The creek, the town, and the county all take their name from the same man, Jose Maria Amador, Indian fighter, rancher, miner. On August 17 of 1835, Jose Maria Amador was granted an immense 16,517 acre tract of land known as the Rancho San Ramon, where he settled down and built one of the few two-story adobes in California. Amador began producing leather, soap, saddles, blankets, shoes, and wagons using Indians from mission San Jose, and was soon one of the wealthiest rancheros in the province.
When word of the gold discovery at Sutter’s Mill reached Rancho San Ramon, Amador decided to visit the place and see what it was all about. Traveling with a Frenchman named Sausevain, they reached Sutter’s Fort at about eight o’clock in the evening and met Sutter, whom Amador states was rather drunk, but nevertheless provided a cordial reception and served a good dinner and liquor of excellent quality.
When they arrived at the mill the following day, the two men walked down to the American River, took out their pans and commenced mining for gold. Their first efforts were somewhat discouraging, averaging only about 75 cents per pan. Disappointed with these results, they headed for Mormon Camp, where the miners were getting about an ounce of gold to each of two shovels full. They then returned home, but before long they would be back.
Amador and his party were not the only miners on the creek during those early days. A party of men from Oregon built two cabins and stayed during the winter of 1848/49. James Wheeler and his four partners built a large double cabin in the fall of 1849, as did a company from Virginia who also kept a stock of goods available for sale. A company of miners from New York were camped along Amador Creek by the end of 1849, which Bayard Taylor describes as being “lined with tents and winter cabins.
The photo to the left is circa 1930's
As you enter Amador City on old highway 49 from Sutter Creek you will notice a parking lot on the right hand side. This is a great place to park as you walk and explore the town of Amador City.
Pictured here is the remains of the Keystone Mine, which is to the right of the parking lot.