Dame Shirley: The Shirley Letters from California Mines

(1851–1852)

Document Text

Letter the First: The Journey to Rich Bar

Rich Bar, East Branch of the North Fork of Feather River, September 13, 1851.

I can easily imagine, dear M., the look of large wonder which gleams from your astonished eyes when they fall upon the date of this letter. I can figure to myself your whole surprised attitude as you exclaim, “What, in the name of all that is restless, has sent ‘Dame Shirley’ to Rich Bar? How did such a shivering, frail, home-loving little thistle ever float safely to that far-away spot, and take root so kindly, as it evidently has, in that barbarous soil?...


Source: Thomas C. Russell, ed. The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851–52. San Francisco: Thomas C. Russell Private Press, 1922.

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Wagon party reaching the first pass of the Sierra Nevada (Library of Congress)

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