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Oregon Prospector's 1887-1894 Letter Collection

  • The following is an inventory list of the Oregon prospector’s letter collection, written during the period 1887-1894 by prospector E. W. Scott to his dentist brother Dr. Samuel I. Scott, who lived at 1207 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC. The grouping of 76 letters written by Edward Scott, the prospector, also includes a number of letters written to “Mame” Scott, the woman the dentist marries in 1890. There are additional letters, both written to prospector Scott by two different men who were apparent mining acquaintances.
    It is evident from his writing style that E. W. Scott was well-educated and an exceptional witness to the events surround him during the years spent in Oregon and his mining experiences. The Susanville region, at a high elevation, offered challenges in transportation and living especially during the winter months. Simply stocking up with deer meat and other provisions became a real effort as hard weather set in. They show in vivid descriptions the great hardships these prospectors faced during the late 19th century mining efforts.
    All letters are written in ink and E. W. Scott had excellent handwriting. All letters are quite legible. Paper page size was approximately 8” by 10”, but there are some letters written on sheets approximately 5” by 7”. Almost all of the mailing envelopes accompany each letter, and these are stamped and cancelled with an Oregon postmark, mostly Susanville. Other postmarks include Elk Creek and Joseph, Oregon.
    The year and date of each letter, to whom they were written (he always refers to his dentist brother in Washington, DC as “Doc” or “Sam”) by prospector Scott, and the number of pages are listed below. In addition, the number of written pages is also included.
    Following the inventory, excerpts of a number of letters are provided to show writing style and historical content.