Lot 25 of 196:
California gold rush letter from George Bush  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$540
$900 - $1,200

1849 letter, George Bush ancestor as Forty-Niner






Bush, H.[enry]. Autograph Letter Signed. Rochester, NY, March 17, 1849. To Guy R. Phelps, Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co., Hartford, Conn.: 1pg.+ stampless address leaf: 

"The Agt. of your Company in this City...holds a policy of insurance on my life for $5000...when I applied I supposed there would be permission to go to California...but...the Co. are now charging 3 percent [extra]...I wish to know...if I run my own risk in going whether the policy would be considered valid after I got there and could it be renewed while there…there are several would like to insure in this Co. if they can go to California and run their own risk in going if this policy would be good then...” Henry Bush and his brother Obadiah – Great-great-grandfather of the first President George Bush – were both active in the anti-slavery movement and Underground Railroad in Rochester, as was Henry’s pregnant wife Abigail, a pioneer feminist who had chaired the first woman’s rights convention after the famous conclave at Seneca Falls. Both men were unlucky in business, so decided, early in 1849, to seek their fortunes in Gold Rush California. We can find no record of precisely when the brothers sailed, together with Henry’s two oldest sons, nor of how they struck it rich in the gold fields. But both brothers, apparently flush, sailed for home two years later. Obadiah died en route and was buried at sea, but Henry arrived safely, collected his wife and family and returned to San Francisco in 1852, settling in the tiny rural village of Martinez, where he owned 600 acres of land, paid for with Mariposa-mined gold. They lived in a house near what is still called “Bush Street” in Martinez, adjacent to their Homestead of imported fruit trees and grapevines. Henry Bush died there in 1875.  With his unfortunate brother, he may be considered a patriarch of the Bush political family in America.  His letters are very rare. 

Lot Amendments

Slight edge discoloration; otherwise condition is very good.

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