The Great Republic of Rough and Ready started out as a small mining settlement by the Rough and Ready Company in 1849, during the Gold Rush. The company was named in honor of President Zachary Taylor, known as Old Rough and Ready, by Captain Townsend who had served under Taylor during the Black Hawk War in 1832.
On April 7th, 1850 the young town declared its secession from the United States as the Great Republic of Rough and Ready in an attempt to avoid paying mining taxes. On the 4th of July in the same year the town voted to officially rejoin the union.
Each year on the first Sunday in June, as a point of pride, a celebration is held to commemorate their time as a great republic. A few original buildings still stand in the town, including the blacksmith's shop and the Odd Fellows Hall built in the mid-1850s.