A Virginia Goldminer Part 1

Photo from the book History of the Descendants of David Shrum by Virginia C. Shrum.

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.

More of David’s letter in the next post HERE

I have joined an online challenge by Amy Johnson Crow to write about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. I’m so far behind it is not even funny. But Amy says its not about how much you write, but that you just keep writing. So here I still am.  I’m writing about the prompt “Family Legend.” You can join any time and find all the details here: 

Click here to sign up for the 52 Ancestors Challenge 

One Comment

  1. Pingback: A Virginia Goldminer Part 3 – Like Herding Cats

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