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Correspondence about Snowshoe Thompson

 Collection
Identifier: 2010-32
The collection contains letters written by Agnes (Singleton Thompson) Scossa, Laurence D'Orsay, and Rees Davis to Francis Fairchild regarding John "Snowshoe" Thompson and his life. Both Agnes and Rees describe their memories of Thompson and tell stories about his life, including when he rescued E. J. Baldwin, also known as "Lucky Baldwin." D'Orsay's letter is a publication rejection letter to Fairchild regarding her biographical sketch of Thompson.

Dates

  • 1910-1928
  • Majority of material found within 1910-1911

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Extent

0.4 Linear Feet (18 leaves)

Overview

John "Snowshoe" Thompson (1827-1876) was born in Tinn, Telemark, Norway to Torstein Olson-Rue and Gro Jonsdatter Einungbrekke. After the death of his father, John and his mother, Gro, immigrated to the United States, where John eventually settled in Genoa, Nevada in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The collection contains letters written by Agnes Scossa, Laurence D'Orsay, and Rees Davis to Francis Fairchild regarding John "Snowshoe" Thompson and his life.

Biographical / Historical

John "Snowshoe" Thompson was born in Tinn, Telemark, Norway on April 20, 1827, to Torstein Olson-Rue and Gro Jonsdatter Einungbrekke. In 1837, after the death of his father, John and his mother, Gro, immigrated to the United States, settling on a farm in the Fox River settlement in LaSalle County, Illinois. The family subsequently moved on the Norwegian immigrant settlement in Shelby County, Missouri. In 1839, they were joined by Thompson's brother Tostein (1819-1880) and sister Kari (born 1822). In 1840, they relocated again to the Sugar Creek Settlement in Lee County, Iowa.

In 1846, Thompson and his brother Tostein moved to Dane County, Wisconsin. In 1851, Thompson drove a herd of milk cows to California and settled in Placerville. For a short time, he worked in mining in Kelsey Diggins, Coon Hollow, and Georgetown, California. Disillusioned by mining, he bought a small ranch at Putah Creek, in the Sacramento Valley with the small amount he had saved. In 1860, Thompson homesteaded a 160-acre ranch in Diamond Valley, south of Genoa, Nevada in California's Alpine County. Here, he met his wife, Agnes Singleton, an immigrant from England. They had one son, Arthur Thomas, who was born on February 11, 1867.

From 1856 until his death, Snowshoe carried the mail between Genoa and Placerville and later Virginia City, Nevada. In all of his years of delivering mail, he was never paid for his work.

Snowshoe died of appendicitis on May 15, 1876. His son, Arthur, died two days after. Both Snowshoe and Arthur, as well as his wife Agnes, are buried in the Genoa Cemetery.

[Information taken from the website snowshoethompson.org and Wikipedia, accessed March 12, 2019]

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Holabird-Kagin Americana in July 2010.

Source

Creator

Title
Guide to the Correspondence about Snowshoe Thompson
Status
completed
Author
Jessica Maddox
Date
March 2019
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Contact:
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5665
775-682-5724 (Fax)