My great great grandpa, Asa Steven Camp (1829 to 1902)
Asa was born on April 5th, 1829 in Herrick Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Named Asa Steven after his mother’s family (Stevens), Asa was the second oldest of nine children. Asa was only fourteen when his mother passed away in 1842 at the age of 36. In the summer of 1850, at the age of 22, Asa accompanied his Father Clark Camp, across the plains to the gold camps of northern California’s Sierra Nevada foothills. There, along the banks of the south fork of the American River and its tributaries, in the company of one hundred thousand other crazed miners; Asa and his father Clark pursued their dreams of the storied El Dorado and its gold. We know for a fact that Asa returned east for a time prior to a second trek to California in 1854, and it’s possible that Asa lived for a time with his father in Bradford, Illinois, before returning to Hangtown.
The trip across the Great Plains by wagon would have required several months of hard travel, and necessitated negotiating the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California, during the few months of the year during which the mountain passes are not made impassable by mountains of drifting snow. During this second pilgrimage, Asa became acquainted with the Oldfield family. John and Mary Eliza Oldfield and their children hailed from Wisconsin, and they too were bound for the Sierra Nevada foothills where John intended to try his hand at mining. Among the Oldfield family was 7-year-old Laura Ellen. We can only guess at the details of Asa and Laura Ellen’s first meeting. With an age difference of 18 years, while it’s possible that Asa and Laura bonded during their long, tedious trip west, it seems unlikely that any thoughts of a relationship flourished until many years later. At some point in time Asa and Laura Ellen’s well rooted relationship set buds and bloomed, and on November 5th, of 1867, the Reverend D. Sutterland joined Kelsey resident Asa S. Camp, age 37 years, and Laura Ellen Oldfield, age 19, in holy wedlock. This union would produce 5 children, and endure until the time of Asa’s death. The Camps lived for a time just off Mosquito Road, on the west bank of the south fork of the American River, east of the rural settlement of Mosquito. There Asa and Laura Ellen raised their family, and Asa pursued the vocations of miner and freight hauler. In 1872 the family moved closer to Hangtown, alias Placerville, taking up residence on Reservoir Hill, where Asa passed away in December of 1902, followed by wife Laura Ellen, twenty-six years later, in 1928.