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E. Clampus Vitus, or better known as ECV, is a fraternal organization dedicated to preserving the Gold Rush History. This organization is dedicating a bronze plaque commemorating John Calhoun Johnson Rancho. His rancho was on the present site of the Apple Mountain Golf Resort in Camino. The dedication will start on the May 10 at 11 a.m. The commemoration will be attended by local dignitaries including the Honorable Brain Veerkamp, Third District supervisor, and the Honorable Frank Bigelow of the State Assembly. The dedication will be followed by a Red Shirt Ale Bash at Jack Russell Brewery in Camino.
Johnson was truly a man of “firsts” as you will learn during the dedication, including first treasurer of El Dorado County. First person to carry mail over the Sierra from Placerville to Carson City. On Jan. 4, 1873, around the time that Snowshoe Thompson was pressing for payment for his services, the Mountain Democrat ran a story under the title “Vindication of History” that stated J.C. Johnson held the nestorship of carrying the mail across the mountains. A lawyer, he practiced law off and on throughout the years and served as assistant district attorney for the county.
His rancho was called the Six Mile House, because it was six miles from Placerville. During the El Dorado Indian wars, his Rancho was used as State Militia Headquarters. His travels through the Sierra in 1852, with his Delaware Indian guide “Fall Leaf” discovered a shortcut route from Carson City to Placerville, which was called Johnson’s Cut-Off. This trail was heavily traveled by the emigrants coming to California. The trail is now called Highway 50. An article in the Sacramento Daily Union dated April 26, 1852 establishes the actual date for the opening of the Johnson’s Cut-Off as approximately June of 1852.
My wife Ellen M. Osborn is a descendent of Johnson C. Johnson. He is her great-great-grandfather.