Correspondence between a family in Northampton, Massachusetts, and the four members who went to California during the Gold
Rush period. The first one to go was Charles Graves Starkweather (1819-1906). 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 tham 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. 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. There is a hiatus in correspondence from
1866-1876. The letters after this period deal chiefly with business arrangements between Charles in Massachusetts and his
brother Haynes, who had returned to California to be with his son.
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