California Gold Rush Letter – Colorma, Alta California March 10th, 1850 – Fred Snyder & His Brother Seek Gold Riches – “The mineral wealth of California has not been exaggerated. There is a great deal of gold here, but flesh and blood suffer to obtain it.”
This 3 page letter in nice dark ink is in fine condition and easily read. It presents a great picture of the young men who journeyed to California to seek riches. The letter is written by Fred Snyder who left his home in Belleville, Illinois in 1849. Fred’s brother, John F. Snyder, did not heed Fred’s advice to stay home and would arrive in California in 1851, staying until 1853. After this California adventure, John finished up a medical degree and also practiced law in Missouri. When the Civil War broke out, he served as a Captain in the 4th Missouri Cavalry, CSA. After the war he resumed his medical career and even served in the Illinois legislature. We don’t know much about Fred Snyder, but he writes an excellent letter!
• Colorma, Alta California March 10th, 1850. Dear John: Day before yesterday, Joe Sargent received a letter from you dated Sept. 29th and that is actually the first news from home. I have not received a letter or paper from anybody and doubtful whether I ever shall.
• From all accounts, the cholera has made dreadful havoc in Illinois as well as over the whole Union & it was on this account that I was anxious to hear from home. I am satisfied that those who I could least have spared have passed through the ordeal uninjured. But whilst you have contagious and epidemics to contend against at home, we have the Scurvy and Diarrhea which rage to a terrible extent in the mines. It is generally confined to that class who are loose and dissipated, and if great care is not taken it rarely proves fatal. I was afflicted with the former last fall, but soon recovered.
• I formed a resolution when I came into the mines never to drink or gamble, and I am indebted to such a determination for my present good health.
• Spring has fairly opened and the miners are beginning to leave in all directions, prospecting for better digging. The mineral wealth of California has not been exaggerated. There is a great deal of gold here, but flesh and blood suffer to obtain it.
• Nine-tenths of the people of California do not make more than from $6 to $10 a day while you occasionally hear of some one making a fortune in a few weeks.
• My advice to every one who can make a living at home is to stay there. If you make a leaving here, you are forced to work harder than the Negroes in the South, and far worse than the deck hands of a steam boat.
• This is strictly true, John, for I would not conceal anything from you as you might be tempted to do as I did. Profit by the bad judgment of others and stay at home as long as you can keep soul and body together.
• The whole country is overrun with that most detestable class of mortals, gamblers, and you can hardly go half a mile without seeing faro-banks, monte, and every other game to win the hard earnings of the unsuspicious and too credulous miner.
• In fact, our so called courts of Justice, have decided that a gambling debt can be recovered or taken and the Sheriff can very successfully open the money in your pocket!
• The past winter has been in a measure mild and pleasant and provisions have sold very high. For instance, Col. Jarrot has a store on Matheras Creek, and he sold flour at $200 per barrel, pork $6 a pound, potatoes $90 per bushel, and everything else in proportion. So it is obvious that it takes as much to feed one man as it costs to feed a steamboat.
• The only way a person can live here and be idle is to quit eating and go to bed! The “Miss Nancy” are on the north fork of the Rio de los Americanos, at work and I understand are doing well. I have not yet seen any of them.
• When you write address your letters to Sacramento City. All the Belleville boys are well. Write regularly & send me papers. Joe Gelnicks & others send their regards. Tell Mother I shall probably be at home the last of December. My regards to all hands, particularly Eng. Murrez. Affectionately yours Fred Snyder. (To:) J. F. Snyder
The letter is perfect for display with a picture of mining for gold.
#L3-10-1850- Price $595