Letter 10/7/1852 San Francisco
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Letter 2

San Fransisco Oct. 7, 1852

Dear Mother, I take this pleasant opportunity to let you know that I arrived in San Fransisco safe, with a safe and pleasant passage hoping these few lines may find you all enjoying good health, peace and prosperity.

You know when I left home I weighed 164 lbs. with my big boots on. Now in my shirt sleeves with a pair of light slippers on 1 pair of scales I weigh 168 on other 173. I must now go on and tell you a little about my journey. We left Panama on the 20th & arrived the 6th making the trip in 16 days with 415 passengers on board. We stopped at Acapulco, Sandiego and Monterey and our boarding part of the time was rotten. Sea bread rotten Beef and rotten potatoes & Apple sauce, that when the cook had not enough of water on he would take the dish rag out of the swill bucket and wring it into the boiler. Well we grumbled considerable about it but I did get fat and hearty on it, but it is not worth while to tell you all I saw for I could not think of half at one time. But if I shall be so happy as to see you again I shall have a long story to tell. I shall notice only some of the particulars. When we arrived in Acapulco we went ashore and got something to eat, it was on the 27th Being the day the Mexicans got free from Spain. It was their day of Independence. There were 60 cannons fired & they had a happy time of it. There grew the Orange, Cocoa, the Lemon, Pineapple & a great many other fruits. From thence we proceeded along the Coast & saw wild Cattle, Whales, Shark and a great many other kinds of fish and birds too numerous to mention. Health good all along the road exception of a few cases of Isthmus Fever. While I am writing this letter Lewis Martin went across the bay to see what Tanning and sawing wages is. Wages in the city is from $4.00 to $8.00 per day. If Lewis gets no work there we will leave at 4 o'clock for Stockton. There are a great many people running around spending their money as fast as they make it. A man can make money, but it is harder to save it, than earn it, for a great many people, for there is a thousand ways to spend it. They will first shave a mans face, next his pockets. Here you will see the best looking Ladies behind the dice box in the gambling houses & piles of one dollar and fifty dollar gold pieces on the tables, & you can never buy less than a bits worth-thats what we call 12 1/2 cents worth of anything. I tell you, a man that comes here must not make a close calculation of what he is going to spend, for we paid $160.00 for our tickets, $8.00 on the railroad, $2.00 up the Shagress River, $12.00 for a mule, Lewis and I bought one between us- some paid $18.00. We stayed in a hut one night with a native, he charged us $1.50 for a little supper & room on the ground to lay on an old ox hide. $1.50 per day at Panama $2.50 for port charges, that is the way they shave a man. I am not ashamed to tell what I have left, I have about $60.00 left after buying some clothes. We had to buy some clothes on account of our baggage not coming on. We have not got it yet, but we expect to. Some got their money stolen; others had very little and so there are a great many that has not got one penny. But Lewis and I have good health, money to go on & in hope that we make some. I will write you another letter soon and tell you what I am doing and give you directions where to write, for I would like to know how the old farm and you are getting along. I must now bring my letter to a close for the present with saying to David to stay at home till I see what I can do. No more at present but I still remain your affectionate son,
Joseph Barton
If this you see, think of me for six thousand miles we distant be, I most forgot to tell you I am not home sick yet as the girls said I would be.