At home [Tehama, California]: 11 March 1856. Octavo (ca. 23x19 cm or 9 x 7 ½ in). 4 pp. Brown ink on wove paper written in a legible hand. With the original envelope addressed to “Mrs. Salinda Eastman, Springfield, Illinois” and postal ink stamp “Tehama, Cal., 18 March.”. Fold marks, pages with a very minor mild stain, otherwise a very good letter.
Early interesting private letter from northern California, talking about severe spring drought and the latest events of the Rogue River War in Oregon. The author of the letter was George L. Eastman, a young farmer from Illinois who went to California in 1852, and returned in 1870 (Power, J.C. History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois. Springfield, 1876, p. 276). “The final Rogue River War began early on the morning of October 8, 1855, when self-styled volunteers attacked Native people in the Rogue Valley. It ended in June 1856 with the removal of most of the Natives in southwestern Oregon to the Coast Reservation, which later became the Siletz Reservation” (Rogue River War of 1866-1856// The Oregon Encyclopedia; https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/rogue_river_war_of_1855-1856/#.X2D5e3lKjD4).
Excerpts from the letter:
“My dear mother,
I believe that I shall have to quit writing letters to any person, it is so hard to get an answer now to my letters when I do write, that I begin to think it won’t pay to write any more, but for fear you may think that we are all dead, I concluded to write, merely to let you know that we are all alive and well. <…> We had a very dry time lately, not a drop of rain for six weeks and no appearance of rain yet. The crops are beginning to suffer for rain although they look better than I should think they could under the circumstances. The “Weather Prophets” call this a very dry moon and if it should not rain any this month there would be nothing at all raised, in fact I do not believe that the grass would go to seed as the wild oats head out, and if such should happen to be the case, the poor benighted heathens in this far off land might possibly feel the want of something to eat. It would be the next thing to the famine in the land of Egypt but we must hope for better things. <…>
The Indian war in Oregon is still raging, but the Indians are not so confident as they were, and one of the hostile chiefs offered to make peace on certain terms which were refused by the whites. They have had an unusually cold winter in Oregon and if this drought extends as far north as that, the Oregonians will have a tight time of it this year.
I wish you would tell me in your next letter, what part of Oregon Mr. Janner is in. I would like to write to him but do not know where to direct a letter, how is he doing there and how does Mrs. J. like the country. In what part of Oregon is Mr. Biddle and his family? <…>”.
Price: $950.00 USD