The Burrell family collection includes family correspondence, diaries, family genealogy
notes, reminiscences, farm accounts and Reginald R. Stuart's research notes. The Burrell
family letters are a straightforward account of the rigors of the overland and sea
journeys to California and the trials of placer mining. They are most unique in their
later recital of pioneer ranch life in the California foothills, particularly in the
Santa Cruz Mountains. Lyman and Clarissa Burrell's son, Birney, kept a diary for several
years. His 1852 diary covers the sea voyage to California, while the 1853 to 1862 diaries
depict a life of hard farm work, gathering and hunting food in the mountains and doing
odd jobs for neighbors.
The Burrells were a pioneer family of Santa Clara County, California. Lyman J. Burrell
was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts(1801). By 1816 his family had moved to Lorain County
Ohio and in 1839 he there married Clarissa Wright (1805-1857).