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Sale 79: The George J. Kramer Collection of Western Trails and Routes

Table of Contents

Western Towns - Utah & Wisconsin

Lot 3136    

"Salt Lake Deseret, Nov 20 1850", manuscript territorial postmark and matching "10" rating on blue folded letter from gold prospector W.R. Dickinson to his father William, datelined "November 14th 1850" and again on "November 19", the contents of this letter includes several significant references to the Mormon settlement in Salt Lake City, the writer was a gold prospector headed for California, begins by describing his journey: "…there was a plenty of mormons wageons teeams all along The road -- there was estemated to be aboute 15.00 [cross-out thru second 0] Mormons. There was game a plenty -- buffalo aplenty", followed by a description of buffalo hunting. The writer also mentions difficulties with Indians: "indeans hostile between hear, Salt lake and the mines" and gives an account of a Mormon party of 10 that was attacked (all but two killed). Reference is made to "the mail from Independence to Salt Lake 4 months in the year, once a month, it goes out in the morning at 10 oclock for the States" and "letters do not cost but 10 cents from hear to the States". Of the greatest significance are first-hand accounts of meeting Brigham Young with references to polygamy: "I have seen Brigam Younge and gave him Best wishes. Plade the fiddle for him to dance At a party. He has got some thirty or forty Spiritual Wives besides his own, and I talk of Takeing one for the winter as for life and What do you think of that, dad, do you think I am a goner, ha. I intend starting for Callafornia in the spring, I think. I sende my love to pardy and tell him that i will tell all aboute the Spiritual Wives when i come home…"; accompanied by a second letter from the same writer, datelined "State of Deserett, Salt lake City, May 29th 1851" with a report of Indian hostilities and dissatisfaction with the Mormon community., Very Fine.
Estimate    $10,000 - 15,000.


On March 4, 1849, the Constitution for the provisional government of the State of Deseret was approved by the Mormons, and soon submitted to Congress for approval. As of September 9, 1850, Congress created portions of the requested area as Utah Territory, and as the State of California.

Selected Images

The first mail under the new Government contract from Independence to Salt Lake City was received in early November. This November 20th letter was carried on the first return eastbound mail. Assuming the first mail to Salt Lake City left before September 9th, the writer would not know that the petition for "the State of Deseret" had been rejected. However, he surely would have known by the time of his later May 29th 1851 letter.

Realized: $9,000

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