This collection contains correspondence and other family papers of the brothers Charles and Mendal Churchill. Charles was
a prospector during the California Gold Rush and Mendal was a storekeeper and then Civil War general who settled in Coronado,
CA after his retirement.
Charles William Churchill was born in Ohio on November 22, 1822. He was in New York by 1842. After spending several years
traveling back and forth between Buffalo, New York and Augusta, Georgia, he left New York City on a steamship bound for California
via the Isthmus of Panama. He arrived in San Francisco in August 1849 intent on prospecting for gold, but he was not successful.
He spent several months on Mormon Island. In 1851 Churchill joined a group of 47 other men in an expedition to Sonora, Mexico.
They had heard of a large quantity of gold being unreachable due to a presence of hostile Indians. Expecting a fight, the
men were well armed. The Mexican government viewed these men as invaders and ordered them to leave Mexico. Churchill returned
to California and prospecting, but gave up prospecting in 1852 and took a position as a clerk for a D. Turner in Mariposa
California. He died on Friday, July 13, 1855 at the age of 32 in Mariposa, California.