Tuesday, 27 January 2015

William Swain Letter: Written on the Trail to California

William Swain Letter: Written on the Trail to California

This account is from July 4Th 1849, and is written by William Swain to his wife Sabrina, as he travels to California. When he writes he is eight miles from Fort Laramie,  there is a celebration dinner in his camp, which he has just left. The trip was successful and he writes of the “luck” they had and the “uncommon good health” of the people he is travelling with, as there has been little sickness and few accidents. He states that the water is clearer and so is the air and that he is in better health than he was when he left home but; in spite of this, he would “advise no man to come this way to California”.

The letter is written in July and he tells his wife he will probably not see her again until October he ends the letter with “Your affectionate husband until death, William Swain”, he has already gone for many months without seeing his family and it seems to be taking its toll, he also writes of his homesickness but; unlike accounts by others, Swain seems to be enjoying the trip overall. The letter seems uneventful compared to some other accounts but, is still interesting as it gives a more personal look into the effects of travel on  the writer William Swain.

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