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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June 17th Strawberry Valley is a new place a day?s ride from Marysville – There are two Coaches running between here & that place – It consists of fifteen houses in all – Two Hotels Store – Grocery Bowling Saloon & Market – There are only 7 or 8 females in the place. This is in the Mining region – Since we came here Mr Crawford has taken two claims – one for a residence the other is a mining claim – about a mile from the first. We have built on our lot in the Valley. Our house is situated on the gentle slope of the mountains surrounded by Pine, Oak (the Live Oak) & Hemlock, and they are trees – none of the little slender trees neither but large giant trees.

The water is excellent here – cold & soft – Our house is only a few ft [feet] from the store and in the business part of this infant settlement – There are many Indians in this vicinity – Every day more or less are around begging for food and old clothes – They are quite useful in doing little jobs – such as carrying water. Chopping wood &c [etc.] Some have been taught so they can do such jobs very well. They are very good if they do not get mad – but are very revengeful when offended Grizzly Bears are plenty – There are several traps near by [nearby] – There has been none caught since we came here – There creatures are not apt to attack persons unless they are suddenly surprised or fired at. The are hard to kill and if wounded and not killed instantly are very dangerous indeed – There are Lions in the mountains but none in this vicinity They live back in deep ravines. They occasionally kill a mule for the packers if their mules go far from their camp fires

[written upside down across the top of the page] Since I commenced this the Indians have killed a man near here – Since they have left for some place unknown to me This is the second man that has been killed near here within a year – I think they will have to mind how they act or the whites will punish them

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The provision for the miners is taken to all parts of the mountain packed on mules You would be surprised to see what loads they are made to carry, 250 lbs to 350 lbs sometimes more, but generally 300 lbs

June 25th This date finds me well – in much better health than when we first arrived here. I weigh 105 lbs – Mr. C. and his partner has opened their claim & got it ready for work – The prospects are favorable but do not know how it will turn out, one day they look out $13 but they hope it will be better still If we are average they can make 6 or $8 per day it will pay expenses & they can lay up considerable – but this mining is uncertain business. Time alone can tell what success they will have. It takes considerable money to live here. The rent we have paid has amounted to quite a sum, but we have a house of our own now and no rent to eat up our earnings.

We recd [received] a letter from Gulian and one from Brayton two days since Brayton was in Grafton, Mass on an agency selling Books – to get money to pursue his studies. He had been out two weeks & had made very well – Gulian stated he Alphonsine & Clark had moved to Ill – in company with Uncle Monson – Keith, & Abel Pond's widow They were at White Rock Ogle Co., Ill. They had a very pleasant journey and liked the country well. He & Clark went with the team & cooked for themselves. Cost for themselves & train only about $12.00 Alphonsine went with Uncle's women folks by railroad, cost her $12.00 Gulian had been there about two weeks when he wrote said he had put in some wheat & plowed some besides – Uncle Keith lost his oldest daughter Lynn O. Hanford Hanfod soon after they arrived there She leaves a little daughter – was mar

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married to Dr Wm. [William] H. Hanford about six months previous to my marriage. She was a lovely woman – I have not recd [received] a line or heard direct from my father since we got through – It would be vain for me to attempt to picture my feelings to you – I know not why it is I have looked & looked until I have nearly given up in despair. If you know where & how he is, do let me know. Gulian wrote he had not heard from him but once in a long time – and he did not write us where or what he was doing – O! how much good it would do me to get a letter from him – Perhaps you would like to hear the prices of some few articles here Beef is .25 cts [cents] per pound – nearly every thing is sold by the pound – Pork .30 cts [cents] fresh fish .12 1/2 cts [cents] Butter .75 cts [cents] per pound milk .25 cts [cents] per quart – A meal of victuals 1.00 – Potatoes from .02 to cour cts [cents] per pound – They grow so large here they are not as good as in the States – Chickens are from 2.50 to 4 dollars apiece. Cucumbers – 62 1/2 cts [cents] per dozen Cheese .50 One stove cost $40.40. chairs $1.18 and Matress & pillows $80.00 Board is from $8.00 to 20.00 dollars per week. Washing from 3.00 to 6.00 per dozen for females are 6.00 per doz [dozen] if nice –

This is a great country for fleas & bed bugs – They flourish finely – There are but few feather beds in Cal [California] – a bed would cost about fifty dollars – it is so warm here people prefer some other kind We have a matress for which we paid $30.00 our stove cost $40,00 A fly Safe $30.00 clock $11.00 Common Boston chairs $ 2.00 apiece – 10 ct [cents] coliao in the States is .25 cts [cents] here – Wages are proportionably high so we do not mind it much – This is a wicked place. There is but little regard paid to the Sabbath here – Only in the large towns business is as lively as on any other day – and it has not been long since the Stores & shops in the cities were closed on the Sabbath – The Society is improving rapidly since so many with families are moving here from the states – There are any quantity of a certain class of females but they do not hold the sway they did two or three years ago – The council men in the cities have had to pass restrictions – prohibiting so many places of resort for them – Have also closed their dance houses on the Sabbath – They have to carry themselves a little straighter than they did – but now in every gambling saloon nearly there is a female that sits to deal Lonskanet this is a is a wicked wicked people here

Dear Oscar cousin Josephine was very glad to have you write to her – Tell your father there are some of the largest trees here he ever saw – but there is little or no timber to speak of in the valleys. Cousin Oscar there is a little Indian baby out doors a few steps from me with its old black mother I wish you could see it – You would laugh it looks so funny – Its mother puts it on the ground by the side of her – Oh. tis a dirty little black eyed thing – You must write to cousin again and she will write plainer so you can read it – Your coz

Josephine J Crawford

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At Home Dec 19th /58 [1858]

Very Dear Aunt

Thinking you will be anxious to hear of my safe arrival at my Western home, I take this opportunity to inform you that I started from Castleton, Vermont Tuesday Morning in company with Mrs Hawkins we had a pleasent journey not a single accident whatever to disturb the even tenure of our mindes, she left me at Wayne Mich, I had the good luck to meet with Mr & Mrs Preston, (one of our neighbors) In changing cars at Suspension bridge we happened to go into the same car where they were seated, so I had company to Chicago he had some business there to tend to, so they layed over one

[written in left margin and across the top of the page] I have made so many blunders in this that I am fairly ashamed to send it though if you will answer it I will try and do better next time, Direct to White Rock Ogle Co, Ill, Clark is attending school at Rockford Mr Blackmans people are all quite well their daughter is teaching this winter, Sister Josephine writes that she calls herself a well woman now they did not go to Frazier river digings, father says tell Asabel he wishes he would sell out his rock there and come here and buy a prairie farm — father & I have been invited to spend New Years day at Mr Blackmans, when I got here I found just about as much snow here as you had there & both sleigh and wagon have been used ever since, today has rained and thawed considerable give love to all inquiring friends Alphonsine

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train, Just before takeing [taking] thes cars at Chi_ [Chicago] who should come up but Mr Ambrose our White Rock merchant homeward bound, so you see I had company all the way home, And arrived safe & sound Thursday eve

But my heart is to [too] full of sadness to enjoy even the beholding of home friends, Oh! It seemes [seems] very hard indead [indeed] to be reckonsiled to the death of one so young, right in the bloom of youth, and just commencing in life as it were,

Our home is a lovely one indead [indeed] to me since my return, sister Jane sickness was caused by a premature birth & do not know the cause without it was in nursing little Clarie so long she was just about a year old when she died its mother was taken sick, they had a Doc, and he thought she would get along, and they did not consider she was any worse untill [until] the morning

[written upside down across the bottom and up the side of the page] our little one we consider a very good baby though I find it will be no small task for me to take the charge of her, I shal [shall] be more

[written upside down across the top of the page] old Uncle Morser I can see has faild [failed] since last spr [spring] so he is up & around the house the most of the time a noble hearted man one of the very best of men

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