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Title: James Williamson, California, to Robert Williamson, Co Armagh
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileWilliamson, James/20
SenderWilliamson, James
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationgold miner
Sender Religionunknown
OriginCalifornia, USA
DestinationRichill, Co. Armagh, N.Ireland
RecipientWilliamson, Robert
Recipient Gendermale
SourceT 2680/2/7: Copied by Permission of W. P. Williamson, Esq., Ahorey House, Richhill, County Armagh. #TYPE EMG James Williamson, Paradise, California, U.S.A., to Robert Williamson, Richhill, County Armagh, [Ireland?], 4 July 1853.
ArchivePublic Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9007157
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
Log31:07:1990 S.C.#CREATE created 25:10:1990 GC input
Word Count1368
TranscriptTo: Robert [Williamson, Richill, County Armagh?]
Paradise July 4th 1853

My Dear Robert
As this day is the anniversary
of the Declaration of Independence the United States which
is more general[?]y taken as a holy day [holiday?] I take
the opportunity of answering your very kind &
welcome letter which I received last night
It give me the greatest satisfaction to learn
you were all well at home & getting along so
nicely I am in good health at present as
is W[illia?]m & Artemisia and doing pretty well
W[illia?]m has sold out his interest here & gone
about 15 miles farther up to a place called
Michigan Bluffs he is not got settled
yet but that wont take him long I have
not had an answer to the letter I sent to
John yet W[illia?]m has had 2 or 3 from him but
I believe has not answered them Now that
wish which I expressed in Johns letter was not
(believe me) from any mercenary motive but
if I may say more from Curiousity [Curiosity?] than
any thing else nothing would be more
against my feeling than to take anything
from you in that way or any of the family
more than I have had I am well acquainted
with most of the demands you have to meet
in the shape of rent cess poor rates & everything else
of the kind not to know that you must have
trouble sometimes to meet these demands. As
regards that £20 I wont take it but if you
divide it between Mother, Sally, & Frances equal[l?]y
it will give me some gratification & it will be easier
for you to pay it. I have been mining since
I last wrote you except one month's work at a saw
mill for which I got $75 I didn't like the Co[mpany?]
that owned it so I left that place & came up
here I have been to work on a Claim for the last
3 weeks which pays about $200 per month it is coarse
gold in flat Chunks weighing from 25 cents to
45 dollars we have to strip off about 4 feet before
we come to the pay dirt it takes a little more than
half time to strip it the pay dirt is of a dirty
white & the bed rock lays in Edges & full of
seams & part of very soft it looks a good deal
like the rock opposite the low mill door we
get the best pay on the rock & in the seams
it is altogether different from what I was
to work in last winter. There was good
diggin[g?]s found here last spring where a Co[mpany?]
of 6 men took out $5000 in 2 days W[illia?]m owned
1/2 a share in it. It is very warm here the
thermometer stands in the shade sometimes
as high as 120 degrees There is no rain here in
the summer whatever the grass is all withered
& dry there is no dew at night but generally
a refreshing breese [breeze?] this is in general a very healthy
Climate with some of the most beautiful prospect
you ever see in your life. I can go on some
hills here on the south lays the great valley of the
Sacramento & the Coast range of mountains
far in the distance it looks a good deal
like standing on Rockmacraney [Rockmacreeny?] & looking towards
Belfast only the distance is much greater
on the north lays the Sierra Nevada Mts [Mountains?] the
tops of which are covered with snow the y[ea?]r round
the appearance of the County is very hilly
& Covered with pine live oak chapparell, Mansineta
& poison oak. Which keep green always the hills
average from 200 to 2 & 300 feet high it is hard
work to lug a lot of blankets & the few duds
a fellow has over one of them. But there is
good roads this time of the year to any part
of the mines I have had no letters from any
one in bonus since I left there I had a
letter from Jo[hn?] Taylor Jr [Junior?] from placeville he
stated he had a letter from home that they
were all well there Jno [John?] Sinclair had got
married to Betsy Taylor & G. Erwin to Sarah
Walker some of the Boys stole a wheel
of Erwins Carriage on the day the wedding
was to take place so that he had to put
it off for 3 days longer. I am Glad the
mill was not much damaged by the fire
but that trough happened to be in the right
place that time
You want to know about erecting a spade
mill There is some places where the[y?] might
be put up but it would be in my opinion a
useless speculation for 2 reasons first there is no
small rivers that run water steady all the year
on large rivers they are subject to arise so rapid
that they sweep all before them 2 they [the?] people here
would not use such spades as you use nor
shovels either they use nothing but shovels
here what they cant dig they use the Pick
You ask my advise as to coming here to settle?
I would not advise you to come here but
if I was in Ireland again & had they [the?] best
farm that you know of in my possession
I would sell it & go either to Ill[inois?] or Iowa
& buy a place or farm at Gov[ernmen?]t price You
Could buy better farm & stock & farming tools
for £600 there than they can produce in Ireland
This is some of my own Calculations when I
get money enough ahead (which I hope wont be long)
to do so. would like to have W[illia?]m Birches
address if you can get it for me I suppose Jacob
Bain intends remaining at home now I would
give my old Boots to see him Does Jack McArdle
live on top of the hill yet How does your bees
get along I am glad Hugh & Sally are getting
along so well in the Butter business
I am Glad to hear that J Aston & Catharine
are all well with their family & Richard. does he
have the rheumatism as often as he used to
what name does mary give her son I suppose
she Calls him her own [?]
How is Mrs Tuft & her Partner what is the
matter that she never has written to me since
she got married You want to know how I
spend the Sabbath This is the most difficult
question you Could have asked among a thousand
it is a General Rule in the mines to transact
all Public business such as meetings to form
laws for the protection of miners Claims
Settling accounts of the past week Cleaning Gold
or any business that Can wait for sunday
I have not got much to say for myself I keep as
quiet as possible on sundays & as for Bibles since
I came to Cal[ifornia?] I have seen two & one testament
There was preaching here last week I will give you
some Idea of the place Where the preaching was
going on It was in a Bar Room on one side was
the bar containing all sorts of Liquors on the
other side was a large table with a pack of Cards
laying on it the Congregation consisted
of about fifteen persons some laying out
doors smoking & taking not much notice
of the ceremony when the preacher was
gone they were playing Cards & Checkers as
brisk as ever There is no robbers in this
neighbourhood & we would tuck them
up might [mighty?] quick if there was Joaquin confines
his predatory excursions generally amongst
the Chinese they are a peaceable race of beings
there is three or 4 thousand dollars reward
for him dead or alive It is no use to send
any papers here we never Can get them
I Must Now Conclude & believe me to
be your afft [affectionate?] Brother
Jim Williamson

Give my love to Mother
Mrs Williamson Jr [Junior?] & all
the rest of the family