Squire Ensworth's Letters to Mr. Whaley
San Diego, Ca.
May 7, 1861
Your 2 letters of present month... are received and so far as the Express is concerned, the things are all right and I presume the freight on the steamer is right. P. Senator today $57 - Sold no whiskey since last date. This morning have on hand only 5 sks flour (been selling at $2.87-1/2 the arroba). I regret you could not get the flour on board - Meier says he will go up on this boat. I am much obliged for the bulletins and as to Hinton, he will not want them soon, for he leaves today for the Colorado River. As to your calculation of profits - they may be all right, but I think they are large. I must owe Evens considerable for hauling which I think you could not have taken into account. But I have not yet had time to look through your statements. The hat is the thing - I am pleased with it.
As soon as the statutes of 1861 are bound, please send them - Also one sk of potatoes for my own use. The Commercial Mills Flour is not of as good quality as the other, so customers says. F. Ames goes up on the boat, Witherby is in town - drunk as a loon. The first time in over a year. As to the taxes, I will try to get them right this year. Now I will have a count & see how much money I can send you. (I've done not much, as yet, in weighing hay, having taken in only $5.25 which I shall send among the money to be credited to me in my private account). But I will count the money.
I sent you $390 - of this $355. is on merchandise account and the balance, $35. is to be credited in my private account.
Now I don't know as I have anything more to say at this time. If necessary, I will write you overland. I think this a little over pays my private account - my respects to your wife.
A. S. Ensworth
Witherby's mine is doing well. They are grinding out about $50 to the ton and if the quartz will only hold out, it may eventually help us some. Ames takes up nearly $1500 in dust - Doyle has arrived, but I have not yet seen him. Sloan gave a ball last night and everybody drunk of course - No champagne in town.
San Diego, Ca.
May 22, 1861
Yours of the 14 inst was received on the evening of yesterday and this will leave here tomorrow morning. The mail leaves Los Angeles for this place on Monday morning of each week - so you can govern yourself accordingly. Heretofore I have written by Express overland, but as my letters will reach you as soon under a 3ct Stamp as in an express envelope. I shall in future write by mail. If you see no objection. The mail lies over at this place one entire day before it returns to Los A. By last mail I rec'd Sacramento papers (daily) of the 16th inst. - As to your calculation of profits - I suppose it must be nearly correct. About the time, you made it, I find on looking at my books that I must have been owing Evens about $17.00, which should have been deducted from the profits. I have not paid him any money for hauling - Neither do I intend to do so. The price from the Playa is $4 from NT $3 - Hauling (or so they say), a tun a load. The way I do it, I give him a sack of flour and credit 'cash received' with the amt and enter in my 'cash paid out' - the price of it as so much money paid Evens for hauling. Then in my private daily acct. book, I charge him, this article and give him credit for hauling, in order to know where I stand with him. As to the flour, I am pretty well satisfied that it is as good as the general run of superfine flour. I think the Jews have attempted to make people think it was bad. It's no use to send this extra fine, or extra. I don't think I could sell it. But one thing I am not satisfied with the last lot of sugar (5 mats) I have opened the whole 5 mats and find not a single arroba merchantable. They are black and more or less wet. It was damaged and fixed up in San Francisco. I have 4-1/2 mats of the shipment before the last, and even that, from outside appearance, is only tolerable. But I can sell it. The other I can do nothing with. I want to send it up and make them take it back. What do you say? The shipment which you say you intend to make on the Perry is rather alarming. Since last boat I have not taken in but $60.00 and if she were to arrive tomorrow I should have to borrow money to pay the freight. So you see the prospect is not very good for making much of a remittance by next steamer. I have on hand about $13 hay scale money, only, but some little is standing out, not yet collected. Whatever it may be I shall send it by next steamer to be credited to me in my private acct. The Morrow draft I have not yet collected, but on the 21st of last month, not wishing to have anymore bother about it, I credited myself in 'cash received' with the amt, paid the money into the drawer and sent it to you by last steamer. This was the first and last bill of goods sold on credit, and I expected to realize the money sometime or another. As in order to secure custom, I have sold cheap - but no cheaper than what I have written to you. I am now selling flour at $2 pr sk and sugar at $2.75 an arroba and have on hand about 20 sks of the one and 400 and 2000 lbs of the other, not including 5 mats of Barley last steamer. Of everything else, I seem to have plenty. But there seems to be no prospect of improvements in the times. Since the stoppage of the Overland Stage a great many have left the eastern part of the county for the north and those who remain have no means of getting money. I wish to sell as cheap as possible and realize a little profit. You know what articles I have here, and what you have, or will, send them on the Perry. You also know the expense of hauling and cartage on remittance of money to you by Express (In your calculations did you add this in?), as well as the cost of license. Now add them 15% of profit you were talking about some time since and send me a little schedule of prices. I think on its next receipt, I shall find I have been selling over this. The Jews talk and blow so much, and enquire so often how long I can stand to sell goods below cost, that I want to sell as near the mark as possible and realize a living profit. In fact I must do so in order to attract customers. Of late I have sold hardly anything else save flour and sugar. Just to have the calculation of prices at 15% profit and lets see how they will look. Of course I don't ask for this for the purpose of being arbitrarily governed by them, of course, but it will be a sort of land mark for me to sail by. The storekeepers in town, for such articles as I keep, have adopted a credit price and this makes some of the customers "mad like the devil" but I find they don't like to sell even for cash, as cheap as I do. Now the prospect is, that by next steamer, instead of sending "as large remittance as possible by her and to enable to make further purchases," I shall send nothing. But I can't tell what will turn up any more than Mrs. Dumby could, yet the prospects are decidedly against a remittance. I have that ready reckoning all right when I opened it and saw the millions of countless figures, the same cold sensation crept over me that I experienced only once before when a boy looking on for the first time into a Greek grammar.
As to being in "want of anything more" - No, I think not for next three months - I shall send this by express, as you may not think of going to the P.O. Yours and Hurra for the flago of our Union.
A. S. Ensworth
The first time you make up a bundle of packages to send me as freight on the steamer, send 1 bunc of quills, 1/2 ream of legal Cap. 2-1/2 reams of letter paper, of a white color (Is white a color?) and more ruled for dark paper & narrow ruled I can't use. I say send it in this way for the Express is too expensive in the present state of any finances.
San Diego, Ca.
May 29, 1861
Yours of the 21st Inst. containing copy of invoice pr the Perry was rec'd only on yesterday. As the ST will leave on the 3rd of June, there is not the slightest prospect that you will receive this before that time and therefore I shall say but little. It is now about 5 o'clock P.M. & the Perry is not yet in sight.
By next opportunity you will send me a work called "Stephens Practical Irrigator" - Also a hat for Witherby, like the one sent for me & of the same size. See what the most common gravestone will cost - marble or something of that sort and a small one for the foot, with plain lettering & no flourishing. I want it for Frank Steele's grave - What is lumber worth fit to make watering troughs for cattle - 2 inch thick and 18 ft. long and 2 feet wide? Fine not necessary that it should be clear lumber.
I am not yet out of flour have 6 or 7 sks yet left. Have on hand pretty much everything else you have sent me - have 3 CWT of sugar - of good sugar. I will now count the cash. Don't send any more soap. I shall never get "out of soap" I see your letter was under an express envelope. No express messenger accompanies the mail, would not your letter come as quick in uncle Sam's bags? But I must go and count the money. Well, I have about $130 rec'd since my last remittance, on account of merchandise. So, you see, I am doing not much; still considering I sell for cash, I really think I am doing in the cash line, as well as any of them. Now when & where do you expect to receive this bill of $738.33, that is on the Perry, You know what I told you at the start - not to buy so much that they would be running around after you. As for myself, I would not have one of those San Francisco jobbers dun me twice when I was without money. For the bill outside of merchandise account: I have received about $20 for hay scales. I paid on yesterday, license for three months and putting this thing and that thing together, the probability is that I shall not send any money up by the steamer. If there is no body to buy goods, you can't sell them to anybody. I expect I, even now, received nearly as much ready cash as nay of them. Don't forget to send me a list of prices based on 15% profit as requested in my letter.
Now then, I don't know as I have anything more to say, with the exception of sending my regards to Mrs. & her husband Tom.
A. S. Ensworth
I've written this letter tolerable quick.
WHALEY HOUSE MUSEUM
2476 San Diego Avenue, San Diego 92110
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