Saturday, August 21, 2010

One of Three Samuel Jamisons I’m Studying

My previous story told of a Samuel Jamison (1860-1914) whom I’ve researched recently who lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and may have owned property in the early mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado (1896). He was not related to my husband’s Jamison family, however.

I was originally researching a Samuel Stewart Jamison who is my husband Larry’s 1st cousin 4 times removed. Larry’s 4th great grandparents John and Elizabeth (Shryock) Jamison were the grandparents of this Samuel Stewart Jamison (1842-1916) through their son Samuel Shryock Jamison.

I came upon a wonderful article at Ancestry.com that was provided by NewspaperArchives.com. It tells of yet another Samuel Jamison with middle initial M. (1826-1909) who was born in Washington, Indiana, Pennsylvania. This Samuel M. Jamison is also my husband’s 1st cousin 4 times removed. He’s the grandson of John and Elizabeth (Shryock) Jamison through their son John Adams Jamison. This Samuel M. Jamison left Pennsylvania for the gold fields of California 30 March 1850 and sometime after 1860 moved over to Reno, Washoe County, Nevada, where he served for many years as the Postmaster. The Indiana Messenger (Indiana Co, PA) of 2 August 1899 reports this story:

“On Wednesday evening last a fine looking man, wearing a wide rimmed hat and having about him the marks of the westerner, arrived on the evening train. He walked leisurely down town and when nearing the Indiana House, stopped and looked about him, evidently looking for something or some person he did not see. J. T. Jamison walked up to him and said, “Old man, who are you looking for?” The stranger, looking as though he viewed the interrogatory as an impertinence, replied, “Well, I don’t know as it is any of your business, particularly, but I will say I am looking for Thomp. Jamison.” “Indeed!” replied the latter; “I am the man you are looking for and your name is Sam Jamison.” “Right you are”, replied the stranger, as he gave his brother a hearty hand-shake.

Mr. Samuel Jamison is a son of the late John A. Jamison and a brother of M. F. and J. T. Jamison, and Mrs. A. H. Apple. Mrs. Belle Thompson and Mrs. J. M. Watt are his sisters. He was one of the party of gold-seekers who left this place March 30, 1850. The party was composed of Mr. Jamison, Willliam C. Boyle, Lawrence Keslar, Fred. Sprankle and his brother-in-law, William Single; William Stewart, of Greenville; George Spottswood, Daniel Howe, Dr. Armstrong, Daniel Row, Henry Gompers and Solomon Simpson. Mr. Jamison is the only one of the party now living.

The party had wagons built in this place for their long journey and on a cold day in March they started for Pittsburg, a large concourse of our citizens escorting them to the Thompson Moorhead farm, when with uncovered heads, they listened to some kindly advice and an earnest prayer by Rev. D. Blair. At parting Mr. Blair presented each man with a Bible and Mr. Jamison says that book is still in his home and is one of his most valuable possessions. At Pittsburg the party took a boat for St. Louis, where they purchased an outfit of horses and males and shipped wagons and animals by boat to Independence, Missouri, which was the starting point for all California emigrants. At that point they left civilization behind them and commenced their long journey of over 2000 miles to California. It was a long and wearisome trip, and the party suffered many hardships and were in constant fear of attacks from hostile Indians. They were 92 days making the trip, and the health of the party was fairly good, but occasionally their provision hampers would get pretty low. The party arrived at Eldorado county in good shape and at once secured claims and went to mining. Their efforts in this direction did not meet with much success, though they secured some gold and in a few years most of them came back. Spottswood, Gompers, Stewart, Singler and Rowe died in California and  Jamison finally located at Reno, Nevada, where he has since lived. He married and his wife died a number of years ago. He has three daughters and makes his home with one of them and his declining years are made most pleasant by the love and affection of three, as he says, “of the best girls west of the Rocky Mountains.” This is his second visit east since he left in 1850, his former visit being made in 1876. He has an abundance of this world’s goods, a sunny disposition, takes things as they come, and though the oldest of the family, looks younger than most of them.

He will remain here some days and then visit the seashore before returning to his western home. He says that 50 years have wrought great changes in the town and the people, and there are but few of the citizens here now who were known to him when he started west.”

I found it interesting to read about the journey to California. But with the mobility of our society today, it’s hard to imagine leaving a hometown, only to return 26 years later and again 23 years after that. A lot can be learned by reading these old stories and studying the lives they report on.

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