1st. Today also we drove on before dawn, as we knew that today we had to get over the highest mountain along the route. Until we reached the mountain, the trail was rocky, and so was the mountain. This was really the highest mountain I had come over so far. At all events, it is higher than the one we passed recently, and far more dangerous than the former. Right at the beginning there was a terrace, where the wagons stood almost perpendicular, and there were 4 more of these.
On the wagons 2 wheels were chained, and still the oxen could hardly hold them back. I fared somewhat better with my cart. Here there were many skeletons of oxen, and it was quite possible to have put 6 to 8 good wagons together from the broken wagons that were lying about. From there we came into a ravine, and to a stream we had heard of before. The creek is called Mar Goff. The water is as harmful for cattle, as if it were poison. If they drank of it, they get the nose bleed, become bloated, and usually die. The many skeletons that lie here give ample proof of this. The stream flows along the mountain to the right. Along the mountain to the left, there are some springs with good drinking water. We rested at these springs until 5 o'clock, and then had to travel on along the creek which kept on for 10 miles more. The trail was swampy. We were obliged to camp near the stream, and had to take care of our cattle throughout the night.
2nd. We drove along the creek for several more miles and forded it twice. For the last half mile we had a high marble wall on one side. This was indeed beautiful to behold, especially at such places where the sun was shining upon it. Now we came into deep sand, and it was oppressively hot besides. The oxen were so tired, that one of them frequently would lie down in front of the wagon and only rise reluctantly. For almost 24 hours they had neither grass nor water. The sandy trail kept up for 2 hours, and now we came to a spot where there was grass, and stopped. We went up into the mountains to look for water, and found a spring with brackish water which we and the cattle obliged to drink. In the morning we again went into the mountains in search of water, and found 2 springs. Where the water was somewhat better. Near these springs was a cave, 200 paces deep or long, 10-14 feet high, and 8 feet wide. Two of our people supplied themselves well with arms and ammunition, and went into the inner end of the cave, but they discovered nothing in it. At this place there were also 2 circular walls built of large rocks, about 100 feet in diameter and 10 feet in height. In the center of these were several used fireplaces and large docks upon which work had been done. They were apparently ruins from olden times. There was also a circular wall near our camping ground, 20 feet in diameter. In the center of this was a large stone, on which was hewn various figures and indiscernible letters. From where we encountered this stream and up to this place, I counted more than 100 dead oxen. Today I again had to buy flour, for which I spent my last ready cash.
3rd. I went into the mountains once more to look at the ruins, but went a different way from that of yesterday, and found yet another cave. I had walked about 30 paces into it, when I was met by a stinking odor, and had to go back. Another man was about 100 paces in, and he too was obliged to retreat. We left in the afternoon, and supplied ourselves with water and some grass, as there is no grass to be found for the first 70 miles. The trail was good, and the region was a broad plain or desert. We drove until 11 o'clock, and then camped. Also this afternoon we came upon graves with the remains of emigrants, and dead oxen and broken wagons were still lying to the right and left of us along the trail.
4th. We left at dawn and had a good trail until noon. Then we again ran into sand and boulders, which kept up until evening. In the course of 2 hours I counted 46 dead oxen along the trail. There were also many broken wagons from which several good ones could still have been put together. For several days we had seen but few wolves. Here, however, where there was such abundant food, we saw great packs of them.
5th. We rested but little last night, as it was quite cold. The trail improved somewhat, and at 9 o'clock we came upon water. The grass was 3 miles to one side, and we had to drive the cattle over there and tend to them. At this place there are several springs of bitter water, which is just as harmful for the cattle as the salty water. The camping place was very romantic. Only the dead oxen lying there made the resting unpleasant. The mail carrier from San Bernedina came to us at 10 in the evening.
6th. The most striking thing I saw today as the many ants in these parts. They frequently covered the entire trail, and were as large as the common fly. They had made hillocks 8 to 10 feet high of small stones they had brought together, and in an hour's time one could count more than a hundred of such mounds. We often had to stand still and shake the ants off, as their bite is very painful. There were also many spiders at this place, and my traveling companions called them African. They were quite black, their bodies were 2 inches long, and their legs 3 to 4 inches in length. Like the ants, they live in the earth and usually near some bushes or weeds, and there were often more than 50 holes side by side, so that the earth within an area of 12 feet in circumference is often quite hollow. We, and still more so the oxen, often traveled until 1 o'clock at night, and many times we drove wolves away from dead oxen. Today 7 wagon loads of Mormons passed us.
7th. The wolves did not give us much sleep. They often came quite close to us, and twice frightened the oxen away, so that we had a great deal of trouble getting them together again. Today also we ran into a great many ants and spiders. A cow sank into the earth up to her belly, and as we were trying to pull her out, a man sank into the ground up to his armpits. Today also the trail continued to be in good condition, and it led across a plain or desert until night fall. Then we arrived at the mountain to the left, and at the stream maybe where we stopped.
8th. This creek, which later developed into a river, takes its rise from some springs at this place which have exceedingly good water. It flows from here for a distance of 4 miles, then disappears in the sand, and turns up again 15 miles from here. Our camping place was a small forest, very beautiful and pleasant, but it only had a little grass of very poor quality. Again all my flour had been used up, nor had I a great deal of meat left, and as I had no more money, I was today obliged to barter other things for flour. My traveling companions told me that this was the last they could give me, otherwise they would have to starve themselves. They intended to stop here for 2 days, and give their cattle a chance to rest, some of them being lame. There was nothing else for me to do, but hurry forward with my children and the driver, and try to find help as soon as possible. We soon met a wagon with a Mormon from San Bernedina who had provisions to sell, and who drove on with his load to meet the travelers. He offered me anything he had, but when he heard that I could not pay with ready cash, and only with clothes and such things, he drove on and I obtained nothing. The trail was sandy and difficult to travel on. We saw 5 deer that ran close to us, but had no gun with which to shoot them. Late at night we again came to the stream and camped there. Here there were many rabbits. We caught 4, and cooked them.
9th. At this place things were the same as yesterday. There was good water, but only a little grass of bad quality. Today we decided to eat only twice a day, and each time only a half pound of bread, as long as we did not have an opportunity to obtain more provisions, We stayed here until 4 in the afternoon, and had the good fortune to catch some more rabbits. The stream is considerably wider at this place, and has a strong current. We drove along it for 5 miles, and off and on it again disappeared in the sand. As we were about to depart, my son Friedrich threw a burning piece of wood in the dry weeds or reeds, of which there are many at this place, and in 5 minutes this fire spread so rapidly that we were not able to extinguish it. We drove until 12 o'clock midnight, and kept on seeing the flames. We camped in a desolate, dry desert, without grass or water.
10th. Today we again saw the stream disappear, it often appeared for a distance of only 100 feet, and then would again disappear into the sand. The trail was very sandy through the entire region, and as far as the eye could reach, there was nothing but desert. Only along the stream was there anything green. We only ate twice, but did not have enough. This seemed quite unusual to us, and today brought a change. For a distance of about 50 miles along the river, at various points, live Spaniards or Mexicans who jointly raise a great deal of cattle. They have 80,000 oxen, cows and horses. Today passed one of their homes. I asked if I could get some provisions from them in exchange for clothing, knives, new shawls and similar articles. They would only sell for ready cash, however, and I went away from there hungry and empty handed. We drove on for a while. The oxen were thirsty, and I left the trail to look for water. We were now 12 miles from the creek. I soon found water, and at the same time a cow that was stuck in the waterhole. Her front quarters were out of the water, while her hind quarters were in. I at once decided to slaughter it, for it could not get out by itself, and the wolves would eat it during the night, at all events. I hurried back, and unyoked the oxen. Although it was not yet noon, I decided to remain here. We stopped with the cart on the trail; the waterhole was 10 minutes walk away. Late at night, when the moon was shining, I went over there, picked up 2 stones, and beat the cow with them on the head. She let her head drop, and then I stabbed her in the throat with my knife, and she was dead. I began to butcher her, took about 50 pounds of the meat, and rushed back with it to my children. We salted it as well as possible, cooked a piece and lay down to sleep.
11th. During the night I suffered from an unusual kind of fear, however, and could not sleep. I was afraid of treason, got up at 2 o'clock, yoked up and on we drove. It became very dark when the moon had set; and we lost the trail and arrived at the home of a Spaniard. The people were sitting by the fire. They were very friendly, and when they heard that I had no money with which to buy provisions, gave me a good piece of meat and a few beans. They wanted us to stay overnight, but I did not dare to do so. They showed me the right trail, and I drove on in the darkness. At noon we were met by the mail carrier from San Bernedina. He had already passed me once before and knew me. I told him about my distress, and he gave me a loaf of bread and a piece of cheese. The trail was rather good. The green trees along the creek and the large number of cattle, some of which were still grazing, contributed to making the journey today a very pleasant one. The stream became wider and wider, is called a river and looks more like a river than a creek. As it began to get dark, we came upon a beautiful open spot, where there was good grass, and we camped. The river was close by, our tents and cart stood under green poplars, and to the left of the trail was a beautiful mountain. For a long time we had not had such a beautiful place to camp as we had today.
12th. We had a day of rest, for both we ourselves and the cattle were tired and needed such rest. Most of the day was spent sleeping. Our stolen meat tasted fine, but would have tasted better, had we only had some more bread to eat with it. This was now rationed out in such a way, that we could not even eat a quarter of a pound at each meal. We ate bread with meat, instead of the other way around, drank tea or coffee with it, and were with all healthy and satisfied with the diet.
13th. We traveled on before sunrise. We drove some miles along the river and then forded it. Here New Mexico ends, and California begins. On the other side of the river we again ran into Spaniards, unyoked and rested for some hours. They were also friendly people. There I traded the 2 brass combs and the silk shawl, I had taken from the head of the corpse, for some flour, beans, onions and a good piece of meat. I was now sufficiently supplied with provisions to last me until I reached San Bernedina. The beans made up for what bread we went without. We rested until 4 o'clock, supplied ourselves with water, as none is to be found for 40 miles, and drove ahead. The trail was very bad at the start. It became better, however, and remained good all during the day. When the moon had begun to shine, we came into a forest that consisted of practically nothing but cactuses.
In the moonlight they often looked beautiful, or were a terrible sight. On an average they were from 4 to 6 feet in diameter, and as tall as the tallest poplars. The leaves, probably 2 feet long and a foot wide, lie close to the trunk and the branches, and cannot be seen from a distance. The trunk is very straight, while the branches are quite crooked. The flowers grow out from the trunk, as well as from the branches. It must indeed be a beautiful sight to see such a forest in bloom. Many a tree will have more than a thousand blooms. This could be seen from the now barren stalks of the flowers. We made camp in this forest.
14th. As there was no food here for the cattle, we left at an early hour, remained in the forest for a short while, and came into a mountain ravine, in which we drove constantly uphill for a distance of 6 miles. After that the trail went down hill. Here a trail turns off to the right, but it is 10 miles longer. I have said previously that we had come across the highest mountain on the route, but this one is truly the highest and most dangerous of all. Only light wagons can drive down this mountain, and only a few of those dare to do so. I did it, however, in order to save the 10 miles. Right at the beginning, I had to tie both wheels of the cart, and for a distance of 50 paces the cart stood quite perpendicular, so that all the load fell out. Now the mountain was half a mile long. It sloped somewhat, and then came a terrace like the last one, but longer, and in addition the trail was so narrow at this place, that it only allowed room for the wagon, the driver being obliged to walk between the ox and the cart. It would seem impossible to drive down this mountain, were it not a sandy mountain. No vehicle is able to ascend it, and all must take the 10 mile longer route. We got down in rather good shape, although we were often in danger of falling into the abyss, where hundreds of skeletons of oxen, many broken wagons, empty boxes and clothing, as well as human bones were lying. Now we came into a ravine, that was often narrow and often wide, through which led a difficult sandy trail. At both sides stood tall trees, and as the sun set, it was so dark at this place that we could not see 10 steps ahead of us. At 9 o'clock we came to a spring, where we camped. As soon as the oxen were unyoked, they lay down from sheer exhaustion. We were also tired ourselves and thirsty and hungry, and as we had lost our matches and were unable to light a fire, we had to content ourselves this evening with a piece of meat and cold water.
15th. This morning too, our breakfast consisted of a piece of meat and cold water. We were hardly through eating this, however, when people came to us from San Bernedina and made a fire for us. Our camping ground was very beautiful. We were lying beneath tall, shady trees. Here there were several walnut trees. The fruit was already gone, however. There as no grass at all, and the oxen had to eat the fallen leaves and go hungry. We rested until noon, than drove 4 miles ahead along an extremely bad trail. We came out of this ravine into another one that was even deeper, but which did not last long, and then we came to a small creek. The oxen could not be driven from this place, if they were not to succumb entirely, and I was obliged to remain here at this terrible place. At this point the ravine was very narrow. There were tall rocks on both sides, and we could see no more of the sky than what was immediately above us. There was good grass along the creek and the oxen had plenty to eat.
16th. We got little sleep during the night. It was very cold, and bears and wolves were to be hear continually. The trail led straight over a rather high mountain on which a cloud was resting. We had to go through this, and when we were in the midst of it, it became quite dark and very cold. As we drove down the mountain, we again passed through a cloud. Here it was likewise dark, but warm. The trail was now good, but the oxen were lame. Practically all the time yesterday, when we were resting along the creek, they waded in it, and their hoofs had become soft. We came to a farmstead of a Mormon. I asked the man for water from his garden for my oxen and he was not ashamed of demanding a dollar from me for the water. We drove some miles farther on, and stopped near several farmsteads.
17th. My oxen felt rather well during the night, and this morning they walked all right. Now we only had 6 miles more to San Bernedina, the trail was good and around noon we drove into the town, and to a place where there was good grass and water. I set up the tents, which we had not made use of for several days, and we were glad that so far the journey was well and over with. When I had rested somewhat, my first errand into the city was to inquire about my son-in-law, whom I hoped to find here. I learned, however, that he had left for Los Angeles this morning together with his family, and the rest of the Germans who left with us from Salt Lake City. I only met the Dane here, who had not wanted to leave until I came. I had no money, and my stock of provisions was not larger than could be eaten at one meal. Nor had I any more to sell, and I did not like to appeal to the Mormons about help. I went to a German Jew, of whom several lived here, and told him about the trouble I was in. He was ready at once to help us with all we needed. In the evening still more Jews visited us, and each of them gave us something. We spent 2 days and nights in the tents, and during that time we also received many visits, but no help, from the Mormons. On the 3rd day I discharged my driver, rented a house and moved in. Up until now I had been in constant good health, but now when I began to be quiet and relaxed, I was beset by many a frailty so that I could not work. Moreover no suitable work was to be found. My daughter Doris found work immediately, and supported me and my son Friedrich, as long as we were there.
San Bernadina is a city planned on a large scale by the Mormons in Counti Bernadina in Southern California. It has about 1,000 inhabitants, practically all of them Mormons. An apostle from Salt Lake City resides there as President. The inhabitants live under the laws of California, however, otherwise everything in their belief, except polygamy, is permitted. Many Mormons who formerly resided in Salt Valley live here, because there is not so much restraint here, generally speaking, as in the former place. It is true that the city is built according to an ambitious plan, but so far only a few houses, small and badly constructed, have been built. Three years ago the Mormons bought 80,000 acres of land at this place, and most of this has already been sold to Mormons and cultivated by them. The entire area is a large and exceedingly beautiful valley, in which there is much forest, meadows for grazing and grain fields. The remainder of the valley, which covers a considerably larger area than that occupied by the Mormons, is inhabited by Spaniards, who raise cattle on it, and who buy their products from the Mormons. There is neither winter nor cold weather at this place, and there is no snow-fall in the valley at all. December, January, February, and March are the rainy months. During the rest of the year, it is always dry. It does not even rain during thunderstorms. In the summertime it is so hot, that often strangers cannot stand the heat the first summer they are here. The land is irrigated, as is the land in the territory of Uta. Several creeks wind through the beautiful valley, and several mills, that is saw mills, are driven by them. Boards and similar building material, is being sent 60-80 miles from here, as there are many towns in Southern California, where there is neither wood nor water. The most beautiful tropical fruits grow here, such as lemons, figs, oranges, almonds and peaches. Viticulture is also carried on to a great extent. When the Mormons were driven out of Navo and had to flee, it was their intention to settle at this place, but this was prevented at the time. Brigham Young then told the people he had had a revelation, and that the Salt Valley was the place where Zion was to be built. That was what a local Mormon, who was with those that fled from Navo, told me.
23rd. I read in the paper that 5 Mormons, 3 men and 2 women, had disappeared from Salt Lake City on October 11th. Two of these men were good friends of mine who also intended to emigrate.
29th. 3 families arrived here from Salt Lake City, among them a German one. They related, that the fire my son Friedrich had started on the trail, consumed everything within a radius of 4 miles, and that for 2 days no traveler had been able to get to the camping place. They did not know who had done it, however, and accused the Spaniards.
6th. I read a circular letter of November 6th from B. Young in which he gave permission for all wives, up to the fourteenth, to leave their husbands. Whoever did that, and wanted to remain in the church, had to be baptized again. Many wives, namely such as were the 2nd, 4th, 8th, 12th, and so on, wives, are said to have made use of this permission, but few have let themselves be baptized again.
Although there was not so much restraint and humbug here in San Bernadina, as in the Salt Valley, and although I could have made a better living here than in the Salt Valley, neither I nor my children liked it here. We had no desire to live among the Mormons, or at a place where there were no Germans. The German Jews were certainly constantly very friendly towards us, but they could not keep us at this place. We therefore decided to proceed farther before the rainy season began. The Dane wanted to join us also, and the date for our departure was set. My oxen were now in good condition and we had enough provisions with which to get to Los Angeles. Now we got everything in order for the departure, and on
December 14. At 5 in the morning, the journey began. We drove for 6 miles through the beautiful valley, and then came to the mountains on the right, where the paradise changed into a desert. At noon we came upon some grass, rested for a short while, and took a sack full of grass with us, as I knew that no more was to be had later on. It was already dark when we came to a creek where Spaniards and Indians were living. Here we camped.
15th. We went on as soon as my oxen had eaten the sack full of grass this morning. At some places the land had been brought under cultivation by the Spaniards, but grass was nowhere to be seen. The trail was good. At noon we passed by a Mexican and Indian colony. Here there also lived a German Jew who had a store and saloon. I intended to drive on, but when he heard that we were Germans, I had to stop and unyoke. We were now received by him and treated in that good and friendly fashion, in which only one human being can treat another. My oxen were well fed, and I got 2 sacks of food to take along with me. he wanted us to stay overnight, but I had to manage so that I could reach my destination in 4 days, travel a certain distance daily, as water is not always to be found. I drove on 5 miles from there, found water and stopped.
16th. There was some grass at this spot, and for this reason, I only gave the oxen a little of the food we had carries with us last night. I took care of the oxen until about 12 o'clock, when they lay down close by the tents. Later on they were twice aroused by wolves, but nevertheless, I soon caught them again. When I got up this morning, however, they had gone again, and after a long search I found them with a Jew, who was just about to send them back with his hired man. This proved that the oxen also were well satisfied yesterday. I brought the oxen back, yoked up at once, and drove on. The trail was continually good. We rested a little at noon. Here the Jew and his hired man met us with a wagon load of hay, and again my oxen had enough to eat. About 10 miles to the left we saw in the afternoon continually cultivated land, and a great many cattle wandering about. In the evening when we were close to the hamlet of Maunte, a German met us, who pressed me to spend the night with him. I immediately accepted his invitation, and went to his house. Here too I met with the most friendly reception.
17th. The good man wanted me to stay on with him because is was Sunday, but yesterday I had informed my children in Los Angeles that I was on my way, and that I would arrive there today. For this reason I hurried forward. The Dane and my son Friedrich went on in advance, and at 10 o'clock I and my daughter Doris left. We only had to cover a distance of 12 miles, and took our time. The trail led in the direction of the mountain to the left, and for 4 miles we had to climb continuously. When we were up on the top we rested, and perhaps we rested a little too long. From here we had a good view of the small hamlet of Maunte and environs. It lies in a beautiful valley as does San Bernedina, and the entire territory, in which still another village was to be seen, seemed to be a real paradise. In the entire valley, and particularly in the orchards, all the fruit trees were still green, and from here we could still see plainly golden oranges. Now the trail led through a broad canyon, and when we came through it, we had mountains to the right of us, along which we drove in the direction of Los Angeles. When we were still 3 miles from the city, it began to get dark. People met us and said, I had better hurry along, and that under no circumstances could I remain on the road or in the outskirts of the city. I do not know why they told me this, nor did I ask them about it, and I traveled on in the darkness the best I could. It became so dark that finally I could not see neither cart-ruts nor oxen. They knew how to find the way better than I did, however. We passed by 2 houses in which we heard loud singing and boisterous talking, and then we came down a high mountain. The oxen galloped away with the cart, and when I found them again, they were standing at the city river. We climbed into the cart, and forded the river, but took the wrong direction. Instead of driving to the right, I drove to the left, as lights were to be seen in that direction, and had to turn back again. We finally got on the right road, where it was extraordinarily dark. Many times we heard some whispering close by, but could not see neither people nor a single house. In this way we had driven down a short road, when my son-in-law and some friends met us. They gave loud expression to their joy and happiness, when they saw that we were all well. For several weeks there has been a gang of robbers in these parts that have already committed several murders. Even tonight, an hour before our arrival at the city river, two people had been robbed and mortally wounded with knives at the same river. I drove through the city to the home of my son-in-law, where we were joyfully received by German acquaintances, and by Germans we did not know.
Los Angeles (City of the Angeles) is a small mountain city, 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean. It lies, as does San Bernadina, in a beautiful valley close to the mountains. The number of inhabitants was about 6,000. These are Germans, Frenchmen and Spaniards. The first residents in this region were Spaniards. They also planned and built the city. The style of building is Spanish throughout, low houses with flat roofs. There is a lively commerce at this place. Ships loaded with freight and passengers to Southern California from San Francisco, Sacramento and other ports of Upper California, anchor 25 miles from here, at San Petro. The goods are brought here by wagon, where they are stored to be transported further. The Spaniards who live in and outside the city, raise cattle. Some of them have from sixty to eighty thousand oxen, cows and horses. These cattle stay in the mountains practically all the year through. It is fattened here, and then sold to Upper California. The climate is warm but healthy. The hottest time of day is from 7 to 10 in the morning. Then there always comes a breeze that cools off the air. There is neither winter nor cold weather at this place. December, January, February and March are the rainy months, the rest of the year is dry. It does not snow in the valley at all, and the entire well-being of the country is dependent on a large amount of rain. When it rains a great deal, many cattle are sold and when the Spaniards earn money, others do also, for they do not as yet know the value of money. The same kinds of fruit which grow in San Bernadina, grow also here, with the difference that considerably more grow here than there, as this region was settled and cultivated earlier. Viticulture is being increased from year to year. It is said that grapes have now been planted on 6,000 acres around and near the city. Neither in France nor on the Rhine do grapes become as large as they do here. This is being said by Frenchmen. Grapes are found here that weigh 10 pounds. Much fruit, especially lemons, oranges and almonds, as well as grapes are sent from here to the United States and also to Europe. I have often heard it said in Germany: "You can go to where the pepper grows!" Now I am there, for this grows here also. Onions and potatoes are found here that weigh 8 pounds apiece.
For some years there has usually been an earthquake in these parts in January, but no great damage has been caused by it as yet. This year also, 1857, on the 10th and 15th of January there were earthquakes, and in fact, several on both days. It was a highly unpleasant sensation, and the fear one experienced on account of it was great. The houses moved hither and yon, but none collapsed. Many people who had not sat down early enough, fell, however. I was in a house which is one of the highest in the city. There were 4 of us together, and we were about to greet each other with a glass of wine when the shock came, and we ran towards each other, glass in hand, as if we had become intoxicated even before we had begun to drink. Some houses have sunk into the ground here, and several people have lost their lives.
The gang of robbers mentioned, was discovered in January, and the leader, as well as 28 bandits, were hung here and in Maunte. The gang consisted entirely of Mexicans, and 13 people had been murdered by them in this city. Thefts, robberies, and murders are nothing unusual in California. One may read about them in every newspaper. Rarely a week passes without the hanging of one or several culprits. In the local prison are now 3 murderers who will be hung on October 3rd. A general who wants to become governor, and to compel the Mormons to abandon polygamy, as well as many other of their customs that are opposed to all that is human and decent, and make them accept the laws and regulations of the United states. On this account the Mormons have lately divided themselves into 2 factions, and many who have acted contrary to the customs of the church and who no longer accept them, have disappeared, and have been murdered. I did not fare so well in the beginning of my stay here. My entire fortune consisted of 75 Dollars, which I obtained for my oxen, and of which I used up more than half before I began to earn anything. Throughout the years I had become used to good and bad times, however, and I had never lost courage. Nor did I lose it now. I have made many attempts here to support myself, but none have succeeded or suited me. Now I have devoted myself to an established business with which it is to be hoped I shall remain. I make mattresses of curled hair, moss, wool and straw, and employ 3 people, of whom one earns 3 Dollars and the two others 4, and even 5 Dollars a day.
My workshop cost 25 Dollars a month rent, and I also get enough profit to live well and decently, even if I cannot get rich from it.
An end has almost come to getting rich quickly in California, and it is not so easy to get rich now, as in the years from 48 to 53. The gold mines do not yield as much as they did at that time. To all appearances, however, the best mine has now been discovered, and it has been in existence longer than any of the others. This is called diligence and activity. As long as there was a rush to the gold mines, all labor was devoted to finding gold. All imaginable merchandise and provisions were therefore imported from other states and from foreign countries. Now that gold does not flow so abundantly from the mines, the people have come to understand, that it is better to keep and to use what little the country has, than to send for it from the outside. Several factories of various kinds have already been built, and more are to be established.
Efforts are being made for all land where fruit can be raised, and it is then cultivated. probably as many people and perhaps even more, have been made unhappier, instead of happier, by the gold mines. Of this one hears and sees proofs every day, but now there will be and end to this.
I therefore say to everyone of my German countrymen: "If you desire to leave your farmland and come to California, do not do it in order to get rich quickly. Put this thought entirely out of your mind. Otherwise you will have a hard time of it. If you a a healthy man, however, and a decent and diligent worker in your trade, and come here with the intention of making a living through diligence and work along with thrift, then you will never regret the trip, and you will be able to enjoy a better and more carefree life in California than in any other place."
I should never be able to make up my mind to leave California or my present home town, Los Angeles, because here I feel happy and satisfied.
Things are going well with my children. On August 17th of this year my youngest daughter was married to Joseph Waibel from Baden. He is a tavern keeper in Uni States Hotel (Junistadt Hotel) and owns a vineyard, a mile from here.
Los Angeles Counti and especially the city's environs, is justly called the California garden of paradise. The climate is healthy, although it is very warm here during the summer. Many visitors continually come here to enjoy the healthful air, and to behold the beauties of nature and art.
Every decent person is given permission to stroll in the vineyards and orchards, as well as to eat of their fruit. During the present time, September and October, it is very pleasant here. Grapes, lemons, oranges, dates, many kinds of nuts, apples and pears, are now ripe and are of little value hereabout. Maize, barley and oats, may be harvested twice and even three times a year. The same is true of potatoes, beans, carrots, turnips, cucumbers, and many other vegetables, of which many may be had fresh and young throughout the year. Here there are no hothouses.
A worker (journeyman) such as bricklayer, carpenter, joiner, turner, cart-wright, blacksmith, baker, painter, harness-maker, shoemaker or tailor, earns from 3 to 6 Dollars a day. During the summer a day laborer earns 2 1/2 and during the winter 1 1/2 Dollars per day. Allowance for board for a worker is 6 to 8 Dollars a week. Clothing is not expensive. Without exception, however, nothing can be bought in this counti for less than a Bith, or 12 1/2 Cents (7 schilling), including a glass of beer. Of many articles several are sold for a Bith, however, as needles for instance. This is the smallest coin in use here. There is only a little silver here, on the whole, but so far there is no lack of gold.
The greatest need here is for pretty and well educated German girls. These could find their happiness here. It is true that there are enough girls to be had in the larger cities, but one does not fall in love with such as they.
Many prosperous Germans live here. They are merchants, craftsmen, farmers and owners of vineyards and orchards. Most of them are unmarried, and will only marry a fresh emigrant girl. Therefore, you charming beauties, who desire to come to America, honor Los Angeles in Southern California with your presence and seek to promote the happiness of the German men here who are still single.
God Bless my German fatherland and its inhabitants.
Los Angeles, September 27, 1857.