Thomas H. Hansbrow's early life is a bit obscure, but he was born in 1826 and was a tinner before he traveled from Illinois to the gold rush in California. There he ran a stove and hardware store and invented a pump which won awards at the World's Fair of 1862. He was a rather important figure in Sacramento during the 1850s and 1860s, serving as the Superintendent of the City Water Works and as a member of the Board of Supervisors. He was a director of the California State Agricultural Society and served as a state assemblyman from 1865-1866. He died in 1868.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of one manuscript which has been separated into 4 folders and 19 pieces of correspondence arranged by date and 30 pieces of ephemera arranged by subject. The manuscript is the memoir of Thomas H. Hansbrow's brother-in-law, Samuel A. Randel, and there are sections which relate to Hansbrow's marriage and travel to California in 1849. Mostly, the manuscript recounts the author's family history and his personal life. There are many descriptions of his boyhood in Illinois in the 1840s and 1850s. Most of the correspondence is to Thomas H. Hansbrow regarding the various pumps he designed for mining, steamers, agriculture and railroads. There are a few letters regarding family and friends. The ephemera consists of 30 items. It contains diagrams and graphs of the pumps Hansbrow designed and sold, his wife's will, materials from Hansbrow's involvement in the World's Fair and newspaper articles regarding Hansbrow. Subjects in the collection include: California State Agricultural Society; DePauw University; Farm life in Illinois; inventors of California; history of Macoupin County, Ill.; Design and construction of Pumping machinery; the United States Civil War; and Voyages to the Pacific coast.