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These letters and deed were offered on eBay by Intrinsic Collectibles recently. They consist of correspondence between several Claiborne County family members who left Tennessee and Linn County, Missouri around 1849 for California. The families were sons of Fielding Lewis of Sandlick, Tennessee and realitives Moore, Bullard and probably others not known to me. You may recognize many of the family from descendents.

I have included a webpage with a short lineage record HERE. I think you will agree that GOLD and the thoughts of it were a strong force in early America.

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June 23, 1857 Letter, Lone Mountain, Tennessee Correspondence from David Moore in Claibourne County, Loan (sic) Mountain, Tennessee to family in Linn County, Missouri. This letter contains info about hardship, deaths and family news. It is written by James Hodges for David Moore who wasn't able to write it himself. He says, "...I can inform you that we are yet on this land of the living sometimes uppon our feet and some times a bed on account of our age and febleness of boddy. we do not think our time will be long in this presant world but have hope that when death has finished his office in this world that our soals will be conve(ye)d to the world of eternal bliss where trobles trial and dificulties will be all done a way (sic)." He goes on to say, "We chose James Hodges the writer of this ?* as our guardian to take the charge of our affairs and am now living in his own house and are well satisfied with him (sic)." He continues with, "Times has bee so hard that good men cannot pay there debts unless they are corn sellers. The corn is worth from one to one and a half dollars per bushel and very scarce at that. We have between three and four hundred dollars yet at interest and 1 horse, 1 cow, our household and hitching furniture so you need not be a feared of our suffering for somehting to eat provided it can be had for mony (sic)." David takes over writing, "July the 5th 1857 I have concluded to finish my letter and can in form you that the wheat crop is now redy for cuttin and thereis a tolerable good crop and has come in good time for the corn is very near consumed (sic)." He states, "...my daughter Polly has been very low but has recovered again. She was delivered of a dead child..." and "...am proud to have the opportunity of living where the gospel is preached in it purity especially in my old age..." also, "...that we may enter into the gates of the city where we will have no need of the sun nor of the moon for the lord God will be the light of the city..." (sic) Parts of this letter have faded and the text has been enhanced with pencil (not by my hand) to make it readable.This letter has been folded and it has some holes. It is 12" x 7-1/2", folded and written on 3 sides. (personal reference #4211)
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June 25, 1852 Letter, Gold Rush Era Correspondence from Lusinda Lewis on the road to Oregon to her sister, Elizabeth Lewis in Linn County, Missouri. This letter contains info about the trip fromTennesse to Oregon where Lusinda, her husband Fielding and their children were emigrating. Lucinda and two of her children later died making the journey. She says, "We have had verry good luck with our stock. We have not lost but one senc we have ben on the road but we have had a ?* of sickness but ?* death in our famley but we had severl deaths in our ?* but none tha you new... (sic)." She goes on to say, "We are now about 10 wks from forte Larmey. We have had a verry peasent jurney if it had not ben for sickness (sic)." She speaks of the desire of seeing her sister again and says, "...if it should be so that I should not se you every more in this world I am in hope that I may meate you in the world to com (sic)." She adds some words to, "Dear Cosens (sic)" where she mentions, "...I have been sick some on this road but am well at this time." This letter has a postmark from Ft. Laramie in the Wyoming territory. There is no mention of gold in this letter. This letter has been folded and it has some small holes. It is 9-1/4" x 7-3/4", written on 1 and 1/2 pages and another 1/2 page. (personal reference #4203)
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November 29, 1850 Letter, Gold Rush Era Correspondence from Charles Lewis at Diamond Springs in Eldorado County, California to his wife Elizabeth Lewis in Linn County, Missouri. Charles and his son Lee left Missouri in June 1850 to go to California in search of gold. This letter starts off with apologize for having not written more often but he offers, "...that I have been waiting to acquire a more perfect knowledg of the country in reference to the gold diggings, the general locality of the country but I am sorry to say that owing to bad health together with other difficulties I have not been able to acquire but a limited knowledge (sic)." He reports of Lee also being sick and goes on to say, "We had a tedious trip across the plains often coming in contact with water so impregnated with alkali & other mineral substances as to render it almost nausiating & dangerous for man and beast. A great portion of the road the worst perhaps that ?* teams ever emigrated (sic)." He states, "In a few days I have thought of coming home during the winter or next spring but if I should strike a lead & get to making money I shall remain longer. I have been in the mines since the 6th Sept. and during that time have been able to make but little more than expenses. There is gold in this country but in my opinion the mines is throughly worked & in many place very near exhausted so it depends altogether in luck if a man can make money atall & entirely chance if he makes a fortune. ...it is a hard place to get along in (sic)." He says, "I have never known what it was to be deprived of the society of my family until I left home on this trip." and "...we have most of our provisions laid in for 5 or 6 months." He asks that Elizabeth give his brother Fielding a message, "...tell him to take the advise of a brother who wishes (there is a hole here) well & never start across the plains with his family." (As an aside, Fielding does cross the plains with his wife and four children, emigrating to Oregon. His wife Lusinda and two children perish on the trip.) This letter has a Sacramento postmark. Unfortunately, this letter has been torn and taped. This letter has been folded and it has some holes. It is 12" x 7-3/4", written on 1-1/2 pages. (personal reference #4206)
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November 29, 1850 Letter, Gold Rush Era Correspondence from Charles Lewis at Diamond Springs in Eldorado County, California to his wife Elizabeth Lewis in Linn County, Missouri. Charles and his son Lee left Missouri in June 1850 to go to California in search of gold.
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November 29, 1850 Letter, Gold Rush Era Correspondence from Charles Lewis at Diamond Springs in Eldorado County, California to his wife Elizabeth Lewis in Linn County, Missouri.
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October 7, 1864 Letter, Civil War Era Correspondence from a son to his mother and written on paper with a battlefield scene printed on it. There are no names here. This letter is from "Collumba, Mo (sic)." He writes, "It is with pleasure that i take this opportunity to let you no that i am well and doing well and hope this may find you the same. peat and Chris and will is well and doing well and i never engoyed as good helth in my life (sic)." He goes on to say, "i hav got a good horse now he is a fine rone. we have got the best quaters that i ever seen." and " i wood like to bee at home a fiew days to see the folks and get wood for you (sic)." He references getting a letter from her and continues with, "we will get our pay as soon as we go to macon city. i made 5 dolars in a saddle trade and that has done me up till this time. i have got some of it yet. i like this place ?* if we dont get to go one the railrode i wood like to winter here. (sic)" He then says, "i want you to write me as soon as you get this and write to me how my horse is and how my calf is and how my hogs is and whather my corn is going to hold out or not and how my dogs is whather they are eny acount or not (sic)." The only reference he makes to the civil war is the line, "...and tell the rebels to go to thunder". This letter has been folded and it has some holes. It is 9-3/4" x 7-3/4", folded and written on 1-1/2 sides. (personal reference #4207)


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December 27, 1852 Letter, Gold Rush Era. Coorespondence from Lee Lewis in California to G. Brownlee in Missouri. This letter contains references about family news. Lee and his father Charles left Missouri in June 1850 to go to California in search of gold. Lee speaks of hearing of sickness back home and says " I fear some of you have fell victim to some of the diseases of which Missouri is subject. " He tells " Times is perty heard (sic) here that is to make a fortune in a short time.But to make a living it is an easy matter. Wages is worth from $75 and one hundred and fifty per month. " He lists prices of stock as well as food. He says " I expect to remain here some time if not alwais (sic). I may come back once to see you all and get me a wife and some stock such as cattle, cows and oxen for I think if a man could get one hundred head of cows here he would have his pile already. " He gives advise on emigrating to California, " ...bring all the stock you are able, don't be in too much of a hurry to get through. Take good care of your stock, travel regular but don't rush, be verry (sic) careful about crossing water. Never venture in to swim in North Plat nor Green river for there was a grate (sic) many drowned rising to the swiftness, coldness of the water. " He speaks of being healthy, of the delightful climate in California. He mentions someone mining the middle fork of the American river and " ...he had made about one thousand dollars. " This letter has some paper loss and one corner of the back page is missing. It is 7-5/8" x 10", written on three pages. (personal reference #4208)
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