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Original Autograph Manuscript Letter by a Fruit Seller in Marysville, CA., Talking about the Crowds of Chinese Immigrants & Native Americans, the General Buzz over Local Elections, High Rental Prices, Teacher Salaries, etc.; also Writing “Every Nation upon the Globe is Represented Here in Cal” and “California Produces all Kinds of Fruits and Nuts”. Marysville: 17 March 1859.



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Quarto bifolium (31,5 x 19 cm or 12 ½ x 7 ¾  in). 4 pp. Brown ink on bluish lined laid paper. Fold marks, slightly age-toned, tear on the last page, but overall a very good letter, written in a legible hand.

An early, historically interesting California letter by a salesman from “Beach’s Fruit Store” in Marysville (inc. 1851), Yuba County. The author likely moved to California in the mid-1850s, and after several years in San Francisco, settled in Marysville in 1859.

The author writes to “Dear Sister Sarah” (apparently a teacher) and talks about the upcoming city elections, California’s rich agriculture, his exceptional cooking skills (“I can beat any of the girls cooking”), and weekly attendance at the Presbyterian church. He then mentions seeing the “droves” of Chinese immigrants with ankle-length braids and Native Indian women carrying babies in shawls. He also talks about his former boarding place on a ship in San Francisco, where “the rain would come down” onto his plate, and others would eat up his food. In the rest of the letter, the author records rent prices & teacher salaries, notes the absence of a Baptist Church in the city, and expresses his intention to donate money for gospel support. Overall, a historically interesting letter documenting the early days of Marysville.

Excerpts from the letter:

With great pleasure I seat myself to write you a few lines to for you all, know how I am getting along. I am prospering firstrate, and have not had to work hard since I came into this store, and I gave a great deal of time to read and I have a good chance to write my letters what I did when I was down to Napa. Mr. Hamilton has gone down to San Francisco now and I am here all alone. How I wish you could run in I would value one months wages to see you on hour or two.

I suppose you are having nice times now at school are you not? Well there was none that – going to school better than I did but now it is all over those day are passed never to return. I want you to write all about the school and who attends and how you get along and write who taught the Pond school and who is going to teach it this summer, and where are you going to teach this summer? O how I wish you could be out here you could get $50 and board per month to begin with and you could get 75 or 100 in a short time. You never wrote me wether they heard from Doctor Shondike or not. I should like to have you write. It is very pleasant now a day here but it is vey dusty is it dusty at home? There is a large quantity of snow in the mountains of this state I can start from here and walk one day and come to a good sleighing what do you think of that, you know there is no railroad to ride upper so I could not go a great ways in a day and I can start from San Francisco and travel two days and come to where oranges are growing – grow here where I am. Cal produces all kinds of fruits and nuts. I am boarding my self with Saml. good here we do our own cooking. I expect I can beat any of the girls cooking it costs from 10 to 12 dollars per month for board don’t you think that cheap I can’t get boarded at a private house any thing less than $24 per month. Sarah did ever I write about my boarding place at San Francisco if not I will tell you I heard of a place I could have boarded for 3 dollars per week. Well I went to the place to see if they would board me. The boarding house was kept by an old nigger man well I engaged to board with him his house was the cabin of an old ship. Sarah if you did not know how to live by not eating any thing and wanted to find out that would be of not the place to go he some other boarders and if I happened to be a little late I had to go without for the rest would eat every thing up there was in the house. I have sat there to eat my dinner and the rain would come down into my plate and on to my head. until my head would of be so wet that the water would cundown my face what doyou think of such a boarding place as that but that was not my boarding place but one week then I left for that ain’t so bad as sleeping in the rain, the house I live in now is about one third as large as our hog –

George Beath is here yet liking firstrate and he has got a good place to the man he works for puts a great deal of confidence in him and he is aman that dont mind an hundred dollars if aman suits him and I think George suits him. George is his Yankee he keeps his books and all accounts of the hired men’s time, and if there’s anything wanted George sees that it is procured.

All the fault I find with place is that I have to set up so late that is we close up at 10 o’clock at night that aint very late but I am not used to sitting up so late as that. For five years there has not been a winter that I have keep so good house as I have this winter. I have not spent an evening at any place of amusement whatever which is I had been at home.  I should spent all my evenings and money too some way or other. I should managed to got rid of them both some how. I have just been to dinner what do you suppose I had I will tell you I had bread and milk and for supper I am going to have milk and bread… don’t raise pies here in California. It has been almost 5 months since I left San Francisco and I have not had but three pieces of pie during that time, and those were mother-in-law pieces. When I get my farm out here and get you and mother out here to a Reef house for me we will have some pie wont we but I am afraid somebody else will get you both as I am not there to see to it myself. I happened to look out just now and saw some squaws go passed one of them had a child carrying it they way they carry their babies they put a shawl on and put the baby into the shawl upon there back with its head sucking out over the top and the child puts its arms around its mothers neck and hangs on. Sometimes I see an old Indian and his squaw walking out the old man will go along and about a red behind will be the old squaw that is the way of the Indians. And there are the Chinese they go in droves the men have long hair braided in one braid that hangs down to there ankle and the women have theirs piped so it resembles a sail and always go bareheaded when their hair is piped nice. Every nation upon the globe is represented here in Cal.

I suppose you are busy now a days making maple sugar I would like to help you a week or so but I think I should be an unprofitable servant dont you but never mind I will help you some time if nothing happens to prevent me.

I guess you think I have got some – writing paper, well I took this kind because it is the largest, best and lines nearer together so I can write more on a sheet. I attend church every sabbath I attend the Presbyterian church the same one Mr. Hamilton attends I intend to pay from 5 to 10 dollars this year for the support of the gospel in this place the boys at home would think that quite a – wouldn’t they but they don’t think how many times that number they spend for nonsense. There is no Baptist church of any kind in this city…

Item #MA57
Price: $1250.00