To: S.P., Julia and Lucy May Briggs
From: Decason Dodeka Briggs, Los Gatos Cal, Feb. 17th 1884
Dear Bro, sister & all
May wrote me last aug. but between pressure of time & lazyness I have keept putting it off for more than 6 months except I wrote you card but when you learn what I have done since I got your letter or since the 1st of July, you will see that I have not been idle. I have built a barn 24 x 24 & 12 ft. walls & basement under half of the floor for general use & half for hay room for 2 cows 1 horse & wagon also a house with 3 Bedrooms, sitting, Kitchen, & Pantry. This I did with only stewart help for 2 Months when he went to school, & then since have earned $130.00 at my trade. All or nearly all sorts of business except eating shut down up to the 24 of Jan. as it was feared we were to have a dry year so people quit spending Money but on that date it commenced raining and rained till now except 4 or 5 days in all about 14 inches, & it makes all the difference bt. crop & no crop to the country. it has rained very hard for the last 3 days, and mostly ran off, the ground being full. I came to this state in Jan. 82, just 26 years from the time I first landed here in 56. I have settled 10 miles southerly from San Jose near where I use to live but times have changed since then as land here was worth $125 per acre then. I paid $200.00 per acre. I have 8 with a young orchard on of 300 trees just come into bearing. Since my first arrival in 56 this country has been cut up into small places from 5 - 10 - 15 - 20 & 40 acre lots & houses are quite near & seems almost like a town. The narrow guage R.R. from S.F to Santa Cruz through our town ˝ mile distance (Los Gatos).
William & Molly are living in Los Angeles. Geo. lives at a place called Toledo Benton Co. Oregon it is situated on the Bay of Yayuinia about 100 miles south of Columbia river’s mouth. The children asked me to sing with so I have stoped for ˝ hour & now it is 8 ˝ oclock & have not much more time to write before bed time. May you told me of Frank, Mary, Hattie, Charles, & of yourself & your Father but not a word about Elsworth, nor any else of the family. I think I am entitled to some more pictures &c. am I not. I got a picture of Charles & wife I like her looks she seems to have some snap to her & I suppose Charley thinks so too, but Frank is strictly noncommittal. Take a stick and poke him up a little. But I must close as I am sleeppyy so good night I hope you will be better to me than I have been to you & write sooner than I did.
All send love to all.
From your Bro,
Los Gatos Cal.
Notes on D.D. Briggs from Clement Briggs of Plymouth Colony And His Descendants, Vol. II, pp. 521-522, Compiled by Edna Anne Hannibal:
Decason Dodeka Briggs came to California at the age of 13 yrs. in 1853, with his brother, Francis Asbury Briggs, go'g down the Mississippi River by boat, then by ship to the Isthmus, which they crossed by donkey back in April, and up the West Coast to San Francisco by ship. While working in the gold fields in Amador Co., Francis Asbury Briggs dropped dead from Malaria contracted while crossing the Isthmus of Panama. Left alone the young boy intended to return to his home in Iowa, but was "shanghaied" on the San Francisco warf by a man gathering a group who wished to return to the East Coast. On the trip to the Isthmus, this man began to train them as an army and they learned that he intended to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. The men turned their guns on him and forced the ship to return to San Francisco Harbor. Decason Dodeka Briggs remained in California until about 1861 when he returned to Iowa, married, then moved to San Francisco by R. R., and to Portland, Ore., from San Francisco by ship about 1871, then moved again to Santa Clara, Calif., in 1885.