Gold Springs June 12, 1853
Dear Sister and Mother: It is with pleasure that I seat myself to reply to your letters,that I am well at present and hoping that you all share the same blessings. I rec'd your letters about 3 weeks apart. Your letter dated Mar. 29 and Mothers May 1st that you are all well and stirring around. I have not much to write for I have written several letters within a few weeks. But I must say mother has written me the most interestung letters I have yet read from home. I sent Grand Pap a letter 2 weeks ago I am still mining on my claim in French Gulch & expect to stay there one year yet, at the least, for I find it is a poor way running from one place to another. It is as good part of mining country & society as any other in Calif. & I think a little better. Mother is so anxious to know in all your letters what I have to eat, I am able to let you know that I can have what I want and besides I do and well have it. If she would like to know what it is I can tell her that I can have and do have milk, cabbage, turnips, radishes, salid, peas, beans, potatoes, fresh beef, butter, bread, molasses, fish, ham, bacon, sugar, tea, coffee, and everything we want. You must not think because I am in Calif. that I have nothing to eat for I have and will have it as long as I can get it. Provision is low now, we can live first rate for $3.00 or $4.00 per week. Flour only $18.00 per bbl that is quite a difference between $250.00. Mother wants to know how clothes sell and I think it is almost as cheap as in the Atlantic States. I can get good pair corduroy pantaloons for $2.00, shirts from 75c to $1.50, fine shoes $2.50, coarse boots from $4 to $5 & $6 and everything else in proportion. I am sorry to hear of the death of Mrs. Mary Refe Jacobs. Hart and others, But am pleased to learn that the young folks are taking an active part in increase of rising generations. If Caroline can not get her minature, to have another one taken and you too, I will pay for them if you are too poor. For if you should die I would think I did not act my part in securing that which I would not lose for a world. You stated athat Aunt Ann Martin had rec’d but one letter from Lewis. I do not know the reason he did not write more. He wrote from the Island of Tahati and Society Island and also to his Mother. He got to see 1 or 2 of my letters. I received 2 letters for him; one from home and other from Robt. Corman, his old Boss. I sent them on to Australia. I think I did tell you in one of my other letters I never did get my Revolver.
I am very glad to know the course you are taking about the farm, but if it is not a good season for oats I think it will not be very profitable job farming on the shares. You say you feel a little doubtful about me being contented. To be honest about the matter I feel some time as if I would like to have some person to talk with about old times. Excuse my composing and bad writing, for the boys are cutting up and making a noise in the cabin while I am writing. No more at present.
Your obedient Son, Joseph Barton