TWOGOOD DIARY AND NOTES
1856 - 1858 - letters - 1867/69 - 1870-72 - 1873-75 - 1876-1878 - 1879 - 1880 - [1881 through 1899 diary missing] - 1900-04 - 1905-07 - 1908-09
[The transcription below is from papers belonging to James Lague, Historian, kindly shared by Rosemarie Mossinger, Challenge, CA.]
Strawberry Valley, Oct. 4, 1862
My Dear Sister Melinda -
Since my last, I have been far away up North in search of gold, and since my return I have been busy trying to get even on the expenses of the trip.
On the 12th day of January last, I left the Barton House in charge of my partner, Elliott, and set out for the "New El Dorado" in company with several of the enterprising men in this vicinity, with high hopes of realizing a fortune in the course of a few months, at farthest.
When we left here, the whole lower country was one vast ocean - in the Valley of Sacramento. Marysville and Sacramento Cities were both completely submerged by the waters of the most severe flood ever known by any white man in this western country.
Our gold-seeking company were obliged to wait for the opening of navigation in the Columbia River, the ice preventing steamers running up to Portland, and we did not like the idea of staying in the bleak Town of Astoria, we concluded to remain in the Bay City, San Francisco.
On the 7th of February, we sailed from the Golden Gate, for Portland, where we arrived safely on the 12th. In P. we found the weather extremely cold for that place; so much so that people were enjoying themselves sleigh-riding, a thing unusual in that town. We remained in P. till the 19th of March, when we started out for the Dalles, at which place we arrived that night, where we remained till noon on the 21st, when we purchased our pack animals and made our final start for the gold region.
We traveled a distance of about four hundred miles - the latter part of our journey being tedious indeed. In passing over the Craigs Mountains I became snow-blind, my eyes paining me severely for about four days. I traveled two days while they were in that condition, but dare not venture over the summit of the last mountain before reaching the mines.
As the snow was deep and the weather very cold for this time of the year, my friend Parsons (a man who crossed the plains in the same company I did) and a man by the name of Jackman and myself, stayed behind, at the mouth of a stream called Slate Creek, emptying into Salmon River, while the rest of our company (seven in number) proceeded on their way to the mines. After two days rest, my eyes had so far recovered as to serve me, and we started for Florence City, a young town in the Salmon River Mines, where we arrived on the 10th day of April, glad to know that our long and tedious journey was at last accomplished.
We found on our arrival there, that provisions were very high in price but animals could not get farther than Slate Creek, where we disposed of ours at low prices. Men had to resort to packing on their backs this distance of 25 miles, for a time; and they were obliged to pack supplies this way three or four weeks after I reached the City of Florence. The snow was from eight, to 25 and 30 feet deep on the last mountain we passed.
I prospected thoroughly in the vicinity of the newly discovered mines, but found nothing flattering at all - as all the good placer diggings were taken up in early spring. The mines were good so far as they extended, but their extent was very limited. After prospecting in these mines to my satisfaction, I started out in company with Parsons and Lowry, for Elk City in hopes of finding something better in that mining locality - seventy miles from Florence but found nothing and returned to California satisfied this was a good country afterall. I was absent a few days over six months - arrived in Strawberry Valley on the 28th July last. Now Sister, let me tell you what it is, I have come to the firm conclusion that all the gold stories that human ingenuity can invent, will not induce me to take another such trip.
Please write me soon and tell me all the news, and believe me your affectionate Brother Gaylord.
Strawberry Valley, April 17, 1864
My Dear Sister Melinda
Once more I take my pen to write a few lines to acknowledge the receipt of your long looked for and welcome letter, I regret to hear of the suffering of your father, hope he may recover his health soon. I would like once more to visit the home of my boyhood, and see my relatives and friends, who have long expected my return from the Golden Land. Could I be assured of a lucrative agency in the sale of sewing machines I would be advised by you in the matter, and return before many months.
I've lived with Mr. Elliott and his wife [Adeline] for some time until quite recently, and they have treated me as they would a Brother. A few days since, I commenced work for Birmingham and Tisdale of this place, who are merchandising. Part of my time I spend in the Store, and a part from that, I have goods and provisions to pack to the miners and others. I have a mule on which to pack the supplies and another to ride, so that most of the time my work is comparatively light. If my health is spared a few months, I hope to be clear from debt. My trip up the Salmon River put me behind as I spent several hundred dollars, and it was a long time ere I could find anything to pay me more than a living. I tried teaming for about four months, but on the whole I cam out loser, as freights were very low last summer. The past winter has been like spring nearly all the time. Two years ago the past winter the whole country on the Pacific Coast was completely flooded, and now we have just experienced the opposite extreme. Now, dear Sister, please remember to write. I remain your affectionate Brother.
G. S. W. Twogood
Condemned Bar, Yuba River, Aug. 22, 1869
My Dear Sister Melinda
Your letter of July 6, 69 came too hand in due time. I appreciate your kindness in answering so punctually. Your apology is sufficient for the silence in regard to your marriage, though I thought rather strange at your not even mentioning your intention, as you had written to me but a few weeks previous to the event.
If all be well, I shall try hard to come make a visit home, next spring. You wished me to inform you how to direct to Mrs. Elliott. Fremont, Nebraska, is her address at present. Her husband went overland to meet her and her Father and Sister at Omaha, and they came a little farther west, and are now living at Fremont. I must close for the present, as I am interrupted. Here on the river, we are under a tremendous hill so long, steep and hard to climb, we only go out when actually necessary.
Aug. 28th. Since I commenced this, I have received a letter from Elliotts folks and they are still at Fremont. She says your Husbands Father's Sister, is her Father's Sister-in-law. She hopes you have found a companion who will make you quite happy, I hope so too. When you write again, please send those Photos you spoke of, and I will be greatly obliged. Of course the years that have passed since last we met, must have made considerable change in your looks as well as my own.
Please give to all my kind regards, and remember me ever. Affectionately,
Woodville, Yuba county, California
August 20, 1875
My Kind Friend -
Mr. Samuel Healey:
Too long have I deferred writing to you, but according to an old adage "Tis better late than never."
If my memory serves me, it is now seventeen years ago the eighth day of last June since we separated in the road about thirteen miles from here; up country from Strawberry Valley about six miles.
I have never forgotten the time and place, nor how I left you with high hopes of being able to find the much talked of El Dorado in the wild, rugged Frasers River Country, so as to be able to make you a favorable report of the rich mines, where we could soon gather up a neat fortune apiece and return to old Michigan, there to spend the balance of our lives at home with Friends. But disappointment was our lot instead.
When I arrived at Bellingham, in Washington Territory; there we found miners by the thousands, who were waiting for the opening of the trail across country toward Thompson's River, which is a branch of the Frazer.
The boys composing our little company were Wm. Cusick, Jackson Roberts, a Mr. Morrison and myself. A portion of the time, we had other company, but when we ran the gantlet with the Indians on what was called Scott River, there were only the four of us, and not a rifle in the crowd - only three six, and one five shooter pistols. There we found quite a village of them and they were considerably inclined to be saucy, shaking their fishing spears and various other hostile demonstrations, with a view no doubt of intimedating us into purchasing berries of them.
We all thought they meant mischief and told them there were "Hi You Boston Men" coming; Hi You! that in their jargon means a great many, as you doubtless recollect. However, we arrived safely at the Forks.
We could not see the chance for money making, as there were a thousand men to every good claim, so we all came back to California with little money.
When we arrived at San Francisco, there I learned that you had also gone to Frazer River. On making inquiry of men from the route you took, a Ben Irwin told me he saw you on the Harrison River Route. This was the last I could learn of you.
For years I supposed you were dead, and many times I have said - "How I wish I knew the fate of Mr. Healey." Even though you were dead, there would have been satisfaction in knowing how you came by your death.
Thanks to Providence you still live, and you are among friends and may God grant that the rest of your years may be peaceful and happy.
You have no idea how I longed to make a good fortune; but Fortune did not seem to favor me. I have always been willing to work, and at anything honest and honorable, by which a living could be earned. During all these years I have been striving by various means to get ahead of the Hounds, as the saying is, but am not much a head yet.
By the way, the Claim we were working on "Onion Creek" at Glendale - as we called our little burg (south of American House) in 1858, turned out to be quite rich. The last work we done there, we could find nothing as the lead ran out of the ground. When Pinkard Brothers got the ground, they went back to where the creek turned and there they struck good pay again. They told a friend of mine that they took out $14,000. But then, there is no use of "crying for spilled milk" - a man cannot see what is in the ground.
After my return from Fraser River, I did not find anything to pay me at mining, so I engaged in the Ambrotyping Business (photography), which cost me considerable time and money for instructions in the art; and by the time I began to know something about it, I found that for the good of my health I had better give it up, as I could not stand the chemicals that were indispensable to the business.
I ran behind some, but having credit, I next went into teaming - bought horses and a wagon on time, but found that it would not pay. I then rented a Hotel in company with another man, and finally (after a few months in the Hotel) went to another "wild goose chase" - to Salmon River in 1862.
We went up there and when we arrived at the mines we found thousands of men and that all of the ground worth working was taken up or claimed. The only chance to mine was either to hire out by the day, or jump a claim, which four of us did, but the claims were so small that we worked out our ground and had to try some other place, the mines were not extensive.
Soon there was excitement about some place near, called the Buffalo Hump - a mountain having the appearance of the hump of a Buffalo. Hundreds of miners started for the Buffalo Hump. On arriving at the Hump, about one-hundred miles distance, we all found we were "sold", as the story of "rich strike" proved to be a humbug.
By the way, I found our friend, John Carter, the one we learned to read and write while were at old Diamond Springs. John was not making money to amount to anything and wished to return to California, so I borrowed of a friend of mine, sufficient money to bring him back with us.
After arriving in San Francisco, we separated, John to a flouring mill to sacking, and I back to Strawberry Valley, owing some two-hundred dollars. I tried a little of all sorts - I drove Butcher wagon and peddled beef, and I worked in a store.
After having roamed about the country in quest of Fortune for so long a time, and all the while leading a lonely Bachelor life, I concluded Fortune hunting was not my forte, so I determined to settle down, and leave all mining excitements for other people to chase after.
In the year of our Lord 1870, June 28th I led to the Hymenial Altar, Miss Susan Maria Varney, who came to California something over a year previous to that event, to a Brother with whom I had been acquainted for several years.
My wife was born and raised in the City of Boston, and consequently saw something before she came to this country. We were married on her twenty-ninth birthday, and thank God, I have never had cause to regret being united in Holy Matrimoney with such a Companion as she has proven herself.
On the 3d of May 1871 there was born to us a sweet little flower that was too beautiful for earth, and at the age of eleven weeks, her mortal remains were consigned to the Tomb. Her mother was too feeble to leave the house at the time. Time rolled on in his ceaseless course, and in the year 1874, our little Edward Gaylord came to see us, Feb. 7th, and about five o'clock in the morning, and I assure you he is an "Early Bird."
At present I am collecting Toll for A Road Company. The wages I get, in connection with work I can do for myself which pays me something, is a sum quite sufficient to support my family well, but not extravagantly.
In all these years my good friend, I have not forgotten you, nor your kind offices while I was sick and helpless on the Plains. I have always felt as though I was indebted to you for my existence; and now may our Heavenly Father ever watch over and protect you my good friend. Please write soon to your friend.
Gaylord S. W. Twogood
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler.
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