Introduction | Discovery | The Journey | In the Diggings and Towns | Those Who Came
Those Who Stayed Behind | Gold Rush Women | Families | Framed Art

William Edgar Randall & Sarah Randall
Diary of a Voyage from Boston to San Francisco.
November 22, 1849 to May 5, 1850.

William and Sarah Randall sailed from Boston in the ship Hannibal on November 22, 1849. This was a honeymoon voyage for the Randalls who had been married shortly before leaving for California. William began the diary, but many entries were written by Sarah, particularly since the stormy voyage kept William sea sick much of the time. In the entry dated January 10, 1850, William remarks that, "Sarah has got a lot of pieces to make a needle book." The needle book shown here is the one that Sarah made while on this six month voyage.

William Edgar and Sarah Seaver Randall.
Daguerreotype, 1849.

This daguerreotype by an unknown Boston photographer was taken just before William and Sarah left for California. Sarah's dress in the daguerreotype appears to be the same material as the cover of her needle book. The Randalls eventually had five children. The first, Elizabeth, was born on October 25, 1850; a son, William, was born in the gold country at Murphy's Camp on April 1, 1852.

Sarah Seaver Randall
In Memory of My Edgar.
June 10, 1860.

William and Sarah, after living in several places in California and Oregon, purchased 1400 acres from the Briones family near Bolinas, in Marin County. Here they began a dairy operation known as the Randall Ranch. In June of 1860, William was shot and killed by a neighbor with whom he had a boundary dispute. Sarah continued to run the ranch and successfully defended the ranch boundaries in court. She died on January 24, 1907.

Sarah Seaver Randall
Needle Book.

Sarah Randall used scraps from the dresses of women on board the Hannibal to make this needle book. The thimble and emery bag also belonged to Sarah.

Wingate Family
Correspondence, 1850-1854.

The more than one hundred letters exchanged between Benjamin Wingate and his wife Mary, together with their five children, are a rare gathering of gold rush correspondence. Every letter between Benjamin and Mary spoke of the love between them; and although such letters were generally shared among family, Mary urged "do not keep back one endearing word, for I shall not publish them even to our own family. Benjamin's letters are also full of fatherly concern, and the children's letters in return are full of passages to delight us today.

Benjamin Wingate.
ca. 1850's

Benjamin, worked four years as a bookkeeper in a shipping and commission house in San Francisco after a brief try at the mines. In the city he had a daguerreotype made of himself for his family, from which this painting was later made. On first seeing the photograph, his youngest child, Ella, who was but an infant when he left for California, asked "Has my pa got any feet?"
Introduction | Discovery | The Journey | In the Diggings and Towns | Those Who Came
Those Who Stayed Behind | Gold Rush Women | Families | Framed Art


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