[D8828ADW], Letter from Frank McGowan to Thomas Alva Edison, December 12th, 1888


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[D8828ADW], Letter from Frank McGowan to Thomas Alva Edison, December 12th, 1888

Editor's Notes

[Cali, Columbia] "I cabled you on 2nd inst "Await orders", to remind you that I was at a standstill. I have received but one letter from headquarters. It was dated July 2nd and signed by Tate. The last 2 lines read thus. I quote from memory. ### "Mr. Edison does not want you to return at present. I will write you when he wants to regulate your movements." ### (Signed) A.O. Tate ### I have waited in vain for any istructions. As each steamer arrived I either sent a messenger to get my mail or if I was in the vicinity called myself. I am at a loss what to do. It was an easy matter for Tate to have written me at least every other mail and henceforth I intend to address all my communications direct to you. I want to get away from here but you promised to give me definite orders so I must wait and see if you have a further route mapped out for me. My letter of Nov. 10th must have reached you ere this and also the samples I sent you by same steamer. ### I intend to wait until the 17th of this month and then if I don't receive any word form you I'm off [unclear] the Central Cordillera. I have so many places to go where big gramina grows that it will take me years to all of them if I am to be kept without advices of any kind for 5 months at a stretch as at present. During the months of Sept. and Oct. I had a very bad ere right hand caused by a horse falling on it whilst I was attempting to ascend a very steep hill containing wide gamps which I had to make the hrose jump over. It was not my own horse or else the thing would not have happened. I am able to ride pretty well now and my horse has turned out to be one of the best pacers in South America. The boys I had engaged to fed and attend him pocketed the money and starved the poor animal whilst I thinking that he was well cared for used to beat and abuse him for his laziness. On finding out how matters stood I determined to attend to the horse myself only hiring a boy to buy food and bathe him. The conseuence is that now I have a nag who won't take the dust from any of the horsemen around these parts. He goes so fast when I put him on his mettle that I cannot keep on his back. But hwat I have to look out for most of all is to have a horse who has plenty of strength to pull me out of (or rather the two of us) the morasses I get into when I am examining gramina. The other day I was riding along the outskirts of a big patch of stuff and all of a sudden my horse sunk up to his flanks in a morrass. To try and turn him around to get out was impossible as I had to whiphim up for about 100 yds and what a struggle that was. How I kept on the horse's back I can't understand but I geot out covered from head to foot with mud and inwardly thought that I must be a great horseman to have pulled through so well. I thought at first that my horse must have become lamed for life but on examination I found he was all right. Now if he didn't have good food etc he would hae got stuck in that morass and I should not have been here to tell the tale. ### I am making you examination of the roots of the gramina trees + will send you a big one soone. It hink it will make a fine fibre. I am also paying much attention to the various lands on which the gramina grows. At present my liking is for the mountain staff but I want to get it by enough to [unclear] sending. ### I hope you will take into favorable consideration the matter of engraving Mr. Bevan to develop your mines. He is at liberty on Jany 1st. ### Mr. Trujillo's alluvial mine promises to pan out well. Frantic effors are being made to reach bedrock but it is a [unclear] matter as the water flows in very rapidly + huge boulders have to be removed. However the last reports I heard were very encouraging. ### Having nothing more to say at present + hoping that I wont be so neglected in future, I am" Respectfully yours, F.McGowan "P.S. Did you ever get the fibres I sent you from Quito? When I leave here after the 14th I won't expect any more letters from you but will continue my explorations at [unclear]. I don't want to be again stuck in a place like this so when I have gave all over this country will turn up in N.Y. + report. When I'm in the Magdelene district + am hard pushed for sugar will cable you the one word 'sugar." In all my future expeditions into these mountains must have at least 10 men at $1 a day + food for them a month to 6 weeks. ### If I can strike a salt mine for you down here it will be better than a gold mine. Or even a petroleum mine."




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Thomas A. Edison Papers, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University
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