Title:Christopher Toole letters: San Francisco, California, to Albert Ebenezer Powers, Lansingburgh, New York, 1849-1851
Creator/Contributor:Toole, Christopher, 1824?-, creator, correspondent.
Creator/Contributor:Powers, Albert Ebenezer, 1816-1910, correspondent.
Three handwritten letters from a man to his friend at home back East.
Details his difficult journey from Panama to San Francisco aboard the Steamship California, and his assessment of finding
work in San Francisco where there is often sickness and men are willing to "sell there [sic] tooles [sic] and Cloths to get
money to take them home," and the miners have "very bad" health while their "success [is] very poor." Toole plans to stay
in San Francisco as a carpenter, which he deems a lucrative profession to accrue "anough [sic]...money to take me home in
Case of anything should happen," and go to the mines in 10 months' time. He also complains of the price of provisions and
board in San Francisco, and mentions the recent hanging of "5 american seamen...for throwing a young lieutenant overboard
Toole is still working as a carpenter in San Francisco. He describes the recent weather which remained wet from November to
February. When February became "So warm that flannel began feel uncomfortable," there was "Such rush for the mines you never
see in your life." This warm February led to a cold and wet March, forcing many miners back into Sacramento and San Francisco
which raised rents and caused many men "that had $5 to by [sic] a Saw and hammer turned carpenter. " The business of the carpenter
is not proving as profitable as previously, however, due to the abundance of lumber, completed buildings, and able workers.
Toole asserts that there are no carpenter shops, and those who "cant work in the Street...dont work at all." He ends by mentioning
an upcoming council election, and the number of gambling houses in the area.
Describes Toole's journey east of San Francisco is search of finding a claim to mine. He says that there are still places
where the returns are high, but decides not to invest because of the large sum needed to get a definitely profitable claim.
He also details the grave of an Indian woman who is "drest [sic] in her richest costum [sic] with all her julry [sic] and
other orniments [sic] about her feet and legs as far up as the knees." He then explains the current state of lumber prices,
and the new trend of making buildings of brick because of the "Worms has eating all the piles of [lumber] in the bay an the
houses is all tumbling Down." Toole also informs Powers of the "reign of terror that we have passed thrue [sic]," in reference
to the 1851 San Francisco Vigilance Committee, but says that "the great trouble is with the indians but....the fault is not
with indians it is with the whites."
Toole, Christopher -- 1824?- -- Correspondence
Powers, Albert Ebenezer -- 1816-1910 -- Correspondence
San Francisco Committee of Vigilance of 1851.
Voyages to the Pacific coast
Gold mines and mining -- California
Gold miners -- California
Indians of North America -- Funeral customs and rites -- California
Whites -- California -- Relations with Indians
Carpenters -- California -- San Francisco
San Francisco (Calif.) -- Description and travel
California -- Gold discoveries
Christopher Toole letters : San Francisco, California, to Albert Ebenezer Powers, 1849-1851, BANC MSS 2015/19, The Bancroft
Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Purchase; from Ken Harrison Western Americana; 20150504.
BANC MSS 2015/19