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.
- Also with Wes Cowan George Washington Miniature Did the artist paint this portrait from life, and what is its surprising connection to the abolitionist White Matlack?
- Related Investigation Slave Songbook Are these tattered pages the earliest record of music created by slaves?
- Related Investigation Civil War Sabotage? The steamship Sultana exploded one night in 1865, killing more than 1,800 people. Was the disaster a result of Civil War sabotage?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Lincoln Forgery Could this piece of sheet music have come from Abraham Lincoln's private collection?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Dueling Pistols Were these pistols used in the last great duel on U.S. soil?
- Also in Season 3 Coney Island Lions Could this be an artifact from the bygone days of early amusement parks?
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