Monthly Archives: September 2017

“I do not want to “fail” in this job”

This is John Bidwell’s last letter to George McKinstry for the year 1848. He is still at the ranch of Charles Roether, which was on the Feather River at Honcut Creek, where he has been buying cattle to drive to … Continue reading

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1848 Shipping List — Part 2

Here is the rest of Bidwell’s letter to McKinstry on November 1, 1848. It is chiefly concerned with that most important trade item — cattle. Demand was going up, and so were prices. I learn here that Cordua has raised … Continue reading

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A Shipping List from 1848

Here is Bidwell, in November 1848, with a list of items that he is shipping to George McKinstry for sale at their trading post at Bidwell Bar. At least that’s where I think all this stuff is going. I’m not … Continue reading

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Happy Admission Day!

Today is California Admission Day, the day that California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state. So do something fun to commemorate this day in history, like the San Franciscans did when they got the news on October … Continue reading

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“If this is true . . . it is outrageous.”

Here is the second half of Bidwell’s September 30, 1848 letter to George McKinstry. He is outraged by a rumor that he has killed two Indians, a charge that he stoutly denies. It would certainly have been out of character … Continue reading

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“A great many people have crowded upon this stream”

Another letter from Bidwell to George McKinstry in 1848. I hope you find these letters as interesting as I do. I think the insights into the early days of gold-mining in California are fascinating. Camp 30th Sept. 1848 Dear Mac, … Continue reading

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“The most laborious business I know of”

This letter is in the McKinstry collection, but I don’t know who wrote it. Possibly it is by the Mr. McCall mentioned in Bidwell’s letter of 24 June 1848. It gives another view of Bidwell and Dickey mining on the … Continue reading

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