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John H. Purdy correspondence to James L. Purdy

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 862

Scope and Contents

Handwritten correspondence from John Purdy to his brother, James, about his overland journey by ox team from Columbus, Ohio, to California in 1849. Purdy is an intelligent and detailed writer. He describes various companies' rules and regulations and his attempts to join a suitable group traveling to California. Purdy's company encountered Native Americans and two of his party were killed. He also mentions his visit to Salt Lake City and how the company made their own road to Los Angeles, California. The collection also includes a number of letters to James Purdy from his business associates at Sacramento, California. John worked in a printing office, in the police department at Los Angeles, and applied for the position of office collector for the port of Humboldt at Sacramento. At the end of the copies of letters, there is an account of loans and expenses.


  • 1849-1851


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from John H. Purdy correspondence to James L. Purdy must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical note

John H. Purdy (1791-1876) was a printer and miner in California in the mid-1800s.

John H. Purdy was born in 1791 to Patrick Brady Purdy and Jennett Jane Wallace in Hopewell, Pennsylvania. John H. Purdy moved to California in 1849, funded by his brother, James H. Purdy, who was a successful lawyer, publisher, banker and railroad entrepeneur in Mansfield, Ohio. John found work in a printing office and the mines during the summer. He also assisted in the survey of the land for the city of Humbolt. John died on July 31, 1876.


2 folders (0.07 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.

Existence and Location of Copies

Transcriptions of letters available in folder 2.

Register of John H. Purdy correspondence to James L. Purdy
Benjamin Sipes
2011 May 23
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States