[CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH]. HEISKELL, Frederick S. (ca 1789-1882). Autograph letter signed ("Your father") to Joseph Brown Heiskell (1823-1913) in Monroe County, Tennessee, n.p., 15 June . 2 pages, folio, on orangish paper, small old tape repair, in a brown quarter morocco slipcase.
"BOUND FOR CALIFORNIA": A MANUSCRIPT SUPPLY LIST FOR OVERLAND TRAVEL. Frederick Heiskell, a newspaper publisher, farmer and state senator from Tennessee, sends his son a list of supplies and prices to accommodate an overland journey. He responds to his son's request for such a list on behalf of an interested party. His list occupies a full folio sheet, headed "The following may be considered about an average bill of expenses for an outfit for three persons, bound for California." In all, 47 items are listed, for a total of $680.87. Among the items are: 8 lodge skins of flour, 110 lbs. of sugar, a sack of salt, 1 bottle of cayenne pepper, 1 keg log of brandy, 15 lbs. of Rio coffee, 1 sack of dried apples, 1 coil of grass rope, 33 pounds of rosin soap, 2 lbs. of raw ginger, 5 lbs. of bacon, 1 box of star candles, 1 wagon (at $85), 1 wagon cover, a wall tent and fly, 1 dozen tin plates and a coffee boiler, 2 camp kettles, 2 tin pans, an assortment of spoons, forks and frying pans, 3 hunting baskets, 3 mining picks, 2 shovels, 1 spade, 3 pick handles, 2 axes and handles, 1 handsaw, files, chisels, a drawing knife, 2 augers, 3 belts with scabbards, 3 scabbards for pistols, 3 canteens, and 4 yokes for Oxen (at $250, the most expensive item). After his subtotal, Heiskell lists a pony at $50 and a mule at $80.
Joseph Brown Heiskell was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and became a member of the state senate in 1858. He was a representative to the Confederate Congress from 1862-1864, a delegate to the state Constitutional Convention in 1870 and state attorney general from 1870-1878. Joseph's father Frederick, born in Virginia, distinguished himself after he moved to Knoxville as editor and publisher of the Register. Politics intrigued him and he used the columns of the Register to champion candidates and causes. As a result, he became a close friend and political ally of such nationally prominent men as Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay and James K. Polk. He was an enthusiastic supporter of Andrew Jackson in the contest with John Quincy Adams, though he broke with Old Hickory in the presidential campaign of 1836. He supported Hugh Lawson White for president rather than Jackson's hand-picked successor, Martin Van Buren. At the time of this letter, Frederick was in the state senate, where he was described as a "bold, independent and thoroughly incorruptible" member.