From a sign in town:
Jamestown - Gateway to the Southern Mines
Founded in 1848, one mile from the first gold find in Tuolumne County, at Woods Crossing.
Arriving in 1849, Col. George F. James, a merchant popular for supplying free champagne to patrons, was elected Alcalde, and the town was dubbed "Jamestown".
Poor mining investments indebted him and he quietly left town. Angry miners changed the name of the town to "American Camp". Eventually, "Jamestown" was restored.
Jamestown's population was approximately 4,000, before the devastating fire of October, 1885.