This letter was written by Phillip Loving (1828-1870). He married Sarah Abigail Howsman (1838-xxxx) in the late 1850s and resided near Lexington, McLean County, Illinois in 1860. Afterwards, he and his wife relocated to Elk Grove, California, where he died in 1870.
Philip wrote the letter to his brother, John M. Loving (1825-Aft1900) — a farmer in Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois. John and Phillip Loving were the sons of Taylor Loving (1798-1865) and wife, Priscilla Hart (1802-1860) who lived for a time in Owen, Indiana and then relocated to Mackinaw (north side), McLean County, Illinois sometime in the 1840s.
The 1850 Census enumerates Phillip Loving (age 22) and his brother, John M. Loving (age 25) residing on the South Fork of the American River in Eldorado County, California on the 5th of November. Whether they went together to California is uncertain but John is reported to have gone with a number of others from Bloomington, Illinois, in 1849.
Addressed to Mr. John M. Loving, Bloomington, McClain [McLean] Co., Illinois
February the 15, 1851
My dear brother,
I take my pen in hand to let you know how I get along. I have been hardy since you left here. James is fat and hardy. Peck has been unwell all winter. He is better now. We haint sold our horses and cattle. They are cheap here now. Mules is selling for $80 to 125. The miners is all leaving here and going to Gold Bluffs. That place is five hundred miles north of here and when they get there, it will come up rising like gold lake. Thee haint been a week’s rain since you left here. If there haint no rain, everything will starve to death. I expect I will be in old McClain [County] by this time next winter. I am very well satisfied here and better than I ever was there. I would like to know how you all are and I would like to know how ____ Green is a flourishing now. Everything is cheep now and gold perty but as hard to get as can [be] and a little harder.
I would like to know something about the emigration this season that crosses the plains. We live fat and sassy. We have all the ducks and geese we want and plenty of milk and corn bread.
We had another fire at our house. The boys was at home and they got everything out of it but the beans and coffee and some other little things. This happened when I was at Myersville. I seen Ward there and his face was as long as a jackass. I couldn’t get the first cent not he don’t intend to pay it. The hay is all sold but about six tons. I treat to find out how much it would pay to the dollar. I couldn’t. He is keeping boarding house and his partner told me that he was satisfied that he has money. At how much, he didn’t know. I was there four or five days and when I was a going to start home, he wouldn’t settle the bill. I paid half of it and I told him that I thought of him and I wasn’t anyways backward about it. I told him that I would be back in two or three weeks to board it out. I hadn’t seen Thomas Clement. He is on the North Fork of the Uba. I sold the waggon for one hundred dollars ___ which is the best if it does come too dear. Provision as cheap in the ____ as bull beef is at a penny a pound. I have seen a good many elk this winter but haint kill none and I have seen a old grizzly bear. He only weighed none hundred. I don’t want to have any fuss with them. I would like to know how James and Sid is getting along and Jasper and Nanier. Tell James William if I was there, I would chuck his brother into the snow. The mosquito bites so that I can’t write. I would like to hear from all the folks. I would have written sooner but we hadn’t no ink. Give my respects to all. I try and write more the next time.
— Phillip Loving