November 5, 2005
Nevada's Online State News Journal
888 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
BY JOHN T. REID AND J. R. HUNTER.
[From The History of Nevada, edited by Sam P. Davis, vol. II (1912)]
Humboldt County gets its name from the Humboldt River, which enters its borders near the southeastern corner, runs to the northwest for a distance of some sixty miles ; then, turning to the southwest, the stream continues to the Humboldt Sink, or Lake, near the center of the southern line of the county. This river cuts its way persistently through a series of north and south mountain ranges, and formed the natural and easiest route for the early exploration and travel of the inter-mountain region. During its meanderings through the county the channel of this stream traverses a distance of some 160 miles. Along its course are a series of basins which were at different periods the points at which it terminated and lost its identity in the waters of the great inland sea which covered this entire region. As the waters of this sea receded toward the present low levels of the Humboldt and Carson sinks, the channel of the river was extended through a series of "narrows" or canyons. At right angles to the valley of the river, and lying between the mountain ranges, are other broad valleys and plains, most of them of desert nature, but which are now being rapidly settled and irrigated from small mountain streams. Thus it will be seen that Humboldt County has a great variety of valley and mountain lands, suitable for agriculture, grazing, stock raising and mining. Some of the mountain peaks have an elevation of 10,000 feet above the sea level and 5,000 feet above the surrounding plains. The Humboldt River and its tributaries form the principal water supply for the irrigation of lands, though small mountain streams furnish the supply for some quite extensive individual ranches in the various parallel valleys.
The climate of the county is the average of the inter-mountain region. being neither extremely cold in the winter nor extremely hot in the summer. Grains, grasses, the hardier fruits and berries, besides a great variety of vegetables, are readily grown, finding a good market in the towns and mining camps of the county. There is a continually increasing
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variety, of crops being grown, chief among which is the sugar beet. On the bench lands new ground is being put into vines and fruit, to be irrigated by pumping-plants.
The overland travel through the county in the early days followed the course of the Humboldt River to a point known as "Lassen Meadows," from the residence there of a man named Lassen, who afterward moved to California and from whom the Lassen County of that State is named. This place was on the river, about four miles west of Humboldt House. Here the overland route divided, the main travel going across the river to the West, out through the Cedar Springs Pass to the Black Rock Desert, through Susanville and the Beckwith Pass in the Sierras, to the gold fields of California. The lesser travel came on down the Humboldt, past old Fort Churchill and on to Carson City and Virginia City. In reaching Placerville, California, they went up the West Carson River, around the southern end of Lake Tahoe and on down to Placerville. Among the popular stage and express lines through the county in early days was the one coming down from Silver City, Idaho, crossing the river at the old French Ford (Winnemucca), leaving the Humboldt Valley at a point near Mill City and bearing southwest down through Dunn Glenn, the Buena Vista Valley below Unionville, Jacob's Well, Zimmershed's, Streif's Buffalo Springs, Mud Hole Well, Grimes' Well, White Cloud Well, Desert Well, Stillwater, and on to Virginia City via Ragtown. Many of the above-named stations are now completely obliterated, but the well-worn trail is still used and can be seen in its course for nearly the entire distance. It must have been a regularly surveyed route, for it runs in a straight course for long distances.
One of the great assets of the county in years to come will doubtless be its many hot springs, situated at some point in nearly every one of these mountain valleys. These springs are usually at the base of some mountain range, and some very pleasant resorts have been established and built up around them. Others are still in their native state but, because of the native great healing virtue of their waters, must become famous health resorts some day. One of these springs, known as the Kyle Hot Springs, is situated in the Buena Vista Valley, twelve miles east of Unionville. This spring has never been known to fail in the cure of rheumatism and is far famed for its having effectually and permanently cured venereal diseases of the worst character. The virtue of
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the water of these various springs will some day become more generally known and people will come from long distances to secure relief from disease by application of their healing waters.
Southern Humboldt County.—While man might be termed a "land animal," still his life and being is always closely associated with the receding tide of some great body of water upon the face of mother earth. This is the case with the southern portion of Humboldt County. Here the waters of the Humboldt and Carson Lakes or "Sinks" have been alike the bone of contention of the aborigines and Mecca sought by the overland travelers on their way to the California gold fields. There are many tales of strife between the Pahutes and Shoshones on the north and a mysterious tribe of little red-haired men, known as "man-eaters," to the south. But through all this warfare the Pahutes came out victorious and are the original "natives" now in evidence in the southern portion of Humboldt County, there being quite a village of them surrounding a government school, near the town of Lovelock, the present metropolis of the southern portion of Humboldt County. The legends of strife between these aboriginal tribes are many and varied. There is the story of how the Pahutes during one conflict turned the course of the Humboldt River, so that they might cross to do battle with their enemies ; or how they finally drove them into a cave and roasted them alive, and many other tales of barbaric warfare in which the Pahutes came out victorious and maintained their supremacy along the borders of this great inland sea and retained possession of this rich area until the "paleface brother" came and wrested it from them. Be these legends true or false, there remains the fact that the main channel of the Humboldt used to be along the western foothills, while now it is along the eastern, and in the recent taking of guano deposits from the caves along the eastern border of the lake were found the skeletons and relics of ancient tribesmen. These relics were many of them rare specimens of aboriginal art. Nettings of unique weave, moccasins, pottery, beadwork and other articles that point to the fact that a branch of the Aztec tribe were one time in this vicinity, were found. To strengthen this theory, that the Aztecs were once here, is the existence of a series of hieroglyphics along the mountain cliffs of a canyon above the present town of Unionville. These resemble very closely those of the southern cave dwellers and are to be seen opposite a large cave located among
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the cliffs on the north side of Star Canyon. Wm. Woolcock, of Unionville, once wandered for two hours in the labyrinths of this cave, and yet did not find its ending. To assure finding a way out he unwound a cord as he went in, and with the aid of that was able to retrace his steps. This cave shows evidence of having been inhabited at one time. And then came the "paleface brothers," first passing through on their way to the California gold fields in the excitement of '49, many of them stopping to let their oxen feed on the rich grass of the "Big Meadows," as the Lovelock Valley was then termed, many of them being forced at this point to abandon their outfits and journey on as best they could; then returning later to make this their home, having been unsuccessful in their search for riches in the California gold fields. Here they established an empire of agricultural wealth, surrounded on all sides by mountains rich in deposits of mineral of great variety and extent. Among the minerals to be found within a radius of fifty miles from Lovelock are gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, tungsten, cobalt, nickel, antimony, iron, tin, sulphur, besides many kinds of mineral earths, clays and salts. Here their descendants have lived and multiplied, and others, hearing of the riches of this valley, have swelled the number of inhabitants, until the native meadows have been turned to alfalfa fields and the waters of the great Humboldt River have been arrested in their flow toward the lake and made to water the thirsty earth, and the margins of the once famous inland sea have receded, until it is hardly large enough to make a good-sized duck pond. It will not be many years until the vast extent of this ancient lake bed will be entirely under cultivation. Marion F. Howell, whose erect and well-preserved form is well known to most of the people of Lovelock, is probably the oldest living white settler of the Lovelock Valley. He first passed through the valley in 1859, going with his father and other emigrants to Sacramento. From that city they hauled provisions over the Sierras to Virginia City, when the Comstock Lode was producing its millions, and his historic tales of those days are very interesting. In the year 1861 Mr. Howell and his father did not return, as had been their custom, from Virginia City to Sacramento, but started for Paradise Valley, with their ox-teams loaded with supplies and provisions. At Humboldt City they found a settlement of some fifty people, and decided to stop there. The ruins of this village are still in evidence, situated in a beautiful
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mountain canyon some four miles east of the Humboldt House station on the Southern Pacific. Among the ruins are the remnants of substantial brick buildings, showing this to have been quite a village at one time.
After some two years' residence at Humboldt City the Howells removed to Wadsworth, which was then the terminal of the great overland railroad being built from the Western coast to the East. From Wadsworth they returned to live near Ryepatch, bringing with them some two hundred head of cattle and other stock, which fed upon the native grasses that grew luxuriantly on the Big Meadows at that time. Their herds multiplied so that at one time the Howells were known as the "cattle kings" of Humboldt County. During these days the mines were in operation first in the Trinity Canyon, then at Arabia, then at Ryepatch, and at these places the Howells found a ready market for beef, hay and other products of their herds and fields, and were in continuous and close touch with the development of the southern portion of Humboldt County. At one time they sold hay at $1.50 per ton, which they had cut on the Humboldt Meadows and hauled to Ragtown, which was one of the early settlements on the Carson Sink. So the fame of the Lovelock Valley as a producer of hay and feed dates back to the early days.
During these early years the Pahute Indians, who were then the inhabitants of this section, were very friendly to the whites, and from them Mr. Howell learned many of the legends of Indian warfare along the borders of this great inland sea. It seems that the early Indian settlers of this section were a tribe of cannibals, described by the Pahutes as small of stature, having red hair and freckled faces. They were warlike in their associations with surrounding tribes, and were beaten in warfare by the Pahutes many times.
At last the Pahutes had them surrounded and driven to take shelter in boats out upon the lake, making siege upon them and promising them release from utter extermination upon condition that they would live peaceably and "like brothers." This the little tribe would not promise, so the Pahutes held them in siege until finally they managed to escape to the mountains on the eastern border of the lake and took refuge in the Horseshoe Cave, which has been the subject of much interest the past two years on account of relics found therein. Here
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the Pahutes again surrounded them and Chief Winnemucca told them that unless they would promise to be good and live "like brothers" the cave would be their funeral furnace. The "little man-eaters," as they were termed by the Pahutes, would not promise to be good, so huge piles of driftwood were made at the mouth of the cave, and, after a final useless appeal by Chief Winnemucca that they should come out and be peaceable, the tribe of cannibals were burned like rats in a trap. In relating this tale of destruction to Mr. Howell the Indians of his day stated that after the fires had died down some of the Pahutes ventured into the cave to see if they could find any vestige of their vanquished enemies, but they could not, and the manner of their disappearance is a great mystery among the Pahutes to this day. But this mystery may be partially solved by the finding of bodies and relics in this cave during the past two years, while the rich guano deposits were being mined therefrom and shipped to the coast for fertilizer.
The man who exerted a lasting influence upon the future of the town and valley of Lovelock was the one whose name they now bear, George Lovelock. In the year 1862 he came to the valley and established his home at a point nearly opposite where the railroad depot now stands. Since that time to the day of his death he has been most active in the development of all industries in the southern portion of Humboldt County. Generous to a fault, he died almost penniless. He was one of the first residents of the mining camp of Trinity, conducting a hotel and operating mines there. For a number of years he conducted a hotel at the smelting town of Oreana, located on the Humboldt River, about ten miles north from Lovelock, and at which the ores from the Arabia and Trinity mines were treated. This was the first smelting plant known to exist in the State of Nevada and was estimated by Mr. Lovelock to have cost $250,000. In 1868 the value of the ore from the Montezuma mine, in the Arabia district, which was treated at this smelter, was estimated at $45,000, and in 1880 the best authorities place the whole of ores extracted at 30,000 tons, which paid from $30 up to $700 per ton.
While engaged in building the home and caring for farm lands which he had located in the valley, Mr. Lovelock could never quite give up his interest in the minerals he found to exist in the surrounding hills. The properties of his latest discoveries are the nickel and cobalt mines located in Cottonwood Canyon, about forty miles east from Lovelock,
894 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
and which will some day add new impetus to the mining industry of this section of the county and State.
William Silverwood is one from whom much of the early history of the Southern part of Humboldt county can be learned. He came to what was then called "Brown's Station," located at the southwestern margin of Humboldt Lake in the early sixties. At that time this was the terminal of the Southern or Central Pacific, and Mr. Silverwood entered the employ of the company as pumpman. The name of the station has now been changed to Toy, and the scenes of activity in the days when that was a coaling station, supply point, helper station and terminal for a telegraph line running to Unionville have passed. Only a section-house and a few cabins for the Japs remain, and the trains merely give a passing whistle as they go flying by. Up to some years ago Mr. Silverwood has been continuously in the employ of the company, besides being interested in many industries of the county. His name is still on the Southern Pacific payrolls, though he is not required to perform any labor.
Among the very early business men of Lovelock and those who contributed to the upbuilding of Lovelock may be mentioned the names of Edwin C. Ascher, Horace C. Emmons, Stephen R. Young, Patrick K. Reid and Antoni Feliz.
The agricultural development of the Lovelock Valley has been gradual but permanent since the later sixties, when small streams were taken from the river and thrown out over the natural meadow lands to increase the growth of wild grasses and forage plants along the stream and around the margin of the lake. By this first rude means of irrigation heavy yields of native blue joint hay were secured from the Big Meadows and sold at fabulous prices in the surrounding mining camps and to the overland stage teams and travelers. Then small patches were put into grains, vegetables and other food products, then seeded to alfalfa, until now this great desert grass is the mainstay and chief product of Lovelock Valley. It is conservatively estimated that the value of alfalfa hay produced in this valley will reach the sum of $500,000 per year. In the early years of breaking up and seeding this vast acreage large areas were sown to wheat, especially along the margin of the lake, some of this grain yielding as high as seventy bushels per acre. Combined harvesting and threshing machines were used to harvest these vast fields, as many
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as fifty head of horses being used at a time for hauling these great harvesting machines, until the traction engine supplanted horseflesh and gasoline took the place of hay as the motive power. Five thousand acres in one field was no uncommon occurrence in these days, but the area now put in grain is getting limited, the major part of the irrigated fields having been seeded to alfalfa, which yields an average of five tons per acre annually. To consume this hay many thousand head of cattle and sheep are shipped into the valley from the mountain ranges in the eastern part of the State every winter, and from here reshipped to the large slaughtering and packing houses of the Pacific Coast, as they are needed, and as they become fattened by feeding on the exceedingly nutritious alfalfa hay.
To some extent, the farmers of the Lovelock Valley are now getting out of the "alfalfa rut" and are producing more of a variety of crops. This is not because of alfalfa being an unprofitable crop, but rather on account of the present ranches being in smaller holdings, and the desire is to make every acre produce to its greatest capacity. With this end in view the attention of the farmers is being turned to the culture of sugar beets, which the rich alluvial soil of the valley produces in great abundance and of high saccharine content. These beets are being shipped to the factory established in 1912 at Fallon, sixty miles distant, but there is every assurance that a large factory will be built at Lovelock in the immediate future. From thirty-two samples of beets raised in the Lovelock Valley and sent to the Agricultural Department at Washington by John Harrison, the pioneer beet raiser of the valley, an average of twenty-two per cent, in saccharine matter was obtained, the highest percentage being twenty-eight.
The irrigation systems now operating in the valley and the acreage which they supply, proceeding up the river in their order, are :
Lovelock Land & Development Co 8,000 acres
Union Canal Ditch Co 10,000
Rodgers, Carpenter, et al 15,000 "
Old Channel Dam & Ditch Co 7,000 "
Young Taylor Dam & Ditch Co 5,000
896 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
The Lovelock Land & Development Company have a water-storage reservoir of sufficient capacity for one irrigation, that is located quite close to their lands.
The Humboldt Land & Irrigation Company has three reservoirs near Humboldt Station which have a capacity that is sufficient for one irrigation for 50,000 acres. The ditch has its inlet near Mill City, is eight miles long, twenty-five feet wide on top, fourteen feet wide on the bottom, and eight feet deep. This property is owned exclusively by the farmers of Lovelock Valley. The successful end of this large undertaking is of great importance in providing water-storage for dry seasons and increasing the acreage of producing lands in and about Lovelock and vicinity.
From its earliest history Humboldt County has been conceded to be rich in mineral deposits. Specimen rock brought in by the Indians and shown to overland travelers by keepers of trading stations aroused the curiosity of the emigrants and caused many of them to abandon their trip farther west and hunt for minerals in the Humboldt Range. Others had taken some chance specimens of rock they had found during the course of their journey to Sacramento and upon landing there had found out its great mineral value. An instance of the latter, and probably the first mineral found by a white man in Humboldt County, was that discovered by a Mr. Hardin, in the "black-rock" country, while traveling to the western coast in 1859. Mr. Hardin had camped one night at the Hot Springs, on the edge of the great Black Rock Desert, now a station on the Western Pacific. One of the two teams of oxen in his outfit became very sick and as a last resort to restore health he fed it the last mite of bacon on hand in their meager larder. The following morning the animal seemed to be all right, and after starting his family on the road with oxen and outfit, Mr. Hardin started to walk out through the hills in quest of game to take the place of the vanished bacon, promising to meet his family at Mud Springs about noon. While going across a volcanic outcrop he noticed a peculiar black, metallic-looking rock protruding from the volcanic ash, and from this he selected a large sample to take with him. Upon arriving at Mud Springs he found that his family had already passed that place, but another emigrant had lost one of his ox teams there and was making a cart from a portion of his wagon, to proceed on his journey with as light a load as possible
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After helping him make the cart Mr. Hardin continued on his way to overtake his family, but first hid the greater portion of rock he had found in the brush near the spring. Upon arriving in Sacramento this rock was assayed and showed high values in silver, and was on exhibition in the leading bank of Sacramento at the time Mr. Marion Howell and his father, who are mentioned elsewhere in this history, arrived there. The rock which he had left hidden in the brush was found by a company of emigrants following Mr. Hardin and brought to Sacramento by them a few months later.
Some two years later a company of men, headed by Mr. Hardin, came back to this county and, in company with Marion Howell, made a fruitless search for the lost treasure. The volcanic ashes seem to have swallowed it up completely, and it has not been recovered to this day, though rich mineral deposits are being worked in that vicinity at the present time. Considerable tonnage of sulphur has been produced by the Pacific Sulphur Company from sulphur beds near these same hot springs and shipped to San Francisco for commercial purposes.
New discoveries and the organization of new districts followed in rapid succession. Buena Vista District was organized in 1861. Though comparatively inactive at the present time, this district has produced millions of mineral wealth. Among the prominent mines of early days were the National, Governor Downey, Alba Nueva, Cass, Joe Pickering, Halleck, Seminole, Eagle, Leroy, Agamemnon, Manitowoc, Champion, Cedar Hill, North Star, Atlas, Arizona, Hope, etc. In 1878, of all the mines in the county only the Arizona and Rye Patch, situated in the Echo District and across the mountain to the west, paid a bullion tax, and from 1872 to 1878 the Arizona alone produced close to five million dollars.
In 1862, Central District was organized, the principal mine being the Fifty-six. A four-stamp mill was built for treating ores of this district, averaging $400 per ton. This mill was destroyed in 1876, since which time little work has been done. To the south of this and situated on the western slope of the Humboldt Range, is Echo District, organized in 1863. The principal mine of this district was the Alpha, sold to an English company in 1869 for $62,000. Walter Schmidt, the discoverer of this mine, is still living at Parran, Churchill County, and can give many interesting points of history as to the early mining industry of
898 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
this county. The Rye Patch mine is the principal mine of the Echo District, and has been worked to a certain extent up to the present time. This company at one time erected a furnace and ten-stamp mill at the Rye Patch Station.
Star Peak is the principal mountain in the southern portion of Humboldt County, rising to an altitude of 11,000 feet. On the western slope of this mountain the Humboldt District was organized in 1860, being the first mining district of the county. Humboldt City was the principal town, at one time having a population of about 500 people. Nine of the mines in this canyon were developed to the depth of some fifty feet, but no producing mines were found, though ore-bearing veins up to twenty-four feet in width were cut. Sulphur, alternating with gypsum, is the deposit of a thermal spring in this vicinity. On the southwest slope of Star Peak is the Sacramento District, easily reached through a mountain canyon of the same name. The Montana, Bullion, Sacramento and Nevada were the chief mines at the time of organization. The Humboldt Queen, situated in the southern portion of this district, has been a mine of some note, though inactive at the present time.
For nearly half a century Marion Howell has retained the ownership of promising mines at the mouth of this canyon, named the Sunrise and Crown Point, and work now being prosecuted gives promise of rich reward. The richest section of this district at the present time, however, is the Pole Canyon, next north of the Sacramento Canyon, in which ledges carrying high values in free gold are now being developed. On the northeastern slope of this great mountain, in 1861, was organized the Star District, the town of Star City being about twelve miles north of the present town of Unionville. The district was six miles long, down the slope of the mountain, by four miles wide. Star Creek, a stream carrying about seventy miners' inches of water at its minimum flow, runs down the main canyon of this district and supplies valuable ranches in the valley below with irrigation water. The celebrated Sheba mine is located in what is termed the lime contact, which runs along the base of this mountain. Here the ledge is estimated to be one hundred and fifty feet wide and, taken in sectional strata, was estimated in 1868 to give the following values : First-class ore per ton, $1,200 ; second-class ore per ton, $250; third-class ore per ton, $150. Some of the assays reached as high as $16,000 per ton, but this was when silver was quoted
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at twice the present price ; still the cost of operating was proportionately larger. The De Sota was another famous mine of this district.
Across the Buena Vista Valley, to the east of Star Peak, Sierra District was organized in 1863. The town of Dunn Glenn, originally the location of Government forts, lately known as Chafey, was the center of the district. Mining in this district has been quite continuous and fairly profitable all these years since its first organization, selected ore paying $1,000 and upward to the ton. Looking from the summit of Star Peak to the west, across the Humboldt River and valley, you view the varied colored hills of the Trinity and Arabia districts, organized in 1863 under the title of the Trinity Mining District. The mines of the Arabia District were considered at one time to be the richest in the known world, the Montezuma mine especially producing a half-ton of metal for every ton of ore taken therefrom, and up to 1875, according to the State mineralogist, yielding 3,150 tons of lead and $455,000 in silver. The ruins of the old town of Oreana, at which place the ores from this district were smelted, are still in evidence at a point along the Humboldt River, twelve miles north of Lovelock. These smelters were destroyed by fire in the later seventies, since which time the ores have been shipped to both eastern and western points for treatment. The Evening Star was the chief mine of the Trinity Canyon and was worked extensively in 1864. There is considerable activity in these old-time districts at the present time, the prospectors of these latter days obtaining more of the gold values in porphyry formations. To the north and along the western margin of the Humboldt River have been the San Jacinta, active in the later eighties, the principal mine being the "Poker Brown" mine, and lead and silver being the predominant minerals of the ore ; the Antelope or Cedar Springs District, of which the Nevada Superior is the principal mine ; Vicksburg District, organized about the time of the Black Rock excitement ; Mount Rose District, located in 1871 on the boundaries of what is now Paradise Valley, for many years known as the Paradise mine, and now being exploited as the Orange District ; and the Winnemucca District.
But in passing thus hastily over the mining industry of the past in Humboldt County, we should not neglect a district lying to the south of the great Star Peak, namely, Rochester and Relief. In the early sixties, parties from Rochester, New York, started operations on the lime con-
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tact where it cuts through Rochester Canyon, at a point ten miles south from Ryepatch. This is a continuation of the Ryepatch ore zone, and very similar in characteristics and formation, though it had never produced any quantity of ore. Old shafts, inclines and open cuts are to be seen at the present time by those going to the new camp of Rochester, mute evidence of the search made by early pioneers for mineral wealth. Upon reaching a depth of some eighty, feet the miners were driven from these workings by a strong flow of water from an underground channel, which they had tapped, leaving pumps in the shaft and barely escaping with their lives. From Rochester Canyon the miners went to the south and east some seven miles and established the Relief District. The Relief mine of this district has a production record of nearly half a million dollars, from workings not to exceed 300 feet. New work is now being prosecuted in this district and rich silver deposits are being exposed, also ledges of cinnabar and other valuable minerals.
The present camp of Rochester, just entering upon a tremendous production record, is an illustration of the popular saying that "The old is ever new." For many years prospectors in the Humboldt Range confined their operations to the lime contact belts which cut along the base of the mountains, both on the east and west side. In this belt or contact were the famous Sheba, Arizona, De Sota, Eagle and other mines on the eastern slope of the mountains, while in the corresponding contact on the western slope were the Ryepatch, Humboldt Queen, Oro Fino, Tiger Montana, Sacramento and other mines of the Sacramento District. Later prospectors have gone above this lime contact and as a result have exposed rich ledges of gold and silver ore in the altered rhyolite or Koipato formation of the Triassic age. There has been spasmodic mining and prospecting in the Rochester Canyon ever since the early days, but it was not until the spring of 1912 that the richness and extent of the veins began to be realized. For some seven years previous to that time an old prospector named Hutch Stevens, from the Black Hills of Dakota, had maintained a camp at the head of American Canyon and kept alive a group of claims covering the mountain now known as Nenzel Hill, from which center radiate the Limerick, Rochester, Weaver and Juniper canyons on the west, and American, South American, Troy, Fisher and Cow canyons on the east. In the winter of 1909 this venerable prospector perished while going from the Spring Valley stage back to his camp
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during a severe snowstorm, and his body was not found until the following spring: Among the relatives who have kept these claims alive since this tragic death is Joseph Nenzel, a nephew by marriage and an able mining man from the Black Hills of South Dakota. Through very adverse circumstances, at times not knowing from whence the next bill of "grub" was coming, Mr. Nenzel persisted in prospecting and developing these claims, his faithful wife, a niece of the original discoverer, living with him in the hills and encouraging him as best she could. In April, 1912, Mr. Nenzel exposed a stringer of rich ore tending into the Nenzel Hill and began to mine for shipment.
Among other prospectors who had been attracted to Rochester was F. M. Shick, who secured a group of claims at the head of the canyon, adjoining the Nenzel claims on the southwest. Upon a portion of these claims Walter Moynough discovered rich float and obtained a lease in the summer of 1912, shipping float that he had picked from the surface and breaking up large boulders of float and croppings from the huge ledge. Meanwhile Nenzel had been tracing the Crown Point or Nenzel Hill ledge along the crest of the central mountain, and had determined to some extent its richness and immensity, but had not begun the production that has since made the camp famous. Moynough and associates caught the ledge at its southern end and began shipping from the grass roots. Thos. Smaston, Ed. Stiff and H. C. Hardesty were at the same time developing the Sunflower group of claims adjoining on the west.
While this development was going on at the head of the canyon Jerry Healey, Wm. Stotts, Cliff De Lorne, Claude Campbell, Frank Golden, and others interested with them, were prospecting Lincoln Hill, lying on the western border of Rochester Canyon, about two miles westerly from Crown Point. During the summer they discovered much high-grade float, breaking up and sacking boulders rich in free gold and exposing ledges that assayed high in gold and silver values. By the first of November of 1912 nine carloads of ore had been shipped from the properties on Nenzel and Lincoln hills and the public began to "sit up and take notice" that there was something doing in Rochester Canyon.
Frank Reber, of the National Miner, was attracted to the camp about this time, and sent out word of its mineral riches to the mining world. Experts and investors were attracted to the camp and soon a great mining boom was again on in Nevada, and Rochester was the
902 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
new Eldorado, toward which all were treading. Within three months three towns were platted within a distance of two miles; tents, shanties and more substantial buildings followed each other in rapid succession ; large companies were capitalized and extensive development work started, along the huge ore ledges both on Nenzel and Lincoln Hills, the greater portion of the work being done under the leasing system. A population of 2,500 people was soon living in the canyon and another Goldfield was predicted to have been started. The "boom" has passed and many have gone from the camp disappointed, some have realized comfortable fortunes from their findings there, but the development and production of the camp has but just begun, and every foot of development work being done—and there are a great many of them—is demonstrating the permanency and richness of the ledges in the Rochester District. Milling plants are being installed, the field of known ore bodies is being rapidly extended, the payroll is increasing from month to month, now averaging about twenty-five thousand dollars per month, and another producing camp has been added to Nevada's mining laurels. Oreana, now named Nixon by the railroad company, is the nearest railroad point to Rochester, being twelve miles from Nenzel Peak. It has grown from a side-track to an active forwarding town with the growth of the camp and will continue to grow until such time as the railroad sees fit to extend its line up through Rochester or Limerick canyons, plans for which are already being formulated.
But the history of this rich mineral section would not be complete without mention of the placer mining in Spring Valley, Dry Gulch and American canyons, which extend from the summit of the Humboldt Mountains, as they pass through the present Rochester District, down to the Buena Vista Valley at their eastern base. Placer gold was discovered in these canyons in the early seventies and was worked extensively for some years by Chinamen, who had leased the ground from L. F. Dunn and his associates, and are credited with having extracted ten millions of dollars froth the rich gravels of these canyons. The principal canyons are honeycombed with their old shafts so that it is hardly safe to drive down them with a rig. They extended their work to Rochester, Weaver, Limerick and adjacent canyons to some degree, but not on a paying basis. At present the Federal Mining Company, composed of Iowa and Chicago capitalists, are installing a large dredger
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in Spring Valley, while other parties are sinking shafts and running tunnels in the placer channels of American canyons, to work below the fifty-foot level, which was as deep as the Chinamen had sunk. So the Humboldt Range bids fair to again become productive in placer gold as well as from ledges.
Seven Troughs is chief among the mining camps developed during the later years. It is situated in the Stone House range of mountains, thirty miles west from Lovelock. It was discovered in the fall of 1905, Wm. Stautts, Frank Crumpacker, Joe Therien, and Alex. Borland, all of Lovelock, being among the first to secure locations in the canyon. It derives its name from a series of seven troughs which had been placed below some springs in the canyon by stockmen for watering stock. The water was brought to the surface by a large black basalt dike which cut through the mountain, crossing the canyon at this point, and along which contact the ore was found. From this central location the ledges were traced to the north and south. Farrell, in the Stone House canyon, being at the northern extremity and Vernon at the southern end of the district, an extreme distance of twelve miles. Soon the fame of this new discovery spread to the southern camps of Tonopah and Goldfield and prospectors and mine operators came from those camps in great numbers. The entire district was soon covered with monuments and great things were predicted for the new bonanza camp. Four towns, Vernon, Mazuma, Seven Troughs and Farrell were established, each gaining quite a population and considerable activity was evidenced throughout the entire district. Mills were built at Mazuma and Seven Troughs, the latter by the Seven Troughs Coalition mining company of which L. A. Friedman is President and General Manager, and the former by the Nevada-Darby Mining and Milling Company. July 17th, 1912, the towns of this district were devastated by a great water-spout, washing away buildings, mills, people, and leaving a path of desolation and suffering in its wake. Nine were killed outright, three others succumbed to wounds, and several were severely injured in the flood, and the property loss was estimated at a quarter million dollars. The district has never fully recovered from this great disaster, though work has been steadily prosecuted on most of the mines and the mills have been repaired and in operation. It is, estimated that this district has produced a million dollars up to the present time, the greatest depth reached in the workings being eight hundred feet. Much
904 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
ore is now blocked out in the district and the production era has but just begun.
To the south of the Seven Troughs, and in the same ore zone, are situated the camps of Velvet, sixteen miles west from Lovelock ,and Jessup, twenty-four miles southwest of Lovelock. Neither of these camps have reached the producing stage, though very good values and extensive ore bodies are being developed in both. In the Sahware range of mountains, next west of the Stone House range, is located the Juniper mining district. This is thirty-five miles west of Lovelock, in the extreme western part of the county. The Nevada Development company, of which Mr. J. T. Reid is resident agent and with him has New York capital associated, is developing promising copper deposits in this district.
"Kennedy" District on the east side of the "East" Range now having but a few inhabitants was the scene of an excitement attending its discovery in 1893 that attracted the venturesome from all parts to this promising district. Soon after the erection of mills adapted to work free milling ores, it was found that a serious error had been made and since the companies had expended all their available capital the district with its promising veins of base ores had to suffer a long period of idleness. Renewed interest is now apparent, and it is thought that the district will at no distant date figure somewhat in the State's mineral production.
Though Humboldt county has an area of 11,000 square miles it has a population of only 8,000 people, therefore it cannot have any very large towns. During the half century since the advent of the white man into this county many settlements have risen to more or less magnitude, then dwindled to nothing, chiefly because of the rise and fall of various mining camps. Some of these towns have vanished so completely that not a vestige of them is left, a few dilapidated ruins mark the site of others, while still others remain in all their former strength and with steadily increasing population and activities. As examples of the first mentioned we would name Aetnaville, Torryville and the Old Oreana, in the Trinity and Arabia districts. Star City, Humboldt City, Unionville, and Rye Patch in the Humboldt range are fair examples of the second-named class ; while illustrating the latter we would name Paradise, Lovelock, Mill City, and Winnemucca.
Humboldt City, is credited with having been the first white settlement in the county, having been established as early as 1860. The ruins of this
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place are still in evidence at Humboldt canyon, about two miles east of the station by that name on the Southern Pacific railroad. A correspondent of the Humboldt Register, published at Unionville during the early sixties, under date of May 2, 1863, thus describes the town as it was then : "A picturesque and beautiful village, containing some 200 well-built houses, some of which are handsome edifices, and many beautiful gardens that attest the taste and industry of the inhabitants. A beautiful, crystal stream of water diverted from its natural course, runs a little babbling stream through every street. * * * * Humboldt City contains two hotels, kept in good style, one the Coulter House, by Mr. and Mrs. Bailey Nichols, the other, the Iowa House, by Mr. and Mrs. Wilson ; two saloons, one blacksmith shop, two stores, four families and children, chickens, pigs, and dogs enough to give the place a lively appearance." All signs of life, however, have now passed away and this once lively village is but the abode of chipmunks, squirrels and horned toads.
One of the most historic towns of the county is Unionville, which is still quite a little settlement, situated eighteen miles south from Imlay, the first freight division east of Reno on the S. P. railroad. The town was originally laid out about a mile up the canyon above its present site by Captain Hugo Pfersdorf, who with J. C. Hannan and four Indians, and having two donkeys loaded with supplies, had come from Virginia City in quest of a new Eldorado. They had been piloted to the place by the Indians, who had brought specimens of rich rock to Virginia City and seemed willing to show from whence it came. But the Captain held the lots in the new town at a high figure, so the story goes, and Chris Lark, a later arrival, started a town upon ground he had located at the present site of Unionville, and soon had a hundred buildings in course of construction thereon.
A majority of citizens of the new town being in sympathy with the southern forces in the conflict then in progress, the town was called Dixie, but within a year many Union men came to the camp and succeeded in changing public sentiment so that on July 14, 1861, the name was changed to "Unionville" and the Stars and Stripes waved triumphantly to the mountain breezes. Upon the organization of Humboldt county in 1862, Unionville was designated as the county seat by the Governor of the State, which title it held until 1872, when Winnemucca was given that honor. The population of the town in its best days reached as high
906 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
as 1,500 people, three stamp mills were in operation, two of them of ten- stamps and one of five ; there were two stores, saloons, restaurants, livery stable, postoffice and express office, telegraph office and a Methodist church building which cost $2,500. The buildings were of wood, adobe and stone, some of them being quite large and very substantially built, remaining in a fair state of preservation to this day.
The ores from the surrounding mines were crushed by the stamp mills, passed over concentrating tables and into amalgamating pans. The yield from the first crushing and amalgamation was but 40 to 50 per cent of the assay value, but the tailings were worked over, after standing awhile, and a fair proportion of their value was recovered by a simple repetition of the pan-process. The yield from the raw ores during the first process was $25 to $40 per ton, while the tailings the second time yielded $20 to $30 per ton.
To be seen upon the hill-side in the upper part of Unionville is the ruins of the Stone Cabin that was once the abode of "Mark Twain" (Samuel Clemens) when he was a prospector and before he became famous as an author. He was one of the party succeeding the first party of explorers that came to Unionville. Many of the prominent men identified with the early history of the State were those who had been the first residents of Unionville.
At present there is a population of less than one hundred people living in Unionville. There is a small two-stamp mill in operation. The canyon is planted in orchards which produce excellent fruit and it is, withal, a most picturesque and pleasant place in which to live. The Buena Vista valley, lying to the east of and below the town, has some extensive and very productive ranches within its borders, and it is certain to become one of Humboldt counties best farming sections.
Star City, a town of considerable importance in the earlier days, was situated directly north of Unionville, in a canyon by the same name. Its chief support was from the operation of the Sheba and De Sota mines. It possessed a number of large buildings, stores, postoffice, express and telegraph office. One of its hotels is said to have cost $40,000. A mill of ten-stamps and four reverberatory-furnaces for roasting the ore was built at the mouth of the canyon but was later removed to Unionville.
Mill City, established in 1863, was the railroad point for Unionville, Star City, Dunn Glenn, and adjacent mining camps. It is on the main
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line of the Southern Pacific railroad, eighteen miles north from Unionville. As its name indicates, it was intended to be the milling center for the rich mines and here was built a foundry for castings needed at Mills over, the eastern part of Nevada and surrounding districts. It was along the proposed course of the Humboldt canal. This canal project was incorporated in 1862 by an Italian named J. Ginacca, a resident of Winnemucca, and associates living in San Francisco. The canal, starting twenty-eight miles from above Winnemucca, was to have been 90 miles long, fifteen feet wide and three feet deep. About $100,000 was expended in constructing the canal to Winnemucca, where it was abandoned, leaving Mill City high and dry.
One of the early settlements of the county was Dunn Glenn, its settlement dating back to 1862, and in 1863 a company of United States soldiers were stationed there to keep the Indians in check. At one time the population reached 350, but is now down to almost nothing. In later years the settlement has been known as Chafey, from the Chafey mine and mill which is located there. Besides the mining and milling carried on in a small way, there are a few familes interested in stock and ranching living there, this giving the place more permanency than if it were merely a mining camp. It is situated nine miles from Mill City and twenty miles from Winnemucca.
One of the places most attractive and likely to be remembered by the Overland Traveler of the early days is Humboldt House, which was one of the principal eating stations on the Overland route. Here the natural desert waste had been obliterated, by the application of a supply of water from mountain springs, and the trees, shrubbery, berries, verdant lawn, roses and other flowering plants produced must have been a welcome sight indeed to the weary travelers during their journey across the Great American Desert. A thousand fruit and shade trees were grown on this oasis of some thirty acres. The fruit trees produced peaches, pears, apples and apricots equal to those of California, while cottonwood, locust, willow and oak trees gave the welcome shade. This garden spot has been somewhat neglected of late years, for there are no more Overland eating stations, and only a few section-men are living there, but it is still a place of beauty and a joy to the weary travelers.
Lovelock, situated near the mouth of the Humboldt river, is the first town east of Reno of any size. This place was settled by James
908 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
Blake in 1861. In 1862 the late George Lovelock settled here with his family, making his residence opposite where the Southern Pacific depot now stands, on the corner now occupied by the Orpheum Theatre. The great Overland railroad, then termed the Central Pacific, was built through his door yard in 1866, establishing a station directly opposite his home, chiefly for the accommodation of mining business of the Trinity district, which was then quite active. The old Overland stages used to have stations at various points in the valley, along the river, but they were on the eastern side of the stream, the route passing along the eastern foothills.
The Big Meadows, around the margin of Humboldt lake, afforded abundant feed for the stock of emigrants and settlers, and demonstrated the great agricultural possibilities of this section. Besides this, there was evidence of great mineral wealth in the surrounding mountains, and with the natural resources for these two great industries, how could Lovelock help becoming the metropolis of the southern portion of Humboldt county, as it is to-day and will be in the years to come. Some cities are built upon the mining industry, some base their growth upon agricultural wealth and development; the first-named may grow rapidly and be active for a number of years, then drop into decay ; the second-named may be slower of growth but are more permanent and lasting; Lovelock is the natural center for a large territory of mining, agricultural and grazing territory, and having all these industries to rely upon, its growth has been steady and permanent. The valley at this point is about thirty miles long, with an average width of eight miles. The soil is a deep, rich, alluvial deposit and is very productive. Drillings have been made to a depth of nearly 500 feet, and bed-rock was not reached, but decomposed vegetation was brought up from this depth. No wonder that this section has been producing heavy crops of alfalfa year after year for over half a century, and yet the fertility of the soil is undiminished. From the two or three stores first established along the streets on each side of the railroad track, the business section of the town has spread to cross streets, until it now covers three blocks, and many of the business houses are constructed of brick, stone and concrete and are fitted with all modern conveniences and occupied by large mercantile establishments. There having been times of quite rapid growth, during the rise of some adjacent mining district such as the Seven Troughs and, more recently, that of Rochester ; then there
HUMBOLDT COUNTY 909
would be a seemingly dull time, but each succeeding excitement left the town with evidence of considerable growth in business and population. The chief industry in the valley is the production of alfalfa hay and the feeding of same to cattle, sheep and horses, which are brought in from the ranges to the north and east. The acreage sown to grain is becoming gradually less, being about five thousand acres for the present season of 1913.
The population of the town at the present time is about one thousand, and of the town and valley, about sixteen hundred. The last school census showed one hundred and forty in the Lovelock district and educational facilities are well advanced. Three teachers are employed in the public school and two in the Lovelock Branch County High School. The average attendance the past year was 91 in the public and 10 in the High School. There is a government Indian School here, with a twenty-acre tract adjacent platted into lots and leased to the Indians for residence purposes. The population of "Indian Town" is about one hundred or more. These Indians are chiefly of the Pahute tribe, the word Pahute means "Waterless" or absence of water "Desert Indians" being the remnants of the native aborigines. They are generally industrious and take considerable pride in establishing and keeping up their homes adjacent to the school.
While Lovelock town and valley has been settled for more than fifty years, still its growth and industrial development are only in their infancy. Hardly one-tenth of the tillable area of the valley is under cultivation at the present time. Much of this is held in large tracts and worked upon a large scale, which method does not give it as intensive cultivation as it would receive under smaller holdings. By means of the large storage reservoirs lately constructed at a point west of the Humboldt House, thirty-seven miles above the lake, the surplus flow of the Humboldt river will be kept from entering the lake and the entire surface of this lake bed will eventually be brought under cultivation. With the subdivision of the present lands into smaller holdings, and with a steady water supply such as the Humboldt storage will furnish, and with the added area of the present lake bed under cultivation ; it is a very conservative estimate to state that the Lovelock valley will support twenty times its present population and that the value of its products will be enhanced in a like proportion very rapidly during the next twenty-five years.
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As a counterpart to the Lovelock valley, we have in the Northern part of the county Paradise valley. It is situated on both sides of the Little Humboldt river, which rises in the Northern part of the county and flows southward for nearly one hundred miles, being augmented by other streams, until it reaches the main Humboldt at a point near Winnemucca. 'This valley is forty miles long by twelve wide. Its soil is a rich alluvial deposit and very productive. About the first of June, 1863, R. D. Carr, W. B. Huff, J. A. Whitmore and W. C. Gregg started from Starr City on a prospecting trip to the northern side of the river. They crossed near the present site of Mill City, followed the Western slope of the mountains until they struck Rebel creek, and up that to its source near the summit of the range on the Western border of the valley. Here an enchanting sight burst upon their view and W. B. Huff involuntarily exclaimed, "What a Paradise." Here all thoughts of mines were abandoned and the prospectors began staking out homesteads instead of mining claims. March 6, 1864, Richard Brenchley and Charles A. Nicols turned the first furrow and a few days later sowed the first grain in the valley. From forty-five acres of wheat they harvested one thousand bushels, for which they received $9,000. The growth of the valley was hindered by the hostile appearance of Indians, some of the inhabitants suffering death at their hands. A military post was established at Camp Winfield Scott in 1866. A fort was built in 1868, under contract with the government by Reid & Manton but in 1871 the troops were transferred to Camp McDermitt near the Oregon line, and the post abandoned. The foothills and mountains, on each side of the valley, furnish excellent grazing for stock, so thousands of head of cattle, sheep and horses are owned by the settlers there. These mountains are also rich in minerals and many producing mines add to the resources 0f the valley.
Paradise City, the business center of this valley, was established in 1866 by C. A. Nichols and family. After him came Charles Kemler, J. B. Case and others. The town is situated nearly in the center of the valley, being forty miles northeast from Winnemucca. It has good school and church facilities, prosperous business houses, elegantly fitted and appointed hotels. At one time, the Paradise Record, a twenty-four column paper was published there, but has of late years been discontinued. So the village town has been steadily growing, through varying conditions, until it has become one of the substantial towns of Humboldt county.
HUMBOLDT COUNTY 911
Extending northward from Paradise valley is the New Goldfields district, rich in the precious metals and containing large deposits of the base ores. Chief among the producing mines of this district is the Ohio mine. Development work in this section is being accelerated because of surety of a line of railroad being built from southern Idaho to tap the Southern Pacific line at Winnemucca. Still to the north is located the great mining camp of National, which has been world-famed for the richness of its mineral deposits. Since their discovery in 1909 these mines have produced over four millions of dollars in gold bullion. Leasers have been made millionaires, and the finding of new pockets of fabulously rich ore, portend the continued production from this high-grade camp. Continuing on North from National, we have the Quinn River valley, another great agricultural section, of which McDermitt, located at the northern extremity, is the commercial center. The extent of this valley is conservatively estimated at 500,000 acres of good agricultural land. It is surrounded by large, tracts of rich grazing land, making an inland empire of vast wealth. This section will soon be traversed by a railroad, and, with the new settlement which is drifting rapidly toward it, will be among the most prosperous sections of the State.
Adjacent to this Quinn River district on the west are the Disaster Peak mines, containing valuable mineral-bearing ledges ; the Pueblo valley, a rich agricultural section ; the mining camps of Dyke, Florence, Ashdown and Varyville, all in the Pine Forest range of mountains, and the mineral values running chiefly in gold. From Quinn River south we find the Jackson range of mountains, covering a distance of some forty miles. In this district are the camps of Jackson Creek, Deer Creek and Red Butte, in which copper values predominate. Journeying on to the south we pass through Central district, of which the Blackbird and Golden Eagle mines are the chief producers. Rosebud, Sulphur, Saw-tooth, Antelope, Black Diamond and Jungo are promising camps which have sprung up in this section, incident to the building of the Western Pacific railroad west from Winnemucca.
Winnemucca is the county seat and commercial center of Humboldt county. It is situated on the banks of the Humboldt river, at "The Great Bend," which term is given to the point where the stream turns from its course to the Northwest and flows to the Southwest. Though on the line of the Southern Pacific railroad and for many years one of its
912 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
principal division stations, this town was established long before the advent of the railroad and is not dependent upon that for its existence or maintenance. In the year 1850 it was established as a small trading station, on the great overland route to the California goldfields and was known as the "French Ford." It is the railroad point for a vast and rich inland empire to the north, south and east, and has lately been made an important station and division on the Western route. It is near the geographic center of the State and aspires to become the State capitol. It has good promise of being the terminal of the proposed line of railroad to be built from the Oregon Short Line in Idaho, south to the Southern Pacific, at Winnemucca, and still further south and west to the Pacific coast. It is the largest town in the county, the last census showing close to 1500 inhabitants, and it is soon to be incorporated.
The county buildings here are the Courthouse and Jail, which have been erected at a cost of some $75,000 ; a county hospital, costing $50,000 and County High School, costing some $20,000. The business buildings of the place are very substantial and occupied by many large mercantile companies and corporations. It has large and up-to-date hotel-buildings, churches, school houses and an opera house which cost approximately $50,000 and was the gift of the late United States Senator George S. Nixon. A liberal appropriation has been made for a Federal Building in Winnemucca and a site for the same is now being selected by the government.
The town was named by C. B. O. Bannon, nephew of the Secretary of the Interior under President Lincoln, who wished to perpetuate the name the Pahutes gave to their chiefs and which in their language signifies "Place by the River," where he resided. When the Idaho travel was at its zenith, and before railroads had reached that section from other points, Winnemucca was a famous stage and teaming center. During the years of 1868 to 1874 it reached a population of 1600. In 1872 the county seat was removed there from Unionville, it being much nearer the center of population. It is now destined to be among the larger cities of the "New Nevada," which is springing into being with the influx of a more permanent agricultural population. Though the immediate valley of the Humboldt is narrow at this point, there are large fertile valleys adjacent, of which this is the commercial center. The foothills adjacent have a gentle slope, especially on the southern side of the valley, and
HUMBOLDT COUNTY 913
are becoming famous by reason of successful dry-farming activities thereon.
Winnemucca may justly be complimented for its "homelike homes," for with hardly any exception they are very tasty and comfortable, with abundant shade trees, verdant lawns and the general appearance of being a most desirable place in which to reside. The town has excellent water and electric-light service, and a sewer-system lately installed at a cost of $50,000. With the increment which it must naturally receive from the general growth of Humboldt county, with the direct support of the adjacent mining camps of Rexall and Barrett Springs, and with the general growth of the entire State of Nevada, Winnemucca will become one of the large centers of the Inter-Mountain region. Twenty miles east of Winnemucca, in the center of quite an extensive valley, is situated the town of Golconda, fast becoming noted as a health resort, from hot-springs located there. This is quite a prosperous community, having several business houses, a hotel and a good school building, and quite a settlement of ranchers adjacent. Two miles west from town is the Kramer Hill mining property, under active development and with a fine milling-plant. The Glasgow & Western Exploration company have a large smelting and milling plant here, with a narrow-gauge railroad running to their mines in the Gold Run basin, twelve miles to the south. The new mining camp of Gold Circle, or Midas, is forty miles to the northeast of Golconda, making that place its railroad point. The town of Gold Circle is situated in Elko county, the district being partly in Elko and partly in Humboldt counties. The Elko Prince mine, chief among the mines of this district, is reported to have been recently sold for $250,000, Clover Valley is one of the adjacent agricultural districts to the north and the Dutch Flat placer mines, in the same direction, have added much to the resources of the town. A short distance northwest of Dutch Flat is Eden Valley, another fine agricultural valley, where there are large ranches and much fine stock on the ranges.
The building of the Western Pacific across the entire width of Humboldt county has added much to its wealth and development, making a section of the county which was formerly desolate and inaccessible now easy of access and proving the existence therein of vast mineral and agricultural wealth. Entering the county at near the southeast corner, the line of the road follows parallel to that of the Southern Pacific, only
914 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
on the northern side of the river, to Winnemucca. Here it diverges from the line of the Southern Pacific, bearing more directly west and emerging from the county near the center of its western line. The section from Winnemucca west, along this railroad, is the one most rapidly coming to the front in mining and agriculture. This was formerly known as the Great Black Rock Desert, forty miles across, the dread of the Overland travelers. In this expanse of desert there is a space fifty miles in length by ten miles in width as smooth as a hardwood dancing floor. Much of the traffic which was formerly forced to come to the line of the Southern Pacific at Winnemucca, Mill City, and Humboldt House, is now diverted to the new road at Jungo, Sulphur, and Gerlach, the latter being the first freight division west of Winnemucca. Adjacent to this road are the large deposits of sulphur, near the town by that same name, the mines of the Rosebud and Rabbit Hole districts, the latter being worked chiefly as placer mines, Cedar Springs, where there is a large concentrating plant, and the more extensive revenue in the shipment of livestock from the vast ranges among the mountains and valleys of this northern section of the county.
Before passing from the History of Humboldt county, to that of others of this great State of Nevada, we would make special note of its present wealth and resources and great possibilities for the future. Within its borders this county has some of the richest and most extensive mineral deposits known to exist in Nevada. Its mines, from the earliest history of the county, have been among the heaviest producers of bullion, and the camps of National, Seven Troughs, and Rochester, now in their prime, bid fair to continue this record. But the mineral wealth of this county, though having been worked for half a century, has scarcely been touched. Besides the common ores of gold, silver, copper and lead, this county has an abundance of the rarer minerals, clays and earths, demand for which is becoming more apparent every year. Among these might be named tungsten, antimony, nickel, cobalt, bismuth, zinc, cadmium, tin, uranium, vanadium, molybdium, crystaline and amorphouse graphite ; bauxite, tripoli, gypsum, sulphur, nitrates of soda and potash ; the sulphates and carbonates of soda and potash, kaolin, borax, mercury and platinum. The development of these various minerals, earths and salts, will bring the investment of large capital and the employment of many men. Along agricultural and
HUMBOLDT COUNTY 915
horticultural lines, the possibilities for enrichment and increment are immense. While there is a vast amount of territory within the county that is not susceptible of cultivation, still, but a very small part of that which is, has been brought under cultivation. Tests in some of the mountain valleys, of the planting of fruit trees have proven that fruits of rare flavor and perfection can be produced, and this industry is still in swaddling clothes ; the experiments in the growth of the sugar beet in the Lovelock and other valleys of the county, have proven that to be a practical industry for this section and one of great possibilities. The great amount of grazing lands adjacent to the ranches makes the raising and fattening of stock one of the great wealth-producing industries and it is safe to say that a large percentage of the live stock slaughtered and consumed in the markets of San Francisco comes directly from Humboldt county. The great need is for settlers to occupy the waste places. Many of the former ranch holdings are being subdivided and placed on the market for small farms ; many of the valleys that were supposed to be void of water are being proven to be supplied with subterranean channels, from which an inexhaustible supply can be secured, and these desert places are being rapidly settled and made to "Blossom as the Rose."
EARLY DAYS IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY.
BY COL. THOMAS EWING.
The discovery of gold and silver veins of quartz in the great Humboldt range of mountains near the north end of the range in 1860, caused quite a rush of prospectors and mine-hunters to cast their lot with the mountains of the great sagebrush land. These discoveries coming so soon after the greatest of all mineral discoveries, that of the famous Comstock vein, 1859, caused hundreds to seek fortune and fame in the early spring and summer of 1861, in the then wild regions of Humboldt County. In the spring of 1862 these discoveries had been opened or prospected to a point where assurance of great wealth and value was a certainty. Then the wild rush for Humboldt began. Thousands of prospectors, mine-buyers, merchants, political and professional men lined the roads and trails. Even in those days the professional men were always
916 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
willing to divide even if the toilers did all the work. The politician or political position-seeker was satisfied if you helped him out to take all the honors. The white metal in those days being the standard, the silver prospects commanded the leading price and greatest attention. In many cases and almost in general, gold prospects were scorned, passed by and left for the future picking of less particular prospectors.
The canyons of the mountains were soon gobbled up for town sites, mill sites, water rights, etc. The side hills were covered with stakes representing so many hoped for fortunes and old Humboldt County was on the map to stay. Speculation ran high. All sales or dealings were made in feet, the price varying according to the size of the vein (not the feet). Everybody carried blank mining deeds with them wherever they went, as the transfer of feet in certain claims was liable to occur at any moment and was of greater value than coin. Store-bills, hotel-bills, saloon-bills, professional-bills, and in fact any debts could be arranged by a deed of a certain number of feet in some claim. The recorder's office was a fat job—headquarters with a dozen or more deputy recorders all recording deeds, and yet at times it would be months before you would get the recorded deed back. Daily you would see messengers, express-men, rushing in with loads of deeds for filing. The fees of the office ran up to hundreds of dollars per day. The present craze for millions of shares of non-assessable hot-air fake mining stock was not discovered until years afterward. This new field brought together many splendid men from California as well as a few adventurous spirits from the east. I doubt if ever a better class of men, taken all around, came together than the early settlers of Humboldt County. Buena Vista Canyon was selected as the county seat, in the town of Unionville.
There were many lawyers there, some with titles and some who were just starting out. Much legal business was transacted representing great wealth in the future, yet the disposition to cross swords on every mining deal had not become so common as afterwards. Great rivalry existed between the different towns, socially, commercially and in mining importance. In all a general good feeling of friendly fellowship always existed between the people of Unionville, Star City and Dunn Glenn, the principal towns of the County. Everybody had money--people came here loaded with gold from California. Nobody was poor, and
EARLY DAYS IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY 917
if he was, credit was good. Men paid up in those days plenty of feet, and that was better than the early day issue of the greenbacks.
The late army of lace-boot tack-hammer brigade of mine experts were unknown. Occasionally some great professor of some University with eye-glasses would come out to examine the geology of the country, and the amount of good he did the country as far as mining is concerned, would fill one of Greeley's small books. The practical miner, then as now, was the man to depend upon for useful knowledge in mining. In 1864 Nevada became a State. Things were lively then all over the country. It was a presidential year with Mr. Lincoln running for a second term, with two United States Senators, one Congressman, a Governor, Legislature, and all county officers to be elected. Of course it was lively, there being so many offices to fill and still not half enough to go around. The two leading candidates for the Senate were able men—old tried warhorses. Gov. Nye was the man of all men to campaign in a frontier country—a vote-getter. Stewart was also good. These two were the principal speakers with Prof. Siliman of Yale, Judge Jno. H. Watson from Georgia, M. S. Bonnifield, Frank Ganahl, J. A. Banks, Claget and others thrown in to fill up.
That campaign will be remembered long by those who engaged in it—it was great. We had no Pullman on rails then—we went from town to town on horseback, in wagons, and on foot. The order of campaign was a systematic one to win, planned by a few that had the success of Mr. Lincoln, Nye and Stewart at heart. These men equipped great freight wagons with platforms, beds and seats, with a grand-stand in the center on which stood a barrel of good old Kentucky rye whiskey with a cup chained to it—this on each of the three wagons drawn by eight, ten and twelve mules, a cannon on wheels drawn by four respectable jackasses, plenty of powder, a rawhide band, a quartet of singers, some Indians and some white men, much noise, much speaking and much fuss, but no fighting. That campaign cost some of the leading spirits of old Humboldt County $20,000. Lincoln, Nye and Stewart were elected and the country was saved and Uncle Sam, through the great product of gold and silver, was able to pay his debts and resume specie payment, mostly owing to the State of Nevada. Old Humboldt carried away the honors by winning the great silk banner offered by the committee for the District or County that would make the greatest showing in proportion to the population.
918 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
That silk banner (36 x 14), waved from a flag staff in Unionville on all occasions of importance, holidays, etc., until it was worn out. As there was not a tree in the country, a pole had to be imported to raise the flag—yet many good people cry out for a tariff that the hundred men who own all the forests of America, mostly stolen, may be protected and helped along—generous indeed.
Most all of that army of early day settlers have gone over the great divide, no doubt looking for another new sagebrush land where they may be happy and feel at home. Among those of the different professions who distinguished themselves in their different callings in life in after years as well as in the political field, and who were foremost in importance to the country, was that grand old merchant, mill-builder and mine-speculator-- Mr. John C. Fall. Coming to a new country at sixty years of age, with but little money and small backing, but with great industry and energy and with some aid from a few friends, he built the first quartz mill in the County, crushing ore from all mines and prospects—helping all. In this he made a great success. Mr. Fall's name should always be revered in this County.
Among the other noted men are Hiram Knowles, U. S. District Judge, Montana ; William Dixon, Judge at Butte, Montana, and Congressman ; W. H. Claget, Congressman, and a great orator and lawyer ; Frank Ganahl, a great orator and criminal lawyer; M. S. Bonnifeld, Supreme Bench, a member of the State Senate and other political positions (still living) ; Mark Twain—everybody has enjoyed his humor—none will ever forget it ; James G. Fair, U. S. Senator; Gov. A. P. K. Safford, eight years Governor of Arizona ; E. F. Dunne, Mayor of Chicago and candidate for Governor of Illinois, and W. K. Parkinson, Comptroller.
The great travel between California and Nevada over the Owyhee trail, and the establishing of a great daily stage line between the end of the Central Pacific Railroad as it progressed, soon caused houses and forts to be built along the line, and the night-howl of the savage was heard no more, instead, peace and plenty has been the order ever since.
The old Humboldters are proud of their early doings, of their County and State, and delighted to think they enjoyed the early days with their hardships and successes, that they lived when men lived, and that it did not take two to make an average man, that they blazed the trail
EARLY DAYS IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY 919
for those who came afterwards to follow and enjoy in the great sage land. It is the same with the early Humboldters as with the old man from Maine—He may wander all over the world, but as he comes back home to the land he loves and smells the codfish of Maine, or the sweet odor of the sage, he cries out—"Home again—Home again," and so it will ever be.
HISTORY OF ROCHESTER.
BY FREDERICK F. RUNYON.
The date of the discovery of the mining camp of Rochester, in Humboldt county, Nevada, might properly be fixed as June 28, 1912, for it was on this day that Joseph F. Nenzel, after having prospected the mountains about Rochester for many years with small degree of success, picked up the rich silver-float which led to the uncovering of valuable silver deposits on what is now known as Nenzel Hill, at the head of Rochester canyon. Just previous to this time, Mr. Nenzel had practically gone down and out financially. In an effort to secure food for his family and himself living in Limerick canyon just over the ridge from Rochester canyon, Mr. Nenzel went into the town of Lovelock, 24 miles away. He walked the entire distance and there induced three men, Tom Ebert, Roy Beeson and John McCracken, to advance $45 grub money, Nenzel agreeing to locate for them two claims in which he was to retain a fourth interest. He located the Ora Honda claim on Nenzel Hill which was sold three months later for $15,000.
After uncovering the ledge from which the rich silver-float had broken, Joseph Nenzel started to mine a carload of the ore. Without assistance he worked in the tunnel which he drove into Nenzel Mountain. After taking out the ore, he built the trail down the mountain side into Rochester canyon. Constructing a sled out of the junipers which grew upon the side of the mountain, Nenzel dragged his ore down the steep slope of the mountain to a point in Rochester canyon where it might be placed aboard wagons and teamed to the railroad 12 miles away. George Pitt, a Lovelock rancher, was induced by Nenzel to send his teams into the canyon to haul the ore to the railroad for shipment to the smelters. The wagon road through Rochester canyon was sadly out of repair and
920 THE HISTORY OF NEVADA
Nenzel was compelled to do this work of reconstruction besides completing the road through the gulch for a considerable distance to reach his sacked ore. Finally, after months of laborious effort, the first car of ore was shipped to the smelter and gave returns of $72.90 a ton. With this encouragement and ready money Nenzel set to work to mine another carload of ore. Again he went to the task alone and this second car was shipped in September and caused mining men to take an interest in Rochester canyon which had been named after prospectors who had formerly lived in the city of Rochester, New York, and had prospected in the canyon some years before. About the time Nenzel shipped his second car of ore to the smelter, Frank Forvilly had struck ore of a shipping grade on Lincoln hill, further down the canyon, and a carload of ore was shipped from Forvilly's property. Walter Minough, a prospector and miner, came into the district and secured a lease on the Weaver claims owned by Frank Schick. Minough started a tunnel on the western slope of the mountain. He also struck shipping ore and sent two carloads to the smelter, later gathering up a carload of ore from the surface.
The district was now attracting considerable attention and prospectors importuned Nenzel for leases on his claims on Nenzel Hill. A lease was given Messrs. Joseph Platt, William Robertson, Dave Patterson and E. A. (Slim) Ludwig. This was known as the Big Four lease and almost immediately after the first pick was placed in the ground the ore body was encountered. Other leases were given and by the later part of December, 1912, six months from the day the first piece of rich silver-float was picked up by Nenzel, 24 sets of leasers were working on his properties. With the striking of ore on the Big Four lease the mining excitement which produced three separate towns in less than two months time took place. Rochester broke into prominence and thousands rushed into the district. Big prices were paid for leases, companies organized and active operations in the district commenced. Like all mining excitements hundreds of men and women rushed into the canyon utterly without purpose or reason and the towns grew faster than the mines could develop. A reaction was inevitable and slowly the hordes of camp followers and idle men drifted away.
Almost overnight the town of Rochester came into existence with its night-life and typical mining camp population. A tent-city burst into being as if by magic. Then followed more substantial buildings. Auto-
HISTORY OF ROCHESTER 921
mobile-trucks freighted lumber into the camp. A second town started at the base of the mountain nearly two miles from the original town. It was called East Rochester. Then squatters took possession of the western slope of the mountain and the third town sprang into existence. Far above on the mountain top miners were blasting their way through the hard rock uncovering the rich silver veins hidden beyond and the thunderous explosions of dynamite reverberated through the canyon.
A new mining excitement had gripped Nevada and a new and rich district evolved. In a marvelously short period of time Rochester passed through the various stages from a prospect to a producing property. Rich veins have been penetrated and Rochester bids fair to equal any of the mining camps which Nevada has given to the world.
Rochester is situated 24 miles northeast of the agricultural town of Lovelock, Nevada, in the Humboldt Range. The camp is 10 miles due east of Oreana, now called Nixon, on the main overland line of the Southern Pacific railroad, to which point the ore is shipped to the smelters. Nenzel Hill is 7200 feet in height, standing at the head of Rochester canyon. To the east are the American canyons where millions of dollars in gold have been taken by Chinese and whites in the past 40 years through placer-mining. To the north is Limerick canyon while to the south is Weaver canyon. Rochester is the center of the highly mineralized Humboldt Range which has produced some of the greatest mines in the history of the State of Nevada.