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September 12, 1861: San Ramon

September 12, 2011

San Ramon 01

Norris Canyon Road, San Ramon (vicinity of Camp 52); by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Camp 52

San Ramon 02

Norris Canyon Road between Hayward & San Ramon; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

[Today] we moved on to Amador Valley, northeast, at the south side of Mount Diablo, then climbed a high hill after we got in camp, where we had a fine view of the region. The San Ramon Valley, west of Mount Diablo, lay at our feet, the richest and most lovely I have yet seen in the state. It is all held in farms, where wheat is grown, and crops of over sixty bushels per acre are expected—they sometimes rise to over ninety—such crops does this state produce! The premium crop of wheat last year was nineteen acres, accurately measured, which averaged ninety-five bushels per acre over the whole, or over 1,800 bushels on nineteen acres! well authenticated—and so very dry that each 100 bushels would be at least 105 to 108 in the eastern states.

I have many things to write about the agriculture of this state, but every letter I don’t do it, for I have so much else that I want to tell. Were I with you it would take me a month to “talk out.”

We camped at the farm of a Major Russell, who had been with the Mormons. He sat in camp during the lovely evening and told us much of Mormon life. The universal testimony about the Mormons is the same; those that know the most of them give them the worst name.

Danville 02

Danville farmers' market; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

The sky was very clear, the stars and moon bright, as we went to bed under some lovely live oaks by a little brook. The brook had “broken out” after the earthquake in June last—it is good water, and Russell says is worth $5,000 to his farm. The ground had cracked quite extensively near our camp, and a number of good springs had broken out in the valley at that time.

Game was once very abundant—bear in the hills, and deer, antelope, and elk like cattle, in herds. Russell said he had known a party of thirty or forty to lasso twenty-eight elk on one Sunday. All are now exterminated, but we find their horns by the hundreds.

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