Secret Glen Diggings October 19th 1851
I am yet in California and in good
health and spirits[.] the time is a drawing near when I
exspect [expect] to leave this land of gold and every other convenience
of life such as good houses fine clothes nice feather beds to
lye [lie] down on and rest ones old bones when they are tired.
this is the country to enjoy life in[.] I think that you would
be delighted to live here under a hemlock tree cook by the side
of an old logg [log] and sleep at night on the ground.
I feel verry [very] impatient for the rainy season to set in for I
long to be on my way home to my family and friends. every
week seems a month. Our diggings are paying verry [very] well and
I hate to leave as long as the weather is so fine for work [.]
the weather is as fine and pleasant as you ever saw in July.
if the rain commences in two weeks I intend to leave San Francisco
on the fifteenth of Nov [November] and if the rain holds off as late
as it did last year I probibly [probably] shant leave untill [until] the first
of December providing our diggings continues to pay as well as
at present. It would be hard to leave ten or twelve dollars
a day untill [until] one was oblige [obliged] to. three weeks ago to day
I apropriated [appropriated] the proceeds of my next three weeks work for
the purchase of a certain piece of land in Ridgeville
providing it was for sale when I get home and can be bought
for the sum that I made during that time which was
one hundred and ninety eight dollars and sixty six cents[.]
our diggings are verry [very] deep and rockey [rocky] at least thirteen
feet before we find the bed rock where gold is found
[p.2] in most cases though we find a streak of gold here three feet above the bed rock in some places that pays something. but it pays the best in the criveces [crevices] on the bed rock. If our diggings were as easy worked here as they were at Georgetown there would be no dificulty [difficulty] in making thirty dollars a day. there was no rock nor stones in the way there. but here it takes sometimes a half day to move one huge rock. The whole canyon seems to be a perfect mass of loose rocks from the size of a watermelon up to the size of a hay stack. but when we get them moved out of the way we find the lumps of gold worth from one dollar up to forty dollars each. we have got the water damed [dammed] and turned off from more ground than we can work in two months. I should of said piles of rocks in stead [instead] of ground. we make large troughfs [troughs] to carry the water off in. there is but four men to work in the canyon yet but our selves eight in all. we work the next claim below them but there [their] claim pays much better than ours[.] they took out fourteen hundred dollars in one week a short time since[.] I have not much news to write for we have had no communication with the world for the last twelve weeks[.] I have not been out of the canyon but once since I have been here and I can't see out only as I look straight up. the sun rises here at eleven o'clock and sets at two[.] I haven't saw an emigrant from the states this season nor heard of but thirty and they came through bear [?] valley on the Truckey road. I understood that part of them was from Aurora Fox River. this is the second letter that I have writen [written] to you since I have been in this canyon.
[p.3] the first was about the eighth of August. I also wrote to George the first of September. I have not received a letter from the States since the firs [first] of June and that was writen [written] by Maria about the sixth of April[.] when we first came here we ordered our letters sent to [?] Nevada City twenty eight miles from here and the rest of the boys receive there letters quite regular and I get none[.] it seems verry [very] curious. I can't believe but that I have some friends that write to me. Some one of our two companys goes to Nevada about every two weeks for provisions and letters so the nessary [necessary] enquiryes [enquiries] have been made at the post office. but I flatter myself that I shall receive a letter yet from you before I leave this country. for I am verry [very] anxious to hear from you and that you are all well. Give your self no uneasyness about me if I don't get home as soon as you exspect [expect] me for it depends altogether on the state of the weather when I will leave here. The elder one of my partners intends to leave for home when I do. Rice and Hatch intends to stay here another year. There [their] piles are not made yet. There is dry diggings near here where they intend to winter that we think will pay well when there is water to wash the dirt. Rice and myself went a prospecting today so I am writing this letter after nine o'clock at night. We got six dollars. I gave Rice my part, three dollars, for taking my turn at cooking this week. Our rule is to cook week about. It is getting late[.] I must draw to a close. Give my respects to Docter [Doctor] Foster also all other friends and relatives. I remain your devoted husband untill [until] death. A. McDaniel