A Virginia Goldminer – The Sad End

David Shrum left Virginia in 1855 to mine gold in Grass Valley, California. In September 1858 he wrote back home to his brother, Orlando, who is my second great-grandfather. Sadly, David was crushed in a mining accident in 1861 and died several days later.  I’ve been sharing David’s letter to Orlando here in several posts. Start with part one of the letter HERE. Spelling and grammar are left as it was. We own a small ditch in connection to our claims, which runs water about two months in the year. The rest of the time we will have to buy water, if…

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A Virginia Goldminer Part 3

While my second great-grandfather, Orlando Shrum, was a young man living in Shenandoah County, Virginia with his parents and siblings in September of 1858, he received a letter from his older brother David, who lived in Grass Valley, California. David had set out a few years earlier to find his fortune in gold mining. I’ve been sharing David’s letter to Orlando here in several posts. Start with part one of the letter HERE. Spelling and grammar are left as it was. “I bought into a set of claims this summer, which required all the ready cash I had.  Soon after buying, the…

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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…

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A Virginia Goldminer Part 1

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…

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