Lot 100 of 575:
Letters from California gold seeker, 1849-1850  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$600
$1,000 - $1,500

Four letters from gold seeker Samuel McCullough to his parents, written from Panama, San Francisco, and Sacramento

McCullough, Samuel

Various places




Autograph letters, two of them signed. Two to four pages each. Approx. 26x20.5 cm (10¼x8”).

Significant series of letters from the California Gold Rush, relaying the trials of passage across the Isthmus of Panama and up to San Francisco; a description of San Francisco, costs of living, etc.; from New Orleans [Bar] California, now Orleans, in the northeast corner of Humboldt County; and from Sacramento. 


  • Panama, Nov. 4, 1849. Two pages on single sheet of paper, unsigned. Describes the state of affairs in Panama, hiring passage across the Isthmus, the steamer “Oregon”, the thousand sof passengers waiting for transport up the coast to San Francisco, the cost of same, etc. It ends “…it has been by desire for years past to be prepared got meet death at the will of god remember your absent son when in a far and distend land, dear Parents.”
  • San Francisco, Dec. 29, 1849. Four pages on conjugate lettersheet, unsigned. Tells of challenge finding passage from Panama to San Francisco, describes his fellow passengers, the ports visited along the way north (San Blas, Monterey, “Sante Ago” etc.). They arrived in San Francisco to find that “The streets are now about eighteen [inches] from that to three feet deep with mud so you may judge their cannot be much business done at present… Mechanics generally are of great demand carpenters wages rates from twelve to sixteen dols. Per day… Rents are very high one small room will rent for two hundred and fifty does per month say not larger than ten by twelve and some cannot be got at that though there are a great many buildings up the place is about four times as large as I expected to find about fifteen thousand inhabitants…”
  • New Orleans [Bar] Alt. California, Feb. 26, 1850.  Four pages on conjugate lettersheet, signed. “…for the present we have everything necessary for farming our seeds cost a considerable we have several acres planted some ofd the things are up and look finesse intend to plant few acres more of late vegetables after we finish our house…  Everything is lively in the way of business all things are height retail wholesale some things sell very low at auction, wages still remain about the same from ten to fourteen does. Per day (mechanics)…”
  • Sacramento, June 23, 1850. Four pages on two sheets of paper, signed. Writes of business prospects, prices, crops, the river, etc. “We hear of a large migration across the planes at their arrival this fall hay will be of great demand their being no grass at that season of the year on account of the dry weather heart, we have had no rain since the first week in April we shall stack it and keep it until fall…”

Lot Amendments

Some wear and staining, old folds, some splits and holes at folds most notably to final letter; good to very good.

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