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Comstock women: the making of a mining community by Ronald Michael James, C. Elizabeth Raymond

By Ronald Michael James, C. Elizabeth Raymond

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Additional resources for Comstock women: the making of a mining community

Sample text

First, the female component of the Comstock increased substantially, especially when it is viewed as a percentage of the total population. It grew from about 5 percent in 1860 to between 30 and 47 percent for all subsequent census years. Second, the age structure of females on the Comstock transformed over time from a population dominated by women in early adulthood to a more regular pyramidal pattern. This is probably an indication that the population on the whole was beginning to develop in place without relying heavily on migration to build and sustain itself.

Enumerators invariably missed some people. This may have been more common in Chinatown and the red-light district, for example. In these places more people may have wished to remain anonymous, or they may have discouraged enumerators from lingering. S. census mandated that Native Americans be recorded separately with little more than a simple head count. Detailed information is consequently not available for most of these people. A few Northern Paiutes appear in the 1880 manuscript census against the enumerators' instructions, but such records are anomalies.

In addition, the strike occurred ten years after the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, and the region was ready to respond more quickly and effectively with an established infrastructure. The Comstock consequently did not have a long period during which people, and women in particular, could charge exorbitant rates because their services were so rare. That is not to say that inflationary costs did not remain a problem throughout the mining West, but extreme price gouging was possible for a much shorter period on the Comstock than was the case in the early days of California's boom.

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