Edward C. Smith to Henrietta and Andrew Craig Fletcher, 1874 June 15
I have been looking for a line from you for a long time but in vain so I will
wait no longer but pen a word to you hopeing to elicit a speedy response We are
all well at present and Rillie seems to be gaining under this beautiful life sustaining climate which is the finest in the state.
During the past week I have been traveling over the great Salinas Valley a
country allmost new but yet very wealthy the farms are rather small ranging from 1000 to 50,000 acres and to see a wheat field of
5000 acres is no [ ] sight which will yield
from 40, to 60, Bush. per acre how is this for high.
Last Friday I put in two or three hours on the shore of the proud Pacific where I saw the bones of a whale which must have been driven to land during some mighty storm and left to bleach in the sand some of the ribs were 15 to 20 feet long and one foot in diameter and the head taking the upper and lower Jaw would weigh from 500, to 600, lbs. and I expect this must have a small one. while enjoying our stroll on the beach we fell in with a party of fishermen and enjoyed ourselves for a while in catching "surf fish" crabs and lobsters. After leaving the beach we struck off for Santa Clara valley crossing the Coast Range Mts. where I had a chance to see some of those huge redwoods which are certainly a curiosity I saw a small one which as near as we could
estimate was over ten feet through but yet this is nothing compared with some growing in the Sierras. The mountain country through which we passed abounds with small game such as Grizzlies Panthers California lions wild cats &.c. I saw one wild cat and an ugly looking customer he was too so I gave him a wide berth daring not to give him a shot from my pistol fearing it would only wound him and the fun would only "short begin" but it would be useless to try and tell one of all the sights he sees in traveling in this [country] so I must wait until I see you. Craig wrote me a long time ago that as soon as the roads passable he was going to send me some sugar but as I have not heard from
him conclude he has not I could have sold it to good advantage if he had sent it and can yet if he will send a fine article. I see by the paper that Hen Holmes has removed to Vt. has he paid the note yet if so send the money unless you conclude to send some sugar. you can send as much as you like for I can find market for all you may send at good figures can make it net you more than any other market. My hand is yet useless and dont know but what it allways will be I can just hold a fork between the thumb & finger in eating you bet it has set me back fearfully this together with other sickness has put me back just where I was when I first landed here so one year has gone and nothing made but yet I dont
Written upside-down.get discouraged for I have learned to bear grief pretty well before this Carlie is growing finely & as for Mattie I think she is the prettiest child I ever saw it is the remark of every body that she is a perfect beauty Now I want you both to write at once Love from Rillie to you all