William & Mary | Earl Gregg Swem Library Special Collections Database


John C. Cabaniss Letters, 1851-1855

John C. Cabaniss Letters, 1851-1855
Mss. Acc. 2014.019
0.05 Cubic Feet
Scope and Contents

This collection contains twelve letters written by John C. Cabaniss, a proprietor of the Folsom Street coal yards in San Francisco, California to his mother, Mrs. Nancy Hill [Nancy Sink Cabaniss Hill] in Franklin County, Virginia.  Cabaniss moved to San Francisco during the Gold Rush.

Most of his letters mention that he is coming home soon, is in good health and the business is doing well.  For a time, a friend from home, Moses G. Noble, lives with him.  The letters also mention the collapse of the banks in San Francisco in 1855 and his family's slaves.   He tells his mother that he will pay to hire or buy Mariah's husband.  He often sends money to his mother, once asking her to give Mariah, and others, $25.  By 1855, he also owns a ranch and still works at the coal yard.

John Cabiness committed suicide on April 25, 1858 and a copy of the April 26, 1858 Sacramento Daily gives details of his death.  A copy of a typed partial biography of John Cabaniss, possibly written by the seller and mostly unsourced, hints at an earlier bankruptcy in Alabama.

Arranged chronologically.
Cabaniss, John C. (1805-1858)
Hill, Nancy Sink Cabaniss (1785-1868)
California--Description and travel--19th century
California--Economic conditions--19th century
Franklin County (Va.)--History
Noble, Moses Greer
San Francisco (Calif.)--19th century
Slavery--Virginia--19th century
Letters (correspondence)

Administrative Information

Collection is open to all researchers.
Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.
Acquisition Note
 Source: Purchases--Michael Brown Rare Books, LLC.
Acc. 2014.019 was received by Special Collections in January 2014.
Related Publications
The probate case on John C. Cabiness's estate can be found in publications on California courts.
Preferred Citation
John C. Cabaniss Letters, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
Collection Material Type:
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