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    Mark Hopkins Manuscript Letter Signed "Mark Hopkins," "C.P. Huntington," "Theo J. Millikin," "Geo Rowland," "L.H. Foote," "B.C. Whiting," "Jos. W. Winans," "C. Cole," "A.K.P. Harmon," "E.B. Crocker," and one unidentified signature ("Jno. G. ---"). To R.J. Stevens, Esq. In full, "Mrs. Henry J. Crabb is desirous of obtaining employment at the Branch U.S. Mint at San Francisco. Her husband as you are probably aware was formerly a prominent politician in this State and was massacred at Cavorca some years since. His wife who is a member of one of the oldest and most respectable Spanish families of California has by means of his death and disasters that have followed her family which at the time of her marriage was wealthy, been reduced to penury. She moreover has at present two children depending upon her for support. We cheerfully recommend her to you as a fit recipient of your patronage being assured that her appointment would in fact be a true charity." On light blue watermarked laid stationery. Folds, else in fine condition.

    Whig Henry A. Crabb was an active politician. He served in the California legislature in 1852 and 1853. A Mississippian who followed the Gold Rush to California in 1849, he introduced the bill that became the state's 1852 Fugitive Slave Law making it illegal for slaves to run away from their owners in California. Later that year, he introduced a resolution which asked Congress to protect California's redwoods. It failed. In 1856, Crabb unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate. Crabb was married to a member of the prominent Ainsa family of Sonora. Mexico. In 1857, there was political unrest in Sonora and Crabb was asked to help opposition leader Ignacio Pesqueira gain control of the Mexican state of Sonora, just south of Arizona. Crabb formed an army of almost 100 ex-miners and, in January 1857, sailed from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and marched into Sonora. By then, Pesqueira had gained control of Sonora, denied inviting Crabb, and called on his people to arm themselves against the invaders. Regarded as a filibuster, a military adventurer, Crabb felt it was his "right" to colonize Sonora; he called his group of men the Gadsen or Arizona Colonization Company. From April 1-6, 1857, a fierce battle ensued in the town of Caborca, culminating by the capture and execution of Crabb and his army except for a 15-year-old boy who managed to get back to Los Angeles and report what happened. Crabb was beheaded; his head was preserved in alcohol and put on display as a symbol of victory. Today, the city is called Heroica Caborca to commemorate the heroic men who defeated the invading Americans on April 6th, now an annual holiday in the city. It is not known if Mrs. Crabb obtained employment in the U.S. Mint.

    In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Robert J. Stevens as Superintendent of the branch of the Mint of the United States at San Francisco. Stevens was the son-in-law of his long-time friend, Edward D. Baker. Investigations into Stevens' professional conduct caused the President to dismiss him, reluctantly, in April 1863. Although undated, this letter must have been written between 1861 and 1863. Charles Crocker, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Leland Stanford were instrumental in building the Central Pacific Railroad, the western portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad and developing California's railroad system. Known as the "Big Four," they supported Lincoln for President in 1860. The Central Pacific Railroad Co. was organized in April 1861. Crocker supervised construction; his brother Edwin B. Crocker was the railroad's attorney and succeeded him on the board when he resigned. Collis P. Huntington was Vice President of the Central Pacific and was later involved in establishing the Southern Pacific and other railroads. Mark Hopkins, Treasurer of the Central Pacific, had formed Huntington Hopkins and Company in 1855 to operate a hardware and iron business in Sacramento. Every project of the "Big Four" would not proceed without Hopkins' approval. Prominent lawyer Joseph W. Winans became president of the Board of Trustees of the California State Library in 1861. Cornelius Cole, Sacramento District Attorney (1859-1862), later represented California in the House and Senate. Oakland financier A.K.P. Harmon was a lumber and shipping magnate. George Rowland was a stockholder in the Central Pacific and later served as a director of the Rio Grande, Sierra Madre and Pacific Railroad Company of Mexico. General Lucius H. Foote later served as the first U.S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Korea (1883-1885). In 1862, Pres. Lincoln appointed Billington C. Whiting as Attorney of the United States for the Southern District of California. He was later appointed by Pres. Johnson, and reappointed by Pres. Grant, as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the District of California. In the first Annual report of the Central Pacific Railroad issued in 1863, Milliken & Bros., Sacramento, is listed as a stockholder. The autograph of Mark Hopkins is rare in any form. Combined with the signatures of Collis P. Huntington and other prominent Californians trying to get employment for the Mexican-American widow of the leader of California's most notorious filibustering expedition into Mexico, this letter is especially significant.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
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