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[Welland Tribune, 2 April 1897]

Editor Welland Tribune

DEAR SIR- Thinking that a short letter from California might perhaps be welcomed by your many readers, among whom I claim a few friends. I decided to ask for a little space in your valuable paper.

I left Smithville, Ont., on Feb. 24th, on the T.H.& R., westbound at 4:19 p.m., and arrived in Stockton on March 2nd at 4:08 p.m., Eastern Time or LOS Pacific time. I stopped over twenty-four hours in Los Angles, however, so I could have made the trip in six days. The roads I travelled over were as follows: The T.H.& R., to Waterford, the Michigan Central from Waterford to Chicago, the Illinois Central from Chicago to New Orleans and the Southern Pacific from New Orleans to Stockton. You will see that I took as round about road as possible without going around South America.

I found Los Angeles to be a very pretty place, with the most beautiful climate imaginable-at least it was the day I spent there. I did not see any orange groves, however, as it was night when we came in and went out of Los Angeles. The country around Stockton is devoted mostly to grain and stock raising. This part of California is very level. Stockton is on a branch of the San Joaquin river, and by a glance at the map you will see that the San Joaquin valley is completely shut in by mountain ranges, except for the gap through which the San Joaquin river finds its way into the Pacific. Both ranges of mountains are visible when one gets out of the city, and their summits are crowned with perpetual snow, which looks in the bright sunlight like molten silver. The ranches, as they call them, comprise on an average about five hundred acres. The land is fertile and yields good crops of grain and grass without irrigation, and all kinds of fruit when irrigated. The time I think is fast approaching when this valley will be divided into one hundred acre ranches, and farmed somewhat after eastern methods. They plough here with gang plows, using from four to ten teams on one plough. There is no mixed farming here. If a man goes in for grain he won’t bother with anything else, and if he goes in for mules or horses it’s just the same. He will sell horses and spend half of his profits buying what he could just as well raise. I have found part of this out for myself and have got the rest second hand.

The weather here has been mostly cool, but without frost, or at least very little. One effect the climate has had on me has been to increase my appetite. I know that my friends will not believe this, thinking it impossible, but it is nevertheless true.

To conclude. I like California very much already and I think I shall like it better the longer I stay in the “land of sunshine and flowers.” Very truly yours, FRANK PUTMAN.

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