Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Elizabeth Gunn, 1811-1906

I stayed at the Gunn house in Sonora several times before learning that its original owner had written about her travel to and life in California. She went around the Horn with four children in 1851 to join her husband Lewis, who had been mining for two years. He owned the local newspaper, and upset locals with his liberal views. In 1861 the family moved to San Francisco. In 1928, daughter Anna Lee Marston edited her father's journal and mother's letters into Letters of a California Family. This is one of the few documents to include three members of a family, for Marston adds her own remarks, with regard to settling the state.

Thanks to the Library of Congress, you can read the full book online.. It is part of a collection called California As I Saw It: First Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900. Gunn's writing is crisp and filled with anecdotes telling of the time's attitudes and daily life. Whenever you can, read original documents from a period of interest. This LOC site could keep you entertained for days!

I also recommend the Gunn House when you are visiting Route 49 and the Gold Country. It retains much of its adobe structure and its cozy rooms are furnished accordingly. The lounge/breakfast room is particularly inviting, and the breakfast buffet among the best you'll find at a B&B.

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