When John App (read his blog story here) arrived in Tuolumne County, California in the autumn of 1852, his goal was to find a rich gold-bearing quartz mine. It did not take long for him to find a promising vein on the southern end of what is known today as the California Mother Lode. Here is a photograph of the exact spot near Jamestown, California that family tradition says he made his discovery.
John quickly assembled all of the necessary paperwork and laid out the plans for the mine. In late September he travelled to Sutter’s Fort, now Sacramento, to take Leanna Charity Donner as his bride. They were married on September 26, 1852 by Reverend O. C. Wheeler, and had waited for this day for a few months since John wanted to be sure that everything was organized for their new home. However, Leanna did not come to Tuolumne County with John immediately after the marriage since he first wanted to build a house for them. She came about a month later to a new home that was completed enough for their satisfaction. He was 31 years of age and she was 17. In those days a large age disparity was not uncommon.
Much more detailed information about the App Mine, one of the most productive of the southern mines, will be made available later. In 2014, Frank Gurney (of Jamestown), husband of John and Leanna App’s great granddaughter, Evelyn, spoke about his recollection of the App Mine and the surrounding area. Frank was 91 years of age at the time of his interview and had very clear memories to leave with us. He passed away only a few months later. We can be enormously grateful for people like Frank Gurney who share the stories of who we are and that would otherwise be forgotten.
Here is Frank’s story of the App Quartz Mine from August 19, 2014.