Schaumann, Merri Lou

Col. Simon S. Alter: California Gold Rush ‘49er

Image of Main Street, Placerville, El Dorado County from the Library of Congress

“Ho! For California” headlined an item in the March 21, 1849 issue of the Carlisle Herald. “A party of enterprising adventurers, from Carlisle, consisting of Messrs. Geo. Fleming, Esq., Col. Simon Alter, Samuel F. Gaenslen, Geo. Keller, Wm. Keller, John C. Williams, and William Humer, left this place on Monday morning last for California. The party proceeds via Pittsburgh to the rendezvous at Independence, Missouri, where they will probably join one of the large expeditions on the overland route to California.”

Churchtown Perspectives, 1875

When John Bratton, editor of the American Volunteer newspaper, paid a visit to the village of Churchtown in April 1875, and then wrote about it in his newspaper, little did he know he would rile up the editor of a competing newspaper and send him off on his own trip to Churchtown.

Why was Oliver Haddock, the editor of the Carlisle Herald, so annoyed by several remarks in the American Volunteer article? Newspapers have always had a political affiliation. The Carlisle Herald was decidedly Republican while the American Volunteer was Democratic. The editor of the Herald claimed that the Volunteer's story was "grossly exaggerated" in two instances, but it was the conversation that the editor of the Volunteer had with Mr. Devinney, the post master of Churchtown, that angered the editor of the Herald the most. Mr. Devinney, the article in the Volunteer claimed, said that "the Volunteer had more subscribers at the Allen post office [Churchtown] than any other paper in the county. Mr. D., the article said, "is a Republican in politics, but thinks it would not be doing the "square thing" to give Ulysess a third term."