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John Early Andrews Collection of Letters

Submitter: John Early Andrews
jandrewsfam@juno.com
Letter from Robert N. Slack to his brother James from Shasta California, September 15, 1852
My Dear Brother,

Either you or myself are much to be blamed in failing to correspond with each other// I do not know but it has been more from my neglect than anything else. However, be it as it may I now feel a welling up, heartfelt and true, for the first time since I left home to correspond regularly with my near relations and friends. You have been informed I suppose sometime since of my bad luck and misfortune in money matters. I had made every arrangement to return to Ky - last Dec. with the exception of some collections, with about $15,000.00 in cash when I sustained a small loss of about eight hundred dollars and in attempting to regain the amount I failed in each attempt, until, I became enraged, maddened and furious with the world, and finally wound up by spending the last dollars. Among my troubles the one that came nearest resulting most seriously grew out of a personal difficulty between a merchant by name of McAndle of this place and myself about a settlement, when he used insulting language and likewise made hostile demonstrations, towards me, I was unarmed at the time. He came soon after into the Hotel that I was boarding at (and the same that I had sold a short time previous) during my absence and abused me much, saying that he was then armed, and should continue to be prepared for either me or my friends. I prepared myself on the next morning determined to bring the affair to a close the first time we met on the street. During the evening he came walking up the st with two of his friends when he was passing and about opposite, I spoke to him, telling him that he was the man that wished to fight now draw and defend himself. He ran as soon as I spoke when a friend of mine caught my arm and prevented my shooting untill he had stoped and drawn his pistol. We then commenced firing at each other he running backwards all the while. I discharged four shots and him three one of mine wounding him slightly on the side. For this I of course was arrested and the matter had to go through several courts, and as a matter of course cost me much money and trouble -- I was at last being honorably acquitted -- I have also had considerable trouble with the damned abolitionist of this country on account of my southern partialliaties - I am however at present getting along very quietly with them as they have not interferred with me of late - And they had better not. As for myself, I am now engaged in the practice of my proffefsion in the valley below the town of Shasta about 15 miles. Myself and a young man by the name of Dainperfield from benperia are likewise keeping a Ranch, or rather as we say at home farming. I am doing very well at the practice making from $300 to 400 per month. This income with what we can make farming, raising claves, pigs and chickens, will I think in the course of a few months enable me to get out of debt and have me a small surplus -- In some of my letters home I spoke of going to Mexico this winter-- This I shall not do at least for one year for my engagements are now such as forbids such a move -- To speak candid and true I yet believe that I may return to Ky - in the course of one or two years at most. I am very desirous to be back once more in old Washington and spend sometime with my relations/ and friends if I have any there/ And see what time can effect in the space of half a day in years -- I know you all have a dull time enough counting your "picayunes and bits" - It certainly must be tiresome to live and get on in that old "one horse" country, where one sees nothing, does nothing, and almost knows nothing. But however I should not write thus, for I love Kentucky, yes god bless her and her institutions, her fathers and mothers - her sons and her daughters. They are so much superior to any other portion of our union in all that is generous, good and true that I can scarcely look back without having a thousand regrets at having left it -- But so it is, I have left, and if not to make myself happy, I hope I rendered some others so. James I still entertain the attachment that caused me to leave, Nor do I believe that, times what is said, to effect so much in extinguishing our affections, will, even accomplish her end with me. I know that not a day has passed with me since I last beheld her too enchanting form, that I have not thought and loved. Do not call this lusatnegs, though it may be soon. R.N. Slack In my next letter I hope to be able to send some money home for the benefit of Father and Ma. I can't tell how much but some at least. I have not received a hive from Kentucky for one year nor do I know that our parents are alive. I hope they are, that I may yet medum one of the most sacred duties we owe on earth in supplying their wants and contributing to their happiness while they live. Our family has been peculiarly unfortunate in many ways but this should not cause us to neglect or fail to fulfill our parts in contributing to our parents comfort. When you write give me a full and particular account of their situation and conditions - as well as all the balance of those in whom I am mostly interested. See all the different members of our family and tell them where I am, and what I am doing, also remember to them my sincere and heartfelt love for them, hoping that no new causes of strife and dissentians may ever arise but that harmony and love may ever reighn supreme before the final separations day arrives - There is something revolting to our natures to allow one simple feeling or sentiment of dislike or hatred to exist in the breast of those who are allied by blood and strong ties of affinity, that he who harbours them, adds not to his own happiness, but mans the sweetest pleasures on earth - I could write much more at length on this subject but will not at present. The emigrations is arriving daily from the plains. There has been a new route opened this season leading directly into this part of the states - Theres been about one hundred waggons arrived here, and there are quite a large number behind expectations soon. They all seem in good health and spirits - Their stock looks much better than any I have seen arriving before - Quite a large number of ladys have come - some single, but generally married with families of children. The mining populations are doing tolerable well, that is those who have been at it sometime, and understand the manner of laboring advantageoulsy with machinery. Farming is I think the safest and best business we have - Everything a man makes his command from thance to five hundred percent more than is docs in the old states. Barley 8 cts per lb wheat 12 - potatoes 12, cabage 15, turnips 15, carrots beets & ___ the same, Beef 25 to 30 cents per lb pork fresh 50, muttan 30, chickens $3/1.00 per day - eggs $3.00.

You must excuse this writing for I have been interrupted several times - I now close with best wish for your health and prosperity.

I am your devoted Bro- R N Slack

My love to sister E. and the children R.N.S.

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Notes: Robert N. Slack was a part owner of the Slack & Daingerfield Ferry that was established in 1853. His partner was Leroy P. Daingerfield. The ferry operated across the Sacramento at the mouth of Bear Creek to the present Blue Jay Lane on the west side of the river. They sold to Judge George W. McMurtry in 1855. It had numerous other owners in the forthcoming years and in 1890 it was completely destroyed in a flood. In his letter he commented about the number of immigrants who were arriving in Shasta County over a new trail, probably the Nobles Trail that was established in 1852 and located very near his ferry. Read Death Notice & Obituary of Dr. Robert N. Slack

Read more letters in the John Early Andrews Collection

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