We’re approaching mid-January, the time of year when the Following Deer Creek (FDC) Project first came into being (2017). Like the Earth circling around the Sun and the planetary water cycle, we’ve completed a journey.
I set out to tell the story of the Deer Creek watershed from its tectonic and cultural origins to the people and animals who live in it today. Working backward, I posted blog articles as I researched in preparation to compile the film.
In early January of 2021, the film was complete. Like the FDC blog posts, it’s a birds-eye view of the watershed that hints at depths.
I smile when I think back to the initial idea seed. Of course, there is no one story, there are more than can ever be told.
FDC and the Aerial Views film is a decent outline, but it also illustrates how much more remains for investigation and study.
“NEVADA CITY, CAL – Cotton Bros. & Co, Oakland, CAL were awarded a contract April 14 by the county supervisors for constructing the following bridges; steel bridge over Deer Creek, $2,248.” – Engineering News and American Railway Journal, Volume 39, April 28, 1898, pg. 145
“The Cotton Brothers and Company was an important California based bridge builder of metal truss bridges in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. They built several bridges in Nevada County during the 1890’s, including the Purdon Bridge.” – Historic American Building Survey, National Park Service – Wolf Creek Bridge PDF
A.A. Sargent promoted his law practice and was involved with running for office.
Frequent articles complained about the Chinese, Indian, and Negro.
Childhood deaths were frequently published in death notices.
The Many Names of Jennie Carter
A challenge of piecing together details from Jennie’s life is the various names she went by through two marriages and the variety of pen names she used as a writer.
Possible given name
Mary Jane (no known maiden name)
Mary Jane Correll | Mrs. Correll
Jennie Carter | Mrs. D.D. Carter
Ann J. Trask
Below are samples of newspaper articles that Jennie may have read while she was living in Grass Valley and Nevada City.
The Nevada Democrat
Saturday, October 19, 1861
Grass Valley Daily Union
In the aftermath of the Civil War, much political and public churn was happening.
At one point in Nevada County, it was decided that southern supporters would not be allowed to vote in upcoming elections.
“Elder L. J. Correll” (Jennie’s first husband) is listed in regular advertisements in the Grass Valley Daily Union
The Christian Church the Corrells belonged to was built on “the east side of Church Street,
between Neal and Walsh Streets in 1859 (for $3,000). It was destroyed by fire in 1869.” – History of Nevada County 1880
March 14th, 1865 – Mrs. Correll (Jennie) is elected Vice President to the Grass Valley Christian Commission.
According to Byrne’s Directory of Grass Valley Township, the Corrells lived on School Street.
Also in the March 14th, 1865 Grass Valley Daily Union issue:
What is To Be Done With The Negro?
Our enemies say it will be a woful day for the negros when emancipation is “forced upon them.” Why is it not for the Indians, also? Can we not as safely and judiciously establish Negro Agencies as we can Indian Agencies? Yes, and with vastly more benefit to all concerned, because of the negro’s docility.
Is not the negro as justly entitled to his liberty as the Indian? And are they not as much entitled to our protection as the Indians? Why, then, become alarmed about the fate of the negro? What is the cause of this morbid sympathy? Simply this: to invent some pretext to prey upon the minds of the ignorant and credulous, and prejudice them against the progressive steps taken by our Government to eradicate this war, and secure a more perfect establishment of equal rights to the people who constitute the Government.
What shall be done for the free negroes? We answer let them work and maintain themselves, let them cultivate the rice fields, after the manner prescribed already by Gen. Sherman, and, if necessary, let agencies be established for giving proper direction to their labors.
A newspaper archive search (1965) motivated by a desire to find the cause of death of Jennie’s first husband did not yield definitive results. However; the following article was published on August 16th, the day before his last appearance in the paper. It may never be known if the two are related.
August 16, 1865
August 17th, 1865 is the final newspaper advertisement showing Elder Correll officiating.
Jennie Carter Poem published in The Elevator (1867)
The Lonely Grave
Why did they lay him to rest
Where human feet seldom tread?
Wild flowers bloom over his breast,
Too gaudy, alas, for the dead.
Tall pines sighing over the dust
Of one once loved and caressed.
The wild beasts are treading above
The heart a mother has pressed.
Birds singing and flying around
With notes all attuned for joy.
Little they heed him sleeping here,
Some mother’s own darling boy.
Oh! ’tis a weird lonely spot,
Away from all human strife;
The sleeper he heedeth not,
Nor careth for things of life.
August 29, 1866
Jennie’s marriage to Dennis Drummond Carter
Eric Gardner, editor of the Jennie Carter book, believes the connection between Jennie and The Elevator (San Francisco) came about through a relationship between Dennis and Phillip Bell, its publisher.
Click here to view Jennie’s work published in The Elevator 1867-1874.
The Daily Transcript (Nevada City)
Friday, August 12, 1881
“When I die, I hope no one will eulogize me, but simply say Mrs. Trask has gone to sleep. That will be the truth.”
– Jennie Carter writing under the pen name Ann J. Trask, December 1867
“A good laugh is better than drugs from apothecaries.” – Jennie Carter, 1867
While reading Eric Gardner’s book—Jennie Carter: A Black Journalist of the Early West—in the spring of 2019, Deer Creek Project Coordinator, Lisa Redfern day-dreamed about highlighting Jennie Carter in a historical video. Upon reaching Carter’s temperance segment (page 25, 1868) describing drinking water out of Deer Creek, Redfern found the connection she needed to go-for-it.
Video production took the entire summer to execute;
pieces of Carter’s writing were selected
Katrina Thompson was asked to portray and voice act for Jennie Carter’s part
filming location permission, costumes, and props were secured
scene planning was mapped and detailed
a delightful evening was spent at Randco Studios recording Jennie’s writing
filming took place on one long day (July 5th) starting early in Colfax and following the light to the Pine Grove Cemetery in Nevada City