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Monroe (William and Mary) Correspondence
MS Vault 173  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
William Monroe (1818-1908) was a Wisconsin doctor who went to California during the Gold Rush, where he worked as a gold miner and physician. The collection contains fourteen letters, dated 1850-1851, mostly exchanged between William Monroe and his wife Mary Monroe (1822-1903). Letters written by William Monroe to his wife document his overland journey from Mineral Point, Wisconsin, to California (April-August 1850); and his experiences and observations as a gold miner and physician in California's gold region, specifically in Hangtown (Placerville), Sacramento, Tolles New Diggings, and Quartzville (August 1850-December 1851). Letters from Mary Monroe illuminate the experience of a woman who served as the head of household back home while her husband sought his fortune in California, and her struggles to manage the family farm and household while grieving the death of her seven-year-old child, John Monroe.
Background
William Monroe (1818-1908) was a Wisconsin doctor who went to California during the Gold Rush, where he worked as a gold miner and physician. Born on July 30, 1818, in Ohio, William moved with his mother, sister, and stepfather Dr. John Loofbourow, to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, in 1831. He engaged in lead mining near Mineral Point while reading for the medical profession, commencing his medical practice in Fayette, Wisconsin, in 1844. He married Mary Jane Monroe née Beebe (1822-1903) in 1841; they had ten children, four of whom survived to adulthood. In 1850, William left Wisconsin for California with a party from Mineral Point that included his brother-in-law Robert Gray, leaving behind his wife Mary and two children, John and Harriet. Between 1850 and 1851, William worked as a gold miner and physician in California, while Mary ran the family farm and household in Fayette.
Extent
2 folders
Restrictions
Materials in this collection, which were created in 1850-1851, are in the public domain in the United States. Permission to publish or reproduce is not required.
Availability
Collection is open for research. Researchers are encouraged to use facsimiles stored in folder 2.