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From Gene Howe (California)
“Several farmers from the SE Iowa Area (Van Buren/Lee County) had the Gold Rush Fever, and left there families for the west….they were too late, but found the ground in the area to be to their liking, so they purchased some, went back to Iowa, Packed personal things, placed their families on a steam boat down the Des Moines River, Keokuk, New Orleans, To the isthmus of Panama, where they walked to the Pacific, where another sail boat took them to San Francisco, Mean while the men took their livestock and farming tools across the Wagon Trails and eventually they ended up forming the town of ‘Alamo’ (East of San Francisco)..Also, A George Howe, had a contract to build the dam at Keosauqua 1843? With another man..eventually Osceola was built on his farm ground….Thanks for ‘Midwest Frontier Stores’, we picked up at Bloomfield Welcome Center.”
Shared by Dave Glende of Lincoln, CA
“Grass Valley, July 20th, 1863
It is now one month today since I arrived here. I should have written to you sooner as I know you are anxious to hear from me. I have not felt like writing to anyone, don’t feel much like it now, have not been realy well since I have been here, I took cold the 2 last days that I traveled which settled in my head and throat – my throat commenced to be sore on the outside first, little lumps formed on each side of my throat, lasted a few days and went away. I thought it was agetting better directly, it soon commenced on the inside my throat became inflamed and matter formed and lodged in my throat had to swab it away troubled me about swallowing. My mouth was not sore at all. Never had anything like it before don’t know what to call it but the putrid sore throat. It is better now but not well. Come from a cold I took from riding in the stage from Lincoln to Grass Valley without my bonnet on it was warm and dusty could not bear my bonnet on. I will change the subject and tell you something about our journey here. We started from Ottumwa on Thursday the 14th day of May. Got to New York Sunday morning the 17 of May. Started from New York the 23rd of May on board the steamship Ocean Queen. Arrived at Aspinwall the 4th of June early in the morning. Took the cars and crossed the Isthmus, went directly from the cars on board the steamship Orizaba on the Pacific side. Arrived at San Francisco the 19th of June at one o’clock. Took passage on board the Sacramento Steamer for Sacramento City at 6 o’clock. Arrived at Sacramento early in the next morning.
Took the cars at Sacramento at 6 o’clock morning for Lincoln. Arrived at Lincoln 9 o’clock morning took stage from Lincoln to Grass Valley 30 miles arrived at Grass Valley 4 o’clock in evening. We are two hundred miles from San Francisco. While at San Francisco I saw new potatoes, beans, green corn, onions, cherries, apricots, apples, pears and I don’t know what all the rest was in market (looked nice and good) We have had (?) you could buy Mr. Pratts place or Wordens and rent them to some one you could get your payoff. I think that would be a good plan. I am very sorry I did not bring along my choice seeds that I had. When you write I wish you would put some of each kinds in and send to me. Just enough for me to get a start again. You will find them in a gingham sleeve of mine.
You will have to send them at different times. Tomato seeds would come very well be sure and send me some of each kind. I have some cucumber seeds, I want to have a little garden another year if I can. I have got some caraway seeds, has Granma Doze gone yet from there, I wish I had brought my pillows, don’t think that we can get feathers here (might possibly) I went to house keeping the next Monday after I arrived here, I have a stove very much like the one I let you have, same size with very heavy kettles, I will be fixed again after a while if we have good luck, take care of yourself, and enjoy yourself, as well as you can. How does Mrs. Goen (green) get along and how does the meeting house get along, we have not heard from Dianna yet the Indians, have been troublesome on the plains this summer. Mr. Marshall said he did not want me to come that way at all that it was hard on women to cross the plains as family if they had to cook and take care of children, I knew it must be, Lucy wants me to write some for her to Dolla I would like to see you and tell you about my journey to Cal while on the water I saw porpoises and fish and turtles and whales mountains and rocks and vessels while crossing the Isthmus I saw native the children naked girls and boys as large as you are naked they were a mulatto color plenty of Chinamen here and Indians, several have called to the door for a drink they don’t look as though they knew much plenty of them about Grass Valley they say they are peaceable, how is Louis, and Delia and Aretris, do you go to school who is your teacher you must write me a letter I write some everyday will soon be able to write to you some day before long. Mother I don’t know as you can read this any better then you can. Ezra, you must write to me often. Direct your letter to Grass valley, Nevada County.
From your affectionate daughter Sylvia Marshall
Don’t neglect to write often I will do the same (from top of letter written upside down)”