Gold Rush Letters of E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh

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Editor: Ronald M. James
Editor: Robert E. Stewart

Format: Cloth
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9780874178852
Published Date: 2012

When brothers Ethan and Hosea Grosh left Pennsylvania in 1849, they joined throngs of men from all over the world intent on finding a fortune in the California Gold Rush. Their search for wealth took them from San Francisco into the gold country and then over the Sierra into Nevada’s Gold Canyon, where they placer-mined for gold and discovered a deposit of silver. The letters they sent back to their family offer vivid commentaries on the turbulent western frontier, the diverse society of the Gold Rush camps, and the heartbreaking labor and frustration of mining. Their lively descriptions of Gold Canyon provide one of the earliest accounts of life in what would soon become the fabulously wealthy Comstock Mining District.

The Groshes’ letters are rich in color and important historical details. Generously annotated and with an introduction that provides a context for the brothers’ career and the setting in which they tried to make their fortune, these documents powerfully depict the often harsh realities of Gold Rush life and society.

Author Bio
Ronald M. James is the Nevada state historic preservation officer and the chairman of the National Historic Landmark Committee. He is the author or coauthor of ten books, including The Roar and the Silence: A History of Virginia City and the Comstock Lode (University of Nevada Press).

Robert E. Stewart is now an independent historian who was chief of public affairs for the Bureau of Land Management. He served on the staff of Governor Mike O’Callaghan for eight years. He is the author of Aurora: Nevada’s Ghost City of the Dawn.

"These letters are at once filled with minutiae and epic in their scope….[L]overs of historical fiction [will] find themselves entranced by the story of two smart and educated brothers who overcame obstacle after obstacle, only to die, having sampled but not attained their (short) lives’ dreams. There’s something about epistolary books that really make readers feel like they’re truly inside the letter writers’ mind—because they are. And that makes the tragic, brutal endings all the more sympathetic and real." —Reno News and Review

"We are fortunate that James and Stewart have brought [the Grosh brothers] back to us in their own colorful and emotional words. This valuable book is highly recommended." —Nevada in the West Magazine

"As a solid primary source of the California Gold Rush, The Gold Rush Letters is a historical treasury, highly recommended especially for public and college library American History shelves." —California Bookwatch / Midwest Book Review

"Unique and eye-opening." —Reno-Gazette-Journal

“These letters are a treasure trove of commentary on California society and politics in the early years of the Gold Rush. They also contain fascinating accounts of early settlers and mining in what would become Nevada, and provide considerable insight into the social dynamics of mining-rush society. The fact that both brothers died tragically adds poignancy to this already gripping history.” —C. Elizabeth Raymond, co-editor of Comstock Women: The Making of a Mining Community

“Very readable and full of the essence of the Gold Rush." —Westerner Roundup (Denver, CO)