Lot 37 of 382:
Letter from Sonoma County, 1862  

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Lot closed - unsold
Estimate:
$400 - $600

Title:
Letter from H.H. McKinstry in Two Rock Valley, Sonoma County, California, to his brother back east, describing life in California, primarily the agricultural bounty
Author:
McKinstry, Henry Harrison
Place:
Two Rock Valley, California
Publisher:
Date:
FE. 16, 1862
Description:

4 pp., on 4-page conjugate lettersheet. 22.8x17.3 pp. (9x7").

McKinstry discusses at length the economic benefits of farming in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, and even hits at wage equality for women, "A woman gets about the same wages here as a man does which is about $30 per month by the year and the same for teaching which is about $50 per month.  A woman like cousin Elizabeth can make just as much money here as a man can working out but a man has the advantage of being able to go into business for himself.  I know men here that has made $1000 per year ever since they have been here but ordinarily a man that goes into business for himself and tries to do something will make from 3 to 5 hundred dollars a year.  I made $300 last year and I am getting 400 this year..."

Full text of letter:
 
Two Rock Valley, California Feb 16, 1862
 
Dear Brother,
 
Your letter of Dec 14 (19?) came to hand last night.  I was glad to hear that you think about coming here and I should be very happy to have some of the rest of our friends come to.  I have written to you before all about the country here but I suppose you have lost the letters and forgotten all about it before this time.  I wrote one letter that took me three evenings and it was all answering to your questions that was somewheres near a year ago.  
 
I have got eight letters from you since I have been here which I have preserved and I have written about 10 to you if you have saved them all to read now you would (?) know all about California than I am able to tell you.  I wrote one to George Bates a short time ago in which I gave a full description of the country and its products if you could get that it would give you considerable information.  
 
I mailed a letter to you the 7th of this month which will tell you about how my affairs are at present and it will also tell you what you can do here.  A woman gets about the same wages here as a man does which is about $30 per month by the year and the same for teaching which is about $50 per month.  A woman like cousin Elizabeth can make just as much money here as a man can working out but a man has the advantage of being able to go into business for himself.  I know men here that has made $1000 per year ever since they have been here but ordinarily a man that goes into business for himself and tries to do something will make from 3 to 5 hundred dollars a year.  I made $300 last year and I am getting 400 this year and $100 for the use of my place now.  
 
As to the weather I have seen it froze so hard enough here in the morning so that the mud would bear up a horse and there has been 2 or 3 days this winter that it did not thaw in the shade all day long but it did in the sun though I never saw but a few uncomfortably warm days here and never but 3 at a time that is here in Bodega where I am but  all the interior (?) valleys are said to be excessively hot in the summer and colder in the winter than it is here.  It is the sun? that keeps it so even along the coast.  
 
As for fruit it is the greatest fruit country in the world.  All kinds of that will grow in the eastern or Atlantic states will grow here and bear fruit the 2nd of 3rd year and sometimes the first.  I have seen lots of trees here that had to have p? set? each side of them and same thing across the top to tie them up to to keep them from breaking down with fruit and sometimes trees not bigger than your thumb grapes grow here as well as anywhere in the world.  I expect I have got the nicest kind of a place for a vineyard on my place, all kinds of berrys that you can name grow here.  The best kind we also ? nectarines apricots figs etc.  I have known one hundred and ten bushels barley and oats being raised on an acre? and 50 of wheat but James you seem to be very distrustful about the country. 
 
I will warrant you it is the best country in the world.  It is the land of promise and the land of gold.  I don’t think there is much trouble in getting schools but still I don’t know much about it.  You want to come here with the ? of doing anything that comes handy and will pay, don’t make up your mind to come here and be a gentleman and live easy.  If you do you will find yourself sadly mistaken or else never make anything like thousands of dollars here.
  
Now James if you are coming at all my advice is to come along this spring just as soon as you can for you are losing time very fast by staying away next fall.  I will be worth between $700 and $800 and I had to pay my passage after I got here.  If you had come when I did you would have been worth next fall at least $1000.  Tell Elizabeth that if she will come here and try her best I will warrant her $1000 in 3 years.  
 
You don’t know how much good it would do me to have some of you come out here.  Be sure to write before you start James if it is possible for you to do as I requested you in my other letter about going to Mich I wish you would do so.  
 
From your Brother H.H. McKinstry
 
Also, his wife's obituary:
 
A WIDOW’S DEATH 
 
Mrs. McKinstry Did Not Long Survive the Passing of Her Husband
 
Nancy Maria McKinstry, who died last Thursday, was born in Ohio, February 10th, 1845. She was married to Henry H. McKinstry on March 21st, 1866. She was the mother of six children, four boys and two girls, all of whom are living. Her husband preceded her in death about six weeks. Deceased had been an invalid for several years, her last illness covering a period of sixteen months, the most of which time she was confined to her bed.
 
She came to California when about twenty years of age, by way of the Isthmus of Panama. The vessel on which she was sailing was wrecked, and the entire crew and passengers of several hundred were landed on a small rocky island, where they remained for ten days, and were then picked up by a British man-of-war. Before the vessel was out of sight, the island on which they had taken refuge was completely submerged. 
 
Mrs. McKinstry first settled near Petaluma, afterward moving to Solano County, where many years of her life were spent. With her husband, she came to Healdsburg about nine years ago. She was a devout member of the Adventist faith. The funeral was held Sunday, being conducted by Elder McClure. The family of the late Mrs. McKinstry desire to express their thanks to all who so kindly aided in the care of the deceased during her last hours.
 
Source: Healdsburg Tribune, Enterprise and Scimitar, Volume XX, Number 8, 1 October 1908
 
Lot Amendments
Condition:
Old folds one small smudge; fine or nearly so.
 
Item number:
307241a
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