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Treasures Are Out There Even In An Empty Trunk

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We all set out on Saturday mornings hoping to find an amazing item. The one that we dream of. For some it may be a piece of jewelry, an antique furniture piece, or a vintage toy.  Others hope to find a wonderful item that they can flip and sell for a nice pile of cash to help fund their dream.  While those scenarios are great- I have to admit that I look for the out of the ordinary item and especially ones that I can see history through.  I especially love old photographs, ephemera and books.

A couple of months ago I heard about a sale in my area. I had never been before, but I knew it was quite popular. (Sometimes that can be bad thing- as all the good stuff is gone quickly). But I got up early anyway.  I went with a friend who is not into collecting (which is a good thing).  I limited myself on money as well…as I really do not need any more to add to the pile.

Right of the bat I see it. A trunk. Those of you who know me know my obsession with trunks and suitcases… I quickly secured the trunk. I did not want to miss any other items while I took it back to my vehicle, so I decided to carry it around with me.  I must say it did not leave my side or my grip.  I added a few more items and then headed back to the vehicle. When I find a trunk or a suitcase, I am a smilin’ from ear to ear for the rest of the day.  I cannot explain my gravitation towards or love for them. 

When I got home- I started to research the trunk. This trunk still had its owner’s address and some other labels on it.  Over the years, I have found many pieces of luggage with a name or initials- and have had no luck determining who their previous owners were.  Well, in this case, I was able to trace back the owner and information about his ancestors back to the 1600’s.  

Here is what I learned about my amazing find!!

The Requa family can trace their roots back to the French protestants of the 17th century. They were descendants of the Huguenots. Born in 1865, Isaac Lawrence Requa was originally from Tarrytown, New York. He migrated out west via a Clipper Ship during the Gold Rush and helped start mines and build railroads. He met his wife in Virginia City and then they relocated to California.  In 1865, he had a son, Mark Lawrence Requa.    

Mark Requa went on to become a geologist and a mining engineer, and he wore a few other “hats” as well.  He served as President of the Eureka and Palisade Railroads.  In 1898, Mark and his wife had a son named Lawrence Kendall Requa.  Mark Requa developed mines and was an avid writer.  But had made a special friend, Herbert Hoover. Yes. You know the one. Mr. Hoover became a U.S. President in 1928. Mr. Requa served under him in several  government positions, as a  business associate, and a campaign manager.  It appears that Mark Requa also served in the Senate.

Throughout the years, Herbert Hoover and Mark Requa, along with their sons, began traveling to amazing places and mapping out geological and mining sites. They traveled from Alaska to Bolivia.   Their travels are well documented.  If you are interested in mining and history- search it out! There is lots of information online.  

Lawrence, also known as L.K. Requa, was an accomplished mining geologist and was able to travel the world. He traveled with Hoover and his father mapping and documenting what they found.  He also went on to open mines in Nevada and Idaho.  

So you may ask- what does your trunk have to do with this family’s history? Well I stumbled upon L.K. Requa’s trunk. In the pictures below, he is seen on the Tipuani River in Bolivia on an excursion. This river is a tributary to the Amazon! Could this trunk have been on that boat? Well, I would like to think so! I can imagine all the wonderful things that he had collected in it!! The man that sold it to me told me it belong to his grandfather. Could this have been passed down in his family as well? Treasures are out there…even in an empty trunk!  

#VINTAGE #antiques  #mines  #trunk  #history #nevada #mining
requa isaac family

In the center are Mrs. and Mrs. Isaac Requa; to the left are Col. and Mrs. Oscar Long and their two children Amy and Sally; on the right are Senator and Mrs. Mark Requa with their two children; Photo from City of Piedmont website]


issac requa

Isaac Requa


mark requa

Mark Lawrence Requa


mark requa book

A book written by Mark Requa

hover requa

Hoover with Mark Requa


Mark Requa Herbert Hoover 1928

Mark Requa and Herbert Hoover

Tipuani River below is pictured Lawrence Requa undertaking the extended evaluations,
Lawrence K. Requa on the Tipuani River in Bolivia.

Hoover´s son Allan, L. K. Requa, and Jeremiah Milbank posing together on horseback in Central America


mark requa grave 2

lk requa grave13820617_1303230663039129_1299443984_n






Johannah Back
I have been a picker\collector\decorator my whole life. I grew up in an eccentric family of artists and collectors. I studied Interior Design- but never finished my degree, as being a mom of two amazing children always seemed to close the door on my college pursuit. I know what inspires and motivates me.

One thought on “Treasures Are Out There Even In An Empty Trunk

  1. Great story Johannah. Thanks for showing it to me when I was there a while back. The Requa family would be proud of your interest and your sharing of their story.

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