Need braod facts about 1830-40's era for historic porttrayal May 18y 18 : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

Any broad or short interesting info that a woman living in San Francisco would have known as a fact of evceryday living as well as braod political info of the time. References to any dealings with Oregon and The Hudson's Bay co. are needed too. I'm to protray a person from S.F in the first person at a reenactmrnt this Sunday. It would be nice if the public actually learned something. Nothing like short notice.

-- JoellaM Beals (, May 16, 2002


Ok, I'm just going to dump a bunch of items here straight from my memory as they come to me. So forgive my rambling style. I am going to assume that you are talking about a woman from the perspective of living in San Francisco about late 1849 or maybe early 1850s since you want to include the 30s and the 40s. Politically and historically there is just tons of stuff, obviously the discovery of Gold by Marshall at Sutter's mill in early 1848 would be a huge topic, the rush of people from around the world to San Francisco for the gold, the defeat of Mexico and California becoming part of the United States in 1848, the Donner Party tragedy and cannabolism in 1846, Commodore Jones jumping the gun in 1842 and assuming the United States was at war with Mexico only to find out that he was stupidly wrong. Of earlier times, the independence of Mexico from Spain in about 1822. Sutter's Fort in 1840. The speculation of what country might take over California as the British, Russians and French had plans to do so. Military notables such as Montgomery, Stockton, Col. John Fremont who I believe became California's first Governer and General Stephen Kearny who I believe became California's second governer. Those two didn't get along too well and at one point Kearny placed Fremont under arrest and had him court martialed though at the moment I can't remember for what. But after being sentenced Fremont got off the hook because of his father Senator Fremont's influence. Eventually, John Fremont became a senator as well. Sir Frances Drake and his landing t Drakes Bay, the savage naked indians and the danger they presented, the Jedediah Smith party who was the first party ever to cross the continent and Sierra Nevada Mountains on foot and to enter Oregon on foot and the Indian battles he had one of which he lost all but two of his 40 men or maybe it was only 20 men. It was thought that it was impossible to cross the continent to California on foot. Imagine that? We drive or fly and don't give it a second thought about it. They didn't even know if it was possible like the equivalent of getting to the moon. Jedediah Smith opened the door for others to follow. Kit Carson was also a legendary and murdurous trail guide under Colonel Fremont who crossed the continent to get here. Socially, the Rezanov Arguello love story in 1806 would never die or be forgotton. As there were almost no white American women in this area during the 30s and 40s, many foreign nonmexican men married native Mexican women. I don't recall any of them marrying Indian women. Also, if there was a single available white woman in this area she would have been highly prized. I think I remember reading that there was such a lack of women during the Gold rush days that whenever a woman was seen, she was greatly revered. For example I remember reading about a women who was coming to a mining town from San Francisco. There was no woman in that town and the miners became so excied that they all raced each other up the mountain trail just so they could have the privilege of escorting her into town. I remember there was one woman in 1849 who blamed all the drunkeness, lawlessness and murder at the mines on the lack of women and so she wrote a letter to New York seeking to lead 300 women to California to settle down the deprived men tame them and keep them from getting drunk. But instead of 300 women, only 3 came to San Francisco and they turned out to be prostitutes. And as it turned out, more prositutes came to San Francisco than any other kind of woman. Many men, of course, were obsessed with finding a wife and the few virtuous women who wanted to marry had their pick and chose of the liter. Those girls don't know how lucky they were. John Fremont's wife in San Francisco in the late 40s said that at a huge party she went to with hundreds of people, she only saw 16 women. Of the few women that were there in 1849, they often took advantage of men's desires for them. They would charge men an ounce of gold just to sit next to them at a bar and of course they would charge them much more for other favors. Not many people of our time knew about the high class whore houses of that era in San Francisco that started in 1849 such as the El Dorado. The things that went on inside there were legendary. Of course, San Francisco can still be mastered by a good looking women of which there are still very few. I think there is something called the Shirley letters about a woman in the Gold mines in 1849 but I've never read it. As far as the Hudson Bay Company goes, I just don't remember a lot about it right now. The only thing I can remember for the moment is that there was some paranoia about them taking away beaver that Sutter could have captured in the Sacramento area but this didn't turn out to be an issue at all.

-- Harry Murphy (*), May 18, 2002.

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