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Title Across the continent on foot in 1859 [manuscript]: a record of personal experiences [1902]
Author Thompson, Harlow Chittenden (1837-1905)
Document Type Travel Journal; Manuscript
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Typescript written by Harlow Chittenden Thompson in 1902 relating his experiences on the overland trail to California and life on the west coast from 1859 to 1865. Thompson’s memoir includes a long account of his 167 day journey across the continent to California including daily life on the trail, river crossings, Indian encounters as well as chuckwagon menus, the "Prairie Itch" (lice) from buffalo robes, Fort Laramie buildings, the U.S. mail coach runs, and horse stealing. After his arrival in California, Thompson continues to relate his life in Washington Territory and Idaho until the year 1865 when he settled in Napa, California to start a new business venture. He first worked briefly as a logger and then followed the gold fever to the Salmon River mines in Idaho. Not having much success there, Thompson was hired in 1862 by Calvin Hale, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, to work at the Yakama Indian Agency and School, located at Fort Simcoe, Wash., with responsibility for farming matters. He includes much detailed information about his life on the reservation and his relations with the Yakama Indians.
Names Hale, Calvin H.; Miller, Ellen E.; Bancroft, Ashley A.; Thompson, Fannie F.
Places Fort Laramie, Santa Barbara, California, Washington Territory, Idaho, Napa, Salmon River, Fort Simcoe, Washington
Keywords travel, travelogue, personal account, observation, memoir, overland trail, trail, fort, horse, horse stealing, livestock, business, pioneer, frontier, prairie, gold, prospecting, agriculture, farming, education, reservation, government relations, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, social life, custom, cultural contact
Theme Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters
Tribe / Nation
Culture Area California, Plateau, Northwest Coast, Northeast
Additional Information Harlow Chittenden Thompson, overland traveller and later merchant, was born in Dundee, Ill. in 1837. Thompson left his home in the spring of 1859 for California travelling across the continent having been hired to lead a herd of cattle and horses. Upon arrival in California, Thompson spent the next five years employed in various jobs in Washington and Idaho. Following his marriage to Ellen E. Miller, he returned to California to operate a general merchandise store. Thompson died at his home in Santa Barbara in 1905.
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT Ayer MS 887
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue