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Riggin/Pettyjohn Family Papers: Finding Aid
mssHM 27960-27963, mssHM 63287-63326  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection chiefly contains correspondence of the Pettyjohn family and correspondence between tavern owner James C. Riggin in Yuba County, California, and his wife, Rebeca Jane Pettyjohn. The letters tell of the journey to California along the Oregon Trail, and discuss, in detail, Fort Kearny; Fort Laramie; Fort Des Moines and Keokuk, Iowa; and Sacramento and Yuba County, California. The letters also describe life in a California gold mining town including gold discoveries, prices of supplies, and rumors of murders in the area.
Background
James C. Riggin and Rebeca Jane Pettyjohn were married in March 1849. James, along with some friends and relatives, left Missouri for California in May 1850; his wife Rebeca and their infant daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, remained at home. Riggin briefly attempted mining but eventually ended up running a tavern and boarding house in the gold camp Oregon House in Yuba County. By the time he left California to return to Missouri in the fall of 1851, he had enough money saved up to build a new house for his wife and child. Riggin, who later became Sheriff of Andrew County, Missouri, died in 1858. Rebeca’s brothers, William, Washington, and Columbus Pettyjohn also came to California to mine gold.
Extent
114 items.
Restrictions
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
Availability
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.