The five men debated but couldn’t agree on a plan. Early in 1867, Frank went to California, where land was free. Drew urged the others to follow. When none did, Drew packed up and headed to New York. From there he’d sail to the isthmus of Panama, then to San Francisco.
“Drury was the smallest one and only a private for the Confederacy,” says his grandson, Richard Bailey, “but for some reason they all did what he said.”
After Drew left, brother James and the Julians agreed to meet him in New York and sail together. Though he had a head start, Drew arrived a day late. The others had gone — but not by sea — so he went west, following opportunities for work. He rode a steamer up the Missouri River to Montana, where he may have done placer mining, wielding a pick and shovel for little more than a cotton-picker’s wage. “But oh,” he recalled decades later, “what a winter!” “How I suffered with the cold! That would do me. I felt I must find a warmer climate.”
In the spring, with only two dollars in his pocket, he traveled to a new silver find in southern Utah. He got a job on a crew building a 25-mile toll road over a mountain. He needed horses for the task. One morning after breakfast, as he stood on a sidewalk, a wagon approached. The four horses looked healthy, so Drew stepped into the street to wave it down. The man seated next to the driver looked vaguely familiar. Drew squinted. Then very familiar.
James, Frank, and the Julians had been working in the area for months. They wanted to make enough money to return home to Georgia. A teamster for one of the mines, James even invested $150 in a lot, which the others swore was a waste of grubstake money.
When they completed the road, the quintet couldn’t agree where to go next. Some said Arizona. James said California. Eventually they sided with him. He sold his boomtown lot for $900 and became the group’s banker. His first purchases: supplies and a three-mule pack train.
They worked their way to Fort Yuma, where all the talk was about Tom Scott. “The Railroad Prince” wanted to build a line from El Paso to San Diego. Until then, to Drew and the others “California” meant where Frank had gone: San Francisco and the gold country east. But a railroad promised good jobs, growth, and a new start.
“For the Baileys and Julians,” says Richard Bailey, “the West was a place on the map, not a way of life; they wanted to settle down and forget the war.”
Most likely, they didn’t know much about San Diego (they may have even asked where it was). Nonetheless, they declared it would be their future home. Drew vowed they “would help build a great city.”
They worked odd jobs and prospected on their way across the desert and into the mountains. At San Bernardino, they heard more excited talk about the railroad. When they ran low on supplies at Temecula, James volunteered to ride to San Diego and reprovision.
No one recorded his first view of the Pacific Ocean or of “new” San Diego sprouting by the bay. But amid bustling wagons loaded with lumber and the cacophony of hammers pounding nails, James got the word: Horton wasn’t hiring ex-Confederates.
On his return trip, James met John Wesley Horrell. He lived way up in the mountains, he said, in Volcan Valley (north of today’s Julian). He and his wife ran a store in their large adobe house and had ten children. Horrell shot wild hogs, which grew fat on acorns, and traded the pork for supplies in town. Forget San Diego, he told James, and come to the mountains, not just for the “ample game and good land to be had” but because only three or four families lived there.
When James returned to Temecula, the others still wanted to try Horton’s “addition.” If they couldn’t find work, they’d inspect the mountains on their way to Arizona and return to San Diego when construction began at the railroad terminus.
“While it is certain that gold would have been discovered in the Cuyamacas,” writes historian David Lewis, “it is not certain that any city named Julian [would exist] were it not for James and John’s chance meeting on the trail.”
Horrell’s caution about jobs proved accurate. Drew, James, Frank, and the Julians arrived at the mountain valley in November 1869.
“This is the most beautiful place I ever seen since I left home,” Drew told the others. “Let’s each one locate a home in this beautiful warm country.” He would plant barley and fruit and raise cattle.
His comrades revolted. Sure, the mountains were majestic, the soil choice, but they found only “color” (fool’s gold) in the creek, and the real item was just placer flakes. And farming?
Drew refused to budge. He staked a “squatter’s rights,” a homestead claim of 160 (some say 154) acres encompassing today’s Julian. He talked the others into helping him build a log cabin, with a large rock fireplace, at the southeastern end of a long valley.
David Lewis: “He must not have experienced the destructive fury of the East Wind mentioned in old pioneer diaries and dreaded by today’s residents as the Santa Ana winds, or he would never have picked” the site for a home. “The winds come up from the desert and blast through there like a funnel.”
When weather permitted, Drew and Mike Julian bundled up and searched the mountains for signs of gold. They’d never heard of Father Ascension but knew that flakes in streams meant larger quartz veins higher up. That winter was a dry one, but when snowbanks left them cabin-bound, Drew envisioned a city on his newfound land. ■
— Jeff Smith
Bailey, Richard, “The History of Julian: Featuring the Histories of the Bailey and Redman Families,” interview, June 2005, privately distributed.
Birkett, Charles V., “The Ready Relief Mine,” Journal of San Diego History, October 1963, vol. 9, no. 4.
Ellsberg, Helen, Mines of Julian, Glendale, 1972.
Fetzer, Leland, A Good Camp: Gold Mines of Julian and the Cuyamacas, San Diego, 2002.
Lewis, David, “Last Known Address: The History of the Julian Cemetery: True Stories of the Pioneers,” interview, San Diego, 2008.
McCutchen, Ora Bailey, “Early Days in Julian and Banner,” ms. in Bailey’s History of Julian.
Taylor, Dan Forrest, “Julian Gold,” ms. at San Diego History Center.