The papers consist primarily of correspondence from 1846-1881 written by Franklin A. Buck to his sister detailing his activities
in New York City until early 1849
and then his life in various parts of California and Nevada from 1849 to 1881, often
illustrating the nature of frontier and pioneer life, gold and silver mining, ranching, and 19th century social life and customs.
Franklin Augustus Buck (1826-1909) was born in 1826. He grew up in Bucksport, Maine, and moved to New York City in 1846. In
late 1848 he caught
gold fever and set sail in January 1849 on the brig George Emery bound for San Francisco, California, via Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Cape Horn, and Callao (Peru).
After arriving in California, Buck spent some time in San Francisco and Sacramento before settling in Weaverville as a merchant
and occasionally prospected for gold.
In 1855 he and his business partner built a sawmill on the North Fork of the Trinity River, and Buck was engaged in providing
lumber for the local burgeoning towns and
miners until he returned to the Atlantic States for a visit home for much of 1858. He returned to California in late 1858,
settling again in Weaverville,
but this time with his new bride, Jennie. They lived in Weaverville until 1867, when Buck began ranching in Red Bluff, CA.
In 1869 Buck followed the latest silver mining boom and moved his
family to Pioche, Nevada, where he once again took up ranching and the lumber trade and later expanded his operations to include
a dairy. Buck became interested in gold mining activities
in Bodie and the Mammoth Lakes region of California in 1879 and tried his luck as an investor but instead accepted a friend's
offer to move to a ranch near Napa, California, in 1880.
Buck and his family moved to Oakville, California, in 1880 and engaged in various agricultural activities, including growing
grapes, making wine, producing butter, and raising chickens. Buck died in 1909.
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