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Richmond, Cyrus C. Papers, 1812-1903, inclusive; 1859-1851, bulk
MANUSCRIPT SMCII Box 13 Folders 3-4
Collection Overview


Papers, 1812-1903, inclusive; 1859-1851, bulk: Gold rush letters, 1859-1851, bulk
Gold rush letters, 1849-1851
Cyrus C. Richmond gold rush letters, 1849-1851


Richmond, Cyrus C., 1825-1852, creator


Six letters that relate to Cyrus Richmond's business dealings in California. Three letters are from Richmond to his family back in Maine. The first, dated June 3, 1849 details his early impressions of life in San Francisco and the impact of the gold mining boom. He talks of the inflated prices in real estate and speculates on the year to come: "Out of the whole fleet which has sailed from the States say between 4 & 500 vessels not more than 12 or 15 have as yet arrived. The rest are to come loaded down with merchandise for this 'California market' There will [be] more fortunes lost in California this year than made." Later letters discuss the growth of his business and his desire to move into a more secure building, an achievement documented in a letter on his business letterhead dated November 30th 1851: "My dear mother at last I feel contented I have now got a fine brick store in Montgomery St. Mr. Daugny the man who owns it has fitted it up in splendid style and tis really one of the finest stores in the city and perfectly Fire Proof."
Cyrus' wife Fannie writes to Cyrus' mother on May 12, 1851, describing their trip to California via Panama which she enjoyed. They arrive in San Francisco just in time to experience one of the periodic fires of the era (May 3rd). She gives her impressions of life in the growing city, including a note about the availability of goods and prices: "Bonnets which could have been bought in the States last autumn for fifty cents, here, with a little trimming on them, are sold for twenty dollars. But, of course, every thing has increased ten-fold in value since the fire."
The two remaining letters are addressed to Cyrus' brother, Arnold, and written by two family friends who have been visiting in San Francisco and, evidently, requested to report on Cyrus' business prospects. In 1850, James W. Sayward writes: "I find your brother in good health and spirits and up to his eyes in business. He has plenty of money they all say as near as I can find out he is worth about 75,000 ..." (Cyrus appends a note disputing this: "And now Brother I would not have you think of me as worth much anyway. I have done well and hope this summer to do better but let me impress upon your mind that no one in California knows how much he is worth until he has settled all up and got the dust in his hand.") The second letter from B.W. Sawyer is dated Dec. 18, 1851 and reports on the new "fire proof" building and concludes with philosophical musings about the future of the state of California.
Also in the collection are some family papers, including a copy of a will written by Cyrus in 1852 and one written by his sister-in-law, Narcissa, in 1897, and five documents relating to the military career of Leonard Richmond ca. 1812-1822.


1812 (issued)


Folder 3: Gold rush letters, 1849-1851. -- Folder 4: Documents, 1812-1903.


Richmond, Cyrus C -- 1825-1852 -- Correspondence
Merchants -- California -- San Francisco -- Correspondence
San Francisco (Calif.) -- History
Voyages to the Pacific coast


Cyrus C. Richmond was born on July 14th, 1825 in Turner, Maine; he was the third son of Capt. Leonard Richmond and his wife, Nancy. In 1849 Cyrus arrived in San Francisco to establish himself as a druggist and commission merchant. He quickly became prosperous and the firm of Richmond and Co. was an early success story in San Francisco commerce. In 1850 Cyrus married Mary Frances (Fannie) Dwight and they sailed via the Panama route to take up residence in San Francisco. On June 1, 1852, Cyrus died "suddenly" at the age of 27 -- a victim of typhoid fever. He is buried in Yerba Buena Cemetery in San Francisco (grave no. 1801). His obituary in the Alta on June 3, 1852, said: "His death, sudden and unexpected, has cast a gloom over a large circle of acquaintances and friends. Being among the pioneers in the settlement and building up of our infant city, his sudden demise will be felt throughout our mercantile community and fall heavily on his amiable wife, now absent on a visit to her friends in the east."
Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.
Cyrus C. Richmond gold rush letters, 1849-1851.



Physical Description:

17 items




MANUSCRIPT SMCII Box 13 Folders 3-4



Copyright Note:

Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.