Swasey, Nauman G.
 
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Courtesy: Lowell Historical Society Lowell Museum Collection
Transcribed: University of Massachusetts Lowell, Center for Lowell History

           Have sent you a piece of Gold that come
           out of one claim in this letter
           N.G.S.1

           Gods Valley    California, March 7th 1852

           Mr. Jefferson Bancroft  Dear Sir, According to promise of writing
you, I took the first opportunity after locating ourselves in the mines.
We arrived at Sanfrancisco the 5th of Feb. 31 days from New York we had 
a rough passage on the Atlantic we had a pleasant time of going up the
river & crossing the land also on the Pacific to Sanfrancisco. We arrived
their all well, was sea sick most of the ways, my health never was better
than at the present, my appetite is very craving since I have been
on the land. I have gained ten pounds & Woodbury gained twenty pounds
on the passage. We saw J.G. Gilman & Kiteridge the blacksmith & some
other Lowell men, all well & doing well I should think, we left that
place on Saturday following for Sacramento, saw Bert Moore & young
Bush both well Moore & his partner has bought the Orleans House,
they are to pay eighty thousand dollars for it took possession on Monday
the day we was there, we left on Tuesday for the mines. we rode some
twenty miles in a two mule wagon to a mining town called Auburn.
there we saw the boys taking out some of the yellow stuff, than we
started with our packs on our backs for the American River. Hear we
amongst the mountains the roads were better than I expected with the
exception of the hills some of them are very long & steep, we arrived about
dark at Smith Ranch on the divide of the north & middle fork of the
American River, here we stopped & prospected. we found some Lowell men
near this place, on the north fork we have taken up six claims to work
this summer when the river is low we worked a few days the water troubled us
& we had to stop work. I wrote a notice and put on our windless claiming, all right
to work them when workable that makes some of the law we have in this 
Country. We left the river & came back to Smithís this we make a kind

  1Nauman G. Swasey
 
 
 

of a home. there was two men that took a notion to go with Woodbury
& myself they came out in the ship with us they worked with us on
the river they got discouraged & left us so Woodbury & I couldnít sink
the hole any deeper it is true the water come in very fast we should
like to have put it down to the bed rock. we expected rain every day
and the river would be still higher so it was very important we should
have a claim in the dry digins. we prospected a few days couldnít
find any thing we thought would pay these two men left & went to
the city. a great many when they first come in get discouraged
and leave for the city stop there a while then come back to the
mines. Soon after they left us we found a claim & have commenced
working it we think it will pay us very well. the claim is in the dry
digins. business has been very dull in the dry digins. most of the mines
have been on the rivers there has been no rain this winter so they could work
there dirt in the dry digins.  there is thousands & thousands of dollars thrown
up in the dirt ready for washing. there will be plenty of water now in
the dry digins, it commenced raining a week ago & has rained day & night all
the time. they say it looks likely to rain a week or fortnight longer. they think
the rivers will be higher than they were in forty-nine. if it rains next week it
will drown them all out of Sacramento City, this claim where we are
to work is in the Gods Valley, four miles from Smith Ranch (that is Smiths House
on the divide of the north & Middle fork of the American River, we probably will
stop here or near here this season so if you know of any body coming 
on to the American River you can direct them where they can find
us. I feel certain that we shall so well if we have our letters. this is called
a very healthy climate our exposure is nothing as it was in forty-nine & fifty.
we have plenty of houses plenty of provisions of all kinds. vegetables of all kinds the
the best in the world the best potatoes that I ever saw. Clothing Boots & Shoes
tools of all kinds are a great deal Higher than we were told in the States.
 
 
 
 

I have written to my Wife three letters since I left home. I rote to her when
we left the Promethus & rote her at Sacramento & rote to her from this
place. I expect to get a letter from her next week have not received any
yet. I want to hear from my Wife & little daughter very much. this has been a
lonely week it has rained all the time day & night havenít done any work this
week. hope we can o to work next week. I should soon get homesick
in this Country if  I couldnít work. there are thousands here that donít
work much they work get one hundred dollars than lays round some House
and gamble until thatís gone then go to work again and some men that have been out
here ever since forty-nine. thousands of them they havenít money enough to
get Home. Drinking & playing Cards is the sum of so many having bad
luck in California. there are some other reasons that some donít do anything.
Some travel about prospecting from one mine to the other hearing of
rich digins, but if a man has his health & lets these things alone
he can make moneys in this Country, there is no mistake
about it. I am satisfied my self that I can make Money if I have
my helth. I rote to my wife to send me out some things that I need very 
much or shall need I want you should see her & if she wants any assistance to
let her have it. I shall send her some money before a great while I expect. the
prospects look favorable for us. I want you to write me & direct your
letter to Sacramento City the express comes up to the Valley once a fortnight.
we are about 75 miles from the City of Sac. How is Mrs. Bancroft & the children.
give my respects to them & have them call over & See my wife. I shall write
you in the next letter more particulars of our successes and what our
Claim pays. we havenít worked it enough to tell it pays us day wages so far &
we are doing as well as could be expected for this season of the year.

            Give my love to my wife and little daughter when you see her
            Respectfully Yours   Nauman G. Swasey 
            To  Jefferson Bancroft Esq

 

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