The Mountain Messenger

Early Annals of Downieville and Vicinity — Part 6


Reprinted with permission by the Sierra County Historical Society from The Sierran of April 1971, Vol 3., No.1

This week we bring you more about the history of the Kanaka Creek diggings as found in Wm. Pickiepoche’s transcription of reminiscences from a gold rush miner, first published in the Tuolumne Curier in 1860.

Uncredited artwork closing this article in The Sierran of April 1971

Whilst Cunningham was on the [Kanaka] Creek, he had a single-handed fight with a grizzly bear; coming off the victor, after a hard fight, and having completely used a Mississippi yager [Does anyone have an idea for what weapon Cunningham used?] on this ursine majesty’s cranium. Cunningham was completely stripped of his clothing, and so far exhausted that he lid down to die on the side-hill, but was happily rescued by some miners who had been attracted that way by rapid shots he had fired. They carefully packed him into camp, together with the bear, where great rejoicings were made for the victor. Cunningham ...