Nevada County GOLD - The Official Online Guide to Nevada County

Rough and Ready History

One of the first settlements in Nevada County was Rough and Ready some five miles west of Grass Valley. Established in the fall of 1849, it quickly grew to a thriving town of 3,000, and went down in history as having seceded from the Union.

The town was founded by a group of miners led by Captain A.A. Townsend. He served under "Old Rough and Ready" Zachary Taylor, commander of American forces in the Mexican War. He so admired Taylor, he named his company Rough and Ready, a name the town adopted.

Early mining success was dampened when the government imposed a Mining Tax on all claims. The miners were furious. On April 7, 1850, a meeting was held and the decision was made to secede from the Union. An independent state was organized, a president elected and constitution signed. The new republic didn't last long for when it came time to celebrate the Fourth of July Old Glory went up the flag pole and that was that.

History is resurrected each year at Rough and Ready's Secession Day celebration held the last Sunday in June. A highlight of the day long event is "The Ongoing Saga of Rough and Ready," performed by the Rough and Ready Rascals.

Visitors to this quiet rural community will find several old buildings still standing that date from the 1850s including the W.H. Fipping Blacksmith Shop and Grange Hall.

Rough and Ready Events

Rough and Ready Secession Day Celebration: Last Sunday in June.

Chili Cookoff: Last Sunday of September.

Fruit Jar Pickers: Playing American Folk music every Sunday, 10 am-noon, at the grange in Rough & Ready. Free.

Related Information

Rough and Ready: Tax evasion, Secession and Zacary Taylor too



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