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The Gold Rush Letters of E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh

Ron James, Bob Stewart

Publication Year: 2012

When brothers Ethan and Hosea Grosh left Pennsylvania in 1849, they joined throngs of men from all over the world intent on finding a fortune in the California Gold Rush. Their search for wealth took them from San Francisco into the gold country and then over the Sierra into Nevada's Gold Canyon, where they placer-mined for gold and discovered a deposit of silver. The letters they sent back to their family offer vivid commentaries on the turbulent western frontier, the diverse society of the Gold Rush camps, and the heartbreaking labor and frustration of mining. Their lively descriptions of Gold Canyon provide one of the earliest accounts of life in what would soon become the fabulously wealthy Comstock Mining District. The Groshes' letters are rich in color and important historical details. Generously annotated and with an introduction that provides a context for the brothers' career and the setting in which they tried to make their fortune, these documents powerfully depict the often harsh realities of Gold Rush life and society.

Published by: University of Nevada Press

Series: Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in Nevada History

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4


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pp. 5-6


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pp. 7-7

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pp. ix-x

This volume presents an important collection of letters from the era of the California Gold Rush. It is an essential contribution for anyone interested in how this period changed the nation, and the Nevada Historical Society is honored to, ...

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pp. xi-xv

The California Gold Rush of 1849 was one of the great events of human history. Much has been written about the tens of thousands who arrived, and letters and diaries left by the Argonauts, as they called themselves, have ...

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pp. 1-14

“Ho! for the Mountains!” With those exuberant words, the Grosh brothers expressed their innocent dream of a great quest that would take them far from home. Theirs was a nineteenth-century incarnation of a tale as old as humanity: the pursuit of gold ...

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1. 849

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pp. 15-50

Yesterday morning a great crowd of our citizens assembled at the Reading Depot to witness the departure for the land of promise, of as noble looking band of young men as can be found anywhere. They were all in good spirits, and left with ...

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2. 1850

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pp. 52-73

Captain Taylor has left here for the Sandwich Islands1 so that the only portion of our company that at all deserved the character of a company working together in California is now broken up [and] separated. Farrelly, Axe, Hahs, Witman, and myself are here in the house. Zerbe is also with us. Green has gone into ...

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3. 1851

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pp. 74-94

I came down from the mines yesterday morning, for the purpose of taking our little property into the mountains, where we will establish our home until our “piles” are made. This is the first time either of us have been down, and you may judge ...


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pp. 11-122

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4. 1852 and 1853

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pp. 95-109

We [have] been as far south as Dry Creek 25 miles from our old camp but our old partner, Steele, leaving us there and buying into quartz vein, we returned, after staying awhile on the Cosumnes River. Steele turned horse thief about ...

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5. 1854 and 1855

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pp. 110-129

We are once more in California, after passing through trials and hardships, which five years ago would have sent us to our graves, and I am happy to say our healths are entirely reestablished.
We find things here but little altered, and we have every prospect of a profitable winter’s work before us; in which case Hosea will be ...

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6. 1856

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pp. 130-151

I have just come over from the Middle Fork Cosumnes where we are now located for a time. The winter proving a dry one, we determined to go there so as to be making something all the time as the prospect of washing much ...

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7. 1857 and 1858

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pp. 152-190

The place in which we live is so shut out from the rest of the world, and there is so much sameness and monotony in our lives, that we do not keep so close a watch on time as we should do. The last two mails for the Atlantic closed before we were aware of them. This must account for...

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Appendix A

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pp. 191-196

The first letters of the Grosh brothers reflect their preoccupation with the fate of the Reading California Association. Named for their hometown in Pennsylvania, this corporate undertaking unified a group of adventurers as they embarked on an ...

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Appendix B

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pp. 197-200

As described in the preface, a persistent claim that Allen and Hosea Grosh were daguerreotype artists has caused their names to appear in numerous authoritative lists of early photographers. We offer the ...

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Appendix C

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pp. 201-205

By virtue of prospecting in the western Great Basin, the story of the Grosh brothers became entangled with one of the greatest episodes in the history of mining, namely the discovery and extraction of the Comstock Lode. As...


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pp. 207-238


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pp. 239-244

E-ISBN-13: 9780874178920
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874178852

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 6 photos, 1 map
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in Nevada History
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OCLC Number: 822565766
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Gold Rush Letters of E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh

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Subject Headings

  • Grosh, E. Allen, 1824-1857 -- Correspondence.
  • Grosh, Hosea B., 1826-1857 -- Correspondence.
  • Gold miners -- California -- Correspondence.
  • Gold miners -- Nevada -- Correspondence.
  • Comstock Lode (Nev.) -- History -- 19th century.
  • West (U.S.) -- Gold discoveries.
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