joseph Crill. [Helm, 280]

 William Krisher (*) was born in Pennsylvania September 4, 1831 and came with his parents to Wabash County in 1839. They located at North Manchester when it was a village with only about a half dozen log cabins. Krisher learned the carpenter’s trade when young, and with the exception of fifteen years spent in the gold mines of California, has devoted his life to carpentry. His brother, David (*), was in the Union army during the late war. He was a member of the Forty-sixth Regiment, and served a portion of the time as recruiting officer. David T. Krisher was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and the family are identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church. [Helm, 294]

  James Wilson (*).  Charter member of Masonic Deming Lodge, No. 88, F. & A.M. organized on December 28, 1849. Also member and officer in Hanna Lodge, No. 61, Masonic. [Helm, 229-230, 281] John Comstock and Curtis Pauling also members. In 1850 Census for Chester Township, James Wilson born 1830.

 James Wilson (*) of Wabash. Henry Lantz frequently referred to him as “Splutter Jim”, thereby distinguishing him from the other James Wilson of Chester Township.  Wilson, age 35, was listed as “Constable” in the 1850 census with real estate value of $2135. HL: Our old friend, Splutter Jim, he is here at Gold Hill carrying on butchering and spluttering around as though he was in Wabash Town. [May 22, 1853]
[Editor Note: More research is wanted to document and sort out these two Wilsons.]

 L.J. Groninger (*). Charter member of Masonic Deming Lodge No. 88, F.& A.M., North Manchester. According to the 1850 Census, the L.J. Groninger farm (Real Estate value=$2000)  was next to the Eli Harter farm (Real Estate value=$5000). Leonard Groninger was not enumerated in the 1850 Census for Pleasant Township, while his wife “Winney” and children were listed. This might signify that Groninger had already left for California. Their son Henry L. became a Mason in 1852. Henry Groninger was highlighted in the Wabash County Biographical Memoirs (pp. 412-414) and it was written of him: “…at the present time [1901] he has the distinction of being the oldest Mason in Wabash County; also one of the brightest and best informed in the work of the several degrees which he has taken.”

 Clark Williams “went to California in 1849, returning two years later.” [Wabash Co. Biographical Memoirs, 417] Clark married Eliza Place, daughter of Morris/Maurice Place,a Hicksite Quaker.

 William Stephenson (*) in the 1850 census: Age 22, Lagro.

John Sellers (*) in the 1850 census:Age 30; wife Nancy; Huntington County IN.

Jacob Wintrose (*). A Jacob Wintrode appeared in the 1850 census, Huntington County IN, age 26.

 Moses W. Ross of Wabash fought in the Mexican War of 1846, First Indiana Regiment. In March 1850, four men from Wabash County traveled over land going west to California (Placerville), departing March 26 and reaching California August 18; included Wm. G. Truax, Benjamin Purdy and Moses Ross. [Wabash Co. Biographical Memoirs, 461-463] In 1854 Ross and his brother Levi returned to California via the sea-Nicaraguan route and mined in Nevada County CA and later in Oregon.

 James Davis (*). Listed as merchant in Noble Township, Wabash County, in the 1850 census with real estate valued at $2300.

 Peter Neff b. October 16, 1826; Peter’s parents were Samuel Neff and Elizabeth Strickler. When 21 years of age, Peter joined a company of gold-seekers and went from New York City via the Isthmus of Panama to California. He spent about six years in California, returning to Iowa and eventually Wabash County in 1860. [Wabash County Biographical Memoirs, 520-522] Peter Neff and his younger brother show up on the 1850 census as farming in Clark County, Ohio.

 John Neff b. Feb. 1, 1832. In 1854 John Neff joined the exodus to the California gold fields, 1854-1860. He apparently made considerable money, all in gold. [See Wabash Co. Biographical Memoirs, 680-684].

 Charles P. Jackson (*) of Lagro appears in the 1850 Census as 30 years of age. Under occupation “California” had been entered but then crossed out on the form. Jackson was referenced in the HL Archive. Jackson joined the Lagro Presbyterian Church on February 23, 1849. [Helm, 354]

 Thomas J. Organ (*) of Lagro was mentioned by Lantz as being in California. According to the 1850 Census, Organ was 27 years of age and a merchant with real estate value of $300. Organ belonged to the IOOF Lodge in Lagro. His wife joined the Presbyterian Church in Lagro, May 20, 1849. [Helm, 354, 357]

 Robert English (*) of Lagro was listed in the 1850 census as “Merchant” with $15,000 real estate value. Robert English and his brother Michael had erected the first mill in Wabash county to separate the bran from the flour. The mill was built in the year 1840 and was located about 1.5 miles up the Salamonie River. The customer turned the crank while his grist was being ground. Both John Comstock and Robert English had large warehouses in Lagro. [Helm, 95, 303]

Martin B. Dunbar, oldest brother to Scott Dunbar of North Manchester, left (1850?) from Bangor, Maine with a party of 35 young men bound for the gold fields via ship around Cape Horn, a trip of about six months. Martin Dunbar spent 45 years in the gold fields, eventually settling in the state of Washington.  [North Manchester Journal, September 28, 1893, p. 1]

 Lewis Russell was once a barber in North Manchester who moved to San Diego CA during the 1880s. Around 1890 Russell got caught up in the gold fever excitement when word went out that gold had been found in Lower California.  “Lewis locked up his barber shop and started for the mines but soon discovered that the razor and scissors were more fruitful instruments in securing gold than the pick and shovel.” [North Manchester Journal, November 2, 1893, p. 1]

 Joseph Mathews, Frazier Hunt’s uncle, in 1851 at the age of seventeen had left his home in New Hampshire for the gold fields of California. He remained there four years, but had to return when a mine caved in on him and injured his right leg. With four thousand dollars in gold in his money belt, Mathews made his way back across the Isthmus. He eventually moved to Illinois to Arkansas to Missouri, and upon acquiring land from the Comstocks, came to North Manchester (1890s). [“Frazier Hunt Remembers-Part I,” NMHS Newsletter, February 2011]

 J. J. Tomlinson was the surveyor hired by Peter Ogan in 1836 to survey the town of Manchester. During the 1860s Tomlinson joined a wagon train and left Iowa for Yellowstone Territory, Montana, and the gold fields. Tomlinson’s 1864 diary was reprinted in Journeys to the Land of Gold, Vol. 1, ed. Susan Badger Doyle.

 One letter in the Lantz collection referenced “a good many that started to California this week from Germantown [Montgomery Co., OH].” This letter was dated April 1, 1852; in other words, just a few weeks after Henry Lantz had traveled through Ohio on his way to New York City.

 Dr. Bunker in Sense of Place: Reflections on the Life and Times of North Manchester wrote that a member of the Metzger family went to California with Henry Lantz in 1849. As documented above, Henry left for the gold fields in 1852, not 1849, and Henry Lantz never spoke of any Metzger in his diary and letters. 

If anyone has supplemental or additional family information on the California Gold Rush days with a link to our community, please contact our Center for History to share your information, relic or artifact.