Emma’s Death

UPDATE: I visited the state hospital this summer and all the grave markers have been removed from the graves but the cemetery for those who died at the hospital is still there. It was almost dug up by a company that purchased the land decades ago for a golf course.

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A memorial placed in the area where the graves of buried patients are located.


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Memorial Project marker


Emma Allison Marchand died on August 17, 1914, 100 years ago. She  died in a state mental hospital in California, having a diagnosis of “senile psychosis” and cause of death by heart disease. She was there for almost 11 years. She is buried there, likely in the unmarked graves that were used for unclaimed bodies. I will be visiting the site this summer.

Rest in Peace, Emma.


A Letter from Emma?

CONFIRMED: This is a response to a letter from Emma. I have seen her letter in Carl Schrz’s papers in the Library of Congress. The signature on it matches one she used to sign Aime Marchand’s citizenship papers.

UPDATE: There is a newspaper article about Sarah Winnemucca in a San Francisco newspaper, possibly by Emma?

I just ran across a reference to a letter from a “Miss Emma Allison” sent to the Secretary of the Interior, Carl Schurz, in 1880. Schurz is thanking this Emma Allison for bring some information about Native Americans to his attention. Did Emma, in her capacity as a writer for the Daily Graphic in New York (still speculative) or in her work as a copyist in the office of the U.S. Surveyor-General in San Francisco (also speculative, but very likely) lead her to write this letter? The letter itself is not yet available but may be among Schurz’s papers which I will search next. More intrigue…here is Schurz’s response to her:


The Chief Winnemucca mentioned here was a famous leader of the Norther Paiute. The Malheur reservation was established for the Paiutes but was abandoned during their battles with the U.S. government and was then returned to non-Indian control.

The next letter that is available in Schurz’s record of correspondences as Secretary of the Interior (see volume 3, page 501) is one to the famous author Helen Hunt Jackson who would write Ramona in 1884,  a sympathetic novel about Native Americans. The letter to Jackson is also about Native Americans. Was there some connection between the women?

The search goes on…