The following letters were written by Levi Luallin to his family in Fulton County Arkansas after he left home around 1849 to seek his fortune in the California Gold Rush. An attached note explained the following: Dear "Alex Doris" typed these letters from the original handwritten documents. Doris has the originals under glass. They are still legible but would crumble if hand held. Levi was trying to help his mother. He left for the Great California Gold Rush in 1849 and was never heard from after these letters. Grandpa said they thought he was killed by claim jumpers. His spelling is poor but hand writing very good. Written in ink. He evidently was a good boy. His brothers were Henry, Jesse, George, Andrew, John, Alexander, and sister Lucinda (Aunt Cindy). Andrew and Jesse were in the Civil War. On side of the North. Both killed. Henry fought on South side. Grandpa ran off and joined the Confederate Army when 17. Levi joined a wagon train to go to California."
First letter written by Levi Luallin to his mother and brother, copied from original.
Indian Nation May 8, 1850
Deare and mutch respected mother and brothers. I now enjoy the pleasureful oppertunity of ritieing you A letter by wich you will find that I am well at present and have bin ever sense I left home for wich blessing I hold truly thankful to the grate giver of all good hoping the same like blessing. I have nothing of any grate importance at the present. We have traveled on torlable sense we got started from the little north forke the day I left home. I got to the big North. I rode threw the rain all the afternoon then I was waterbound one day on Sunday morning. I swam by beast by a swift and went on to the little North forke and thare I overtook the wagon. It couldn't get over ________ staid thare few days and then we all went on the little river and there one of Mr. serton oxen got poison and died. He sold the other one and boate two cows and they appear walk very well. I swapt off Old Lion and got a good maite for trge. Mr. Dukes the young man that started Salem with Mr. Serton backt out and went home. I swapt off doll to het another mare and give two dollars to boot and than gave it for Dukes oxen and he rold out for Iowa. We are getting along very agreabul. Your must excuse me for not riteing no sooner. I have a very bad chance to without stoping and let the wagon go on or got down the on the ground like I am doing now and write on my knee. We have past the state line six miles and we are now at Ft. Scot in the indian. We have not got in with a very large company yeat. There is twelve wagons in company at this time. The travel in small gangs as far as tha think tha are saft on the accouint there stock being less trouble to them. I have not seen nor heard of onkel Robert Luallin sense I left his house. I expect he went to Springfield and waited til he give me out and went on. I maide some inquirey for him but ther was so many other wagons joining I could not heare of him. I think we will overtake him on the way. there is abundance of pepol going to California. More than ever have went put them all together. As to the game I have not saw any of accouint. I will rite again the first chance. I suppose there is 3 or 4 chances to mail letters yeat on the way. I wante to rite me a letter and direct it to Stockton in California. Rite about August and rite all about particulars. Give respect to all inquiring. So nothing more at present but remain yours till death.
On envelope and copied from original:
Fort Scott, Missouri May 17, 1850
To: Mrs Lucy Luallin
Pilot Hill P.O.
Fulton Co. Arkansas
Second letter written by Levi Luallin to his mother and brothers copied from original:
California October 13, 1850
Deare and mutch respected mother and brothers. I onst more embrace this oppertunity of riteing you a letter to let you no that I am well at present for wich blessing I hold truly thankful to the grate giver of all good hoping when thease few lines come to hand tha may find you all enjoying the same like blessing. We landed in the gold mines the 20th of September. The wagon was five months and five days on the way. I was just five months to a day from the time I left home till I got into the mnies. We are twenty five miles at the Sacrament City on the Macaulma river. The mines here is not so good as tha are futher north about one hundred miles but tha oing to the weather being so mutch more pleasant hear than thar, we concluded to work heare thru the winter and then move up thare if we think best. These mines generely pay from ten to fifteen dollars per day to the hand when tha worke we are all working together. Mr. Serton and little Charles Serton William Roll and myself expect to worke together all the time and cum home together. We commenst diging about two weeks ago and we ;made from eight to ten dollars per day and we thought we was doing tollabril well for new hands. We have bin buildig as a house this last week and got it up and is now redy to go to diging again now and we think we will rake out the dimes faster. We have got a full set of tools to worke with and has got all our provisions all laide in to do us all through the winter. White four is worth 20 cts per pound onions 80 cts per pound. shoos is worth from three to five dollare peare boots from eight to twenty dollars peare. these is the prices in the mines where I am. The city price is just about one third moar after tha cary it truck as much as one hundred miles in the mines four is one dollar per pound others in proportion. tha was peopel out of California took four to hundred miles out on the roade and met the immigrants coming to California and sold it to them at two dollars and half per pound. Tha was glad to get for that. ther was a grate many that almost starved. In fact I have no dout but ther was some that did starve on the way before tha got to whar they coud git ary thing or suffered til tha eate so much filth that it causd thair death. Thar was numbers I saw on the way that was triing to by an beg together but them that had any at all had to share. Then som had to cetch frogs to liv on. We had plenty to do us cler through. Some plain to California but ther is no person can begin to draw any ideir about it till tha try it. To undertake to describ all the disadvantage of the road I cant do it but ther is one thing certin ther was hundreds and feald confident ther was thousands of persons died on the road this year. As to my part I fared very well as to being sick and I have enjoid good health ever sense I left home with the exception of about one week while on the road I had to be hauld three or four days. helth apearse to be tolerble good heare according to the way pepel use themselves. I think it is very good. I am very well satisfied with my trip at present. I oud not be at homme now if coud still mak somthnig but if I was at home and made as mutch as I do now I wood not cross the plains again not for half of California hardly. Getting hear is the worst. After a man gets hear he can mak fast. Ther is no dout about that. I dont feald any ways doubtful if I should have luck but that aganst the time I had set to be home (next line unreadable) With money plenty to do me. It is the best road I reckon in the world that is the best naturied road till the last about one hundred before getting to the mines is I believ the worst road I ever saw. We got the sight of snow on the first day of July and on the eight night from last ?? we run the wagon over snow but it was three feet deep and I have no dout but it was ten feet deep not more than twenty yard from the road. We was in sight of snow pity much every day thru July an August. I have saw places whar I coud pick little green twigs and glues with one hand and git snow with the other. This may sound strange to be so but it is very true. I will rite again before a grate while and mabe by that time I will be able to give the pictur of the country better. I want you to rite as soon as you get this letter and direct it to Sacramento. I am not in reach of Stockton and if you rote there is uncertain about me getting it. So nothing more at present but I remain you son until
Give my respect to all inquiring friends for I woud wish to be remembered by them all