Rough and Ready, California




In 1849, Captain Townsend’s Rough & Ready Company crossed the mountains by
way of the Truckee Route.  They arrived at Deer Creek sometime in September.  Here
they mined in the creek bed for gold.  This was done for several weeks
with very profitable results.



While out hunting for meat, one of the company came across a ravine.  While taking
a drink in a clean, clear creek, he saw a piece of gold exposed in the bedrock.  The
Rough & Ready Company immediately moved here, found lots more gold, and set
up their camp there.



Captain Townsend, seizing upon the golden opportunity, made his way back
East, to hire more workers to return with him to mine the gold.  But when he
got back, the encampment had grown huge, as word had leaked out about
the gold, and all  manner of fortune hunters had converged upon the
encampment.  There was over 500 people in the makeshift town that was
made up of tents and shanties.  Just a few months before there
had stood but a few cabins.


Tents were pitched on the flat and along the ravines everywhere.  Government
became needed to control the rapidly rising population.  It was during this
uncertainty of 1850 that E. F. Brundage came up with the concept of a
separate republic.  He issued a high-sounding manifesto, and called a huge
meeting to organize the State of Rough & Ready.  About 100 men became
very devoted to him and excitedly began working to build
their new country.

Unfortunately for the new country, the 4th of July Holiday was soon to happen.
They quickly all decided that a huge party was in order, but there was the problem
of their not being a part of the United States.  This placed a hamper on
the upcoming celebration.

How would they be able to observe Independence Day and have a  great party?  A vote
was taken, and an overwhelming majority decided to abolish the new Republic of Rough &
Ready and rejoin the United States.  They had a their huge party and celebrated their
rejoining of the Union in great style.

The town prospered and grew.  But fate was not kind.  It was on a Tuesday night,
June 28th, 1953 that a massive fire swept through the town.  The fire was started by a
candle that was too accidentally left to close to a canvas partition by a
drunken towns person.

 Within minutes the whole business section of the town burned completely to
the ground, including 40 hotels, stores and houses.  It had been almost
totally destroyed.

The townspeople sprang to action showing the rugged character of the day.  The town
was quickly rebuilt, and it was built better and stronger.  Sadly, there was no
fire department built, and fate was unkind again on July 8, 1859.  Again, yet
another fire completely destroyed the main part of town.

From this second fire, the town never did recover.  The few who had paying
claims remained, and there was enough remaining population to maintain a store,
saloon, post office, and express office.

The town of Rough and Ready is similar in size today.  They have a Fire Station,
Post Office, Store, and various other buildings.  Each year during the month of
June, the downtown area is the location for the Rough % Ready Secession
Days Celebration.  There is a pancake breakfast, cake walk, Clog Dancers, and a
play about the Secession of Rough and Ready from the Union.  Lots of great
food and drink abound, and all have good times with the wonderful folks that
make Rough & Ready their home today.