Thursday, August 26, 2010

Samuel M. Jamison: Reno’s First Postmaster

Jamison SM life ended

The headline above was printed in the Reno Evening Gazette September 9, 1909. I wrote about this Samuel Jamison on Sunday, August 21st in a post here.

This is the text of the article:

After a lifetime spent in usefulness, both in a private and a public capacity, the last 50 years of which witnessed the progress of the western county from the era of the prairie schooner and ox team in which he traveled in the '50s to the golden west, to that wherein the steel bands of rails gripped the mountains into a united whole, Samuel M. Jamison, pathfinder, pioneer and one of the founders of Reno, passed quietly out yesterday over the lonesome trail of the Great Divide.

Behind him he left two daughters, Mrs. N. W. Roff, widow of the late Nate W. Roff, and Mrs. W. H. McInnis, and one son, Lisle M. Jamison, the present councilman form the second ward. Seven grandsons also survive.

Mrs. Jamison died 14 years ago, at the age of 68 years, in the same house, known as the old Jamison residence, on Third street, where her surviving souse breathed his last yesterday.

Samuel Jamison was one of the few men really entitled to the much-abused term of pioneer. He was born in Indiana Pennsylvania, nearly 84 years ago, and at an early age crossed the plains, in 1850. He was at Georgetown, Placer County, California, Cementville, Yankee Jim, and was one of the multitude that scrambled for locations in the Meadow Lake excitement. He conducted the post office and telegraph office at Yankee Jim in 1853 and followed the Central Pacific lines to Cisco. From there he followed the railroad  to Reno, in 1868, and was here when the town was begun. In 1869 he was appointed postmaster at Reno, and he continued in that office until 1884.

S. M. Jamison's Dry Goods Store, on Second Street, was one of the first stores in Reno.

Mr. Jamison was always prominent in Masonic circles, and was one of the first secretaries of the Reno Lodge, having been secretary of Reno Lodge No. 13 for over 37 years.

Mr. Jamison was a familiar character in Reno for years past, and he was long held an authority on early times and events. Up to a short time ago his health remained good, but about two weeks ago he was taken ill and from that time failed rapidly. Death was due to a general breaking down from old age.

The funeral will probably take place Sunday.

So he “passed quietly over the lonesome trail of the Great Divide.” I love the descriptions and style of writing we find in the days of the early 20th century. As I’ve researched this cousin of my husband this week, I’ve found references to his diary, as parts of it were published in the Reno Historical Society Quarterly. I know where my next research query will take me! 

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