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RG3459.AM:  Henry Martyn Pomeroy, 1830-1916

Diary (on microfilm):  1857-1860

Florence, Douglas County, Neb.:  Traveler

Size:  2 items on 1 reel of microfilm


Henry Martyn Pomeroy was born in Gallipolis, Ohio, on April 27, 1830, the son of Augustus ad Susan Lincoln Pomeroy. In the late 1830s the family became pioneer settlers of Lacon, Illinois, where Henry attended a private academy. He wrote an occasional column for the Lacon newspaper under several pseudonyms. Pomeroy lived for a time in Florence, Nebraska, where he was Secretary of the Vigilance Committee in 1857. In September of 1858 Pomeroy moved to Harrison County, Iowa, to teach school. In May of 1859 he left from Nebraska on a journey to the California gold fields where he remained for a few months before resuming his travels through Arizona Territory and Texas to New Orleans and then up the Mississippi River to return to his family in Cleveland, Ohio.

Pomeroy married Frances M. Mills in Denver, Colorado, on November 14, 1871. The two were apparently not compatible. While his wife ran a successful publishing company with her sisters in Adrian, Michigan, Pomeroy traveled in the West most of his life. The Pomeroys did not formally separate, but rather declared that his work required him to be away from home. Henry M. Pomeroy died in Oakland, California, in 1916.


This collection consists of two items on one reel of microfilm: 1) Diary of Henry Martyn Pomeroy, 1857-1860; and 2) Annotated Transcript of Part of the Diary of Henry Martyn Pomeroy, 1859, May 12-Sept. 9. The diary of Henry Martyn Pomeroy is divided into four sections. The first part contains the constitution and minutes of the Vigilance Committee, Florence, Nebraska, formed on May 29, 1857, for “the promotion of the peace and happiness of the community at large…” The minutes, which continue until July 30, 1857, contain lists of members as well as accounts of minor vandalism and disturbances of the peace. In September of 1858 Pomeroy moved to Harrison County, Iowa, where he taught school while he lived with the family of judge Stephen King. Pomeroy recorded some of his experiences at school as well as his reflections on marriage and family life and his reading.

On May 12, 1859, he began a journey from Little Papillion Creek in Nebraska to California where he remained from September of 1859 to March of 1860. During these months he supported himself by chopping wood while he panned for gold. He then continued his trip through Arizona Territory and Texas to New Orleans where he caught a steamboat up the Mississippi River to Cincinnati, Ohio. Throughout the course of his journey Pomeroy recorded his observations on the climate, terrain, and inhabitants of the territory through which he passed, as well as commenting on books and magazines which he read. The entry for January 1, 1860, contains a summary of Pomeroy’s activities during the preceding year. The final section in this volume covers the period August 1 through October 16, 1860, when Pomeroy lived in Cleveland, Ohio, and worked in a music store run by his brother, Thomas Sanford Pomeroy.

Item 2 of this collection consists of an annotated typescript of that portion of Pomeroy’s diary which concerns his journey from Nebraska to California, May 12-September 9, 1859. The transcript was made in January of 1966 by Dexter Thompson, a student in Dr. John Kemble’s class in Western American Studies at the Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California.

This collection was loaned for microfilming in July of 1975. The original diary and transcript are not held by the Nebraska State Historical Society.

See the Nebraska History index for various references to Henry Pomeroy.


Reel 1


  1. Diary of Henry Martyn Pomeroy, 1857-1860

  2. Annotated Transcript of Part of the Diary of Henry Martyn Pomeroy, May 12-September 9, 1859



Arizona Territory — History

California — Gold discoveries

Douglas County (Neb.) — History

Florence (Neb.) — History

Gold mines and mining — California

Law enforcement — Nebraska — Florence

Overland journey to California

Pomeroy, Henry Martyn, 1830-1916

Steam navigation — Mississippi River Valley

Teachers — Iowa

Vigilance committees — Nebraska


APD/ct   07-17-1975

Encoded TMM   03-10-2011