Mariposa County History and Genealogy,CALIFORNIA

transcribed from the Oakland Tribune
Jan 3, 1954

See this photo to understand the dynamics of this road

Mt. Bullion Views
The Knave:  Hell's Hollow is a deep canyon breaking to the south from the Merced River near Bagby.  The Golden Highway (Route 49) twists its way from the ridge to the bottom by many loops and sharp, frightful turns to Colonel Fremont's mines, trudging up and down this steep mountain side.  It was exhausting toil and drudgery.  So they named it "Hell's Hollow."  To nature lovers, its sunlit or shadowy depths present a picture of great beauty. On the upper slope of this canyon Colonel Fremont operated three great gold mines, one of them called the Black Drift.  This was the mine the Hornitos League "jumped" in 1858, as reported in a recent Knave section. 

About three miles from Bear Valley the highway reaches the top of the ridge above Hell's Hollow, where to the east there is a low dip in the long ridge of  Mt. Bullion.  A trail turned from the road to this point and followed southward up the slope of Mt. Bullion to its highest point which was nearly opposite the old town of Bear Valley. Any good hiker can climb to the top of Mt. Bullion directly east from the town just as my Boy Scout troop and I did 20 years ago. But Jessie Benton Fremont, in spending one summer at the Bear Valley home, had a big tent erected on the top of Mt. Bullion, with full equipment and storage space for herself, her children, a friend from New York, and the two Negro guards and handymen.   Horses and mules carried the supplies to them by the round-about trail.  Jessie, in her book "Far West Sketches" describes the wonderful view stretching far in all directions, and the delightful summer days spent above the torrid heat of the valley below.  But these halcyon days come to a sudden close.  The Indian tribes of the surrounding country felt that they had been outraged by certain white miners and declared war. Fortunately, the chief of a nearby, friendly tribe, who had great respect for "Don Flemon," as they called Colonel Fremont, came to the mountain camp to warn the campers to return to the village lest stray warriors happen to pass that way and slaughter  them.  Where Hell's Hollow joins the Merced River canyon, Colonel Fremont had a great stamp mill and houses for his employees.  The community was called Benton Mills, named for Jessie's father, Senator Benton of Missouri.  Only foundation stones and cement basements mark the site today.  - John W Winkley