Voyage to California (39) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

(1) John Jackson Lewis, (2) Edith May (Lewis) Rider, (3) Marian Faith (Rider) Irwin, (4) Marian Dunlap (Irwin) Guion, (5) Judith Anne Guion.

The following are transcriptions of John Jackson Lewis’s diary and journal of his voyage to California in 1851. He was travelling  from New York to visit his older brother William in San Jose.

Excerpt from a letter written by John Jackson Lewis to family back in the states written on March 12th.

Extracts from a letter dated San Jose March 12, 1851

March 13 – The preceding pages, tho’ all under the same date, have been written in part to-day.  My time for writing has as yet been rather limited, and in consequence I have not been as minute as I might otherwise have been.  We have now a daily mail between this place and San Francisco, but it closes as 8 o’clock in the evening, so that to be in time for the steamer of the 15th, I must put this in the office this evening.  Of my prospects here I cannot say much at present, no arrangement having been entered into with Wm.  and Sherman.  It is impossible to foresee what the effect of the dry weather on farming will be.  If water can be raised from wells without too heavy an expense, the dry season may be in our favor.  Many who would otherwise be in the business do not possess sufficient capital to bear the increased expense, and the expectation of many is that vegetables will be scarce and dear next fall.  Indeed it is reported that potatoes have risen in value since I left San Francisco.  The future, however, will reveal all, so we must do the best we can, and patiently await the results.  We have bargained for the sale of 4 pounds of my onion seed at $16 per. lb.  It is not yet delivered, or the money in my possession, but I hope it will come along one of these days.  At the stores in San Francisco they were asking $20, from $4 to $6 for cabbage, and $4  for turnips, but I did not then know how much would be wanted here, and did not feel at liberty to sell any of the onion seed.  I assisted to do one small job of surveying the morning after my arrival, and have done a little work at the garden, but I do not expect to go to work in earnest until next week.  I want some time to get my dirty clothes washed, and arrangements made for living at the ranche as comfortably as circumstances will permit. x x x I must now stop writing for this time, to go and plant some seeds in a hot bed.  So with love to my relatives and friends, and peace and good-will to mankind in general, I remain thy affectionate brother, John J.  Lewis

Next Saturday, excerpts from a letter written March 30, 1951, from John Jackson Lewis to family and friends back in the states.

Tomorrow, more on My Ancestor, my Dad, Alfred Peabody Guion and his life with his new wife, Marian, during World War II.

Next week, I will be posting letters written in 1944. Grandpa is holding down the fort in the Old Homestead in Trumbull while his five sons see the world, courtesy of Uncle Sam.

Judy Guion


2 thoughts on “Voyage to California (39) – John Jackson Lewis – January to March, 1851

  1. Maureen Jenner says:

    I am in the throes of moving into my new home – a smaller house that has been extensively refurbished to my wishes – with a comparative depletion of my bank balance, but it will suit me admirably when all is done.

    I am having some problems with my computer and spent the morning getting them sorted at an IT centre, a thirty minute drive away. Now I can read my emails but am definitely nervous of things going wrong again.

    The latest installment of your family saga made me think your ancestor and I might have much in common just now. I do enjoy reading each chapter so hope they’ll continue.

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