James Richmond's
California Story

The Nearly Tragic Love Affair

March 13, 1860 Today we will cross the Isthmus (of Panama) and try the waters of the Pacific. Almost the first sight that met our gaze was a disabled line steamer, lying up for repairs. The one who started the week before we did. They, we learned, had encountered a gale that stove in their wheel house and came near sending them all to the bottom. I feel to rejoice that their lives were spared. I am told it was by the almost superhuman exertions of the captain, crew and passengers that the vessel was brought to port. Mr. and Mrs. S. and daughter Mattie must have been on that boat. That would have been a sad ending to Mattie’s love story had the boat gone down with all on board as was feared. At one time they had but little hope of ever reaching port. The gold fever had taken Matties lover and brother in search of gold two years ago. The lover was poor so the marriage was postponed until he should go and gain his share of California’s wealth. The two boys had sent home such glowing talks of the country which they wished to make their home, that the father and mother were quite easily persuaded to go and take Mattie with them. I am so thankful their lives were spared. It would have been a sad, sad blow to the boys had the loved ones never reached them.

Aspinwall seems a sort of Shakletown as far as I can see. The hotel seems to be the only place any way respectable. The rest of the town seems to have gone to seed long years ago. I should, however, have liked an opportunity to have looked around a little more but all was hurry and confusion.