California and Far West Correspondence, 1870s-1890s, Wilbur Family, of Illinois.
Forty letters, thirty-seven of which are accompanied by their original envelopes, cancelled postage intact; twenty-nine postcards; four Western Union telegraph forms in original envelopes with postage; six empty envelopes with postage, some from telegraph companies; a broadside advertising Toler's monthly excursions to California; and one framed photographic portrait of a man, as yet unidentified, but connected to the correspondence. Postmarks on the envelopes and postcards include Cheyenne, WY; Maricopa, AZ; Tucson, AZ; Carson City, NC; Battle Mountain, NV; Geneva, WI; Reno, NV; Bodie, CA; St. Louis, MO; Suisun City, CA; Lathrop, CA; Mesilla, NM; Shakespeare, NM; and others. All of the letters are written by Albert Harper Wilbur (dates unknown), and are addressed to either his brother, George Willis Wilbur (1851-1931), or their mother, Sarah Ann Cook Wilbur (1816-1904) in Belvidere, Illinois, Boone County. According to the Beinecke Library, which owns a large collection of manuscript material relating to the Wilbur family, Albert went to school in Belvidere during the Civil War, studied for at least one year at Champaign university, and then worked at the P & A Railroad office in Belvidere. Albert first went west in 1875, and although gaps exist in his biography, we do know that he spent the next twenty or more years traveling the west, never settling anywhere for long.
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