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Excerpts from the 1860 Oquawka Spectator
Dates of Oquawka Spectator abstracts.

January 12   |   February 9

January 12, 1860

Mr. Jas. Ryason permits us to make some extracts from a letter received from his son dated as Placerville, Oct. 30th:

"I am mining near Placerville (or Hangtown) and am making from $5 to $10 per day - that being more than any other claim I know of at present. It is now the dry season, when there is but little mining going on. It is very seldom we can get water without paying for it at the rates of 25 to 30 per inch - 30 inches being required to run a sluice.

"Emigration has been flowing in here for months past in a perfect stream. Work oxen are not worth as much here as they are in the States. There are hundreds of men in this country, who came across the plains this summer, that are going about without a penny in money and cannot get any thing to do until the rainy season commences.

"There are a number of persons here from our county, among the number are John Harbison, Albert Black, Mr. Waggie, Mr. McClinton and Henry Kemp.

"This is a great fruit country. Peaches grow of the size of a pint cup, and weigh from one to two lbs. Grapes sometimes weigh ten to fifteen lbs to the bunch. ** A best was exhibited at the State Fair that weighed 200 lbs.

"Flour is worth $4; beef $18 to $20; pork $25; potatoes 3 per lb; onions 5; green peaches 5; grapes 8; butter 50 to 75; eggs 75; chickens, each $1; turkeys, $2.50; coffee, 25; tea 75 to $1.

February 9, 1860
LETTER FROM CALIFORNIA, El Dorado Co., Cal, December 30, 1859

Mssrs Editors:
Having been almost overwhelmed with inquiries from a number of your subscribers respecting California - the prices of land, inducements to emigrate, profits of driving stock through, and many other questions too numerous to mention, and too trifling to be answered - I beg leave to make the following reply through the medium of your paper.

California may be said to embrace almost every variety of climate. In the valleys, in the southern part of the State, the seasons are almost tropical. Here, among the foot hills of the Sierra Neveda Mountains, snow never falls, and the ground is seldom frozen so deep by night that the farmer cannot start his plow by nine or ten o'clock the next day; while hight up on the mountains the snows of winter are eternal. The climate in this vicinity is generally considered very healthful, and I think it is particularly well adapted to those afflicted with pulmonary diseases.

As an agricultural country, California will compare favorably with almost any other State in the Union. For the production of wheat and barley it can scarcely be equalled. The soil and climate are also peculiarly adapted to the cultivation of the grape, and the time is not far distant when wine will be the staple as gold is now.

The inducements for emigration to California are not now very flattering. Most of the tillable land in the State is occupied and commands prices ranging from $30 to $100 per acre, depending upon the location and quality.

Stock of every kind is almost as cheap in California as in Illinois; therefore, I would say, by no means be tempted to come overland with stock. An outfit for the overland journey will cost nearly as much as the passage via New York and the Isthmus; and the emigrant who crosses the plains and gets here with his head and one-third of his team may be considered a lucky man. The time saved in coming by water is also an item of importance.

Finally, I would say to those who contemplate coming. Come with the determination of making this country your home. If you contemplate making your "pile" in a short time and returning, you will doubtless be sadly disappointed.

Ere this reaches you, you will probably have noticed the announcement in the papers of the death of Mr. Page of San Francisco, better known as Dow Jr., author of the famous "Patent Sermons" so many of which have been republished in your paper. He possessed an intellect of the first order, but died in the most abject wretchedness, a miserable victim of the demon intemperance. Nic transit gloria mundiYours trulyJ.G. McClinton

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Copyright 2006 by Connie Lovitt Bates

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