29 April 2010

1849 Gold Rush Letter - John Arnspiger to His Wife Mary - Part One

The following is the transcription of copies of Part One of a letter from John Arnspiger to Mrs. Mary Arnspiger and their children residing Jersey County, Jerseyville, Illinois.  It was postmarked April 28th, 1849, St. Joseph, MO. John was en route to the gold fields in California. These letters are in the ARNSPIGER Pioneer Settler's folder at the Sumner County History & Genealogy Center, Box 402, Wellington, Kansas 67152.

From Jno Arnspiger,
staying at St. Joseph, Missouri
April 26th, 1849

Dear Wife and children,

I am glad to inform you that I am well and have been well since I left home and I hope the same blessing is extended to you all.

I arrived here the day before yesterday and should have wrote before this time but unfortunately myself, Abraham and the doctor got separated on the river.

We started on a large lower trade boat called Bill Creole and got a little above Lexington, MO and she would not go any further on account of low water and then came along an other (or maybe it was otter) boat and took on all passengers she could get.  We got some of our frait (freight) on.  She would not wait till we got it all on board so Abraham and the doctor were left behind and have not got here yet.  Our wagons have not got here yet.

Harry Bishop and Sug (?) Fry got in yesterday with their mule teams.  Whitlock Doctor, Bragg Jarbo and Henry Goodrich are here but none of their teams.  We are looking for them every day.

I am sorry to inform you that cholera is here and one man died on our boat his name was Simson from Henopin (?) Ill another from near the same place a doctor but not on the same boat they were both for Callaforna. (California).  The death of Mr. Simson was very regretted he left a wife and 6 children but in good circumstances.  He was taken in the morning and died about midnight.  They made a box and buried him the same night.

I was very much alarmed but I have concluded to not be troubled about it.  If it is the will of God that I am one of the number that is not to get there I wish to be reconciled to my fate.

 (Stay tuned for Part 2 - coming soon!)


  1. Love these old letters. One of the great things about posting the letters on the blog, you can slurp them out and put them into book form. Heather at Nutfield Genealogy had a post on it recently. By the time, I finsih with Ralph's letters I hope that there will be a less expensive and better way to put them into book form. Keep on transcribing.

    1. this person that wrote the letter must have been part of the party that died by indians in barber county kansas the intire story is here in this book written in 1903
      "Musings of tae Pilgrim Bard" starting bout page 260 or so.