Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Life of Enos, Part 7

Enos to Ellen, Oct. 26, 1851 - This morning I concluded to have my likeness taken (above), and I forward it with this to you. I am only sorry that it is not the original that is to go and the likeness to remain...
Ellen to Enos, Dec. 8, 1851 - How shall I express the unexpected joy I felt when I received your kind letter accompanied with your daguerreotype. You could have sent nothing except yourself, that would have been half so acceptable. Although it was a great pleasure to receive it, it made me feel rather sad to see how much thinner you are. But, oh, that awful California is enough to wear flesh and bones away...

Enos Christman was now living comfortably in the adobe building that housed the Sonora Herald, along with Lewis Gunn and his family, who had made the long sea journey to join him. He and Gunn were now partners and owners of the newspaper, and real success seemed not so many years distant. But Ellen's siren call was getting to him. As summer approached in 1852, Enos began making plans to go home.

On June 26, nearly three years to the day from when he left West Chester, Enos left San Francisco on a clipper bound for Panama, leaving behind his friend Atkins to seek his fortune in gold. Enos planned to take the short cut, traveling by horseback across the Isthmus, despite the danger that involved.
After crossing to the east coast of Panama, Enos boarded a steamer bound for New Orleans and New York. The trip would be comparatively quick, but the human cost high. "Tuesday, July 20 - A terrible day on board," he wrote in his journal. "There have been seven or eight deaths and burials, and a large addition to the sick-list." The next day, he wrote: "There are two new cases of sickness, and two deaths today… My clean shirts were stolen."

Cholera claimed 17 lives on the El Dorado before it docked on July 22 in New York Harbor. As Providence would have it, Enos Christman was not one of them.

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