2nd Great Grandmother Pauline Adeline Gann, Born in Jenny Lind, California

My 42nd entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge.

My 42nd ancestor is my husband Jeff’s 2nd great grandmother, Pauline Adeline Gann (1860-1938). Pauline was married to Leonard Jackson Harless (1858-1946), the ancestor I recently wrote about who emigrated as a baby with his family from Missouri to California in 1858 over Ebbetts pass in the high Sierras. Pauline’s parents were William Chamberlain Gann (1831-1893) and Elmira Tucker (1840-1920). She and her husband Leonard Jackson were 2nd cousins, sharing the same great grandparents.

About Jenny Lind

Pauline Adeline Gann was allegedly born on 4 December 1860 in the mining town of Jenny Lind (Calaveras County), California, which was located on the road between Stockton and the southern mines. “Jenny Lind, located on the north bank of the Calaveras River, was a placer mining town as early as 1849. Most of the placer mining was done along the hillsides above the river – later the river was mined with dredgers. In 1864 the population was said to be 400, half of them Chinese.” (California Office of Historical Preservation) The town became a California historical registered landmark in 1937, and still exists as a small unincorporated community.

I do not yet have a birth record for Pauline.

Jenny Lind 1856 - Calaveras Co Historical Society
Jenny Lind, 1856. Courtesy Calaveras Co. Historical Society, via the Calaveras Heritage Council

When Jeff and I took that genealogy road trip this past July, after crossing Ebbetts Pass, we set up camp in adorable Dorrington just outside of Calaveras Big Trees State Park. We dedicated one entire day of this vacation to what we now call our “ancestor wild goose chase” day, to drive from Dorrington across the San Joaquin Valley and back again trying to find various historical places I have identified on records pertaining to Jeff’s Harless family history. Jenny Lind was on that list of places — along with French Camp (aka Castoria) and 26 Mile House.

Visiting Jenny Lind

Like French Camp, Jenny Lind was not what I expected. Although only 11.7 miles off of Highway 4, the slow drive up Milton Road felt much longer, with views of a whole lot of nothing. But, because the area is still so rural and isolated, it did provide us with a little glimpse of what life must have been like for Jeff’s ancestors here in the 1800s. The route we drove is the same one our Harless and Gann ancestors in that area would have taken any time they had to visit the post office, stage coach stop, or store at 26 Mile House or 28 Mile House.

Milton Road Junction
The Milton Road junction with Highway 4.
Milton Road, Valley Springs
Milton Road, one lane in each direction.
Milton Road
Not much to see other than cattle.

But we were even more surprised when we reached the actual community. There is nothing there. Well, almost nothing. Very few buildings. And really nothing that looked to us like it dated back to the time of Pauline Adeline Gann. We never even found the state landmark. I thought for sure that such a place would have a historical district. After about 10 minutes taking in the entire town, we disappointedly headed back along that long isolated rural road to the main highway.

Jenny Lind, California
Pulling into Jenny Lind.
Jenny Lind, California
If any firemen had been out, I would have asked where the state historic landmark was located, and if there were any 1860s era structures still standing.
Jenny Lind, California
Main Street is no longer a through-street.
Jenny Lind, California
The Odd Fellows hall.
Jenny Lind, California
What looks like an abandoned school.
Jenny Lind, California
Looking out across Jenny Lind from that same school.
Jenny Lind, California
The Calaveras River.

After finding nothing at French Camp, 26 Mile Road, and now Jenny Lind, I was beginning to feel a bit worried about the additional spots we planned to hit on the rest of the trip.

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0 thoughts on “2nd Great Grandmother Pauline Adeline Gann, Born in Jenny Lind, California”

  1. Colleen, You have done such a good job of documenting your trip and I am enjoying reading each section. I can understand how you felt when you found almost nothing when you got to some places. I live in North Carolina. My husband and I drove to Gann Valley, South Dakota, just to see what the place was like. Not much – but we enjoyed the trip and seeing a totally different country side.

    Joy Gann Brown

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