Room Seven

Families

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."

William Edgar Randall diary
              Zoom In
William Edgar Randall diary
BANC MSS C-F 82 v.1

The needle book shown here is the one that Sarah made while on this six month voyage using scraps from the dresses of women on board the Hannibal. The thimble and emery bag also belonged to Sarah.

Needle book, thimble and ring
              Zoom In
A needle book, thimble and ring from the William Edgar Randall collection
BANC PIC 19xx.031081---OBJ

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.

William E. Randall and Sarah Seaver Randall
              Zoom In
William E. Randall and Sarah Seaver Randall
BANC PIC 1955.011:002--CASE
Calisphere Image Source

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.

In Memory of My Edgar
              Zoom In
In Memory of My Edgar
BANC MSS C-F 82 port.

In 1850, Benjamin Wingate left to try his luck in California, leaving his family behind in New Hampshire. During his four year absence, more than one hundred letters were exchanged between Benjamin and his wife Mary, creating a rare gathering of gold rush correspondence. His five children also contributed greatly to this collection of letters, taking turns writing, sometimes dutifully, about progress in school, activities, and plans.

Letter to Benjamin Wingate
              Zoom In
Letter to Benjamin Wingate
BANC MSS 83/35

Benjamin Wingate 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?"

Portrait of Mr. Benjamin Wingate
              Zoom In
Portrait of Mr. Benjamin Wingate
BANC PIC 1990.059:1--PIC


Copyright © 2011 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Document maintained by The Bancroft Library.
Last updated 08/15/11. Server manager: Contact