Thursday, August 10, 2017

Letter from California 1855

When a person under the age of 21  years planned to marry, it was necessary for a parent or guardian to give consent for the license to be issued. Most of these consent notes are brief and to the point, but occasionally a consent note surpasses  "ordinary" and gives us a glimpse into the personality of the writer.  An example of this is the letter below.   On the 3rd of September 1855, Willis L.  Hobby, who was temporarily in Grass Valley, California, wrote his son, William M. Hobby of Caldwell County, Kentucky about William's intended marriage. 

"Grass Valley California   September the 3 - 1855   William M. Hobby:
Dear Sun I have Jest recived your compliments and vary unexpectedley had I thought of being addrest on A Subject of Such magnitude as yours and having but few moments to reflect I shall bee at great loss for the form of my letter however I feel willing to gratify you as fare as I can consistent with my feelings and intrest.  William you have complied with your duty as an obedient Sun to me being your Father, and I feel willing as a Father to comply with my duty to the child.  William in the first place I feel it my duty to ask you some important questions.  The first question I ask have you give your Self time for [illegible] and Sober reflection in regard to this matter; also have you taken into considderation the great responsibillity which involvs upon the head of the family and also the Solom oath that is binding through life.  William I never intend to make or brake matches and if you think you had rather ingay A retyard life exersise your one free will and if you do well it will bee well for you and if not dont reflect on me. William let the result bee as it may  I hope you will Stay with my children till I return  I will start home the 15 of November next if I live and able to travel.  William Studdy your intrest and act in accordance is all that I can say at present  I will do no more  I remain your  Father     Willis L. Hobby"[1]

William M. Hobby and his bride, Lucinda Crow, were married  the 8th of November 1855[2] and Willis L. Hobby did return to Caldwell County, but probably not in time for his son's wedding.   

Keep in mind that gold was discovered in California in 1848 and many men left their families behind to travel by sea or overland to California in hopes of making their fortune. The 1850 Nevada County, California shows a number of men living in Grass Valley who listed their occupation as "miner."   Apparently, Willis L. Hobby did not find a fortune as he was back in Caldwell County in time to be enumerated on the 1860 census.[3]

[1] Letter from Willis L. Hobby, Grass Valley, California, to his son, William M. Hobby, Caldwell County, Kentucky, filed with original marriage records (1855), Caldwell County Clerk's Office, Princeton, Kentucky.
[2] Brenda Joyce Jerome. Caldwell County, Kentucky Marriages 1854-1865, (Evansville, IN: Evansville Bindery, 1997) 11.
[3] 1860 Caldwell County, Kentucky Census, Farmersville Subdivision, page 133, dwelling #990, family #990, family of W.L. Hobby,, accessed 29 July 2017.

Published 10 August 2017, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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