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Squire Ensworth's Letters to Mr. Whaley

November, 1861

November 5, 1861
San Diego

Mr. Thomas Whaley

By the unexpected arrival of the Senator last night about 9 o'c, I am in the receipt of yours 31st ultimo and invoice, together with the invaluable Bulletins per express. I suppose the goods are now landing at Playa safe for all I know. In quite a hurry, (For I learn the steamer is also in a hurry). I refer to the points made in your letter in order. Earley is retailing pr. Sk at 2 cts Gov't, sometime since, contracted at 1-1/2. When you wrote, you had not rec'd my letter, or overlooked proposition of the Escajadillo matter. You say you will transfer all the funds in your hands on private account to merch account. This is incorrect, for I did not know, only be a rough calculation, what the amt was, & so I said transfer $150.00 which amt. I was certain you had & this is the amount I charged you with receiving on the merchandise account& credited you with in private account. I mention it for the purpose of keeping the two acts separate and to avoid confusion, and agreement between both acts. The taxes shall be paid of course. I regret that I am yet retained in the matter of Hay's estate, as it has not been, neither is it likely to be a profitable job. Inclosed herewith you will find a letter from Maj. Ringgold's brother to Mr. Ames & also a receipted bill ($5.77 - all Mr. Ames books show is due him) which collect and give me credit for. Private account, advising me of same, so that I can place it in the bag belonging to the Estate - Please send me a fresh brush for dry rubbing the skin - one of those crooked fellows - about 2-1/2 feet long made of stiff hair - stiffer than bristles - They are made of horse hair, I think, and crooked, so that they will reach all around a man. Get the stiffest one you can find - It is not for the bath, but dry rubbing. The following is a list of things on hand, as you request; Pie Fruit (none sold) 1 case of tobacco (176 lbs.) 4 boxes. Schnepps - 4 sks salt (large gunnysacks) 2 coils rope - 12 Claret Cases - 1/2 bll whiskey 25 lbs dried beef - 15 boxes candles - 3 boxes raisens 1 bll rice.

Mr. Whaley
Later in the Day

I see your invoice rec'd today foots up at (including cartage and wharfage - $5). $571.75
Included in this Amt.
Ground Barley - $15.30
Pen Maker - 2.00
Medicated Paper - 1.50
Shot Pouch and Powder Flask - 6.00
Game Bag & Shot - 6.50
Shirts - 15.00
Total - 46.30 - which I requested you to charge to my private acct. This deducted from the merchandise invoice. Now in my book, in private account. I have given you credit for $46.30 & shall pay merchandise for cartage and wharfage of the private Bill. This is the way I have fixed it. Is this right?


But I must close. The correspondent "Selden" writing from Los Angeles to a San Francisco Paper, under date of October 16th, whose communication you inclosed to me, in contrasting the route from San Pedro to Fort Yuma with the route from San Diego to Fort Yuma, utters a tissue of unmitigated falsehoods. It is not, as he states, 75 miles from San Diego to Warner's Ranch, but 65. Neither does the road run over San Pasqual "Mountain". The old road, to which he alludes has not been traveled for more than a year having been abandoned for the new road built by the supervisors about 12 months ago, which turns the "Mountain" & over which teams of 6 mules can haul 3500 with ease. This new road also shortens the route to Warner's about 10 miles. I constantly see lying articles in the up Country papers, written in Los Angeles, of this description. They are thrown out for the purpose of retaining troops, Gov't transportation & Depot in the vicinity of that place, and to build up that humbug of a town, San Pedro, about which more gas has been expended and more ink wasted, than relative to any other point in the State. By humbugging shenanigans (Donations of residences to U. S. officers) the people of L. A. have succeeded in making in San Pedro "Harbor" an open roadstead, a depot for Government Stores; when it is well known that it is more than twice the distance to Warner's Ranch than it is from this place with equally as good a road. But then San Pedro's Harbor affords such convenience for shipping. Humbug



November 13, 1861
San Diego

Mr. Thomas Whaley

Before this reaches you, you will, no doubt have heard of the result of the election in this county, Kurtz beating me by one vote, & that his own, he voting for himself, as he acknowledges, at San Luis Rey. When I vote, I tore my name from the ticket, observing to the bystanders that I would not commit the meaness to vote for myself for a half dozen offices.

Now, so far as the goods are concerned, I am at your service, & if you are still of the same mind as on the 16th of September last, (the date of your letter which now lies before me) I close with your offer. I have just reread your letter to which I have referred (September 16) & there is nothing which I wish to alter. But I have something to say and caution to give otherwise. Under the expectation of the semi-weekly sale of goods, you must not base your calculation on the amt of goods sold at the time you left here. I do not know how many goods are sold in town now, but the amt. is small. Everything is dull & there grows less and less money every day. Another thing, as I told you before, "I know nothing about the clap trap method of roping in customers, and would not practice it if I did. If persons want to buy they will have to come - I shall not go there. Then again, in the articles must be good, & such as I can sell (as you say) "without the use of scales." I tell you at the start, that I have no expectation of making sales to amount to much. The times are too dull. Those who can buy by the package have gotten in the habit of sending up for their goods - As to buying "on credit of 30 & 60 days" do no such thing at all - not if you look down here for the money, when the "30 & 60 days" arrive to meet the demands. I would purchase only what you can meet with funds you may have, or know you will have, when required to pay. I don't want you to send me goods, purchased on credit, looking to me for return before the goods are sold, for as I said before, times are dull to rely upon any such basis to do even a little tinkering business - when I sell I will remit the money, & the best way is to "pay as I go along." You must also direct me at what prices to sell - how to keep the account of goods received - money rec'd & expanded, so that I can keep along understandingly without getting the thing jumbled up. As to Liquors - these I could not sell without measuring, unless you send them in kegs. Onions and potatoes would spoil before I could sell any - as to barley, it is now selling in town ... and you had better get me a cord struck on paste board, or cardboard something like this (say 3-1/2 by about 4-1/2 inches).

Family Groceries

A. S. Ensworth,
of San Diego

Will keep constantly on hand as assortment
of staple family groceries, consisting of
flour, coffee, sugar, rice, candles, soap,
lard, salt, syrups, liquors, wines, etc.
which he will sell by the Box or Package

Cheap for Cash - No Credit!

or something of that kind - arranged to suit yourself. Of course, I will pay for this myself.

Now, if all I have said should meet with your approbation, (Mind you must not think you are about to become suddenly rich) - for we are very poco a poco down here now) then take time, look around & buy as cheap as possible, & may be, with what time you may want to consider what I have said, & with only 3 or 4 days you will have to purchase between the reception of this & the departure of the steamer, you had better delay sending until the next steamer. But do as you like.

I don't know if I want to say anything more. I live quite contented in this big house of yours & no matter in what part of the county, (for most probably I shall die in San Diego) it will be my last to live. I hope I may be contented. Riches I do not desire, but prefer the middle state - neither riches or poverty. If I were married, & a half dozen young ones, I might, without impropriety, strive at the late hour in life for wealth. I have not much, (not even clients) to annoy me but rats. I have used a bottle of strick, & now have 3 cats - one of which, (the old one) I have had shut up in the storehouse for a long time. Yet still every now and then I hear a rat. Since I fixed the roof, no rain of any consequence has fallen to try it. We had one little shower, just after it was finished. But it was too new for a test, the sun not having had time to displace the tar.

Truly Yours,

A. S. Ensworth

November 14, 1861

By the boat of this morning, I rec'd yours of the 9th inst. I send you by W. F. & Co Express $37.87, which on looking over I find makes no square. I having paid out some little on your account since the date of my account current, of which I will give you a statement when I next render an account. I inclose you the tax receipts, the Shff having made but one mistake in copy from the assortment roll & lot is not sold. We could not find it on the roll. The taxes to collect from Morse are but a triffle. When he comes in I will see him, & collect them. Of the boy, I wish you joy - go ahead - my respect to the mother.

November 14, 1861
San Diego

Mr. Whaley

Please send me & charge to private account two almanacs for 1863.

You say Bancroft "Knows Nothing about" "Marshall's Decisions." This may be true in part - That is, he may not have the work. I suppose book men are like merchants who sometimes advertise 20 times more goods than they have on hand for the purpose of sbludging. Ask him if "Marshall's Decisions," published in his catalogue for 1861, (Herewith inclosed is one leaf,) is a misprint?


A. S. Ensworth


2476 San Diego Avenue, San Diego 92110
(619) 297-7511



2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-7511
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