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Felix Wierzbicki, California Guidebook, 1849

A straightforward guide book to California's 1849 gold fields


After participating in the failed Polish Revolution of 1830, former nobleman Felix Wierzbicki made his way to America. There he became a doctor, enlisted in the Army and traveled west during the Mexican War. This database is a guidebook he authored after leaving the military and settling in California. It was the first English book ever published in California, and is an "unvarnished" description of the culture, peoples, and climate of the area in 1849. Provided by the Library of Congress, this narrative is intended to give researchers a sense of the context in which their ancestors may have lived.

Extended Description

Felix Paul Wierzbicki (1815-1860) left his native Poland after participating in the doomed revolution of 1830. He made his way to America where he received a medical degree and practiced in Providence, Rhode Island. When the Mexican War broke out, Wierzbicki enlisted in the Army and was sent to California. Wierzbicki left the Army shortly after reaching the West and practiced medicine until the discovery of gold drew him to prospecting on Mokelumne Hill. In 1849, he returned to San Francisco, where he spent the rest of his life. California as it is (1849) was the first English-language book printed in California. It is a valuable guide to California for prospective settlers that includes a survey of agriculture, hints on gold mining, a guide to San Francisco, and a chapter on California's Hispanic residents and Native American tribes.
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