Sunday, September 25, 2011

About the Book

The purpose of this blog is to provide additional information to the book (60+ pages),  A Columbia Diary, 1853-1858 by Clementine Brainard.   This book, compiled by me, contains the words of Clementine’s diary plus footnotes, family history, and other notations to aid in the full appreciation of what one certain woman faced in the gold fields of California.

In 2000, in the early days of my proprietorship in Columbia State Historic Park, I discovered a condensed version of this diary in an old issue of Tuolumne County’s Chispa Magazine.  I later found a complete (but I suspect poorly transcribed) version in the Columbia SHP Archives.  During the past ten years, several attempts to locate the actual hand written diary have proven futile.  The original diary was said to have been given to a historian for the Presbyterian Church in Columbia.  The church, founded in 1854, suffered a devastating fire in 1950.  If the diary ever really belonged to the church, there is no evidence of such left.  I can only hope that the original diary still exists somewhere.  I hope it will eventually surface so it can be compared to the archived transcriptions.

The diary is informative as to Clementine’s personal view of Columbia’s earliest days and her comments about the church leaders and views on community happenings but also not without its amusements.

The second Brainard house (the first one destroyed in one of Columbia’s fires) was located just across the street from the North Methodist Church.   This house still stands.

Clementine’s first husband, Benjamin Marcellus Brainard, as well as two other Brainard family members are buried in the Columbia Cemetery.

The book is available for purchase in the store for $4.99 and can be ordered and shipped in the United States for $8.00 per copy to cover Shipping & Handling.

I wish to thank the CSHP, Brancroft Library, and numerous other research sources as noted in the text of tidbits I found in old reference materials and the internet.

I greatly appreciate my wife’s patience, encouragement, and scholarly assistance with this project.  

Floyd D.P. Øydegaard