Free Online Genealogy and Family History
The CAGenWeb Project sincerely thanks
Lewis M. Ruddick, County Coordinator 1996-2017, for devoting time and effort over a period of more than 20 years toward making this site a successful one.
State Coordinator: Elizabeth E. Bullard
Assistant State Coordinator: Marc Irish
Assistant State Coordinator: Bob Jenkins
Calaveras County was one of the original counties of the state of California, created in 1850 at the time of admission to the Union. Parts of the county's territory were reassigned to Amador County in 1854 and to Alpine County in 1864.
The county's geography includes beautiful landmarks, rolling hills, and giant valleys. It has numerous caverns, such as Mercer Caverns, California Cavern, and Moaning Cavern, that are national destinations for tourists. Other attractions include a thriving wine making industry, including the largest of the Calaveras wineries, Ironstone Vineyards.
Gold prospecting in Calaveras County began in late 1848 with a camp founded by Henry and George Angel. The brothers first arrived in California as soldiers, serving under Colonel Frémont during the Mexican War. After the war's end, the brothers found themselves in Monterey, where they heard of the fabulous finds in the gold fields. They joined the Carson-Robinson party of prospectors and set out for the mines. The company parted ways upon reaching what later became known as Angels Creek. The brothers tried placer mining but soon opened a trading post. By the end of the year, over one hundred tents were scattered about the creek and the settlement was referred to as Angels Trading Post, later shortened to Angels Camp.
Placer mining soon gave out around the camp, but an extensive gold-bearing quartz vein of the area's Mother Lode was located by the Winter brothers during the mid-1850s and this brought in the foundations of a permanent town. This vein followed Main Street from Angels Creek up to the southern edge of Altaville. Five major mines worked the rich vein: the Stickle, the Utica, the Lightner, the Angels, and the Sultana. These mines reached their peaks during the 1880s and 1890s, when over 200 stamp mills crushed quartz ore brought in by hand cars on track from the mines. By the time hard rock mining was done, the five mines had producing a total of over $20 million in gold.
The telluride mineral "calaverite" was first recognized and obtained in 1861 from the Stanislaus Mine at Carson Hill in Angels Camp. It was named for the county of origin by chemist and mineralogist Frederick Augustus Genth, who differentiated it from the known gold telluride mineral "sylvanite" and formally reported it as a new gold mineral in 1868.
Tuolumne (east and south)
San Joaquin (west)