When I read we had a gold miner in the family, I thought it couldn’t possibly true. We aren’t exactly the adventurous type in this family. I don’t even like amusement park rides anymore because they make me woozy.
But there he was, David Shrum, staring back at me from a book my grandmother had about the Shrum family. He was said to be a legendary figure in the family.
From this book, came a transcription of a letter David had written home to his brother Orlando (my 2nd great grandfather) in Virginia. David owned a claim in Omega, Navada County, California. Sadly, the mine caved in on him and he died April, 22, 1861. I’ll share more about that in another post.
I enjoyed reading his letter to Orlando so much, I wanted to share it here. In it, David updates what’s happening in his life but also takes time to give big-brother advice and encouragement.
Below is part one. Spelling and punctuation have been kept as originally written. This letter was written September 15, 1858:
My dear brother Orlando
I was much pleased, a few days ago, to receive a letter from you, enclosing one from Alfred also. You administered a modest reproff to me for not answering the letter you wrote me almost a year ago, and I acknowledge that I have been at fault in not answering it. But must ask your forgiveness for my neglegence . It affords me just as much pleasure, to hear from home, and especially from my dear brothers and father and relatives and acquaintances. But really I don’t feel so much like writing as formerly, owing to the many duties I have to attend to here, and the fact that since I have gone to work, my mind is not so clear, nor my hands so nimble as when I followed (illegible) writing for a living. But I will do the best I can, and hope you will excuse all imperfections you may find in my letter.
I cannot help expressing satisfaction at finding you have improved so much since I last saw you. Your letter is not only well composed, but very correct in spelling, and withal, and shows with a little practice, you will make as good a penman as any one of the family. It is a very desirable accomplishment to write a good hand. John has improved a vast deal in this respect and writes very plain, legible hand; and Martin is improving also. You say you intend to learn the trade, and educate yourself with the money you make during that time. I am much pleased with your determination, and hope that you will not fail to carry it out.
Part Two next time…