Two bright, educated men from Philadelphia headed west in 1849 to discover their fortunes before there was such a thing as the Comstock Lode.  Leaving behind letters that chronicled their victories and heartbreaks, Ethan and Hosea Grosh ventured into Nevada’s Gold Canyon, finding silver and tragedy around the corner.

The Grosh brothers’ thoughtful and eloquent writings, acquired by the Nevada Historical Society in 2007, are now available in “The Gold Rush Letters of E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh,” in a new book edited by Ronald M. James and Robert E. Stewart. James is the long-time Nevada state historic preservation officer and Stewart is a Nevada historian. Together they have published nearly a dozen books on the West.

To commemorate the historic publication, the Nevada State Museum has planned a talk with the editors Thursday, Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m.  James and Stewart will sign books and talk about the unique project that gives a first-hand view of life in both San Francisco and Nevada’s Great Basin including the politics of slavery, the frustration of mining and the search for wealth that drew them deep into the mountains, eventually into what is now Nevada.

Though the letters show the brothers were filled with optimism and enthusiasm, the pair would meet an early and tragic end in 1857, paying the price for exploration in the harsh terrain of the Great Basin. The book describes the region’s history via the recovered letters, disintegrating and scorched by fire, nearly illegible but preserved by the family.

“The letters are an important record of Nevada’s early history,” said NHS Director Shery Hayes Zorn.   “We acquired these letters back in 2007, but now the book has made it possible for everyone to see and learn about the brothers’ story.” Publication of the book was made possible with funds from Nevada Humanities in collaboration with the University of Nevada Press.

The event coincides with Nevada Heritage month. Admission is $8 for adults, free for museum members and children 17 or under.  The Nevada State Museum is located at 600 N. Carson Street, Carson City. For information, contact 687-4810 ext. 237 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Books will be available for signing by the authors and sell for $29.95.