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Donald James Peckham
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Birth: Oct., 1903
Washoe County
Nevada, USA
Death: Apr. 17, 1908
Virginia City
Storey County
Nevada, USA

From the Reno Evening Gazette, Friday, April 17, 1908:


Wandering someplace in the hills near Virginia City or lying crushed and bleeding in one of the deserted mining shafts of the Comstock mining district is little five-year-old Donald Peckham, and tramping the hills are his frantic parents and relatives and their friends, searching for him and hoping they will find him alive.

The little boy is the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Peckham of this city and has been lost since early yesterday morning. when he wandered from the home of his grandmother, Mrs. Kinney, who lives about two miles from Virginia City.

The parents were not notified of this unfortunate affair until early this morning, as the grandmother believed that the boy would soon be found and did not wish to worry them.

All efforts to find the child have failed, however, and many of those searching for him believe that he has fallen into a deserted mining shaft, as hundreds of these shafts are scattered through the hills in the neighborhood of Mrs. Kinney's home.

The little child may have fallen into one of the shafts and been killed, or he may have only been injured and may at this moment be lying at the bottom of some shaft, suffering from his injuries and from thirst and hunger. Again, he may be wandering through the dry canyons, vainly seeking for the way back to his grandmother's home.

James Peckham, who is employed at the Surveyor General's office, left this morning on the Virginia and Truckee train for Virginia City, and the mother was taken to the Comstocks by one of her husband's brothers.

A score of people left Reno this morning to join in the search for the missing child, who if not found before another day has passed will probably die of exhaustion, having been since early yesterday morning without anything to eat or drink.

The child is a grandson of George Peckham, the well-known citizen of Washoe County, who has resided for years on a ranch a few miles south of this city.


From the Reno Evening Gazette, Friday, April 17, 1908:

Special to the Gazette: VIRGINIA CITY, Nevada, April 17:

More than two hundred people are now searching the hills in the vicinity of this city for little Donald Peckham, who wandered away from his grandmother's home yesterday morning.

It is thought by some that he has fallen into a mining shaft near his grandmother's home and has been drowned, and that the body has sunk to the bottom. A charge of dynamite will be placed in the shaft tonight to bring the body to the surface of the water in case it is in the shaft.


From the Reno Evening Gazette, Saturday, April 18, 1908:



After wandering aimlessly for two days and two nights in the steep and rugged hills in the vicinity of Virginia City and sobbing away his strength in crying for his mother, little five-year-old Donald Peckham climbed the steep sides of Mt. Davidson and, nestling against the flag pole on the summit of that cold and barren peak, went to sleep, never to awaken.

His little body, cold in death, was found there this morning at 7:30 o'clock by his father and other weary searchers, who since Thursday morning have tramped the hills night and day, looking for some trace of the lost baby.

The infant son of Mr. and Mrs. James Peckham of this city had gone to the home of his grandmother on American Flat near Virginia City to spend a few days, and on last Thursday morning he left his grandmother's home with his grandfather Pete Kinney, for a tramp along the Virginia and Truckee railroad tracks.

Becoming tired, he started back towards the house. His grandfather watched him until he was nearly to the house and then turned and walked away.

When he returned to his home in less than an hour, he was informed by Mrs. Kinney that the child had not returned and he realized, as did the grandmother, that the baby was lost in the hills or was lying crushed and bleeding at the bottom of some deserted mining shaft.

The grandfather summoned aid from Virginia City, and all the remainder of Thursday the hills were searched for the missing babe. At night he had not been found.

Word was then sent to his parents in this city, and with fear in their hearts they hurried to Virginia City to assist in the search. On arriving at her mother's home, Mrs. Peckham was overcome with grief and had to have the attendance of a physician.

The father, leaving his suffering wife at her mother's home, joined the searchers and all yesterday and last night tramped the hills, hoping and praying to find some trace of his baby boy.

All last night the searchers kept campfires blazing on a hundred hills, hoping that the little boy might see them and still have the strength to reach one and thus defeat death.

The blazing fires were of no use, however, for while they cast their light into the deep fearful shadows of the canyons, little Donald Peckham, with marvelous endurance and courage, trudged up the steep slope of Mt. Davidson, crying for his mother with the sobs dying in his parched and aching throat.

At last reaching his goal, the flag pole on the summit of that high windswept peak, the little boy nestled against it and there sobbed his life away, while the cold winds sapped the remaining strength from his veins and turned his flesh blue with cold.

When the first rays of the morning sun began to color the tops of the cold gray hills, James Peckham, the anxious father, who had sat all night by a glowing campfire listening intently for the cry of his lost son, jumped to his feet and calling to his companions, again began the weary search.

The searchers did not believe the child had climbed Mt. Davidson, that bleak peak that towers more than 2,000 feet above Virginia City, but not wishing to overlook even this lonesome spot, men climbed the hill and at about 7:30 o'clock came upon the body of the little wanderer, cold in death, but appearing only to be asleep.

The body of that little five-year-old boy now lies in an undertaking parlor in Virginia City, while the coroner is holding an inquest, and this evening it will be brought to this city for burial.

In the meantime, the grieving mother and father are at the baby's side, watching over him in his sleep of death.

This is one of the saddest affairs that has occurred in this state in months, and from all over this portion of the community friends of the bereaved parents are extending the deepest sympathy. 
Family links: 
  James Garfield Peckham (1881 - 1961)
  Emily Arvilla Mihills Peckham (1881 - 1967)
  Donald James Peckham (1903 - 1908)
  Edward Mihills Peckham (1904 - 1975)*
  Dorlon Arthur Peckham (1907 - 1976)*
  Margaret Arvilla Peckham Polhemus (1909 - 1979)*
*Calculated relationship
Masonic Memorial Gardens
Washoe County
Nevada, USA
Created by: Alexandra Montgomery
Record added: Jun 02, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 111674400
Donald James Peckham
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Mark's Mom
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Click on image for full size.

- Alexandra Montgomery
 Added: Oct. 31, 2014
Merry Christmas, Donald!
- Alexandra Montgomery
 Added: Dec. 25, 2013

- Alexandra Montgomery
 Added: Nov. 19, 2013
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