A letter from gold prospector Newton Chandler to his wife Jane after arriving in San Francisco, January 15, 1855.
Newton Chandler (1818?-1880) left his home in Hartland, Vermont for California in 1855. In this letter to his wife, Chandler, a relative late-comer to the Gold Rush, describes his accommodations during his travels by ship, his arrival in San Francisco, and plans for gold prospecting.
San Francisco Jan. 15th 1855
I am here and well and hope these few lines will find you and the children well and comfortable. I have had a first rate passage and enjoyed it well. I have directed a letter to father today giving some description of the journey which you will see the fare or living on the boats for deck passengers was very bad vis.[[object Object]] salt, musty beef & pork & sea biscuit for a meal then course torn[[object Object]] meal. Mush & poor molasses for another. Then boiled dried apple & hard bread another. Been [[object Object]] soup another and so on. Pretty hard fare but one can get along with seerage[[object Object]] fare & I should advise any man who wants to save 100 dollars to Lay on[[object Object]] from five to ten dollars in bread and cheese dried beef &c then he can come along comfortable. It cost me more than 25 dollars for what I had to buy of the stewarts [[object Object]], 25 [[object Object]] for a piece of soft Bread so large as your four fingers & every thing at the same rate still they throw overboard good bread and meat &c the leavings of the cabin fare. They won’t give the deck people even a crust that is soft, they drive to buy. But when I get ready for you to come with the children we will take cabin fare if you conclude to come I think I shall like the country well. But can tell better after trial. the weather is September Like here the wild geese & ducks are plenty.
We had some for dinner today we have first rate living here Salmon & all kinds of fish plenty--- we start for the mines at 4 o’clock today. Stonecutters get seven dollars per day on the custom house building I think I could get a chance there but must try the mines first. I don’t know where I shall stop, but am going North first, near the Yuba I shall write when located, I want you to write once a month at least, and remember that you & the children are with me ever [[object Object]] day & night Tell Willee I shall want him to come out with me next time I come so he must go to school and get his learning cause there is no chance here. Kiss Lis for me a dozen times & say good night for me, I shall try and make enough to square up with all my friends as soon as possible. You shall hear from me as soon as possible. Tell George to write to me direct to Sacramento Cal. I can get letters by express from any part I may be in.
Tell Lucian I shall write to him and wish him to do the same by me. Give my respects to Father & Mother Alexander & Tell all the folks that I hope to see them again in good spirits. I have some things to get before we go which is in 2 hours by steamboat so good day.
From N. A. Chandler
To Jane M. Chandler