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Riggin/Pettyjohn Family Papers: Finding Aid
mssHM 27960-27963, mssHM 63287-63326  
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This collection chiefly contains correspondence of the Pettyjohn family and correspondence between tavern owner James C. Riggin in Yuba County, California, and his wife, Rebeca Jane Pettyjohn. The letters tell of the journey to California along the Oregon Trail, and discuss, in detail, Fort Kearny; Fort Laramie; Fort Des Moines and Keokuk, Iowa; and Sacramento and Yuba County, California. The letters also describe life in a California gold mining town including gold discoveries, prices of supplies, and rumors of murders in the area.
James C. Riggin and Rebeca Jane Pettyjohn were married in March 1849. James, along with some friends and relatives, left Missouri for California in May 1850; his wife Rebeca and their infant daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, remained at home. Riggin briefly attempted mining but eventually ended up running a tavern and boarding house in the gold camp Oregon House in Yuba County. By the time he left California to return to Missouri in the fall of 1851, he had enough money saved up to build a new house for his wife and child. Riggin, who later became Sheriff of Andrew County, Missouri, died in 1858. Rebeca’s brothers, William, Washington, and Columbus Pettyjohn also came to California to mine gold.
114 items.
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