History of Nevada, 1881, Thompson and West. Pages 401-425

[p.401]
CHAPTER XLIV.
HISTORY OF ESMERALDA COUNTY.

Organization and Boundaries | Conflict of Authority | Double Courts and Double Election | Unpaid Warrants | Financial Statement | Change of Boundaries | Appointments and Election | Topography, Mines, and Agriculture | Settlement of Mason Valley | Albert James Barrett | Albert H. Erway | J. J. Fox | John Burrard Gallagher | Adam Herbold | C. Hernleben | Angus McLeod | Bernhard H. Reymers | Abner Stanton Richardson | Warren Benjamin Saunders | Settlement of Smith’s Valley | T. B. Smith | Columbus Mining District | Esmeralda Mining District | Gold Mountain | Lida Valley and other Mining Districts | W. H. Spragg | J. C. Hinds | Abandoned Districts | Principal Towns and Cities | Execution of Desperadoes in 1864 | Grand Jury Report.

    ONE of the nine counties into which the Territory of Nevada was divided by the Act of the First Territorial Legislature, approved November 25, 1861, was the county of Esmeralda, with the seat of justice at Aurora. The following boundaries were given:
    Beginning at a point where the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude intersects the one hundred and sixteenth meridian, and running west along said thirty-seventh parallel to the California line; thence along said line, in a northwesterly direction, to the summit of the divide between the east and west forks of the Walker River; thence along said divide, in a northerly direction, to the head-waters of Desert Creek; thence, following down the middle of, said creek, to a point where it debouches from the mountain; thence, following the base of the mountain, to the west branch of Walker River; thence across said river to the base of the mountain; thence, following the base of the mountain in a direct line, as near as may be, to Mason’s Ranch; thence due east to the one hundred and sixteenth meridian; thence south along said meridian, to place of beginning.
    This vast tract, 275 by 140 miles in extent, as in the case of Humboldt and Churchill Counties, was composed chiefly of outside and unexplored territory--a country that was considered worthless, and was devoid of white inhabitants, The only people within its limits were those scattered along the route of travel from Carson to Aurora, in Mason and Smith Valleys, and in the town of Aurora itself. The balance of the county, embracing all of the territory of Nye County, then belonging to Nevada, was a barren, unknown waste.


    The uncertainty of the exact location of the eastern boundary line of the State of California kept Aurora a bone of contention between that State and the Territory of Nevada for two years. The spring of 1861 finding Aurora a new and rapidly growing town, and Monoville, also a new town of some importance, the California Legislature organized the county of Mono, by Act of March 24, 1861, and established the seat of justice at Aurora. The territory included in the new county embraced that lying between Amador and Fresno Counties, and between the summit of the Sierra and the eastern line of the State. The Act provided also for an election, to be held June 1, 1861, for County Clerk and ex officio Recorder and Auditor, Sheriff and ex officio Collector, District Attorney, Assessor, Treasurer, Surveyor, Coroner and three Supervisors. The Governor was to appoint a County Judge. These officers were to hold office for the full term, commencing at the next annual election for Assemblyman. The new county was attached to Tuolumne for representative purposes. P. J. Hickey, W. M. Boring, E. W. Casey, C. N. Noteware, L. A. Brown, G. W. Bailey and T. A. Lane were appointed a Board of Commissioners to supervise the election and issue certificates.
    In accordance with the above Act an election was held June 1, 1861, and resulted in the choice of the following officers for Mono County, California, nearly all of whom were residents of Aurora: County Clerk, R. M. Wilson; Sheriff, N. F. Scott; District Attorney, R. E. Phelps; Assessor, J. H. Smith; Treasurer, William Feast; Surveyor, L. Tuttle; Supervisors, E. Green, Charles R. Worland and J. S. Schultz. The Governor of California appointed J. A. Moutrie County Judge.
    Governor Nye arrived in Nevada in July, 1861, and in dividing the Territory into Council and Representative [p.402] Districts, became convinced that Aurora was within the limits of Nevada, and therefore made it, with a large tract of adjacent country, Council District One, with one Councilman and two Representatives. August 24, 1861, the Esmeralda Union Club, a large patriotic association of Aurora, recommended an election of members of the Territorial Legislature, in accordance with the proclamation of Governor Nye, and also sent R. M. Howland, H. G. Phillips, L. A. Brown, W. E. Johnston, F. K. Bechtel and Samuel Young to Carson City to attend the Union Convention for the nomination of a candidate for Delegate to Congress. An election was accordingly held August 31, 1861, resulting in the choice of John W. Pugh for the Council and Samuel Youngs and William E. Teell for the House of Representatives. These gentlemen sat in that body and helped frame the first laws of the Territory of Nevada, while the city from which they came, and which contained nine-tenths of the population of the district they represented, was the county seat of Mono County, California, and was governed by officers elected and acting under the laws of California.
    It was by this first Territorial Legislature that the county of Esmeralda was created with Aurora as the county seat, making that city the seat of justice of two counties, under the laws of one State and one Territory, and complicating matters as much as it was possible to do. California by no means relinquished her claim to the disputed territory, upon the above action of the Nevada authorities, but her Legislature continued to exercise its jurisdiction, and to grant toll, water and gas franchises in the city of Aurora and vicinity. The Nevada Legislature, not desiring to press matters until the boundary line could be definitely determined, excepted Esmeralda from the provisions of the Act of November 28, 1861, calling an election of county officers for January 14, 1862, preferring to leave the disputed territory under the authority of the Mono County officers until the boundary question could be settled. The same Act granted the Governor power to appoint officers and organize the county of Esmeralda, whenever in his opinion it was desirable to do so.
    By Act of March 26, 1861, the California Legislature appointed a Commissioner to act in concert with the United States Surveyor in locating the boundary line, and appropriated $10,000 to defray the expenses. By Act of November 29, 1861, the Nevada Legislature appropriated $1,000 for the same purpose. Nothing was accomplished by either, and the year 1862 passed without the vexed question being settled. The disputed line ran in a southeast direction from the point where the thirty-ninth parallel of north latitude intersects the one hundred and twentieth degree of longitude west from Greenwich, to the point where the thirty-fifth parallel of north latitude intersects the Colorado River. The citizens of Aurora were divided in their inclinations and ideas. Those who preferred forming a portion of California maintained that the line ran northeast of Aurora by the Five-mile House, while those who desired to be in Nevada were just as positive that the line passed southwest of the city and through the Bodie District. There was but little else than the inclination of the people that decided their opinions as to the location of this line, an actual case of “the wish being father of the thought.” As a rule the Republicans were in favor of Nevada, and the Democrats of California, and as at that time the Republicans were in a large majority, California stock was quoted very low. In 1862 Judge Moutrie resigned, and Judge Baldwin was appointed. The same year Sheriff Scott was killed by Indians on Owens River, and G. W. Bailey was appointed to the vacancy.
    At the election of September 3, 1862, the county of Esmeralda riot having been fully organized and the terms of the Mono County officials not having expired, there was no election for county officers whatever. There were, however, chosen four members of the Territorial House of Representatives, John W. Pugh, Councilman from the First District, holding over as a member of the Territorial Council for Esmeralda County. The gentlemen elected were as follows: John S. Ross, Arthur M. McKeel, J. W. Calder, A. D. Allen. The last-named gentleman did not take his seat, and Esmeralda had but three Representatives in the second session of the Territorial Legislature.
    The first officer of Esmeralda County was John F. Kidder, who was appointed Surveyor by the Governor, July 8, 1862, followed by the appointment on the twenty-second of the following December, of Wm. M. Dixon as District Attorney.
    On the second of December, 1862, the Nevada Legislature passed a joint resolution, requesting the Governor to organize Esmeralda County as soon as practicable, but he did not consider matters sufficiently settled to do so at that time. In February, 1863, the conflict between Roop and Plumas Counties over the Honey Lake region brought matters to a crisis, and steps were taken to bring the boundary difficulty to a final settlement. By the Act of April 27, 1863, the California Legislature directed the Surveyor General of that State to establish the point of intersection of the thirty-ninth parallel of north latitude, and the one hundred and twentieth degree of west longitude, and to survey the State line from that point north to the Oregon line, and southeast to the Colorado River. The same Act appropriated 825,000 to defray the expenses of the survey, and requested the Nevada authorities to appoint some one to act in conjunction with the Surveyor General. Acting Governor Clemens appointed Butler Ives as Boundary Commissioner on the part of Nevada, and the survey was thus jointly undertaken.
    No sooner had the initial point of the survey been established in the clear waters of Lake Tahoe, than [p.403] the Governor became convinced that Aurora was in Nevada Territory, and June 22, 1863, appointed the following officers: Sheriff, D. G. Francis; Clerk, Cyril Hawkins; Commissioners, C. D. Wingate, Samuel Youngs and John F. Moore. Samuel Youngs declined the appointment, and the following day John Hawkins was appointed in his stead; he also resigned on the first of August. It was the duty of these officers to organize the county and prepare for an election of county officers at the next general election in September.


    In the month of July, 1863, Judge Turner, Chief Justice of the Territory, and assigned by Governor Nye as Judge of the Second District, opened a term of the District Court for Nevada in Aurora. At the same time Judge Baldwin, of Mono County, was holding county court, and the novelty was presented of two courts sitting concurrently, exercising jurisdiction by virtue of authority derived from distinct sources. By wise and judicious management, no conflict of authority was inaugurated, and the session of each court was held quietly and with no interference with the proceedings of the other. Causes were brought in either court, as the litigants preferred, the majority being taken before Judge Baldwin, his court being held there regularly.
    When the second day of September, 1863, arrived, the boundary line had not been surveyed as far south as Aurora, and the uncertainty of location was still as great as ever. The term of office of the Mono County officials, elected in 1861, expired, and it became necessary to elect their successors. A brilliant idea was conceived; they would hold two elections, one for Mono and one for Esmeralda. Full tickets were nominated by both Republicans and Democrats, making four in all, two for each county. In Aurora the election was lively. The polls for the Esmeralda election were held in Armory Hall, and those for Mono in the Police Station, some distance away on the same street. Considerable hilarity was exhibited and good feeling prevailed, people voting at one place and then passing down the street to vote at the other, thus making sure to hit it on one side if they missed it on the other.
    The Republican ticket was successful in both contests.

FOR MONO COUNTY.

    County Clerk, John Hawkins; Sheriff, H. J. Teel ; Treasurer, E. R. , Rhoades ; Assessor, J. H. Smith.
    At this time Judge Baldwin was holding a term of the County Court, and when the line had passed Aurora, leaving it in Nevada, objection was made to the jurisdiction of the court in the case then before the court, and it was sustained by the Judge, who declined to try any more cases in Aurora.
    Within twenty days after the election those engaged in the boundary survey reached Aurora and passed to the southwest, leaving the city in Nevada, much to the disgust of some of the strong adherents of California, who asserted that the surveyors ran the lines around Aurora in order to leave it in Nevada, and there are some of them who maintain to this day that there is a jog in the State line. In order to obviate any possible difficulty in regard to the legality of the Esmeralda County election of September 2, 1863, the Governor appointed, on the nineteenth of that month, the officers that had been elected, adding to the list A. S. Peck, as County Judge, and all were sworn into office on the twenty-second of September.
    As soon as the question of location was settled, R. M. Wilson and William Feast, officers elected for Mono County, loaded all the records upon a wagon and took them across the line to the then little town of Bodie, and the next spring, when Bridgeport was declared the county seat of Mono, took them to that place. An Act approved February 9, 1864, to have these records transcribed, was repealed January 10, 1865, because of opposition by citizens of Esmeralda, who were not willing to pay $10,000 for that purpose, and the law was never carried into effect farther than to expend $300 for the necessary books.
    The officers for Mono County elected in 1863, nearly all remained in Aurora, and their places were filled by appointment by the Governor of California; R. M. Wilson, the County Clerk, removed to Bridgeport, and William Feast continued to discharge the duties of Treasurer, although residing in Aurora, until his death in the summer of 1864. H. J. Teel who was elected Sheriff of Mono County, was appointed Deputy Sheriff of Esmeralda, by Sheriff Francis, there having been an agreement made by them before the election, that in whichever county Aurora was decided to be, the one elected sheriff of that county should appoint the other his deputy.


    The taxes for 1861 and 1862 were collected in Aurora for Mono County, but those for 1863 were not; and as soon as the money in the treasury became exhausted outstanding warrants remained unpaid. When the county seat was settled at Bridgeport the officers of Mono County refused payment on all previously issued warrants, on the ground that the expense was incurred in and for the benefit of Aurora, and that Esmeralda County should pay them. There are outstanding now some $20,000 of these old warrants, the larger portion of which have been collected together, and suit is now pending to compel Mono County to pay them.


    The Board of County Commissioners elected in 1863 met on the twenty-ninth of September, and divided the county into three townships, Aurora, Sweetwater, and Excelsior District, being the election precinct established in each. The brick building [p.404] on the corner of Pine and Silver Streets, now owned by the county, was leased of Preble, De Noe & Co. for $250 per month, to be used as a Court House. The jail that had been erected by the Mono County authorities was also leased. In December, 1864, the Court House was purchased by the county for $12,000, for which county warrants were issued. After considerable discussion about the best manner in which to redeem these warrants, and after the Commissioners bad made and rescinded two orders for the issue of bonds for that purpose, one for $22,000, and the other for $25,000, there were issued in October, 1865, bonds to the amount of $11,500, and all warrants on the Court House Fund then outstanding were paid. These bonds bore interest at the rate of two per cent. per month; and in December, 1871, $8,000 in bonds, with interest at the rate of one and a half per cent. per month, were issued to redeem the old bonds still outstanding. In 1874 a jail was made in the Court House building at an expense of about $1,500, and two bonds of $500 each were issued, due in one year, with interest at one and a half per cent. per month, which were paid. In September, 1877, the house and lot known as the Kidd House were purchased for $500 of S. B. Smith, to be used as a county hospital. Under the Act of March 14, 1877, amended January 31, 1879, the Commissioners issued $10,000 on the eleventh of February, 1879, to provide for current expenses. They were made to fall due $2,000 each year after the fifth year, interest ten percent. per annum. The total debt of the county at the present time is $32,915. Amount of cash in the treasury, $10,767.


    By the Act of February 16, 1864, creating the county of Nye, Esmeralda lost more than half of its territory, all that portion east of the meridian of 40° 30’ west of Washington being set off into the new county. This Act was amended March 9, 1865, by making the line of the one hundred and seventeenth degree of longitude west from Greenwich the line of division, thus restoring a narrow strip of what had been taken. By the Act of March 5, 1869, the boundary between Nye and Esmeralda was declared to be a line running from the intersection of the California line by the meridian of longitude 40° 15’ west from Washington, north to the thirty-eighth parallel of north latitude; thence northwesterly to the hot springs on the Wellington and Reese River road; thence north to the thirty-ninth parallel of north latitude. The Act of February 26, 1875, changed the eastern line to the meridian of longitude 40° 7’; thence north to the thirty-eight parallel northwesterly to Hot Springs, and north to the thirty-ninth parallel, as before, leaving the boundaries as they exist at present, the northern boundary never having been changed.


    A complete list of the officers of the county from its organization down to the present time is herewith given, together with the date of appointment or election of each. The vacancies in office by death, resignation or removal, if any have occurred, will also be noted, with the names of the persons selected to fill the same.

SENATORS.

    J. J. Coddington, elected Councilman under Territorial organization September 2, 1863; B. S. Mason and William Wetherall, elected Senators under the provisions of a State Constitution, January 19, 1864, but never qualified as the Constitution was rejected; J. C. Parks, elected Councilman September 7, 1864; Lewis Doran and John Ives, elected Senators November 8, 1864; B. S. Mason and Lewis Doran, elected November 6, 1866; T. W. Abraham, elected November 3, 1868; W. M. Boring, elected November 8, 1870; J. G. McClinton and Frank Campbell, elected November 5, 1872-Campbell to fill vacancy caused by the death of W. M. Boring; A. Garrard, elected November 3, 1874; John B. Gallagher, elected November 5, 1878.

ASSEMBLYMEN.

    J. W. Calder, Jacob Hess, and J. H. Gray were elected Representatives under the Territorial organization, September 2, 1863. Gray did not take his seat. John S. Mayhugh, J. G. McClinton, E. T. Loomis, and G. A. Green were elected January 19, 1864, under the provisions of a State Constitution which was rejected, therefore never qualified. A. S. Peck was elected County Judge under the same regime; J. C. Darragh, P. B. Comstock, and L. Rice were elected Representatives September 7, 1864; D. H. Haskell, John S. Mayhugh, D. Wellington, and Cyril Hawkins, elected Assemblymen, November 8, 1864; A. M. Wingate, J. S. Mayhugh, T. N. Browne, and B. V. Poor, elected November 6, 1866. Browne resigned April 9, 1867. C. P. Shakspeare, E, R Shimmin, John S. Mayhugh, and S. J. Davis, elected November 3, 1868. Mayhugh resigned July 7, 1869. Angus McLeod, D. C. Simpson, D. F. Manning, and M. R. Delano, elected November 8 1870; J. B. Gallagher, Robert McCall, W. H. Carpenter, and P. M. Brummer, elected November 5, 1872; Alexander Spencer, R. I. Hubbard, R. V. Tone, and E. R. Willis, elected November 3, 1874; C. P. Shakspeare and H. E. Sargent elected November 7, 1876; J. R. Eldred and Charles P. Shakspeare, elected November 5, 1878; W. F. Belding and T. M. McGowan, elected November 2, 1880.

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

    Appointed by Governor Nye June 22, 1863: C. D. Winegate, Samuel Youngs, and John F. Moore. Youngs declined, and John Hawkins was appointed, but resigned August 1st. P. W. Randall, Geo. A. Green and Geo. A. Whitney, elected September 2, 1863. Randall resigned January 22, 1864, and W. H. Burgess appointed by Commissioners April 5th. The Supreme Court decided the appointment illegal, and the Governor appointed Samuel Youngs April 11, [p.405] 1864. D. W. Davis, George A. Green and Samuel Youngs, elected September 7, 1864; George Benson elected November 7, 1865 ; E. B. Cooper, M. Y. Stewart, and E. C. Smith, elected November 6, 1866. Cooper resigned and J. G. McClinton was appointed by the Governor April 15, 1867. He resigned September 25, 1868, and the Governor appointed Gardiner C. White October 5, 1868, to fill the vacancy. W. G. McBride, G. C. White, and Henry Williams, elected’ November 3, 1868. McBride and White resigned, and T. H. Burt and Frank Neal were appointed August 3, 1869, to fill the vacancies. F. Strackler, H. Keever and E. W. Bennett, elected November 8, 1870; Henry Williams and C. Dumay, elected November 5, 1872. Dumay did not qualify, and Angus McLeod was appointed June 2, 1873. T. B. Smith and F. Strackler, elected November 3, 1874; P. L. Traver and D. C. Simpson, elected November 7, 1876; Franklin Neal was appointed January 15, 1880, in place of Traver, deceased. D. C. Simpson, and T. B. Smith, elected November 5, 1878; W. S. Stone and G. A. Hamilton, elected November 2, 1880.

PROBATE JUDGES.

    Wm. M. Boring was elected Probate Judge, September 7, 1864.

DISTRICT ATTORNEYS.

    R. S. Mesick was elected Prosecuting Attorney, under Territorial Government, September 2, 1863, resigned January 22, 1864, Geo. S. Palmer appointed to fill vacancy ; S. H. Chase, elected Prosecuting Attorney, September 7, 1864; T. N. Browne, elected District Attorney November 7, 1865, vice S. H. Chase, elected District Judge; W. M. Boring, elected November 6, 1866; T. N. Browne, elected November 3, 1868, removed from county, and W. M. Boring appointed April 5, 1869, to fill vacancy; John Curtis, elected November 8, 1870; M. A. Murphy, elected November 5, 1872, re-elected November 3, 1874, re-elected November 7, 1876; A. L. Greeley, elected November 5, 1878. According to the canvass Daniel Holland received more votes than Greeley, but the latter successfully contested the election. Candelaria was re-counted and Greeley given the office. D. J. Lewis, elected November 2, 1880.

COUNTY SHERIFFS.

    D. G. Francis, elected September 2, 1863, re-elected September 7, 1864, re-elected November 6, 1866, re-elected November 3, 1868; John B. Helm, elected November 8, 1870, re-elected November 5, 1872, re-elected November 3, 1874; L. B. Lott, elected November 7, 1876, died September 25, 1878, and J. B. Hiskey appointed October 7th, to fill vacancy; Clem. Ogg, elected November 5, 1878; David J. Robb, elected November 2, 1880.

COUNTY CLERKS.
    E. B. Dickinson, elected September 2, 1863, reelected September 7, 1864; Jas. S. Jamison, elected November 6, 1866; F. K. Bechtel, elected November 3, 1868; D. J. Lewis, elected November 8, 1870, reelected November 5, 1872; I. N. Farwell, elected November 3, 1874, re-elected November 7, 1876, reelected November 5, 1878, re-elected November 2, 1880.

COUNTY TREASURERS.

    Eben Rhodes, elected September 2, 1863, re-elected September 7, 1864; W. A. Howard, elected November 7, 1865, vice Rhodes, who had resigned. Howard resigned April 16, 1866, and J. G. McClinton was appointed to fill vacancy. Oliver Kimball, elected November 6, 1866; G. W. Daran, elected November 3, 1868; Wm. H. Hall, elected November 8, 1870, re-elected November 5, 1872, re-elected November 3, 1874, re-elected November 7, 1866, died November 26, 1876, and 0. Kimball appointed December 11th, to fill vacancy; A. W. Crocker, elected November 5, 1878; Angus McLeod, elected November 2, 1880.

COUNTY ASSESSORS.

    J. H. Smith, elected September 2, 1863; J. H. Richardson, elected September 7, 1864; Ira P. Hale, elected November 6, 1866; M. A. Murphy, elected November 3, 1868, re-elected, November 8, 1870; S. M. Booker, elected November 5, 1872; Dennis Thompson, elected November 3, 1874; C. J. Dunlap, elected November 7, 1876, re-elected November 5, 1878; office vacated for non-qualification, February 10, 1879, and Dennis Thompson appointed the next day; December 2, 1879, office again declared vacant for not filing a new bond, and G. H. Hatch was appointed January 6, 1880, to fill the vacancy. S. B. Hines, elected November 2, 1880.

COUNTY RECORDERS.

    John Hawkins, elected September 2, 1863, died, and Cyril Hawkins appointed January 8, 1864, to fill vacancy; G. L. Church, elected September 7,1864; D. W. Hastings, elected November 6, 1866; J. G. McClinton, elected November 3, 1868, resigned July 20 1869, and G. C. White appointed to fill vacancy; G. C. White, elected November 8, 1870, re-elected November 5, 1872; David McKee, elected November 3, 1874, re-elected November 7, 1876. H. W. Barton was appointed August 14, 1877, vice McKee, deceased. D. J. Lewis, elected November 5, 1878; H. W. Barton, elected November 2, 1880.

COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS OF SCHOOLS.

    J. B. Saxton, elected September 2, 1863; Ira P. Elale, elected September 7, 1864; W. C. Meredith, elected November 7, 1865, vice Ira P. Hale, who resigned October 4, 1865. Meredith resigned April 16, 1866, and Hale was again appointed to fill vacancy; Larkin Smith, elected November 6, 1866; B. T. Tade, elected November 3, 1868, resigned October 5, 1869, and Ira P. Hale appointed to fill vacancy; Ira P. Hale, elected November 8, 1870, resigned July 3, 1871, and S. B. Smith appointed to fill vacancy; W. H. H. Buckley, elected November 5, 1872; H. D. Fletcher, elected November 3, 1874; J. F. De Vol, elected November 7, 1876; [p.406] John M. Dormer, elected November 5, 1878, resigned April 6, 1880, and H. D. Howard appointed to fill vacancy; Edwin Wood, elected November 2, 1880.

COUNTY SURVEYORS.

    Wm. McBride, elected September 2, 1863, re-elected September 7, 1864; re-elected November 6, 1866; Chas. E. Baldwin, elected November 8, 1870; A. Garrard, elected November 5, 1872; J. R. NcNeese, elected November 3, 1874; resigned April 3, 1876, and Franklin Neal, appointed to fill vacancy; F. C. Farnham, elected November 7, 1876; the office was declared vacant March 8, 1878, for non-residence, and J. M. Houston, appointed to fill vacancy; J. M. Houston, elected November 5, 1878; re-elected, November 2, 1880.

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATORS.

    Henry Keever, elected November 6, 1866; S. M. Booker, elected November 3, 1868; Samuel Youngs, elected November 8, 1870, re-elected November 5, 1872; Henry Keever, elected November 3, 1874; Henry D. Fletcher, elected November 7, 1876; A. H. Hawley, elected November 5, 1878; Henry Keever, elected November 2, 1880.


    The topography of the county and the character of the soil differs very little from the balance of the State. A large body of fresh water, called Walker Lake, covers a considerable area, extending from the mouth of Walker River in a southeasterly direction a distance of twenty-five miles, having an average width of nine miles, and abounds with fish at all seasons of the year. The lake is deep, and like all bodies of water in the Great Basin of Nevada, has no outlet. The waters from Walker River flow into it winter and summer. The floods in the last days of 1861 and first of 1862, raised its waters seventeen feet. The surface gradually receded until about 1867-68, when another flood raised them about seven feet. With these exceptions the waters of the lake have been gradually decreasing, owing probably to the supply being largely used for irrigating the ranches along the course of the river. The Walker River has its source in two main branches, which rise in the Sierra Nevada and unite about forty five miles from the mouth of the stream. The main stream then flows northerly, makes a complete curve to the east, and then flows south into Walker Lake. The bottoms and valleys lying along the river and the creeks flowing into it, constitute a large portion of the tillable land of the county. Upon Walker Lake are two small steamboats, used in conveying produce from Mason Valley to Columbus District, shortening the usual route of travel considerably. One of these boats is forty feet long, and carries ten tons, the other being of the same capacity and ten feet longer. The first was built in the valley and taken down the river, while the other was constructed at the lake.
    Three principal ranges of mountains, the Wassuck, Excelsior and Volcano, together with a great many lower and shorter ranges of hills, traverse the county in all directions, the general course, however, being north and south. Several hot springs, a number of borax and salt marshes, numerous iron, copper, gold and silver mines, are found in the county; the production of gold, silver, salt and borax, aside from agriculture, being the chief industries.
    The superficial area of the county is about 9,000 square miles, a great deal of it being utterly valueless. Of the balance it is estimated that there are 150,000 acres suitable for agriculture, 300,000 acres of grazing land, 150,000 acres of timber land, covered with a growth of piñon, or dwarf pine, and 750,000 acres of mineral land. Of the agricultural lands some 13,000 acres are inclosed, and 8,000 under cultivation.
    These lands lie in Mason, Smith and portions of Antelope Valleys, along the branches of Walker River and Sweetwater Creek, in Fish Lake Valley, and in a few isolated localities where water can be obtained for irrigation. Hay and barley are the principal crops. There is always a great demand for these in the mining districts adjacent, and a good price can always be obtained. Considerable stock is raised in the county, and small orchards are found in considerable numbers. For statistics giving the products of the county for each year from 1865 to 1880, the number of acres under cultivation, the stock and grain raised, and the fruit trees and vines growing, the reader is referred to the tables to be found on pages 135, 136, 139 and 140 of the general history. For the bullion product see tables in the latter pages of this work.
    The Carson and Colorado Railroad, opened for travel in the spring of 1881, penetrates to near the center of the county, skirting the east shore of Walker Lake, traversing the valley of Walker River and connecting with the general system of railroads by the Virginia and Truckee Railroad at Mound House, in Lyon County.


    In 1854 N. H. A. Mason, in company with two brothers, was driving cattle from the Western States to California, and passed through the country, now known as Mason Valley, along Walker River. Their cattle were stampeded, and in collecting them they had a good opportunity of learning something of the value of this section as a grazing range. In 1859 Mr. Mason again visited the place, and, after making a thorough examination, located what has since been known as Mason’s Ranch. The fall of that year a large band of cattle from the East was wintered there, and, in 1860, he drove from California (Stanislaus County), what cattle he had there to the Nevada range.
    In October, 1859, Wm. H. Dickson located on what is now the reservation, up the river, about fourteen miles from the lake, where Campbell, or [p.407] Wasson, later built the reservation house. He is still a resident of the valley.     During the Indian troubles Mason and Dickson drove their stock to Antelope Valley. In July the former returned to his ranch, but Dickson’s claim was lost to him because of its being on reserved Indian lands, and he did not return until 1862.
    The first house built in the valley was by Mr. Mason in 1860, 16x24 feet in dimensions, the walls being eight feet high, and were of willows and adobe. The roof was of tules, and the sides were made by placing poles in the ground, then nailing willows to them, and filling in between with mud. It was built near the center of section thirteen, township fourteen north, twenty-five east. The structure was maliciously burned in 1866.
    Tom Wheeler and brother settled about eighteen miles south of Mason’s Ranch, on the west fork of Walker River, in the fall of 1861. The place is now owned by D. Wilson. The next settlers were Angus McLeod, Charles Sneider, and — Clement, who came in the fall of 1862, and took up what is now known as McLeod’s Ranch. The same fall A. J. and C. D. Lane and W. K. Johnson, in connection with John R. Bradley, purchased a part of the Mason Ranch, and drove cattle in from California to the place. The same fall William, George and Richard Alcorn, three brothers, settled between the McLeod and Lane ranches. In 1863 Jesse Woodcock and — Porter settled on the east side of the river, opposite McLeod’s, and during the same year Sprague, Kimball and Buler took up the ranch now owned by Mason where his house is built.
    Mr. Mason, in 1861, sowed about one acre of barley and planted some potatoes on the bottom across the river from the old original house. The second effort in this line was in 1863, by Angus McLeod and another, who both raised barley that year. In 1864 several parties had fields of grain.
    In 1861, Mason run a portion of what is now known as the Mason Ditch, for irrigating purposes on his ranch. It is now about four miles long, and has cost about $2,000. The next was the Joggles Ditch, taken out in 1863, that being connected with a slough, has a total length of about six miles, and cost $3,000. The Lane & Johnson Ditch was also taken out in 1863 on the opposite side of the river, and is about three miles long. This was followed by the McLeod Ditch in the same year. It is two and one-half miles long. The Sprague, Alcorn, and Buler Ditch was dug in 1864, and is now one of the main ditches of the valley. In addition to the above are several that have been constructed since, among which are the Greenwood and Fox ditches, on the East Walker, and the Mickey, Weston, Nichol, and Merritt ditches on the West Walker.
    A tragic incident transpired in Mason Valley, in the winter of 1865-66, in which William Johnson, who came to Mason Valley in 1862, lost his life. He came in company with Charles Lane, from California, and they brought an Indian with them. This son of the desert was accustomed to amuse himself by butting heads with a ram belonging to Messrs. Lane and Johnson, and during one of his trials of hard-headedness, the ram used a little too much force and knocked the redskin out of time. This so enraged him that he seized a club and commenced pounding his victor, when Mr. Johnson interfered, and in order to make his arguments effective slapped the Indian across the face.
    During that night Johnson was murdered, and suspicion was at once attached to this Indian, who had taken a horse and disappeared. A party immediately started on his trail and found him in a mining camp, in Peavine District, near where the town of Reno now stands. On their way to the valley, those having him in charge, concluded that the surest plan for making a good Indian, would be to hang him, which they proceeded to do. He was accordingly hanged to the limb of a tree, on the banks of the Carson River, below Dayton, near the place now owned by Mrs. Newman and Mr. Honeyman.
    The valley runs nearly north and south, is eighty miles long, with an average of nine miles in width, the Walker River running through its entire length. The statutes make four counties corner on Mason’s Ranch, but the point of contact has never been determined by survey, although a strict construction of the statutes would seem to carry the line about six miles north of his present home, and take the whole valley into Esmeralda County. This is not the construction now given, however. There are at present 260 voters in the valley, thirty-one of them voting in Lyon County.


Was born in Fairfield, Somerset County, Maine, on the twenty-eighth day of February, 1822. His ancestors were among the early settlers of America, his great-grandfather and six sons coming from England and first settling in Massachusetts prior to the Revolutionary War, five of whom served in the struggle for independence against the mother country. His father, Mr. C. Barrett, was born in New Hampshire, and his mother, Betsy Barrett née Davis, was a native of Maine. On the father’s side the English is allied with Scotch, his grandmother being a descendant of the Chalmers of Scotland, a family respected and esteemed on either side of the Atlantic. Barrett, Sen., father of the subject of this sketch, followed the cooper’s trade, and the son was, at the early age of five years, inducted into the mysteries of sawing staves, and at seven years was promoted to the “bench,” shaving hoops. He continued to follow this trade until 1850, when, animated by a desire to improve his fortunes, he embarked on the steamer Crescent City for California. Crossing the Isthmus and finding no steamer ready to sail, he engaged in working at his trade for two months, and then taking passage on the Northerner, landed in San Francisco on the sixth of July, 1851, and from thence to [p.408] the mines. Not finding the success he anticipated, he left the mines and settled in Sacramento, working at his trade for three years. From thence he removed to Michigan Bar, and for one and a half years followed merchandising. Subsequently he engaged in the same business in other places, closing at Brownsville.
    In 1857 he purchased a ranch in Yolo County, on which he resided for three years, and then disposing of that removed to San Francisco. Dissatisfied with city life, in company with Capt. A. W. Pray, he removed to Nevada and erected the first saw-mill at Glenbrook, near Lake Tahoe, in which business they continued for one year, and then selling his interest in the mill removed from Glenbrook and located on Clear Creek, in Ormsby County, Nevada, farming for two years at that place, and subsequently for thirteen years near Dayton. Renting his ranch in Dayton, he removed to Mason Valley, Esmeralda County, where he still resides.
    Mr. Barrett was married March 22, 1848, to Miss Olin E. Day, daughter of Tobias and Phoebe Day, of the State of Massachusetts. They are blessed with five children, all living—George A., Mary W., Charles H., Isabel F., and Lettie C. The eldest daughter, the wife of Charles W. Mallett, resides near her parents in Mason Valley. They have one son, William Albert, born July 28, 1879.
    Mr. Barrett cast his first vote for Henry Clay, the great Whig leader and orator, in 1844, and like most of the New England men of that political school, early united with the Republican party, to which he has ever since belonged. In religion he is best described as a Protestant in its most acceptable sense, than which he could hardly be otherwise educated, as he was in the common schools of New England.


Son of Charles and Susannah (Croddit) Erway, was born near Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York, January 8, 1811. His parents were also natives of New York State. The first fifteen years of his life were divided between working on a farm and attending school, and at that age engaged as a driver on the “raging canal” in summer, and was in the lumber business during the winter. In 1835 he removed with his parents to the State of Michigan, locating at Three Rivers, St. Joseph County, and entered a store as clerk, and soon after purchased the business, and conducted the same for about three years. The succeeding thirteen years he devoted to the occupation of farming. In February, 1852, he, with his family, sailed from New. York on the steamship El Dorado, crossed the Isthmus of Panama, and took passage on the steamer Oregon for San Francisco, California, where he landed April 7th. His first occupation in that State was mining on Mormon Island. The next winter he went to Sacramento and in company with a friend, purchased a stock of goods, which they took to a place called Fiddletown. In this enterprise they were successful, and continued the business until after the destruction of Sacramento City by fire. He then commenced freighting with a six-mule team, making Stockton, San Joaquin County, his headquarters. In 1855 he returned with his family to the East, and located in Cass County, Michigan, where he engaged in the lumber business. One year later he suffered losses by fire, and went to farming, which ho followed until 1860, when he went to Mills County, Iowa; thence to Nebraska, and kept a hotel at Plattsmouth, Cass County, until 1862, when he went to Denver, Colorado, and, contracting the Salmon River mining fever, started for the northwest. He spent one winter packing supplies from Walla Walla, Washington Territory, to the mines in Idaho. In 1863 he again sought California, and engaged in freighting from Sacramento over the mountains. In 1866 he purchased a ranch sixteen miles below the latter city. In 1868 he came to Nevada, and engaged in the wood business at Carson City, Ormsby County, also was interested largely in freighting, but reverses overtook him, and he was left to again build up a business, his entire capital consisting of a ten cent piece, which was attached to his watch chain. At the end of eighteen months he had by strict attention established himself in business, and had teams worth fully $3,000. In 1876 he settled in Mason Valley, Esmeralda County, fully satisfied, after traveling over the State, that this valley is inferior to none, as an agricultural district, in the State.
    Mr. Erway was married February 11, 1838, to Miss Abigail Jane Phillipps, a native of Kentucky. Their union was blessed by eight children, all living at this time, six of whom are being educated in the Eastern States. Mrs. Erway died February 18, 1869.
    In politics, Mr. Erway is a Democrat of the old school. In business, he has always been successful until he reached a certain point, when reverses would surely overtake him, but now with his fine ranch as a backer, he need fear no foe. He is able to produce 2,000 bushels of grain per year from his place, and thoroughly understands his business.


The subject of the following sketch is a native of Germany, born in the town of Auggen, Muellheim. In the year 1854, he left his “Faderland,” bidding adieu to the scenes of his youth, and came to the United States of America. His first location after reaching American soil was in the State of Missouri, where he lived nearly five years, and in 1859 emigrated, having California as his objective point. He came by way of the plains, and underwent all the trials peculiar to a trip across the country. He finally reached the Pacific Coast, and for a period of about five years was a resident of the “Golden State.” In 1864 be crossed the mountains and became a resident [p.409] of Nevada, and in the winter of 1865-66, located in Mason Valley, Esmeralda County, where he now lives. Mr. Fox has a fine ranch in this beautiful valley, and is one of the much-esteemed citizens of that locality; a man of sterling worth, honest and upright in his transactions with his neighbors, and will in time become one of the solid men of the State.


Was born in County Mayo, Ireland, in 1843, and came with his parents to America when but a child. Arriving in this country, his people went to the State of Wisconsin, where they have since resided. The subject of this sketch began the battle of life for himself at an early age, and by industry and economy saved money enough to pay his way at school, and graduated from Bull’s College, at Racine, Wisconsin. Possessed of an ambitious nature, and realizing the fact that wealth and intellectual improvement are the result of personal effort and industry, he seized upon the first opportunity to reach the much talked-about land of gold, California, and engaged himself to a man to assist in driving a band of sheep across the plains. Upon his arrival in California he did not realize the fruition of his fondest hopes, and with youth and health as his stock in trade, he turned his attention to the “briny deep,” and shipped before the mast on a vessel then at San Francisco, engaged in the lumber and South American trade, and in this ship visited all the ports from Puget Sound to Valparaiso. During that time he saved some money, and entered the stock business, which resulted decidedly to his advantage, and for some years he was engaged in traveling in the interests of his business, and became well known in every town in California and all the northwestern Territories, often going as far east as Fort Benton, on the Missouri River. It is a safe assertion to say, that Mr. Gallagher is one of the best informed men, in regard to the geographical lay of the country, and the peculiarities of its inhabitants, to be found west of the Rocky Mountains.
    Having acquired a substantial capital, also a good reputation as a stock-man, he settled in Mason Valley, Esmeralda County, Nevada, and purchased a large tract of land. In 1873 he was elected to the Assembly of the State Legislature; and in 1878 was elected to the high and honorable position of Senator, an office he has sustained to the satisfaction of his constituents. Mr. Gallagher is an example of what can be accomplished with industry, economy, perseverance, and a well-balanced head. His position in life, single.


Is a native of Germany, born at Baden, in 1835. At the age of thirteen years he, with his parents, emigrated to America, and settled in Canal Dover, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, and remained in that town about five years. His father was by trade a cooper, and followed that business. In 1853, the family removed to Sabula, Jackson County, Iowa, and for two years the subject of this sketch was trained to the calling of a farmer in connection with his father. During the year 1855, the elder Mr. Herbold sold his farm and bought a brewery in the same town, and with the assistance of his two sons, Adam and John B., succeeded in building up a good and flourishing business. In 1856 the mother of the family departed this life, and the duties of the household devolved upon her only daughter, a young lady just blooming into womanhood. There is an old adage that says, “misfortunes never come singly,” and so it proved in this family, for during the year 1859 the brewery and buildings connected therewith, were consumed by fire, while our present subject was away on a visit to the State of Kansas. Upon learning of this second calamity he came home. His father had already commenced rebuilding, and in a short time thereafter, while boating sand across the Mississippi River, for use in plastering the building, the flat-boat sunk, and before assistance could be rendered our subject was an orphan. He, assuming the management of the property, finished the building and occupied it in a different calling, that of the butcher business.
    In 1864 Mr. Herbold sold out his interests in Iowa and came to the Pacific Coast, his objective point being California. In company with Colonel Hester, he crossed the plains, enduring untold hardships. Upon reaching Salt Lake City, Utah; he sold his cattle and purchased horses, and continued the journey as far as Walker Lake, in Nevada, and was obliged to camp for some time to recruit his animals. The Indians refused to allow this little band of worn-out pioneers to graze their stock [p.410] in that vicinity, except upon condition of payment therefor, to which the travelers were obliged to consent. When they got ready to move on, however, they found themselves minus most of their horses, they having become mired in the mud and died, without the consent or knowledge of their owners. This was a damper on the spirits of the emigrants, as there were only six horses left, and it was impossible to haul their heavily laden wagons over the mountains to California. So Mr. Herbold concluded to winter in Mason Valley, which he did, and has since lived there. His son, John Adam, being the first white child born in that valley.
    Mr. Herbold was married in 1857 to Louisa Albertine Berger, a native of Prussia, born in 1839, coming to America ten years later. Mrs. Herbold has, like a true wife, followed the fortunes of her husband, until now she can rest in the knowledge that they are beyond want, and can enjoy the fruits of their united labors.
    Mr. Herbold is at present engaged in the dairy business and stock-raising, in connection with his farm labors. Eight children have been born to them, only two of whom are living.


    The subject of this sketch was born in Bavaria on the tenth day of May, 1838, where he resided until early manhood, emigrating from there to the United States in the year 1859, and soon after located in Missouri, remaining till 1860, when he disposed of his interests there, and, procuring an outfit suitable for the journey, crossed the plains to find a home at Michigan Bar in the southeast corner of Sacramento County, California. There he remained only one year, going to Nevada in 1861, and engaged in mining at Virginia City for three years, but not finding it as remunerative as he had hoped gave up mining and removed to El Dorado Cañon, where for two years he was engaged in supplying wood to the people of that vicinity. In 1865, disposing of his interest in the wood business, he turned his hopes towards ranching, and, purchasing a farm in Mason Valley, settled down to the honorable pursuit of farming, and with such success that he has become the possessor of a fine farm and a comfortable home.
    In 1869, while residing in Virginia City, he married Wilhelmina Reymers, a native of Hanover, Germany, where she was born on the ninth day of February, 1847. She sailed for the United States in 1868, landing in New York, where after remaining two months, she took passage by ship for San Francisco, California, and soon after went to Virginia City, Nevada, where she resided some seven months, and there remained till her marriage with Mr. Hernleben. In 1872 she visited her native home in Germany, and returned in September, 1873. Mr. Hernleben has remained industriously employed on his farm since his marriage, though not so closely but that he found the time to visit the Eastern States during the year 1876, and to be present at the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia. They have no children of their own, but this disappointment is largely consoled by the presence of an adopted daughter, the child of a sister of Mrs. Hernleben, named Birdie Pfeifer, born in Mason Valley, Nevada, on June 27, 1871.


Is a native of Arkansas, and was born in 1837, October 23d. His parents died when he was young, and he was left to seek his own fortune or misfortune as circumstances, ability, and nerve should dictate. At twenty years of age he started for California, over the plains, with a few cattle, in company with W. C. McCune. They had altogether about 1,000 head of stock, and lost half of it before the Sierra Nevada Mountains were reached. It was the year 1857, when the Government was having trouble with Brigham Young, and the Indians were very troublesome along the route. About 100 head of animals were run off by them, and one man was killed at City Rock, where the Fort Hall and Salt Lake roads come together. At the place where the road passes over the high country, on the north side of the Humboldt River, between Elko and Gravelly Ford, they reburied a man named Nichols who had been killed by Indians in a train that was moving in advance of them. Two days march farther down, on the north side of the river, they came upon seven fresh graves; men killed also by Indians. This was rather a startling and sudden transition from the peaceful pursuits of the Arkansas farmer to that of traveling among hostile tribes in the mountains. That winter he crossed the mountains to California, wintered there, and returned to Carson Valley the next spring, to assist in driving the stock across the Sierra. In September, 1859, he again visited Nevada, and became a clerk for Moses Job, at the place now known as Sheridan, in Douglas County. In the spring of 1860, he purchased a couple of teams, and became a freighter from California to the mines in Nevada, continuing that business for the next three seasons, each year increasing his transportation facilities. The succeeding two years his trains freighted lumber, etc., to Aurora, in Esmeralda County. In the fall of 1862, McLeod took up the ranch in Mason Valley that he now owns, a sketch of which can be seen in this book. In the fall of 1864 he moved on to this land, where he lived until March, 1878, when he returned to Aurora, the county seat. Since removing to the latter place his time has been principally occupied in caring for his houses there, and attending to matters concerning the Carson and Aurora, as well as the Aurora and Sunshine Toll-roads. He is a half-owner in each, and Henry Williams is his partner. In August, 1880, he commenced taking charge of the Exchange Hotel at Aurora. The property belongs to him, and a view of the same also accompanies this work. He still continues in the business, in addition to his numerous other affairs. In 1871, Mr. McLeod repre- [p.411] rented Esmeralda County in the State Legislature; in 1873 and 1874 was a County Commissioner of the same; and at present is its Treasurer. In 1877, July 3d, he was married to Miss Mary E. Ellis, of Gold Hill, Nevada. They have two children, named, Charles A., born on the twenty-ninth of April, 1878; and Henry S., born on the fourteenth of October, 1879.


A native of Hanover, Germany, was born in 1849, and came to the United States at the early age of twenty years, in the ship Christopher Columbus, arriving at Castle Garden, New York, on the twenty-seventh day of November, 1869, alone and destitute, having lost everything on the voyage. Securing employment at blacksmithing and house-moving during the winter and following spring, he earned enough to pay his passage to Nevada, arriving there in June, 1870. Going to Esmeralda County, he immediately, on his arrival, found employment on a farm for two years, and by industry and economy secured means to purchase a large tract of land, and at once engaged in farming, which he carried on extensively till 1875. In April, 1873, he married Miss Henrietta Metscher, also a native of Hanover, Germany, at the town of Wadsworth, Nevada.
    In 1875 he abandoned his farm, and, going to Candelaria, then becoming noted as a mining town, he managed the boarding-house for the Northern Belle Mine until June, 1876. He then, accompanied by his wife, visited Germany to see their parents, then residing in Bremen and Hamburg, and remained till the following October, when they returned and again settled on the farm.
    Mr. Reymers has, by his industry and energy, placed his farm under good improvement, and by attention to business and economy acquired a large and valuable property.
    They have three children living, May and Willie, of five and two years, respectively, and Eda, of unnumbered years, the queen of the household. Two others, Wilhelmina and Emma, are waiting across the river.


Was born in Jericho, Chittenden County, Vermont, on the twenty-ninth day of June, A. D. 1841, where he resided with his parents, Sylvanus and Laura (Goodhue) Richardson, till about the age of fifteen years, receiving the advantages of the common schools till sufficiently advanced to enter the Green Mountain Academy at Underhill, Vermont, and subsequently the academy in Frielburgh, Missisquoi County, Canada, and from there entered the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, of which school he is a graduate.
    When scarcely twenty years of age his studies and profession were interrupted by the war of the Rebellion, and, inspired by the patriotism of all true lovers of one’s country, enlisted in the First Regiment of Vermont Volunteer Infantry, as a private soldier, and served three months, till the regiment was mustered out. He afterwards enlisted for three years, and was engaged in the battle of Big Bethel, and participated in the attacks on the forts below New Orleans and in the siege of Vicksburg. After the close of the war he settled in Pennsylvania, and resided there from 1865 to 1870, when he removed to Chautauqua County, New York, where he resided till 1876, when he migrated to Nevada, first settling at Belleville for eighteen months and then in Mason Valley, where he has ever since resided, engaged in the practice of medicine. His skill and integrity have obtained for him a lucrative practice and the confidence of his numerous patients, of which he is in every way worthy. In 1870 the doctor was married, in Buffalo, New York, to Miss Phoebe M. Decker, of Royal Oak, Oakland County, Michigan. He is a consistent and exemplary member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and an active member of the Masonic Order.


Was born in Lagrange, Lorain County, Ohio, on the thirty-first day of October, 1829. His father, Horace Saunders, and mother, Miranda, daughter of Nathan Clark, of that State, soon after their marriage removed to Lorain County, among the first settlers of that part of Ohio. There for half a century he took active part in the stirring events of the early days of the State, living to see the dense wilderness transformed into cultivated fields; the log-cabin give place to commodious dwellings and stately mansions; the narrow path of the wilderness to roads, highways, and railroads; the pack-horse to the stage-coach and cars. After outliving the alloted years of man, respected for his integrity, energy, and intelligence, he died on the twenty-fifth day of September, 1873, at the age of seventy-two years, mourned by all who knew him as a Christian whose deeds of kindness and charity adorned his profession.
    The subject of this sketch remained in Lorain County, assisting on the farm of his father during his early life, and till April, 1852, when he started overland with a small party for California, crossing the plains with teams, and arriving in Beckwourth Valley on the twentieth of August of that year. In the autumn of the same year, he moved to Rich Bar in Plumas County, and engaged in mining for a few months, and thence to Feather River, in Butte County, where he mined till the spring of 1857. Hearing favorable reports of Siskiyou County,, he disposed of his interests in Butte County and going to Siskiyou, engaged in mining for four years, but failing to find it as profitable as he hoped, he closed his business and removed to Carson City, Nevada, and for two years engaged in carpentering and the millwright business, a trade he had learned in Ohio. After laboring in Carson City for two years, he again returned to mining, removing to Palmyra District, Como Mountain, where he planted all that he [p.412] had reaped and gathered in the previous years of labor and of toil. Leaving Palmyra District and mining for ever, he sought a location where he could return to the time-honored pursuits of his youth, and in company with N. Greenwood and G. Mecumber, purchased a “squatter’s location” in Mason Valley in the spring of 1865, and began at once the construction of the Greenwood Ditch, and having completed the same, they turned their attention to clearing and improving their farms. Mecumber soon sold his interests, and not long since, Greenwood disposed of his and removed to another portion of the valley, Saunders alone remaining on the original location. In 1868 Mr. Saunders and W. R. Lee located a mill site on the West Walker River, and erected the Mason Valley Mill, a two-story mill, with two run of stone propelled by water-power. They continued to operate the mill till 1871 successfully, when William Wilson became the owner, and Mr. Saunders returned to the care of his farm. His labors of cultivating and improving have been rewarded by a farm productive in the growth of all grains and fruits common to the climate and altitude, and a residence commodious and comfortable, surrounded by shade trees, orchard and garden, views . of which can be found on another page of this work.
    Mr. Saunders was married on the thirtieth day of September, 1873, to Mrs. Anna Kreisel, daughter of T. G. and Rebecca Feigenspan, natives of Germany, where the father died in 1852. Mrs. Saunders came to America in 1854, and settled in Wisconsin, where she married Ferdinand Kreisel, and with him removed to California in 1856, where he soon after died, when she with her two children, Edward and Theodore, in 1862 removed to Nevada, where she resided with her children till her marriage with Mr. Saunders. In 1876 she returned to Germany, attending the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia on her return, in company with her mother, who now rests in the cemetery in Mason Valley.
    Mr. Saunders has never engaged in politics, and has held no office other than School Commissioner. Is a Republican, conservative in politics, and a Protestant, charitable in religion.


    Mr. T. B. Smith furnishes the following history of Smith Valley:
    This valley is pleasantly situated among the bill in the northwestern part of Esmeralda County. Its length from southeast to northwest is over sixteen miles, whilst its average width is six miles, giving an area of more than 60,000 acres.
    In the month of August, 1859, a party of herdsmen from Stanislaus County, California, consisting of R. B. Smith, T. B. Smith, S. Baldwin, and J. A. Rogers, crossed the mountains with their cattle from the San Joaquin Valley, by the Big Tree route, and commenced the settlement in this valley. They had been informed by a party of emigrants who had passed this way four years before, that there was a good place here to winter stock. Upon viewing the valley, the herdsmen decided to settle here, the abundance of white sage and bunch grass being in great contrast with the scarcity of pasture in California, because of several successive dry seasons. They pitched their camp about the center of the valley, near the banks of the West Walker River. A tule house was constructed, in which the whole party passed the winter. It was no warm reception they met with in their new house. The winter was colder than any since known there. Heavy snows covered the ground, and severe frosts froze two feet of ice on the river, that bad to be broken in order to water the stock. Provisions had to be procured in Genoa, at a distance of forty miles away, and twenty cents a pound was the price paid for flour at this place. To crown their trials, the little tule house took fire in the spring, and was quickly converted into smoke and ashes.
    Soon after their arrival the question of a name for the valley was discussed, and that of Smith Valley was agreed upon, in honor of the Smiths, of which there were two in the party. In the summer of 1860 there was an addition to the colony in the person of J. B. Lobdel, who settled about six miles south of the original camp. He was r a farmer, and in the following spring put in a crop of barley and vegetables, which he irrigated with water from a small mountain stream called Desert Creek. This was the pioneer crop. In 1868, Lobdel sold his ranch to H. Mather, whose wife—then Mrs. W. R. Johnson—was the first lady to settle in the valley. Soon after Lobdel made his settlement, W. L. Hall and D. C. Simpson located a ranch five miles further south. Wright and Hamilton built the station now called Wellington, at the head of the valley, and on the southern route from Carson City. Daniel Wellington purchased the station in 1863, and in 1865 had a post-office established there. It is now the property of J. Nicholson, who is Postmaster.
    When the mining interest commenced in Aurora, in 1860, Wellington became, and is still, an important stage station. The stage changes here, and the repairing and horse-shoeing is done in a shop. Mr. Zadok Pierce has lately established a store, station, and blacksmith shop some half mile below Wellington, and now commands the whole trade of the valley.
    Lobdel’s success in raising crops showed that the valley was well adapted for cultivation, while the rapid rise of the mining interests at Aurora created a brisk demand for farm products. These advantages were soon realized, and farming became the leading industry. The first ditch was constructed in 1862 by the two farming companies, Fuller & Mitchell, and Hall & Simpson. Its length was four miles, and the cost was $2,000. The ranch to which it belongs is now the property of Frank Rivers. Messrs. Hall & Simpson found a ditch one-half mile in [p.413] length on their place when they came, which they say was built by the Indians. In 1863 the Smith Company constructed a ditch nearly four miles in length, at a cost of $1,200. It now belongs to the Smith Brothers, and supplies water for their farms, which lie about four miles north of Wellington Station. In 1864 an incorporated company constructed the West Walker Ditch, about seven miles in length, at a cost of $4,000. It supplies abundant water for the tract of about 1,500 acres, lying one mile northeast of Smith Brothers, and embracing the farms of A. H. Hawley, J. McVicar, H. M. Schooley, Mrs. E. McCall, W. R. Hutson, and J. N. Mann. D. Wellington built a ditch the same year to irrigate the ranch now owned by J. A. Rogers. It is two miles long and cost $600. In 1876, McFarnahan & Gardner completed a capacious ditch at a cost of $20,000. It runs along the side of a very precipitous hill for a distance of four miles, and reaches a point which none of the others could have watered. Its entire length is eight miles, and it irrigates the ranches of M. C. Gardner and J. Irwin. In 1877 the Burbank Brothers completed a ditch some five miles in length at a cost of $1,200. It irrigates the farms of S. M. and S. E. Burbank. A ditch of large proportions is now in process of construction on the north side of the river. It is intended to be about eight miles in length, with a capacity sufficient to irrigate four or five thousand acres. It will have two reservoirs to be used in case of low water in the river. This will bring under cultivation a fine tract of land. It is owned by Hall & Simpson, J. N. Mann, and M. C. Gardner & Co. There are several other farms in the valley besides those mentioned, and are owned by Hall & Simpson, W. L. Hall, L. C. Hobart, Mr. Phinnemon, and Leonard Hamilton. In the north end of the valley is a fine ranch, the property of J. C. Hinds, watered by native springs. On this ranch are the celebrated Hot Springs, resorted to by many for their medicinal properties.
    The farms above mentioned cover an area of about 6,000 acres, and yield a fair compensation for tillage. The soil varies in different parts of the valley, the prevailing character being a mixture of sand and loam. It is well adapted to the growth of alfalfa, and all kinds of trees thrive. There are several fine orchards which produce well in favorable seasons, the fruit being of the finest quality. The staple product is hay, of which the greater portion is alfalfa, which averages four tons to the acre. Vegetables, such as corn, potatoes, melons, etc., do well. The principal stock-raisers are W R. Hutson, Hall & Simpson, C. Smith, J. A. Rogers, A. H. Hawley, Burbank Brothers, and T. B. Smith. The latter makes a specialty of raising Ayrshire stock for the dairy. The winters are cold, yet not so severe but stock-cattle can be wintered without feeding.
T. B. SMITH,

Born in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, on the second day of April, 1834, is now a resident of Wellington, Esmeralda County, Nevada. In his early life, he like most boys of New England parentage, alternated from the labor of the farm to the wooden bench and high desk of the country district school. Having arrived at the age of fifteen years he was apprenticed to a firm in Bristol, Connecticut, to learn the trade of rule making; but becoming dissatisfied with this business, packed his portmanteau, and bidding adieu to Bristol and its “rules” departed for Lebanon, New York, where he engaged as clerk in the store of Tilden & Co., until the spring of 1853, at which time he decided to cast his lot with those seeking the golden shores of the Pacific. Crossing the plains during that year, he arrived in California late in the fall, and for a few years was engaged in mining with the usual success of the early days. He then turned his attention to stock-raising, but finding his business circumscribed in California, migrated with his flocks and herds to the goodly lands of Nevada. In the fall of 1867, he married Miss Maggie Nichol, of Wellington, which union is blessed with three children—Dwight T., James U., and Maggie I., aged twelve, nine and four years respectively.

HALL & SIMPSON

Are extensive farmers and stock-ranchers in Smith’s Valley, Esmeralda County. The engraving of their place gives one an idea of the beautiful valley and improvements nestling in the embrace of the bold range of mountains. The proprietors have, doubtless, anchored permanently, and intend to build up—have built up—a charming home. The stream on which it is situated bears the name Desert Creek.
    Mr. Warren S. Hall is a native of Pitston, Maine, born in 1826. He was on this coast, in the ship Barnstable, as early as 1845, and left for Boston in 1848, about the time of the discovery of gold, returning again in 1849, since which time he has made the coast his home. He came to Nevada in 1851, and soon after located the Eagle Ranch, where Carson City now stands. He settled on the present home in December, 1860.
    D. C. Simpson was born in Cape Neddick, Maine, in 1832, and came to California in 1850, and to Nevada in 1859, locating on the farm where he now resides in 1860.
    The firm have been doing business together twenty-one years, and propose to continue the partnership well into the next century. Their principal force is expended in raising cattle for the Nevada market, the mountains and valleys around them affording an excellent range both summer and winter. The large barn is to store hay, with which to carry stock through the exceptional severe seasons, which are liable to occur.

PRINCIPAL MINING DISTRICTS.

    COLUMBUS DISTRICT, at present the most important in the county, is sixty miles southeast of Aurora, and thirty-five miles northwest of Silver Peak, in the Candelaria Mountains. Facts in reference to the organization and early history of this district were [p.414] gleaned from an article written by Wells Drury and published in The True Fissure in November, 1880. The organization was made by Mexicans; and the preliminary meeting was held in Washington District, Lander County, in 1864. The presence of hostile bands of Indians within the district made it unsafe for white men to live in this region at that time. For this reason a special law was passed by the organizers of the district, allowing the Recorder to live outside of the district until it was sufficiently populated to be safe within.
    The laws adopted by the miners allowed the owners of claims to have the free use of all streams crossing their property, as well as all timber growing on their claims; a provision not very essential as there was neither timber or water on any of the claims. At the present time, the only timber to be found is the dwarfed greasewood, and there is no water except what is hauled to the mines in barrels and tanks. The first meeting was held August 17, 1864, the necessary laws passed and officers elected. Jose A. Ochoa was elected President, Casimiro Arteche, Secretary, and C. L. Benedict, Recorder. Although the organization was by Mexicans, the minutes were written up in English. The Recorder was allowed to live in Washington District till Columbus District was sufficiently populated to be safe to live in.
    Notice of the first claim was put up August 31, 1864, for 1,400 feet, and signed by Antonio Barbe, Seneriano Arna, Jose A. Ochoa, Refugio Galaviz, Ventura Veltran, Maria Hurtado, and Angel Parcha, and named the Jesus Maria Ledge and Gold and Silver Mining Company. On the same day a large number of other claims were made, among which were the Guadalupe, the Zaragosa, Cholula, Sancho Panza, and others. On the eleventh of October the San Pedro was recorded. After that came the Esmeralda, the San Callentano and many others, nearly all of which bore Mexican names, the Mexicans holding a virtual monopoly in the camp up to this time. By degrees, however, a few Americans, Sclavonians and Germans managed to get their names on the notices of location, and the control of the district finally passed from the hands of the original claimants, together with the ownership of the property.
    The records show that Gov. L. R. Bradley was one of the early locators in this district. His claim embraced 400 feet, and was called the Bradley ground. His son, John Bradley, was half-owner with him. Alf. Doten, well-known in Nevada as editor of the Gold Hill News, was also one of the early locators. He was interested with Andy Colman, W. H. Virden, Abram Lewis, Donald Ross and Harley Fay in two claims, known as the Zenobia and Tuscarora, 1,400 feet each. On the twelfth day of October, 1865, the Northern Belle and the Southern Belle claims were located by Alsop J. Holmes, M. C. Hubbard, Francis Seip and Edmund Griffin, having 1,000 feet each.
    On the twenty-sixth of May, 1865, Mineral Mining District, being uninhabitable, was, on petition of its claim-holders, annexed to Columbus District. Candelaria Mining Claim was located May 22, 1865, and from this the town of Candelaria is supposed to have received its name.
    The mineral belt on which Columbus District is established is about twenty miles in length, and four miles in width. The ledges are found principally in slate and granite, and in the limestone adjoining those formations. The general character of the ore is a chloride of silver, carrying galena, copper, iron, antimony and arsenic. The ledges generally run parallel and crop boldly, frequently from twelve to fifteen feet above the surface, and are from twelve inches to three feet in width. The rock taken out by prospectors assayed from $50 to $200 per ton, but the absence of wood and water, and the generally desolate character of the district, operated to prevent a rapid development of what were known to be rich ledges. The nearest wood and water was found eight miles from the mines.
    In 1870, active operations were commenced by several companies. Samuel Youngs moved a four-stamp mill here from Aurora that year, and the Columbus Mill and Mining Company built a ten-stamp mill, as did also Sweetapple & Hazeltine. Water was brought from the town of Columbus, a distance of eight miles from Candelaria Hill, where the mines are located, and wood was hauled an equal distance, thus rendering the working of the mines very inconvenient. The leading mine in the district is the Northern Belle, at Candelaria, first located in 1865, and relocated in July, 1870. It was worked not very successfully till 1873, when such a body of ore was opened up that the company decided to build a twenty-stamp mill, which was completed in the spring of 1875. The mill was erected six miles north of the mine, and water was brought to it by a ditch, and pipe, fifteen miles in length, at a cost of $25,000. A road was built to the mine, and another to the source of wood supply.
    The Northern Belle Company built a new twenty-stamp mill in the fall of 1876. Up to 1878 the yield of bullion from this mine was $3,754,000, and dividends bad been paid to the amount of $1,500,000. Since then the mine has continued to be very productive, although the yield of 1877, $1,270,000, has not been equaled. The other leading mines in the district are the General Thomas, Mount Diablo, Metallic, Victor, Vanderbilt, Platina and Baluartel.
    ESMERALDA MINING DISTRICT. This district, surrounding the town of Aurora, was the first discovered in this portion of the State, and gave its name to the county, a name that was a rival of Nevada for the honor of being the name of the State. As this was the first quartz discovery in the county, the following account of the circumstances under which it was made will be interesting. It is from the pen of [p.415] J. Wells Kelly, in the First Directory of Nevada Territory, published in 1862:—
    The credit of this discovery is due to J. M. Corey, James M. Braly and E. R Hicks, and was brought about in the following manner: Messrs. Corey and Braly, residents of San Jose, having gone over to Washoe in the spring of 1860, on a prospecting tour, which contemplated the exploration of a pretty wide range of country, found themselves prevented by Indian troubles from extending their labors beyond the immediate vicinity of Virginia, until late in July. They then struck north, and having examined the district about Pyramid Lake to their satisfaction, returned and passed over into the Sullivan District, east of Carson River. Here they fell in with Hicks, who, having prospected the country from Oregon down, was still following up his searches for silver, heading south. Having a similar object in view, the three formed themselves into a company, and continuing their journey in that direction, along the Pine Nut range of mountains to the West Fork of Walker River, bent their course east, and pursuing a zig-zag route through the mountains between the forks of the Walker, worked their way down as far as Mono Lake. Here they bent their steps to the northeast, and, passing through the Bodie, El Dorado and Masonic Districts, all being worked to some extent at that time, they proceeded in that direction until they reached the rugged chain of hills west of Walker Lake. Having inspected these, and a similar range further east, without meeting with any encouraging prospects, they determined to go south to the Coso region, then already somewhat talked of, and, if necessary, push their journey the length of Arizona, or even Mexico.
    For the purpose of getting an extended view of the surrounding country, and shaping their course, they ascended a high peak in the Wassuck range of mountains, which, seen a long way off by the traveler approaching Esmeralda, has since very properly been named Corey’s Peak. Having, from this elevated position, determined a route, they entered boldly upon what promised to be a long and toilsome journey through one of the most fearfully barren sections of the Great Basin. They had not gone far until a want of water compelled them to make a deflection toward the west. Coming upon a spring in a valley-like depression encompassed by steep and rocky hills, they camped for the night. In the morning Hicks, who seems to have been the hunter of the party, started out with his rifle to look for game. Passing over a craggy height lying west of their camp, since known as Esmeralda Hill, this man, who had a quick and observing eye, noticed the peculiar appearance of the quartz ledges, here quite numerous, and, breaking off some pieces, brought them into camp. His companions, better versed in mineralogy, at once detected in the blue streaks that had attracted his attention the sulphurets of silver, and, proceeding to test it, found the metal present in abundance. With such a prospect all idea of going on without further inspection of the locality was of course abandoned. The three went out, and, examining the neighborhood, found the hills ribbed with quartz veins from top to bottom. Having tested these veins and found them all more or less impregnated with the precious metals, they took up seven of the number. The spot from which the first piece of rock was taken by Hicks is in the Discovery Claim of what is now known as the “Old Winnemucca” Ledge, located near the brow and on the west declivity of Esmeralda Hill. This occurred on the twenty-fifth of August, 1860, a day that will be memorable as having brought to light one of the richest and most extensive mineral districts ever yet discovered. [Newly discovered districts were usually so regarded.-ED.]
    Having taken up this small number of claims, acting, under the circumstances, with a moderation highly commendable, these young men hastened to Monoville, twenty-five miles distant, and acquainted the inhabitants with the discovery. On the thirtieth of August, a company of some twenty returned with them, when a mining district having been duly laid out, and a set of rules and regulations adopted, numerous claims were taken up. This district, ten miles square, was, at the suggestion of J. M. Corey, named Esmeralda—an appellation that has since gradually extended itself to the adjacent country, and finally been given to the county erected from a portion of it by the Legislature of Nevada.
    The name Esmeralda, thus applied to the new discovery, is the Spanish name of the green jewel which in English is called emerald.
    Reports of the rich discovery, with samples of the rock, soon made their way to Carson and Virginia, and immediately there was a great rush for this region, and before winter set in every out-cropping ledge was taken up. The little collection of tents on the hill was known by no distinctive name, the whole region being called Esmeralda. No attempt was made to build a town there, but the later comers pitched their tents on the flat at the head of the cañon, and the advantages of this place as a site for the town was so evident, that before long every one was located there. The winter was severe upon those who spent it in the new town, the canvas tents and rude huts constructed of stones being but scant protection from the rigorous climate of that high altitude, 6,600 feet above the level of the sea. Notwithstanding the unpropitious weather, the people continued to arrive all the winter, and the population became so great and the evidences of permanency so certain, that the next spring the Legislature of California created the new County of Mono, with Aurora, the name that had been given to the now town, as the county seat.
    For several years the yield of bullion was very great, the celebrated Wide West, and the Real Del Monte, Crocket, Etna, Lord Byron, Juniata, Antelope, Utah, Winnemucca, Esmeralda, Lady Jane, and others being very productive. The mines have never been worked below the water level, and the work done seemed to develop the following facts (see State Mineralogist’s Report 1867-68):-
    First—There seems to be a belt of quartz, nearly barren, underlying every mine at about the same depth.
    Second—In every instance it is above the water-level.
    Third—The gold decreases generally from the depth of about 100 feet, and finally entirely disappears where the barren quartz is found, while the silver increases from the depth of about 100 feet to the barren quartz. It does not wholly disappear, but the yield is not sufficient to pay for reducing.
[p.416]     Fourth—The water-level is reached in this barren quartz.
    Fifth—At the greatest depth to which this belt has been opened there was evidence that rich silver might reappear.
    Inference—These mines may be worked profitably at greater depths.
    Acting upon the inference deduced from the above facts, and encouraged by the important developments in the Bodie District, the Real Del Monte Company was incorporated in October, 1877, with a capital stock of $5,000,000; and a new shaft was started on Last Chance Hill, with the design of making a thorough and deep prospect. The shaft has three compartments, and has already reached the depth of 750 feet, at which point a station is established, and cross-cutting being done. The shaft is also being continued down 250 feet further. If rich developments are made by this company similar efforts will be made on a number of the ledges, and Aurora may look to become again the mining center she was in the days of her infancy. Since this company has been at work business has improved, and the town advanced, and there arc now some 250 men at work in this mine, or prospecting some of the others.
    The quartz mills that have been at Aurora, only one of which, the Coffee Mill, is now running, deserve mention by name.
    Pioneer Mill, built, and commenced running in June, 1861, by Green, Culver, and Jackson, the first in the district, and cost $25,000. It was situated on Willow Spring Gulch, in the upper part of town. Eight stamps.
    Union Mill, built in 1861. Cost, $30,000. Eight stamps. Esmeralda Ravine in lower edge of town.
    Taylor & Co’s Mill, below Coffee Mill, on opposite side of street.
    Moses Mill, built in 1862. Below the Union Mill. Cost, $16,000.
    Napa Mill, built in 1862. Cost, $20,000. Eight stamps.
    Aurora Mill, commenced running May 11, 1863 Cost, $50,000. Ten stamps.
    Pine Creek Mill—This mill was also known as Brodie’s and as Lufkins. Built, 1862. Eight stamps. Cost, $40,000.
    Gibbons’ Mill, built, 1862. Cost, $15,000. Four stamps.
    Clayton’s Mill, built in 1862, one mile east of town. Twelve stamps. Cost, $30,000. Afterwards called Spring Valley Mill.
    Lamb’s, or Peck’s, Mill, built in 1862, near Clayton’s Mill.
    Antelope Mill, built in 1864, in Bodie Gulch. Granite and brick. Twenty stamps. Cost, $150,000. First built in 1863 with eight stamps.
    Alturas Mill, built in 1862. Seven stamps. Cost, $20,000.
    Wide West Mill, built in 1862. Granite and brick. Cost, $150,000. Twenty stamps.
    Fogus Mill, built in 1863. Twelve stamps. Cost, $50,000.
    Independence Mill, built in 1863. Cost, $90,000. Sixteen stamps.
    Real Del Monte Mill, built in 1863, in Bodie Gulch. Cost, $250,000. Granite and brick. Thirty stamps.
    Union Foundry and Coffee Mill, built in 1862. Cost, $20,000. Complete foundry and a four-stamp mill. Now- running on custom work.
    Nearly all of the above mills ceased operations in 1863-64-65, though the Antelope and Real Del Monte ran several years later, and the Coffee Mill is still running.
    Bullion to the amount of $16,000,000 had been produced in the district up to 1880.

    GOLD MOUNTAIN DISTRICT is twenty miles southeast of Lida Valley, just at the northern extremity of Death Valley, in the same range of mountains, and the first discovery was made by Thomas Shaw in 1866, the district being organized in September of that year. It is supposed that it was here that C. C. Breyfogle obtained the rich specimens that he claimed to have found in Death Valley, and in search of which so many people were so eager and so disappointed. But little work was done until 1871, when some new discoveries were made, especially the Oriental, which was discovered that year by Thomas Shaw, who found some very rich gold croppings, and on which a shaft has since been sunk 150 feet. This ore was worked by a six-foot arastra. No mill has ever been erected. There are two mineral belts in the district eight miles apart, and separated by a high valley. They are called the granite and slate belts. The principal locations on which more or less work has been done are the Oriental, from which the richest specimens in the State have been taken; Enterprise, Old Gal, Mountain View, Golden Leaf, in the granite formation, and the State Line, Kelley and Ober, Ann Arbor, and the Liberty. Some 200 locations have been made in the district. Wadsworth, until Hawthorne was started, was the nearest railroad station and the source of supplies.
    There is plenty of pine nut timber in the district, but water is scarce. The ore is free-milling gold, with some silver; and at present there are ten men living in the district.


    LIDA VALLEY DISTRICT is about twenty-three miles southeast of Silver Peak, and was discovered by William Scott, in May, 1871, and organized August 7th of that year.
    The formation is limestone, slate, and granite. The veins that have been traced for a distance of eight miles vary in width from eighteen inches to two feet, run from northeast to southwest, and dip to the southeast. Some of the silver ore, in which is a small per cent. of gold, is free-milling; but it generally carries lead, with some copper and iron, as a base metal; piñon pine in abundance upon the surrounding [p.417] mountains, water sufficient for milling purposes in springs and shallow wells. Ores are now worked raw. There are two mills in the district, one an eight-stamp, the other having five, and both are run by steam. Freights by team cost five cents per pound from Wadsworth, distant 168 miles away in an air line. What the reduction will be in gaining a nearer railroad station at Hawthorne, is yet to be seen. There have been about 250 locations made in the district, fifty of which are still in existence, among the more important of which are the Brown’s Hope, Death Valley, Suwanee, Cinderella, Lida Hill, or “Hawkeye,” Lida Belle, Blue Dick, Sapphire, Centennial, and Fortunatus, or “Buster.”
    The greatest depth obtained is by shafts on the Fortunatus and Brown’s Hope mines, each having one 250 feet down. The longest tunnel is on the Suwanee, and is 200 feet.
    MONTEZUMA DISTRICT was discovered by Thomas Nagle, Mat Plunkett, and a man named Carlyle, on the twenty-fourth of May, 1867, and shortly thereafter the district was organized. The mineral belt is six miles long and about two miles wide. The rock formation being limestone and calcareous shale, and is very compact. The water supply is limited, while wood is found in abundance, and very convenient to the mines. The district lies ninety miles from Belmont, and fourteen miles from Silver Peak, and has an altitude of 7,750 feet above the level of the sea. About sixty locations have been made. The manner of finding the ore is by making cuts in the limestone from one to five feet in depth, but few of the deposits having croppings. In the fall of 1870 a fine ten-stamp mill was erected, and, after a run of about four months, was shut down. It was provided with four pans, one large settler, and four reverbatory furnaces. The ores obtained in this district are the chloro-bromide (embolite), sulphide of silver and antimony (sittengerite), malachite and azarite.
    ONEOTA DISTRICT was discovered May, 1870, by Mr. Wetherell, who was led to the place by an Indian who had found some rich rock here. This gentleman located the Indian Queen. The district was organized June 20, 1870, and the following spring a large number of locations were made. In 1862 a district was organized here by some parties who were prospecting for gold in the White Mountains. They discovered a ledge two and one-half miles north of the Indian Queen, but no valuable rock being found, the district was abandoned. There are several good springs, a fine stream of water, and wood in abundance. The district is about thirty miles southwest from Columbus, and within two miles of the California line. The Indian Queen is the principal mine, and is now incorporated. For the first two or three years ore was sent to Reno and San Francisco for reduction, and in this way the mine yielded $200,000 up to January, 1875. At this time the incorporation was formed, a four-stamp mill completed in June of that year, and since then the yield has been much greater, and a large amount has been paid in dividends.
    PINE GROVE DISTRICT is about forty miles northwest from Aurora, and was discovered July 9, 1866, by William Wilson. A great many locations were made, only three of which, the Wilson, Kean and Wheeler, were found to be valuable. The district is cut by many canons running in different directions, forming an irregularly shaped mountain, the mass of which is granite. The veins are found on both sides of the principal cañon, having a course northeast and southwest. These mines are worked for the gold, although some silver is found in the rock. There are three mills in the district, the Pioneer with ten stamps, the Central with five stamps, and the Wilson. The Central is not now running.
    PALMETTO DISTRICT lies west of the Lida, and was organized in 1866, the discoverers being H. W. Bunyard, Thomas Israel and T. W. McNutt. About fifty locations have been made, and at one time things were in a flourishing condition, but at the present time there are no miners in the district. It lies in the same range as the Lida, Sylvania and Gold Mountain Districts. A large twelve-stamp mill was erected in 1866, for the purpose of working the ores from the Champion, and one or two other mines on the same lead. Water was obtained by sinking wells in sufficient quantities to supply the mills and mines, and after a successful run of a few months the mill was obliged to shut down for the want of ore, the ore body giving out, and the mines requiring much dead work and -capital before other ore bodies could be uncovered, were finally abandoned. The mill being left to look out for itself, has been entirely taken away, although the mines and mill-site are still held by the old company under the patent. Piñon timber is found in abundance in close proximity, the mines being situated in an immense forest. The ores of the district carry considerable copper, being silver ores, carrying no gold. The leads run east and west, dipping to the north. The deepest shaft is on the Champion mine, and is about 100 feet in depth.
    SYLVANIA DISTRICT lies twelve miles southwest of the Lida, and was organized in 1872 under the name of Green Mountain District, but in 1873 was changed to its present name. The first location was made in 1870 by — Kincaid, which was followed by about 100 others. The district is located in a spur of the White Mountain Range, and there are at present ten men at work there. The ores are principally galena, with some silver and gold-bearing leads which seem to indicate permanency. The formation is slate and limestone, the veins running east and west. Smelting works were erected at Lost Springs, in 1875, but are not running at the present time. The timber supply is abundant, and of the kind known as piñon pine. Water is obtained in sufficient quantities from the many strong springs in the immediate vicinity.
[p.418]     The deepest shaft in the district is on the mine owned by — Kincaid and John Judd, being 150 feet, and the longest tunnel, about 200 feet, is on the Uncle Sam. The post-office is at Lida, but the nearest railroad station is Hawthorne.
    SILVER PEAK AND RED MOUNTAIN are virtually one district, situated in the high mountains east of Fish Lake Valley. The latter was discovered and organized in July, 1864, during which year a three-stamp mill was erected, and later a thirty-stamp mill, called the Red Mountain Mill, was erected at a spring a few miles from the mine. About this time ledges were found but a few miles distant, and Silver Peak District was organized. The principal vein is the Red Mountain, and the Crowning Glory the leading mine. Operations were suspended in November, 1870, the mill was shut down and all the hands discharged. Since then but little work has been done by the Silver Peak and Red Mountain Company.


    There are a great many other districts in the county some of which have been entirely abandoned, while others are being slightly prospected, or being worked simply for the purpose of holding the claims, in the hope that in the future developments will make them valuable. There is no doubt that when the narrow-gauge railroad is completed to the Columbus District, an upward influence will be given to the whole region. The districts now prominent, of which particular mention has not been made, are the Baldy, Cornell, Cottonwood, Desert, Lake, Walker River, Tule Cañon, Masonic, Van Horn, Montgomery, Minnesota, Thunder Springs, Blind Springs, Hot Springs, Independentia, Pandet, and Washington. There are now about 500,000 acres of mineral lands, sixteen quartz mills, and there have been 22,292 tons of ore crushed.


The subject of the following sketch, is a native of the State of Pennsylvania, and first saw the light of day about sixty years ago. In 1844 he left his home and for many years was a traveler, having in his wanderings been twice nearly around the world. In 1860 he located where he is at present to be found, the genial owner and proprietor of the celebrated “Hinds’ Hot Springs,” a view of which will be found in this volume. The medicinal qualities of the water of these springs are among the wonders of the present age. There are three different classes of baths, each bath combining the waters of many springs with various degrees of temperature. The springs are situated only ten miles from Wellington Station. A good-sized volume could be written about these springs, but suffice it to say that they are fast becoming a popular resort, and rank first among the health-sustaining institutions of the Pacific Coast.


Is a native of New Brunswick, and first opened his eyes upon this sinful world in the year 1833. When a lad of but fourteen years he removed to the State of Maine, and settled in Cumberland County. In 1853 he “went west” to the State of Wisconsin, and two years later went to Illinois. In 1859 the excitement connected with the discovery of the mines at Pike’s Peak, in Colorado, caused him to emigrate to that section of the country, and soon after he continued his journey and landed in California. In 1862 he crossed the mountains and has since that time been a resident of Nevada, engaged in mining. He was the discoverer of the Excelsior mine, and has been extensively interested in several other mines. At present he is interested in the Ludwig Copper Mine, and he, with his associates, have recently erected a new furnace at that place. This mine is in the Wilson District, and bids fair to realize for its owners a bonanza. Mr. Spragg was married to Miss R. G. Knox, daughter of Captain John Knox, of Kentucky, and they have one child, a daughter, Alice, wife of Charles T. Martin. Mr. Spragg has a residence and ranch in Mason Valley, and is very comfortably situated.


    AURORA, the county seat of Esmeralda County, is located in the center of Esmeralda Mining District, and was first settled by J. M. Carey, James M. Brady and E. R. Hicks, who came from San Jose in the spring of 1860 on a prospecting tour. They organized the camp and named the town, and in the spring of 1861 the Legislature of the State of California created the new county of Mono and fixed the county seat at Aurora, supposing it to be within the limits of the county. The officers of Mono County located here, rented a Court House and built a jail. During that year the town continued to increase; many substantial buildings were erected, and hotels, stores and other places of business were opened. Messrs. Green, Culver and Jackson erected the Pioneer Quartz Mill, a steam mill with eight stamps and four roasters, which cost over $25,000, owing to the high rates of freight and exorbitant prices paid for material and labor. During the next two years Eighteen quartz mills were erected, some of which only ran for a short time. The height of prosperity was reached in 1863-64, at which time there were twenty stores, a dozen hotels and as many more boarding-houses, and saloons in great numbers. The population in the summer of 1863 was 6,000. During the summer of 1864 most of the mills shut down, and the following winter half the people left, and the population continued to decrease till 1870.
    Aurora has only had two fires of any magnitude, the first of which occurred at three o’clock in the morning of the sixth of January, 1866. All the frame buildings on both sides of Antelope Street, between Pine and Aurora Streets, were burned, entailing a loss of about $40,000. The next fire was at 11 o’clock in the forenoon of September [p.419] 11, 1873. In half an hour ten wooden buildings, reaching from the corner of Pine and Antelope Streets to the drug store, were burned, including the County Jail and Wingate Hall badly damaged. The Pah-Utes worked bravely in helping to subdue the flames.
    In 1880 Aurora had 500 population, four stores, seven saloons, one hotel, two lodging-houses, four restaurants, one livery stable, one blacksmith shop, one Methodist organization, one telegraph office, one express office, one assay office, one clergyman, four attorneys, one doctor, one dentist, one hospital, one school building, 20x40 feet, of brick, one newspaper, the Esmeralda Herald; $200,000 value of taxable property.
    The nearest railroad station is Hawthorne, distant twenty-eight miles to the northeast. Bodie lies twelve miles to the southwest. Belleville, east forty-eight miles, and Pine Grove, north forty miles.
    BELLEVILLE is situated on a slope in the foothills facing west, and was started in 1873; was most prosperous from that time until 1876, the greatest number of population having been about 500. The altitude of the town is about 5,000 feet. Candelaria lies south of it eight miles, and Marietta, northwest ten miles. At present it contains about two twenty-stamp quartz mills, thirty houses, twelve families, 150 men employed by the company, 300 population, four stores, two hotels, seven saloons, two restaurants, one livery stable, two blacksmith shops, one telegraph office, one assay office, one express office, one doctor, no lawyers or clergymen, one school house, built of wood, 20x30 feet.
    Freights are received from the new railroad town of Hawthorne, forty miles away, for which one and one-half cents per pound is charged.
    CANDELARIA derived its name from the mine of that name, located May 22, 1865. It is also the name of one of the mass days of the Catholic Church, which accounts for its having been given to the location by its Spanish discoverers.
    In 1875, John McDonald erected a saloon on or near the mine referred to, but, owing to a lack of business, closed down. In the summer of 1876, Zadoc Pierce purchased the McDonald property, and opened a small store. Later he formed a co-partnership with George Vernon. That year a town site was surveyed on the flat north of the hill, by J. B. Hiskey, and in November it contained a post-office, four stores, two hotels, eleven saloons, one restaurant, one livery stable, and a number of dwelling-houses.
    In 1880, the population was estimated at 900, the registered vote was 359, and the town contained six stores, one hotel, ten saloons, three restaurants, two livery stables, one blacksmith shop, three lawyers, three doctors, one school house, 16x12 feet, no church, one assay office, one telegraph office, one express office.
    The wood and water supply is obtained from a distance, water being brought in wagons from Columbus, eight miles, and costs four and one-half cents per gallon. Wood is obtained in the Excelsior Mountains, twenty miles west, and from mountains twelve miles to the south, and is of the kind known as nut pine.
    The nearest towns to Candelaria are Columbus, eight and a quarter miles to the southeast; Belleville, eight and three-quarter miles to the northwest, and Metallic, three-quarters of a mile in the direction of Columbus. Freights come from the railroad station of Hawthorne, fifty-five miles distant, and cost twenty dollars per ton. Prior to this, teaming freights came from W adsworth Railroad Station, 130 miles distant, at an expense from San Francisco of four cents per pound. There is a twenty-four column weekly paper published at Candelaria, by John Dormer, that was started June 5, 1880. There have been seven homicides, the following being the names of the victims: John Ferris, Joseph Turner, Thomas Logan, Traver, Moore, one Chinaman, all of whom were shot, and John Lawless, who was killed with a pick.
    COLUMBUS was an outgrowth from the discovery of mines; was the first town started in the district of that name, aria its commencement dates from 1865. The building of a quartz-mill was the first thing that concentrated settlement there, the mill being located at this point because of its proximity to the salt and borax flats, as well as the facility for obtaining water, that is found by digging wells but a few feet into the ground. Nut pine and cedar wood are found in the adjacent White Mountains. In 1866, the town had gained a population of about 200. The place has not been entirely dependent upon the mines, for the large deposits of salt and borax in the vicinity have supplied an industry that has supported quite a population. The Pacific Borax Company commenced operations in September, 1872, at the Columbus Marsh, five miles south of Columbus. In 1875 the company also went to work in Fish Lake Valley, ten miles farther south, and a little village of some forty cheap buildings, chiefly adobe, sprang up, containing some twelve families, and 200 people. This company suspended work some time ago. Teel’s Salt Marsh, and the Virginia, or Rhoades’, Salt Marsh lie north and northwest of Columbus, and have been worked quite extensively. The former is at present being worked by Smith Brothers, and the latter by A. J. Rhoades.
    Columbus was most prosperous between the years 1870 and 1875, during which time the number of its population is reported to have reached 1,000. The buildings are of wood and adobe. There is no church, but a school house, built of adobe, 16x20 feet, with twenty pupils to attend in it, is among the institutions of the town.
[p.420]     At present there are about 100 people living there, and the town contains two quartz mills, two stores, one hotel, one restaurant, six saloons, one blacksmith shop, one livery stable, one doctor, one attorney, one express office, a post-office and a newspaper, the Borax Miner.
    In early times W. W. Barnes started a weekly twenty-four column paper, known as the Columbus Times, there, but was forced, for want of patronage, to suspend publication. The nearest railroad station is at Hawthorne, distant fifty-eight miles, and teaming freights from that place are thirty dollars per ton.
    There have been several homicides in the place, and two men have been hung, one of them, a Mexican, being lynched for killing a countryman.
    GREENFIELD is a thriving little town in the center of the rich agricultural country in Mason Valley. In 1869 W. R. Lee settled upon 160 acres where the town now stands. In 1871 Dennis Higgins and E. W. Bennett came, and the year following Mr. Higgins purchased the 160 acres of Lee, and had it patented in his own name. There was at that time the saloon of James Downey, the store of E. W. Bennett, and the blacksmith shop of Isaac Sims, on the land. Geiger, of the Virginia Geiger Grade, kept store about two miles below the present site of Greenfield. He settled there about 1863. In 1872 William Withero and B. Jackson came, and J. S. Craig in 1873. At present, the town is in a prosperous condition, having a population of 200, five stores, three hotels, two saloons, two restaurants, three livery stables, three blacksmith shops and four other places of industry. A tri-weekly mail goes there from Carson. J. S. Craig is the present Postmaster, and agent for Wells, Fargo’s Express. Freights are received from Wabuska, twelve miles distant. They have a wood school house 20x30, with a seating capacity of forty. The regular attendance is twenty-two. The Methodists have a church building that will seat 200; also a Sabbath-school of twenty-five scholars. A good supply of pure water is obtained from private wells, and wood is procured from the mountains. The town is at an elevation of 500 feet, and is healthful the year round. The Post-office address is Mason Valley, but an effort is being made to change it to Greenfield.
    THE TOWN OF LIDA VALLEY was laid out in the valley by that name on March 1, 1872, and now contains three stores, one saloon, one boarding-house, one blacksmith shop, one butcher shop, one livery and feed stable, and one post-office.
J. S. CRAIG

Is a native of Ireland, County of Donegal, and was born in October, 1839. Leaving his native home at the early age of twenty-two years he came to America and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and there learned the saddler’s trade, at which he worked till 1860, in which year he took passage for the State of California, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and from thence to Nevada the following spring, engaging in the saddler’s business in Aurora, Esmeralda County, for a period of eight years. From thence he removed to Pine Grove, in 1869, and resided there until 1875, whence he removed to Greenfield, Esmeralda County, where he now resides. Mr. Craig has, during his leisure hours, devoted himself to the study of the law, with such success that he was admitted to the Bar in 1868, and with his professional avocation combines the pursuits of the merchant and hotel keeper, besides having charge of the express and post-offices, kept in the store adjoining his hotel. To offset the seeming blessings before mentioned, Mr. Craig might count among his misfortunes that of having been Justice of the Peace during most of the years of his residence in the Silver State, an office that during the early years of the settlement of the State necessarily combined the Legislative, Judicial and Executive in one.
    One of many instances illustrative of this occurred at Rockland, Nevada, in 1872. During one of those early entertainments known as “sprees,” a desperado, known by the name of Australian Kelly, engaging in a free fight such as often were indulged in in those days, was stabbed, and at the time supposed to be fatally, by one Griffith. A man by the name of John Crosser was arrested for the crime, though at the time of the affray he was asleep in bed. Kelly believed, as did his friends, that Crosser was the guilty party, and that Kelly was mortally wounded. They determined to be avenged. To accomplish this, three of Kelly’s friends entered the building where Crosser was held in custody by a Constable, while the fourth, a large, powerful fellow, remained outside. At the time agreed upon, he entered the room, and, accosting Crosser, asked if he was the man who cut Kelly. Crosser at once answered he was not. The other, drawing a revolver, replied, “You are, and you shall die;” but before he could use it Justice Craig, who was present, with great courage and presence of mind, seized the would-be murderer and thrust him outside the building, closing the door. Immediately the three others rushed for Crosser, when they were met by the determined presence of the Constable, supported by a cocked revolver, ready at a moment’s notice to second and support the action of the “Court.”
    They soon decided that Crosser was not the man they were looking after, and the little meeting adjourned without notice. On the examination Crosser was clearly proven innocent, and was released—his life saved by the courage and prompt action of the officers of the law.
    Justice Craig was married in August, 1873, to Miss Kittie A. McGower, a native of New York City, at the home of her parents in Bridgeport, Mono County, California. They have two little daughters living, and have buried one son, who died in early childhood.

[p.421]


Is a native of the State of Indiana, born in Warren County, March 13, 1843, where he remained until he reached the age of thirteen years. His facilities for obtaining an education were only those of a common school, but he was one to improve his opportunities, however meagre they might be, and succeeded in acquiring a fair knowledge of the common branches. In 1856, Mr. Daniel removed to the State of Iowa, and was a resident of that State until 1862, at which time he emigrated to the far West. He endured the hardships of a journey across the plains and wintered with the “Saints” at Salt Lake City, Utah. The next year he continued his travels toward the setting sun, and as he expresses it: “Willed away eight years of the choice portion of his life.” Being a man who observes, he learned a great deal concerning the country and the peculiarities of the people of the State of California and Territory of Nevada, where be lived during the eight years before mentioned. He finally returned to Iowa, and was married to the lady who presides over his household at the present time. In 1876, Mr. Daniel returned once more to the Pacific Coast, and has since been a resident of Greenfield, Esmeralda County, Nevada, where he is engaged in blacksmithing, also deals largely in agricultural implements and general merchandise.
    Mrs. Josie Daniel, wife of the subject of the foregoing sketch, is a native of the State of Iowa, born in Audubon County, July 5, 1856, where she remained during the first year of her life. In 1857, she went with her parents to Missouri, and for the succeeding fourteen years lived in that State, and then returned to Iowa, and was soon after married. Her union with the husband of her heart, has been blessed with two children, as follows: Ida E., aged seven years and Ernest B., aged two years.
    Mr. and Mrs. Daniel are much respected by their neighbors, and are a well-to-do couple, living in the knowledge that they have by industry and energy succeeded in establishing a home surrounded with the comforts of life.


Was born in Covington, Kentucky, in 1831, and during the same year removed with his parents to Oxford, Ohio, where he remained until 1839, when another move was made, this time to Wayne County, Indiana, and that place was the family headquarters until the subject of this sketch reached his majority. In 1852, Mr. Lee, with his father and mother, came to California, and settled in Shasta County. He having learned the trade of his father, that of a millwright, came to the Territory of Nevada, in 1861, and settling in Dayton, followed that business until 1863, when he went back to California, and in 1865 went to the Owens River country where he remained until 1868. In the last-named year he again anchored in Nevada, settling on the place now called the Wilson Mill property. Mr. Lee built the mill in the same year, and sold to William Wilson in 1871, at which time he located the land where the town of Greenfield now stands. In 1873 he sold said land to Dennis Higgins, and removed to his present home, two miles north of Greenfield, in Mason Valley. During that year he built his flouring mill, and started it running on the fourteenth of October. These are two thirty-two-inch turbine water-wheels, with a six-foot head of water, and the mill has a capacity of twelve barrels of flour, and fifteen tons of barley, per run of twelve hours. Wheat is ground for ten dollars per ton and barley at three dollars. Mr. Lee ships quite extensively to Bodie, Belleville and Candelaria, and has the satisfaction of knowing that he is a public benefactor in establishing an institution of so much value to the community in which he lives. Nearly everything about his establishment is the work of his own hands, he having made everything in connection with the mill except the buhrs.
    Mr. Lee was married to Miss Sylvia A. Kincaid, a native of Ohio, October 30, 1863. Mrs. Lee came to Dayton, Nevada, in 1862, with her brother Alfred Kincaid. Her union with Mr. Lee has been blessed with eight children, six of whom are now living. The following are their names and ages in 1881: David A., fourteen years; Louisa, twelve years; Schuyler, eight years; Robert E., six years; Eva B., four years; Nettie M., nine months. The names of those deceased, Elmore and Frank.
    HAWTHORNE is the name of the town site at the present terminus of the Carson and Colorado Railroad, on the east shore of Walker’s Lake. The following is taken from the Virginia Evening Chronicle of April 1, 1881, in reference to the new town:
    The new town of Hawthorne, on the line of the Carson and Colorado Railroad at Walker Lake, will, in the near future, give employment to a great many workingmen of all classes. The town at present consists of two tents and a clapboard shanty, but when the railroad begins to crawl out that way it will grow very rapidly. Hawthorne will doubtless be the county seat of Esmeralda County in a year or two, and as it will be at the junction of the railroad and the Bodie wagon road, it is sure to be a prosperous place. The new wagon road to Bodie, which is owned by the same men who are building the Carson and Colorado Railroad, is as fine a grade as is to be found any place in the mountains. From Aurora to Bodie a new route has been taken, that, although two miles longer than the old one, is nearly an hour shorter in time. The old grade, which is still traveled by a few, is in places precipitous and dangerous. The new grade is so constructed that a railroad track could be aid down on it without much additional work. The railroad will not be built to Bodie, however. The people out there prefer to have the teams and teamsters.
    Esmeralda County for the past ten years has had steady and healthy growth. Her present population is 3,220; assessed property valuation, $1,179,388; and total debt, $32,915.


    In the year 1862 Aurora was a prosperous mining [p.422] town of most flattering prospects for the future, with a population of not less than 5,000; with a city government; two daily newspapers; two fire companies of sixty men each, with their machines; two military companies, uniformed and fully equipped, with commodious and convenient armories; a brass band of eleven pieces, together with all other appendages and accompaniments that go to make up a full-fledged city. In common with all lively mining camps, it was infested with bad characters; gamblers and thieves were numerous, and were incessantly getting drunk and killing each other. A “man for breakfast” became so common an occurrence, that the citizens ceased to be interested in ascertaining his name and the circumstances of the killing, feeling a sensation akin to gladness when it was announced that one more rowdy, they cared not which one, had met his natural and deserved fate. A feeling of insecurity, however, rested continually upon the people; they knew not at what time a peaceable citizen might be shot down:
    A reign of terror existed during this period, culminating on the ninth of February, and it was useless as well as unsafe, to invoke the majesty of the law for the protection of person or property. No witness could then be found that would be willing to tell what he had heard or seen in any given case, for to do so they would be the next victims in the hands of that desperate gang of murderers and thieves who had been attracted to Aurora from the report of the richness and extent of her mines. It made no difference how often this gang of cut-throats may have assaulted one, or taken property, a jury could not be selected who had the moral courage to find a verdict against them, as sure death awaited them if they did so. The officers of the law, including even the Judge on the Bench, were more or less under the same influence of fear of personal injury or loss of popularity in a political power. Nor were the political parties of the day altogether free from the annoyance and interference of this villainous gang. At a primary election held by the Union Party in September, 1864 for delegates to represent Aurora in the County Convention, these ruffians, who were all Democrats, insisted upon voting, and having other persons who were not members of the Union Party vote also, and they enforced their demand to vote by walking up to the officers of the election and holding out in one hand their ballot, and in the other hand a pistol which was pointed at the officer. Thus things continued to go from bad to worse. If the ticket voted by this gang had been successful, a Democratic “secesh” delegation would have been elected to the Union Republican Convention.
    One of the leaders of this gang of rowdies, thieves, fighters and murderers was John Dailey, then recently from Sacramento, a young man of but twenty-five years of age. Another of the gang was Sears, one of whose acts led to the culminating event. Sometime in the month of April, 1863, he had seen a horse tied in front of Mayberry’s, near Hoy’s Station, on the banks of the West Walker; mounted the animal and rode away. The owner, a German named Louis Wedertz, was much distressed by the loss of his horse, and followed down the road to Jack Wright’s Station, now Wellington, and asked assistance of W. R. Johnson, who was keeping the place. Mr. Johnson directed John A. Rogers, one of his men, to mount and pursue the robber and bring the horse back. Away flew Rogers in hot pursuit, leaving a dense trail of dust behind him. The thief was overtaken at Sweetwater, and being called upon three times to stop, and refusing to comply, was shot dead. The horse was returned to the happy German, and both Johnson and Rogers were commended for their activity in recovering the stolen property, the fate of the robber being considered a deserved one.
    The balance of the band determined to kill Johnson for the part he took in this affair, and laid their plans to accomplish this secretly. They sought to induce him to go to Adobe Meadows, where they owned a ranch, and keep a station there, intending to kill him, where there would be none to witness the act. They so far prevailed upon him that he was in Aurora on the first day of February, 1864, with the intention of going with them to view the place on the following day. Their intentions were discovered by one of Johnson’s friends, who told him that if he went with them to Adobe Meadows he would certainly be killed, and advised him to tell the conspirators that he had received a letter from his wife that necessitated his return home in the morning, and that he would go with them some other time. Johnson did as he was advised, and retired to bed. The conspirators were satisfied that their victim had discovered their intentions, and determined to kill him that night. They went to the place where he was sleeping, aroused him, and coaxed him down to a saloon, where the balance of the night was spent. Between four and five o’clock in the morning Johnson started for his lodgings, and was met on Antelope Street by four men, and shot. Not content with this, the murderers cut his throat, and set fire to his clothing. Great was the excitement in the morning. The citizens felt that the time had come for them to do something, knowing that if left in the hands of the law enough perjured testimony would be procured to acquit the perpetrators. Quickly arrangements were made for the organization of a vigilance society. Three of the men, John Dailey, James Masterson, and John McDowell, alias Three-Fingered Jack, were arrested by the authorities, and lodged in jail, while Sheriff Francis, with an eager posse, started in pursuit of William Buckley, who had fled. The prisoners were given a preliminary examination before Justice Moore, at the old police station, during which an altercation occurred between one of the Dailey crowd, named Vance, and a citizen by the name of Watkins, resulting in the shooting of Vance in the groin.
[p.423] The three men were committed for trial at the conclusion of the examination.
    Meanwhile the organization of the vigilance society was progressing in the Wingate Building, some 350 of the law and order citizens joining the organization. An executive committee of twelve of the leading citizens of Aurora was selected to decide the conduct of the organization, and their orders were fully and promptly obeyed. Colonel Palmer was appointed Marshal by them, and executed all orders. The society was divided into companies, with proper officers, and everything was done in a most systematic manner. Captain Teel, the Deputy Sheriff, was arrested and guarded in his own house, some of the guards belonging to the Esmeralda Rangers, of which company he was Captain. Other police officers were placed under like restraint, and the vigilantes maintained a guard over the police station and jail. Vance and a number of other bad characters were confined in the police station, and a few days later liberated, and requested to immediately vanish from sight, a request which they complied with     Vance was afterwards killed, at Austin, by Irish Tom, one who had left Aurora in the same unceremonious manner as himself.
    While these events were transpiring in Aurora, Sheriff Francis, with his posse, were in hot pursuit of Buckley. The fugitive had secreted himself in a cabin near the Mono Lake placer mines, and when the pursuing party approached, a dog which accompanied them ran up to the cabin and began to bark. Buckley looked out to see what was the matter, and then fled from the rear door, pursued by the dog. Not seeing the fleeing murderer, but being convinced that the dog had discovered something, the party hastened after them, and soon came upon the sagacious animal, watching at the mouth of a prospect hole. From this hole Buckley was soon brought, and the party started for Aurora, where they arrived during the night. As soon as the Sheriff passed with his prisoner within the guard lines he was arrested, and placed under guard in his office, while Buckley was confined in the jail. The vigilance committee had taken charge of the arms of the Esmeralda Rangers, and used Armory Hall for their headquarters. On the summit of the hill, in the center of North Silver Street, 100 feet northeast of Armory Hall, was erected a gallows large enough for the quadruple execution.
    For several days saloons had been required to close their doors at 9 o’clock in the evening, and on the ninth, the day set for the execution, business of all kinds was suspended. People for miles around came flocking into town, and on that -day no less than 5,000 were gathered here, the majority of them being in sympathy with the proceedings. The town was very quiet, guards patroled the streets, and everything was still and orderly, and when Governor Nye telegraphed to Samuel Youngs, one of the County Commissioners, that there must be no violence, that gentleman sent the following reply: “All quiet and orderly. Four men will be hung in half an hour.” At noon the vigilante companies formed in a hollow square about the scaffold, being under the command of Colonel Palmer, who received his orders from the executive committee in Armory Hall. The four doomed men were escorted to the scaffold, while guards upon the outside of the square kept the crowd at a distance. The execution could be witnessed to great advantage from a number of places in town, and at each one of these was assembled a crowd of eager spectators. At half-past 1 o’clock a little cannon that stood beside the gallows was fired, the rope was cut, and the four men disappeared through the trap-door and were soon hanging lifeless, a terrible example of the vengeance of an outraged community.
    Two days later Governor Nye, Provost Marshal Van Bokkelen, and United States Marshal Wasson, rode into town, but accomplished nothing and left on the third day. The effect of this wholesome exhibition of justice and the absence of the bad characters warned out of town, was a quiet and orderly community for some time, and a considerable modification of lawlessness ever after.


Of Esmeralda County, Second Judicial District, for the March Term of said Court, A. D. 1864.
    To THE HONORABLE DISTRICT COURT: The Grand Jury, whose term is about to expire, in conformity with custom, have the honor to present this report:
    In the discharge of our duties we have examined thirty-six cases, of which twenty-two true bills are found, ten ignored or dismissed, and four cases continued to the next Grand Jury. The Grand Jury find it necessary to direct the attention of the County Commissioners to the condition of the County Jail, which has been leased from the county of Mono, California, by the Commissioners of the county of Esmeralda. At this time it contains four prisoners, against whom have been found indictments for various offenses by this Grand Jury. The prison itself is inefficient and insecure, and totally unfit for the lodgment and safe-keeping of the prisoners therein.
    We feel warranted, after inspection, in recommending that some other locality and a more suitable building be provided. We do not hesitate to reiterate the report of the Grand Jury of last October Term, as to its total unfitness, however careful and particular the officers in charge may be, to secure the inmates.
    The Grand Jury would therefore call the attention of the County Commissioners to this subject, and suggest the purchase of some suitable location in this City and erection thereon of a building better adapted to the purpose, and more convenient than the one now leased by the county. Until that is done, we would recommend that a night guard be placed over the present place of confinement till the prisoners therein confined shall have been brought to trial or their cases disposed of.
    The Court room and various county offices are leased from Preble, Devoe & Co., by the County Commissioners, for the sum of $250 per month, the owners thereof reserving to themselves the right to lease or let the center or Court room at any and all [p.424] times, provided they do not interfere with any Court of Record. The floor of the room occupied by the County Recorder, as also that of the Probate Judge, is of such a character that we beg leave to call attention thereto. It contains great openings and not a few holes, through which come noises from a saloon below, to the disturbance and annoyance of those engaged in making Records, whereby mistakes are liable to occur. We therefore recommend that the owners of said property be required, at as early a day as possible, to construct therein floors of such character that there need be no further cause of complaint. An examination has been made into the condition of the affairs of the Justice of the Peace for Township No. 1, and everything therewith found satisfactory.
    The City Marshal’s office, rented at a cost of fifty dollars a month, is a small frame building in the back of which are two cells. Although we believe that as yet no one has succeeded in escaping therefrom, yet, it is patent to all that to make the attempt is to be successful. The prisoners in these cells are fed at a cost to the city of one dollar per diem, whereas, upon inquiry it is found that the prisoners confined in the County Jail are fed at a cost to the County of $1.50 per diem. We find the books and records of all the county officers kept in a neat, correct and clearly business-like manner. Having thoroughly examined the bonds of all the county officers, it is found that one of the bondsmen on the undertaking of the County Assessor has filed a protest, notifying the proper authorities that he has withdrawn, as one of the sureties upon said bond, for the sum of $2,000. We also find that many of the bonds on file are without the necessary stamp required by the United States Internal Revenue Law, and upon others the sureties have been qualified before officers not authorized by law to administer oaths in such cases.
    With these exceptions the bonds are all correctly executed and approved, and in our opinion the bondsmen are all good and responsible men. We also find that the County Assessor has not complied with the provisions of an Act of the Territorial Legislature (approved December 20, 1861), providing for an assessment on the gross proceeds of the mines. Since the present Assessor entered upon the discharge of the duties of his office, to wit, From October 1, 1863, to January 4, 1864, there has been shipped from this county by Wells, Fargo & Co., of Aurora, bullion amounting to $219,770, upon which a revenue of $659.31 has been lost to the county and Territory by the negligence and inefficiency of the County Assessor. We also find for the last quarter ending this day, that there has been shipped by the above-mentioned company, bullion amounting to $307,500, upon which an additional revenue of $922.50 is due this county. We would especially call the attention of the proper authorities to a nuisance now infecting nearly every part of this city, to wit, the numerous disgusting Chinese brothels that exist on most of our public streets, to the great detriment of public morals and danger of property, and recommend that some action be immediately taken that will effectually abate the evil.
    Among other alleged public offenses, we have been called upon to investigate the action of a self-styled “Citizens’ Safety Committee,” and upon inquiry we find that it was composed of over six hundred of our best, most substantial and law-abiding citizens. We find that this association was organized on the second of February, 1864, and on the ninth of the same month, four men, to wit, John Dailey, Wm. Buckley, John McDowell, alias “Three-Fingered Jack,” and James Masterson, were executed for the murder of W. R. Johnson, and various other crimes, by being hung by the neck on a gallows near Armory Hall, in the city of Aurora, at the hands of, and in pursuance of a preconcerted action on the part of, said association. Having considered the homogeneous character of our population, isolated as we are, and removed from the influences of older communities, and the great difficulty and expense of procuring witnesses, which deter persons of limited means from prosecuting and bringing to justice the perpetrators of crime, and the fact that within the last three years some twenty-seven of our citizens have come to their death by the hand of violence, and the delays and inefficiency, and we believe also, the indifference of those who were the sworn guardians and ministers of the law, and the unnecessary postponement of important trials, whereby many notorious villains have gone unpunished, we are led to believe that the members of that association have been governed by a feeling of opposition to the manner in which the law has been administered, rather than by any disregard of the law itself, or of its officers.
    Under institutions so eminently popular as under those which we live, where all power for the correction of abuses emanates from the people themselves, it is not to be wondered at if they should exercise that power when the tardiness or maladministration of the law fails to correct evils complained of; and when those who are deeply interested in good and wholesome laws, and in seeing them purely administrated, will not give sufficient attention to our elections to secure proper and sober legislators, judicial and other officers, they must expect insecurity of life and property. In this we find the true cause whence have sprung many of the evils of which we have suffered. The Grand Jury deplores the necessity that called into existence that association or self-styled “Citizens’ Safety Committee,” yet it is believed that the members of said association were influenced in their actions by no personal or private malice, but were actuated by a due regard for what they deemed the best interests of the community at large. Feeling assured now, however, that lawless ruffianism has been effectually checked, and will no longer dare put at defiance our laws and its officers, and being satisfied also that there is a determination on the part of all our officers to fully and faithfully perform all their duties, we, therefore, in view of all these facts, dismiss the whole matter as being one of those peculiar results of circumstances which cannot be fully justified in the eyes of the law, yet we cannot, in our opinion, effect anything by presentment that would result in public good.
    We believe the association has ceased to act and formally dissolved, but doubtless the members are ready, if ever sad occasion should again require it, to assert the right of self-preservation and the supremacy of natural law over defective statutory forms and tedious tribunals, when, thereby, the substantial ends of justice can be best or alone attained, and society relieved of the horrors of unchecked and triumphant villainy.
    It is sincerely hoped by every member of this Grand Jury that never again may dire necessity require a renewal of that terrible scene on the ninth of February, 1864.
    We desire, before closing this report, to bear testimony to the able, efficient and prompt manner in which the Sheriff and his deputies have each discharged their duties as officers of the law, in arresting [p.425] and confining in prison the desperadoes that have recently suffered at the hands of the above-named committee of citizens. We also return our thanks to Deputy Sheriff Capt. H. J. Teel, for the promptness with which he executed all orders of the Jury, thereby greatly facilitating the dispatch of business; also to the county officers generally, for such information as was required of them.
JOHN S. MAYHUGH,
Foreman of Grand Jury.

SUPPLEMENT.

    While submitting our general report, we deem it our duty to add a few supplementary remarks relative to the late outbreak and escape of three prisoners from the County Jail. We find upon inquiry that the following-named prisoners, to wit, Geo. Alexander, G. Valliano and Nicholas George, escaped from their cells, between the hours of 7 and 8 o’clock on the evening of the twenty-fifth instant, by removing a portion of the planking from over the cell doors, thereby gaining access to the main or front room of the prison, when they escaped by making a breach in the south or front wall.
    We learn upon inquiry also, that the only implement in possession of the prisoners, by which they effected their release, was an ordinary table-knife, with which they picked the mortar from the wall, thereby rendering the removal of the stones an easy task. The Grand Jury Committee, whose duty it was to examine into the condition of the public buildings, suggested to the proper authorities the necessity of placing a night guard over the jail until the prisoners therein confined should be brought to trial, and had these suggestions been followed, no escapes would probably have taken place.
    We would mention, however, in justice to the Sheriff and other officers of the law, that they have made all efforts in their power to recapture the fugitives, but as yet without success.
    We deem it not inappropriate to state, in conclusion, that in consequence of the great difficulty we have labored under in procuring witnesses, many of whom have been brought from a great distance, making it necessary for us to adjourn from day to day while awaiting their arrival, our session has been protracted to an unusual length. In the discharge of our duties we have examined one hundred and forty witnesses, besides reviewing a great deal of the written testimony given in the various cases tried in the Justices’ Court, and now, having finished the business before us, we submit this our report and ask to be discharged.
All of which is most respectfully submitted.
JOHN S. MAYHUGH,
Foreman of Grand Jury.

[NOTE: The links to illustrations on this page are positioned to match, when possible, the biographies, rather than the placement of the illustrations as found in the original publication.]

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