While browsing through a Montana antique store, a resident of Modesto, California, discovered an unusual leather satchel.
A tattered label on the bag read, “—oe Tho---son... presented …useum by the President… -merican Railway Express.” According to legend, a Norwegian immigrant by the name of John Thompson risked life and limb to hand-deliver the post across the high Sierra Mountains in the years before the Civil War.
“—oe Tho---son” appears to be “Snowshoe Thompson”, the mailman’s nickname.
Could this bag be one that Thompson used on his arduous journeys?
To find out, History Detectives heads to California and Nevada to explore the history of the U.S. Postal Service, shedding light on the tremendous contributions of this pioneering legend.
- Related Investigation Preston Brook's Riding Crop Was this riding crop a gift from Jefferson Davis as a reward for attacking a political opponent?
- Related Investigation Boarding House Flag Did this flag once save a boarding house from being burned down at the height of the Civil War?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 John Brown Letters How is this woman in Sacramento related to John Brown, the 19th-century abolitionist?
- Also with Wes Cowan The Disappearance of Glenn Miller In 1944, bandleader Glenn Miller boarded a plane for Paris and was never seen again. What happened?
- Also with Wes Cowan Chinese Poems Who were the authors of the poems describing bitterness and misery on the Angel Island detention center walls?
- Also in this episode Birth Control Box Could this unusual wooden box be an early contraceptive device?
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