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    Description

    [California Gold Mining] Randsburg Town Constable (Saloon Owner) Mining 1897. 4.5" x 7". C. W. Tucker, Randsburg, Cal. studio stamp on the verso. When this photo is enlarged the badge says "Deputy Constable". John M. Crawford, who owned the St. Elmo Saloon, was a Kern County Deputy Sheriff, and Claude Bohannon, who owned the Capital Saloon, was appointed the town constable in October of 1896 at the same time E. B. McGinnis was appointed the Justice of the Peace. The town's people however felt that they needed some help so they formed what is commonly called a Vigilante Committee, but they termed it a "Committee of Arbitration". It is not known with certainty who was on this original committee, that was formed in late December or early November of 1896. However, The Mining and Electric Journal in early 1897 reported in an article discussing this committee that "There are in every new section a few individuals whose magnetic influence sways the crowd. In Randsburg is J. P. Carroll, genial honest, but determined in what he considers just; P. J. Hartt, the affable manager of the Kramer Stage Co., T. Weisendanger, D. C. Kuffel, Jolly Col. Hafford and a few others who are ready at all times to welcome strangers or suppress crime. It is the presence of men of such sterling qualities that has made Randsburg a law abiding camp." In 1897 when the original committee was established they posted a notice, which read "The Citizens of Randsburg have organized to enforce the Laws. Ten Deputy Constables have been appointed and any riotous and threatening conduct will be suppressed and punished. By Order of the Citizens Committee." This is an exceptional image with some wear at the upper and lower left corners and an irregularly trimmed right edge; else it is in fine condition.

    More Information:

    Clarence W. Tucker Photograph Collection

    Randsburg, California - Mojave Desert, Circa 1896 - 1898

     

    Simply spectacular! This collection consists of twenty-seven studio-mounted photographs and ten glass plate negatives taken by pioneer California photographer Clarence W. Tucker (1874-1964). The archive represents the most important and rare grouping of mining camp images to come to market in many years. The photos were found at the bottom of a mine in the Mojave Desert in the 1950s by amateur prospector William Young as documented by a series of articles in Westways Magazine in 1971 and 1972. Not a great deal is known about C. W. Tucker's early days in photography. He was born in Indiana on September 22, 1874 and in 1893 he became a photographer's apprentice in Warsaw, Indiana. In 1895 he came to San Jose, California to visit a cousin and ended up staying in California and working as a photographer until his death in 1964. Tucker settled in the rough mining camp of Randsburg around 1896 and remained there until about 1898. During that time he met and married Grace Doughty and she worked as his assistant from thereafter. In the early 1900s the Tuckers moved to Covina, California where they ran a photography studio until 1950. Tucker could not have avoided being affected by the raw energy of the mining camp at Randsburg and his keen photographer's eye fortunately chronicled its rise from a tent city to a small but booming mining town. His images are possibly the only photographic record extant of Randsburg's glory days as an Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) search shows no images by Tucker taken during his time in Randsburg in institutional holdings.

     

    Randsburg's decade-long boom began in 1895 with the discovery of rich gold and mineral deposits in the El Paso mountains in the northwestern Mojave Desert. John Singleton, a hard-rock miner, in a last attempt at striking it rich, got lucky with the discovery of rich gold deposits which would become the famous Yellow Aster mine. The claim was named the "Rand" giving a nod to the rich mines of South Africa and the early mining camp was called "Rand Camp". The discovery touched off the inevitable flood of prospectors and a crude tent camp was hastily established. By the end of 1895 there were thirteen buildings, most of them canvas but by the next year the population had swollen to 1,500 and more permanent wooden structures began to appear. The town suffered a series of devastating fires and as mining played out in the area, the town effectively reverted to ghost town status.


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    30th-1st Wednesday-Thursday
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