A Virginia Goldminer Part 2

I’m sharing more of the letter my 16-year-old second great-grandfather, Orlando Shrum, received from his 27-year-old brother David in 1858. David left Indiana in 1855 and traveled to California to mine for gold. You can read the first part of the letter HERE. I don’t know what “great difficulties” David is referring to that Orlando has to contend with, although it could be the death of their mother, Lucy Kern Shrum, when Orlando was only 2 years old. In 1858 the family still lived in Shenandoah County, Virginia and their father was a Stonemason. The older sons had moved to Indiana to work as brickmakers.

Spelling and grammar are left as is.

YOU ARE NOW GETTING OLD ENOUGH TO SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD EDUCATION, and hope that you will make every effort in your power to accomplish, that great object. The path before you may appear dark and dreary,  but do not despair – many young men have had as great difficulties to contend with as you have, and by diligence, perseverance and  an unflinching to excel, have conquered every difficulty, surmounted every obstacle and are now occupying a position in society which amply repays them for all their tolls and privations, and prove to those who, like them, are trying to rise in the world, that it does not require wealth to gain distinction, but that perseverance will accomplish more than riches.

Grass Valley, California circa 1855. This is where David Shrum lived when he wrote to his brother, Orlando, back in Bloomington Indiana. Hundreds of other miners lived in this community and mined nearby. Photo credit: Wikipedia


As to the money to pay for your education, I think your brothers will certainly be generous enough to furnish you that, and I want Alfred to pay my portion and send me a bill next spring, and I will pay it cheerfully. I would send you money to pay your tuition with winter, now but much involved just now, that is utterly impossible. I have had the misfortune to lose money this summer which I had at interest, and it is throwing me back in my operation, considerably.

Next time : Part 3 where David talks about his claim.

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 it’s 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 

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