Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP1284

Sent by:
John Wallace
Sent to:
? Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell)
8 May 1853

Sent by John Wallace, Columbia, Tuolumne County, California, USA to ?Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell) [none given] on 8 May 1853.

Record created:
23 May 2011 by NHM
Verified by:
22/08/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline (All except summary checked);


One of a set of excerpts of letters providing in-depth descriptions John Wallace's life in the gold mining town of Columbia, California, building a system to bring water to gold mining operations in the town.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP1284.1063)

A transcription typewritten  in English.

Typescript copy c. 1948, incomplete

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/3/96/10
Copyright owner:
©Wallace Family
Record scrutiny:
22/08/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

Physical description

Transcription information




13. Letter from Columbia, May 8th, 18531

You have, heard of course heard of the Errickson Caloric Engine, and I suppose you will have an opportunity of seeing it; from the description it [[2]] appears an ingenious contrivance, but I have no doubt great improvements will yet be made upon it….I am fully employed with the business of my responsible and arduous duties, and the . I frequently have to get up in the middle of the night when anything happens to the ditch, summon a force of labourers and repair the damage if possible, before day light, and I am constantly employed in laying out branch ditches, building dams and bridges, fluming across valleys etc., besides a general supervision of the whole line which extends about forty miles in length and some of it over the roughest country and steepest hillsides you ever saw. I have measured the angle of some of the hillsides and found them less than 45 from the perpendicular height below our flume, while the top of the mountain was about a thousand feet above it. These are some of the California hills.


1. This typescript copy of this letter from 8th May 1853 begins at the bottom of image 1.

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.