Thursday, April 25, 2013

Correspondent from Gold Country Writes Back to "the States" (Wisconsin)

On April 25, 1863, the Wisconsin Daily Patriot in Madison, Wisconsin published a letter from an Oregon emigrant to "My dear old friends" back in Wisconsin. The correspondent, Royal A. Pierce, had arrived in the then-thriving mining town of Auburn, Oregon in the fall of 1862.

After discoursing on the geography, climate, and animals of his new home, Pierce wrote, "But the great interest, and the interest to be most sought after in this portion of the world, is the mining interest … Gold has been found here in spots in great abundance."

Many prospectors had rushed into the gold fields, but – in Royal's view – the potential riches should have already drawn even more: "The Indian is the cause of all this delay." Still, he felt that they would soon be subdued.
Gold Cradle. Library of Congress.

Moreover, despite the delay, "Already there are mines discovered, some of which are declared to be very rich. The Boise River mines, around Placerville, and on Moore's Creek, and Granite Creek, are doubtless good, but are too new to enable any one to decide as to their richness."

His advice: "Wait till next year, and then start." He closed with, "This will be a good place for young women, also, as they are in great demand in the matrimonial market."

Pierce helped found Baker City, about eight miles northeast of Auburn. In 1866, he passed the Oregon bar and opened a practice in Baker City.

He moved to Challis, Idaho in 1879, without his wife and children. There, he continued his law practice, and also ran a newspaper for a time.

References: An Illustrated History of Baker, Grant, Malheur and Harney Counties, Oregon, Western Historical Publishing Co., Chicago (1902).
Royal A. Pierce, “Patriot Oregon Correspondence,” Wisconsin Daily Patriot, Madison, Wisconsin (April 25, 1863).

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