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Title: John Orr, California, to Rev. John Orr, Portaferry.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileOrr, John M/30(2)
SenderOrr, John Malcolm
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationdoing business with hay, expects to open a store at the mine
Sender Religionunknown
OriginSacramento, California, USA
DestinationPortaferry, Co. Down, USA
RecipientRev John Orr
Recipient Gendermale
SourceCopyright Retained By John McCleery, 80 Circular Road, Belfast, BT4 2GD.
ArchiveThe Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh.
Doc. No.9701191
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 15:01:97.
Word Count1122
NoteN.B. John Malcolm died in 1851 (Did various jobs and decided to go west where he expected to do some kind of business)
TranscriptSacramento City 27th Oct 1850

My Dear Father

I have about half an hour since
Received the third letter since I came here
from home, dated 15th Aug and written by yourself
Jane Ellen & Margaret & I should have got it two
weeks since, but the fool at the post office
thought it was Mr John Malcom, Esq - instead of Orr
I heard some time since - that you were all well
from T. Warnock, and am happy to hear it is so from
yourselves. I am also glad that you have received
the first remittance from Bentley as T. Warnock & I
were both a little apprehensive that something was
the matter, he not having heard from Bentley since
he left - I am sorry that Thomas could not find it
convenient to sell out for cash when he left, & that our
business wound up so unfavorably, especially for him
as I sold out half my Int. [Interest?] to Bentley for its
full value the other half to Thomas on conditions, he
however got city lots which will be always improving in
value as Chicago is increasing most rapidly. The next
payment I shall probably send you myself. Thomas got James
letter here. I have seen James Livingston, he
received letters from his father a short time since
he & W. L. are at Rough & Ready in the vicinity of
Deer Creek, they I believe intend to return in spring
I had a note from T Warnock a short time since
he was troubled with bile, but was getting better.
Archy was quite well & at work, I am going where they
are in a few days, on the Mukelamne, where we
got so ducked last winter, please direct to
Stockton, where my letters will find me
or I will find them. The mining opperations [operations?] of
this summer have as a general thing paid badly many
companies who had done well last winter went to
turning the courses of the rivers & washing out the
beds, this is expensive & laborious work and not
more than one out of ten paid. I was at Coloma
on the South fork of the American (sic) a few days ago, and
examined a most gigantic undertaking a company
of forty men are making a tunnel through a
mountain about 3/8 of a mile long in order to turn
the stream through it, different members of the
company have been offered $5000 for their chance but
would not accept. I wish I had been one of them, I
should certainly have pocketed the change.
I have had diarrhoea though not very severely for two
or three weeks, it has reduced me in flesh some 21lbs
I only weigh about 10st instead 11st 7lbs. I am now quite
well Griggs & I are closing our hay business, in order to
start a store in the mines. we took a large lot of Hay
to the mines, which put several hundred dollars out of
instead of into our pockets, had it not been for that
we should have made a right good summers work
even for California. we wont do bad as it is.
Cholera has appeared here though not to a great
extent yet, some 8 to 12 cases a day in a city of 10,000
who is Edward Lamont that Jane E. [Ellen?] mentions is in
San Francisco I cant recollect him, Portaferry and the
neighbourhood are well represented here. I see by the last
news that California is now a state, there were great
rejoicings here on the occasion. Sacramento has grown
a great place, almost everything to be found at New
York is got here, failures have been frequent here
lately, from $100,000 to $300,000 scarcely cause as much
talk or excitement as they do in the old states.
Provisions are reasonably cheap this fall, but a
slight falling off in the imports would have an
immediate effect on the price, as the supply in the
country is not at present equal to more than sixty
days consumption, cloathing [clothing?] is cheap, except
Boots, I gave an ounce of gold dust, for a pair a
few days ago, good strong blue & striped shirts are
also high, white ones are not in general use except
among the gentlemen (gamblers) and merchants of the [city?]
as it costs about 2/6 to get one washed.
The Gambling houses in town are very numerous and
splendidly furnished, several of them have orchestras
and the best music that can be procured, they will
give from $25 to 50 per night to a good violinist & the
same to a good singer, there is a young german playing
in the [Humbolt?] saloon, whom all the judges of music say
is the best violinist they ever heard, he was getting $100
a month in New York when he left at a Theatre.
gambling has of late fallen off greatly, houses that
crowded a few weeks ago are now comparatively
deserted, when a new establishment is opened it gets
most of the custom for a short time, you may
judge of the numbers attending the debut from
when they take frequently on the first night from one
to five thousand dollars for drinks at the bar,
they keep two sets of bartenders, one for day the
other for night. Boarding in the city is from $15
to $25 per week. Lodging extra. I have seldom
had anything softer than the soft side of a plank
or the ground with a Buffalo skin on it for a bed
since I left Chicago, I dont think I could sleep
as well in a bed now as I could on the floor, its nothing
when a man gets used to it. I never have had a cold
since I came here. The weather is now getting cool
that is the Thermometer does not go over 75 degrees
but till a few days ago, we were melting under a heat of
from 85 degrees to 105 degrees every day. I am like the
sailors wear a flannel shirt all the time, a pair of pants,
two shirts, Boots & Hat with a silk sash is all that a man
wears here in the days, coats are not in fashion till after
I am a little surprised at Pat Bowdins having gone
to sea, I wonder what Jane Ellen would think of me
when she says he should use the razor rather more than
he does. I shaved once since I left Chicago, but it
is six or seven months since, the sheet is about filled now,
so I must finish, my love to all at home, and best respects
to all my friends.
I am DR [Dear?] Father
Yr [Your?] affect [affectionate?] Son
John M Orr