Josephine J. Crawford

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Letters are addressed to Josephine's aunt, Calista. Early letters describe Marysville, Strawberry Valley and San Jose in some detail. Later letters concentrate on the family, giving news of her sister, Alphonsine Saunders (Mrs. Charles Saunders) who lived nearby, her brothers, Durlin and Julian Pond and asking news of various relatives in Vermont. ** Please note that historical materials in the Gold Rush Collections may include viewpoints and values that are not consistent with the values of the California State Library or the State of California and may be considered offensive. Materials must be viewed in the context of the relevant time period, but views are in no way endorsed by the State Library. The California State Library’s mission is to provide credible information services to all Californians and, as such, the content of historical materials should be transcribed as it appears in the original document.

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Strawberry Valley Yula [Yuba] Co [County], Cal [California], Mar [March] 29th 1857

My Dear Aunt,

After looking a long long time in vain a few weeks since a letter came from Aunt Calista Oh! it did me so much good to hear from her and learn the welfare & prosperity of the greater part of the friends – Letters are precious treasures to me. I know you cannot realize my feelings although you may imagine what they must be. Situated as I am far far, from every familiar face save one – in a strange land so different from Home, & surrounded by scenes which I am perfectly unused to – I watch with eagerness the arrival of each Atlantic Steamer & not infrequently learn with a heavy heart that it bore no tidings for me. April 26th

Again I attempt to write Aug 15th 1857 as I was interrupted alimost [almost] as soon as I began & this has of necessity remained unfinished until now – I will go back to last winter & give you a Sketch of my doings up to this time

[Following writing goes around the edge of the paper] Dear Aunt if we ever live to return I think we shall visit you ere, we go on West I love Cheese as well as ever but seldom get any good here. Have one or two ready by the time we drop in. I don't know as one would do me for a meal – unless it was a Monster

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I spent the winter in teaching. Made $62.50 per Month. We had a very hard winter The Snow was six feet on a level here which is something unusual. so low down in the mountains & not many miles above us it was 50 ft. After my School closed I made Soap, Candles, Cleaned House & done my sewing for Summer – & before I had done all I wished notwith standing [notwithstanding] I had made all possible haste I was prevailed upon to go into School again – I had Seventeen Scholars – This Place affords only 10 at present. The rest come from a distance & was Boarded here – I was to have $6,00 per Scholar per month kept only two Months when I was forced to give it up on account of Sickness in our Place Two Ladies have laid very sick for two months past & there being so few females in the Place it has proved no easy task to take care of them I having no children could spend more time with the Sick than those who had families – I was forced to close my School & went day & night & watched & worked until I was laid upon a bed of sickness from which I am now recovering – Am able to

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sat up only part of the time The others are very low yet but hopes are entertained of their recovery. This has been the most Sickly Season we have known in Cal. The mountains are much health -ier than |the| Valleys All who can leave- come to the Mountains to spend the Summer months My Husband has good health - is engaged in Mining when he can be absent from home - The Claims he is working are about 8 miles here - He has about come to the conclusion to |Sell out| Settle up his - business here & return to the States- but it will be a year or more doubtless ere he will be able to leave & not then unless he is prospere'd. I feel quite anxious to go & settle near our friends at least see them once more- Have not seen a familiar face since we left our Home- I feel that we are indeed! far from all we hold dear but I "hope on" that the time will come when we may be permitted to meet face to face our friends on the other side of the mountains- The Indians at present are friendly to |the| whites. A few days since had a severe battle between them selves- Two parties seeing which should have an Indian Maiden about whom

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Some Indians had a dispute as to which had the best right to her - Several were killed & wounded The battle was fought a few miles below us - A day or two after one party was here- some of them dressed in mourning having lost friends in the Battle Their Mourning Garb consists in sticking or daubing Pitch over their Heads & part of their faces- Sticking their hair fast to their heads in a solid mot- In this fix they are awful looking creatures- for at best they are ill looking objects - They wear more clothing than when we first came here - but their pappooses wear little after they are taken from the board which they are straped to for several years- The Indians are harvesting - Gathering Pine Nuts Grasshoppers &c, Had a dance a few nights since at their "Campoda"- a time of rejoicing.- The ladies in our place were frightened - thinking they might be having a Wardance - preparatory to Scalping us - but - I guess there is no danger they dare not attempt it.

Have not heard from home in some time I recd.. a letter from Cousin Julia Ann which I shall answer as soon as possible Do you know whether Robt.. Crassman lives in Ohio yet? Does Mr Parker live on Pond Hill or have they moved? - Aug 31st.. My health is some what improved since Aug 25th My Husband thinks of mining this winter - Has decided to move as soon as possible - Thinks of selling our Place here . Our Post Office Address will remain "Strawberry Valley Yuba Co Cal"- I hope we shall not have as severe a winter as last I dread the winters in these mountains - but we are willing to get along & put up with hardship & inconveniences in the hopes of making enough to go back sooner Now Aunt I must close - Give a great deal of Love to All the friends for Josephine & Hiram Says - remember me to Aunt Calista & family - I do wish Cousin Oscar would write to me - Do write as soon as convenient I hope I shall not be so long in getting a reply ready again - at least for the same reason (sickness) - We have had a little shower since the dry season set in but have not had enough to settle the dust which is very deep -

Josephine J. Crawford

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Strawberry Valley, Cal June 11th.. 1854

Ever dear Aunt,

Your kind letter found us in Marysville where we remained until May 27th.. when we left for Strawberry valley in the Mountains about fifty miles from Marysville Sincce the commencement of warm weather we had both been quite out of health & we saw if we remained there we were both going to be sick. The heat had become very oppressive and it had been so long since we had had any rain there was so much dust we could not longer endure it, so we made our way to the Hills - Give me a life in the country - in preference to City life - The quiet and pure fresh air of the Mountains to the filth & noise of a city in the valley of the Sacramento - very warm there & quite unhealthy - Had a very destructive fire the night but one before we left there It originated in a gambling saloon only one block from us & had the wind not taken it in the opposite direction doubtless all in our vicinity should have been a mass of ruins - I never witnessed such a fearful sight before & I never desire to again - Where the timber is all pine & becomed so dry it is nice for fire - The engines could do nothing with it for a time - but finally succeeded in stopping it at a cross ing of the street The loss was very great- It commenced about 10 o'clock at night & was stoped between 12 & one -

I wish Cousin Julia Tom would write to me - I would like to have her here with me - the price for making dresses is from four |to eight| dollars - I want to see or |st?| hear from all my cousins.

Is Uncle |Acohel;?| hair as black as it used to be or has old Time scattered some silver with it -

Direct to Marysville there is no Office here and we send thru by Express Mr. Crawford joins with me in sending much love to all - he claims my friends as his I want to see you all very much indeed

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