Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP1629

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Sent by:
John Wallace
Sent to:
? Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell)
22 June 1851

Sent by John Wallace, Campo Seco, California to ?Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell) [none given] on 22 June 1851.

Record created:
23 May 2011 by NHM
Verified by:
23/05/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline (All except summary checked);


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (2)

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LETTER (WCP1629.1408)

A transcription handwritten by other in English.

A contemporary handwritten copy in hand of Mary Ann Wallace.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/3/97
Copyright owner:
©Wallace Family
Record scrutiny:
23/05/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

Physical description

Transcription information




Part[?] Second Service)


Campo Seco1

June 22 18512

Dear Mother

Many letters having been delayed I wish you in future to direct send them to me at "Sonora Tuolomne County" I shall get them more direct and at less expense as the little Town of Sonora has now grown into a city and has a branch post office a weekly paper and some fine gambling houses.

In reference to what you say about my settling down with a Wife - I see no chance of it at present, having not met with any yet who can compare with "the merry maids of England so beautiful and so fair" Since I last wrote I have been doing moderately well in the mines gaining from 5 to 6 dollars per day there are about a thousand miners in this vicinity but for a few weeks past not much has been done here, the water in the creek getting so low that parties working at the creek would not allow the our Company water from it, therefore finding we could not do much for our selves, we are now working for another man who keeps several Waggons with Bullocks and Horses and hauls the dirt to the creek we get two ozs[?] [ounces?] a week for our work, it is not quite so pleasant as working on ones own account, but it does not do to stand idle in California and if we cannot do one thing we must try another. If I had hired out ever since I came to the mines I should be much better off than I am. I should much like to be in England now, The Chrystal[sic] Palace must be a grand sight and grand times for the tradesmen in London. I suppose you heard of the terrible fire they had at San Francisco on the 4th of May destroying nearly the whole City and doing more damage than all the four previous fires. Some estimate the loss at some hundred million dollars, it is strange [[2]]3 4that one of the large fires occurred on the 4th of May last year 1850 about three days afterwards a large fire took place at Stockton which consumed nearly the whole Town, but such is the magical influence of Gold that both Cities are now nearly the same as before, the fires are supposed to have originated by a band of disparate characters whos[sic] chief object is plunder during the confusion which such an occurrence creates, I have since heard that some of the incendiaries were discovered at San Francisco and Lynched by the people (that is hung at once without the formalities of law) --

The mines are greatly changed to what they were a year ago, every thing is much cheaper and even luxuries can be obtained at a moderate price a number of persons have goner into gardening speculations, vegetables are abundant & cheap ice creams and eau de cologne are also vended in this camp; since I last wrote we have had a little rain the latter end of March, & beginning of April a regular wintery[sic] day when it snowed & hailed with thunder lightening and gusts of wind the whole day sometimes all at the same time not with-standing these sudden gusts we have actually had no winter at all and the next one will probably be more severe, the weather is now (June) very hot and has been so some time past. I have sent a few specimens of what is called rough gold you will see it bears no appearance of having been worn by the action of water but retains its original roughness as it was formed from in its parent rock.

With love to all | I remain | your affectionate son | J. Wallace


1. Campo Seco was a mining community in California.

2. "P" and "116" in blue pencil in an unknown hand below the letter date, and "WP1/3/97 [-1 of 2]" in pencil in an unknown hand below.

3. "WP1/3/97 [2 of 2]" in pencil in an unknown hand in the top right corner of the page. Also "116" in the top left corner.

4. The letter text begins with an unknown symbol resembling an inverted figure 2 in ink in the top left margin.

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