Placerville: 9 July 1857. Quarto (ca. 24,5x18,5 cm). 3 pp. Pencil on two leaves of blueish wove paper. Fold marks, paper slightly age-toned, but overall a very good letter written in a legible hand.
Historically interesting original letter with a first-hand account of the early years of gold quartz mining in the Pleasant Valley near Placerville, the centre of the California Gold Rush of 1848. Written by one of the owners of a quartz mill located in the Valley, the letter describes his negotiations and work with the “Pleasant Valley Quartz Lead” owned by “Mr. Deihl,” who “have agreed with Gamage to pay him for the use of our mill 10$ per ton and to crush one hundred tons.” The author tries to estimate his prospects and worries about the new steam boiler for the mill, which could be too small. Overall an interesting content-rich original letter, written in a legible hand.
Deihl was a gold quartz miner in the El Dorado Country in the 1850s. “Previous to the 1st of January, 1858 <…> Messrs. Fiske & Deihl” owned and operated the Empire Mill in the Logtown mining district, “propelled by a steam engine of twelve horse powers, running three stamps and four arrastas…” (The Placerville Gold Quartz Company/ Historical Souvenir of El Dorado County, California. Oakland: P. Sioli, 1883, p. 93).
The text of the letter: “Dear George, I went to Kelsey yesterday and saw Keyser – found him at work on his claim, but could not get no money from him. Said he had had bad luck and was still something behind hand, had a good claim which he is trying to sell. If he does sell it expects to go back to Santa Clara or near the neighbourhood of the ranch, somewhere in the Valley and will certainly see you before going down. He said he intended to pay the note just as soon as possible & if he sells his claim will pay a portion of it at least. He talked very fair and I think he means well. I am sorry I had such a long walk for nothing, my bones ache today. If you think best I will keep or return you this note.
The owners of the Pleasant Valley Quartz Lead (Mr. Deihl’s) have agreed with Gamage to pay him for the use of our mill 10$ per ton and to crush one hundred tons, Gamage to pay the expenses of running the mill. He thinks he can do it in 6 or 8 weeks. Deihl’s party become responsible to Bisby for what Gamage owes on the mill. They have been at work yesterday & today getting it out of the canyon, it goes up to Pleasant Valley tomorrow according to the calculation. It will give me for my interest something like 100$ for the two months – a great deal better than nothing – and gets the mill out of a bad scrape. And even should Deihl’s quartz be poor, it will put the mill in a much better position than it has been. When they leave crushed the 100 tons, then the mill will have to be removed, unless some bargain is made with them.
Deihl asked me if I would sell him my 1/4. I told him, I would sell if we could agree upon the price, but as he has got to get the money to buy out of the lead, I prefer holding the mill.
I recd. a note from Loveth yesterday. Said he had bought the mill below and should ship it yesterday. If he did I suppose it must be on the way. It is almost useless to make calculations, there are so many delays attending these things. He wrote me that he should bring up the box brought by Olisha. When you write C. remember me. I am afraid the boiler of that mill will be too small and if so there will be another long delay. Charley had better see what he can get a suitable boiler for. Say one capable of running the mill without any trouble. Deihl told me yesterday that Goddaed told him, the boiler was too small that it would not run but a few minutes, then wait for more steam. Such may or may not be the case. I hope it will be all right and that nothing else will be on the way of our getting it at work. <…>.”.
Price: $950.00 USD