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Lucius Fairchild
California Gold Rush Letters

"We go on the good old Bible doctrine "Take up thy bed and walk" for if a man here goes to stay overnight he takes his bed on his back..." Lucius Fairchild, California 17 March 1850


To J. C. Fairchild and Family
Cosumnes River
March 17th/50

The only reason I can give for writing such letters as this is, that the uncirtainty of having an oppertunity of sending them to the P.M. hinders me from closing them, as I wish you to hear all the news I can pick up--When I began this letter about a month [p.64] ago we thought the rainy season was over but it has rained a great deal scince and we have not made much but it is clear now & I am in hopes that the weather will settle as we are nearly out of provisions and will be obliged to send for more or leave for the city. I do not think we will leave here a month yet. I have been to Weaverville & saw Capt. Waters & Co also Eavens of Mil[waukee] They were all well. Stuart of Dane Co. was here a day or two ago on his way south in serch of better digings

The last I heard of Smidth [Smith?] he was dealing Monte at Hangtown Don't tell that because gambling is thought no sin here. Many are working hard every day for the Monte & Faro banks. Such will never go home with much, if they ever go at all. There is a great rush for the Tuly lakes [Tulare Lake?] about two hundred miles south where it is said, some very rich digings have been discovered & I suppose it is so but I shall not go and will try to get every one I can to go. That is the way with all the miners who are going in any direction to try and get the crowd the opposite way I have not heared from Beng. scince he was here. I suppose he is in the mountains where the snow is deep. I got a letter for him from John T. No 1 dated Aug. 19th containing about the same general news as yours. I have recieved nothing from you scince your first letters but heared the result of the election which pleased me much. Henry Abby is working on Mormon island about 20 miles from here. I have not seen him but hear he is doing well. The Mineral Point boys on the Stanislaus have done well this winter. Young Tilly & three others have taken out over Eighty pounds of gold but hold--you do not hear of those who worked all winter and hardly paid their [p.65] board, nor do I but I [know] there are hundreds in that fix.

I again repeat what I said in my former letter that no person should throw up a good business and come to this country, although I do say if a man has his health and will work he can make money but I would never run the risk if I was again at home and it is said by every body, almost, here "if I ever get back I will stay & God forgive me."

We go on the good old Bible doctrine "Take up thy bed and walk" for if a man here goes to stay overnight he takes his bed on his back. The taverns in the mines would amuse you, being small log cabins with very little furniture with a small table and a few whiskey bottles in one corner. They arc always crowded full, when bed-time comes all drop on the ground floor, and dream of the pleasant homes in the East, I suppose, on a supper which cost $2--If God will forgive me, and alow me to make a small pile this summer I never will trouble this country any more, but break for home. I get home often in my dreams sometimes clerking sometimes dancing & at others in the City Hotell on a visit I suppose as [because] I live in the big brick now.

Thos. W. Sutherland and Count H-- arrived at San Diego this winter by the southern route & Tom is Alcalde of that place now. I heared that they lost all of their stock and were helped through by Uncle Sam Count Riner started from San Diego about the first of February for Sacramento valley with a drove of mules for sale and ought to be here now He will make money on them if he has no bad luck.

I thought some of sending you a draft for 5 or 600.00 dollars but the shave is so great that it looks like [p.66] throwing away money. They can be bought for 3 per cent but they only give $16 per ounce for gold which is worth over $18 in the states which is a large per centage yet if I thought you were in want of Money I would send it, and if, during the summer you should be cramped or like fly] to be so you shall have all I can raise as soon as I can get it to you as I have no use for it here. Libby Gordon is with you now I suppose & Harriet Dean all having a good time I hope give them both my respects I showed Ed sisters letter and the whole family (our family here) have harped on the pretty girl from Ohio ever scince, ain't that rich!

You recolect Young Fairchild who was in Madison delivering temperance lectures? he is at San Francesco acting on the stage as Yankee with great success. I saw Capt. Sullen who used to clerk for Baxter & Hall not long since he has gone up on the Middle Fork. Ed has been unwell lately but is getting better, he is as fat as a fool--as for myself I have been blest with the most perfect health all winter and at present, still I wear the same long, lean, presbyterian face I used to and wi.il try and show you the said face next fall. I have written every scrap of news I know and will write again soon. It is very uncertain when this will get to the P.M. hoping that this will reach you in good season

I remain Your affectionate Friend, Son, & Brother. . .

Find your ancestors! Lucius Fairchild, California Letters, 1849-55 Read the rest of Lucius' letters on Ancestry.com. After clicking you will see a search box. Search under any common word, such as YOURS. This will bring up hundreds of 'hits'. Then click on VIEW FULL CONTENT. Then you can browse through the letters at your leisure. If you need a subscription to view the letters you can take advantage of the FREE Access

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