Town History - Gold Discovery, Early Citizenry, Legends

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Town History

      After splitting off from the Carson party at Angels Creek, John and Daniel Murphy headed east looking for likely prospects. The brothers reached Coyote Creek in October of 1848, and after a few pans showing good color, they set up camp and christened the site Murphys Diggings. The boys worked the stream for a few months and then decided to move on and search for better diggings. They eventually settled down about six miles away, where the y founded the camp now known as Murphys, afterwhich their original camp was referred to as Murphys Old Diggings.
      Mexican miners began to drift into the abandoned camp, which they re-named Vallecito, meaning "small valley" in Spanish. They built their camp in the typical fashion of their homeland, starting with a central plaza around which they put up their first buildings, brush ramadas and canvas tents. More substantial adobes and stone buildings soon followed as the town began to grow.
      The quiet, sleepy camp was abruptly shaken in 1852, when extremely rich deposits of gold were discovered running practically through the center of town. The camp boomed and changed so drastically, that within a year it hardly resembled its former self. Several saloons and fandangos were among the first new enterprises to appear, closely followed by provision stores, boarding houses, blacksmiths, livery stables, a dry goods store, a school, a church, and several fraternal organizations which included the Sons of Temperance, the Masons, and the Odd Fellows. Due in part to the large number of miners in the area, a post office was established on August 17 of 1854, which is still in service today.

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