Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My great-grandfather

From: "Chris Gallant"

... I have French ancestry that emigrated from Ohio to Nebraska in 1867. My great-grandfather died in a wagon accident in 1870 (or went West with the RR). I believe since he was French and poor, his day laborer job was possibly with the RR. I am looking for any lead on a Jacque (Jacob) Mignery, in the Brock, Nebraska area 1867-1870. I also believe his in-laws, Peter, Pierre, Charles Bretty (Burty, Bretey) also worked for the Railroads. ...

—Christine Gallant, M.A.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Jean Creswick"
Subject: The Governor: The Life and Legacy of Leland Stanford

In all of your research, did you ever find the story of how my great-great grandma sewed up Leland Stanford’s pants in the Yankee Jim’s mining camp? I don’t know how old Janet (pronounced Jeannette) Cowan Borland was when she did this, because she was a young girl when her family came to California.

Leland’s wife visited her when they were old women and the family remembered them giggling over the incident. That was when Leland was batching it and running the little store that slid down the hill. (I’ve been there.)

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since the records of our family appear to be too old for Lovelock, NV where the museum was shocked to find it was located on our family’s original homestead. A map in the city council room cannot be taken from the wall because it is so old, but it shows that about every lot in town was owned by some family member at one time and that was AFTER they left California! We WERE allowed to take photos.

But even though they were friends for years, Janet’s large extended family never became rich or famous and nobody seems to remember that they were Leland’s friends.

Janet’s husband, her Borland and Howat uncles and Craig brothers-in-law all lost about everything when their placer mines flooded. The Borlands and Howats came from the Glasgow, Scotland area to mine in Pennsylvania. After gold was discovered in California, they came West.

William Porter Anderson Craig was a Scotch-Irish farmer from McClean Co., IL who was told he was dying of consumption when he decided to make a last trip – around the Horn to California – where he recovered. He met Janet and her family at the Yankee Jim’s mining camp. She married him at a very young age in 1857 and he sent her to Sacramento to the girl’s seminary there to finish her schooling, supposedly at the instigation of Leland Stanford. I have their marriage certificate where one of the professors performed the ceremony in a hotel.

Their main mine was the Alabama mine (UNDERNEATH the cemetery in ForestHill) which later made millions for new miners. I have the original account/medicine book that Dr. William Porter Anderson Craig used to keep track of patients and expenses at the “Allabama” mine. Another Craig lived in the area and he married into this family.. a few of both families are buried above in the cemetery.

The families all began boarding miners to put bread on the table and this grew into actual hotels such as the Forest House Hotel in Foresthill. There are no photos of the hotel at that time, but there are records showing their ownership.

My sister, Judy Driscoll, and I are genealogists who have spent quite a bit of time on the Gold Rush Trail from the gold mines of the Borland, Howat and Craig brothers in Foresthill to the Forest House Hotel they took turns owning and managing to the Borland Hotel in Auburn, located near Borland Avenue and owned by Janet’s uncle James Borland (also owned the Arlington in Auburn and the still existing hotel in Placerville).

Our cousin – also a Janet Borland – is descended from James and was born in Coloma. She now lives near us in Vancouver, WA.

We are only interested in finding the truth to our history.

We have many many documents relating to mining activity and hotel ownership, but nothing that connects to Leland.

[continued below]

5/18/2014 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One family story which we DO NOT believe (having again found no proof) was that William was connected to the Leland Brothers’ trucking line.

We DO know that the Grizzly banner in the museum in Foresthill came from the gentleman’s hunting club run by William Craig on the outskirts of town – now only a field.

We followed the family during the Civil War when Janet and her husband William Porter Anderson Craig moved back to Illinois where he was Justice of the Peace in Rutledge Twp. They returned to the West and homesteaded at Big Meadows – later Lovelock, NV.

They raised 5 daughters and lost one infant son before moving to Sprague, WA.

Family tradition was that after Leland’s son died, he told them he had created a scholarship that would allow the girls and their children to attend Stanford University forever without tuition. Believe me, many of us have checked into that and it does not exist.

Family tradition also stated that John Borland and possibly William Craig attended the Golden Spike Ceremony. I don’t see them in the photo, but you’d never recognize anybody in that photo.

After the War, Janet’s father John Borland and wife Jean ran a hotel/post office and general store with the depot in a railroad spur at Rye Patch, NV on what was Leland’s railroad. We suspect he encouraged John to do this after the family lost their placer mines due to flooding.

I spent one morning in the hot sun with my sister as we dangled our legs over the hole that was all that was left after several fires (documented in Winnemucca in the newspaper files along with many, many other records on our family). We waved at the trains as the startled trainmen wondered what the two little old ladies were doing out in that hot sun with the rattlesnakes!

There’s a large truck stop way across the highway, but nobody ventures out on the little railroad spur. Nobody there knows most of the land and many mines around them belonged to the Borlands and their kin.

John was quite active in politics in Sacramento and the local newspapers tell of the many events held at their hotel in Rye Patch. He and William were both Masons in Winnemucca, travelling back and forth by train.

My William Craig stopped mining and became interested in irrigation of the river running through Lovelock. He went bankrupt after his dream of one of the early irrigation projects in Lovelock failed due to a Hundred Years’ Flood. The local newspapers tell how his horses came from the best bloodlines, but they were not enough to keep him and Janet from having to sell and move to the Oregon Territory.

William and his daughter Katherine Craig were friendly with the Indians and would work as interpreters with government officials. Katy later moved to Reno, Nevada and married Gabriel Hoskins, the high school band teacher/carpenter who helped build the college. The location of her former home is now the local hospital! I have a copy of a newspaper interview with her when she was quite old.

Bertha Raffetto who wrote the Nevada State song, also wrote a poem (in a 1940’s type booklet) about Katy’s life. It is called The Ballad of Katie Hoskins and I have a copy. They knew each other through joint visits to the Placerville hotel Katie’s uncle once owned. Bertha’s family were previous owners, also. Katy was my great-great-great aunt – the only one who did NOT move to Washington.

I have attached a page from my sister’s scrapbook on the Borlands. It shows her and me and two other descendants of Borland Hotel owners from Auburn.

5/18/2014 11:54 AM  

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