Stampless folded letter sheet.
Circular red postmark with 40 cent rate:
Mrs. Frances B. Williams
Hartford P. O.
Recieved this the 22nd of Marcy
W. S. Williams
Calafornia Jan 11 1851
Dear wife and Children
I have delayed writing for some time for tow reasons first to get well
secondnly to be able to tell more about the mining operations as I knew that
these two things would be of important considerations I would just say as
regards my health that I am nearly entirely recovered so much so that I have
commenced work I have not entirely gained my strength but considering how low
I was then I canot have expected though I been here four weeks my bourd has
cost me nothing all the kindness that could have been shone any man has been
shone to me.
As regards the gold fields they do not meet the expectations of the people
generally but still I think I can make as much as I expected or nearly so
when we are at work we can make from five to ten dollars a day and
occasionally make a large days work say from twenty five to fifty dollars.
The mines are very much worked out and I never saw any thing to compare with
the number of men at work as there are here if I were to say thousands it
would give no idea, hundreds of thousands would be a little word as it regards
the state of society I never saw more peace there is nothing about these
parts to interrupt a man that will do right. Our fare the Children will want
to know who cooks for pa some times I cook and some times some of the others
and what di I have to eat what bread hog meat beef and coffee we can have
cheese butter molasses unions potatoes and just about any thing else we want
if we will pay a large price for them which we some times do for the sake of
vanity and to prevent disease the skirvy and other things.
But Lucy will say who! master make up wheat doe I am getting to be a very
good cook for my practices.
As it regards the face of the country it is remarkably rough and hilly there
are very few places in the mining region where any thing like a farm could be
made but the worst is no land here will bring a crop of scarecly any thing
without watering I know that a good many will want to know my opinion about
the prospects of coming to this country I do not feel able to give advise I
know that money is hard to get in the states and there are a great many that
need it very much and I know that there is a pretty good chance yet to make
it here yet I would not advise any man to come here no matter what may be his
situation If I were now at home knowing every thing as I do I would not come
although I would not be willing to leave here now nor dont wish myself at
home or expect to come unless some providential occurrence calls me there
untill I accomplish the desighn of my coming at least in part.
I wrote about the death of Robert King and James Midlock which latter I
expect you have got or will get long before you get this I have received no
letter from home yet though it is hardly time I want you to write me a full
letter the next day after you receive this as I shall have to shift mty
residence and it may be my post office when summer comes on (writ to Calome
Calafornia). Tell the black ones howdy for me. Give my respects to all my
neighbours especially to the society and all who meet at the prayers
meeting. I want their prayers I am trying to do and get good as I have
My dear wife I know that a heavy burden rests on your shoulders I think of
you I feel for you dont be discouraged God is suffrage and strength in time
of trouble if I get home on time I expect to stay there.
As ever Your Husband W. S. Williams
Gold was discovered at Coloma California on 24 January 1848. This occured
during saw-mill construction on the American Fork River (a.k.a. South Fork of
the American River). On 5 December 1848, President James K. Polk, in his
annual message to Congress, wrote: The accounts of an abundance of gold are
of such an extraordinary character, as would scarcely command belief were
they not corroborated by the authentic reports of officers in the public
California's Gold Rush was on. By the end of 1850, more than ninety thousand
Americans who had made the journey to the California gold fields. There were
also thousands who came from Europe, South America, Mexico, Hawaii, Tahiti,
Australia, and China.
Most who came were in pursuit of riches, not to settle. Today, we call them
49ers, they called themselves Argonauts, after the mythical Greek heroes who
sailed on the Argo with Jason in search of the Golden Fleece.
The Spanish word ALTA (as seen in the postmark) was commonly
applied to California. Alta California is upper California but the term is not applied
today, however to the south is Baja California or lower California which is divided into
two Mexican states.
The postmark shows the 40 cent rate, the required rate from the Pacific Coast to the eastern states.
About W. S. Williams.
William S. Williams married Frances Winn. They lived in the old Vann (James
Vann) Tavern Building. Frances father had Winns Ferry on the Hall County side. Hartford Post Office was cut off from Winns Post Office Hall Co. It existed from 18 July 1843 to 16 Feb 1860. Hartford is always shown on the old Federal Road west of Winns Ferry. Rev Williams is buried in the Mount Zion Cemetery, an abandoned cemetery located just south of 369 in the Oscarville community (just west of the Vann Tavern area). Vanns Tavern building was removed from Forsyth County when Lake Lanier was made and flooded. It was moved to New Echota.
(Notes on W.S.Williams by Donna Parrish
The 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Forsyth County Georgia shows in Household number 962.
William S. Williams 43m Clergyman 4,000 GA
Frances D. 36f GA
Howard M 18m Farmer ga
Jefferson P. 16m Farmer ga
Thomas C. 14m ga
George A. 12m ga
Mary E. 10f ga
William R. 8m ga
Martha A. 6f ga
Willis B. 4m ga
Amanda McCoy 20f ga
(Census transcription by
Sharon Bennett Williams)