When Mrs. B.M. Evoy asked John Bidwell to supply her with fresh vegetables for her boarding house (See “Send a Basket by the Stage”), she wasn’t the only one. As she said in her letter, she heard about this source of produce from Mrs. Myers of Red Bluff — (“please send me such vegetables as you furnish Mrs. Myres.”)
The John Bidwell Papers at the California State Library have several letters from Mr. William Myers. Bidwell was a great saver of letters, which is a boon for historians. Here is one letter requesting vegetables:
Red Bluffs June 20th / 53
Mr John Bidwell
Dr Sir I Rec’d your note of this morning Requesting me to state wheather the vegetables you send me are the kind that I want or not. I have only to say that the peas & lettice are getting prity hard [?] the cukes particularly I would be glad to get a few more. Turnips the carrots & Beats is very nice tho. Kinds are such as I want and I will leave it with you to judge when thear are Eatable and if a cucumber or two should make its appearance why I should not Refuse. I would be glad if you would send me my Bill by the 25th Instan.
Very respectfully yours Wm. Myers
William Myers was a farmer, but he was concentrating on livestock and wheat. He must not have been growing a big kitchen garden.
The Myers vegetable letters start May 17, 1853 and end on July 5, when Mr. Myers writes that “I Rec’d your note this morning stating that I could not Rec’d any more vegetables on account of the unwillingness of the drivers to take them aboard.” The stage driver didn’t want to be bothered with baskets of vegetables, so that may have been the end of Bidwell’s delivery of produce by stagecoach.
Maybe it’s because I enjoy growing a vegetable garden, but I love these letters about peas and lettuce and turnips and “beats.”