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Gove family papers

Call Number: WA MSS S-1302

Scope and Contents

The Gove Family Papers document the lives of Josiah E. Gove, a gold miner and entrepreneur in California, and his immediate Massachusetts family. The papers span the dates 1788 to 1870, but the bulk of material covers the period 1842 to 1859.

Luke and Harriet Gove, with their two children, Josiah E. and Angie, moved to Stowe, Massachusetts in 1842 to open a boarding house. In 1848 the family moved to Lowell, where Luke and Josiah actively participated in the Sons of Temperance. Josiah moved to Boston in 1849 and in 1850 sailed around Cape Horn to California on the Edward Everett. While in California, Josiah corresponded with his parents, sister, and cousins, H. C. Neese and O. C. Neese. He tried several business ventures, including gold mining, operating a store, and running pack mules. Josiah's cousin "French," the son of Luke's sister Betsey and John Paige, occasionally worked with him. In 1856 Josiah was elected justice of the peace for Butte County, California, but by 1859 he had experienced severe financial losses and suffered from poor health. With the financial support and encouragement of his parents, he made arrangements to return to Lowell.

Josiah's letters are concerned with his sea voyage to California, staking mining claims on the Feather River, and difficulties of starting a business. Luke Gove's correspondence focuses on his desire for Josiah to return home and on the general well-being of the family. The initiation ceremony and practices of the Sons of Temperance in Lowell are referred to in Luke's January 1848 letter to his sister Betsey Paige. Angie Gove discusses her schooling, music lessons, and social events. In O. C. Neese's 1854 letter to Josiah, she tells of her plight as an unmarried woman and the arrangements made for her to live with Luke and Harriet Gove.


  • 1788-1870, 1842-1859
  • Majority of material found within 1842 - 1859


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Gove Family Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were purchased in 1957 from Peter Decker on the William Robertson Coe Fund for Western Americana.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers contain correspondence and other papers documenting Gove family life and the experiences of Josiah E. Gove in gold rush California.

Guide to the Gove Family Papers
Under Revision
by Heather L. Holeman
November 1986
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.