02 June 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Arnspiger Gold Rush Letter - May 7th, 1849

Letter to Mrs. Mary Arnspiger, Jersey County, Jerseyville, Illinois

From Jno Arnspiger,
Indian Territory
May 7th, 1849

Dear Wife and Children,
I once more avail myself of the opportunity of writing you a few lines informing you that I am well and all of us are well at present hoping the same blessing is extended to you all.

We are about twenty-five miles from St. Joe and within a few miles of the Missionary Station. We travel 8 or 10 miles a day on account of the newness of the grass.  Altho the grass is plenty it has not got substance yet to travel fare of a day. 

We see plenty of Indians but they are friendly.  Their were ten or more with us this evening to sell us mochisons (moccasins).

We have had some very bad roads on account of the increase travel.  About the number of teams I shall not pretend to say but it is enough to astonish a world.

You must excuse my clumsy hand write in the commencement as I had no specks.(glasses)  I got me a pair of goggles in St. Louis knowing they would be best for this trip on account of the dust.  I can see thro them fare or near in day time.

Dr. Knapp came to our tent tonight while I was writing and said he had two pair and gave me a pair to keep till he calls for them which is a great favor.  Doctor Knapp has done me a wonderful favor in loaning me 80 od dollars without which I do not know how I could get along and I wish you would patronize his store what you are obliged to buy if they do as well by you as others.

Henry Goodrich has gone back home.  We are all in good health and spirits.  There are a great many families moving.

Dear Wife and children, I wish to see you all very much but it will be along time first and perhaps never as a great number that started this trip have gone to their long home.

Their was a man came to our tent a few nights before we started and said their was 16 died of the colera on the boat he came upon and in the mill where we got our flour their was a man lying in a rough coffin that came in the evening before.  Well he was from Indiana he had a brother with him and he went back home.

There was a goodeal (good deal) of cholera in town. I never wanted to get out of a place so bad in my life.  Their was such a crowd waiting at the river we had to ly there two days and two nights before we could get across.

I would like to write a great deal more but our tent is uncomfortably cold tonight and wood is hard to get.

Dear Wife and children, I do not know whether you will hear from me again till I get to California provided it is God's will I should live to get there.  If I have a chance to send back a letter I will do so.

The Doctor and myself are the cooks and are exempt from all other duty but night watch.  We have day watches also when the cattle are feeding.  Tonight is the first night watch but there are so many of us perhaps the same ones won't have to watch more than once in four or five nights.
We have harder time of it so fare than I expected.  We got another yoke of oxen in St. Joe and paid 45 dollars for oxen and chain and yoke.

I would like to know how the wheat is coming on and how Henry is getting along planting corn but I have no trouble about that my greatest trouble has been about corn.

Now dear wife and children myself and Andy send our best respects to you all.  May God be with us all is my prayer.

(Transcriber Notes: The photocopy that this was transcribed from had cut off the signature line so that it was not readable, and though the signature line was not fully shown in this photocopy, enough is shown to see that he did sign the letter to his family. These photocopied letters were difficult to read in some places, so my apologies for any errors that may have crept in. Sherry Stocking Kline - 10 May 2010)