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Mariposa Democrat. [volume] : (Mariposa, Calif.) 1856-1???
Place of publication:
Mariposa, Calif.
Geographic coverage:
  • Hornitos, Mariposa, California  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Mariposa, Mariposa, California  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
D.B. Milne and W. Baer
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1856.
  • English
  • California--Mariposa County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215706
  • California--Mariposa.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01267944
  • Mariposa (Calif.)--Newspapers.
  • Mariposa County (Calif.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 5 (Aug. 5, 1856).
  • Publication moved to Hornitos, Calif., June 11, 1857.
  • Publishers: D.B. Milne and W. Baer, <August 5, 1856>; Warren Baer, <April 1, 1857>; Wm. Godfrey, <April 1, 1858>.
  • Suspended in 1856 or 1857; resumed with vol. 1, no. 1 (Apr. 1, 1857).
sn 84026978
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Mariposa Democrat

The California Gold Rush was short lived, but its impact was profound and enduring. Between 1848 and the mid-1850s hundreds of thousands of people moved into the state in search of easily accessible gold deposits. Most of these "49ers" initially settled in the Sierra Nevada region of California, from Butte County in the north to Mariposa County in the south, establishing both mining camps and new towns in the area. Within a decade the majority of workable gold deposits were emptied and prospectors were replaced by mechanization and capital. Most of the "Argonauts" moved either out of the region or into nearby growing towns and cities.

California "mining newspapers," as they were called by one of their first chroniclers, Helen Giffen, sprang up in these newly settled towns as the initial Gold Rush waned. Not only were they some of the earliest papers printed in the state, collectively they chronicled a region as it transitioned from often lawless and violent mining camps to permanent settlements with organized governments and law enforcement. They also recorded the changing nature of mining and, as Giffen notes, "advocated mining and land reforms that were later written into California law."

Mariposa County was at the southernmost end of the Sierra Nevada Gold Rush. The first "49ers" to arrive in the region had set up camp along the Mariposa Creek, but in 1850 most moved to higher ground a short distance away. Within a year the town of Mariposa had thousands of residents and in November of 1851 became the county seat. Mining gold remained a central part of the town's economy throughout the 19th century, even as other activities like quartz mining, ranching, farming, and logging grew in importance.

The first newspaper published in the county seat was the Mariposa Chronicle, though it was in circulation only from January of 1854 to March of 1855. The next paper to appear in the city was also the longest lived. The Mariposa Gazette began publication in July of 1855 and would continue on under various titles well into the 20th century. Today it is generally considered to be one of the most important mining newspapers and is freely available at  The Mariposa Democrat got its start in July of 1856 under the proprietorship of David D. Milne and Warren Baer. For reasons that are not clear, in June of 1857 the new editor William Godfrey moved the paper to Hornitas, a boom-and-bust Gold Rush town about 30 miles from Mariposa that slowly declined into the 20th century and was finally disincorporated in 1973. The Mariposa Democrat ceased publication in April of 1858 and was the first and only newspaper published in Hornitas.

Provided by: University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA