Situated on one of the main roads into the Basin, Placerville became a supply base and grew rapidly. In 1863 the town had a population of five thousand and some three hundred houses.
Many old buildings, icluding the Magnolia Saloon, still remain, but the town gradually building with summer cabins.
At the Placerville cemetary is the grave of the three fiddlers. These wandering musicians made a living providing entertainment in the remote camps, but in Placerville their luck ran out.
Actually there were only two musicians, Fred Cursons and L. Moulton, and the third man was a miner carrying a considerable amount of gold dust. The miner, George Wilson, was the intended victim of the robbery while the musicians were killed only to ensure the silence.
This slaying took place in June of 1865 while the trio was walking from Placerville to Centerville. These brutal murders created a wide-spread furor, and a few days later the authorities arrested John Williams, by reputation a gun slinger and gambler. In spite of a near lynching at the time of arrest, a verdict of not guilty was handed down by the District Court a month later. No one else was ever apprehended, and the true identity of the murderer remains lost in the mists of time.