Snowshoe Thompson’s Grave

Did somebody really try to steal Snowshoe Thompson’s headstone?

It’s not your average souvenir, but back in the 1940s, the rumor spread that someone had indeed tried to make off with Snowshoe’s headstone. The threat was deemed so serious that local kids began taking up a collection. Their plan: anchor the historic headstone in two feet of concrete so it could never be stolen. And who could turn down a donation for that worthy cause!

Snowshoe Thompson’s grave. Note the misspelling of his name. Photo by Rick Dustman.

By late May, 1948, the materials had been purchased and a group of Genoa volunteers assembled to do the heavy labor. Today that protective concrete cap — and Snowshoe’s historic headstone — remain firmly in place. And the concrete covering brought with it one other helpful plus: that portion of the plot no longer needs weeding!

Agnes Scossa's (Thompson) gravestone in Genoa Cemetery.

Agnes Scossa’s (Thompson) gravestone in Genoa Cemetery. Photo by Rick Dustman.

If you’d like to visit Snowshoe’s historic grave (and those of many other pioneers), stop by the Old Genoa Cemetery. The cemetery association has thoughtfully provided signs with arrows directing you to Snowshoe’s burial site at the upper northwest corner of the old burying ground. While you’re there, say hello to Agnes, his wife, who’s also buried in the Thompson plot.

To read more about Snowshoe Thompson and his headstone, click here for more of the tale. 

For those who diligently looked at the photographs, “Thompson” is actually misspelled on the headstone (as “Thomson”). And Agnes remarried after Snowshoe died, so she was indeed Snowshoe’s wife but her headstone says Agnes *Scossa*.

Genoa Cemetery

Learn about the fascinating Carson Valley pioneers at Genoa Cemetery! Pick up a copy of “The Old Genoa Cemetery” for a virtual tour of the people and their stories. It’s available at Carson Valley Museum, Dangberg Home Ranch State Park, and

Story by Karen Dustman, a local author who shares her passion for history through her fun books, blog, and free history newsletter. Contact her at