An account of B.F. McCreary's voyage from New York to California - August 13th 1850

This diary was transcribed and provided by
Mrs. Grace Shaw
March, 2001

Left New York on the steamer Cherokee on Tuesday August 13th 1850 at ½ past 3 oclock, sent a letter back by the prolit off Sandy Hook, eat my supper and went to bed, but not to sleep the wind began to blow strong I felt a little squarmish and soon began to tell ware I come from, we had quite a storm all night and I was on deck all night throwing over board all the dinner I eat for a week.

Wednesday 14th nothing new occourd to day I are Very sick and stay in my room.

Thursday 15th I felt a little better and went on deck but was rather weak, we are now in the gulf Stream the ship rolls and pitches about considerable rather to much for a weak stomicks.

Friday 16th weather fine and sea smooth begin to feel a little better and do not mind the motione of the vessel so much, nothing new transpired to day, saw a few sails at a distance have not seen land sence we started.

Saturday 17th fair weather and good sailing I can begin to read a little and take it more comfor table past the streamer philadelphia bound to New York we past close by her, she had quite a number of passengers on board.

Sunday 18th a fair morning and very warm a little swallow flew board he was so tired that a gentleman caught him in his hand, we have no church to day I have got over the sea sickness and begin to be quite a sailor, in the afternoon the wind began to blow quite hard the sea was very rough all night, so the tables and chairs went dancing around the cabin, and had hard work to keep in our berths, I can lay in my berth and look out of the side light and see the waves roll on by us, first one side of the vessel will be down in the water and then way up above it, I am aquainted with one of the Engineers so I have a chance to go through the Engine room as much as I please.
Excuse the bad writeing as I have to write first with a pencil and then with a pen.

Monday 19th the sea continues very rough a number of passengers sea sick, up set the tables spelt the dishes past som of the Folkland Islands about twenty miles off very hard winds and rough sea which makes the steamer roll and pitch very much I keep well but do not have much appertite to eat.

Tuesday 20th very rainy and unpleasant, sea keeps quite rough, come in sight of st. Dimingo Island, to the east of us, past the south end this afternoon about ten miles off, the mountains are seven thousand feet a bove the level of the sea, it was a little foggy so we could not sea them very clear, the wind blowes very hard against us so we make poor head way.

Wednesday 21st we are now in the caribian sea 462 miles at twelve oclock from Chargres, nothing of any account recoured to day the weather is fine.

Thursday 22nd today is about the saim as yesterday warm and pleasant the sea very smooth the evening moonlight we stay on the upper deck untill about ten o clock we will be at Charges at 12 o clock to morrow if nothing happens.

Friday 23rd we arrived of Charges a 10 o clock and went on shore at 2 o clock Charges is a misirable place the first thing you see is a rough cragy coast on the east side of the river an old spanish fort or castle on the west side is the american hotels and stores, back of the fort on the east of the river is the natives habernations the houses are mostly made out of reads and poles, the roofs are thatched with a kind of stout grass like corn storks there is one or two frame houses the natives are mostly nigrous or half indian, thay are a lazy set of poor devils, and live mostly on fruit, on the american side of the river thars a nomber of frame buildings, but put it all to gether chargres is a rectched hole, the next thing on the program was to get our boats and push up the river we hired our boats of darkey natives of new york sixteen of wandnt to gether in three boats, with three natives to each boat, one to staer and two to row, at half past five oclock and put up for the night or rather put down, we had to bunk up in our boats with a cup of tea and a few crackers to eat. I put on my over coat and walked about most of the night, there is a greate number of pulicans and parrots flying about.

"The old Spanish castle at Chargres hotel on the American side." Drawing by B.F. McCreary on his trip to California.

Sunday 25th we started again early in the morning it is hard to be at such work on Sunday but we was oblidged to go a head fast as possible, so far we have been favored with good weather only one or two light showers, the weather is not so hot as in new york, we next reached Pabla ten miles, these places use a few native huts with sometimes american tent thay charg a dime for a cup of coffey or six dimes for a meal, and hard to get at that, we all had pleanty of provissions with us so we got along very well, at night we reached
Galanciera, ten miles more the boats are pushed along now by polls on account of the current runing very strong on Saturday I shot a small allagator, you can hear the babbooms and other beasts hallow along the river but we have not seen any yet, this is the worst place we have stoped at yet we couldn't get anything to eat or drink, so we made out with some crackers or chease with a little brandy and water, we did not get out of our boats we had an orning over our boat to keep the rain off I slept very good but I felt a little skittish on account of the rain pattering quite hard in the night, it made the river run very swift, I woke up two or three times in the night thinking we was going down stream, we all keep up good hearts been better sence I got over the sea sickness which I feel very thankfull for

Monday26th we pushed off early this morning with a bright morning in our favour, I shot a wild turkey on top of a tree about 300 yards, he fell in the woods but we could not stop to get him, we have seen one or two monkeys, the woods on each side of the river look beautifull there is every kind of tree, reads, bushes, plants, and grass, but nothing like those which grow in the United states, we had not proceeded far, before we found the river began to raise, some of us got out of the boat, and walked along the bank in order to help along, the courent runs very rappered in some placs, so the boats can hardly get along. We suceeded however in reaching Gorgona seven miles from ware we started , hear we had to boat a attemped to go up but was upset, the men in her came near getting drownded, loosing most of there bagage, this is the place wan thay go across in the dry from here, we engaged our mules and sent our bagage on this afternoon, Gorgona is a very pleasant place with good accomadations, we put up for the night eat our supper and turned in for a good nights reast the first night we have had a bed to sleep in sence we left Chargres thay charge four dimes for a bed and five for a meal

Tuesday 27th we got our brackfast and started on our journey 13 of us in number, on mules with three natives for guides, we soon to began to get in the mud and such traveling I cannot begin to describe, I strapped my rifle on my back and stuck to my mule which proved to be a good and shure footed anamel it was sport to one see first one and then another planted in the mud but so far I have keept my self right side up with care ,time will not permit nor can I begin to write how we pitched , climbed, and wallowed through this part of our journey, it will do for many a long winters night to relate this adventure, if god spares us to return once more to our happy homes, if the river had not raised we would have went to Cruses six miles farther up the road being much better acrssed at this season, night came on and we put up at a natives house five miles from Pannannia (?), we traveled about 25 miles to day , and was favoured with a fair day

"a guide and Pack mule crossing the ismus" drawing by B.F. McCreary.

Wednesday 28th after sleeping all night on a blanket on the ground floor, we got up early and eat a few crackers and chease and started on our way after an hour or twos march we reached the paved road which made better traveling , we reached panama about 10 o clock tired enough, it was a hard looking place the old spanish buildings are now mostly ruinens, the streets are narrow, thire is a number of old churches that has once been splended building but now are a heep of ruines we put up at the American hotel, board and lodgins at two dollars per day, the natives on the river and in the country are mostly naiked but in the city thay whare cloths

"a small Island near panama with a few huts on it and cultivated"

Thursday 29, we shifted our quarters this morning to the Louisiana hotel they have much better accomadations then the American and it is not so expensive it coastes us about ten dimes per day for board and lodgins, we fiend considerable excitement about the cholera on board the steamer Panama,which they got on board Alcapolea by the pashengers, going on shore and eating fruite the owners of the steamer has had her well cleaned so there will be no dainger by going with her, she will start on Monday after noon, Thire is a chapple oppsit us were thay have mass every morning and night, thay have two fidlers to play when the singing goes on , and such another racket , the bells ring and clatters, and makes such a noies as I never heard before I do not know anything to compare it to but a boiler makers shop

Friday 30th

Nothing new has occurd to day we do not Go about much, it is such a dirty filthy hole that I do not want to say much about it I only wish to get out of it as soon as possible

Saturday 31st I keep well but am tired of staying here, no news of any account to day

Sunday September 1st
Today is about the same as yesterday we stay indoors most of the time, all you ever here is the boiler makers to work on those confounded bells we will go on board the steamer to morrow morning I went to the market this morning and such a mess I never seen, nor heard tell of I am afraid it would make this book smell bad to write about it

Monday Sept 2nd
We comenced early this morning to pack up for a start, on board the steamer we succeeded after tumbeling about on the waves for an hour or two in getting on board, we had to go a mile and a half from the shore to the steamer in a small boat we started at eight oclock in the evening I was a little seasick again on account of the rough weather, we fiend the ship in good order and no signes of sickness on board, it has been about the same thing every day pitching about and rolling on the wide ocean, morning noon and night up to

Sunday Sept 8th we have had rain every day sence we left Panama, we sailed in sight of land the first two or three days, but have not made land sence, we could just see a glimps of the coast this morning, a lot of black fish and porpises came a long side yesterday, the blackfish is about from 10 to 15 feet long, this morning is very pleasant and looks a little like Sunday, by the clean shirts and faces, my health is very good and have a good appertite, we have plenty of good things to eat fresh chickens, turkeys, pork and beaf, with good fresh bread every day, thay have a baker and butcher on board, and have much better living than on the Cherokee, our sleeping a ppartments is not quite so good but we make out very well

Tuesday 10th we arrived at Acapulca at seven o clock this evening, thay fired the gun and anchored of the town, the next morning we found our selves in a beautifull harbor surrounded by high mountains, it is a very pleasant place much better than those we have passed through, we take in coal provisions and water,with plenty of fruit, bananas oranges pine apples, thay swim the cattle out to the steamer along side the cannoos, and hoist them on board by the horns , Hiram and my self with 3 or 4 friends went on shor, towards evening, and had a fine bath, we took a small walk and went on board, the weather is very hot at 9oclock

Wednesday evening we left for San blass (?)
We arrived there at noon Saturday 14th thay fired the gun prepared to go on shore but the wind commenced blowing a jimy cane, a boat put out from the shore and got half way to the streamer but had to turn about for the shore and got half way to the steamer but had to turn about for the shore there is no harbor for protection which made it a little dangerous for us stay any longer so we bid good-bye to San blass, it is a very dangerous looking coast here high rock projecting high above the water and the spray dashing up over them the wind continued blowing hard untill evening died away.

Sunday 15th arrived at Mazatland, 6 oclock this morning it is a beautiful place with quite a large town. We did not go ashore on account of the hot weather, we will take on board 1/2 dozen bulls, 12 dozen pair fowls, with other stores, thire is a nomber of high rocky islands to sound us, besides plennty of sunshine, hot enough to make the grease run out of a broom stick, they took on board six boxes of speich (?) a bout 2 feet long and 1 foot square, on Thursday 10th we meet the steamer Republic for Panama we stopped for a few minutes and exchanged the time of day the health of the ship is very good at preasant, as for myself I believe I are beginning to get fat, I eat anough any how, If I keep on improving when we get to San francisco and get to work I think I will kick up a dust, for I am tired and sick of setting about doing nothing, we had some singing in the afternoon, Sunday, and the day passed off as very pleasant. We are now sailing a crosft the gulf of California from Mazatlan to cape st. Lucas, the sea is quite smooth the moon shines bright and the stars look as if thay had just washed thire faces, and we are thinking about our homes, famleys, and friends, which makes a pleasant picture to look at, but a hard one to Realize and perform

Monday 16th passed Cape St. Lucas about 3 oclock we saw a small bark driven on shore by the blow on Saturday 14th there is a small town back away from the shore the coast is a rough barren mountanious place with not a tree or shrub to be seen, we passed some barren Islands today Tuesday 17th, Wednesday 18th boat the same once in a wile come in sight of an Island or points of the coast, we are getting in a cooler climet which makes it more pleasant

Thursday19th it is quite cool this morning so we took a tramp down around the battery and up a sound square a few times before breakfast, or around the Capstan on the quarter deck , and so around the main mast ,we have considerable sport a bout the democrats and the Aristocrats, we call the ones that dines or eat at the first table democrats, and at the second table aristocrats, Today at noon a poor old man 70 years died leaving a wife and family in Boston he died by old age , and fatigue, being a steerager passenger and not having much attention paid him and to night a little boy that has had a long lingering feavor died, the old man was buried in the sea, thay sewed him up in his blankets and sail cloth, then laid him in a board over the ships side then read a surmon and prayer and the poor old man was launched in the deep, never to be seen more in this world, the little boy was 6 years old, thay put him in a box filled with spirits and intend keeping him untill we arrive in port, his mother takes it very hard, she will meet her husband in San francisco, most of the passengers are enjoying good health, the

Weather is cool and pleasant, we passed San diego this morning at 2 oclock but did not run in on account of the fog, we landed the mail and passenger a bout 20 miles up the coast today Friday 20th at a small town.

Saturday 21st the weather is quite could so we have to ware our coats , another death occouerd today a young man 30 years old died at 10 oclock be a long feaver , he would not take any medican , we arrived at Monteray at 7 oclock this evening .
Landed some passengers and the mail, it is quite a hansom place, we could not see much of the town, on account of darkness, we stopped about an hour, and started for San Francisco the long looked for a place, we seen a number of cowfish this mourning they are a little larger then a porpose and a light grayish in color.


Sunday 22nd mouring at 8 oclock we come in sight of San Francisco harbour it is a narrow passage with high hills on both side about a mile before you see the city I was surprised see so many you vessals in the harbour they lay anchored off the city thick as they can stow in, we got in and anchored about half mile from the shore at 10 oclock . Mr. Buckilew came on board and we went a shore with him we went to his office in gold St .unpacked our trunks to kill the roaches and air out our clothes , my traps was all in good order , some of Hiram's things ware a little mouldy but I pleased to find the cotton needles sissors and other nick nacks that my dear wife put up with so much pains for me ware fresh and good as when she put then in my trunks .I could not help my feeling a little home sick when I unpacked my trunks and found my shirts and very thing down up so neat just as her careful and kind hands had left them away god bless her for her kindness , after we got through we went to dinner, on board Mr. Buckilew store ship . whare we got our meals , I find San Francisco a pleasanter place than I expected, it is very hilley and rough but thay are improving the place very much, in the lower part of the city there is a number of very hansom buildens Mr. Buckelew went acrossed the bay this afternoon to look at some land , and will not be back for a day or two , after supper I went to church the churches are all well attended , but not many ladys are to be seen, the weather is not so cold as it was out at sea, it is about the same as the last of October in New York, my health is very good and keeps improveing .

San Francisco City

March 3rd
I eat my breakfast and went looking up som folks I had letters for I succeeded in finding some of them, I have nothing to do yet but to look around, I weighed myself today and found myself five pounds heaver then I was when I left home.

Friday 27th same as yesterday nothing new of any account sence we arrived , we bought a lot of old gron yesterday , and I had a good job washing up my dirty clothes that I wore sence I left home, I found washing was a very easy job, but I will have to get used to it we, have very pleasant weather now, the rainy season will set in next mounth, then look out for mud, we have don nothing about our buisness affares yet, we have first rate living I would not wish for better, most every body appears to be in good health , as for myself I keeping gaining everday.

Sunday 29th I went to church this mourning and heard a good surmon after dinner I finished writing my letters all well up to this date.

Sunday October 6th I have been painting some around the printing offace that Mr. Bucklew has buelt, soon as the macheriny gets here we will put it in operation, since Tuesday I have been to work in the store ship lending a hand ware and when I can make myself usefull, so the time passes much easer when I have something to employ myself at, thay keep grocerys and take goods on storage, the ship lay at the end of the warf, with a passage way out in her side so her lower deck is on a level with the dock, they sell a quite a large quantity of provisions to the shiping and boarding homes.

To morrow is election day and we are all going to the polls to electioneer for Mr. Bucklew as he is up for assembly man I expect we will have a great turn out , the weather keeps clear and pleasant my health is very good , the fleas is the only plague I have .

Monday 7th today is election day we have been out electioneering for Mr. Bucklew he is sun for assembly man and if any body gets me to electionerr for them thay will know it, it all passed off very well only some of the fellows had a little fist fight once in a wile , the mail arrived this morning so I expect a letter from my dear wife.

Tuesday 8th
I received two letters one from my wife and one from my sister Jane, How my heart jumped when I read those sweet lines, the first that I received sence I left home and found my wife and child brothers and sisters, and all was well. After reading my wifes letter I seen there must be another letter in the office. I went there twice a day and did not get a chance, on account of the crowd untill Wednesday afternoon I succeeded in getting the other letter which brought six days later news, and I wase delighted to hear how well my dear little Frank and Hanna was getting along all well all up to Thursday 10th . the letter was mis liad and not put in Bucklews box so I did not get It with the others letter.
I still remane to work in the store ship. The weather keeps pleasant but the plaeaged fleas e,e,c.s is raising the mistchife with me I saw some of my New York accuaintances this week, Mr.Sheldon Mr. Flanigan cousin to Mr. Hanratha, and Mr. T. Norris called on us today things all looked well, My wife says I must make a drawing of crossing the isthmus I am afraid they would be to many jackasses and other kind of acies in the pictures for some of the natives goes quite naiked when they are following the boats up the river .
Sunday13tyh I took a walk this morning up on Telegraph hill it about two or three hundred feet high it is a beautifull sight from off the hill you can see the mouth harbor and the vessels as they come in from the sea also the bay and mountains far as the eye can reach, I took little sketch of the harbor, I intend to make drawing to send home in a letter, this afternoon I made a drawing of the boat and passengers, I came up the Chargres river in, allso some of the Californians crossing the isthmus on mules which I sent home in a letter, 15th I sent a letter to my wife with a few small lumps of gold and a picture in it and I hope it will find my dear wife and boy in good health.

Monday 21st I received a letter from my wife , I was grived to learn that she had been unwell , but it was some relife to hear befor I read to the end of her letter that she was getting well again and that my dear boy was doing well, also that my friends and relation ware all well with the exception of my Father in law he meeting with a accident cutting the end of his finger off I hope it is well again .

Before this time it must have bothered him considerable in doing his fall work, my wife says would like to come out to California with me, I wish she was here to keep house for me I would feel much more contented, if I could turn a bout and go home and bring her back with me, I took a sail yesterday across the bay to Mr. Bucklews ranche farm he has been buying a large pice of land some fifty or sixty miles square, he paid fifty thousand dollars for it, it has a steam and water power saw mill on it besides a great number of horses and cattle, I saw some droves of them feeding on the hills, some of them are quite wild, when thay whant to catch the horses they drive them in a large pen made with railes and lassoe them. . I took a short ride on one of are coalts thay had just been breaking, the cattle are sirved the same way, we did not stay long on shore the tide began to run out and we had to keep our boat a float, we waited untill 9 oclock in the evening for Mr. B he having some buisenss to attend to on shore there is any quantity of large snipe and ducks around the bay and plenty of foxes, deer, grisly, bears, and others kinds off gaim in the place, the moon shone bright and we had a fine breeze to retuen, it was near 12 o clock at night when we reached home , the steamer arrived on Saturday 19th and brought the news that California was admited in the unoun as one of the United States, she was trimred of with flags from stem to stern , and fired guns as she run up the habour it was a beautiful sight and we knowing she brought the mail with letters for us from our homes and family made it more interesting, I still remain employed in the store my health keeps good

Sunday 27th to day is rather cold and blustery has the appearance of rain, I wrote part of a letter to my wife and to my brothers and sisters finished a drawing of the harbour with some other small noitions, to send home in the letter

Monday 28th I made a little speculation to night by taking some passenger out in the bay with the row boat, charley, a clerk in the store went with me, we made nine dollars in an hour and a half, I sold my violin I brought with me for $15~ it cost me 5$~ and bought another one for two dollars, with a little fixing up was equally as good,

Tuesday 29th we had a great celabration for the ad mishion of california in the union, as one of the United States of America making now thirty one States, thay kicked up a grate dust with firing cannon, fire works, turning out in procession making speaches

Thursday 31st I finished writing my letters to send home by the steamer tomorrow, I sold the 4 ½ bunchis of small segars I brought out here with me fir $4 dollars they cost me 18 cents per bunch, tonight I feel quite unwell I took a dose of oil and went to bed, I was quite unwell all night.

November Friday 1st I sent letter no 6 to my wife and no 2 to my brothers and sisters, I feel about two degrees be low low water mark, rather weak with some pain in my bowls, or California belly ache, none of our machinery has arrived yet so I keep knocking around in the store ship, I met James Sheldon one day this week an old crony from New York he just came from the mines but has had rather poor success, a great many from the mines are returning home the cholera has made its appearance here quite a number has died with it, I hope it will not be any worse, it will make bad work here if the chedra seated in the city, we had a horrible steam boat blow up at long warf on Tuesday afternoon, the steam boat Sagamore as she was leaveing the dock burst her boiler killing some sixty or seventy persons, and blowed the boat all to pieces, thay picked up a barrel or two of parts of bodies, some heads bodies legs arms all blown to pieces, scattered around in the water, her bell was thrown over on a ships deck laying by the dock, it was a horrid sight to behold, Wednesday night a fire broke out on the upper part of the city burning down two or three houses with the hospitall, it a bad place here for fires, its so hard to get water in the dry season thay stoped the fire by pulling down the houses with long hooks having a chain and long rope attached so a number of man could pull on them, it is now getting late in the evening so I will swing my Hammock and go to rooust.

Sunday 10th I have been quite unwell all last week but are quite recovered now, the cholera has been doing its sad work a monxt us, last week but is not so bad as it was and I hope will leave us all to geather, I was very much disapointed by not receiving a letter by the last mail which arrived on the 6th, but I heard by my sisters letter that my folks were well, I suppose the letter my wife was to send did not get down from the country in time for the steamer, as my sister said in her letter that it had not arrived yet when she had sent hers, I went to the post office half a dozen times in hopes to get it but was disappointed so I give up untill the next mail arrives, we are to work putting up the printing press, that was brought acrosst the Isthmus by Mr. Oconner, it was all rusted up by getting wet with salt water, so we have quite a job of cleaning it up, the weather keeps dry and pleasant , the rain has not commenced yet, I received a letter from Thom Houseworth yesterday he is at the mines in Rich Gulch Calavaras Co, Cal , I will send him answer to his letter tomorrow Mr. Bucklew has been buying some more land across the bay I think we will commence operations over there soon

Friday 15th nothing new worth writing about this time. I have go quite well again and are to work on the printing press, be getting wet with salt water it is very rusty, so it takes sometime to get it ready to get in operation, I sent letter no 7 to my wife today.

Sunday 17th I got up this morning well but not very early after breakfast, I sweep out my room, put things to rights, then took a good wash and dressed my self up a little for Sunday, then went to look after my dinner, after dinner I took a little walk around the city to see the improvements, and at night I fetch up here writing. with the good fortune of bring well and in good sprits.

Wednesday Nov20th today we are visited with a strong south easter with hard rain I suppose we take in our chimely and call it the commencement of the rainey season, and the time of mud and mire, I have quite recovered from the sick spell I had and begin to grow fat and saucy again I are to work on the printing press yet, and of all jobs I ever had to do this goes ahead, Hiram is unwell so I have to get a longe with it myself, many of the most important parts ware lost coming across the isthmus, and a number of small screw bolts wich will cost a grate deal of money and be a hard job to replace them as we have no tools to work with, besides no one that bairly under stands repairing the press, as for my self I never had anything to do with printing press work, but I will do the best I can and get her a going some how

Friday Nov 22nd Good New today I had the pleasure of receiving letter No 3 and No 4 from my wife it was as I expected, getting two this time to make up for none the other mail that brought me no letter, I are down on the no letter mail, I was happy to learn that all my folks was doing well, my little boy was rather ill but I hope he is well a gain before this, and my dear wife is getting a long so well I are quite delighted, how I would like to see them, I are sorry to hear that father is in bad health may his health and life be spared, that I may see him when I return if I are so fortunate.

Sunday Nov. 24th nothing new of any account today the rainey season has fairley set in, with all of its pleasurs of wet and mud, such going I never did see, it wants a two horse power engine on each leg, to work, your way through the mud, I keep tinkering away on the old press, I wish they had split it in the drink, or left it on the isthmus with the rest of it will cost a sweet penny to get it in operation, now I must commence writing some letters to send home, I would like to go and carrey it my self, I think I could take them to the right place

Sunday Dec 7th today I send letter no 8 to my wife with one enclosed to her father, also letter No 3 home to sister Catherun, by Mr. Cowell, nothing new last week, my health is good with the exception of a little head ache. I have been troubled with two or three days past, the weather is quite pleasant, I are to work on the printing press yet, and will now commence scribling to my lady love, to commence a new letter and then go to bed the ship Portsmouth has arrived

Sunday Dec 8th Today I took a long walk over the hills back of the city, it is very pleasant to walk out in the country and look from the tops of some high hill and see the surrounding scenery, I finished my work on the printing press last week my health is very good at preasant, I have been thinking about returning home next spring. I am most tired of this country I believe I perfer comfort and happyness before gold and misery.

Wednesday night dec. 11th I beleave old harrey has got in the letters, the mail has arrived again and brought me no letters, we will soon commence taking our machinery off the old ship Portsmouth. We will put one of our small engines up to run the printing press. I have been at work to day drilling some casting for the saw mill, we paid only 40cts per pound for Iron castings and rough enough at that, the weather has been pleasant for some time but it commenced raining to day again Friday we ware visited with a heavy South Easter

Sunday evening Dec. 15th Last night I was writing a letter to my wife a fire broke out at the foot of Sacramento st at about 9 oclock I went out to see and do what I could it was pretty underway when I arrived at the scene of confusion, several buildings burned down before it could be stopped. I lent a hand to No 1 and done all I could fore a little fellow about my size No 2 was manned by a gang of sailors thay worked like good fellows thay kept up a singing and hallowing like thay do when halling up the anchor on board the ships, at 11 oclock they got it pretty well out so I Went home and went to bed, it is an awful sight to see a fire the buildings are mostly wood and very light so thay burn like paper and the people appears almost thire is no insureance here against fire so what ever burns is all loss for the owners, the weather is rainy and the going muddy enough my health is very good for which I feel very thankfull as thire is a grate many sick around me. I was to work last week drilling some Iron castings for the saw mill we got them cast at one foundries in town and paid the small sum of 45cts per pound.

Decr 25th Christmass I was in hopes that I would have a letter to read for my christmass preasant, but the old steamar has not made her apperance yet, she has been due for the last five days, thire is fearfull appreheusions that she with our letters has gone to the bottom, it is allmost a mounth sence I have heard from home it seems like a long time. Hiram is quite sick yet and Mr Buckelew is quite unwell so I have to be doctor and nurse for all hands my health is very good so I are getting fat and saucy but not lazey for I have not much to do, to day I went out of town and shot my rifle at a mark, I beleave I was doing nearly the same thing last year this time, but I don't think I spent quite so merrey a christmass as last year, buisness is getting very dull I begin to think I will pack up my duds and start for home we was all speaking about what we would be doing next year. this time, Mr Bucklelew sayed he supposed. I would be kissing my wife and boy. I hope I will have the chance, I are about sick of this place, the only thing doing is speculating and selling rum, we had a very pleasant day today both clear and warm, I have been trying to buy som chickens for the sick. The price is $3.00 for skin and bones including feathers, $5.00 for a good chicken, if I could get some fresh eggs I would go to getting myself it would be a good spree.

Friday Decr 27th I went to work getting out lumber to build a small house over on the ranch, Saturday we started over with the scow sloop we run down the bay and anchored for the next tide Sunday morning we arrived at the place ware I will build the house after unloading the Lumber we went back to the creek leeding up to the ranche house, we had to anchor again for the night. Monday we starded again, we had no wind so we had row push and pull her a land, but finley got stuck on the flats so we took the small boat and went up to the house and let the old scow stick on the mud untill high tide, we got to the house just in time for dinner, with good appetites and plenty of room to stow in, and the way we laid the needfull in was a caution to empty stomicks, in the evening we made up a good log fire with eaight or ten homebreas and the pleasant company of two ladys, besides three or four little ones, with all these comforts we spent a very pleasant evening. Tuesday the boat man brought the scow up unloaded a pair of mules and some other fraight. I went a guning a little and looked around the place, evening came on and I was wondering what all of the folks was doing at home I suppose most of them was preparing for new years day. We had some hot chocolate and set up to see the old year out and the new year in wile we was setting by the fire a couple of wolves come howling about the house, one of the boat man took a boarding pik and I took a double barrel gun and went out after them, but when they heard us coming thay varmused. Last night a californian Lion killed a calf near by I saw his tracks in the mad close by the house this morning his foot prints was large as my hand it is very musical to hear the wolves and owls singing at night, a large grisely bear came in a house not fare from here, wile the folks was in the back room, he turned over some barrels of meat and eat what he wanted and then cleared out with paying his bill or making any promises to call again, neather did the insides detain him for his meals vitules, he must have been a free soiler it is sport to see. The Spainards lassoue the wild cattle thay give them a long run sometimes to catch them but when thay get the lassoue on them its all up for the poor bullock. theywill pitch at the horse but the horses are well trained to it so thay get out of the way in time, sometimes they through the ox heels over head

January 1st 1851 I spent my New Years to day in going over Mr. Buckelews saw mill to look after some tools and machinery I got through a bout three o clock and returned to the Ranche house, we brought a few tools over with the mule team but we had to leave part on the road the hills are so steep that the poor mules could hardly draw the empty wagon.

"The Ranch house, on the Widdow Reeds Ranch on the north side of San Francisco bay, California." Drawing by B.F. McCreary on his trip to California.

Thursday 2nd I started in company with Antersell Buckelew in a small boat, for Buckoon Straits in a small boat, for Buckoon Straits. We had fair wind out of the creek, but when we got in the Straits the tide run very hard against us, and the wind a head, so we had to pull for it besides the water was very rough so it dashed up over the bows of our boat considererable, we succeeded in reaching Allem tent, the man we will put the house up for at noon we cooked some dinner and packed up what he had in the tent, and started for the place ware the is to be built, after we landed our traps we went to work to build us a shanty to sleep in, Mr Allen Buckelew and my constructed our habernation in three hours under and old oak tree the branches spread out so it made a good shelter from the wind, after getting our beds fixed we cooke us some supper off fresh meat weat pancakes and coffey and then turned in for the night but I did not sleep much, the wolves Kieoters owels and one darn thing another smelt our fresh meat and came to pay us a visit, they keept up to much music for strangers to sleep by in an old shanty

"Racoon Straits"

Friday this morning we commenced laying the cills for the house it is 30 feet long 14 feet wide and 15 feet to the peak we had just got to work, when one of the Buckelews, from the ranche house came over after Buckelew. Mr B B Bucklelew was very sick so he had to go over to town, so Mr. Allen and myself were left alone to build the house, in the after noon we went down to the tent again after some lumber we made araft of it and pulled it aloud after that boat, the tide was soo strong around a point of rocks against us that we was oblidged to leave untill the change of tide so we tied the lumber fast on shore and went back with the boat we worked a wile, prepaired our supper and put it down about right and now I are writing this peppergram in a small book on the bottom of a tin pan, I carrey a book in my pocket to write down the events of each day with a lead pencil and coppey it off in this book at a convient oppertuinty I have my candle stuck in an empty bottle for a candle stick, I can hear the wolves howl outdoors, I say out doors, but our house has no doors only a place to go in and out. I must the outsiders, I think I will sleep better to night for, I feel a little tired and have some what used to noises, so I will turn in and try it.

Saturday 4th we began early this morning to work on the house after dinner we went after our raft of Lumber we succeeded this time in getting it in the bay and landed safe on shore, about 3 o clock it began to storm, so we had to pack up our tools and fix our shanty for a long rain storm, now we have got our roof laid over with boards so it won't leak, I will set down write a short discription of our Situation, the place is a small cove or valley all most surrounded by high hill and thick wooded ravins with considerable many oak trees scattered around making a very pleasant apperance in front is a small lake runing in through a narrow chanel from rackoon straits only a sand bar about two or three yards high and ten to fifteen wid the Lake is all most round and about two hundred yards across, we have a view of Angil Island and part of the bay ware the stream boats passes up to Stockton and Sacramento, thire is a number of Seal in the strait, they look very much like a bull dog and about the size thousands of sea fowl and ducks are swimming and flying around, the seals and covered with a coarse short hair with short web footed Legs, a few sand crane comes around us besids numerous other bird and beast, my companion Mr Allen is a very cleaver gentleman he stands about six foot high and is about thirty or thirty five years old he has traveled through most of California and the gold mines, we have maney a long chat to gether to pass a way the long evernings I have not had much time to go hunting yet, the wind blows very hard and the rain is not slow coming down.

Sunday 5th this morning is clowedy and the wind continues blowing very hard, we started a fire and went to work getting our breakfast, I made some pancakes, after we got the beafstake fride, it commenced raining so I dumped the pancakes all in the frying all in the frying pan and covered it over with a board and let them cook when thay ware done thay was only half an inch thick, but thay eat very well, after breakfast it cleared up a little so I took Mr Allens horse and started on a tramp for the ranche house, thire is no road to go by it is climing over hills and down dales but I had not gone far when the rain came down in torrents one mountain I had to skirt was so steep and the rain made it very slipery so I had to get off and lead my horse, for if he was to slip we would roll a half mile down hill be fore thire was any chance of stoping,I had to go six miles and the worst place to travel I ever was in with the rain coming down like gehne made it a very pleasant journey.Sometimes I had to go half a mile to get over a gulley that washes out between the hills,to look off some of these hills with the rain coming down by the pails full and the wind blowing a jimy cane makes a very romantic seen or wet man tic after puddling on for three hours I reached the ranche house I had two thick coats on so I did not get wet much only about my legs but a good log fire soon made that all right. I think california is one grate humbug, and if persons that wants to come five or six hours it would give them enough of california.

To be continued as transcribed

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