1858. Calais, Maine: December 16, 1858.
Single sheet, folded, 4 pp., each page 7.5 x 9.5". Closely written in ink on all pages; cross-written on the first page and part of the second. Expected mailing folds, faded in places but legible, faintly toned, very good.
§ A long letter, written with a mother's pride, describing a young man's experience seeking work on California steamboats in 1858. Mrs Turnbull(?) writes from Calais, Maine, to a family member. After general updates on deaths and illnesses, she writes of her son:
"Gorham my oldest son 20 years of age is in California... he has been wanting to go for 2 or 3 years, but I was not willing as he was to young, but I found he was set upon it & was not satisfied here - he had letters of recommendation from Gentlemen here and also from his Boston friends, one of our merchants here gave him a letter when he left authorizing him to draw on him for $300 at any time if he wanted - two other men told him to draw if he needed & they would pay his drafts(?) - he was a young man (altho my son) that had many friends as he was of steady habits & enterprising - he left N. York the 10th of September & arrived at San Francisco after a passage of 24 days - after stopping there a day or two he went off to Sacramento - to his friends - then he met my sister Lucy & her husband Alfred Redington (formerly of Augusta in this state) & my brother Charles & they were all glad to see him - Mr Redington is the general agent for all the river Steam Boats from San Francisco up to Sacramento & from there to Maryville [i.e. Marysville] & other places - & also part owner of the line - & from what I learn from those well acquainted with him - has made himself rich - he & Charles had been out there 5 years - Lucy and her 2 children went out about 2 years since. Charles is the Clerk of one of the Boats that run from Sacramento up to Maryville & has $150 a month I found(?). Mr Redington has put Gorham on to the same boat with Charles as Baggage Master - with the promise of a better berth as soon as there is a vacancy. Lucy wrote me that her husband likes Gorham very much & would do all he could & give him a good chance to make money as he found him "as Lucy says", a young man of good habits & principals - we hear from them every mail - they are all happy together - they go up to Maryville one day & back the next & him on board the boat all the time - but every other evening they are all together at Lucy's - & Sunday afternoons (as the Boats come down in the morning) they all attend Church together - we feel very easy about him knowing he is amongst friends altho we miss him very much, how long he will be away from home we cannot tell, but if he has his health, & is prosper'd I think he will stay some 4 or 5 years - Charles says he think of coming (illeg.) this way in the course of 2 years. California is a delightful country to live in and all who go there like the climate much. I have a letter last week from Gorham - he says I expect (illeg.) you are now all froze up & have have snow & good sleighing - here we are having fine weather - the grass just springing up & the tress in blossoms..." Item #123978