• Call Number: C1446_c6
    Container: Box 1 Folder 6

Mowry, Sylvester, Letter to His Father

1 folder

This collection is stored at Firestone Library.

Requests will be delivered to Manuscripts Division, RBSC Reading Room .

Accession Number: AM 2017-50

Collection Creator: Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections..

Dates: 1853 November 27.

Located In: Box 1 Folder 6;

Extent: 1 folder

Languages: English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.


Eight-page letter detailing the survey expedition for the Northern route of the Pacific Railroad across the Cascade Range in July-November 1853. Mowry's letter provides a thorough account of the expedition from its departure from Fort Vancouver on July 27th, 1853, until its return four months later on November 18th. He describes crossing the Cascade Range at the 46th latitude; surveying the Yakima River basin where they found a French Catholic mission; trips to Fort Dalles, Fort Okanogan, up the Okanagan River to British territory, and to the Great Okanagan Lake; meeting in Fort Colville with Governor Isaac Stevens, the head of the Northern Pacific Survey; and returning down the Columbia River via Fort Walla Walla and Fort Dalles. Mowry mentions other expedition members, including Lieutenant Duncan (3rd Artillery, astronomer, topographer, and draughtsman) and Lieutenant Hodges (4th Artillery, quartermaster, and commissary); describes the newly surveyed territory, mentioning volcanic activity and discovery of gold in the Cascades; and shares his opinion on railway construction and other uses of the land.

The year on the letter appears to be 1883, though this is likely an erratum based on the letter's author and content.


Sylvester Mowry (1830-1871) was a member of the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey expedition up the valley of the Columbia River and its tributaries across the Cascade Range. He later participated in surveying activities in the Southwest before becoming the proprietor of the Mowry Silver Mine in Arizona.

Preferred Citation

Mowry, Sylvester, Letter to His Father; 1853 November 27; Princeton University Library Collection of Western Americana Miscellaneous Manuscripts, , Box 1 Folder 6; Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

    Suggest a correction