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Starkweather Family Correspondence: Finding Aid
mssHM 54689-54932  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
This collection consists of correspondence between Starkweather family members in Northampton, Massachusetts, and family members who came to California during the Gold Rush era. The bulk of the letters date from 1849 to 1859, and topics discussed in the letters include ocean voyages to California, agriculture and ranching in Stockton, and family news.
Background
Charles Graves Starkweather (1819-1906) came to California seeking gold in 1849. He was an officer in the Holyoke Company and left on February 5, 1849 from New York aboard the S.S. Crowell going first to Chagres, Panama, then up the river to Panama City. When they found no ship to take them to San Francisco, their company, along with others, bought the ship Copiapo, hired a captain, and after a 95-day voyage arrived in San Francisco on August 14, 1849. Charles went first to look for gold on the Yuba River, but finally settled in the Sacramento Valley. In 1851 he was joined by his brother, Alfred Starkweather (1826-1917), and together they bought a ranch near Stockton, California. The next year, another brother, Haynes Kingsley Starkweather (1822-1895), came to California via the Nicaragua route bringing his wife, Martha, and his son with him. After arriving at San Juan, they discovered that the ship North American, on which they were to take passage, had been shipwrecked and they were picked up by the Monumental City instead. After a difficult passage they arrived in San Francisco and made their way to Stockton, where he opened a drugstore. Charles made a visit to Northampton in 1854-1855 and brought his sister Roxana to California (where she met and married William Henry Nowell). Those family members at home were: their father, Haynes Kingsley Starkweather (1788-1866); mother, Almira L. (Merrick) Starkweather (d. 1862); brother, Rev. Frederick Merrick Starkweather (1820-1851); sister, Almira Starkweather (d. 1861); and sister, Elizabeth (Starkweather) Breck. As his father aged, he asked Charles to come home and take over the family farm. Charles went back in 1859; Haynes and Roxana and families also returned East.
Extent
242 letters plus copies of a few printed items in 3 boxes
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.