Letter from Alexander McDaniel to Emeline McDaniel May 25, 1851
McDaniel, Alexander, 1815-1898, Correspondent
McDaniel, Emeline C. Huntoon, 1824-1902
, Recipient
Media Type
Item Type
Letter from Alexander McDaniel, Georgetown, California, to his wife, Emeline McDaniel, Gross Point, Cook County, Illinois, dated May 25, 1851. McDaniel describes how much money he made mining and his plans for sending it home.
Date of Original
25 May 1851
Local identifier
Document 2
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • California, United States
    Latitude: 38.90684 Longitude: -120.83855
Copyright Statement
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to United States law. No restrictions on use.
Wilmette Public Library
Agency street/mail address:
1242 Wilmette Avenue
Wilmette, IL
U.S.A. Phone: 847-256-6930
Full Text

[p.1]Georgetown May 25th 1851

My Dear Wife

You must excuse me for being so negligent

in writing to you[.] I received your letter dated Dec. 31st

which is the last that I have received from you. I have writen [written]

one since previous to this. I am verry [very] anxious to hear from

you before I leave here to go further up in the mountains

as I don't expect that we will have any conveniance [convenience] of

receiving our letters after we leave here. We expect our

express man will be here today with the mail and

if he brings me a letter from you then I shall leave here

the first of June and if I get none I will wait untill [until]

we receive the mail of the first of June as I am anxious

to know whether you have received the $200 that I

sent you in January last. I sent five hundred dollars

to the city by our express man the last time that he

went down to buy a draft on Adams & Co. of New

York. When he comes I shall enclose it in this letter

and then give you directions what to do with it.

My health is exceedingly good [.] I never felt better for work.[.]

I think the country agrees with me well. I hope this letter may

find you and the children in good health also the ballance [balance]

of my friends and acquaintenses [acquaintances].

When I wrote to you in March I had then made since

January 20th $796.00 and now I have swelled it up

to $1221.10 [.] of that sum I have saved $1050.00 the ballance [balance]

being consumed in my expenses necessary to get along with [.]

We had the but end of our winter in March and

April [.] the last two weeks of March and first two of April

it rained or snowed at least half of the time.

Consequently it rendered mining verry [very] disagreeable on account

of mud and high water.

I still work with Elder [C?]rain yet the baptist minister

that I informed you of in my last letter. We are a going

in the mountains together[.] I took a trip thirty miles to the

Northe [North] East of here two weeks ago to find beter [better] digings [diggings]

[p.2] but the water being to high to work there at present

I made us a claim of two hundred feet of ground on a

canion [canyon] or large creek that is said to be rich and left it in care

of a young man that I was acquainted with here.

We shall go there first when we leave here and if

we find nothing there then we will move along further

and still keep moving on untill [until] we find some place

where it has not been all tore to peices [pieces] like it is in

this vicinity[.] We have been working over old digings [diggings] all

winter and I want to find some new place where I can

have the first chance at it as I want to make one

thousand dollars more between this and the first of Nov [November]

for that is the time that I have fixed upon to start for

home if I am spared untill [until] then. I never expect to make

a verry [very] big pile in Calafornia [California] for I see that it is only one

in five hundred that makes them big strikes that

you see published in the papers. Dear Emeline be patient

as you can for you may expect me home by the

first of January if I live and have my health[.]

I long once more to see and enjoy the society

of my family. I have received Georges leter [letter]of

the 14th of Jan. Tell him that I will comply

with his request when I get in good digings [diggings]

where I think a man hired as he spoke of can make

something more than expences [expenses] so that there will

be something left for him. Tell one armed

Robbinson that his son John was here last Sunday

at our cabbin [cabin]. He works four miles from here.

He said that he made one hundred and fifty

dollars the week before [.] that makes about $350 that

he has in all [.] he was well. Alonzo Burroughs

left here to take the first of May boat for home [.]

The ballance [balance] of the boys have gone North. I heard from

Osro [?] three weeks ago [.] he had then made about

one hundred dollars Since he left here in February [.]

A roling [rolling] stone gathers no moss. Vegitation [vegetation] bears a

much diferent [different] aspect from what it did when we

[p.3] came in last August [.] every thing then in the

shape of vegitation [vegetation] was all dryed [dried] up with the

drough [drought], and every thing on these old hills and

vallies [valleys] looks as green and luxurant [luxuriant] as if thoug [though] it

was a civilized and Christain [Christian] country especially

white and red clover that is now in full bloom

and resembles our tame clover at home verry [very] much [.]

the seenery [scenery] is verry [very] beautiful here [.] there is a high hill

a mile from our cabbin [cabin.] when on the top of it we can

look off to the North East and see mountains of snow one

range of hills rising above another untill [until] they seem to be lost

in the skye [sky] and then turn around and look to the South

West and you can see Sacramento valley and the American

Fork valley and numerous other smaller valleys and can see

the smoke of the Steam Boats that are wafting there [their] way

up and down the Sacramento river [.] it almost makes one think

that they would like to spend the ballance [balance] of there [their] days

among these old hills. but then to look at the society

that he is placed in here he soon changes his mind and wants

to get out of the country as quick as possible [.] if men hapen [happen]

to disagree in the least here about any little trifling matter

they will out with there [their] revolvers and blow one another into

eternity in the twinkling of an eye or let there [their] bowels

out with a boey [bowie] knife which at least three fourths of the

men here carry with them even when at there [their] daily

labour [labor]. Such is almost every day acurrances [occurrances.] but give

your self no uneasyness [uneasiness] about me [.] I keep out of such company

and mind my own business [.] there is some men here that

has not forgot what belongs to human decency [.] I

assosiate [associate] with such [.] the time seems long to wait untill [until]

next winter before I can See you and my little children but

if I have good health I think I can get home with enough

money to make us comfortable the ballance [balance] of our lives with

a reasonable share of health and luck.. We had a verry [very] hard

rain storm here last Sunday and also another on Tuesday [.]

we had a months fair weather previous [.] The Mr. Vanhorn [VanHorn]

of racine [Racine, Wis.] that you saw in Nov [November] last is back here.

[p.4] If the season is dry enough I want you to get some one

to finish the ditch in the prairie from Ellises fence South

as far as the stakes are set [.] I mean the whole of my west

line where the sod has been cut. When you need any money

call on Docter [Doctor] Foster for it as I have already sent him

two hundred dollars for safe keeping and I intend to send him

more for I don't think that it is safe to keep much money on

hand here. San Francisco was at least three fourths

burned up two weeks ago [.] Several lives lost [.] it was

supposed to be the work of an incendiary. Stockton another

fine city, is burned also. I saw about fifty Indians a week

ago today mostly Squaws and young ones [.] They were the

first that I have saw since I have been in Calafornia [California].

When I leave here I may not have any chance of sending

letters to the post office so you must not be alarmed

if you don't receive your letters regular.

I saw green peas here two weeks ago raised in

Sacramento Valley also green corn and new potatoes.

It is now super [supper] time and I must go to work and get supper [.]

we are to have pan cakes and malasses [molasses] for supper[.] I almost wish

you was here to help eat them they are so good.

Monday evening May 26th our express man has

just arrived [.] he has brought me two letters one from Docter [Doctor]

Foster and one from George of March 11th [.] I was glad to hear

that you had received the receipt for the money that I sent you.

I enclose a draft on Adams & Co. of New York in this letter

for five hundred dollars [.] When you receive the money give

your father $30 and your mother $10 and give Bill $20 and give

George $10 and Mariah your sister $5 to pay for that $15 breast

pin that she duns me for and keep $5 your self to buy you

a new dress with. And the ballance [balance] $420 I want you to

let John [H?] Foster have and take his note for the same

payable one day after date. Tell him that it is not likely thie money

will be caled [called] for untill [until] I come home. I made $20 today

just as easy as diging [digging] a well. I was disapointed [disappointed] in not receiving a letter

from you this mail for I wanted to leave here but I will wait two weeks longer [.]

Dear wife I still remain your affectionate husband untill [until] death. A. McDaniel

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Letter from Alexander McDaniel to Emeline McDaniel May 25, 1851

Letter from Alexander McDaniel, Georgetown, California, to his wife, Emeline McDaniel, Gross Point, Cook County, Illinois, dated May 25, 1851. McDaniel describes how much money he made mining and his plans for sending it home.