Carleton Watkins                                Daguerreian in the Mother Lode


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who get about the same prices that you do in Boston. I get for mine just double what I did in Boston."[10]

At the same time, Carleton's priority, after his year-long residence in Valparaíso, was to connect with Huntington and the contingent from Otsego County who were now set up for business in Sacramento.   Huntington's ambition, partly financed by his brother, Solon,[11] was to establish a profitable trading enterprise dedicated to providing supplies to the mining camps located in the Sierra Nevada foothills north and east of Sacramento.  Huntington's plan for the first half of 1850 was to operate out of trading posts housed in tents [Fig. 1] located in the mining camps of Weaverville and Mormon Island [Fig. 2].[12] It appears that for the first few months the method was for Daniel Hammond and George Murray to staff the satellite tent-stores, while Huntington ferried the goods to supply the tent-stores from Sacramento.

However, the disastrous winter of 1849-1850 brought an end to that idea. In January and February of 1850 heavy rains halted placer mining operations thus extinguishing demand for supplies. By the spring of 1850 Huntington entered into a formal partnership agreement with Hammond to operate a store in Sacramento under the name "Huntington & Hammond."  They built a structure on a rented lot at number 34 K Street, Sacramento [Fig. 3].[13]  J Street was the main commercial artery, while K Street was one block south.  Number 34 K Street was located on the south side between 2nd and 3rd streets.  

The most important change for the Huntington & Hammond partnership was to invert the business plan from one of selling goods to miners out of tents located near their diggings to one based on stockpiling inventory in Sacramento and delivering the goods directly to the customers.  This procedure required taking orders in the field, returning to Sacramento to prepare the orders, delivering the goods directly to the customers and collecting payment in gold dust on delivery.   This process was repeated on a regular cycle.       

Carleton arrived in Sacramento looking for regular work at the very instant the new business plan was being implemented. The Sacramento operation incorporated some of the same thinking from which Huntington and his team from Otsego County had profited during their nearly two


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[10] R. H. Vance, ALS to J. H. Hale & Co., Boston, from Arequipa, Peru, July 26, 1849, Private Collection

[11] David Lavender, The Great Persuader, New York:  Doubleday & Company, 1970,  pp.  33, 42-43.

[12] Lavender, pp.  28-29.

[13] Mead B. Kibbey, ed., Sacramento City Directory: By J. Horace Culver.  January 1, 1851.  Reprint Sacramento:  California State Library Foundation, 2000, p. 214, "Huntington, Hammond & Co.", where the address is given as "34 K St."  The firm moved to 54 K Street in 1854.