by: Boxwell Hawkins
by: Kathleen Wilham
of Names in Letters
the link on the date column to read the letter
Line of Letter
SOSEY -- According to promise, I will write to you and give you a
brief history of my travels up to this time
Sir: We reached here to-day, all well,
after a trip of three weeks. We travelled leisurely, finding the
grass not sufficient to sustain our cattle without grain.
left the line the morning of the 7th. Since then we have been
driving pretty rapidly, passing train after train. Ours is still
considered a crack team.
embrace this opportunity to let you and all my friends know that I
am well, and in fine spirits. My comrades that left Warren with
me, are all in good health. We are 326 miles from St. Joseph, and
520 miles from home. We have had no accident to happen any of us
worth notice. Our wagon is the only one that came to this place
without having to double teams
have travelled two weeks upon the banks of the Platte river, the
valley through which it runs varies from five to ten miles in
width, the river generally running in the centre, but sometimes
the bluff makes directly up to the river, on the side we are
travelling; then we have to pass over them until we come to the
friend has permitted us to make some extracts from a letter
written at the Mormon City, by Mr. John Hazlit, a citizen of our
town, who left for California last spring. The writer had been
sick with the mountain fever, but had recovered. Mr. Thos. Hart
and Mr. Joseph Winlock, of the same company, were slightly unwell
when the letter was written.
SANTA FE---- The Indians in New Mexico are becoming very
troublesome, the citizens being in open hostility with four
powerful Tribes, the Eutaws, Camanches, Apaches and Navijos. There
appears to be union of action and combination of purpose between
give extracts below from a very interesting letter from our old
friend Kemp P. Anderson, Esq., received in this place a few days
since, and which has been politely furnished us.
of more than one hundred men who started in our company, only
three died, one of sickness, and two were drowned in Green river.
Republican has a letter dated Stockton, Cal., August 24. The
writer with his company, reached the Sacramento valley on the 11th
of August, with men and mules completely broken down.
following are extracts of a letter from Edward Murphy, Esq.,
formerly of this place, who started overland last Spring, and
dated at "Camp near Weaver’s Creek, Sept. 2nd, 1849."
Mr. M. sends in specimens of the California gold, which the
curious may see by calling on Rev. H. H. Hayes
and Respected Mother:--
I take this most favorable opportunity to write to you a few lines
to let you know how I am getting along in the mines. We here
worked eight days in the mines and made about $700: there is five
of us which is $140 apiece
last Paris Mercury published several California letters, from
which we make liberal extracts. The following dated
"California Mines, Oct. 7," is from Mr. S. S. Williams,
who went from this county last spring, to his brother, A. G.
Williams, of Monroe county
letters were received in this place last week from Mr. C. F.
Kirtley, of which we made brief mention in our last paper. Two of
them were to his wife, residing in this place, and one to his
brother-in-law, Stanton Buckner, Esq
want you to come out and bring Louisa, Virginia, Fanny, Bill and
John. be certain to bring Bill and John (negro boys.) I want one
of them, and will pay you as soon as you get here what either of
them would be worth in the States
A letter was received in this place , by last night’s mail, but
which we have not yet seen, from Mr. C. F. Kirtley. The letter is
dated the 4th of November. at Sacramento City. Mr. K., we learn,
had done very little of mining, having reached the country only a
short time before the commencement of the rainy season.
DEAR WIFE:--- It is dark, slightly raining and gloomy, and after a
very active day’s business (Sunday as it is) is over and I find
my self snugly ensconced in my wagon, I know of no better way of
employing the evening, than writing to you, which, under the
circumstances is the most agreeable employment I can engage in.
are now in California, but how long to stay I cannot tell. On our
trip across the plains, I was taken sick at the South Pass of the
mountains, with the mountain fever, and lay 12 days without
change---I here thought I should "step aside," but under
the care of Hugh Glenn, I was raised again
giving a place in your paper to the following communication,
written during the breakfast meal at a boarding tent, you will aid
the writer in fulfilling a promise made to many friends who are
readers of your journal. The promise was to inform them of what I
had seen, as well as heard, after having been awhile in
I wrote to you some time ago asking you to come out and bring
Virginia with you. That was sent by a private conveyance. I have
since written a lengthy letter to you, in which I gave you various
instructions in relation to crossing the plains, thinking that
they would be useful to you in the event that you should conclude
to come to this country by the way of the plains
Another probable chance presents by which a line may reach you. A
gentleman of New York informs me he is starting home by the way of
the Isthmus of Panama and promises to mail my letter at New
orleans or some other post office in the States
I have just received your kind and very acceptable letter of the
16th August and I assure you I never received a letter which did
me so much good. Just imagine for a moment, that for the last nine
months, I may say with great truth, I have been out of the pale of
civilization, and to get a letter from home was truly gratifying
I arrived in California on the 18th August on Bear River, and have
not done much since I arrived. I am now about five miles above
Sutter’s mill on the Americano in Kelsey’s Dry diggings
my arrival in the golden regions, I intended immediately to have
sent you a communication for the benefit of my Marion county
friends who may be disposed to wend their way to this distant
land, which I have delayed too long
following letter is from Mr. Sprat Ellis, who went with his father
and others overland last spring. They were ten months on
the route, and this is the first tidings of them since they left.
The letter is dated 14th February, 1850:
--I now take my pen to inform you of our arrival in the gold
regions of California, the great place which we have been toiling
for the last ten months. We left home on the 18th day of April,
and arrived here on the 10th day of February.
have been gardening here for three weeks. This is a fine climate;
perpetual spring in the valleys; they are green all the year
round. Southern California is a good farming country, and is
thickly settled by Spaniards, some of them very wealthy
horrors of war and its demoralization are much talked about, but
let me assure you, those of gold hunting are far greater.
Hardships, privation, sickness and death, present themselves in
the mining districts in their most shocking forms.
came to this place last August, and have remained, My health was
feeble during the fall, and during the rainy season. I believed it
imprudent to go into the mines, for a man of my age, who loses his
health, has quite a struggle to regain it, under the privations
incident to a life in the mines
have nothing of importance to write, though there is every thing
going on here that you could think of. I cannot say that I am at
all disappointed in the mines as regards their riches.
rather an invalid at present, I avail myself of the temporary
leisure thus afforded, to drop you a line for the gratification of
your readers; as I learn that private letters, never intended for
publication, frequently find their way into the public prints.
I am sorry to say is not so profitable as it was last year, and a
great many emigrants are going home, utterly discouraged.
found here a number of my old acquaintances who came out last
year, to wit: Robert Shaw, Dudley Phears, Harvey Wilson, Isaac and
Joel Riperdan, Macur Ocheltree and C. F. Kirtley of Palmyra, Mo.
courtesy of Kathleen Wilham