IMPORTANT MORMON LETTER ABOUT THE FIRST MAJOR CALIFORNIA GOLD STRIKE. POMEROY, IRENE. 1835-1860. Autograph Letter Signed ("Irene"), 4 pp recto and verso,

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 189
IMPORTANT MORMON LETTER ABOUT THE FIRST MAJOR CALIFORNIA GOLD STRIKE.
POMEROY, IRENE. 1835-1860.
Autograph Letter Signed ("Irene"), 4 pp recto and verso,

Sold for US$ 7,500 inc. premium
IMPORTANT MORMON LETTER ABOUT THE FIRST MAJOR CALIFORNIA GOLD STRIKE.
POMEROY, IRENE. 1835-1860.
Autograph Letter Signed ("Irene"), 4 pp recto and verso, 4to (conjoined leaves), [Salt Lake, Utah], October 13, 1848, to Wilson Andrews in Massachusetts, some tape repair and a tiny hole to p 3.

DETAILED REPORT ON THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN CALIFORNIA WRITTEN BY A YOUNG WOMAN PIONEER whose father was a mill wright at Sutter's Mill. Irene Pomeroy was 23 years old when she joined the Mormon Battalion for Nauvoo, Illinois. From there, her husband was chosen by Brigham Young as a member of the advance party blazing west to Salt Lake. She joined him with her mother and brother a few months later. She writes the present letter to her cousin and to her grandmother back east, a little over a year since settling in Utah. Irene's father, Ashbel Haskell, worked as a mill wright for J.A. Sutter and (according to the biography in the H.I.R Foundation records) is the man who first recognized gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848. Irene's news comes from a man who traveled with her father in 1847 on the ship which carried the Mormon Battalion to California, the Brooklyn. In part, "There is a very extensive gold mine discovered lately in Califor and every body is digging gold the whole population ... it was found by two of the Mormon Soldiers one of the soldiers dug seven hundred and fifty dollars in one forenoon the company of soldiers only staid two or three weeks before they started for this place and most all of them dug one thousand dollars worth and some more they dig up with dirt and wash it out it looks like little flitters of melted lead only the color of gold sometimes there is little pieces one fellow has a piece about half as big as a butternut worth 50 or 60 dollars weighing 3 or 4 oz it is current at 16 dollars per oz." See The Mormon Battalion its History and Achievements, 1919 (a copy of which is included with this lot) and the biography of Thales Hastings Haskell at hirf.org. This letter also includes interesting detail on the Utah settlement: their house and gardens, where the men and women bathe, the price of gingham, the regularity of the mail, a mention of Bishop Whitney, the second Bishop of the Mormon Church, etc. Many of Irene Pomeroy's other fine and interesting letters are housed in institutions.

It is extremely unusual and interesting to encounter such a detailed letter about the discovery of gold in California pre-dating the forty-niners and the Gold Rush proper.

Footnotes

  • "There is a very extensive gold mine discovered lately in Califor and every body is digging gold the whole population ... it is only 25 days travel from here to the gold you must come and dig you love money so well"
Contacts
IMPORTANT MORMON LETTER ABOUT THE FIRST MAJOR CALIFORNIA GOLD STRIKE. POMEROY, IRENE. 1835-1860. Autograph Letter Signed ("Irene"), 4 pp recto and verso,
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins and Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, Wine & Whisky

27.5% on the first $3,000 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of $3,000 up to and including $400,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of $400,000 up to and including $4,000,000;
and 13.9% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of $4,000,000.

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.