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Wilson, John, d. 1862 : John Wilson letters, 1859-1865

Collection of correspondence (1859-1865) from Virginia City, Nevada written by or regarding John Wilson to his wife in Vermont.,Wilson, a young farmer from Vermont, left his pregnant wife and sailed for the West in Sept. 1859 to seek his fortune. After his arrival in San Francisco, he headed for Virginia City crossing the Sierra Mountains on foot in May 1860. Using his income as a bartender, Wilson immediately began to stake out claims. Many of his letters give a vivid and detailed firsthand account of the notorious town. He had hoped to go home with enough money "to build a hows of his own and ride in our ow carige." However, following a drunken argument, he was murdered by his employer on Jan. 14, 1862. The remaining letters were written to his wife by Wilson's friend, Horace Mickel, who had witnessed the murder and tried in vain to recover some of Wilson's assets on his widow's behalf. There are also several newspaper clippings of the murder case and trial, two Wells Fargo checks sent to his wife, and a guardianship document for his child.
Extent: 0.1 linear feet - linear feet (1 box)
Subjects: Family Papers, Indians and the West
Call Number: VAULT Ayer MS 3207
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