November 24, 2005

Nevada's Online State News Journal



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Nevada History:



[From James G. Scrugham, Nevada: The Narrative of the Conquest of a Frontier Land (1935), vol. I]

            The history of Southern Nevada, although similar in many respects to the history of other portions of the state, has for many reasons been of almost an entirely different entity. Although of a strikingly similar geographical nature, namely arid and semi-desert, Southern Nevada has had an almost entirely separate social development for just the reasons that constitute the tremendous geographical divisional factors ; viz., the vast expanses of desert waste forbidding settlement or even the establishment of lines of communication. Southern Nevada provides, as does the Northern portion of the state, one of the natural routes and passes for travel through the Great Basin connecting Eastern Centers with the Pacific Coast. This route, however, rather than converging and tending to cooperate as a settling and uniting factor with the northern routes is of a diverging nature. Offsetting these separating influences, however, and tending to bind the two sections geographically, is the more extreme isolation of the southern tip of the state from other regions by the even more prominent and strikingly natural boundary, the Colorado River.

            More than the northern regions, Southern Nevada shows effects of the former Spanish and Mexican ownership. Even here, however, the influence has been so negligible as to be limited to giving to the southern center of population its name and a limited amount of legendary lore. The Spanish Fathers, according to this lore, while exploring the Colorado on their explorations from Mexico, worked their boats as far as the big bend in the Colorado ; here they were told by the Indians of grass and corn not far distant. They investigated the rumors and named the fertile green acres Las Vegas, the Spanish for "Fruitful Plains."[2]

            While the settlement of Northern Nevada was preeminently for economic reasons, the settlements in Southern Nevada were originally, almost exclusively, made for religious reasons. The early "Mormons," under the direction of Brigham Young, were encouraged to spread to the parts of the country most accessible from Salt Lake City for the joint purpose of converting the Indians and making homes. It was with these objectives in mind that settlements were made along the principal streams and water


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sources in what is now Southern Nevada, viz., the Virgin and Muddy River valleys, Meadow Valley, Rose Valley, Eagle Valley, Clover Valley, and Las Vegas.

            Of these centers little is known prior to the coming of the early Mormon settlers. Las Vegas and the Muddy and Virgin River valleys were in line with the Old Spanish trail through the Southwest connecting with the coastal settlements of the Spanish.

            Father Escalante, in company with Dominguez, is reported to have traveled through this section as early as 1776. He, however, probably did not get farther west than what is now the eastern boundary of the state. Jedediah Smith, the next visitor to Nevada, entered the state in the year 1826. From the description of the country given in letters and diaries written by Smith and his men, it is impossible to say just where he entered the state. Most authorities on the subject agree that the party entered along the Virgin River at about the present site of Bunkerville, although some students determine from letters and journals that his party entered at about the present site of Panaca and followed the Meadow Valley Wash to its junction with the Muddy River and hence to the Colorado.

            In April, 1844, John C. Fremont, returning from his memorable scouting expedition, reentered Nevada in its southern latitudes. Just prior to entering within the present boundaries of the state his party encountered two Mexicans, a man and boy, who told of an Indian attack on their party some miles farther along the trail. The two had been mounted and herding the horses so had been successful in driving off the horses and in making their escape. They had left their horses at a watering place back along the trail expecting to pick them up on their return. The two joined Fremont's party, but on arriving at "Aqua de Tomaso," the spring where the horses had been left, they found only evidence that they had been driven off by the Indians. Carson, Godey,

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and the Mexican took up the trail hoping to retrieve the horses. The Mexican was forced to return because of the failure of his horse but Carson and Godey pushed on and the following day returned with fifteen head of the horses and the scalps of two Indians. Fremont pays tribute to the exploits of these two hardy scouts as follows : ". . . . They had rode about 100 miles in pursuit and return, and all in thirty hours. The time, place, object, and numbers, considered, this expedition of Carson and Godey may be considered among the boldest and most disinterested which the annals of western adventure, so full of daring deeds, can present. Two men, in a savage desert, pursue day and night an unknown body of Indians into the defiles of an unknown mountain—attack them on sight, without counting numbers—and defeat them in an instant—and for what? To punish the robbers of the desert, and to avenge the wrongs of Mexicans whom they did not know. I repeat: it was Carson and Godey who did this—the former an American, born in Boonslick county of Missouri ; the latter a Frenchman, born in St. Louis—and both trained to western enterprise from early life." (Fremont's Report of the Exploring expedition to Oregon and Northern California)

            Arriving at the spring where the Mexican party had been surprised Fremont found only the corpses of the two men. The women had evidently been carried off by the Indians.

            From the account in his diary written on May 3, Fremont says :

            May 3.—After a day's journey of 18 miles, in a northeasterly direction, we encamped in the midst of another very large basin, at a camping ground called Las Vegas—a term which the Spaniards use to signify fertile or marshy plains, in contradistinction to llanos, which they apply to dry and sterile plains. Two narrow streams of clear water, four or five feet deep, gush suddenly, with a quick current, from two singularly large springs ; these, and other waters of the basin, pass out in a gap to the eastward. The taste of the water is good, but rather too warm to be agreeable ; the temperature being 71° in the one, and 73° in the other. They, however, afforded a delightful bathing place.

            May 4.—We started this morning earlier than usual, traveling in a northeasterly direction across the plain. The new acacia (spiroblobium odoratum) has now become the characteristic tree of the country : it is in bloom, and its blossoms are very fragrant. The day was still and the heat, which soon became very oppressive, appeared to bring out strongly the refreshing scent of the xygophyllaceous shrubs and the sweet perfume of the acacia. The snowy ridge we had just crossed looked out conspicuously in the northwest. In about five hours' ride, we crossed a gap in the surrounding ridge, and the appearance of skeletons very soon warned us that we were engaged in another dry journada, which proved the longest we had made in all our journey—between fifty and sixty miles without a drop of water.

Travelers through countries affording water and timber can have no conception of our intolerable thirst while journeying over the hot yellow sands of this elevated country, where the heated air seems to be entirely deprived of moisture. We ate occasionally the bisnada, and moistened our

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mouths with the acid of the sour dock, (rumex venosus) . Hourly expecting to find water, we continued to press on until towards midnight, when, after a hard and uninterrupted march of 16 hours, our wild mules began running ahead ; and in a mile or two we came to a bold running stream —so keen is the sense of that animal, in these desert regions, in scenting at a distance this necessary of life.[3]

            The party rested at the stream during the next day in order to feed and recuperate their animals. Throughout their stay they were constantly harassed by the Indians of the neighborhood. Concerning the Indians on the Muddy Fremont says :

In the darkness of the night we had made a very bad encampment, our fires being commanded by a rocky bluff within 50 yards ; but, notwithstanding, we had the river and small thickets of willows on the other side. Several times during the day the camp was insulted by the Indians ; but, peace being our object, I kept simply on the defensive. Some of the Indians were on the bottoms, and others haranguing us from the bluffs ; and they were scattered in every direction over the hills. Their language being probably a dialect of the Utah, with the aid of signs some of our people could comprehend them very well. They were the same people who had murdered the Mexicans ; and towards us their disposition was evidently hostile, nor were we well disposed towards them. They were barefooted, and nearly naked ; their hair gathered up into a knot behind ; and with his bow, each man carried a quiver with thirty or forty arrows partially drawn out. Besides these, each held in his hand two or three arrows for instant service. Their arrows are barbed with a very clear translucent stone, a species of opal, nearly as hard as the diamond ; and, shot from their long bow, are almost as effec-

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tive as a gunshot. In these Indians, I was forcibly struck by an expression of countenance resembling that in a beast of prey ; and all their actions are those of wild animals. Joined to the restless motion of the eye, there is a want of mind—an absence of thought—and an action wholly by impulse, strongly expressed, and which constantly recalls the similarity.

            A man who appeared to be a chief, with two or three others, forced himself into camp, bringing with him his arms, in spite of my orders to the contrary. When shown our weapons, he bored his ear with his fingers, and said he could not hear. "Why," said he, "there are none of you." Counting the people around the camp, and including in the number a mule which was being shod, he made out 22. "So many," said he, showing the number, "and we—we are a great many ;" and he pointed to the hills and mountains round about. "If you have your arms," and he, twanging his bow, "we have these." I had some difficulty in restraining the people, particularly Carson, who felt an insult of this kind as much as if it had been given by a more responsible being. "Don't say that, old man," said he ; "don't you say that—your life's in danger"—speaking in good English ; and probably the old man was nearer to his end than he will be before he meets it. . . . Many of these Indians had long sticks, hooked at the end, which they used in hauling out lizards, and other small animals, from their holes. During the day they occasionally roasted and ate lizards at our fires. These belong to the people who are generally known under the name of Diggers. . . .

            During the day the party spent at the river they missed several animals. Several men were sent to bring them in, but they returned with only the information that the animals had been cut up by the Indians and spread over the bushes to dry.[4]

            The next day the party again took the trail and after a twenty miles' march reached, "the most dreary river I have ever seen—a deep rapid stream, almost a torrent, passing swiftly by, and roaring against obstructions." (Fremont) Fremont followed this river to about the point where it crosses the present Nevada-Arizona line. While the party was resting at this place one of the men, Tabeau, rode back to the camp of the previous day in search of a lame mule. Tabeau never returned to the party and the evidences found indicated that he had been killed and his body thrown in the river.

            At this point Fremont and his party left what is now Nevada to return to Utah Lake and to connect with his former route made on his way to the west.

            The next expedition of note to travel along this trail, and probably one that played a considerable part in the subsequent settlement of the region was that of a party of the historic Mormon Battalion. At the expiration of the term of the battalion's enlistment strong efforts were made to secure the reenlistment of the personnel. But a small group, however, a company of eighty-one, consented to reenlist for a period of six months. The re-

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mainder then left for Salt Lake Valley via Sacramento. With the expiration of the period for which the smaller group had reenlisted it was also disbanded and they in turn began to wend their way back to Utah. Speaking of the return of this party and also illustrating the general importance played by it in his Church History, Roberts says, "In addition to the wagon road opened westward through southern New Mexico, Arizona and California, it was a detachment of twenty-five discharged members of the battalion which brought the first wagon through from the coast via Cajon Pass to Salt Lake, following what is now the general course of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, and which became known in the early Utah-California times as the Southern California Route to the Coast. Also, as we have seen, the battalion members returning from the gold fields of the American River region cut a new wagon road much of the way for their seventeen wagons and two cannons from the western side of the Sierra, across the summit of that lofty range, thence down to the eastern sloping deserts of Nevada and so to Salt Lake Valley."[5]

            With the arrival of the former party in Salt Lake Valley knowledge of the Southern Route became general among the Mormons, and it came to be frequently traveled by them in their attempts to plant colonies in Southern Nevada and California.

            In addition to this Southern Route another trail had been opened up. This trail left the Southern Route somewhere in the vicinity of Mountain Meadows, proceeded via Clover Valley to Meadow Valley, over Bennet Pass to Pahranagat Valley, on down into Pahrump and hence into California.

            The most notable of the expeditions to follow this route was that of the Company of Death Valley Emigrants. As a result

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of the heavy migration across the country to Utah in 1849, the Salt Lake region was crowded almost to overflowing, and despite a good harvest of that summer the valley faced a scarcity of food. To further augment the situation several hundred California emigrants arrived too late to continue the journey on to the gold fields via the northern route and many contemplated wintering in Salt Lake. In his History of the Church Roberts tells us that :

            To relieve this situation, Jefferson Hunt, who had been captain of Company A of the Mormon Battalion, proposed to guide California emigrants over the southern route that season, and thus avoid the danger of a rigorous winter journey over the Sierras. A company of about one hundred wagons accordingly formed and started southward with Captain Hunt as guide.

            . . . . Near Beaver Creek, about 200 miles south of Salt Lake, the California emigrants of Hunt's company abandoned his leadership, and went off with a "Captain Smith" in charge of a pack train bound for California, who had maps and charts of the so called "Walker's cut-off," and persuaded the California emigrants to go that way. Hunt insisted that the route advocated by Smith was not a safe one ; but all to no purpose ; and by the time the company reached the "rim of the basin," the most of them withdrew from Hunt's leadership and followed Smith, leaving the former leader with a small company of but seven wagons. He, however, continued his journey and arrived near the coast on the 22d of December.

            Most of those who took the "cut-off," after wandering for a time in the mountains with very insufficient grass or water, turned back and followed the southern route. "Captain" Smith and some others continued to struggle westward, and a few of them, after much suffering and disaster, arrived on foot in California.

            The experience of this party who withdrew from the leadership of Captain Hunt was most distressing, and in suffering was second only to the Donner party, of 1846, so many of whom perished in the snows of the Sierras. The party that left the leadership of Captain Hunt, suffered however in a different way ; for whereas the Donner party were caught and locked in by the deep snows amid the summits of the Sierras, many perishing from cold and starvation, and some from cannibalism, the party leaving the Hunt guidance was lost in the sand ridges and doons of the western desert, where many died from thirst and the desert's heat. All suffered from lack of food and water and most of their stock perished. This was the party that lingered so long and suffered so much in what they named "Death Valley" in what is now the southwest part of the state of Nevada.[6]

            The party was finally rescued by a relief expedition from settlements in California, brought to them by two of their own members who had forged ahead in search of help.

            One William Lewis Manly, one of the survivors of the expedition, is quoted by Mr. Roberts as follows : "Just as we were ready 

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to leave and return to camp (after having climbed a ridge near their camp where they overlooked the Mohave Desert) we took off our hats, and then overlooking the scene of so much trial, suffering, and death, spoke the thought uppermost, saying : 'Goodbye, Death Valley !' Then faced away and made our steps toward camp. Ever after this, in speaking of this long, narrow valley over which we had crossed into its nearly central part, and on the edge of which the lone camp was made for so many days, it was called 'Death Valley.' Many accounts have been given to the world as to the origin of the name, and by whom it was thus designated, but ours were the first visible footsteps ; and we the party which named it, the saddest and most dreadful name that came to us first from its memories. "[7]

The Las Vegas Settlement

            Las Vegas was the first actual settlement made in Southern Nevada. It, like most of the other settlements of the south, was made as a result of the general program of expansion and colonization fostered by the Mormon Church. The springs and plains of Las Vegas had, as a result of the numerous expeditions along the southern route, come to be well known as a possible site for settlement. Regarding this knowledge Andrew Jensen, assistant Church Historian, in his History of Las Vegas Mission, printed in Nevada State Historical Papers, says :

            Ever since the fall of 1847, when Capt. Jefferson Hunt, together with others, was sent by the authorities of the Church from Great Salt Lake Valley to Southern California for the purpose of purchasing seeds for planting in said valley, the Southern Route, or what was called the Spanish Trail, was known to the Latter-day Saints, and during the following years, when the pioneers of Utah, traveling to and fro between Utah and California, passed over the Spanish Trail, the patch of meadows known by the Spanish name of Las Vegas (the meadows) became a popular camping ground in the midst of the desert, and one of the few places where good water could be obtained for men and animals. This, undoubtedly, was the main cause which led to the founding of a settlement by the Latter-day Saints at Las Vegas in 1855.[8]

            At the general conference of the Church, held in Salt Lake City, April, 1855, a large number of missionaries were delegated to go to different parts of the world, some to preach the Gospel in the United States and foreign lands, and others to locate new settlements in the western territories of the United States. Accordingly a group of thirty were set apart to locate a settlement at Las Vegas, which at that time belonged to New Mexico. The party left Salt Lake City on May 10, under the leadership of William Bringhurst. The trip was quite uneventful and the company arrived at Las Vegas on June 14 and 15.

            Upon arrival, the party immediately began their labors, part of them laying off the fort, some laying out farms, and others digging ditches for the diversion of the water. The farming land was laid off into fifteen five-acre lots, making two and one-half

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acres for each of the settlers. An account written in the Deseret News and presented in Nevada State Historical Papers, telling of the arrival of the party and of their explorations, so adequately tells the story that it is given here in its entirety :

Las Vegas, June 24, 1855.

            We all arrived at this place on the 15th inst., safe and sound, after making a dry drive of 52 miles in 32 hours, from Muddy to this place.

            We found Las Vegas to be a nice patch of grass about half a mile wide and two or three miles long, situate at the foot of a bench 40 or 50 feet high. The valley faces east, and a pretty clear stream of water, about the size of a common millrace, comes from two springs about four miles west of our location.

            The water of the springs is very clear ; they are from 20 to 30 feet in diameter, and at the depth of two feet the white sand bubbles all over as tho' it was the bottom, but upon wading in, there is no foundation there, and it has been sounded to the depth of 60 feet, without finding bottom ; and a person cannot sink to the armpits on account of the strong upward rush of the water.

            Our prospects for timber are not very flattering, though there is plenty of firewood near here, but the weather is so hot and the wood so thorny that we do not expect to be very lavish with it—the scrubby mesquite being the only chance.

            A few days ago I went on an exploring trip to the Colorado, in company with Brother Allen and others, to look for the promised steamboat and other fine things. We found the river and the steam, but no boat, nor anything on the river to make one of.

            The nearest point of the Colorado is about 28 miles from here, and is completely hemmed in by sandhills and deep canyons without grass or wood of any description. At the place where we first reached it, it was about 400 yards wide at an elbow where it turned from the south-west to a south-southeast direction.

            We struck the river again in two other places, 10 and 15 miles below, but it was imbedded in deep canyons. The current runs remarkably smooth for such rough, rocky canyons, and with the exception of one place, it was not impracticable for navigation.

            We could not extend our explorations to any great extent, on account of there being no grass for our animals, and the weather being so extremely hot that men could not live long away from water.

            In coming home some of our company gave out thro' the extreme heat and thirst, it being 31 miles over burning sand and rocks without water. The heat was so great that the water in our canteens would be scalding hot. We were five days out, and never were men more rejoiced to get into port than we were ; and for my part, I have thought Las Vegas was a little heaven ever since.

            We found about 50 Indians (Piedes) on the Colorado, in a perfect state of nudity, except breechcluts ; the men and women all dressed alike. They had raised a little wheat on

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a sandbank; it was all ripe and harvested. They were very friendly.

            Our fort is laid off on a rise of ground close by the creek; size about 150 feet square, with garden lots of one-quarter of an acre each ; they are now pretty much planted. Our farm lots contain two and a half acres each. Farming land is not very plentiful here, as most of the soil is either too sandy or has too much saleratus.

            Our stock is doing finely, and we are all in good health, except Brother Ira S. Miles, who intends to return with this company.[9]

            Shortly after the arrival of the party, all of the Indian chiefs of the vicinity were assembled, and an agreement was made with them for permission to use the land. Frequent murders among the Indians, perpetrated by emigrants, had aroused their antagonism and hatred, but in the council mutual agreements were made for peace with emigrants as well as between the settlers and Indians.

            The missionaries had arrived at Las Vegas with the expectation of planting and harvesting crops for means of subsistence during the following year. With this object in mind the ground was prepared and the seed planted as soon as possible. It was only then that the group could consider exploring for timber with which to build. Several attempts were made before timber was located in accessible locations and in sufficient quantity. Another quotation from the Deseret News will explain the problem faced by these early settlers :

            . . . . At length came to a canyon some 10 miles north of the California road, and found 80 or 90 trees, varying from six inches to two and one half feet through ; some of them were good trees, but most of them were not first rate. Our guide informed us that was all the timber in the country ; we told him that we wanted to go further and see some more timber, but he said it was a great way off, and there was no water near at hand.

            After looking at the shape of the mountains, and judging for ourselves, we found the nearest point for the next timber, was to start home, and at some convenient season start again, and make for the snow-capped mountains in the northwest of the valley, probably a distance of 50 miles.

            After arriving at the Las Vegas we found the distance to the timber to be over 20 miles, 15 miles hard road—gravel and rocks—and the rest sand. Good feed at the timber, and enough water to water teams."[10]

            On September 11, 1855, one of the members of the colony wrote as follows :

            We are all in the enjoyment of health, reasonable strength, and the good spirit, which comforts us all in our privations and laborious duties ; everything that we lay our hands to seems to prosper.

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            Our crops in general look well, and bid fair to come to maturity before frost. We have some fine melon patches ; the melons are just beginning to get ripe.

            Our fort, 150 feet square is now progressing rapidly ; the walls are of adobes and are to be 14 feet high, two feet thick at the bottom, and one at top. Houses are going up, and we will soon begin to live quite comfortably.

            Our explorations have assured of plenty of desert and Indians. . . .[11]

            The mission objective, the conversion of the Indians to the Mormon faith, was as successful as could have been expected. The Indians of the neighborhood readily responded to the kind and just treatment accorded by the missionaries, and listened intently to the teaching of the settlers. In accordance with the teaching many were baptized and became members of the church, and, for the greater part, a state of good will and friendship prevailed between the Indians and the colonists. The Indians, however, just as the settlers, were required to live from the produce of the land. Inasmuch as they were not so well prepared for this they did not live nearly as well. As a result they came more and more to look to the missionaries for their living. They were willing to work for their food and would often work hard for as little as two small squashes for a day's labor. These conditions could not last, however, as the whites found it a hard struggle to find sufficient farm land good enough to support themselves. As a result the Indians were often hungry and resorted to petty thieving and depredations in order to satisfy the demands of their bodies. The chiefs of the various groups sympathized with the whites and did their best to curb that tendency among their followers, but they were finally forced to admit their inability to control the members of their tribes. The members of the mission, on the other hand, were exhorted to treat the Indians kindly and justly because of their ignorance and the fact that they knew no better. The whites, however, did much plowing and planting for the Indians while trying to get them to adopt the arts of civilization.

            At frequent intervals during the sojourn of the mission at Las Vegas, members of the original thirty were released to return to their homes while others were received from headquarters for the purpose of carrying on the work.

            As time from other labors permitted, members of the mission were dispatched to the mountains to get timber and to look for mineral. Lead ore was found in considerable quantities at various places, and in August, 1856, a party arrived from Salt Lake for the purpose of securing some of the metal. A small adobe furnace was erected with which to smelt the ore, but on testing it it was found that the material would not stand the fire. Accordingly the leader of the party, one Nathaniel V. Jones, returned to Salt Lake City to procure a bellows with which to construct a blast furnace. Mr. Jones left Las Vegas on 15th of September and after a prolonged and difficult journey returned to the mines on the 9th of December. A pack trail to the diggings was constructed and mules were set to packing the ore to the furnace. Mr. Jones describes the difficulties attending the working of the mines as follows :

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            During the time we were working the mines, our mules had three pints of oats per day without any grass or hay. They lived on their own dung and this scanty allowance for six weeks. There is no grass in the country. We would sometimes send them out to browse the desert weeds and sage and of a night they would eat up rawhide ropes and everything that we could tie them with, except chains.

            Besides these difficulties, the Indians threatening us upon every hand. They were stealing from us every chance they could get.

            Most of the Indians in the country had collected at a spring, about 3 hours's travel from us, and were making their calculations to drive off all of our stock and drive us out of the country, or kill us. This they had been talking of doing for some time past, and I had every reason to believe they would put their threats into execution.

            The difficulties attending the working of the mines, together with the hostile feelings of the Indians made me not consider it wisdom to remain longer. Accordingly, on the 26th of January, 1857, we left the mines for the Vegas.[12]

            Late '57 and '58 did not add greatly to the development around the fort at Las Vegas. Pending trouble in Utah created a demand for the services of the missionaries elsewhere, and also drew their interests from their labors in the mission field. Accordingly, with permission from Church authorities in Salt Lake City, a large

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number of the mission personnel returned to Utah with the lead miners.

            With their departure the Latter-Day Saint Mission at Las Vegas was practically broken up, although a few of the missionaries stayed on into the year 1858, when nearly all of the distant settlements were abandoned on account of the Johnston Army troubles. The few missionaries that were left out were so scattered that the small groups found it quite impossible to pursue the agricultural arts, preach to the Indians and at the same time withstand the thieving disposition of the aborigines. So, on September 26, 1858, the Las Vegas Mission was dropped "for the time being."

            The Las Vegas land and water rights were acquired by one O. D. Gass. Mr. Gass became quite prominent in the affairs of the section and when the Arizona territory was organized, he served in the territorial legislature from Pah-ute county.

            In 1868, the Las Vegas ranch was offered for sale. The following is a copy of an advertisement inserted in Our Dixie Times (a paper published in St. George, Utah), of April 15th, 1868:

            The ranch is 52 miles from the Colorado River. The distance to Callville is 53 miles, the upper settlements on the Muddy 57 miles, Eldorado Canyon 55 miles, Mojave City 120 miles, and Hardyville 114 miles. There is excellent sawing timber in the Charleston Mountains about 25 miles distant. The soil is black, rich loam and will produce any kind of vegetables ; there is water to irrigate 400 acres of small grain and range for 3000 head of cattle. O. D. Gass, proprietor.[13]

            The ranch was purchased by one Archibald Stewart in 1882. At about the same time the Kyle Ranch (Taylor Ranch) was developed about one mile to the north. Mr. Stewart was killed on this ranch shortly after his arrival at Las Vegas. Mrs. Stewart, however, remained at the ranch rearing her family and superintending the general ranch activities. Considerable produce was raised to supply the markets created by the mining camp at El Dorado and the travelers who still continued to frequent the Southern Route.

            In May, 1905, the Ranch was purchased from the Stewarts by the Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad System. Lots and choice sites for homes and business were then sold at public auction and thus the starting gun for the building of the present city of Las Vegas was fired.


            The next attempt at colonizing in Southern Nevada came from the desire to utilize the Colorado River for navigation. Even before the Civil war attempts were made to provide sections of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada with transportation by this route. As noted in James H. McClintock's book, Mormon Settlements in Arizona, Lieut. N. Michler, of the Topographical Engineers, wrote in 1854:

            The belief is entertained and strongly advocated that the Colorado will be the means of supplying the Mormon territory, instead of the great extent of land transportation now used for that purpose. Its headwaters approach the large

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settlements of Utah and may one day become the means of bearing away the products of those pioneers of the far west. With this idea prominent in the minds of speculators, a city on paper, bearing the name of "Colorado City," had already been surveyed, the streets and blocks marked out and many of them sold. It is situated on the east bank, opposite Fort Yuma.

            From 1858-1882, even after the Santa Fe Railroad had reached Needles, the Colorado was used extensively in carrying supplies to and from the mines and salt from the Virgin mines to the small stamp mills along the river. In 1858, Capt. Geo. A. Johnston began to make trips up and down the river with the Jesup and later with the Colorado. In the same year Lieut. J. C. Ives, of the Topographical Corps, made the trip with the Explorer, a small stern wheeler, which had been brought to the Pacific coast via the Isthmus of Panama. During this expedition the river was at a low stage and the boat continually butted into snags and sand bars. The Explorer finally came to disaster in Black Canyon when it ran upon a submerged rock. Lieutenant Ives then rowed on as far as Vegas Wash.

            Captain Johnston later formed the Colorado Navigation Company and conducted traffic for a number of years. Other captains on the river were : C. V. Meeden, Wm. Poole, A. D. Johnston, J. H. Godfrey, J. A. Mellen, and Isaac Polhemus.

            It was probably with such evidence of possible navigation that Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City conceived the idea of utilizing the river for importing necessary supplies and new immigrants.

            Church history, as noted by McClintock, makes definite statement that the settlement made by Anson Call (Callville) on the Colorado was "as agent for the Trustee in Trust (the President) of the Church in December, 1864, according to a plan which was conceived of at that time to bring the Church immigration from Europe to Utah via Panama, the Gulf of California and up the river to this landing." A company of Salt Lake merchants was also formed to work in connection with the fore-noted plan, and to build warehouses at the landing with a view to bringing goods up the river. Call was to function as agent for this Company.

            On his exploratory expedition to the Colorado, Call was to investigate the Muddy River Valley relative to its agricultural possibilities. He continued on down the Virgin, from the junction of the Muddy, for a distance of about twelve miles. From here he followed a westerly course up Echo wash for a distance of twelve miles and hence southwesterly to the Colorado. Here, on the northern bank of the Colorado and about two and one-half miles up the river from the mouth of Vegas Wash, a start was made on the construction of the warehouse.

            In his Church History B. H. Roberts states : "There was shipment of some goods from that point, though at first there was some disappointment and dissatisfaction among the Salt Lake merchants who patronized the route. Two steamboats, the Esmeralda and Nina Tilden made the trip somewhat regularly from the mouth of the Colorado to Call's Landing, connecting with steamships plying between the mouth of the Colorado and San Francisco. The owners of the river boats carried a standing advertisement in the Salt Lake Telegraph, thus seeking trade, up to December 1, 1866.

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Doubtless the certainty of the early completion of the trans-continental railroad from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean stopped the development of this southwest route for immigration and transportation, via Utah's southern settlements and the Colorado River."

            Callville was short lived. In June, 1869, the Deseret News printed an article to the effect that Callville had been abandoned. Three horse thieves had wrenched the heavy doors from the warehouse and made a raft on which they made their escape down the river.

            The walls of the old storehouse still stand, but even this mute memorial to pioneering fortitude will, within a very few years, give way to a still greater and more modern project when the waters, backed up by Boulder Dam, engulf not only the old landing site, but hundreds of miles of the surrounding area.

Muddy Valley Settlements

            Reports of agricultural possibilities in the Muddy Valley region preceded Call's report, and by the time of his return a company of immigrants was well on its way to this new field. A company had been set apart by the fall conference in 1864, to proceed to the valley on condition the reports were favorable. Thomas S. Smith led the migration to the Muddy (Moapa) Valley, and one of the settlements, St. Thomas, was named after him. St. Thomas was settled on the Muddy about two and one-half miles above the junction of that stream with the Virgin. The first of the colonists began to arrive January 8, 1865. Other settlements were made at Overton, about eight miles north and west of St. Thomas, St. Joseph about five miles north of Overton, West Point about fifteen miles west of St. Joseph, Mill Point and Simonsville, two small settlements reported to have been between Overton and St. Joseph. Some years later a settlement was made at the junction of the

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Virgin River with the Colorado which came to be known as Rioville.

            The settlements were, for the greater part, laid out after a definite plan. St. Thomas is said to have been divided into 85 city lots of one acre each. There were the same number of vineyard lots of two and one-half acres, and a like number of farm lots of five acres.

            Overton was originally laid out on the low, sandy beach on the east side of the river and across the valley from the present site. In fact the name of Overton is said to have been derived from the term Over-town as applied by the residents of the Hill town to the new settlement over the river. St. Joseph consisted primarily of a fort with a number of houses grouped close together. This settlement also boasted of a cotton-gin and a flour mill owned by James Leithead. In 1869, a cooperative mercantile institution was organized for the entire Muddy Settlement.

            The new population immediately proceeded to take advantage of the extensive agrarian opportunities which the valley presented. One of the greatest and more immediate tasks was that of taking water from the river for irrigation. Inasmuch as the river lay in a considerable wash, which had cut through the deep soil, it was necessary to construct several miles of canals for each of the respective settlements. With this task accomplished, land cleared, and, where necessary, swamps drained, the valley became quite productive. Such staple articles as corn, other grains, hay, and cotton were easily raised. Markets were found for such products as the colonists had in super-abundance at such settlements as Callville, Rioville, and El Dorado.

            In 1869, the settlers of the valley subscribed heavily to the proposed establishment of a cotton mill in St. George, through which they hoped to find a market for such cotton as they could raise, and from which they could get finished cloth in return. This mill, constructed by a joint stock company headed by Brigham Young, was for the purpose of providing textile goods which the west had been deprived of due to the Civil war.

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            As was characteristic with the Mormons, each group took particular pains at home building. Streets were laid out regularly and trees were planted along the borders. Meeting houses came early in the course of building the settlement, and served as both church and school. Good roads, connecting the different settlements of the valley, also became a special feature of the colonization. St. Joseph never grew beyond the stages of a fort, but a town was laid out on a level bench to the north and west with a view to settlement.

            A graphic description of the settlements and their social conditions and activities, as given by an early pioneer visiting in the valley in 1866, is found in A History of the Moapa Valley as compiled by the 1925-26 American History class of the Moapa Valley High School under the direction of G. A. Stromberg. She says in brief :

            St. Thomas was a well planned little village, though there were very few houses. Church, school and all social activities were held in a small willow house with an earthen floor. Two square holes were left in the rear for windows, though no glass had been inserted.

Shortly after my arrival at the settlement, a dance was given. The fiddler had only two strings for his violin, but their gay spirits made up for the lack of music. Dust arose in clouds from the earthen floor as they danced the "quadrille" or the "polka" to the hoarse shouts of the caller. But for all that, kindness and courtesy and brotherly love was ever present.

            I was staying at the home of William Powell, so when he made his weekly trip to St. Joseph I accompanied him. Here conditions were somewhat different. The wind blew constantly and the houses and water ditches were filled with sand, but the people were happy and industrious with splendid gardens, flocks of chickens and herds of cattle.

            At the home of Daniel Thomas, a rag-bee was in session. The participants were jolly and happy, and welcomed me, a stranger, into their midst as though I were an old friend.

            But one's heart ached for those people in sickness, for there was no one but one elderly woman to take care of them. Many a mother suffered the agonies of death for her unborn child because of the lack of efficient aid, and some lost their lives, but the hand of Providence seemed ever with them and they were content.

            So into the woof and warp of their lives was woven hardship, sorrow, pain, joy, and happiness.

            In March, 1870, President Brigham Young visited the Muddy Valley. Church notables of the party in addition to the president were John Taylor, Geo. A. Smith, Brigham Young, Jr., and Andrew S. Gibbons. The president and his party were reported as being disappointed with the country and to have declared the valley unfavorable for agricultural or commercial developments.

            When settled, the Muddy section was a part of Pah-ute county in the Territory of Arizona. The act of Congress of May 5, 1866, adding the strip of land between 115° and 114° west longitude and all lands south of the 37° of north latitude and north of the

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Colorado River, however, placed these settlements within the State of Nevada. This new territory in the south was incorporated into Lincoln County by an act of the Legislature of Nevada passed during the session of 1866.

            The new survey was not concluded, however, until about 1870. With definite proof that the settlements lay within the boundaries of Nevada and within the County of Lincoln, the county authorities began to press the settlers for back taxes covering the period of some three years.

            In response to a suggestion from church authorities in Salt Lake City the settlers petitioned the Nevada State Legislature and the National Congress for a redress of their grievances. The State Legislature was presented with a petition signed by the residents of the valley. The petition pointed to the establishment of the different settlements some seven years previous while the section was still under the jurisdiction of Arizona ; that Congress had thereafter taken one degree of longitude from Utah and Arizona and had added this land to Nevada ; that the Muddy section had paid their taxes to the territories of Utah and Arizona ; that for two years authorities of Lincoln County had been attempting to assess back taxes. Further statement was made by the settlers of an expenditure of $100,000 on water and irrigation projects ; that the settlements were so far distant from any practical market that it was impossible to raise the cash demands of the county, and that they had been compelled to provide for the large Indian population at considerable expense but with no remuneration in any form. The petition asked that a new county, Las Vegas, taking in the southern point of the state be organized.

            The petition to the National Congress pointed to the almost prohibitive cost of imported necessities, to the construction of 150 dwellings, to the planting and cultivation of orchards, vineyards,

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cotton and other farm lands to the extent of 3,000 acres ; that a tax of 3 per cent upon property and a poll tax of $4.00 was impossible; that for these reasons it was requested that Congress cede back to Utah and Arizona the portions which had been placed under the jurisdiction of Nevada.

            Failing to receive recognition from either of these documents, the settlers decided in accordance with advice from the presidency of the church given in a letter dated December 14, 1870, and addressed to James Leithead. It read in part, "If the majority of the Saints in council determine that it is better to leave the state, whose burdens and laws are so oppressive, let it be so done." (McClintock's Mormon Settlements in Arizona.)

            The settlers met with John W. Young of Salt Lake on December 20, 1870, and determined, with but one exception, to abandon their homes and to found new colonies elsewhere. Daniel Bonelli, the one dissenting voter, remained in the valley and later became the owner and operator of a ferry at the junction of the Virgin with the Colorado. All others left the valley ; the exodus starting February, 1871. At that time the Muddy settlements boasted a population of some 600—Overton, 119 ; St. Joseph, 193 ; St. Thomas, 150, and West Point, 138. Many of the emigrants went to Long Valley in Utah where they founded the settlements of Glendale and Mount Carmel.

            The Mormon settlements of Southern Nevada had constituted the greatest portion of the populace of Pah-ute County of the Arizona Territory. The county was created by the territorial legislative enactment in December, 1865. The boundaries of the county are described in McClintock's Mormon Settlements in Arizona as

            Commencing at a point on the Colorado River known as Roaring Rapids ; thence due east to the line of 113 deg. 20 min. west longitude ; thence north along said line of longitude, to its point of intersection with the 37th parallel of north latitude; thence west, along said parallel of latitude, to a point where the boundary line between the State of California and the Territory of Arizona strikes said 37th parallel of latitude ; thence southeasterly along said boundary line, to a point due west from said Roaring Rapids ; thence due east to said Roaring Rapids and point of beginning. Callville was created the seat of justice and the governor was authorized to appoint the necessary court officers.

            The new subdivision was taken entirely from Mohave County, which retained the southernmost part of the Nevada point. It may be noted that its boundaries were entirely arbitrary and not natural and the greater part of the new county's area lay in what now is Nevada. October 1, 1867, the county seat was moved to St. Thomas. November 5, 1866, a protest was sent in an Arizona memorial to Congress against the setting off to the State of Nevada of that part of the territory west of the Colorado. The grant of this tract to Nevada under the terms of a congressional act approved May 5, 1866, had been conditioned on similar acceptance by the Legislature of Nevada. This was done January 18, 1867.

            Without effect, the Arizona Legislature twice petitioned Congress to rescind its action, alleging, "it is the unanimous

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wish of the inhabitants of Pah-ute and Mohave counties and indeed of all the constituents of your memorialists that the territory in question should remain with Arizona ; for the convenient transaction of official and other business, and on every account they greatly desire it." But Congress proved obdurate and Nevada refused to give up the strip, and the County of Pah-ute, deprived of most of her area, finally was wiped out by the Arizona Legislature in 1871. At one time there was claim that St. George and a very wide strip of Southern Utah really belonged to Arizona.

            Pah-ute County, north and west of the Colorado, was represented in the Arizona Legislature by Octavius D. Gass of Callville, later of Las Vegas, first as a member of the House and later in the Council. When Gass became a member of the Council, Royal J. Cutler of Mill Point, later of St. Joseph, and Andrew S. Gibbons of St. Thomas represented the county in the House. It is interesting to note that in order to get to the legislative sessions, Gass and Gibbons floated down the Colorado to Yuma and traveled thence to Tucson. They traveled in a fourteen-foot boat built in St. Thomas by James Leithead.

            With the abandonment of the valley by the Mormons, Southern Nevada lost, for a period of several years, untold advantages ; among them, the loss of hundreds of the most stable class of her population, the reverting of thousands of acres of developed land to its original natural state, and the decay of homes, orchards, and vineyards through lack of care. The valley then became a veritable rendezvous for horse thieves, cattle rustlers, and outlaws attempting to evade the law of the more populous centers on the north. There was considerable travel through the valley during ensuing years as it provided something of a natural trail between the mining section of Pioche on the north and El Dorado on the south. The valley was, of course, subject to the depredations of all classes wending their way from one section to the other.

Later Settlements

            Economic attractions and new blood could not but overcome political prejudice, and Southern Nevada was forsaken for but a few years.

            The recolonization of the region began with the settlement of Bunkerville (named after Edward Bunker) on the south side of the Virgin River and but a few miles from the Arizona line. This settlement was organized under the United Order[14] and considerable work was done in this manner that would otherwise have been difficult. The experiment, however, failed after a few years for much the same reason that the ideal has never been practical.

            Stones were shipped into Bunkerville for a flour mill. Power was furnished from an "over shot" water wheel. Subsequent to

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this a molasses press and cotton gin were built in connection with the mill. A cotton press was later added to the group. This enabled the settlers to transport their raw cotton to the factory in Southern Utah and procure finished cotton cloth in return.

            In 1880, the Mesquite settlement was planted on the other side of the river and upstream a few miles from Bunkerville. This settlement was abandoned, however, a few years later, and no further work was done there until 1895, when a new migration settled on that site.

            The Virgin River Valley has, on the whole, defied settlement. It is an alkaline and muddy stream, and, for the most part, flows over a broad bed between precipitous, alluvial bluffs, leaving but little opportunity for agriculture.

            Early in 1881, a new group of Mormons settled again the Muddy Valley. The sites of the old settlements were then occupied by large ranches, but arrangements were made and the present towns occupy the sites of the old settlements. St. Joseph was renamed Logan (Logandale) after the principal settlers of the new migration. It was some time, however, before the population of the valley reached its status held prior to the exodus of 1871.

Meadow Valley

            We have already noted a possible visit of Jedediah Smith to Meadow Valley, Lincoln County, in 1826, and the old "Walker Cut-off" Emigrant Trail which, according to available evidence, crossed the valley, and over which the fated Death Valley party passed in 1849. The next visit of interest was that of a group of Mormon scouts, the White Mountain Boys, who came to the valley from Parowan in 1858. This group, scouting out possible fields for settlement in anticipation of a new exodus of the Mormons in case the trouble between the Mormon Church and the Government could not be peaceably settled, came to the valley in the spring of the year. They took advantage of the equable climate, the fertile soil, and the plentiful water supply, and settled down for a season to raise crops with which to replenish their supplies. They took water from its natural channel by means of a hastily constructed ditch, cleared land and planted crops in time to secure a good harvest. That fall they continued on into the Southwest, visited Pahranagat Valley, and explored the country to the west. On finding little that would warrant settlement in the western deserts, they returned to Utah. Nothing in the way of direct settlement, however, came from their visit to either of the valleys.

            In 1863, one William Hamblin, missionary to the Indians, was led through this valley by Indians who were taking him to the location of rich lodes of "Panacker" (Piute term for silver ore) . He was so impressed with the gushing spring and the waving meadows of tall luscious grass that he drew vivid pictures for two families, those of Francis C. Lee and George Washington Edwards, who were temporarily located at Mountain Meadows engaged in the pastoral pursuit of making butter and cheese to trade in the more populous center of St. George.

            These families began their migration to the valley early in the spring of 1864. Their trek brought them by way of Clover Valley, about thirty miles to the southeast of their destination. This section looked so promising that the Edwards family deter-

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mined to try their luck at founding a home in that valley. They were almost immediately joined by a number of other families. The Lee family, however, continued on to Meadow Valley, arriving there in May, 1864.

            Indian troubles in Clover Valley convinced the settlers of the inadvisability of settling there, and so the following year, 1865, the Edwards, Atchinson, and Syphus families came on and joined the Lees in Meadow Valley. In subsequent years the population of Meadow Valley was gradually increased by the arrival of other families. Among them were the Keele family which arrived in the .fall of 1865, the Mathews and Ronnow families in 1866, and the Wadsworths in 1867. Other names which were prominent in the valley during the early period were Kitterman, Slade, Mathis, and Barton. A settlement was built, fort-fashion, about one mile south of the main spring of the valley. Building material was, for the most part, of sod cut from the meadow ground. The settlement took its name. Panaca, from the original Indian discovery of "Panacker" (silver ore) in the mountains to the west of north.

            In subsequent years, the growth and development of this Mormon community was very closely linked with the booming mining and milling towns which grew up in the vicinity.

            Eagle Valley, to the north and east of Meadow Valley was settled as a branch from that larger settlement. One John E. Hammond, riding out from Panaca, first entered the valley in 1865. Settlement followed with such names as Hatch, Little, Maxwell, Hatfield, Stillson, Lytle, Meeks, and Western, being prominent through the Valley's early history.

            Like other agricultural communities this valley has played an important part in providing for the demands of the neighboring mining centers.

Clover Valley

            Reference has been made to settlements in Clover Valley. The first settlements, however, were not permanent because of the continued threats of the Indians. In 1869, Lyman L. Woods, sent by Brigham Young to settle in the Muddy region, entered the valley. He was so enthused over the appearances of the section that he asked permission to settle there. The permission was granted but with admonition of the treacherous character of the Indians of the region. Woods proved to be very expert in solving the Indian problems, and after a short time he experienced little trouble.

            The settlement was of great value as a source of supply for the construction of the railroad grade by the Union Pacific System in 1889, and for the subsequent laying of the rails in 1901, by Senator Clark. The settlement not only provided food and accommodations for the construction gangs but a sawmill owned by Woods, Edwards, and Roeder, and another by one John M. Pulsipher provided timber necessary for grade and tunnel construction.[15]

            The drought of succeeding years, causing cattle ranges and hay meadows to disappear, has resulted in the dwindling of the settlement to but a few ranches owned, for the greater part, by the descendants of Woods.

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Pahranagat Valley

            It is not known just how early white men first visited Pahranagat (Piute for Water Valley) Valley, but Crystal Springs, in the northern end of the valley, was in line with the old Emigrant Trail over which the ill-fated Emigrant Party of 1849, passed on their way to California, and the same group of scouts that stopped for a summer in Meadow Valley in 1858 (the White Mountain Boys). also visited there in the same year looking for likely sites for settlement. After this visit the more permanent settlers began to arrive in 1864-65. Among the earlier arrivals were men and families by the name of Gow, Fallington, Ernst, Carrow, Johnson, Furgeson, McGuffie, Chippan, Bennet, Hopkins, Geer, Butler, and others. Along with the ranchers came prospectors and miners, attracted by the mineral outcropping in the Irish Mountain region. Unlike other agrarian settlements of Southern Nevada, however, Pahranagat Valley was not originally settled by the Mormons.

            The "history of the Valley" to the "Old Timers" is but a long series of killings, manhunts, and hangings. The Indians were also a considerable cause of annoyance until the whites proved themselves to be even better at the game than were the redskins.

            Among the more often recounted of the stories of the early happenings in the valley is that of three young Easterners walking to California along the old Emigrant Road in 1867. When about six miles out of Hiko they were accosted by a group of Indians. Two of the party were killed and the other was shot through the shoulder with an arrow. The wound, rather than retarding his flight, seemed to add to his sped and he successfully

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reached Hiko. The news of the killing aroused the whites and an Indian hunt resulted. The two Indians responsible for the killing were apprehended and hanged.

            After the hanging, the Indians began to threaten revenge. The whites, however, gave them no chance for retaliation, but made their own daybreak raids on two of the larger camps in the valley. Seventeen Indians were killed at a camp located on the present site of Alamo, while a like number was killed at another camp farther up the valley. For some time after these raids any Indian attempting to make peace was shot at and driven away if he was fortunate enough not to have been killed in the shooting. When peace was finally made it was lasting, and the settlers experienced little or no more trouble with the aborigines.

            In 1866, another opportunity had been afforded for the dispensing of quick justice. One Frank Vale killed his partner and buried him under the remains of his camp fire. Evidences of the crime were brought to the surface by a squaw, assisted by the camp dogs, digging around in the camp fire remains. A posse was organized and Vale was followed to Austin, Nevada. He was taken from the jail there where he had been incarcerated for a minor offense, brought back to the valley and given, in the words of Judge Clapp (justice of the peace) "a fair trial." Twelve men were called to sit on the jury while two others were delegated to go into the next room and construct a coffin. The trial proceeded amid the din produced by the pounding of hammer and the whine of saws. Vale was hanged and buried that afternoon.

            Another of the famous cases of the valley and one that again illustrates the frontier's inexorable demand for retribution, although much slower in nature, is, the Hancock case. Hancock, traveling with his wife and child and but poorly equipped, had gladly accepted the assistance of two men, Billy Edmondson and Doc Engstrom. When the opportunity presented itself, however, he brutally murdered his two benefactors while they were asleep, and after destroying all evidence he continued on with the better outfit which came into his possession. Ten years elapsed, however, before any knowledge of the crime was obtained. At that time Hancock was imprisoned in California and his wife, heretofore intimidated by him, gave Lincoln County authorities information regarding the crime. The county was then required to wait another ten years, until he had served his sentence in California, before they could demand his life for those he had taken. On hearing his sentence to death from the jury box Hancock very graciously said, "I thank you, gentlemen of the jury." "You are entirely welcome," was the response of the foreman.

            The valley early became a veritable rendezvous for horse thieves. Strangers would frequently appear in the valley with a band of horses with various brands. It was common for them co put up a small stone cabin for themselves and turn the hones out to fatten in the tall, luscious grass of the valley. Others would follow, sometimes followed closely by vigilance committees from the country to the north, and trading, bickering, and fighting was the common order of the day. The valley came to be a regular thoroughfare for these horse thieves who were on their way to the Colorado and the country beyond.

            The story is told of one individual who was followed to the valley by the owners of horses he had stolen. Some of the settlers

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of the valley hurriedly organized with the owners, apprehended the thief and were preparing to hang him. The hanging was to take place in the stable of one of the settlers and all arrangements had been made, even to the noose around the neck of the principal actor. The word was given to hoist away when a double-barrel shotgun was shoved through the door and the command given to "lay off." The shotgun was backed up by one of the more questionable "horse-fatteners" of the district and he in turn was backed by a large number of associates. The hanging was discontinued, and the brotherhood of outlaws rode off to Hiko to celebrate.

            In 1870, the jurisdiction of the 601's, an organized vigilance committee of the district to the north, was extended to include Pahranagat Valley. Whenever the settlers of the valley were successful on their vigilance committee raids it was common for them in turn to stage a two or three-day celebration in the old county seat.

            With many such stories as the foregoing still existing in present-day Pahranagat Valley it is a simple matter to accept the current statement that there has been a man killed on every ranch in the valley, and many more than one on some of them. The early agrarian settlement in Pahranagat Valley was soon augmented by the development of the mineral evidences discovered in Irish Mountain. Announcement of discoveries brought prospectors and developers in great numbers. Small stamp mills were put up in three different locations on the mountain, and one was constructed at Hiko. Hiko became the important town of the section, and when Lincoln County was organized after the final establishment of the eastern boundary of Nevada, it was chosen as the county seat. Mining on Irish Mountain, however, never provided any great fortunes, and so with the boom in Pioche practically everything was moved to that center including the mining personnel, the mill, and the county seat.

            It was shortly after this time that Pahranagat Valley really began to play a constructive part in the development of Southern Nevada. The development of the mines in and around Pioche, the construction of mills, and the tremendous amount of freighting created such a demand for agricultural supplies—hay, grain, meat, etc., that despite a distance necessitating five or six days for a round trip, it proved profitable for many of the ranchers to keep several teams busy carrying the produce to the markets. In later years the gold camp at Delamar provided similar opportunities for the ranchers of the valley with the result that the valley prospered during that period of its history.

Indian Troubles

            As we have heretofore noted, trouble with the Indians was common. The more frequent depredations consisted of petty thieving of produce and the occasional running off with unguarded live stock. There was, however, some trouble of a more serious nature.

            Trouble with the Indians in Meadow Valley began shortly after the arrival of the Lee family. The men were all away from the camp and "Grandmother" Lee was alone, except for the company of a young Indian girl, when two "young bucks" appeared and demanded the gun which hung in the tent. On "Grandmother's" refusal to deliver the weapon, one of the Indians started in to

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take it. A blow from a stick of fire wood in the hand of Mrs. Lee, however, knocked him down. He sprang to his feet and drew his bow, preparatory to revenging the blow, when another well directed stick broke the bow. "Grandmother" then reached for the gun, but the Indians, having caught sight of approaching whites, made a hasty retreat.

            Shortly after this five other Indians, captured during an attempt on the life of one of the settlers, were killed while attempting an escape from the Panaca fort. Because of the unreliability of the cap and ball pistols two of the deaths resulted from hand to hand conflicts. One John Lee sustained a wound in one eye the scar of which he carried throughout his life.

            In 1866, a George Rogers was shot by an Indian, Auccus, while en route from Panaca to Pahranagat Valley. This Auccus, found wearing the clothes of the dead man, was apprehended and hanged. A special hangman was brought in from Pahranagat Valley to officiate. On the same trip the hangman went to Clover Valley to preside over the hanging of Bush-head, the old chief who was accused of being the big trouble maker of the section.

            Following these chastisements little more trouble was experienced in the northern regions of the southern part of the state. The Ely Record, however, a tri-weekly published in Pioche, for September 11, 1872, has an article entitled "Indians on the Muddy," which reads as follows :

            We have of late heard many reports regarding the manner in which the Indians on the Muddy are conducting themselves towards parties passing through and to residents of St. Thomas and St. Joseph, in this county. Their acts have been of such a nature as to call for immediate attention of the new Indian agent residing in this city. Not long since a man named James was chased to his dwelling, several shots fired at him, and two of his fingers nearly cut off by a shovel by the Indians. Another by the name of Stewart was fired at several times, took refuge in his house and was so thoroughly frightened that he sold his place at a very low figure and left the country glad to get away with a whole skin. Our county assessor was bothered going through the lower part of the county, and they went so far as to demand toll of him for passing along a certain road. Curtis thought they were making a big bluff and played it back on them and got away with it, but it was "a hard close game." He informs us that these Indians will put any man out of the way who they think will not be missed. Wesley Williams and party were considerable annoyed at the crossing of the Muddy. Citizens of St. Thomas say the Indians were running around the village in the middle of the night with lighted torches, as the Indians say, for the purpose of catching rabbits, but the citizens have cause to think different, and apprehend trouble at any moment. The Indian agent should be there and his permanent residence where the Indians are, instead of where they are not. If something is not done, and that speedily, trouble will ensue. A large number of these "Reds" have Henry rifles and six-shooters and are much better armed than the whites. We advise our Indian agent to see to these matters immediately, and also that no powder, lead, etc., is sold or traded to them by storekeepers.

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            However, some of the more humorous sides of the pioneer life are told in stories of Indian scares. One such anecdote has its setting in Clover Valley in 1864. The Indians had raided the settlement and driven off several head of live stock, including a number of yoke of oxen. A posse was hurriedly organized, with one Luke Syphus in command, to take up pursuit. On nearing what was thought to be the encampment of the Indians two men, Geo. W. Edwards and Dud Leavitt, were left to take care of the horses while the others advanced on foot. Some time later the two decided in favor of building a fire. They removed their guns and started the fire when a sudden volley sent them scurrying for cover. Although they saw and heard nothing more they remained hidden until hunger and cold again overcame their fear. They stealthily came out of hiding to try again their luck with the warmth giving fire. On scratching around in the ashes of the first fire they uncovered the guns which they had removed, but "empty." They had built the fire over the guns and the heat had discharged them. The Indians, however, were subsequently found and most of the stock retrieved, although some was stretched in small strips over the brush to dry in the sun.

            Another story comes to us as the result of a reported Indian uprising in Southern Utah some years later. All Mormon settlements had been warned to be on the lookout. Two brothers, Hen and Joe McIntosh, were cutting posts in the mountains northeast of Panaca. Aware of the reported danger, they were attempting to keep their horses well bunched and close to camp. With this objective in mind one of the brothers had started up a ravine to herd the horses back closer to camp when he was startled by a call from his brother admonishing, "Run, Hen, run!" Assuming, from the excited tone of his brother that the camp was surrounded by hordes of the tomahawk-waving red men, he jumped on one of the hobbled horses and began a hasty retreat to warn the settlers at Panaca. Hen McIntosh had traversed some miles of the distance before he collected himself sufficiently to remove the hobbles from his horse. After that he made good time. A posse was hurriedly gathered and were well on their way by daylight. They had covered about half of the distance when they discerned a team and

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wagon approaching at a considerable speed. It was Joe McIntosh coming in to organize a posse to go in search of Hen 'who had been abducted by the Navajoes.' This, however, was as close as the Navajos came to disturbing the Nevada settlements.


            The history of Caliente is the history of the Union Pacific Railway through Lincoln County. The line had originally been built from Salt Lake to Milford, Utah, by the Mormon Church as the Utah Southern. This line was extended on south to Uvada in 1899. In 1889-90, the Oregon Short Line threw up a grade and built tunnels as far south as the junction of the Clover Canyon with the Meadow Valley Wash, hence up Meadow Valley, on the route to Pioche as far north as Condor Canyon. The track, however, was not laid, and in 1900, Senator W. A. Clark secured the title to the grade on the payment of back taxes. This was a signal for a railway fight and much litigation. One company would no sooner place its ties and rails than their opponents would throw them off only to replace them with their own. The situation was becoming serious when Clark secured an injunction over the Oregon Short Line's activities and successfully extended his line to the present site of Caliente.

            The site was at that time owned by one Charles Culverwell. Culverwell had settled on the land in 1875, under the principle of squatters' rights. In 1882 he had acquired a legal title under the provisions of the homestead act.

            Clark purchased a right of way through the property in 1901, and additional land for a shop site in 1902. Construction was held up at Caliente, however, for a period of about three years while Clark was searching for a feasible route. The right of way south through Meadow Valley Wash was controlled by the Oregon Short Line. Routes were surveyed north through Meadow Valley proposing to take the road over any one of several mountain passes.

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            None of the routes proved feasible, and in 1904, the two companies compromised their differences and combined to extend the road on south through the Meadow Valley Wash. Fifty-one per cent of the stock, however, was retained by Clark. The road was known as the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake until taken over completely by the Union Pacific system.

            Serious washouts along the line were frequent. On January 1, 1910, a phenomenal winter reached a severe climax. A general heavy snow storm was followed by a heavy warm rainfall resulting in a disastrous flood. The waters from the water-shed drained by Condor Canyon and Meadow Valley combined with those from the Clover Valley water-shed just opposite Caliente. The combined waters rushed down the Meadow Valley Wash carrying everything before it. Bridges, grade, tracks, and cars were carried out for over a distance of one hundred miles. Before the road was reconstructed all of the old proposed routes were resurveyed and new ones proposed. Finally, however, the company returned to the old route, constructed a new grade, and six months after the disaster, in July, 1910, traffic was resumed.

            In 1919, the Union Pacific System acquired full control of the road, and it has become a division of the transcontinental system, and Caliente has become the main division point between Los Angeles and Salt Lake.

El Dorado Canyon[16]

            Mineral possibilities of what is now El Dorado Canyon were first brought to the attention of the inhabitants of this section by a small company of soldiers who camped at a spring in the canyon in 1859. Pieces of ore were picked up by some of the group and carried over the hills to Las Vegas. Here a group of prospectors recognized the ore as 'being worth while and they immediately set out to locate the property. The claim which they staked out came to be known as the Honest Miner Mine. (This mine is now under the control of the Rand Mining Company.)

A veritable mining boom followed and a large number of properties were opened up. Among them were such claims as the Nash, Piet, January, Morning Star, Wall Street, and the Techatticup. Of these the Techatticup, located in 1861, was probably the richest.[17]

            With the outbreak of the Civil war there came an infiltration of such classes from both the North and South as desired to avoid the dangers of war and the discomforts of conscription. The two factions dividing into two different camps sought shelter under their respective flags, and from behind the walls of their stone cabins waged harmless verbal battles which, however, proved quite undecisive in the final outcome of the issue. Especially so in view of the fact that the war had been over for a period of several months before the knowledge came to the two groups.

            These groups, however, gave mining quite an impetus. During this period there were from three to five hundred people in the

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Canyon, and about 4,500 feet of black powder work was done. Most of the transportation for the early period was provided by steamboats on the Colorado. Some of the ore was shipped to Wales, England, via the ocean port of Isabell on the mouth of the Colorado River. Steamboats from upstream brought tons of hay, grain, and salt from the Virgin and Muddy valleys via Rioville at the mouth of the Virgin. Powerful boats with large steam engines were used. For the greater part the loads were towed in barges, and except at high water it was necessary for the crew to fasten a line to the shore up stream and then draw the load up by means of a capstan.

            An incident related by C. M. Alvord illustrates some of the trials, also the strategy used by navigators to overcome them. Mr. Alvord was watching the "Mohave" puff its way up stream when its progress was arrested by a sand bank. The captain immediately "kicked her loose, turned her 'round an' backed into the bank." The stern wheel cut at the bank while the water washed the loosened sand away leaving an open channel through the bank. The boat was detained but about half an hour.

            The boats were usually manned by "an old Salt," a Mexican mate and an Indian crew. Mohave Indian crew members received "Michem-pop" (four-bits) while Piutes were paid six-bits per day. Mr. Alvord also tells of having seen one Captain Mellon lose his temper on different occasions. Whereupon he would lash the wheel and armed with a stick of cord wood would immediately clear the deck of his boat with one long swing of his improvised club while from either side of the boat would come alternate splashes as the natives took to the water.

            That the discovery of El Dorado was not original with the soldiers was evidenced a few years after the first developments were made by the arrival of the "Spanish Cavalcade," a group of Spaniards and Mexicans fitted out with all of the splendor that modern fiction would accord such a group. The expedition crossed the river and wended its way up the canyon to the site of the Wall Street Claim, their apparent destination. They were disappointed, however, on finding the ground claimed and development work going on. The leader of the group showed John Powers, the owner of the mine, their incentive for coming—a map, yellowed by age, found in an old church in Mexico, and unmistakably indicating the site of the Wall Street Mine. This claim had been mapped by the Padres when they explored the Colorado River.

            El Dorado was originally a silver camp. The silver, however, did not go down, and it was thought for some time to be but a surface camp. On further exploration, however, gold was found to exist at greater depths, and since that time El Dorado has proved its right to its title, "A Gold Camp."


            Activity in and around El Dorado Canyon led to renewed interest in the old diggings of the Mormons to the southwest of Las Vegas. Considerable silver was found to exist in addition to the lead, and several companies were organized with a view of working the ores. The principal camp thus formed came to be known as Potosi, and with the establishment of organized activity development work went on with considerable speed until about 1863, when activity again died out. With this cessation of activity Potosi took its place near the top of Nevada's long list of ghost towns.

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            As we have noted, the rich silver lodes to the north and west of Meadow Valley were first brought to the attention of the whites by the Indians. A group of Pahutes had, for a small consideration, agreed to lead William Hamblin to the place where the "Panacker" was to be found in great abundance. Despite a lack of knowledge of mining and mining laws, Hamblin shaped a large stake and wrote impressively that notice was given to all mankind that by the virtue of his rights as an American citizen he located and claimed the Panacker Lode.

            Hamblin soon after returned to the site with a small party of white men who had become interested through his stories and samples of the rich mineral bearing rock. In the party were John Vandermark and Stephen Sherwood, who had some knowledge of ores. The party made a number of locations, then formally organized the Meadow Valley Mining District in Washington County, Utah. (This district did not come under the jurisdiction of the State of Nevada until 1866.) The district was to comprise an area rectangular in form, sixty miles square, and with the Big Spring in Meadow Valley as the center. Vandermark and Sherwood took samples from the Panacker, Vermillion, and Creole locations to Salt Lake City. (All three of these claims later became famous producers.) Some of the samples were given to Gov. Brigham Young and General P. E. Connor, then in command of the United States troops at Camp Douglas. Brigham Young was reluctant to forego the direct and immediate advantage the mines would bring but realized that the stability of his colonies lay, not in the mines in the mountains, but in the more permanent agricultural pursuits. He therefore decided in favor of the latter and paid little attention to the further development of the mineral sections.

            General Connor, influenced by no such considerations, took advantage of the opportunity. When assay returns from San Francisco and Denver showed values in excess of three hundred dollars a ton, a company was started early in 1864, to develop the new fields.

            This company encountered their first problem while camped at a small spring in the neighborhood of the claims. A small band of Indians put in an appearance, announced that the spring was their property, and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the whites. The Indians were appeased in their demand by a cash payment and departed in peace. This group had not been gone long when another party came up and also claimed ownership. Settlement was made with the second group in a manner similar to the first. During the weeks immediately following the treasuries of several bands of the aboriginal racketeers were replenished by the same method.

            In the fall of the year (1864) the party returned to Salt Lake City, and Vandermark immediately went to New York City to secure financial backing from capitalists. He had little trouble in organizing a company, and having, as he supposed, arranged for the funds he returned to the mines in the summer of 1865.

            As a result of Indian hostilities, which had become serious in various parts of the west, and the delay in building the Union Pacific Railroad west, the New York capitalists failed to come forth with the necessary backing. Vandermark was thus forced to suspend operations and seek new aid.

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            The story of the rich veins in the Meadow Valley District spread, and in 1867, and 1868, prospectors began to straggle in. In the latter year one F. L. A. Pioche sent Charles E. Hoffman to acquire certain rich holdings which were later incorporated as the "Meadow Valley Mining Company," one of the two great mining companies which in the seventies became rivals of the Belcher or Crown Point in Virginia City, Nevada.

            Hoffman constructed a small smelter at great expense. Fire bricks were brought in from Scotland via the Horn and San Francisco. These bricks and castings for the smelter were transported from the terminus of the Central Pacific, somewhere near Elko, by pack mules. The bullion from this smelter was shipped out by the same means.

            The new mining camp was known as "Pioche's," and when the postoffice was established in 1870, it was called "Pioche." Before the establishment of the postoffice, mail was carried each way between Pioche and Hamilton by private carrier at the rate of twenty-five cents a letter.

            In January, 1865, one John H. Ely, a prospector of considerable experience, staked a number of claims on mineral veins in Pahranagat Valley, some sixty-five miles to the southwest of the Panacker lode. A virtual stampede resulted, and numerous prospectors from the surrounding country flocked into the new district. Among the new comers was one William H. Raymond who proceeded to invest his surplus in several claims thereabouts. He then went to New York to secure backing and returned in the spring of 1866, with a small five stamp mill which he immediately erected in the name of the Hiko Silver Mining Company. Referring to this particular development it has been said, "no company ever organized to operate mines on the Pacific Coast spent so much money and kept at it so long without results as this company."

            By 1869, Raymond and Ely had played their limit in the mines of Irish Mountain, and early in that year they made their appearance in Pioche. They immediately began to cast about for some claims in the rich neighborhood and made contact with two brothers named Edward and Pat Burke, who had a claim about six hundred feet from the old Panacker. The brothers offered their claim for $8,000 cash, but finally agreed to take a silver watch and eight hundred pounds of flour with the promise of the $8,000 when it could be taken from the claim.

            Raymond and Ely then attempted to extract their mineral by means of a small furnace. The ore was unsuited to smelting so the partners decided to move the five stamp mill from the old site at Hiko. Again, however, they experienced financial embarrassment, but, undaunted, they appealed to the Mormons at Panaca, offering them substantial remuneration, once the mill was in operation, for their assistance in moving the mill. An additional offer was made in the agreement to make the new mill town a suburb of Panaca, and to give the Mormons the contract for freighting the ore from the mine to the mill.

            Ten tons of ore were hauled from the mine to the mill at Hiko where it was treated to determine the feasibility of milling the mineral bearing rock. A nice bar of bullion resulted, so the mill was taken down and transported by horse teams to the site which had been chosen for it on the hill sides about two miles north and west from Panaca.

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            Actual operation started in February, 1870. The mill was successful, and within a month all debts were cleared. The town, which grew up around the mill was, at first, known as Ely City, but because of the constant stream of bullion put out it came to be known as Bullionville. The original five stamp mill, the "Pioneer," was subsequently supplemented by two ten, two twenty, and one thirty stamp mills. Stetefelt furnaces were erected to prepare the ore by roasting, to give up a greater percentage of its gold and silver content. A mill was also built at Floral Springs, on the outskirts of Pioche. A twenty stamp mill, later increased to thirty, was constructed at Dry Valley, ten miles northeast of Pioche. Shortly after a fifteen stamp mill was built in Condor Canyon, five miles above Panaca.

            Some ore was hauled to Silver Park, 42 miles from Pioche, at a cost of $16 a ton and some was hauled to White Pine County, distant 160 miles, at a cost of $40 a ton. The cost of freighting was kept down by what was known in mining camps as "Backloading." Ore milled at Bullionville averaged in value $240 a ton. Of this amount, $120 stayed in the tailings and $30 was absorbed by the cost of the process, leaving $90 per ton clear.

            In 1873, the first narrow gauge railroad, the Pioche and Bullionville, was opened from Pioche to Bullionville. It was the ambition of the founders to extend the road east to connect with Salt Lake City and west to a connection with the Central Pacific, as is noted in the issue of the Pioche Daily Record for September 25, 1872:

            Pioche and Bullionville Railroad :

            We learn by telegraph from Salt Lake that the rails and other materials for this road will be shipped immediately for Pioche. This road will prove of great advantage to this camp at once, and in the not remote future it will unite with the Utah Southern and so place our city in railroad communication with all parts of the country east and west.

            The railroad ran via Dry Valley and Condor Canyon and served the mills at these places as well as at Bullionville. Previous to the opening of the system, all freighting was done by teams. One individual then kept five fourteen-mule teams busy hauling ore to Dry Valley. Raymond and Ely had retained the services of their Mormon friends, and until the installation of the railroad they had paid $5 for every ton of ore hauled. Reliable memoirs of those days state that, just prior to the inception of the railroad, as many as one hundred and twenty teams a day loaded with ore at the Raymond and Ely mine for the Bullionville mills.

            After 1870, the mining activity increased rapidly. New strikes were reported daily. New companies were formed with a recklessness that seemed unsurpassable. Among the more important and prominent of the strikes were : the General Washington, commonly called the No. 9, which belonged to the Pioche Mining Company, the Washington and Creole, (stone forts were erected here for the purpose of fighting claim jumpers), the Panacker, which came to be known as the Panaca, Silver Peak, Boston, Desdomona, Richmond, Banner, No. 6, Alps, American Flag, Bowery, Columbus, Condor, Nightingale, Excelsior, Chapman, Barton, Lafayette, Caroline, Wide West, Ingomar, Romeo, Moltke, Amador, Ivanhoe, Huhn

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and Hunt, Newton Booth, Vermillion, Peavine, Hoffman, Page and Panaca, Orient, Summit, Santa Clara, Chief of the Hill, Louise, Mocking Bird, Spring Mountain, Newark, Oneida, Koh-i-noor, Sterling, Orleans, Medissa and Killian Hall. Most of these claims had a place on the San Francisco Stock Exchange, where for several years the Pioche stocks shared interests with those of the Comstock.

            The Raymond and Ely Mining Company was incorporated in January, 1871. They then proceeded to acquire a large number of other claims, both in the name of the Company and in their individual names. C. W. Lightner was chosen for superintendent. Lightner sank a vertical shaft on the Panaca claim which proved to be the principal shaft in the district. Practically all other shafts were on an incline of approximately 65 degrees. After a depth of 100 feet richer ore began to show, and shortly after, in July, 1871, the strike was made, one of the richest ever found in the United States. In August of that year, Meadow Valley stock was selling, on the San Francisco Exchange, at $22 a share and Raymond and Ely stock at $21 a share. In July of 1872, Meadow Valley was selling at $17.50 a share while the Raymond and Ely stock was going at $145.

            Pioche grew to be a thriving and industrious mining center with a population of more than 7,000 men. Brawls and street fights in which the participants, more frequently than otherwise, resorted to firearms were the rule The town boasted a cemetery, on "Boot Hill," of seventy-nine graves, the occupants of which had all died with their boots on. "Another man for breakfast" was a typical saying.

            One of the greatest calamities to visit the camp came in the form of a fire on September 16, 1871. Fire caught in a restaurant, in the more thickly settled business district, in late afternoon and was rapidly whipped to adjoining buildings by a stiff breeze. The mob spirit which prevailed was but intensified by the lack of fire fighting apparatus and magnified by the barrels and cases of "prevolstead" liquor carried into the streets for "who would" to drink their fill. With the carnival at its height, a heavy explosion of black powder in the fire-proof cellar of Phillip Felsenthal's store shook the town site and blew to atoms ten of the revelers. It is interesting to note that the residents of Pioche considered they were getting quick service on new supplies and equipment when they began to arrive within thirty days after the fire. For a camp so far from the railroad and without telegraph, however, it was not a bad record. The town was hurriedly rebuilt more substantially than before.

            The Deseret Telegraph Company (Brigham Young, president) built the first telegraph line into Pioche. The line had been extended south as far as Saint George and was brought from there on through Panaca to Pioche. The completion of the line was occasion for an extensive celebration. Messages were sent to many of the important dignitaries of the country despite the fact that it cost $3.50 to send ten words as far as San Francisco. Some time later the camp was more directly connected with San Francisco by the installation of a line via Eureka and Austin and the Central Pacific.

            By 1875, Raymond and Ely had become multi-millionaires as measured by the market values of their interests in Raymond and

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Ely stock and other mining properties. They gambled extensively on the market, however, and were caught in the whirlpool of the panic which followed the closing of the Bank of California. The partners lost practically everything and soon after left Pioche to try their fortunes in other fields.

            Pioche was not an isolated camp in Southern Nevada. It was surrounded by many comparatively rich neighbors. Bristol, Stampede Gap, Highland, Groom, Chief, and Comet were districts which developed some good producers, and which still retain much rich ore.

            Pioche is today one of the prominent possibilities of the mining field, with more than 10,000,000 tons of blocked-out ores. What the product of her mines has been in actual cash is not known. It has been reliably estimated, however, to have been in excess of $40,000,000, and there is in evidence a greater quantity of ore than has ever been taken out. The tailings from the old mills have been remilled three different times and were then shipped to Utah smelters for further treatment.

            Activities of recent years have served, rather than to deplete the known supply of mineral, to open up new veins and to increase the amounts of obtainable ores to almost unlimited quantities. By the use of diamond drills rich veins have been traced for miles through the mountains of the region.


            The mining camp of Delamar, one of the principal gold camps of Southern Nevada, presents a history characteristic of many other ghost towns of the state.

            Although there was one mine, the Siscel, worked during the '70s, the first knowledge leading to general development came from the finding of rich float by a Riggs family who had control of the cattle range in that district. The family subsequently moved to Arizona, but the constant mention of the rich ore in evidence induced the younger members of the family to return and search for the mother lode. On their return to the vicinity in which the rich ore had been found they picked up an old monkey wrench in a

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small ravine. They used the wrench to break rock, and on breaking a small piece off a ledge they were rewarded by a comparatively rich strike. The claim was staked out in 1889, and came to be known as the Monkey Wrench Mine. This mine was worked on a small scale until 1892, when the Magnolia was opened up. Values then warranted the construction of a small camp, Helene, and with the development of the April Fool Mine, discovered April 1, 1892, it was deemed expedient to mill the ore on the ground. Accordingly the town of Delamar, originally called Reeves, was laid out and construction of a mill was started in 1894. The mill was completed and began to operate in February, 1895. The bullion was shipped to Milford, Utah, the nearest railway center, in a specially constructed bullion wagon. This manner of shipment continued until railroad facilities were available for shipment from Caliente.

            The principal mines on the site other than those already mentioned were the Jim Crow and the Monitor groups. These mines were purchased by Captain Delamar, a former mine owner and operator from Montana. In 1901, Delamar sold his interests to one Simon Bamberger, subsequently governor of Utah, who controlled the camp until it closed in 1909.

            During the life of the camp a decided need was manifested for better, cheaper, and faster transportation than had hitherto been provided by freighting teams and pack trains. Accordingly steam tractors were imported. Trailers were attached for the purpose of handling the freight. The steam locomotion, however, proved practical only for the hauling of cord wood for comparatively short distances. Even for this it was found necessary to construct roads specially adapted for the heavy and unwieldly tractor machines. In later years a greater demand for power grew up than could be supplied by the fire wood of the locality. In order to answer this need a power plant was constructed in the Meadow Valley Wash about ten miles below Caliente. The railroad made coal available and a power line, some twenty miles in length, carried the power to the mill.

            Generally speaking the ore of Delamar was of a low grade, and with the working out of the richer veins and the increasing depth in the lower grade properties, returns became so small that it no longer paid sufficiently to operate them, and Delamar became another of the traditional ghost towns for which Nevada is so well known, although the present increased price of gold may cause a revival.



[1] By Elbert B. Edwards, instructor in history, Las Vegas High School.

[2] Las Vegas is commonly interpreted as The Meadows. This, however, is not technically correct. Spanish grammars and dictionaries give Vega as Fruitful Plain and with the adding of the "s" to both the article and the noun the translation gives the English plural Fruitful Plains. In his Report of the Exploring Expedition to Oregon and North California in the years 1843-44, Fremont also refers to . . . . "a camping ground called Las Vegas—a term which the Spaniards use to signify fertile or marshy plains, in contradistinction to llanos, which they apply to dry and sterile plains."

[3] Report.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Roberts' History of the Mormon Church.

[6] Roberts' Church History.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Nevada State Historical Papers.

[9] Deseret News, 5:158.

[10] Deseret News, 5:232.

[11] Deseret News, 5:246.

[12] Nevada State Historical Papers.

[13] Ibid.

[14] The "United Order" is a term applied to a communal system which was common in the "Mormon" church during its earlier days. The order provided for work among the people according to the ability of the individual. Crops and products of creative work were to be stored in a common store house and people were to share according to their efforts. In fact the authorities imply that those who work not, eat not, in "Thou shalt not be idle, for he that is idle shall not eat of the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer." The communal system, as practiced by the Mormons, was not political, purely economic in its scope.

[15] The timber of this region has also been ample to provide for the early needs of the mining towns of Hiko, Pioche, Bullionville, and Delamar. Sawmills owned and operated by one John Fife and one John Sherwood had provided lumber in plentiful amounts for the earlier needs.

[16] I am indebted to Mr. C. M. Alvord for considerable of this material. Mr. Alvord quoted considerably from notes which he has prepared preparatory to publishing a book on the Mohave and Piute Indians.

[17] The Techatticup is particularly interesting because of the derivation of the term. It comes from the Indian "Te-cah-en-ga" (hungry) and "To-soup" (flour), translated it means "Hungry, come and eat some flour." The modern "Techatticup" is the crude American pronunciation of the Piute term.