2130
2130

PROPERTY OF A NEW YORK COLLECTOR

California Gold Rush
A FASCINATING ARCHIVE OF A FORTY-NINER, INCLUDING ORIGINAL PEN AND INK SKETCHES, RELATING TO HENRY R. TAYLOR'S ROLE IN A GOLD PROSPECTING COMPANY, "CUNNINGHAM & CO.," 1849 TO CA. 1851, TOGETHER WITH A CACHE OF LATER PAPERS DERIVING FROM THE FAMILY'S EFFORT EARLY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY TO EDIT AND PUBLISH TAYLOR'S ACCOUNT OF HIS ADVENTURES.
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2130

PROPERTY OF A NEW YORK COLLECTOR

California Gold Rush
A FASCINATING ARCHIVE OF A FORTY-NINER, INCLUDING ORIGINAL PEN AND INK SKETCHES, RELATING TO HENRY R. TAYLOR'S ROLE IN A GOLD PROSPECTING COMPANY, "CUNNINGHAM & CO.," 1849 TO CA. 1851, TOGETHER WITH A CACHE OF LATER PAPERS DERIVING FROM THE FAMILY'S EFFORT EARLY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY TO EDIT AND PUBLISH TAYLOR'S ACCOUNT OF HIS ADVENTURES.
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Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana

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California Gold Rush
A FASCINATING ARCHIVE OF A FORTY-NINER, INCLUDING ORIGINAL PEN AND INK SKETCHES, RELATING TO HENRY R. TAYLOR'S ROLE IN A GOLD PROSPECTING COMPANY, "CUNNINGHAM & CO.," 1849 TO CA. 1851, TOGETHER WITH A CACHE OF LATER PAPERS DERIVING FROM THE FAMILY'S EFFORT EARLY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY TO EDIT AND PUBLISH TAYLOR'S ACCOUNT OF HIS ADVENTURES.
The papers contemporary with the Gold Rush comprise a 3-page (9 3/4 x 7 7/8 in.; 248 x 198 mm) autograph letter signed by Taylor to his mother, 12 August 1849, aboard the brig Arcadian; a pencil drawing of the "Port of Sacramento City during the flood Jan 1850 (5 1/4 x 7 3/4 in.; 134 x 197 mm); a pen and ink drawing of a miners' camp, depicting a miner cleaning his pan and surrounded by other tools and utensils, including a coffee pot (4 x 4 1/4 in.; 102 x 109 mm); a pencil map-plan of Sacramento showing Sutter's Fort, streets, and rivers (9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.; 248 x 184 mm); a pen and ink map describing, as recorded on the verso, "a more correct idea about the localities of the different Indian Rancherios in the vicinity, the different bars on the rivers & other important points" (3 1/4 x 2 7/8 in.; 84 x 72 mm); a pencil drawing of Guanacoes, described on the verso as "an animal about midway between the Deer & Llama" (3 x 4 3/4 in.; 74 x 122 mm). The bulk of the later papers date from about 1915 and concern H. K. Taylor's efforts to edit and publish two books based on his father's travels (The Journal of a Forty-Niner and Five Years of Travel and Adventure in South America), including abstracts and synopses from the older Taylor's journal, the original of which is evidently now lost.
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"bound … for 'El Dorado'." According to the biographical sketch included in the archive, Henry R. Taylor was born in 1832 in Vermont. Taylor studied engineering and surveying at Saxton’s River Seminary (now Vermont Academy). He lived briefly in Maine, but at the age of seventeen, collaborated with two friends in the purchase of a brig, the Arcadian, to travel the water route to California by way of the Straits of Magellan.

Taylor's letter of 12 August 1849 was started just after he and his companions had finally made their passage through the Straits of Magellan. By this time, Taylor had joined a partnership with fourteen others under the leadership of T. B. Cunningham, a ship-master. Each member of Cunningham & Co. invested $1,000 to outfit their expedition to California.

Shortly after entering the Straits, Taylor writes, Cunningham & Co. had met a like-minded group of New Englanders on an aptly named vessel: "the Schooner 'J. A. Sutter' of Warren R. I. came to anchor beside us, owned by a company of 26 young men, bound like ourselves for 'El Dorado.' Of course, an intimacy was soon constructed between us; so that the two vessels left in company. …" But, Taylor continues, "Unfortunately the Capt of the 'Sutter' had neither the prudence or judgment of ours" and shortly after she was discovered "hard & fast on a rock—a complete wreck!"

The men of Cunningham & Co. helped rescue the men and their stores and tried to assist them in finding a place aboard another California-bound ship. But the other forty-niners were more competitive than the company from Maine, and Sutter castaways ended up going aboard the Arcadian.

The passage through the Straits of Magellan seemed interminable: "The Straits are 375 miles in length, but to gain that distance, we have sailed at least 1500. Have lain at anchor 44 days—been under sail 29 days & 6 whole nights."

The Arcadian reached San Francisco on 29 October 1849; from there she sailed to Sacramento, where the Cunningham men established their claims. Taylor passed the next three years in California, mining, surveying, and trading. He then returned east, and traveled through South America and Panama; for a time he assisted in the coastal survey of Chile. 

Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana

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