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Percival Nash Collection, 1870-1929

Collection Overview

Title: Percival Nash Collection, 1870-1929


Primary Creator: Nash, Percival

Extent: 0.33 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Percival Nash Collection consists of copies of Nash's diary (1904-1906), a 1903 letter from Percival Nash to Gifford Nash, and article manuscripts by Nash. Also included are copies of photographs of Percival Nash in the Yukon and of Nash Family members.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Percival Nash was born January 30, 1874 in the village of Down, England, the fifth of eleven children born to Wallis Nash and Louisa D’Amuty Nash. Not long after Percival was born the family immigrated to the Unites States, settling in in Summit, Oregon by 1880. Wallis Nash served as an early member of Oregon State Agricultural College’s Board of Regents, and financially contributed to the building of Community Hall (what was then called Benton Hall). Wallis also authored several books on Oregon including Two Years in Oregon, Oregon: There and Back in 1877, The Settler’s Handbook to Oregon, and A Lawyer’s Life on Two Continents.

Percival Nash began his academic career at the State Agricultural College of Oregon (SAC) in 1888. During his time at SAC, he had the distinction of having played in both the very first football game on SAC’s campus – played against Albany College (now Lewis & Clarck College) November 11, 1893 – and the first Civil War game against the University of Oregon (UO). Nash played starting left half in the game against Albany College, scoring four touchdowns; SAC beat Albany College 62 to zero. Nash played with a dislocated shoulder in the game against UO – played November 3, 1894 – and SAC went on to beat UO 16 to zero.

After his graduation in 1893, Nash stayed on at Oregon State Agricultural College to do post-graduate work, which included serving as a voluntary meteorological observation data recorder for the Agricultural Experiment Station (July 1895-June 1895). In 1898, Nash left for Canada, gold mining and fur trapping near Dawson City in the Yukon Territory. In 1902, Nash, together with a man named Frank Braine and First Nations people from Fort Good Hope, established a trading post at Lansing Creek, near where the Northern Tutchone and Upper Stewart River people had historically gathered annually.

Nash left Canada in 1906, briefly relocating to San Franscisco, where he took up “literary work.” An article he wrote, A Day in the Land of the Moose, was published in the March 1907 issue of Pacific Monthly, and describes camping along the south fork of the Stewart River near Dawson City during marten-trapping season. In the article, he relates hunting for moose to provide meat for the season, and images included in the article show Nash with a dead bull moose, his winter camp along the Stewart River, and an abandoned camp used by “indian hunters.”

By 1907, Nash was working as a surveyor and Assistant Secretary of the Manhattan Dexter Mining Company in Manhattan, Nevada. On November 23, 1912, Nash married Mary Cole in Cuba, New York. Percy, Mary and their children – Betty, Louis, Eldredge, Oliver, and Jean – lived in Manhattan until 1916 when they moved to Tonopah, Nevada; after a year in Tonopah, the family moved to Reno, Nevada where Nash worked as a prohibition enforcement agent. In April 1929, Nash was selected to serve as Chief of Police in Las Vegas, Nevada and the family relocated there. Nash would eventually resign his position as Chief of Police to become Deputy Food and Drug Inspector for southern Nevada under S.C. Dinsmore, a position he held at the time of his death.

Nash was a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Nevada, Reno; an active member of the Las Vegas Rotary Club; and for many years was active in local rifle teams. Percival Nash passed away in Las Vegas, Nevada August 23, 1937.

Author: Rachel Lilley

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 box, including 78 photographs

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The materials were originally donated to Oregon State University's Horner Museum by Betty Nash Carlson, Percival Nash's daughter, in 1985 and 1986. They were transferred to the University Archives from the Horner Museum in 1996.

Related Materials: Percival Nash's photographs of Manhattan, Nevada were donated to the University of Nevada, Reno's Special Collections and University Archives in 2016.

Preferred Citation: Percival Nash Collection (MSS NashP), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: This collection is not fully processed and a complete finding aid is not available at this time.


Nash, Percival

People, Places, and Topics

University History

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