In early 1853, David Fairchild returned to New York where he packed up his wife, eldest daughter and her two children and his youngest son and moved to California to rejoin the daughter's husband and three other sons already out there. The majority of this information comes from columns in the Ovid Bee, as the editor, Corydon Fairchild, David's son, shared the letters of his family with the community.
Ovid Bee - June 15, 1853
We received yesterday, an interesting letter from an absent brother, (Theo. Tracy) now in California, under date of April 29, containing a small specimen of the Dust, that causes so large an emigration to that distant country. We are pleased to learn of his good health, and that of his brothers, Mahlon D. and Oscar L. and brother-in-law, Mr. W. K. Creque, who are with him in the land of Gold. - They are all located at, or near McDowelville, Sacramento County, three miles above Mormon Island, on the south fork of the American River, and thirty miles from Sacramento City, and from all accounts are as prosperous in their search for the 'needful' as could be reasonable expected.
Ovid Bee - April 5, 1854
On Saturday last we visited Trumansburg to take a farewell greeting of our fond parents David and Deborah Fairchild, our affectionate eldest sister, Julia A. Creque, and her two children' and youngest brother, J. De Puy, who are now en route for California, and are expected to leave New York to-day, in the steam ship "Illinois." May a prosperous voyage attend them.
Ovid Bee - May 3, 1854
It will be pleasing no doubt to the numerous friends of David Fairchild, as to us, to know of his safe arrival at Aspinwall, in good health as also those of his family accompanying him, en route for the 'Land of Gold.' They left New York in the steamer "Illinois" on the 5th April, making the passage in ten days. In writing to a lad of ours [referring to DeVoer Fairchild, Corydon's son], of 15 years, our brother J. De Puy, aged 16, who it will be remembered by many, was at work in this office for several months previous to starting on this voyage, under date of April 14, on board ship, says:
"for about a week after we came on board, we were all of us, with the exception of Fred, sea-sick; and so was he part of the time, although we have not had any very rough weather. Julia Ann and Sophronia have been sea-sick the whole of the time, except a day or two, when it was fine weather, or while we were 'lying to,' at Kingston, in the Island of Jamaica. - We arrived at the city of K., on the morning of the 12th and left the same evening. It is hardly worthy of the name of city. - The inhabitants, as far as I could see, were mostly Negroes of the lowest grade, some of whom were formerly slaves on the Island. Father talked with some of those who had been liberated, ant they acknowledged that they were not as well off as when they were slaves. The streets of the city are not fit to be called by the name of street, being nothing more than narrow alleys wide enough for a horse and wagon to pass, with walks in some places, and in other not any. The houses are mostly built of stone or brick, looking old and dilapidated, the yards of which being surrounded with walls of the same material and covered with pieces of old broken bottles, to prevent any one from climbing over them to do mischief. The printing offices (three of which we visited, there being four) in this city, are inferior to any I ever saw - the work is done mostly by Negroes, who looked intelligent and smart. - We procured a paper at one of the offices, which I intend mailing to your father. - The steamer took on several passengers at K., many of whom were Negroes. Yesterday the startling cry of 'man overboard,' was heard. It proved to be a Negro who had hid himself away in the boat when we were at Kingston. The steamer was immediately stopped and the boat lowered to pick him up, but alas! it was too late, he was not found, he had perished in the waves. Mother had the misfortune of having her purse taken, while on board the steamer, containing however, only a small sum. Another passenger, a gentleman, had his purse taken, containing his ticket on the 'other side,' $35 and a note of $50 against a man in San Francisco. A collection was taken up to assist the man in getting to California. We are about 100 miles from Aspinwall, and will probably reach there to-morrow morning. Captain Watkins, the Mare and Purser, of the ill-fated 'San Francisco' are on board - who it is expected will be employed on some of the steam-ships on the Pacific side."
We acknowledge the receipt of a couple of letters from friends in California, containing remittances in 'shining ore' and ' gold coin' as subscriptions to the Bee which shall be forwarded as ordered. It may, and no doubt will be gratifying to the acquaintances of Mr. James Ellis, who went from Farmerville, to learn of his good health and success, in the 'land of gold;' as also of Mr. Abner M. Sabin, who went from Romulus.
In this connection we mention the departure from our midst, who take ship on Friday next, enroute for California, of several young men, to wit: Charles Jones, Reuben Denton, John Bonner and Hezekiah Seeley, Jr. They have the well-wishes of a host of friends.
Ovid Bee - June 14, 1854
We have heretofore noticed the departure in April last, of our parents, brother and sister and her two children, for the land of gold, and are much gratified in hearing of their safe arrival in that far off country. Doubtless we cannot better please the entire circle of acquaintances, friends and relatives of the family, than by giving the letter, which explains itself, and need no further comments:
Centerville, (Pilot Hill) El Dorado Co., Cal. May 13, 1854
My Dear Son - It is with emotions of devout gratitude to our Heavenly Father, that I announce to you, and through you - or through the columns of the BEE, if you please - of our safe arrival in this, from you, far distant land. Our health is good. That of your Mother, decidedly improved. Myself and Julia Ann, have suffered much by reason of sea-sickness - each escaping only two days from vomiting during the entire voyage. Our stomachs refusing to participate with our fellow passengers at the table, loaded as they were, with roast Beef, roast Pig, roast Turkey, with Chickens, Steaks, Pies and Puddings, &c, &c.
My tribute to Old Neptune was not the single pound, but twenty pounds of flesh, for my devours to his Majesty during my present voyage.
On my landing upon the wharf at San Francisco, a Letter of invitation was handed me, of which the following is a copy. - It is too good to be lost. To be greeted with such a welcome, upon these shores was truly consoling, and shows that the milk of human kindness is still flowing in the breasts of Californians.
Sacramento, April 27, 1854
Mr. D. Fairchild & Lady, and Mrs. Creque,
We shall be glad to welcome you to this country at your earliest convenience. And in case you have had bad luck or sickness on the way and should be a little short of money, we have made arrangements with the house of Messrs. Goodwin & Co., on California St., San Francisco for you to draw what you might want. You may show them this letter, if you call upon them. With the hopes of seeing you soon, we remain your humble servant.
Hyde & Jordon, 116, K. St.
In addition to the above, as soon as the arrival of the Oregon was announced by Telegraph, they telegraphed to a friend resident in San Francisco, to ascertain whether we were passengers on board, and, if so, requesting to take passage by the first steamboat up the river, which we did, when we were cordially welcomed and beautifully fed, at their hospitable board. Suffice it to say, that funds to any reasonable amount might have been furnished, and what little was needed was as gratefully received as if it had been thousands.
Note the name on the invitation. It is probably a safe assumption that the Hyde is Dr. Christopher C. Hyde who, with David and Mahlon, went to California in 1849 as a member of the Ganarga Mining Company.
Ovid Bee - June 21, 1854
Since our last, we have been favored with the perusal of two more letters from members of our Father's family now in California, which were addressed to a sister residing in Otsego county; - one by brother Oscar, who has been absent two years, the other by a sister who had just arrived in the country. As her discription [sic] of the journey is somewhat amusing, and for our own and others' gratification in hearing from here and those accompanying her, we have concluded to give them a portion of her letter, although not by any means intended for publication:
Centerville, Cal. May 12 '54
Dear Sister Caroline:
Here we are in the mines of California seven thousand miles from the land of our birth and the homes of our loved ones left behind, and still I can hardly realize it. It intended to keep a 'journal' of our voyage, but was so sea sick all the way I could not write nor scarcely do anything else. We went from the steamer 'Illinois' immediately to the Cars, so I had no much of an opportunity to see Aspinwall. From what I saw of it, I concluded it was a miserable little place. We arrived at the terminus of the Railroad about sundown and put up at the United States Hotel, and the name would indicate good accommodations, but of all the accommodations I ever saw, they were the cap sheaf. We could not eat any supper or breakfast, our beds were cots without mattresses or pillows and a six-penny calico spread to cover over us. About sunrise next morning our mules were in readiness, we got on man fashion and off we started. How you would have laughed to have seen us, Sophy took the lead, Mother next and I close behind with Fred on before me, Father and DePuy on foot and other following along like a flock of sheep. Of all the places I ever saw, the Isthmus is the worst. No one can have the least idea of it from any body's description, they have got to cross it to know anything about it, though much better now than in the rainy season. When we came to a spot level enough for the mules to trot, I would laugh just as hard as I could to see Mother, she took it as cool as could be, and stood the journey first rate, much better than I did, as she was not sea sick all the way. Father and myself vomited every day except two.
Panama is a miserable place, we stayed there two days, I would like to tell you about Acapulco, how the harbor was blockaded by Santa Ann, how they fired upon us, of Commodore Watkins' visit to Santa Anna's camp and his interview with him, of the visit of the Mexican officers on board our Steamer, of the view we had of Santa Anna's army of seven thousand men - of my acquaintance with Lieut. Beals and lady, Com. Watkins and lady, and a good many other things which would interest you, no doubt - of the grand Old Ocean and its various phenomenas, of the large fishes, birds &c., but which I shall have to defer until some future time.
We arrived at San Francisco in the evening of the 4th, but did not land until the morning of the 5th, just one month from the day we lift [sic] New York. San Francisco is a very pleasant city. I suppose you would like to know how we like California. I am very much disappointed in the country, if far exceeds my expectations. it is the finest country I ever saw. The scenery up the Sacramento is splendid. I wished a hundred times you had been with us. It is a very pleasant season of the year to come to this country. It is one continual flower bed from the city here. I imagined the woods were filled with old logs and underbrush, as in our own country, but it is not so - it is more like a meadow, the trees do not stand very close to other - there are no stumps or stones, and looks like an orchard - one can drive all through the woods just as well as an orchard. The ground is completely covered with the most beautiful flowers you ever saw, one or two varieties of which i.e. of the smaller kinds I send you, the poppy and native clover and violet, that you can see their color. Mother is perfectly delighted - says I must tell you she would not go back if any body would pay her passage and give her a thousand dollars in the bargain. She says you need not worry more about any body in California, for they live better than at home, as you can judge by our 'bill of fare' for dinner, 1st, boiled pork and the very best potatoes, 2d roast turkey, 3d Strawberries and cream, 4th the best Salmon you ever saw - from which slices can be cut equal to the largest sized ham. Mr. Hyde and wife with whom we stayed in Sacramento from Saturday Morning until Tuesday after dinner, were very glad to see us, and treated us very kindly, De Puy, Sophy and Fred are all well and happy. Please write by every mail. Your sister affectionately,
Julia A. Creque.
The Ovid Bee - July 12, 1854
We have the pleasure of perusing another letter from a sister, Mrs. Creque, now in California, dated as before at Centerville, May 19, 21, 24 and 28; from which we make a few extracts:
"We had a visit this morning (Sunday) from some of the Natives, three squaws and their papooses. We "Americanos" as they call us, are a great curiosity to them, they look at everything we have on and laugh and jabber away at a great rate. Their language is a mixture of Spanish and Indian. They call wives "Mahalas" and husband has been here so long he can talk with them some. They came up to me and say "Creque's Mahala," (meaning Creques's wife,) I nod my head, then they laugh and seem to enjoy it much. Girls they call "Machacha" - boys "Muchacho." We can see them in all directions to day, gathering Daisy Seed for winter use, it is about the size of Buckwheat, only the reed is flat. The Indians are quite harmless and a person can scare them very easily - all that is necessary to do is to tell them to "vamoose" and they are off at once. This is a beautiful place, there are only three or four families living near us - but we call each other neighbors within ten miles. - We had a three hour's call from a gentleman and his niece, who took dinner, having heard of our arrival and come on horse back ten miles on purposes to call. Ladies in this country are beautiful riders. There are a number of Miner's tents near us, not as I expected miserable huts, but very good houses, mostly built of boards covered with cloth, quite neat in appearance and very comfortable - some with floors other none, yet the ground is so hard they are swept and look nicely' Do not worry about Californians any more, as they have everything to eat and as much of it as any one in the "States." We get all kinds of vegetables - yesterday we dined on green peas, new potatoes, onions large as your fist" and then we have the most delicious beef here you ever tasted. To-day I am cooking cabbage, and turnips, which are very fine. It seems as if it could not be May - as we are not used to having all such things, thus [sic] early. Mother or myself cannot realize that we are among the mountains and mines of California. - About a mile from our house is a hill from which we can see Sacramento City, forty miles off, also Coloma in another direction. From our door we can see the Siera Nevadas, [sic] whose tops are always covered with snow. The main traveled road between the city and Georgetown passes our door and there is a great deal of travel all the times the stage passes twice a day. It is the dry season now and miners can't do much for the want of water.
We came in the country in the most pleasant time of the year, everything looks beautiful now - in a very short time everything will be parched and dried up. The weather is delightful now, just warm enough to be pleasant - the nights are always cool I am told. A great many fine mule teams drive by, and I have seen some of the finest horses here I ever saw. Every teamster drives from four to eight horses or mules - on the collars of which are attached an elevated bow of brass or metal, about a foot high from the shoulders, which is hung full of small bells, and one team scarcely gets out of hearing before another one is in sight. There are a great many Chinese men at work about here - they are a curious looking people - sometimes their cues hang almost to the ground, at other times they wind them around their heads. I have not yet seen any of the Chinese women here, but on the steamer coming up the Sacramento River, there was a number. They wear their hair very different from the men- it looks as if it was done up over some kind of frame work, and could not get any kind of a bonnet near their heads. Sticking through it in different directions were ornaments (I suppose they called them) of Ivory or Pearl, about the length and half the width of a paper folder - their dress is something like the Bloomer style - trowsers very large and hang loosely, skirts ornamented at the bottom with a kind of tinsel or perhaps silver. It is said that all the women who come here from that country, are of the most depraved character. I almost forgot to tell you that fleas and musquitos [sic] are as think as hops in this country, and they seem to think Fred's "meat is pretty good" for all they almost eat him up.
How true are the words of the Poet in regard to this place,
"The sound of the Church going bell,
These valleys and rocks never heard."
All has been very quiet and still - none of the miners are at work as we can see. It is only six miles from here to Auburn and I intend going over there to church soon. Two or three more families are coming here to live in the course of the summer, and I hope we shall have meetings here before long - I will try to do all I can to bring it about. I am very much pleased with the miners, i.e. all I have seen. I have not heard an oath or seen a drunken man since we arrived. I have seen one centipede. To day we had a visit from an Indian girl (or woman) named Wy-lou-pee, who has been married to a spanish gentleman. He did not use her well so she does not live with him. - She took a fancy to a "basque" waist I had on (she was here the other day) and came to day to buy it. I told her not to day for it was Sunday, but come another day and I would sell it to here, when she departed very much pleased."
Ovid Bee - July 26, 1854
We have received another letter from our sister in California, dated "Pilot Hill, El Dorado Co.," June 28, a newly established post office, and where all matter intended for our father's family, now there, should be directed. No news of importance. All are in good health. - Sister says: "about two weeks since we went on Pilot Hill a mile from here, where we could see Sacramento City, forty-five miles off, also Marysville, which is about the same distance, and a fine extent of country around for miles, the finest prospect I ever saw. The climate is the finest in the world -- the sun shines hot, yet every morning about nine o'clock there springs up a fine breeze which continues until sundown, making it very pleasant. The nights are cool and more bed clothing is needed than in the States at the same season of the year. Last week we had a fine shower, a circumstance out of the usual course of things in California at this season. Georgetown is about fifteen miles from here, up in the mountains, and is about five times as large a place as Trumansburg, I understand. Coloma, (the county seat,) is nine miles from here, it is quite a place, two papers are published there.
We have not attended church since we left Sacramento, it being five miles from here to Auburn, over hills and a pretty hard road, with nothing better than a lumber wagon to ride in. Father has what is called a "claim" on the north fork of the American River, where they have been at work erecting a dam, in order to go to mining as soon as the water is low enough. The great difficulty is, some places cannot be worked for want of water, others because of too much. -- About money matters, I know but little, and leave that subject to others.
Ovid Bee - August 30, 1854
On Friday last, we received another letter from our eldest sister, Mrs. Julia A. Creque, who is now a resident of California. She with her two children, Father and Mother, and youngest brother, left Trumansburg on the 3d of April last, it will be recollected. Besides these, we have three more brothers and numerous other relatives, in that far-off land. Below we give a few extracts from the letter, for the benefit of our numerous friends.
Centerville, July 28, '54
The weather for the last two weeks has been excessively hot, the Thermometer ranging from 96 to 112, in the shade. I think the heat does not prostrate a person as in your country, for we always have a strong breeze, which makes it very pleasant.
In the morning early we have no wind, but about 8 or 9 o'clock it breezes up and continues blowing from the west until the going down of the sun, then it changes and blows directly from the east. This has been the case ever since we have been here, perhaps it is not so the whole year. We have had no rain for the last six weeks, everything is dried up and covered with dust, the trees become so dry and brittle, especially the oaks, that frequently at noonday, one of their stout arms part from the trunk and drop bodily to the ground without the slightest warning sound. A day or two since father witnessed the falling of one, as large around as a half barrel. -- many instance are related where persons not knowing this have been killed -- those who understand it, generally camp out of the range of their limbs. I have never heard this spoke of but once I believe and that was by Bayard Taylor. It is very healthy up here. The air is perfectly pure. We do not feel the want of rain as much as we should for so long a time at hand. There is no dew at this season of the year. The water here is soft and warm. I would give a dime for a drink of cool water from Father Creque's well. Ice is a luxury we cannot indulge in to any great extent in this country, although in the cities they can get a little by paying very high for it; it is nothing but an aggravation to live in sight of the Siera Nevadas, whose tops are always covered with snow and ice, without being able to get any when wanted. We have a fine view of these mountains from our door. The Amansaneta berries are about ripe now and the Indians are very busy gathering their winter supply. -- Acorns are scarce this season. The Indians make their "Mahala's" (wives) do all the work, while they play around with their bows and arrows. The squaws carry all the burdens, and do all the drudgery. The Indians gather a great many grass hoppers -- they go out in the woods, or anywhere in an open space and build a kind of corral of pine boughs, leaving a small opening on one side-- then they all go back and drive them with a kind of switch towards this open space, and keep on in this way until they go into the enclosure, then they close it up and set fire to the brush, the heat burns the wings off and sometimes kills them. In this way they get bushels of them, which are prepared for winter use. Father passed by a place the other day where they were thus engaged, and saw a little "Muchocho," (as they call a boy) about two years old, running around, entirely naked. He picked up four grasshoppers and put into the child's hand, who ate them with as much relish as "Fred" would a leg of chicken. The "Mahalas" wash out all their "Oro," as they call gold dust, sometimes they get four or five dollars per day -- they "pan" it all out -- picking around in one place and another, and if they can get a chance, will steal too, out of Miner's sluce [sic] boxes. At night they always come to the store (Wm.'s) to exchange their "Oro" for "Palutu," as they call silver coin. These beings, going half naked, and but few wear any "Sombreros," as they call hats. Ask them a question, and if they cannot understand, will say, "me no Sava."
The Chinese are a curious people, they have many kinds of preserved and candied fruits, which are very nice, one kind which they call Chow Chow, is in all shapes imaginable, such as fishes, different kinds of leaves, &c.; these come in china jars of curious shape, covered over with a sort of wicker-work, of bamboo, for protection. Tracy bought a jar of the preserved ginger-root, the other day, which is very fine. They often camp close by here, and you would be much amused to see them eat with their "chop-sticks."
Mahlon and Oscar are at work on the river, about four miles from here. It requires a good deal of time and hard labor, before things can be got in readiness to take out the gold, after the water gets low enough. We have had such warm weather, the rivers have been unusually high, in consequence of the snow melting on the mountains. They have got nearly ready to take out the gold, provided there is any to take out. It is all luck and chance after all. Miners sometimes work the whole season and do not pay expenses -- then again, will take out the thousands, in a few weeks, I hope "our boys" will have a "streak of luck," this time. Tracy is at work on the same river, (South fork of the American about nine miles below here, about a mile from Mahlon's "Rancho." I hope he will do well, for he works very hard. Father and DuPuy have been mining about here in what they call the "dry diggings" -- there is no water, yet they can work a little with the rocker, but cannot do a great deal. One day last week, DePuy picked up one piece of gold worth seven dollars.
Father took an excursion up in the country, was absent one week; says he things California has hardly begun to develop her wealth yet; but the time has gone by when a person can dig it out alone as formerly. It needs money, and a company to do much now. Father, I think, cannot stand it to work, mining; he does not complain of being sick, only weak and tired. Mother's health is first rate, she has not had a sick day since she has been here. We all like the country first rate."
There was enclosed, a specimen of Chinese printing, a song, which we are desired to learn; also of writing paper, which by the fibres running through it, very much resembles a forest leaf of large dimension. We are also favored with numerous varieties of flower seeds, natives of that clime.
Ovid Bee - October 25th, 1854
We have the pleasure of perusing another letter from a sister, Mrs. Creque, in california, bearing date, Aug 27th, addressed to a sister, Mrs. Ford, now residing in Oneonta Otsego Co., expecting soon to remove to Keokuk, Iowa. -- Speaking of this circumstance, she remarks;
"We were all taken by surprise, to learn of your contemplated removal so far toward the setting sun -- had it bee east, we should not have been so much surprised for we had heard you talk of going to New York. I can't say whether it is foolish or wise, but you know I am blessed with the spirit of adventure, in such a degree that I am always ready fr a start whenever an opportunity offers, so if I was in your place I should do just as you do, go and see the beautiful west, a region whose every object wears the impress of God's image, a region where His spirit lives in the silent grandeur of its mountains, and speaks in the roar of its mighty rivers. Oneonta is very pleasant, and you are very pleasantly [sic] situated there, and it will seem strange to me to think of you in any other place.
I have no very important news to write you this time, one week after another passes along, nothing very new or wonderful takes place, two weeks ago a woman committed suicide who lived about one mile from here, her husband (whose name is Jones) was at work from home and coming home unexpectedly one night about eleven o'clock found a man by the name of Stevens "infringing upon his rights," so concluded to kick him out of doors, and his wife thought she would cut her through. She lived about one hour after, she left two children, the oldest two years, the youngest four months old -- truly, "the way of the transgressor is hard."
Mining now is very different thing from what if was in '49, it wants the combined effort of companies and a heavy capital to carry it on, to make much.
There has been some sickness among the Indians, and one of the "Mahalas" died two or three weeks ago -- when one of their number dies they burn the body, then take the ashes and mix it with the turpentine which runs out of the pine tree, until it is about as thick as tar, then the relations daub it on their foreheads, around their eyes, on their nose, and let it be until it wears off, and they are the hideous looking objects you ever saw -- after they get through with the ceremony of burning, they gather up the bones and go off some distance and dig a hole and bury them -- if it is a man they put in his blankets, bow and arrows, some acorns and various other things, and then they dance and howl and have a wonderful time -- one of their "Mahala" came here the other day all daubed up, I pointed to her face and asked her what was the matter, she said, "Muchacha dead -- Muchacha keep sick -- Muchacha ingin sick," then she tried to cry, and make a great fuss, they are great beggars, always teasing for biscuit, (any thing is biscuit with them,) "good 'amercannos' woman give ingin biscuit," I tell them no biscuit for if you give them much they will trouble you all the time, if they stay long I tell them to "vamose" and they start off, sometimes eight or ten will come at a time, I am not afraid of them.
We have had no rain for ten weeks -- most of the flowers are dried up -- but some few kinds look as fresh and blooming as in spring, they are very handsome, and some of them very fragrant, there are five or six varieties here that are gummy, if you pick them you hands are all covered with an aromatic gum.
Oscar says as you are coming so far you may as well come on overland to California, he says he will meet you at the sink of the Humboldt, and pilot you along -- how it will seem to think of you in Keokuk, I hope you will like it and enjoy good health.
Mother's health is first rate -- she likes it here, but misses the privileges of Church and society more than either one of the rest -- the weather has been cool and very pleasant for the week past. Monday afternoon, August 28 -- washing-day comes just as often in California as any where else, so we have been hard at it all the forenoon -- about eleven o'clock, David Brown a young gentleman from Newark, (perhaps you know him) and a gentleman from Philadelphia called to see us -- Mahlon did not go to the river to-day, so they are having lots of fun in the store, Mr. Brown is full of life -- we have a good many calls, but the are mostly from the gentlemen for we have but few ladies in this region, and I must give the gentlemen the credit of being as much refined and exhibiting as much politeness as any I ever met in any country."
Ovid Bee - July 18, 1855
It may be annoying to our sister in California, for us to publish her letters -- and to this may be attributable our not recieving any more the last one being dated 27th Dec., though others continue to receive frequent favors. However this maybe, her entire circle of axquiatances are so anxious and well pleased to hear from her and of the family, by a perusal of them -- we must be indulged in a few extracts from a recent one addressed to an Aunt in Trumansburg. It bears date May 28-9, and was received some three weeks since:
"We are having beautiful weather 'about these days' -- everything looks fins and flourishing, all kinds of vegetables are plenty and have been for the last four weeks, and are as nice as you ever saw. New potatoes are as large as goose eggs. We have plenty of pie-plant for pies and I can't tell you all the 'goodies.' I often laugh to think what an idea I used to have of this country -- we can get everything here we wish, have to pay more for it than you do, but every year everything is more plenty and much cheaper. Our folds are left alone for a while. Oscar and two gentlemen, friends of his, started for the mountains last Friday, to stay until the ditch is completed which will bring water in here. The trouble in this place, is the scarcity of water for mining purposes in summer time. He has gone to a place called Antoine -- (pronounced Antwine.) It is about sixty miles from here, on the Emigrant road -- called the 'Truckee route.' Mahlon and Tracy are at Long Bar on the North fork of the American River. They are working surface dirt now, for the water is yet too high to work in the bed of the river. -- They make but little now over and above expenses. De Puy is at Georgetown, at work in a printing office. He gets sixty dollars per month and board.
Mother's health is first rate. She has never been sick one day since she has been in the country. She can walk of a mile and it doesn't hurt her at all. How much better it is than to be confined to the house and bed month after month as she used to be in the States.
It has been pretty hard times about here this winter, for California, on account of having so little rain. There is plenty of gold here but it can't be got at for want of water. I hope when the ditch is completed we shall all dig out as much gold as we can carry. I'll remember you when that time comes.
Father, Mother, Myself and 'yonkers' went to Cave Valley last Thursday to visit Mr. Farnsworth's family. It is about four miles above here. They have all kinds of fruit trees growing. We went in the Cave and had a fine time. Friday went on Pilot Hill -- had one of the finest views from it I ever beheld. We went to the Indians' Camp and saw them cook. The make a large fire out-side their 'wigwams' and put in it a great many stones about a large as a pint basin. Then the stir up flour in cold water just as we do to make paste, using water proof baskets for this purpose, holding nearly a bushel. When the stones get red hot, they take them from the fire and throw them in the baskets of flour and water until it boils. As soon as it gets cool enough, they all get around these baskets and dip in all their fingers close up to the hand, then put it in their mouths and lick it off, then back into the basket again, so keep on till the get enough. they sit on the ground, some of them have on clothes, others none: their hair in front is cut straight off and hangs down over their foreheads, and just comes to the top of their eye-brows; the rest of if is longer and hangs loose on their shoulders. They are as 'filthy and lousy' as they can be. They often call at our house -- sometimes a dozen at a time. I am not at all afraid of them. Fred and Sophronia will tell them to 'vamose' and off they go. They are always begging. As soon as they come in, it is 'Mahala' give 'Ingin biscuit, "Mahala' give 'Ingin' dress. I give them something sometimes, not always; the more one gives, the more they want, and they don't know more how to take care of anything they have, than pigs. I wish you could see them go by once, as we do, carrying their pappooses and baskets. I guess you would laugh -- but enough about the 'Digger Indians.'
Sophronia's health is first rate. Fred grows like a weed."
This must suffice for the present. The extracts are taken from detached portions of a long letter, just as they were written in a familiar, friendly way, to a relative. We have no excuse to render for the liberty take, only the gratification of a host of her acquintances.
Ovid Bee - August 1, 1855
Our sister has again favored us. Her letter bears date, Centerville, June 27, '55 mailed the 28th and reached here on Saturday last (28th Ult.) just one month on its passage. Almost the first thing that met our eye upon opening it, written in prominent characters, was "don't stick this in the Bee." We will not, only a few extracts. She says, after speaking in a familiar manner of family matters:
"The past year has been a peculiar one as it regards money matters in California. There was so little rain last winter, but little gold, comparatively, was taken out.
Father has a good claim close by in which he thinks is deposited his "pile" and all it wants is plenty of water and some hard labor to get it. He works hard and grows old very fast.
He has partly enclosed a Rancho called the "Buena Vista." It is good land, very well watered and timbered, and very pleasent. It joins William's "Rancho." We brought Peach pits with us, and they are all growing finely. Father has two hundred and ten trees, thinks he will sell over half of them this Fall as they bring a very good price here.
Mahlon and Tracy are at work on Long Bar, on the north fork of the American River, one mile from Mahlon's "Rancho." Since we have been here, all our boys have been rather unfortunate in their mining operations, i.e. have only made expenses. Now they are beginning to take out something more, are doing well. They think they have not yet reached their best paying dirt, Tracy was at home one week ago, in fine spirits and very much encouraged. Oscar has gone further up the mountains, with the intention of mining. He has been gone five weeks, have not heard from him. De Puy is still at Georgetown. He likes living there, is doing well, am glad of it -- grows like a weed and is a fine looking 'boy.' William is very busy drawing in hay to-day. The "Rancheroes" are nearly or quite through haying and harvesting. The Indians are busy too, gathering their harvest of grasshoppers. -- Yesterday they built a "corrol" on the hill opposite our house and had a great time burning off their wings and picking them up; many times they not only get their wings scorched, but become completely roasted. This morning Father and Fred went over to their "Corrol" and picked up large numbers which the Mahalas had left. The chickens had fine times eating them. The little "Muchachas" eat them as fast and with a much relish as you do your ox-heart cherries, "about these days." -- Last Sunday evening there was a Chinese performance in town, the first of any kind we have had on Sunday evening since we have been here. Just before dark they came out and gave us a specimen of their music. Get half a dozen coarse and fine combs and wrap a paper around them, then toot on them with all your might, and you will have a good music as they. The Celestials are a curious people. I am acquainted with many of them and like them very well. It is a great curiosity to visit their stores and restaurants. We have very warm weather now. Last Friday the thermometer stood 124. Our hose is large and airy but all the place we could find which was in any way comfortable, was to take our work and sit in the cellar. We have one advantage, however, in always having a fine breeze, and no matter how hot the day is, the nights are always cool; a person does not feel that languor in the morning here, as in the States. I came home on Thursday last from a visit to Salmon Falls, in or rather on the Stage. Many of the Stages in this coutry have seats nicely fitted up on the top, with an Iron railling around, and the lady passengers mostly ride there. It is much more pleasant than the inside, on account of the dust, and not so warm. The day I came up there was fifteen passengers and all the ladies took seats on top. I presume your ladies would think they were making quite a conspicuous appearance riding through Ovid on top of the Stage.
Sophronia's health is very good -- she is quite fleshy. Mother sends you two little specimens of gold, also two kinds of seeds, one of the native clover, the other a rare kind of flower. Her health is first rate. I think she has not been as well in ten years as now. This climate agrees with her.
Fred is as fat as ever, and a perfect picture of health.
William says, 'tell Corydon there will be warm times here about Election time, between the Know Nothings and the 'rest of mankind.'' All send love and wish to be remembered to old friends and acquaintances."
Ovid Bee - October 24, 1855
In the absence of anything later from 'our folks' in California, we give below, extracts from a letter under date of Aug. 13 addressed to a relative in Otsego county, by our eldest sister, Mrs. Julia A. Creque, and very kindly furnished us for publication. We have been much disappointed in not receiving something direct from them by the two last California mails;
Since I last wrote you, I have been on a visit to Georgetown. At Mokelumne Hill about haf a mile from Georgetown, there are extensive mining claims, all of which have to be worked by tunnelling in the hill; some go in fifteen hudred feet in a horizontal direction and from two to three hundred feet from the surface. This company expended fifteen thousand dollars before they took out anything. Now they often take out a thousand dollars worth of gold per day. There are about thirty tunnels in this hill, all of which are, or have been, very rich. -- When any of the campany are present they always give the ladies who visit them a pan of dirt to wash, and let them have all the gold it contains, and they often get seventy-five or one hundred dollars to the pan. Unfortunately none of the proprietors were there that morning and having forbidden their workmen giving any dirt in their absence, I did not get a pan; they told me however, I could pick up all the gold I could see, so I picked up four dollars worth. It is rather a 'pakerish' place to work in there. They work night and day, and work by candle-light, 'of course' you will say. Georgetown is a beautiful place, said to be the prettiest mining town in California. A person visiting it and seeing the amount of business going on, the beauty, and I can almost say splendor of its dwellings, the beauty of its scenery, its churches and school houses, and the refinement of its inhabitants can harley reallize they are in the mines of California. While there I picked some of the native nutmeg of this country. They are about the size of the East India nutmeg. They grow on a bush about the size of a quince bush, the leaves of which resemble those of the fir of your country. De Puy is still at work in the pirnting office in Georgetown. He likes it there very much. His health is good. When I returned I found our cousins Eugene and Myron Angel here. They have never before visited us since we have been in the country. They have been 'ranching' at Hamilton, Butte county, have sold their 'rancho' and gone to mining on Long Bar where my brothers are, Oscar having come down from the mountains, and all are at work there now. It is eight or nine miles from here and they come up once in two or three weeks and spend the Sabbath with us.
Have not heard how the cousins are getting along in their mining operations, as they had not been at it long enough when here to know how good their claim would prove. I heard from Tracy the other day and he took out fifty dollars the last week besides his expenses. I did not hear how well the rest had done. Mahlon has fifty eight Chinamen at work for him. I do hope they will all do well, for they work very hard. Mother's health is better than it ever has been since I can remember. -- Coming to this country has been a great benefit to her. It is certainly the most healthy country I ever lived in, at least this part of it is. There is no one sick about here, and there had been only two deaths in this vicinity since we came here. Father's health is good, yet he is growing old fast.
He is very busy now superintending the building of his new house, which is being building of his new house, which is being built close to ours, not large but comfortable and convenient for them.
Every thing is changing for the better very fast, in this country. I always liked the country and the longer I live here, the better I like it. I work hard, I always did, but here can earn something. I need not work as I do, but as long as I can get three dollars per dozen for washing and twenty-five cents for hemming a handkerchief I cannot permit such opportunities to pass by unimproved. Do you blame me, cos? Wouldn't you like to earn ten or twelve dollars per week, besides doing you own work? I think I hear you say, 'Yes, I would." William is busy drawing lumber preparatory to putting up a store opposite our house, this fall. If he has a good opportunity to rent it, he will do so, if not, will fill it with goods himself. His health is very good, so is Sophy's better than it used to be at home. The nerves of her right arm and hand are a little affected times.
It is very dry and dusty here now, have not had rain for over three monthsl We have had some extremely warm weather this summer, but always have a fine breeze and the air so very pure. Cousin it is certainly one of the finest climates in the world! I know you would like it. We can have everything here heart can wish except it be that large quantity of fruit which abounds in the 'States.'"
The letter is dated 'Centerville.' The address is 'Pilot Hill, El Dorado Co.' -- We have made these few random extracts from sister's letter, in order to gratify her numerous friends here, as well as those of the entire family. We hope to be pardoned for the liberty taken with a letter not intended to be made public.
Ovid Bee - January 21, 1856
We have a letter before us, from our eldest sister and youngest brother, dated Dec. 2d, received by last mail from the "Land of Gold," where the larger portion of our family are now residing. Speaking of their village, Centerville, sister says: - "Our little town is growing very fast. - When we came here, there was but six or seven ladies, now there is over twenty within half a mile. There are over thirty new building now being put up. We have five stores. The rain holds off remarkable, We have had only two or three showers since last May. There was over five months we did not have a drop. - What would you think of such a 'spell of weather'?"
[Well, sister, individually, we should think it had very much the appearance of a drought!]
'But, Corydon, this is the country - the finest climate in the world. I say now as I have said before, I would not return to the 'States' if a person would pay my passage."
We are pleased to learn that the entire family continue in good health.
Ovid Bee - March 5, 1856
For several months we have received a paper from California, called the "North Californian," printed in Oroville, Butte Co., by Charles G. Lincoln, in the 10th number of which, received last Friday, dated Jan. 19, we find the following announcement: --
"Our readers will perceive by reference to our first page, that we have disposed of a part of the establishment of the North Californian to Messrs. Fairchild & Evans; and the business will hereafter be carried on in the name of Lincoln & Co." -- And on turning to the first page as indicated, find the names of our brother Oscar L. C., and Wm Evans, both of whom, perhaps, it may be remembered, have worked in this office, the latter in 1853, of whose whereabouts we are pleased to learn. They are both enterprising young men, and better printers are rarely found, which no doubt accounts for the neat appearance of the "Californian." They have our best wishes for their abundant success.
Ovid Bee - August 19, 1857
We received, by the last mail from California, a very interesting letter from our youngest brother, J. DePuy. He is an employee in the office of the Sierra Democrat formerly published at "Forest City," and lately removed to Downieville, the county seat of Sierra County. He says: "Downieville is situated at the junction of the North and South forks of the North Fork of the Yuba River, and is one of the finest places in the mountains. There are a large number of families (for a town in California) here, and many very pretty residences; in fact, it wears more the appearance of villages in the Atlantic States than any place in which I have been in California.
We have been having two or three days of rainy weather that would do credit to any of the "rainy seasons." It is an occurrence that is hardly met with in California, to have such hard rains in June or July, and I think the first since the discovery of gold here.
The politicians are having a warm time of it here at present, The Democratic County Convention is in session at this place, and there is a good deal of log-rolling and wire-pulling going on."
[It seems that the same usages of "Log-rolling" and "wire-pulling" in political parties, obtains there as here. - Ed. Bee]
Ovid Bee - October 7, 1857
By the last California mail, which arrived in New York on Sunday and here yesterday, we received a letter from our brother J. DePuy Fairchild, dated Downieville, Aug. 30th., from which we make the following extracts:
"It has been very unhealthy in this section for the past two months, and in fact all over the State there is a great complaint on account of sickness. The disease seems to be an epidemic influenza, although in a mild form.
I believe I told you, the Downieville was situated at the junction of the East and North Fork of the Yuba, and the county seat of Sierra County. It is one of the prettiest towns in the mountains, and one street in particular. (Commercial St.) reminds me more of places in which I have lived in the Empire State, than any spot I have before seen in California. The street is nicely laid out, straight and wide, and built up with handsome private residences, surrounded by pretty gardens filled with flowers and thrifty looking vegetables, &c, peculiar to a family garden. It is indeed refreshing to take a stroll through it in the evening after the sun has gone down and the heat of the day is past, or early in the morning before the sun as become so very warm. I frequently rise in the morning before the sun and take a walk of a mile before breakfast just for the healthful exercise it affords.
The rivers above, below, and at this place, have been almost fabulously rich, and, indeed, are rich now in places, but have been worked a great deal and of course what is taken out isn't there now. In early times gold was found in such quantities that companies used steel-yards for weighing it, instead of gold scales. The principal part of the mining in this county now, however, is in the hills, which are worked by tunnels and shafts at a great expense often costing $30,000 and $40,000 before a "prospect: is obtained, and then frequently the miner is disappointed by his "claims" proving to be worthless. When they do "strike it," however, they generally get it "big," and are thus induced to keep trying with the hope that they will be more fortunate next time. Monte Christo, St. Louis, Eureka City, Pine Grove, Rabbitt Creek, Gibsonville, Port Wine, Poker Flat and Brandy City are the principle mining towns north of here, and Forest City, Alleghanytown, Smith's Flat, Chips; Flat and Minnesota, south.
I have become acquainted with a young man who formerly lived in Ovid, by the name of Jacobus, who is stopping on a ranch about a mile and a half from here. - John Bonner is at work in the river at Cox's Bar about two miles below here. - I have not seen him since the 4th of July, and do not know how he is doing. Charley Jones is still stopping at Alleghanytown. Charley was unfortunate this Spring; they struck quite a large stream of water in their diggings which completely flooded them out and they were obliged to run a drain tunnel which is not yet completed.
I bought some peaches off a wagon today at 37 1/2 cts. per pound, and apples at three for 25 cts. I suppose you would think that rather high, but it's cheap in comparison to what the fruit-dealers charge when the wagons are not in town."
Ovid Bee - May 6, 1857
We received by the last Steamer a letter from our youngest Brother, a lad of 19 years, who formerly worked in this office and with us took the initiatory steps in the "Art preservation of Arts," who is now in California, employed in the "Sierra Democrat" Office, at Forest City, near where our friends "Charley" Jones and "Rube" Denton, from this village are located. As the letter contains items of interest generally, we conclude to give it a place in our columns, nearly entire.
Forest City, Sierra Co.,
March 29, 1857
I am at present working in this place, in a printing office; the same establishment in which I worked in Georgetown, under a new name and a change of politics. I have been here about two months. When I first arrived here the snow was lying on the ground to the depth of four or five feet on a level. The streets were so blocked up with snow from the house-tops that several tunnels were driven across Main street, under the snow, to facilitate crossing, this is the first winter since I have been in this country that I have had the luck to get so high up in the Mountains, and I hope it is the last. It makes me homesick every time I read the accounts of the pleasant weather they are now enjoying in the valleys and along up in the foot-hills. There the grass is now up green, the flowers are in blossom, and in fact Spring far advanced; here everything is looking dreary, the ground covered with snow, and no prospect of its going off for a month or two. - Eight or nine miles below here, there is scarcely any snow, and sixteen or eighteen miles snow never (or seldom) falls.
This place is situated in one of the richest mining sections in the State. The mining is mostly hill or tunnel diggings, I was in a tunnel about a month since to the distance of 1700 feet. The gravel in which the gold is found is full of smooth, large boulders, logs of wood, &c., presenting the appearance, and undoubtedly is the bed of an old stream which was in existence in days gone by. In some instances the dirt found in the "old channels," is very rich, yielding sometimes as high as from five to eight hundred dollars to the pan: but I do not wish you to think, by any means, that these cases are common, because they are not. there are plenty of men in this country who would be glad to get back to their homes in the Atlantic States if they only had the where-with to do so.
In running tunnels, for the purpose of "prospecting" the hills, a great amount of capital and labor has to be expended before anything is received in return and then the chances are four to one if it isn't a failure altogether. I know of instances where companies have expended $40,000 or $50,000 in a single tunnel and never received the first iota of benefit therefrom; in other cases with an expenditure of that amount, and even a great deal less, the richest kind of diggings have been struck.
Crime is becoming prevalent to an alarming degree in this State. Hardly a day passes without some atrocious deed being committed in some part of the country. The daily papers are filled with the accounts of horrible murders, daring robberies, &c., committed all over the State. Last summer a great excitement was created by the many murders and daring robberies committed by a band of desperadoes under the command of the notorious Tom Bell, who earned for himself a name and a hempen cord. He was caught last Fall and hung without a trial.
I chanced to run across your old friend Charley Jones soon after my coming here. I hardly recognized, in the "honest miner," the rollicking young buck I used to see in Ovid. According to all accounts Charley has some first rate diggings - paying big. Mr. Jones is Justice of the Peace for this district; he resides at a place called Alleghanytown, about 1 1/2 miles from here. From him I have had the load of several numbers of the "Bee." By the last number I see you have been enlarging and making other material improvements to your paper, which adds greatly to its looks.
I have not heard from our folks lately. When I was at Georgetown I sent several Nos. of the "News" to you and never received a single paper from you, and so I "dried up," just as I will now, unless you send me the Bee.
Ovid Bee - September 9, 1857
The same mail brought us a letter of peculiar interest from our sister Julia, (Mrs. Creque.) The continued good health of the entire family connexion [sic] numbering twelve persons, is a source of great satisfaction to us. She speaks of her husband having recently seen Mr. James Ellis and wife, who was a Miss Covert, daughter of Mr. A. B. Covert of near Farmersville in this county, from whom she expects a visit soon. Also of Dr. Wm. S Livingston, formerly of Townsendville, a warm personal friend who frequently visits at her residence.
In one place she says: "Father was at Sacaramento City a few day since, and called at Mr. Culver's store, who was formerly of Ithaca, to see Mathew Simmons, formerly of Trumansburg. Mathew is very steady and owns a fine brick building in the city. Richard Culver owns a Steam saw mill near Placerville the boiler of which was blown up a few days since."
Speaking of our father sister says, "He is growing old; yesterday, Aug 1st, he was aged 66 years:" and then very feelingly adds: "he has always been and still is one of the best and kindest of fathers and I am glad that it is in my power to be where he is and to do all I can to tender his declining years pleasant and happy."
Speaking of our mother she continues: "Mother's health is good, she has not changed much in any respect since you saw her, (now three and a half years.) She is as industrious as ever (only we do not have any knitting-work in this country.) keeps her house as neat as ever, her yard full of flowers, both native and foreign, is up before sunrise and in bed as soon as the chickens: (almost)"
Again the letter continues: -- "Father's peaches are not yet ripe, but we have plenty in market, ours will be ripe in two weeks, we have only a few, on our trees, but father has two hundred and seven trees loaded with fruit. It does not seem possible they are only two years from the pit: -- Peaches are selling much cheaper this year than last. We can get plenty for two bits per pound. It is generally believed father will sell more than a thousand dollars worth this year."
Of our brothers, she continues: -- "Mahlon is on the river where he was last year (north fork of the American.) -- his has fifty or sixty "celestials" at work for him they have just commenced mining a day or two ago, so they have not taken out much yet, it takes some time to get fairly at it, Oscar is on the Rancho -- they are turning their attention to the raising of stock, which is good business in this country, Tracy is about two miles from where Mahlon is also mining -- like the rest, only just commenced. -- they still own their claims at San Juan, where they are running a tunnel -- they have a set of men employed who alternately work night and day, and only get from two to three feet per week, at a cost of sixty dollars per foot. It is over a year since they commenced, and it will take a year at least yet before they can get in.-- The claims are very rich when they are opened. DePuy is still at Downieville."
Let the above suffice--and our only excuse in thus troubling the readers of the Bee with these extracts, is, because there are so many acquaintances in this country, making constant inquires about them, this is deemed the best and shortest method to answer all who are interested. We trust therefore, this may be deemed a sufficient reason.
The Ovid Bee, March 17, 1858
We cannot well refrain, though at the expense of incurring the displeasure of the writers, giving publicity to two letters, or extracts from them, received by the last mail but one. The first is from a daughter of Mr. Abram B. Covert, residing in the east part of this town, who by some it will be remembered left home something over a year ago, to meet her intended and future husband, Mr. James Ellis, and on her arrival in San Francisco was married to the object of her choice – by proxy – if we remember aright, to wit: by Rev. B. Bassler, of Farmerville. But to the letters, and then the scolding we will get:
Diamond Springs, Jan. 15, ’58
Dear Sir – One year ago today, I bade adieu to home and friends, to come to the “land of gold,” and unite my destiny with one with whom I have been ever happy. The day previous to my departure, I saw my Uncle and Aunt Warne, who informed me you were desirous we should visit your friends at Centerville: and now, having doing so, I fell duty bound to give you a brief description of our truly delightful visit. We left home the morning of January 2d, mercury standing 52[degrees]. The roads were fine, a little dusty, yet not to annoy us. We passed through several little mountain towns which are very prosperous. We took dinner at Coloma, a village about the size of Ovid. Mr. Ellis pointed out to me the place where the first gold was discovered in California. Also, where he saw four men hung in ’55. It is a thriving, busy town, a great deal of mining work is being carried on there, We crossed the south fork of the American river on a beautiful bridge, paid One Dollar, toll – continued wending our way through the mountains, until we arrived at Centerville, a busy little town beautifully located. – Found the friends all well, and felt perfectly at home, for by reputation I have known them all since my arrival in California, Mr. Ellis having just returned from there –(where he had been to see a particular friend, Mr. David Brown, die, at your sister’s, where, by the way she told me, two other young men had died.) when he met me at San Francisco. They live in a beautiful place, a large well finished house, and handsomely furnished. Mr. Creque was very busy getting his grain in the ground, and we did not see him until tea time. – Mrs. Creque and Sophronia commenced getting tea, but every few moments thought of some question to ask, which of course must not be delayed, and I will confess I, for once, found my match for talking being acquainted with so many of their friends. But I enjoyed it very much. After tea a few of the neighbors came in, among whom was your Dear Mother, who was recognized by all, as Grandma. She is the first person I have heard called by that name in California, and well might I fall in love with her. She does not look older than 50, and is as gay and lively as the youngest. None join in the merry laugh more heartily than she. Mr. Creque has a few boarders who are very pleasant, and as a part of the family, In the evening, we had Piano, Guitar, Banjo, Accordeon, and Vocal Music. Could you have been a listener, you doubtess would have enjoyed it far better than when you “truant” like, sat in your carriage, one bright moon light evening, in the road front of Father’s residence and heard sister and I sing, which I never knew until your Mother told me, she was with you.
Mrs. Creque assisted her daughter in singing several pieces, and while watching them I could not but thing “what fit companions.” The Mother is as gay and lively as the daughter.
Little Freddie must not be forgotten. – He is a beautiful, bright, “curly headed” little fellow, and the pet of the household, and I should judge, of “Santa Claus” too, by the looks of this “Christmas tree.”
The next day was Sabbath, bright and pleasant. There being no church, we read, talked, &c., until after dinner, when we took a ramble to the summit of Pilot Peak – named by Col. Fremont – where we had a delightful view of the surrounding country. It was a little smoke, yet we could see the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, towing far above many others, and Mount Diablo, also a Steamer on the Sacramento River and one on Feather River. We got some fine specimens of rock. Lava, &C., and I could not but wish all our friends cound see the wild beauties of California, and knew how we enjoyed them, and how happy we were. Wend back, had tea, then spent the evening at your Father’s. He is well and hearty, they really enjoy themselves. He has some of the finest fruit trees we have seen, We saw but one of your brothers, Mahlon. He had shot a Cayota the day before and brought it home which, was something new to me.
Well, the best of friends must part, so we started home the next forenoon, had a fine ride. At Gold Hill saw a Wild Cat, chained; the first I had ever seen. Took dinner again at Coloma, and then came by the way of Diamond, where we receive from the Post Office our Ovid Bee, and other papers from “loved ones at home.” Came home, found everything in order. Elon Dunlap, was house keeper, He is teaching in El Dorado and boards with us. His health is very good, and he is a very consciencious [sic] person, does just as he would wish to be done by, or he would not get up first in the morning, make the fires and milk the cow. Had a letter a few days since from D. Smalley – he is well, and ranching extensively. C.F. Irwin, Esq. And family, are particular friends of ours. – He is doing a good business—has married three couple within two weeks. I have not time to tell you about my home, but suffice it to say, I have not been a moment homesick, and feel perfectly contented, yet ready to return when Mr. Ellis is. He joins me in kind regards to your family and friends. Fearing I have already trespassed too long upon your patience, I will close, and subscribe myself
Yours with due respect,
The other letter referred to, is from our sister, Mrs. Creque, a few extracts from which, in connection with the above, will not be uninteresting or amiss. In speaking of Mr. And Mrs. Ellis, she says:
“We had a fine visit a few days since from them. They live eightteen [sic] miles from us – came over on Saturday and returned Monday,. We had everything to talk about, all the news to tell we could think of, sung all the old songs as well as new – talked about you all, wished you were here to visit with us – went on Pilot Hill, saw the Steamboat on the Sacamento and Feather Rivers, forty miles distant, picked up many very pretty specimens of quarts and curious stones which had evidently passed through a fiery ordeal, perhaps centuries ago, saw the snow-capped Sierras, almost as far as the eye could reach – looked toward the East and thought how many, many miles intervened between us and the “loved ones at home,” wondered if we should ever be permitted to see each other’s faces again. A thousand pleasant memories were awakened, not unmingled with sadness, for we remembered the loved and lost, for associated with them are some of our brightest memories.
“We have had a good deal of company within the last year, of those we used to know at home, and we do enjoy their society very much. Society in Sacramento city is as good as in any city in New York State, and we who live in the mining towns live just as comfortable and have everything just as much as you do in Ovid with the exception of schools and churches. – We have a school and Sabbath school here part of the time, and occasionally preaching by the Methodists. In larger places they have churches and preaching regularly. There has not been rain enough yet for mining purposes, until within the last few days. It is raining hard this evening, so I hope the “honest miners” will have no longer cause for complaining.”
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