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Belcher family correspondence, 1849-1870.
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Belcher family correspondence, 1849-1870


Belcher (Family), creator, correspondent.


Belcher, Flavel, 1817?-, correspondent.


Belcher, Galitzen, 1822-1870, correspondent.


Belcher, Horatio, 1816-1864, correspondent.


Belcher, Joseph, 1794-1868, correspondent.


Belcher, Maryette, correspondent.


Valentine (Family), correspondent.


Valentine, Lucy, correspondent.


Valentine, P. G., correspondent..


Valentine, Whiting, correspondent.


Edwards, Elizabeth B., correspondent..


Edwards, Farrar, -1858, correspondent..


Contains fifty-nine handwritten letters, mostly between sibling members of the Joseph and Wealthy Whiting Belcher family of Tioga County, New York. Thirty-six of the letters are from a son, Flavel Belcher, covering his time in San Francisco during the Gold Rush and afterwards in New Orleans, Louisana, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Havana, Cuba. Ten of the letters are written by another son, Galitzen Belcher, while in San Francisco and Panama. Two letters are from the eldest son, Horatio Belcher, who eventually became a major in the Union Army and was killed in action during the Civil War. Two letters are from one of their daughters, Lucy Valentine (neé Belcher), who relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana. Five letters are from Lucy's daughter, Elizabeth B. Edwards (neé Valentine). One letter is from the head of the family, Joseph Belcher, to a second daughter, Maryette, who is frequently named as the correspondent for many of the letters. Other letters include one between Valentine family members and one regarding the settlement of Whiting Valentine's estate. Typescript transcriptions of many, but not all, of the letters are housed with the originals. Also includes a typescript list of brief abstracts for each letter.
Thirty-six letters beginning in San Francisco, California, where he was in the mercantile business with his brother, Galitizen, until a fire destroyed their building on May 4, 1851. By the summer of 1851, Flavel was operating as an Indian trader on one of O.M. Wozencraft's Indian reservations at the Forks of the Cosumnes River in El Dorado County. Five letters cover his time as a trader writing about "the wild men of the forest" and giving an account of peaceful encounters with the Indians. In 1852, Flavel leaves the river area and attempts several business ventures in Sacramento and San Francisco which fail. He then goes to Central America and ends up in the civil service of William Walker's government in Nicaragua. In 1857, he joined Walker's second invasion of Nicaragua and documents in an eight page narrative his leading a charge up the San Juan River. One letter is addressed to Maria Griffin accepting her rejection of his affection. His last two letters in this collection, dated 1863 and 1864 from Havana, Cuba, are long, angry, pro-Southern rants against the Union, excoriating his brother Horatio for joining the Union Army. In the last letter, he reacts to the news of Horatio's death in combat with "indifference."
Ten letters describing his life in San Francisco and then in Panama where he engaged in several trades including bookkeeper and fisherman before returning to San Francisco.
Five letters describing her trip across the Isthmus of Panama enroute to join her husband, Farrar Edwards, and the life of a 49er's wife in Weaverville, California during the early 1850s.
The earlier letter, addressed from Flint, Michigan, contains personal reflections. The later letter, written while at anchor in Baltimore Harbor during his time as an officer in the Union Army, describes his life as a soldier, "...when we left Newport the snow was a foot deep. Our destination is Western Virginia or the Mississippi, no telling which."


1849 (issued)


n-us-ca -- ncnq--- -- ncpn--- -- n-us--- -- nwcu--- -- nccr---
Fires -- California -- San Francisco -- History -- 19th century
Gold miners -- California
Gold mines and mining -- California
Indian traders -- California -- El Dorado County
Indians of North America -- California -- El Dorado County
Indians of North America -- California -- Amador County
Voyages to the Pacific coast -- Personal narratives
Incendies -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Histoire -- 19e siècle
Voyages vers la côte du Pacifique -- Récits personnels
Armed Forces -- Military life
Gold miners
Gold mines and mining
Indian traders
Indians of North America
Voyages to the Pacific coast
California -- Gold discoveries -- Personal narratives
Panama -- Description and travel
Costa Rica -- Description and travel
Cuba -- Description and travel
Nicaragua -- History -- Filibuster War, 1855-1860 -- Personal narratives
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
San Francisco (Calif.) -- Commerce -- History -- 19th century
Californie -- Découvertes d'or -- Récits personnels
Panamá -- Descriptions et voyages
Costa Rica -- Descriptions et voyages
Cuba -- Descriptions et voyages
Nicaragua -- Histoire -- 1855-1860 (Guerre des flibustiers) -- Récits personnels
États-Unis -- Histoire -- 1861-1865 (Guerre de Sécession) -- Récits personnels
California -- Amador County
California -- El Dorado County
California -- San Francisco
Costa Rica
United States
United States. -- Army. -- Michigan Infantry Regiment, 8th (1861-1865). -- Company G. -- Military life
Belcher family -- Correspondence
Belcher, Flavel -- 1817?- -- Correspondence
Belcher, Galitzen -- 1822-1870 -- Correspondence
Belcher, Horatio -- 1816-1864 -- Correspondence
Belcher, Joseph -- 1794-1868 -- Correspondence
Deming, Maryette B -- 1825-1908 -- Correspondence
Valentine family -- Correspondence
Valentine, Lucy -- Correspondence
Valentine, P. G -- Correspondence
Valentine, Whiting -- Correspondence
Edwards, Elizabeth B -- Correspondence
Edwards, Farrar -- -1858 -- Correspondence
Crane, William -- Correspondence
Livermore, O -- Correspondence
Wozencraft, Oliver M -- 1814-1887
Walker, William -- 1824-1860
Belcher family
Crane, William
Valentine family
Walker, William -- 1824-1860


Finding aid available in the library.
Purchase ; Joseph T. Silva ; 20150814.
Photographs transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library (BANC PIC 2016.013).
Related collection: Flavel Belcher letters,1851-1857 (BANC MSS C-B 524).
The Belcher family lived in Tioga County, New York and consisted of the parents, Joseph and Wealthy Whiting Belcher and five children: three sons, Horatio, Flavel, and Galitzen, and two daughters, Lucy and Maryette. Flavel and Galitzen relocated to New Orleans, the home of their sister, Lucy Valentine. When the news of the discovery of gold in California broke, the two brothers were among the first to join the rush and started a mercantile business in San Francisco.
Horatio Belcher (December 16, 1816-August 19, 1864) was a major in the 8th Regiment Michigan Volunteers, Company G. He died in the battle of Weldontrail Road, near Petersburg, Virginia, on August 19, 1864. He also wrote a documented diary of the second battle of Bull Run.
Maryette B. Deming (neé Belcher, April 1, 1825-October 12, 1908) married John Harris Deming in Richford, Tioga County, New York on September 9, 1846. She died in Ft. Dodge, Webster, Iowa on October 9, 1908 and was buried in Oakland, Iowa.
Elizabeth B. Edwards (neé Valentine) was the daughter of Lucy Valentine (neé Belcher).
Preferred citation: Belcher family correspondence, BANC MSS 2015/181, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
In English.


family papers.
Personal narratives.
Personal correspondence.

Physical Description:

0.4 (1