Buena Vista, California: 1870. Envelope or Cover. This four-page letter, dated July 25th 1870, was mailed from a California setter, Jesse Mason, in 1870 to his mother back home in Vermont. It is franked with a 3-cent ultramarine locomotive stamp (Scott #114). It bears a manuscript postmark that reads “Buena Vista July 27th 1870 / Cal”. In nice shape.
In this letter from Amador Country, California, Mason reports that
“I have about 50 trees now ripening; plums are also getting ripe as well as peaches. We have quite a quantity of plums, but few peaches: the latter do not do well here unless irrigated. the roots go down into the ground after water and are sour and dry. I have a few moist places that I am settin out to peaches and will have a better supply in a year or two. We are having very hot weather the thermos standing at 98 to 104 in the shade. It is injuring the fruit somewhat. . ..
“A fire raged all day yesterday in the hills east of us, burning a good deal of fence and a house and barn. In the summer season everything gets dry and burns like tinder. The wind blows the fire away from us, but we are always fearful of fire here in the summer. . ..
“I write to you about our fishing excursion. [At sunset,] the fish commenced jumping out of the water, but as an Arkansas man would say “nary bite.” Every one was satisfied that the fish were there, but how to get them! It was determined at last to construct a seine and it is now nearly finished will be about 70 ft. by 9½ Elizabeth knit 3/10 of it or three shares out of ten. We expect to put it in the water this week.
“We are a little excited about fishing as we have heretofore had no fish of consequence, the rivers having been so muddy from mining as to drive the fish all out. as the streams get clear the fish are coming back.
“Game is also becoming plentier as the mines leave the mountains above. . .."
[Still,] we have raised good crops here while many parts of the state have totally failed. . ... Very good. Item #009928
Fires, droughts, extreme heat, runoff, and water scarcity; Californian concerns of 150 years ago don’t sound much different than Californian concerns of today. .