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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

I Was An Historical Detective in Fairyland

Last month, DW, DMIL and I went out to Nevada County to do some on sight genealogical research about their gold-digging ancestors. While the ladies dug into the records, I took a walk around town. Downtown Nevada City still has a gold rush boom town look to it. Unfortunately, it also has authentic smells. The city is brimming with restaurants, ye olde this-and-that shoppes and hippy new age crystal and faerie gear emporia. The owner of one of the faerie shoppes allowed me to take a few photos.I have never seen anything like this before.

As you can see in this close up, the indoor trees were filled with faeries.

It was truly weird experience, and I didn't even get a chahkra-charge from the obvious beauty and good intentions of the magical creatures. Dang!

Well I made my way back up to the old library,which has now become a local historical resource. The historical library building is way cool.

I spotted one of the suspect ancestors (The Elusive Mr. Duffy) in a hand typed listing some insanely anal-retentive person assembled in the early 1990s. The listing was taken from the county's 1867 property tax assessment rolls. I showed this find to the librarian (I was bragging since everyone else was spending hours looking through records, and I found this in a few minutes). The librarian took me back into some old stacks, and she gave me the original county property tax ledger. This was so cool-looking. I felt like Uriah Heep or Bob Cratchett, squinting over the ledger open on a heavily varnished molasses-colored 19th century library table.

I found Duffy here, in the listing for some boom town that doesn't exist today:

Duffy didn't appear as a property owner, however the left hand column of the ledger listed men registered for the California Militia. Here is Himself.

Now we know where Duffy was in 1866.

We followed another trail of evidence to Washington, CA an out of the way town which is now a campground that looked pretty residential, and one street of buildings that were doing their best not to collapse. We found nothing useful in the old graveyard, however a few weeks later I read about Washington, CA in Harper's Magazine, and found out the place is a haven for small-time marijuana growers, people who grow under 50 plants per year to supply the legal medical marijuana dispensaries. It seemed like a good location. The town is surrounded by federal land lying in a canyon with only one road into and out of the valley. The road descends from Highway 20, and ends at town.

I stopped in the the town store to ask for directions, and everyone was nice, although no one offered me any marijuana. Dang. In the tradition of DW's ancestors, I didn't find any gold, again. Double Dawg Dang.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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