GOLD RUSH WOMEN

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

Letter to his sister.
Stockton, Calif., May 8, 1850.

Written by a United States soldier who served under Col. Stephenson in the New York Volunteer regiment, this letter tells of life in California, where he intends to stay for the rest of his life. Apparently not struck with gold fever, he has married into one of the Hispanic families and settled into the life of a rancher. He encourages his sister to come west and bring their brothers with her. He sends encouragement in the form of the news that there is a very great shortage of women in California and that she can make "from twenty to twenty five dollars a day" and "have all the chances of marrying rich."

Caroline L. Richardson
Diary of overland journey from Illinois to California.
February 10 - September 26, 1852.

This diary points up the contrasts of the overland journey. On the open pages, written in May 1852, Mrs. Richardson makes note of the numerous graves along the trail. She also comments, "this country is very undulating and very beautiful."

Anne Willson Booth
Journal of a voyage from Baltimore to San Francisco.
April 19 - November 6, 1849.

Anne Willson Booth sailed from Baltimore on her uncle's ship, the Andalusia. Her journal is a rich treasure of shipboard life with many descriptions of the passengers. It contains a detailed account of the physical aspects of the voyage, including longitude and latitude. The displayed pages contain Ms. Booth's account of the ship's entry into San Francisco Harbor on September 21, 1849.

Lorena Lenity Hays
Personal Journal.
1852-1859.

At the age of twenty-six, in 1853, Lorena Hays accompanied her mother across the plains to California. Her father had died in 1848. The two women eventually settled in Sarrahsville (Clinton), Amador County, where they opened a boarding house. Lorena's journal describes their trip across the plains and her first seven years in California.

Eliza Allen
The Female Volunteer; or the Life, Wonderful Adventures and Miraculous Escapes of Miss Eliza Allen, A Young Lady of Eastport, Maine.
Ohio: H. M. Rulison, 1851.

After following her lover during the Mexican War and later to California, Eliza Allen ended up in gold rush California. As the cover states, "TRUTH STRANGER THAN FICTION." Much of the time Eliza dressed as a man to avoid the many problems that faced women in the 1840s and 1850s.

J. D. Borthwick
Three Years in California.
Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1857.

In May of 1851 J. D. Borthwick embarked for California from New York, travelling by way of Panama. Borthwick was also an artist of some skill and his book is illustrated with eight of his own drawings. In the text following his drawing entitled "A Ball in the Mines," Borthwick comments on the lack of women in the mines: "The absence of ladies was a difficulty which was very easily overcome, by a simple arrangement whereby it was understood that every gentlemen who had a patch on a certain part of his inexpressibles should be considered a lady for the time being."

[Alonzo Delano]
Pen Knife Sketches; or, Chips of the Old Block. A Series of Original Illustrated Letters, Written by One of California's Pioneer Miners, and Dedicated to that Class of her Citizens by the Author.
Sacramento: The Union Office, 1853.

Delano, who wrote under the pen name "Old Block," originally wrote these sketches as newspaper columns. The Union reprinted them in 1853 and sold 16,000 copies which led to a second printing the next year.
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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