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Gold rush letters, 1859.
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Gold rush letters, 1859
Edwin Fitzgerald gold rush letters, 1859


Fitzgerald, Edwin., creator


Brown, Wm. (William)


Seven letters from Edwin Fitzgerald in California to his wife, Frank (Frances), in Thomaston, Maine. All written in 1859: May 7 (sent from New York en route), June 3 (San Francisco), June 12 (Contra Costa County), July 24 (San Pablo), Sept. 4 (Sonoma County), Oct. 10 (Petaluma), and Nov. 19 (San Francisco). The last letter has as an enclosure a letter to Edwin from his friend, William Brown, in Minersville (Trinity County) dated Oct. 24, 1859. With transcriptions.
Edwin writes first to "Dier Frank" from New York where he tells of his impending departure: "I hav just brought my ticket on the Grinada stearieg 85 dolars." Barely a month later he is writing from San Francisco where he has arrived well and safe. He reports on his plans: "I write in hast for I hav just let my self to a man to pick strawberys at 1 dolar per and found to git mony to git out of the City with. ... If I had money I should go rite up to the mines but I must work and git some."
Edwin never does get to the mines as his next letters chronicle. Two letters written in June and July from Contra Costa County describe working on a "rantch" where he is injured. "I got my shoalder hurt pressing hay whitch laid me up for three weeks but I am as well now as ever in purson but not in purse had to pay at the rate of twenty five dolars per month for board while loafing." In September and October, he is in Petaluma where he and a companion, James Keating, chop firewood and later go to the redwood forest to split pickets. Neither venture was successful but Edwin remains optimistic and reassures his wife: "Dont be alarmed for it is always the darkest just be fore day. I feel confident that I shall do well here yet. More of this some other time."
The last letter is sent on Nov. 19th from San Francisco where Edwin is about to depart for Oregon, perhaps hopeful of better luck there. He says only: "I am gitting tired of this Country. It is a hard place." He encloses a letter from a friend, William Brown, who has been mining in Minersville in Trinity County. Brown has not prospered either and he offers his advice. "But here is my addvise to you. To get anough money to take you back home. Go home as soon as you can for you know that you can make a living for them somehow there. You will no doubt hate to go back without making something but juste consider the matter over this way. Why you might as well go back now without anything as to worke here 8 or 10 years & then go back & maby then without anything & to be deprived of thy fond wife's company to."
Throughout his letters home, Edwin Fitzgerald sent tender regards to his wife and children. He closes his last letter: "Oh Frank how I should like to see you. I would send my homly profile to you if I could but you must excuse me this time and I will promas to du better for the time to come. Take good care of our little darings and ciss them all for me. Aduu for the present from youer Edwin." Perhaps he did take his friend's advice and return home thereafter.


1859 (issued)


Fitgerald, Edwin -- Correspondence
Brown, Wm. (William) -- Correspondence
Gold miners -- California -- Correspondence
Frontier and pioneer life -- California
Minersville (Calif.) -- History


Edwin Fitgerald gold rush letters, 1859
Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.

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8 items







Copyright Note:

Unrestricted. Please credit California State Library.