Weaver Creek, Trinity County, California: 1 June 1852. Quarto bifolium (ca. 25x20 cm). 2 pp. Brown ink on bluish wove paper, blind stamped monogram in the left upper corner. Written in a legible hand, addressed and with remnants of a seal on verso of the second leaf. Fold marks, a minor tear on the second leaf, but overall a very good letter.
Interesting first-hand account of the first years of Weaverville, a Californian gold rush town (est. 1850) which became famous for a large and vibrant Chinese community and California’s oldest Chinese temple, erected in 1853 (the first building was destroyed by fire, and the second one constructed in 1874 is now a State Historical Landmark). Located in distant Trinity County, the town became an example of a remote and more isolated gold rush town, serving “lesser-known” northern goldfields.
The letter was written by an Illinois-born California gold miner and later a pioneer and prominent resident of Seattle Timothy Hinkley, who became the first Justice of Peace in Seattle and constructed the Hinkley Block in what is now Seattle’s downtown in the 1890s (a corner of 2nd Ave and Columbia St., demolished in 1925). The letter gives a short but picturesque description of the first buildings in Weaverville, as well as the nearby gold mines. Hinkley also mentions his brother Jacob Carr Hinkley (1825-1869), one of the founders of the California “mining newspaper,” “The Shasta Courier” (started on March 12, 1852-72), who was trying to get the new subscribers for the “Courier” in Weaverville. The letter was written to Hinkley’s friend in San Francisco, Fredrick A. Snyder [?], who worked in the “Daily Alta California” newspaper (possibly, one Fredrick Albert Snyder, a member of the California State Legislature in 1853). Overall a lively early California gold rush letter dedicated to the more remote region of northern goldfields.
Excerpts from the letter: “I am glad to hear that you are still employed on the Alta. <…> Jacob has been over here collection subscribers for the “Courier,” and returned to Shasta this day, he is enjoying good health and speaks in very high terms of his prospects. Deacon Quick [?] is up in this region and swears by all that is good and bad he will never return to Cold Spring as long as he can make both ends meet.
I am located three miles below Weaverville on the creek from which the above town derives its name. My claim consists of one water race which is about a half mile in length and embraces enough ground to keep a company of men working for some time at good wages. Our town of Weaver is a thriving little place, and is improving rapidly. It supports from ten to fifteen stores, and half as many hotels, two gambling halls and as many whore houses. The mines in this vicinity are extensive and beyond a doubt are but partially developed. There are mines enough in this region to support quite a mass of miners for many years to come. The coming emigration will be very apt to crowd [?] this region full to overflowing during the fall and winter. <…> The weather during the passed week has been decidedly the warmest that I ever experienced in this county…”.
Price: $1,250.00 USD