December 19, 1863


My dear Sister,

Received your letter of ______ on 11th inst. in which you say you intend coming to California, and it appears you have made up your mind to that effect and all before asking my opinion on the subject at all. You wish me to tell you what you had better purchase before leaving. I can tell you in a few words nothing at all. In the first place it will be a great trouble to you in having much baggage, and for every pound over 50lb of baggage you have to pay .10c freight. There is but a very little difference  in the price of clothing in this country than the State of Maine, and that is what you refer to I presume, when you speak of purchases. Of course I need not speak to you of your passage [...] If you buy your ticket then and come you will get it about $50 cheaper. I think it sails once in about three weeks or a month. You will be twenty four days coming and find it exceedingly warm crossing the [illegible], but if you cross in the night keep as free from the damp air as possible, and eat little or more of the great quantity of fruit which will be offered for sail and very cheap.

Now, have you already procured a situation to teach in San Francisco? If not you will find it a very difficult thing to do so you had better be sure and get it before you start. Who have you got to intercede for you? Write and let me know all. Don’t put dependence in me getting you a place. Mind you can’t run home and for nothing when you get out here.

This is indeed one of the most delightful climates in the whole world, yet San Francisco is the very worst place of all.

Your Affectionate Bro, Charley

Charles McArthur to his sister, Catharine McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

November 27, 1863


My Dear Brother,

Father has written you this mail, but the letter is sealed, so I must send a separate envelope. I wrote you some time since, but I fear you did not receive the letter, for I did not put on the outside the name of the county. I wrote in regards to my going to California. I was finally decided to go, so you may expect me soon. I shall try to get an opportunity to teach. What do you think of it? I should wait to hear from you, if it did not take eight weeks. So it is I think I had best go without. I shall want a good boarding place secured before I arrive so that I can go immediately to it. Everything will be very new to me, but I can in a little while, I guess, learn their manners and customs. I wish I knew exactly what things to purchase so that I should not have to pay so high for them there.

I should rather teach Drawing than anything else, but most anything I should be willing to teach. […]

Charles McArthur to hist brother, Malcolm McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]