Posts Tagged ‘Arnspiger’

Amanuensis Monday – April 1849 Gold Rush Letters

Recently I began to index the Pioneer Settler files at the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society.  I have to confess that I expected most files to contain at the most forty names, and that it would be a piece of cake to get them indexed in short order.

Oh, my goodness, was I ever wrong!  There are as few as 33 names in some files, and as many as a thousand in others,and those require a lot of typing and sorting.

Whew!  I still feel pretty ‘lazy’ for not getting through very many files in a week’s time.

But I’ve found some very interesting things hidden in those files, and will share some of that here and some on the SCHGS blog, too.

And today I posted Part Three of the copies of the John Arnspiger Gold Rush letters that were located in the Arnspiger Files in the Pioneer Settler files!  Very interesting.

You can find that blog post here.  And my apologies for not knowing how to make the blogger blog a little fancier just yet!

http://ks-schgs.blogspot.com/2010/05/amanuensis-monday-part-three-postscript.html

Transcribing 1849 Gold Rush Migration Letters

by Sherry Stocking Kline
24 March 2010

Last week when I volunteered to index some of the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society Center’s files and records, I had no idea what kind of historic treasures and glimpses into people’s lives I was going to find!

I brought home the Pioneer Settler “A”  files, sat down at my computer, and began to open up the files expecting to find simple papers documenting our early settler’s ancestry.

What I quickly found were stories, the first being of a wife and children kidnapped by the Indians during the massacre of rural families in the Saline Valley in Kansas, (about 2 1/2 hours north of us here) and the treasure I’m transcribing now, copies of an Illinois man, John Arnspiger’s letters back home to his wife, Mary, his grown son Henry, his little children, Lukey and Rebecca Ellin, and unnamed grandchildren as he travels to the California Gold Rush, certain that he will soon better his life for his family.

The letters document the group’s troubles traveling up river to get to St. Joe, Missouri, his fears of the cholera epidemic that was there and the many deaths, the Indians that they meet along the way, both friendly and not, the buffalo and other game that they eat on the way, and his fears that he may never see his family again.

Unfortunately, after I read ahead, his last letter ends with the writer ill, lying in a wagon in California, a week away from the Gold Fields at Sutter’s and me with so many unanswered questions!

Did he die? Did he get to Sutter’s and simply get busy? How did his family come to be in Sumner County, Kansas, where his son Henry and his wife and children later settled?  When I can, I will find these answers to add to this Pioneer Settlers’ files, and share!

29 April 2010 Update: Now you can read Part One of the Gold Rush Letters Transcription Here: http://www.ks-schgs.blogspot.com/

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