Home ] Services ] Publications ] Links ] Forum ] About ] [E-mail HG]


Heidelberg Graphics home page


Search site for:

More Information

The Miner Poet: Poems of Pres Longley edited by John Rudderow and Nancy Leek
19th century miner describes the rambunctious days of California's Gold Rush era through his verse and prose

About the book

Pres Longley settled into Butte County in the 1800s to mine gold and write. His verse reflects the interests, concerns, and struggles of California’s growing years. He gives the reader an entertaining look at the effect that the gradual arrival of women had on the giant bachelor party that was gold rush California. The decline of mining and the burgeoning of agriculture, the political battles, the debates over how to treat the Indians and the Chinese, and the wars between rival newspapers are all displayed in his verse.

In this volume, building a picture of Pres Longley through his poetry becomes a journey exploring manifest destiny, the beginnings of Pacific journalism, and the economy, politics, and society of California’s first six decades. What emerges is the image of a Renaissance man, a gentleman devoted to letters and to his friends, a dreamer, and a man ever in love with the Golden State.

Pres Longley, the Bard of Butte [County] and the poet of Helltown [California], wrote over three hundred poems during his career. The works presented here are a representative selection of just over one hundred poems and a few short prose pieces from six decades of writing. As far as possible his original spelling and punctuation are retained.

About the author

Born in Sevier County, Tennessee, in 1824, Alexander Preston Longley grew up on the banks of the Hiwasee River. "Pres" came from fighting stock. His father had served in the War of 1812; his grandfather was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. His older brother Campbell fought with Sam Houston for Texan independence.

In a day when few men, and fewer women, received an education beyond grammar school, Pres Longley sought out the best education available. He attended East Tennessee University in Knoxville (later to become the University of Tennessee) for three years and earned his teaching credential. After teaching for a year, he and his family moved to Texas to join his brother. In Austin he took up teaching again, but “teaching the juvenile undergrowth how to vegetate,” was unrewarding, and he soon gave it up. 

Seeking more stimulating employment, he enlisted in the Texas Rangers under Captain John S. “Rip” Ford. For two years he fought Comanches, taking part in twenty-nine encounters with the Indians and receiving an arrow wound in his right arm.

Mustering out together in September 1851, Pres and his brother William took ship for California by way of the Isthmus of Panama. They sought the “color” and they found it, but Pres also found that there was money to be made “prospecting in the ink-bottle.” In 1856 he saw his first poem appear under the pen name ALP in the Golden Era of San Francisco. As the foremost literary newspaper in California, the Golden Era was a good place to start.

About the Editors

John Rudderow is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach. He lives in Butte Creek Canyon close to the historic Honey Run Covered Bridge near Chico, California. He was a tool for the Douglas Aircraft Company, and is now a rock wall builder.

Nancy Leek is a graduate of UC Berkeley. She is a librarian and the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.

Top of page

Click to order The Miner Poet: Poems of Pres Longley

E-mail Stansbury Publishing

Home ] Ordering ] Reviews ] Contents ] [ Other ] [Top of Page]

For best viewing use Internet Explorer set at 800 x 600. Click here to download.

This site is copyright © 2002 by Heidelberg Graphics, Chico, California

E-mail Heidelberg Graphics

Hit Counter