Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Farnham, Thomas Jefferson

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FARNHAM, Thomas Jefferson, author, b. in Vermont in 1804; d. in California in September, 1848. He was a lawyer, but in 1839 organized and took the command of a small expedition across the continent to Oregon. He went to California the same year, and was instrumental in procuring the release of a large number of American and English citizens who had been imprisoned by the Mexican government. He is the author of “Travels in Oregon Territory” (1842); “Travels in California, and Scenes in the Pacific” (1845); “A Memoir of the Northwest Boundary-Line” (1845); and “Mexico, its Geography, People, and Institutions” (1846). — His wife, Eliza Woodson, philanthropist, b. in Rensselaerville, N. Y., 17 Nov., 1815; d. in New York city, 15 Dec., 1864. Her maiden name was Burhans. She removed to Illinois in 1835, and was married there in 1836, but returned to New York in 1841. In 1844 she accepted an appointment as matron of the female department of the State prison at Sing Sing, that she might prove the possibility of governing such an institution by kindness alone. She met with unqualified success, and retained the office till 1848, when she removed to Boston, and was for several months connected with the management of the Institution for the blind. In 1849 she visited California, and remained there until 1856, when she returned to New York. For the two years following she devoted herself to the study of medicine, and in 1859 organized a society to assist destitute women in finding homes in the west, taking charge in person of several companies of this class of emigrants. She subsequently returned to California. While matron at Sing Sing, she published her “Life in Prairie-Land,” and edited Samson's “Criminal Jurisprudence.” She is also the author of “California, Indoors and Out,” and “My Early Days” (1859). Her most elaborate work is contained in “Woman and Her Era” (2 vols., 1864).