By the late 1840s, the population of the mining town of Rough ‘N’ Ready had exploded to over 3,000 souls. The town suffered the effects of general lawlessness and a growing resentment for the government having imposed a Mining Tax on all claims Brundage’s Manifesto, which read in part: “We…deem it necessary and prudent to withdraw from said Territory (of California) and from the United States of America to form, peacefully if we can, forcibly if we must, the Great Republic of Rough and Ready.” Along with his Secretary of State, they signed a constitution and a flag was made. The Great Republic of Rough and Ready was formed that day as a free and independent republic.. The town reacted by shaking its collective fist at the government with all its taxes and non-existent law and order. In 1850 a mass meeting of the townsfolk was called to propose seceding from the Union. In the heat of the rebellion, they elected Colonel E.F. Brundage as President. The new President issued
The Great Republic of Rough and Ready lasted only three months as one of the world’s smallest nations. On July 4th, swept by a patriotic fervor, maybe feeling a little guilty (and possibly, according to some accounts, reacting to the refusal of Nevada City and Grass Valley saloons to sell liquor to the “foreigners” from Rough and Ready) another meeting was held. The town gave resounding consent to immediately rejoin the Union. Old Glory went up the flagpole and the whole episode slipped into history.
Now fast forward to 2014. Residents of the Western Nevada County town (Rough and Ready is currently populated with “roughly” 963 souls) have long complained about uncaring and unresponsive county and state leaders and are looking for inspiration from their town’s history. The current promoters of secession are more conservative on social, economic and environmental issues than the state and county as a whole, and feel ignored by Nevada City, Sacramento, and the deep-pockets of left-coast politicians. Secession supporters envision keeping more of their tax dollars, controlling their water resources, and reopening their long-abandoned gold mines. Then there’s the usual talk about restoration of basic rights, freedom from government oppression, and saving their children from the liberal media/educational system. California is largely an urban state, and the power and political influence can be found in the metropolitan areas.
Critics of the secession idea point out that Rough ‘N’ Ready receives more in government outlays than it pays in taxes and could never be financially solvent if it seceded from Nevada County and the state of California. The mayor of Rough ‘N’ Ready, Ronald “TK” Parker, has come up with a plan to overcome these financial hurdles. The main focus of the plan is to legalize prostitution and gambling in an effort to attract more tourism and ultimately new tax revenues.
“We will build our own version of Nevada City’s National Hotel right here in downtown Rough ‘N’ Ready”, said a defiant Mr. Parker, “with a saloon and fine dining and gambling downstairs and plenty of rooms upstairs for the guests and employees. We locals sometimes like to refer to this as the ‘sexcession’ of Rough ‘N’ Ready. We will welcome anyone from outside the borders of the Great Republic. Families can expect to see reenactments of Wild West gun shootouts outside the hotel and one-of-a-kind cart rides in underground mining tunnels. We will also build a bigger, better and more dangerous version of the 49er Family Fun Park, currently in Grass Valley. We want to be recognized as the entertainment destination of rural Northern California that’s not really ‘in’ California.”
Other ideas that have been tossed around to bring in more revenue are: interactive gold-panning/sluice boxing/hydraulic mining experiences; several full-service Asian foot massage parlors; Merica, a retail store that only sells items that are made in the USA; and toll-booths at the Great Republic’s borders. The town is currently looking for entrepreneurs with the vision to turn this obscure gold-mining relic into a vacation destination. And those individuals with experience in owning and operating brothels, breweries, and distilleries. Please send correspondence to [email protected]