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    Life in San Francisco During the Gold Rush: A Forty-Niner Writes to His Brother of Gambling, Murder, and Suicide. Autograph letter, four pages, 7.5" x 10", San Francisco, January 14, 1850, signed "Your affectionate brother Lawrence", to his brother in Springfield, Massachusetts. You could not ask for a better letter to chronicle life in San Francisco near the height of the California Gold Rush. Lawrence writes in part: "Of all objectionable countries, under the sun, California beats them in the aggregate...I hope to do something the coming season & if, through the goodness of Providence, my hopes are realized, & prosperity crowns my efforts, you may depend on coming in for a share of the spoils I may rob from our Mother Earth...the well water has an unpleasant taste & rain water is commonly preferred to drink...Sabbath breaking is becoming painfully prevalent; the most heaven daring profanity is almost universal; bestial intoxication is frequently witnessed, & every hotel & restaurant has a well stored bar of smiling but deadly attractions for inebriates, old or young; & last & mightiest of all, gambling, with its alluring hopes & fair promises, its bewitching excitements & occasional successes, leads thousands of the unwary astray, and does a 'smashing business,' in the ruin of souls, as well as in the destruction of fortunes...I have made inquiries about Audubon's [John Woodhouse Audubon] party in which Justin Ely started for Cal. Overland but have learned nothing definite...There have been one startling murder in a gambling house since I have been here & though $3000. have been offered for the arrest of the murderer he has thus far eluded search. There has also been two or three melancholy suicides, one or two sudden deaths from Providential visitation & a number from lingering causes...Mr. Pelton (landlord) paid $35, for about two thirds of a cord of green wood & engaged another load of dry wood for $60!..." The reference to Audubon refers to the latter's overland journey from New York through Texas, Mexico and California which resulted in his The Drawings of John Woodhouse Audubon Illustrating His Adventures Through Mexico and California 1849-1850. With the usual folds, paper toned, a few small stains, else a neat and legible letter in very good condition.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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