Letter from Alexander McDaniel to Emeline McDaniel August 1, 1850
:


Description
Creators:
McDaniel, Alexander, 1815-1898, Correspondent
McDaniel, Emeline C. Huntoon, 1824-1902
, Recipient
Media Type:
Text
Image
Item Type:
Correspondence
Description:
Letter from Alexander McDaniel, Georgetown, California, to his wife, Emeline McDaniel, Gross Point, Cook County, Illinois, dated August 1, 1850. Description of his travels to California and experiences prospecting for gold.
Date of Original:
1 Aug 1850
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
Document 1
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
  • California, United States
    Latitude: 38.90684 Longitude: -120.83855
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Full Text

Address page: When you write direct your letter to Sacramento City, California [in pencil]

Mr. Alexander [to] Mrs. Emeline McDaniel Gross Point Cook County Illinois

[p.1] Georgetown August 1st 1850

Dear Emeline We arrived safe in the mines at noon today all well. We left Salt Lake June twenty-sixth. We had plenty of good grass and water until we got on the maryes [Marys] River about three hundred miles from Salt Lake, and for the next three hundred miles we could scarcely get grass enough too [to] keep the animals alive. The river bottom was all overflowed with water, and the grass all used up on the side we traveled so that we had to cross the river in a boat box [?] to get what little we had and made sloughs and cut the grass with a butcher knife a handful in a place just as we could find it. I have stood in the water and tolerated [?] mud knee deep until ten o'clock night after night and then lay down on the ground in my wet clothes untill [until] morning. Next we came to the marsh or meadow ten miles from the desert there is plenty of good grass at le[a]st ten thousand acres. We stayed there two days and made hay to feed crossing the dessert. We took the north road on the desert. That is the truckey [Truckee] River road. We started in at four o'clock in the afternoon and got through at nine o'clock the next morning. We had no dif[f]iculty in crossing. It is said to be for[t]y-five miles. We intended following the truckey [Truckee] Road in the mines but the [p.2] river was so high that we could not cross it as we had to cross twenty-eight times in going thirty miles. Consequently we had to cross over on the other road again which was about fifteen miles. The greatest destruction of property that I ever saw was between the head of maryes [Marys] river and the foot of the Sier[r]a Nevada Mountains. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of wagons, harnesses, clothing, and bed clothing was s[t]rewed almost every mile on the road and dead horses by the thousands, and men that have lost their teams and provisings [provisions] all gone and forced to begg [beg] their way from one wagon to another. We have fed a great many along. Some two days at a time. There was two men that came so near Starving to death on the desert that they cut their throats to put an end to their Suffering. We got along verry [very] well for provisings. We had plenty of bread. Stuff that we got at the bluffs to last us through. We bought bacon on the road from one dollar to one fifty a pound, fresh beef for forty c[en]ts, tea four dollars @ lb., dry apples we paid ten dollars a bushel and some other things in proporting [proportion]. We should have started with enough if it had not of been for some that had been through last year. They said we had enough and more too, but I am safe, though, and money left. The Lord only knows what the thousands will do that are behind us for we were ahead of at least two thirds of the emigration, and we could scarcely get grass enough to keep our horses alive. The Indians Stole a great many horses and shot one man on the [p.3] head waters of Maryes [Marys] River with an arrow. He was a watching his horses at the time in the night. His name was Samuel Oliver. He belongs 24 miles west of Milwaukee. It was the second of July. Some of our boys saw him just before he died. We saw Hazard Rabbiure [?] and Emerson east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, all well. Ace Patterson is with us. Jealerson [?] and John Faster left us nine days ago to cross the mountain and we stopped [?] and prospected three days the east side of the mountain. There is said to be gold there, but we found none. We left our waggon [wagon] east side of the mountain and took a pack trail over that. Saved forty miles travel. We heard by one that we could depend on that. Horses were worth nothing in the mines. So I sold [them] for twenty-five dollars, and walked over the mountain and packed my stuff on my mule the roughest road that I ever saw. It took us five days to go one hundred miles. I have just now sold my mule for seventy dollars. I dug and washed a pan full of dirt within a rod of where I am sitting, and got a shillings worth of gold. Paterson's got a lump in the same [illegible] worth five dollars. People say the prospects are verry [very] bad here, but I can't tell yet. Provisions are reasonable. Flour twenty c[en]ts a lb., and other things in proportion. Horse feed is high. Hay is worth 300 dollars a ton, barley 14 dollars a bushel. You will hear from me as often as convenient. I never felt better than I have ever since I left home. Give my respects to all my relatives and other enquiring friends. I still remain your affectionate husband until Death. A[lexander] McDaniel

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Letter from Alexander McDaniel to Emeline McDaniel August 1, 1850


Letter from Alexander McDaniel, Georgetown, California, to his wife, Emeline McDaniel, Gross Point, Cook County, Illinois, dated August 1, 1850. Description of his travels to California and experiences prospecting for gold.