Sunday, March 15, 2009
Idah Meacham Strobridge: (1855-1932) – Miner, Writer and Book Binder
[Photo of Strobridge gravestone by Michael Colbruno]
Idah Meacham, born June 9, 1855, spent her childhood on a Lassen Meadows ranch halfway between Winnemucca and Lovelock. Her father built the popular Humboldt House Hotel and Café -- a rest stop for wagon train passengers, railroad workers, Chinese placer miners and Native Americans from the Paiute and Bannock Tribes.
She graduated from the Mills Seminary in Oakland, Calif., in 1883. While there, she met and married Samuel Hooker (Whitmarsh) Strobridge of Auburn, Calif. The young couple moved back to Nevada and ranched near her parents where she gave birth to three sons. Then, the devastating blizzards of 1888-89 killed most of the family's cattle herd. Tragically, within a year, Idah's husband and three sons died.
After losing her family, Idah found solace in work. In July 1895, Mining and Scientific Press reported Idah working on the "Lost Mine" claim. She also established the Artemisia Bindery book binding business, and wrote and published three volumes of books, most based on her experiences and love of the desert. Editors of her Sagebrush Trilogy named her "Nevada's first woman of letters."
In 1901, Idah sold her property and moved to Los Angeles with her parents. Although she lived her final years among the Southern California cultural crowd, her love of the desert's solitude persisted. She created a special retreat in San Pedro called "The Wickieup ... my substitute for the desert. ..."
Idah died Feb. 8, 1932, and is buried in Oakland's Mountain View Cemetery next to her parents, husband, and sons.
[Bio courtesy of Reno Gazette Journal]
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