Item #523 [Original Autograph Letter Written by a Gold Miner in the Garden Valley (El Dorado County), Talking about His Sea Voyage, Being Fed with “Hard Bread & Stinking Meat,” Gold Mining in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tree Cutting, Plans to Take a “Job of Fluming to Carry Water from one Hill to Another,” California Climate, Liberal Public Attitude to Sundays, and Mentioning: “I have never Found that Large Nuget of Gold you Told me to Send you, but I Expect to Soon”]. NORTH AMERICA - CALIFORNIA – EL DORADO COUNTY, S. M.? CLARK.
[Original Autograph Letter Written by a Gold Miner in the Garden Valley (El Dorado County), Talking about His Sea Voyage, Being Fed with “Hard Bread & Stinking Meat,” Gold Mining in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tree Cutting, Plans to Take a “Job of Fluming to Carry Water from one Hill to Another,” California Climate, Liberal Public Attitude to Sundays, and Mentioning: “I have never Found that Large Nuget of Gold you Told me to Send you, but I Expect to Soon”].
[Original Autograph Letter Written by a Gold Miner in the Garden Valley (El Dorado County), Talking about His Sea Voyage, Being Fed with “Hard Bread & Stinking Meat,” Gold Mining in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tree Cutting, Plans to Take a “Job of Fluming to Carry Water from one Hill to Another,” California Climate, Liberal Public Attitude to Sundays, and Mentioning: “I have never Found that Large Nuget of Gold you Told me to Send you, but I Expect to Soon”].
California Gold Miner Letter About Garden Valley (El Dorado Co.) in the 1850s

[Original Autograph Letter Written by a Gold Miner in the Garden Valley (El Dorado County), Talking about His Sea Voyage, Being Fed with “Hard Bread & Stinking Meat,” Gold Mining in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tree Cutting, Plans to Take a “Job of Fluming to Carry Water from one Hill to Another,” California Climate, Liberal Public Attitude to Sundays, and Mentioning: “I have never Found that Large Nuget of Gold you Told me to Send you, but I Expect to Soon”].

Garden Valley, 17 April 185[8 or 9?]. Quarto bifolium (ca. 25x19,5 cm). 4 pp. Brown ink on bluish laid paper. Fold marks, two small holes on folds, ink mildly faded but still legible, paper slightly age-toned, but overall a very good letter written in a legible hand.

A captivating original autograph letter written by a California gold miner, talking about his experiences in Garden Valley (El Dorado Co.) in the 1850s. The author (originally from Vermont) vividly describes his challenging voyage from New York to San Francisco on board a steamer, when steerage passengers were fed with “hard bread & stinking meat,” many people contracted “Panama fever,” and the author himself was so sick that “he could hardly crawl, walk or tumble around.” In great detail, he talks about the jobs he took, including gold mining, tree cutting and working at a sawmill, and records his salary and the cost of boarding. Optimistically, he mentions that “I have never found that large Nuget of gold you told me to send you, but I expect to soon” and states that he likes California, despite all the deprivations he has experienced. The author also comments on the local customs of spending Sundays – “here it is a place of amusement, playing, dancing, gambling &c.; there is no Sabbath here, it’s a day of trade or traffick,” California mild climate, &c. Overall a great example of an early California gold mining letter, geographically focusing on El Dorado County.
The text of the letter (the spelling is original):
“Dear Friend,
I take the opportunity to write to you and let you know that I am alive and doing well. You must excuse for not writing before. I have been in a great hurry all the time that I have been here and could scarcely get time to write to my folks. I have been in very good health every since I have been here and have grown fleshy. I weigh 25 lbs more that I ever did in the States. My weight last week was 172 lbs.
I arrived at San Francisco Oct. 16, just able to crawl off the steamer, and felt like saying bad luck to the ship what [sic!] brought me over. I was sick all the way and so poor that I could hardly crawl, walk or tumble around <…> 1700 passengers. The provisions were not fit to throw at sharks, hard bread & stinking meat was our principle living. One beef was taken on board alive. Some of it was killed by the butcher & some died and was dressed for the steerage passengers. But not one of the passengers died on the whole voyge [sic!]. Some had the Panama fever. One young fellow that I got acquainted on board was taken with the fever a few days before we reached San Francisco, and I took him to the hospital. I have not herd [sic!] from him since.
When I got to Sacramento I parted with my friends & started for the Mountains after work. After traveling some time I found work in a steam sawmill at one dollar a day. I worked there 50 days and then the mill stopped for the winter & I went to mining & mined about four weeks & made nothing and had my board to pay. Besides I had to pay for board $4 a week. <…> Quit my claim, bought another in which I made from 3 to 5 dollars a day and paid four dollars for water to work with, worked the claim three weeks, sold it and now I and my partner are cutting logs by the thousand. We have took a contract to cut 150 thousand feet, 1,50 a thousand, We average 6 thousand a day, $4 ½ a day for three weeks. My partner is a carpenter and we talk of taking a job of fluming to carry water from one hill to another, 75 feet high, 120 rods long at $5 a rod, that will take about a month. We shall do this or go to mining again. <…>
I have never found that large Nuget of gold you told me to send you, but I expect to soon. I like California very much. I don’t expect to come to Vt again to live unless I strike it big. Today is called Sabbath at home, but here it is a place of amusement, playing, dancing, gambling &c. There is no Sabbath here, it’s a day of trade or traffick. The weather is very warm here now, as warm as July in Vt, yet there is snow in sight on the Siera [sic!] Nevada Range and will remain in sight all summer from the Valley. It is a very healthy country. I think it would be good for your health to come our her [sic!]. <…>
I have not slept in but one bed since I left NY berth on ship, was in the huricane <…>, and I have slept ever since on a pine board, rolled up in blankets no better than horse blankets. But that is as good as I want. I have to do my own cooking, that is the worst of all and have to do that by a fire place. But I think that here is a better times coming and keep diging [sic!] away <…>”.

Item #523

Price: $1,250.00 USD