Item #3747 [Autograph Letter, Signed, from a Prospector Crossing the Isthmus of Panama on His Way to the California Gold Fields]. California Gold Rush, William Gilmore.

[Autograph Letter, Signed, from a Prospector Crossing the Isthmus of Panama on His Way to the California Gold Fields]

Panama: January 11, 1852. [4]pp., on a bifolium. Previously folded, with some tanning and minor wear along old folds. A few smudges and scattered fox marks. Accomplished in a legible script. Very good. Item #3747

A detailed letter by a traveller to the California gold fields in 1852 describing his experiences in Panama to his wife, Hannah back home in Maine. Traveling with a hometown friend named Albert, William Gilmore relates a rather harrowing journey down rivers and across the Isthmus of Panama, at one point having to "pay the sum of ten dollars to a native to go three miles with us for a guide and we was glad. To some of us it was very expensive crossing the Isthmus in every respect." He details additional costs for food, tea, and lodgings while waiting in Panama for a ship to California. Gilmore provides additional detailed descriptions of the "natives," the vegetation and agriculture, the church architecture, and the fortifications of Panama, referring to the place as "one of the best spots under the whole heaven." Gilmore spends the third page pining for Hannah, and expounding on the fact that he is happy as long as Hannah is praying for him, mentioning a Sabbath day spent "on the Chagres River." He asks Hannah to write to him upon receipt of this letter "direct to Stockton, California." Shortly afterwards, Gilmore observes that "It will cost me about two hundred and fifty dollars to get to the mines if I have good luck the rest of the way." Gilmore also mentions another friend from home named Avery who is considering traveling to California, and instructs Hannah to tell Avery to write if he decides to go. Gilmore concludes the letter with the mention of a fellow traveler who has taken sick and had to stop at Gulyana. An informative Gold Rush letter describing the hardships and sometimes prohibitive costs involved in simply getting to California to pan for gold.

Price: $1,250.00