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Black, Mary A. Correspondence, 1856.
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Correspondence, 1856
Mary A. Black correspondence, 1856


Black, Mary A., creator


Four-page letter from Mary A.B. to "Dear Cousin", Charley's Ranch Sept. 1 /56. Accompanied by: Fragment of letter signed "From your undutiful niece Mary"; three-page letter to "Ely Black, Esq.", dated Kingsburg Sept. 16, 1856, from G.B. Underhill; three envelopes addressed to Mary A. Black, Eli Black and Sidney Black. With transcriptions of the letters.
Mary Black writes to her cousin, describing life in California after her journey from Maine across the Isthmus of Panama. She says of the trip: "I never enjoyed anything half as much as my voyage here. I was delighted with every thing I saw or heard. I was not seasick & for that reason could not help enjoying the journey. We had preaching on Sundays & on the Pacific side cotillions every evening & all kinds of games. There were eight hundred and fifty passengers from Panama up."
After a brief stay in San Francisco, Mary is living at Charley's Ranch near Marysville, which she describes as hot and dirty. "You can have but little idea of the dust here. There has been no rain since the last of Apr. & will not be till the last of Sept. If we go "any where" we have to wear some old dud, and carry our "other gown" with us."
She comments on the local society: "There is the most reckless set of people here that was ever known. I have seen more fighting and heard more swearing here, than ever before in all my life. A man that would be called "rowdy" at home would be thought a pattern man here." But she is obviously enjoying herself as she mentions attending balls and a bachelor dinner party and talks of learning to ride and of the wonderful fruit available. From her fulsome descriptions one gets a sense of early pioneer life in California from a woman's perspective.
Also of interest is the letter from G.B. Underhill to Ely Black. It is essentially a business letter talking of land patents that Black has applied for. But there is also mention of the 1856 presidential election then underway: "Fremont stock is raising in market fast in Washington Co. considerably above par. We calculate to give one long pull strong pull & pull all together for Free speech Free press Free soil Free men & Fremont."


1856 (issued)


n-us-ca -- n-us---
Black, Mary A -- Correspondence
Women pioneers -- California -- Correspondence
Frontier and pioneer life -- California
California -- Social life and customs -- 19th century
Voyages to the Pacific coast
Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 1856
Charley's Ranch (Calif.) -- History


Mary A. Black correspondence, 1856.
Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.

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6 items







Copyright Note:

Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.