John App – After the Gold Rush Diary, Part 4 of 4 (and final post)

John had a successful marriage and career in the Jamestown area. He and Leanna settled near Jamestown, where he built a ten-room ranch house out of native sugar pine from the Algerine mill. The couple had four children. In John’s 1870 journal he writes that “the App Mine was located by John App, R.A. Jones, H. Roberts, H. Wright, B.W. Wilder [husband of one of the other Donner daughters], and J.D. Brown on August 13, 1856 and his interest was sold on April 1st, 1869 for the sum of forty thousand dollars.” Within a decade the main shaft reached a depth of 130 feet. It eventually extended to 1,340 feet below the surface. Two five horsepower engines were placed inside a chamber hewn from solid rock within a 450 foot tunnel and were used to hoist ore from the main shaft. In later years John ran the accompanying mill, while Asa K. Darrow operated the mine. The App Mine proved to be one of the most productive gold mines in Tuolumne County, operating continuously from 1856-1920. During its first ten years it produced $1,000,000 in gold. John also was the owner and superintendent of the Heslep Mine. The family ranch is situated about one mile from Jamestown, and John and Leanna are buried in a cemetery just a short distance from it.

Descending the App Mine

Descending the App Mine

Miner in App Mine

Miner in App Mine


Ranch with John & Leanna

Ranch with John & Leanna


Leanna Donner App

Leanna Donner App


About storiesretoldblogger

I am an Elkhart, Indiana native and became interested in applying video to history when consumer video cameras were first introduced on the market in the late 1970’s. My production company, Stories Retold, specializes in preserving oral history, traditions, and values with video. Primarily interviewing individuals, I sometimes document families, and on occasion document an entire community. My niche is developing a personal relationship with clients which helps me to tell their story just the way they would like to have it told. Everyone has a story worth preserving, and I enjoy discovering interesting stories from people with whom I come into contact on a daily basis. In years to come, these videos will be priceless as they portray original stories complete with visual images and actual voices filled with all the primary material and emotion that was intended to be. I gain a strong sense of personal satisfaction with each completed project whether it involves an individual or an entire community.
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2 Responses to John App – After the Gold Rush Diary, Part 4 of 4 (and final post)

  1. Pat Hillman says:

    Great story, Larry. Don’t know where you found this information, but I learned things i never knew.

    Thank you!



  2. Katrina Scheetz says:

    Wow over ten years John was able to get $1,000,000 worth of gold! I can only imagine how much money that was back in the 1860’s, that would probably would of been like a trillion dollars to us now-a-days.

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