February 18, 2006
Nevada's Online State News Journal
[From Thompson & West's History of Nevada 1881, With Illustrations And Biographical Sketches Of Its Prominent Men And Pioneers, pp. 461-476]
HISTORY OF LANDER COUNTY. 461
HISTORY OF LANDER COUNTY.
Discovery of and Rush to the Mines—Organization and Boundaries—County Seat and Court House—County Debt and Court House—Judicial District and Schools—Officers Appointed and Elected—The Leading Industries—Bonds, Property and Population—Principal Towns—Austin the County Seat—Incorporated as a City—Water Company and Stock Board—Reaction and Varying Fortunes—Destructive Rain Storms—Changes and Present Appearance—Hon. M. J. Farrell—Andrew Nichols—The Man with the Axe--Battle Mountain—A. J. Blossom--Deserted Towns and Cities--Principal Mining Districts.
THE occupation and settlement of the various States, Territories and localities on the Pacific Coast have been in periods of excitement and by " rushes " of people. Possibly in no other way could the development of the country, or at least many localities have been accomplished, and, however much an excitement and consequent rush may be deprecated the results have been, almost without exception, of great public benefit. Great indignation has at times prevailed against those who have told stories of rich prospects, and traditions are extant of the summary execution of men who have led others on a wild hunt for rich mines which they failed to find. But wherever the rushes have been some discoveries have been made, and settlements followed. California was thus settled in the excitement consequent on the gold discovery of 1848. British Columbia was overrun and brought to the knowledge of the world by the Fraser River excitement; the current of population was turned over the Sierra Nevada by the Washoe excitement, and at last the great interior of the wilderness was penetrated at a bound in consequence of the Reese River excitement. Perhaps without an excitement the distant Pacific Coast, with all its loveliness, would have remained unoccupied, and the sage-brush plains of Nevada would still have remained on the maps as "Unexplored Regions."
The Reese River excitement began in 1862. At that period the overland mail created all the civilized life of the central and eastern part of the Territory of Nevada. The route crossed the valley of Reese River at Jacobs Station, and from eight to twelve miles northeast crossed the Toiyabe range of mountains, by a pass called Telegraph Cañon. Nearly east of Jacobs Station was a pass, through which the Pony Express riders had often traveled as a cut-off on the overland road, and, as a consequence, received the name of Pony Cañon. From this cañon, on the second of May, 1862, Mr. William M. Talcott, who had been a Pony Express rider before that institution was superseded by the telegraph, was hauling wood for the stage station, and discovered a vein of ore-bearing quartz. The ore was taken to the station, and some sent to Virginia for assay. Proving rich, the report of the new discovery soon got abroad, and the excitement soon followed.
The previous history of this section consisted in the laying out of the Simpson Route, the establishing of the overland mail, the construction of the telegraph—all of which are related elsewhere in this work. Talcott, the discoverer of the ledge which he named the Pony, and the first Recorder of the district, was a native of Maryland, to which State he afterwards returned and died.
Reese River Mining District was organized on the tenth of May, 1862. The first locators of mines were Wm. M. Talcott, Felix O'Neil, Augustus Clapp, James Farmer, G. W. Jacobs, J. R. Jacobs, A. P. Hawes, Joseph Town, W alter Cary, G. L. Turner, and T. L. Grubb. Their locations covered a total of 2,600 feet. The first location was called the Pony Ledge, which is now owned by Charles R. Stebbins of Austin.
ORGANIZATION AND BOUNDARIES.
The bill creating Lander County, out of portions of Humboldt and Churchill Counties, was framed by A. J. Simmons, and was approved December 19, 1862. The boundaries of the new county were defined in the statute as follows:
Beginning at the point of intersection of the fortieth meridian of longitude, west from Washington, with the forty-second parallel of north latitude, or northern boundary of Nevada Territory; thence, running south on the line of said fortieth meridian of longitude, through the counties of Humboldt and Churchill, to the thirty-ninth parallel of north latitude, or northern boundary line of Esmeralda County; thence east, along the said northern boundary line of Esmeralda County, to the eastern boundary line of the Territory; thence north, following the eastern boundary line of the Territory, to the northern boundary line of the Territory aforesaid; thence west, along said northern boundary line, to the place of beginning.
This included about one-third the area of Nevada, as its boundaries then existed. The region was a vast, unexplored wilderness, crossed by two overland routes of travel, the Humboldt Valley and the Simpson routes. The mines in Pony Cañon had been discovered, and the name of "Reese River" given to the district. Six miles west, near the stream called Reese River, was a station of the Overland Mail, and the only settlement near. This was then called Jacobs' Springs, afterward called Jacobsville, in honor of George Washington Jacobs, the division agent of the Overland Mail Company. Here was located the county seat, subject to a vote of the people at the next general election. In the midst of the mines in Pony Cañon, Austin had been built, and on the second of September, 1863, the people voted that Austin should become the county seat. By calculations subsequently made the fact was ascertained that the western boundary of the county, the fortieth meridian, was east of the county seat. This was rectified by an Act approved February 20, 1864, by removing that part of the western boundary between the fortieth and thirty-ninth parallels westward to the Mount Airey Station, a distance of about twenty miles. This line was subsequently made to conform to the summit of the Desatoya range of mountains.
462 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
By Act of Congress approved May 5, 1866, a strip of territory of one degree of longitude was taken from Utah and added to Nevada, ceding to the State at the same time all that part of Arizona north and west of the Colorado River. This added three square degrees of territory to Lander County, which then comprised about twenty-eight per cent. of the entire State, and all the population of the region which soon became known as "The Great East." From this great area numerous counties were afterwards carved, giving Lander the title of "Mother of Counties."
By an Act approved March 5, 1869, the counties of Elko and White Pine were created, taking a little more than two degrees of the eastern part of Lander, and by an Act approved March 1, 1871, all that portion north of the forty-first parallel was ceded to Elko. By an Act approved March 1, 1873, the county was divided by a line drawn south from a point midway on its northern boundary, and the eastern portion was made the county of Eureka. Subsequently to the organization of Nye County, a strip of about ten miles in width was added to it from the southern part of Lander, and, in 1873, the line between Lander and Humboldt was adjusted to run from the northeast corner of Churchill direct to the center of township 32 north, range 42 east, Mount Diablo base and meridian, thence east to the fortieth meridian of longitude, taking quite a large area from Humboldt County, and with it all the lower portion of the Reese River Valley. The present area of the county is about 5,200 square miles.
The name was bestowed in honor of General Frederick W. Lander, previously mentioned in the history of the Indian War of 1860, who was in charge of the construction, by the United States Government, of a wagon road across Nevada. He subsequently became a Brigadier General in the Union Army during the war of the Rebellion, dying at the age of forty, at Paw Paw, Virginia, March 2, 1862, from wounds received in battle.
COUNTY SEAT AND COURT HOUSE.
By the provisions of the creative Act, Jacobsville was made the county seat of Lander until a census could be taken, and a permanent location could be fixed upon by a vote of the people. The Governor was authorized to appoint, prior to the next general election, such county and township officers as he might deem necessary. The County Commissioners, thus appointed, held their first meeting March 3, 1863, approved the bonds of officers presented, and granted to J. Gooding a franchise for a toll-road across Warsaw Slough to Jacobsville. They also authorized the County Clerk to advertise for bids for a Court House. At a subsequent meeting, held April 29th, they awarded the contract to J. A. McDonald. He was to have the building completed by the first of August following, and was to receive therefor the sum of $8,440. At the same meeting they divided the county into thirteen districts.
The Court House was completed on time; and at the meeting, held August 5th, the Commissioners accepted the building, and issued scrip to the contractor for the amount agreed upon. They also redivided the county into ten districts, each to be a voting precinct, and to have a Justice of the Peace.
The census taken in July, 1863, showed the actual residents in these precincts to be 1,052 men and 110 women, also two "young children," which were credited to Austin. No attempt was made to enumerate the prospectors scattered among the hills of the various mining districts, but their number was estimated at 400. About 500 emigrants, not entitled to vote, were not included in the census. Counting all, the total population of Lander County on July 22, 1863, footed up 2,062; and the larger proportion consisted of persons under forty years of age.
By a vote of the people at the election, held September 2, 1863, Austin was made the county seat; and the new Board of Commissioners met on the twenty-first of September, at Jacobsville, and adjourned to meet at Austin in the afternoon of the same day.
COURT HOUSE AND COUNTY SEAT.
The Court House which had been built at Jacobsville was removed to Austin immediately after, and additions made thereto. At a meeting of the Board, held in April, 1864, voting precincts in each of the four wards were established, and the nineteenth day of April fixed as election day. They also divided the county into nine townships for the purpose of revenue, issued scrip in payment of outstanding claims against the county, and entered upon what now would seem to be a system of useless as well as extravagant expenditure of public funds. Within two years after the organization of the county it was nearly $200,000 in debt, and its scrip sold for fifteen cents on the dollar.
JUDICIAL DISTRICT AND SCHOOLS.
By an Act, approved February 16, 1864, Lander County was attached to the Third Judicial District, that district being already composed of Lyon and Humboldt Counties.
In October, 1865, H. S. Herrick, Superintendent of Public Schools for the county, reported that there were five school districts, four school houses, and five schools in the county; that there had been expended for school purposes during the year $4,464.14, and that the number of children of school age was 444. The schools were carried on by the aid of the State School Fund and a direct property tax.
OFFICERS APPOINTED AND ELECTED.
By the Act creating Lander County, the Governor was authorized to appoint, prior to the next general election, such county and township officers as he may deem necessary. The appointments made by him, December 22, 1862, together with all subsequent appointments and elections to office in this county, are given hereafter with the title of the office, the
HISTORY OF LANDER COUNTY. 463
name of the officer and date of election or appointment in each case.
D. E. Waldron, elected to Council September 2, 1863; A. B. Dibble and A. P. Hereford, elected Senators January 19, 1864, under the Constitution that was defeated; M. D. Larrowe, elected November 8, 1864, became non-resident September 21, 1866; W. W. Hobart, elected November 8, 1864; D. W. Welty, and G. T. Terry, elected November 6, 1866. Terry ms elected to fill the unexpired term of Larrowe. S. Wilson, elected November 3, 1868; W. W. McCoy, and John Spencer, elected November 8, 1870; Geo. W. Cassidy, elected November 5, 1872; M. J. Farrell, elected November 3, 1874, re-elected November 5, 1878.
T. J. Tennant and E. S. Dixon, elected Representatives under Territorial Government September 2, 1863; C. S. Sherman, S. G. Sewell and D. H. Lemmon, elected Assemblymen January 19, 1864, under the Constitution that was defeated; E. A. Morse and D. P. Waters, elected Representatives under the Territorial Government, but were superseded by the adoption of the Constitution at the same election, September 7, 1864; D. P. Waters, J. L. Hinckley, E. P. Sine and M. A. Rosenblatt, elected Assemblymen November 8, 1864; J. M. Dorsey, J. R. Jacobs, T. J. Tennant, and Robert Cullen, elected November 6, 1866; T. J. Tennant, R. J. Moody, Geo. D. Coburn and Geo. F. Mills, elected November 3, 1868; S. L. Fuller, T. J. Jones, L. Murphy and H. A. Willard, elected November 8, 1870; E. J. Elzy, R. L. Horton, Frank V. Drake and James H. Burgess, elected November 5, 1872; Geo. Watts and Andrew Nichols, elected November 3, 1874; James E.Rooker, Andrew Nichols and M. A. Sawtelle, elected November 7, 1876; Thomas E. Hagar, Geo. Watts and John Smyth, elected November 5, 1878; John Smyth, W. B. Newell and C. P. Soule, elected November 2, 1880.
J. A. Veatch, Wm. M. Talcott and Geo. W. Wilson, appointed January 26, 1863. Talcott resigned April 10th and Abraham Hopper was appointed April 20, 1863, to fill vacancy; Wilson resigned May 15th, and James P. Greaves was appointed July 17, 1863, to fill vacancy. T. H. Thompson, Wm. B. Morse, and J. P. Greaves, elected September 2, 1863. G. A. Swasey, appointed December 5, 1863, in place of Thompson; E. G. Lamb, appointed March 24, 1864, in place of Swasey; J. A. Mitchell, appointed August 17, 1864, in place of Lamb; Morse, left the county, and George May appointed to fill vacancy December 3, 1863; M. P. Haynes, appointed April 20, 1864, in place of May, resigned; W. H. Anderson, appointed July 23, 1864, in place of Haynes, resigned; Greaves, resigned April 12, 1864, and R. H. Williams appointed June 16, 1864, to fill vacancy; F. C. Chase, appointed November 11, 1864, in place of Williams. A. H. Wilson, F. C. Chase and J. M. Jones, elected September 7, 1864; J. O. Mitchell, A. H. Wilson and John Gray, elected November 8, 1864; J. F. Hallock, J. A. Mitchell and John Gray, elected November 6, 1866; Gray resigned August 7, 1867; James Burgess, John Spencer and M. Sowers, elected November 3, 1868; M. Sowers, J. H. Burgess and Matt. Furth, elected November 8, 1870; W. S. Gage and Wm. Arrington, elected November 5, 1872. Arrington resigned March 11, 1873; Gage resigned September 15, 1876. A. M. Horne and J. W. McWilliams, elected November 3, 1874; Geo. L. Love, and J. N. Baker, elected November 7, 1876; J. H. Burgess, J. N. Baker and Henry Kling, elected November 5, 1878. Burgess died January 3d, and T. W. Triplett appointed June 17, 1879, to fill vacancy. A. A. Curtis and J. P. Cope, elected November 2, 1880.
Parish B. Ladd, appointed December 22, 1862, removed for disloyalty July 6, 1863, and J. H. Ralston appointed to fill vacancy. E. A. Crane, elected September 2, 1863. Geo. S. Hupp, elected County Judge January 19, 1864, but never served, the Constitution under which he was elected being defeated.
John Carmichael, appointed December 22, 1862; Frank Jones, elected September 2, 1863; E. C. Brearly, elected November 8, 1864, resigned June 12, 1865, and B. P. Rankin appointed to fill vacancy. H. Mayenbaum, elected November 6, 1866, re-elected November 3, 1868; F. H. Harmon, elected November 8, 1870; N. D. Anderson, elected November 5, 1872, re-elected November 3, 1874, reelected November 7, 1876; George A. Douglass, elected November 5, 1878; H. T. Creswell, elected November 2, 1880.
George W. Jacobs, appointed December 22, 1862; J. H. Tabor, elected September 2, 1863; J. Leffingwell, elected November 8, 1864; B. F. Sanborn, elected November 6, 1866; J. M. Dawley, elected November 3, 1868; C. D. Spiers, elected November 8, 1870; John Emory, elected November 5, 1872, re elected November 3, 1874; J. C. Harper, elected November 7, 1876, re-elected November 5, 1878, died December 12, 1879, and B. C. Thomas appointed December 18th to fill vacancy. B. C. Thomas, elected November 2, 1880.
Elisha A. Marsh, appointed December 22, 1862; S. E. Greeley, elected September 2, 1863; Richard Brown, elected November 8, 1864; C. D. Spier, elected November 6, 1866; D. C. McKenney, elected November 3, 1868; John H. Dennis, elected November 8, 1870; M. J. Farrell, elected November 5, 1872; W. A. Clifford, elected November 3, 1874; 3. L. Brennan, elected November 7, 1876; J. A. Miller, elected November 5, 1878, re-elected November 2, 1880.
464 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
Augustus Clapp, appointed December 22, 1862; J. M. Dawly, elected September 2, 1863; Wm. Pardy, elected November 8, 1864; Jesse Beene, elected November 6, 1866, re-elected November 3, 1868; George F. Dinsmore, elected November 8, 1870; A. A. Curtis, elected November 5, 1872, re-elected November 3, 1874; J. Gilbert, elected November 7, 1876; J. A. Wright, elected November 5, 1878, reelected November 2, 1880.
James R. Jacobs, appointed December 22, 1862; H. S. Herrick, elected September 2, 1863; C. O. Barker, elected November 8, 1864; A. E. Titus, elected November 6, 1866; T. W. Triplett, elected November 3, 1868; S. O. Clifford, elected November 8, 1870, re-elected November 5, 1872; L. Duncan, elected November 3, 1874; C. D. Spiers, elected a November 7, 1876; J. C. Smyle, elected November 5, 1878; L. Duncan, elected November 2, 1880.
James L. Thompson, appointed December 22, 1862; E. S. Davis, elected September 2, 1863, reelected November 8, 1864; Richard Brown, elected November 6, 1866; C. D. Spier, elected November 3, 1868; H. J. Biddleman, elected November 5, 1872; J. F. Roberts, November 3, 1874; Charles Lund, elected November 7, 1876; A. C. McCafferty, elected November 5, 1878, re-elected November 2, 1880.
COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS OF SCHOOLS.
W. J. Brown, elected September 2, 1863, resigned March 8 1864, H. S. Herrick, appointed to fill vacancy; H. S. Herrick, elected November 8, 1864; T. Norwood, elected November 6, 1866, resigned and J. S. Slauson appointed April 2, 1867, to fill vacancy; T. H. Harmon, elected November 3, 1868; M. Dozier, elected November 8, 1870; J. R. Williamson, elected November 5, 1872, re-elected November 3, 1874, reelected November 7, 1876; C. A. Dyer, elected November 5, 1878; J. S. Hammond, elected November 2, 1880.
Francis Tagliabue, appointed December 22, 1862; M. J. Noyes, elected September 2, 1863, re-elected November 8, 1864; T. J. Read, elected November 6, 1866; David Kerr, elected November 3, 1868; T. J. Read, elected November 8, 1870; Wm. A. Edwards, elected November 5, 1872; C. Von Netzer, elected November 3, 1874; Melville Curtis, elected November 7, 1876; J. C. Smyle, elected November 5, 1878; Frank Duffy, elected November 2, 1880.
H. A. Barrows, elected November 8, 1864; W. W. Wixom, elected November 6, 1866; B. B. Stansbury, elected November 3, 1868; John Grove, elected November 8, 1870; W. B. Wilson, elected November 5, 1872, resigned March 28, 1873, and Richard Pierce appointed to fill vacancy; J. Dreyfus, elected November 3, 1874; R. Y. Woodward, elected November 7, 1876; P. Laughlin, elected November 5, 1878, reelected November 2, 1880.
Samuel Gilson, appointed December 22, 1862. In accordance with the provisions of an additional Act approved December 19, 1862, the office of Sheriff and Collector of Lander County were consolidated.
THE LEADING INDUSTRIES.
In view of frosts, lack of rain, and the apparent sterility of the soil, the first settlers of Lander County entertained little hope of ever being successful in agricultural pursuits. In this they were not much mistaken, although experiments and intelligent operations have resulted in the production of sufficient grain and vegetables to meet the local demand, and at prices profitable to the producer and reasonable to the consumer. Stock-raising has also become an important industry. Still the leading industry of the county is and always has been that of mining.
The first bullion product was from Buell's five-stamp mill, which was put in operation in August, 1863, and was the first mill started in the county. From this time forward the construction of mills kept pace with the discovery of mines. In the beginning of 1865 there were fifteen mills in operation in the county, with a total number of 110 stamps, and in the spring of 1866 there were twenty-nine mills, with an aggregate of 444 stamps. The cost of a twenty-stamp steam mill at the place of manufacture in San Francisco was, at that time, from $17,000 to $25,000. The cost of transportation to the Reese River District was from $4,000 to $7,000, and ground, grading, furnaces, buildings, etc. usually made the cost aggregate from $125,000 to $250,000 for a first-class mill. There were at that time nearly sixty mining districts in the Reese River region.
The yield of the mines increased steadily from 1863, when the product was $16,109, to 1868, when it was $2,574,810; and the total product to 1880 was $16,659,209. The revenue derived from the tax on bullion aided the county greatly in the reduction of its bonded and floating indebtedness, and in placing itself upon an easier financial footing.
BONDS, PROPERTY AND POPULATION.
By an Act of the Legislature, approved January 23, 1877, the county was authorized to issue its bonds to the amount of $200,000 in aid of the Nevada Central Railroad, which was soon afterward completed, giving the county of Lander quicker communication with the outside world. The total population, as appears from the census of 1880, is 3,624. The assessed valuation of property for that year was. $2,007,319; total debt, $200,000, and cash on hand in the treasury of the county, $17,348.03.
HISTORY OF LANDER COUNTY. 465
AUSTIN leads in age as it does alphabetically the towns of Lander, while Amador, once its rival, has passed to the list of " deserted towns and cities." The growth of Austin and its history will constitute the major part of the history of the county. Should one look for it on the map, it will be found in latitude 39° 29' 30", and in longitude 40° 4' west from Washington, or almost exactly in the center of the State. Senator M. J. Farrell, in a lecture before the Reese River Pioneers, gave such a sketch of its history that it is reproduced in the following:--
When I arrived in Austin in April, 1863, there was but one house, unfinished, and a few brush tents. Clifton was at that time a very lively mining camp, containing probably twenty or twenty-five houses, and was rapidly filling up with pilgrims from California, but the grand rush had not commenced. I made a trip to California, in September of that year, and the emigration was then at its zenith. I did not take the trouble to count, but others did, and one who traveled over the road on horseback, and was part of two days off the main track, reported 274 freight teams (carrying freight at fifteen to twenty cents per pound), nineteen passenger wagons, three pack trains, sixty-nine horsemen, and thirty-one footmen between Austin and Virginia. Another recorded 400 teams of all descriptions, counted in a stage ride between the same places, and it would be safe to say that there were one-third as many on the way from Salt Lake City and the East. At the same time two lines of stages from Virginia were booked for six or seven days ahead; and parties in Virginia who never intended to come to Austin made a good speculation by booking and selling their chances, at a good advance, to persons who were afraid the claims would all be located before they could get to the scene. In fact, the road was literally crowded with people in wagons, stages, carriages and carts, on horseback, on donkeys, with saddles and without saddles, with hand-carts, wheelbarrows, on foot, and in every other conceivable mode of traveling, all rushing wildly to Reese River, the land of promise, the poor man's paradise, the Mecca of fortune's devotees. They seemed to have but one idea, with which they were perfectly saturated, and that was to get to Austin quick. It was impossible not to get excited when brought in contact with this eager crowd of people; and those who smiled at the recital when at a distance, in California or at the East, were the wildest of the wild when they reached here. Houses were built, tents erected, and brush shanties thrown together, and in an incredibly short space of time a town bad sprung up as if by the touch of an enchanter's wand. Water was scarce, and an enterprising firm that retailed it in carts, cleared from $1,000 to $1,200 per week. The dust became unbearable, by reason of the immense amount of teaming and travel, and an Austin bath was described as composed of two inches of cold water in a big tub, a piece of brown soap, a napkin, and a dollar and a half. The whole surrounding section was laid off into lots, streets, blocks, mining claims and water rights. Even wet ground was made the subject of proprietary interest. City lots sold all the way from $100 to $8,000 apiece. During the summer of 1863, building operations were carried on with the greatest energy, and in addition to innumerable tents and shanties, 366 houses were built. Fortune-hunters from California brought their houses with them, having them all ready to put up on arrival at Austin. New mining excitements occurred constantly, new districts were discovered and organized, new towns were laid off, and thousands who had hurried to Austin hurried off as eagerly elsewhere, and yet the Reese River metropolis contained 10,000 people. Money was abundant, chiefly in twenty-dollar gold pieces, which nobody could change, and provisions were correspondingly high. Flour, at one time, sold at fifty dollars per hundred weight. Every industrial avocation and every profession had representatives, and saloons and gambling dens were ample for all emergencies. Stages departed regularly to Watertown, Canyon City, Big Creek, Washington, Ione, Yandleville, Yankee Blade, Butte City, Geneva, Coral City, Jacobsville, Lander City, Pizarro, Clinton, Centerville, Augusta, Bolivia, Unionville, Star City and a multitude of places no longer heard of. From California and Utah pack trains were constantly arriving, and even an air of oriental magnificence was imparted to the scene by the advent of a long train of camels, loaded to an astonishing extent. A duel occurred, a Young Men's Christian Association was formed, killings were common, six ore mills were put up, from ten to twenty mining organizations were incorporated daily, an enormous postal and express business was transacted and more than fifteen hundred offices were opened in San Francisco for the sale of the hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of stock of the thousands of Reese River mining companies."
Some additional accounts of early events have been furnished by John Frost, of the Manhattan Company. He says that Felix O'Neil, J. Q. C. Vandenbosch, George Buffet, and himself, arrived in Austin on the eighteenth day of December, 1862, and found a Mr. Marshall and William Cole living in a cabin at Clifton, and running what was known as the Highland Mary Tunnel, opposite the present site of the International Hotel, on the south side of the cañon, at a point which is now near the middle of the town of Austin. There was no one else there at the time, and as they were the first to build a cabin, they could properly be called the first settlers, although the first discovery of the mines was made by the pony rider.
Mr. Frost and his partners located claims known as the North Star, Oregon and Southern Light, and then returned to the Truckee River to spend the winter.
They returned in March, 1863, and built the first cabin in Austin, which was of logs. The claims they located formed the nucleus of the present Manhattan Company. The company was first known as O'Neil, Frost & Co.; then as the Oregon Company, under which name a ten-stamp mill was built and operated for two years. In June, 1865, the property was sold to a New York Company, and the name changed to Manhattan. The Frost & O'Neil survey was the first town location made, and its object was to secure the water and mill site. After that, Marshall, previously referred to, located a town site; and after him, D. E. Buell, W. C. Har-
466 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
rington, E. Welton, and I. C. Bateman made a location. The citizens, together with the town-site proprietors, built the grade which made Austin possible, as no teams could previously get up from the valley. This was in the spring and summer of 1863. Meantime, the town of' Clifton, situated on the flat at the mouth of the cañon, had grown to respectable dimensions, but after the grade was built its inhabitants commenced moving up to Austin, which became the central town. The cost of the grade was $3,000. By the sixth of April, 1863, the town company had also completed the International Hotel, at Austin, a building, 37x90 feet in size; had donated $800 for the establishment of the Reveille newspaper; and one of its members, Buell, had started to San Francisco to secure the erection of an ore mill.
On April 6th a post-office was in operation at Clifton, with John W. Clark as Postmaster. G. L. Turner also started a pony express for the carrying of letters to the various mines, and to an office of Wells, Fargo & Co., that was in charge of S. W. Langhorne. The Reveille of May 16th mentions that Clifton has hotels and stores of every description; that Austin promises to be a fine town; that flour is selling at seven dollars per hundred, whereas it commanded twenty-two dollars in January; that the overland stages pass regularly; that an extra line departs for Virginia City; and that Austin is within four days' travel of San Francisco, and three days travel of Salt Lake City. The same day it records the return of J. R. Jacobs from Carson City, bringing with him his daughter Nellie and Mrs. J. Steadman, who were just over from San Francisco. To meet these parties, " Wash. " Jacobs and General Ford drove in a buggy to Mount Airey. Captain To-to-a, high chief of the Shoshones, also met them at New Pass Station, accompanied by a band of his chosen braves. His attachment to Mr. J. R. Jacobs was remarkable, whose life he several times saved by giving timely warning of impending peril, and by putting out of the way jealous or vicious members of the tribe. On one occasion To-to-a killed an Indian who designed to assassinate Mr. Jacobs for the reason that the latter had given the Indian some medicine which failed to effect a cure. On May 17th, twenty families arrived from the States, and six families from California. On May 23d it is recorded that "the International Hotel is under the control of the firm of Bateman, Paul & Buell. George. W. Terrill has supervision of the restaurant in connection with the same, and presides with dignity." In June following, this hotel, which was but a lodging-house and saloon, was leased to Charles Stebbins.
In addition to these W. K. Logan, at present Justice of the Peace, kept a tobacco and stationery store. Jeff. Work, afterwards in the United States Land Office, kept the Bank Exchange Saloon, and Daniel E. Waldron, now of San Francisco, was attorney. Austin then contained about 450 citizens, and its business enterprise was represented by two hotels, or lodging-houses, two stores, five saloons, one billiard room, two meat markets, one bakery, two stationery stores, three blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, one variety store, three laundries, one lodging-house and a new one in course of construction, one livery stable, one barber shop, one tailor shop, telegraph office, Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express Office—John Leach, Agent—Turner's Express Office, two adobe yards, one dairy, one printing office, two lawyers, four Notaries Public, one sign painter, four carpenters, four stone masons, one boot and shoe store, one physician.
In July of this year Miss Jennie B. Rauch started a school in a brush tent. The Reveille of July 29th records the death of Annie McDonald, and alludes to it as " the first from natural causes." The first child, a daughter, was born to Mrs. W. M. Middleton, of Upper Austin, in the latter part of June; and, on July 4th, the first marriage took place—C. Bryant to Mrs. J. E. Leet.
AUSTIN THE COUNTY SEAT.
By a vote of the people at the election held September 2, 1863, Austin was declared the county seat of Lander County. It was here that prospectors, miners and men of means were congregating. It was thought to be the center of a series of mineral-bearing veins, which would be found to extend through the earth for miles around. These things, together with the fact that it occupied about the geographical center of the State, from which parties in search of mines would take their departure, and to which they would return, raised great hopes concerning the future of Austin. The population increased rapidly, and the highest prices were paid for mechanics of all kinds. Food was scarce, and $400 per thousand was paid for lumber. The cost of working ore was $100 per ton, and, in January, 1864, the mills reported a total production of ore to date of $100,000.
On the second of January, 1864, a fire company was organized, which was called the Hook and Ladder Company of Austin, with ten charter members. Wm. J. Brown was elected President, and J. K. Fisher, Foreman. At a meeting held January 11th the name was changed to Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company, and under this name the organization exists at the present time, with the following officers: George W. Dixon, President; W. Walton, Foreman; R. Y. Woodward, First Assistant; John Gray, Second Assistant; W. A. Clifford, Secretary, and W. F. Dyer, Treasurer. The company now consists of twenty-six active and four honorary members. The first outfit was obtained by donations from citizens, but the present one was purchased by the company itself. In July, 1880, the funds of the company on hand, derived from dues and fines, was $706.46.
Since the organization of the first company two other companies have been organized, the Man-
HISTORY OF LANDER COUNTY. 467
hattan Hose and Eagle Hose. The regular officers of the Fire Department of the city at the present time are, Melville Curtis, Chief Engineer; A. Nicholls, First Assistant; A. Sower, Second Assistant. The Board of Delegates are C. P. Soule, Wm. Schwin, Geo. Alsop, J. B. Eddy, R. Y. Woodward, Joseph McGinness and Patrick Lynch—the first three named being respectively President, Treasurer and Secretary.
INCORPORTED AS A CITY.
In January, 1864, a petition was largely signed by the citizens of Austin, asking the Legislature to incorporate Clifton, Austin and Upper Austin into one body politic, to be known as the "City of Austin." On the seventeenth of February, 1864, the Governor signed the bill which was passed in accordance with such petition, and the City of Austin was launched with high hopes and brilliant prospects. The first city election, which was held April 19, 1864, and at which there were 1428 votes cast, resulted in the choice of the following officers: Mayor, Charles Holbrook; Clerk, L. M. McKenney; Recorder, W. P. Harrington; Marshal, Louis M. Bodrow; Assessor, N. McLean; Aldermen, Wm. W. Hobart, Andrew Nichols, Thomas A. Waterman, Thomas W. Triplett, Dudley Sale, G. F. Dinsmore and S. O. Clifford.
On the day following this election, occurred the celebrated incident of the sale of Gridley's sack of flour, the particulars of which will be found on pages 268, 269 and 270 of this work. By the terms of the Act of incorporation, the City Recorder was ex officio a Justice of the Peace; the City Marshal was also City Collector; and the City Clerk was Treasurer and Clerk of the Board of Aldermen. The City Attorney was elected by the Common Council, the choice falling on W. H. Beatty. Of the above-named officers, Bodrow was killed at Belmont, Dinsmore and Clifford died, and the remainder reside as follows: McKenney, in California; Harrington, in San Francisco; Harmon and Hobart, in Eureka County; Nichols, in Austin; Sale and Waterman, in Elko County; Triplett, in White Pine, and Beatty, late Supreme Judge, is now a resident of Sacramento.
WATER COMPANY AND STOCK BOARD.
William C. Harrington, J. C. Bateman, John Frost, Felix O'Neil, J. Q. C. Vandenbosh, and others organized a water company; and on the sixteenth of February, 1864, the Legislature gave them a charter, granting exclusive privileges in supplying the town of Austin with water, the same to extend over a period of fifteen years. By an amendatory Act, passed February 17, 1877, this charter was made to cover an additional period of four years.
On the fourteenth of March, 1864, the "Pioneer Stock and Exchange Board" was organized for the purpose of dealing in mining stocks, but there was never very much business done, and the seats never commanded fabulous prices,
REACTION AND VARYING FORTUNES.
After such a period of wild excitement and feverish prosperity as accompanied the discovery of ore in Lander County, it was but natural that a reaction should follow. It came in the winter of 1864-65, and many who had been enormously rich in expectation were compelled to prospect again, or seek employment outside of the city. However, in the spring, speculators swarmed in from the East, claims were purchased, and a rage for building quartz mills ensued; and although the people sometimes overdid the business, and by the employment of incompetent superintendents, made partial failures in this line, yet Austin was destined to grow and become an important town. Wild speculation ceased, prudent ventures succeeded, and business flowed on smoother and in more enduring channels.
A fair estimate of the business transacted there may be formed from the simple statement of the passengers, produce, and building materials that were taken over the roads leading into the city during 1865. The Overland Mail Company carried between Virginia City and Austin 5,840 passengers, charging forty dollars each. The first part of the year the Reese River Fast Freight Company ran a tri-weekly line of stages, and carried several hundred passengers. Other occasional passenger wagons probably brought the number up to 6,000 for the year; 7,620 tons of freight, consisting of merchandise, machinery, and lumber were transported from San Francisco to Austin at a total cost, for freight alone, of $1,381,800. Lumber was brought from the Sierra at a cost of six cents per pound for freight. Besides the above, there were about 525 tons of freight hauled through this city to Salt Lake, Egan Cañon, and other points east, making a total of over 8,000 tons arriving at Austin. The principal portion went through the care of the merchants of Austin, being reshipped at this point. The rates of freight between Salt Lake and Austin ranged from six to nine cents per pound in coin; and from San Francisco to Austin from eight to twelve cents during ordinary weather; but in severe winters and springs they sometimes reached eighteen cents per pound. The charges on freights received at Austin during 1865 averaged over $4,000 daily.
The lumber at that time used at Austin and vicinity consisted of two varieties. The first-class article was brought from the Sierra Nevada. The second-class was manufactured from native piñon, and was known as Reese River lumber. The receipts for 1865 were as follows:
Sierra Nevada lumber 1,170,000 feet.
Reese River lumber 1,200,000 "
Total 2,370,000 feet.
This lumber cost, Sierra Nevada, $250 per thousand; Reese River lumber, $125 to $150 per thousand. During that year, 1,600,000 shingles and shakes
468 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
were received from the Sierra. The shingles cost $20 per thousand, and the shakes from $80 to $100 per thousand. The number of brick manufactured during the season was 2,500,000; price, $12 to $18 per thousand. A great quantity of brick was used during the year for the construction of mills, roasting furnaces, smoke stacks, stores, and dwellings; 250 tons of lime were also used at a cost of $45 per ton. Estimates and prices are always in coin, then at a great premium over the National, or Greenback, currency.
During 1865 the amount of treasure that passed through the office of Wells, Fargo & Co., at Austin, aggregated $6,000,000. A line of telegraph connected with every section of the Union, and a mail arrived daily both from the east and from the west, via the Overland Route. About 400 letters were received daily, and about the same number were dispatched. Letters, papers, and packages, were carried by express wherever stages went. Three banking houses were in operation (one of them a National bank) purchasing bullion, furnishing exchange, receiving deposits, loaning money, etc. The learned professions were represented by twelve physicians, five clergymen, and thirty-three lawyers. There were several private schools in addition to the public school, conducted by competent teachers, in which the English and foreign languages were taught, as well as vocal and instrumental music, drawing, dancing, and calisthenics.
Although business had settled into more conservative and legitimate channels, the White Pine excitement of 1868 attracted from Austin and vicinity large numbers of adventurous and enterprising men. Some who were doing moderately well where they were, were willing to change with even a remote prospect of doing better. In August of that year, also, great damage was done to the town by a destructive rain-storm. It occurred on the fifteenth day of the month. At half-past 2 o'clock in the afternoon a storm of rain and hail, accompanied by sharp lightning, swept over the city, and at four o'clock torrents of water poured down the cañon and through Cedar Street, destroying $80,000 worth of property.
The Reveille office, a one-story brick structure that stood above the Court House, was swept away and one life was lost. A man named Spernam was carried away in his saloon and drowned.
Six years afterwards a storm still more destructive to property visited the city. In August, 1874, a cloud burst occurred among the hills east of the town, and an immense volume of water poured down into Pony Cañon, and rushed through the streets of Austin, dashing trees, boulders and drift of every description against the buildings, and creating great devastation. The inhabitants took the alarm in time, and fled to the hills. No lives were lost; but sidewalks, porches, roads, awnings and fences were demolished; goods and merchandise were swept away, and three feet of mud and debris filled the streets and houses when the waters had spent their force. The damage was estimated at $100,000, and the scene presented was deplorable. Resolute and undismayed, the people set to work to repair their loss, and within a few months no signs remained of the catastrophe.
CHANGES AND PRESENT APPEARANCE.
During the latter part of 1879 and the first part of 1880 the Nevada Central Railroad was built between Battle Mountain, on the Central Pacific Railroad, and Clifton, giving Austin railroad communication with San Francisco.
In the early part of 1881, Allen A. Curtis, one of the principal mine owners of Austin, constructed the Austin City Railroad to Clifton, to connect with the Nevada Central. It is a narrow-gauge road, and runs through the main street of the town.
There have been several changes in the organic Act which created the city of Austin, from time to time, and finally, the city was disincorporated by Act of the Legislature, and Austin is now a quiet, peaceful, and pleasant country town.
The present population, according to the census report of 1880, consists of 1,992 persons; in addition to which there are 320 Indians and 120 Chinamen.
Austin is situated in a cañon, running west into Reese River Valley, on the western slope of the Toiyabe Mountains, and at an elevation of about 7,000 feet.
Surrounding it on all sides are mountains and sage-brush valleys. Its streets are shaded, to some extent, principally with locust. Battle Mountain is ninety miles to the northward; Eureka, seventy-four miles to the eastward; Belmont, eighty-four miles to the southeastward; and Grantsville, seventy miles west of south. Fuel, chiefly nut pine, is brought by rail from the mountains to the northward. In the vicinity of the town are three cemeteries, which have been decorated and beautified to some extent. One hotel, seven or eight stores, two restaurants, fourteen saloons, three livery stables, three blacksmith shops, two assay offices, a printing office, a telegraph office, an express office, a foundry, and some railroad machine shops, comprise the leading industrial and business establishments. The buildings are constructed of wood, stone, brick, and adobe. The Catholic, Episcopal, and Methodist denominations are well organized, and have each a clergyman, and a fine brick edifice of worship, and have well-attended Sunday-schools. These churches are among the finest in the State.
Public educational facilities consist of one school held in a large brick structure, capable of seating 400 pupils. Four teachers are employed, and the number of pupils in attendance is about 350. The County Hospital occupies a large brick building, and is under the management of the County Commis-
HISTORY OF LANDER COUNTY. 469
sioners. The Court House, furniture, and the five lots surrounding the structure cost $30,000. The sidewalks of Austin are plank. In the vicinity of the town enough hay, barley, and vegetables are raised to supply the local demand. The Masons, Odd Fellows, Rebekahs, Knights of Pythias, Red Men, Good Templars, Reese River Pioneers, and Ancient Order of Hibernians, all have lodges and societies. (See particulars elsewhere concerning the secret societies and benevolent associations of the State.)
The only mill now in operation at Austin is that of the Manhattan Company, which is a very complete establishment. It was built in 1863 as the Oregon Mill, and rebuilt in 1865 by a New York company, and transferred to the present company in 1875. Originally it consisted of ten stamps, and had a capacity of ten tons, but now contains twenty stamps, and has a capacity of twenty-two tons. Attached to it is a melting room and machine shop. The roasting is done in a Stetefeldt furnace, only salt being used in the process. The ore works to within ninety-three and one-half per cent. of its assay value, and has done so for the past two years. The engine is of 120 horse-power. Formerly from fourteen to eighteen cords of wood per day were required to run the mill, but since boilers, with upright tubes, have been put in, the same work is accomplished with six cords. The cost of wood, delivered at the mill, is twelve dollars per cord. The charge for working custom ore is thirty-five dollars per ton, and was formerly forty-five dollars. Previous to 1867 no record of the amount of bullion worked at the mill was kept. Since then the total amount has been to the value of $13,287,874.67. In and around the mill about forty men are employed, who receive four dollars each per day. The present Manhattan Silver Mining Company is a San Francisco corporation, with the following officers: President, John A. Paxton; Vice-President, C. P. Hubbell; Secretary, John Crockett; Superintendent, Melville Curtis.
is a native of New York; born in the town of Genesee, Livingston County, September 6, 1832. His parents were from Scotland. In the year 1836 they moved from the native town of the subject hereof to Coburg, Canada. His education was consequently obtained on Canadian soil, and at the age of seventeen years he was apprenticed to a dry goods firm, and after a time was a clerk in the same establishment. In 1855 he went into business for himself in western Canada, achieving success; but in the year 1358 was taken with the mining fever, and started for California. On his arrival he found the Frazer River excitement somewhat subsided, and turned his attention in other directions, spending four years in the mines in Butte County. In January, 1862, be crossed the mountains to the Territory of
[Illustration - A. Nicholls]
Nevada, and located in Carson City; and about one year later came to Austin, Lander County, where he engaged in the hardware business, which he still continues. In 1869 he started a lumberyard, and is now in full possession of that branch of industry in that town. During his residence in Austin he has made many investments in mines, which have not proved as remunerative as he could wish. In 1866 Mr. Nicholls received the appointment as Assistant Assessor of United States Internal Revenue, and held the position until 1871, at which time he resigned. In the years 1875 and 1877 he was a member of the Nevada Legislature, and was me of the parties to procure the passage of the bill that resulted in giving Lander County a railroad, of which he is a director and stockholder. In politics he is a Republican. His rise in the world to his present high position among his fellow-men, and the accumulation of his estates, is wholly due to his own energy and perseverance, having received no pecuniary assistance from any one. He was married March 9, 1863, to Miss E. H. Wells, of San Francisco, California.
HON. M. J. FARRELL
Was born at Mount Hope, near Rockaway, Morris County, New Jersey, March 29, 1832. He is of Irish parentage, his parents coming from the "Emerald Isle" when they were very young, his father at the age of eighteen and his mother when only six years of age. Mr. Farrell was educated in his native State and sailed from New York for California on the old steamer Georgia, April 5, 1853. The steamer was wrecked on her next trip. On the fifth of May, 1853,
470 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
[Illustration - M.J. Farrell]
Mr. Farrell arrived in San Francisco, and immediately went to the mines in Nevada City, where he found a friend with whom he engaged in mining in Myer's Ravine, about four miles north of Nevada City. His next anchorage was at Jones' Bar, on the South Yuba River, where he bought a flume claim. After that he wandered through Northern California, principally in Nevada, Sierra and Plumas Counties, as a miner, school-teacher, hotel-keeper, butcher, and in fact, as he says, "turning his hand to almost anything," until in 1863, he came to Nevada during the Reese River excitement, and located at what is now Austin, in Lander County, arriving there about the fifteenth of April. The summers of 1863 and 1864 he spent in prospecting, and the winters in the town. In the summer of 1865 he took charge of a lumber-yard, as agent for Hendrick & Bowstead. During the same season he furnished tools and provisions for his brother and another man to prospect, and they discovered and located what is now Ruby Hill, in Eureka County. These locations—about eight of them—covered nearly all of the hill. They also located claims in Secret Cañon, which have since proved valuable. For three years Mr. Farrell and his associates kept up the assessment work on these claims, but there being no demand for base metal claims at that time, they were bonded to Gov. J. H. Kinkead, for sale in Europe, which proved a failure, and Mr. Farrell turned his attention to other matters and let them go. The claims referred to covered the ground now known as the Eureka Consolidated and Richmond Mines, and would have proven a " bonanza " to their owners had they continued to hold them. In August, 1867, Mr. Farrell entered the office of the Manhattan Mining Company as Secretary, and has since remained in the employ of that company. In 1872, he was elected to the office of County Clerk of Lander County by a large majority. In 1878 he was elected to the Senate of the Nevada Legislature and re-elected in 1880. He was married April 20, 1871, to Miss L. C. Peterson, of Austin, Nevada. They have no children.
"THE MAN WITH THE AX."
William Cornell, lately arrived at Austin from Winnebago County, Illinois, labored under the insane belief that everybody about him was awaiting an opportunity to take his life. At about 9 o'clock on the evening of July 18, 1863, he went to his tent on Main Street, and requested one of his partners to get him a glass of whisky, making the excuse that he had been working bard all day and was not feeling well. This was a mere stratagem to get possession of a knife and ax. The partner started across to a saloon, soon after which the third partner, William Melligan, came to the tent and called to Cornell to see if he was there, at the same time looking in through the opening. Cornell immediately struck him with the edge of the ax. The blow was a downward one, and inflicted an ugly gash over Melligan's left eye. On receiving a second blow Melligan fell to the ground. The maniac then rushed out, and crossing over to Dunham's saloon, began striking right and left with the ax at numerous persons congregated there, who succeeded in avoiding his blows and escaping. One shot was fired at him there. Returning to the street, he inflicted a severe cut on the left elbow of John Capron, severing most of the supporting leaders, and then chased a party of men into Stebbins' stone building. Passing on, he struck a Dayton man, known as "Frenchy," the edge of the ax cutting from the left crown to the right side of the neck, and fracturing "Frenchy's" skull, in spite of which the latter walked up town, took a drink, and then rode horseback to Clifton to have his wound dressed. The next victim was E. O. Anderson, from Sweetland, California, who received a terrible cut above the left ear. The maniac then met Charles Ludlow, and inflicted on him a dangerous gash near the left temple; and soon afterwards struck Billy Mills, of Clifton, on the right side of the head, laying the skull bare. Next, a barber, named Hammersmith, saved his head by receiving a descending blow on his right hand and arm. Further on, Mr. Powell was slightly cut in the back; and Charles Tureman only escaped death by falling sidewise over the edge of the road, his breast pocket being cut away by a stroke of the
HISTORY OF LANDER COUNTY. 471
ax. Nearing Clifton, the maniac fortunately began to use the handle of his ax, and knocked several persons almost senseless, but inflicted no serious wounds. Running the entire length of Clifton, he met no one, and started in the direction of Jacobsville. An armed party had been following him, and picking up the wounded, but did not succeed in overtaking him, for he had all the time been running with the speed of a race-horse. The next morning his dead body was found about a mile down the Jacobsville Road. On the back of his head was a gash made by the edge of his ax; his throat was cut from ear to ear, and five stabs were found over his heart. These wounds were supposed to have been inflicted by himself.
BATTLE MOUNTAIN is a station on the Central Pacific Railroad, 535 miles east of San Francisco, via Stockton, or 474 via Benicia, and ninety-three miles north of Austin, being also the northern terminus of the Nevada Central Railroad. A daily line of stages connects it with Tuscarora, Elko County. The place is supplied with water from mountain springs about three miles distant, and by a number of flowing artesian wells. Argenta had taken a very good start, but the discovery of the Battle Mountain galena and copper mines caused its principal business men to remove to Battle Mountain in the winter of 1870. It was thought that Battle Mountain would serve as a point of departure for Austin, as well as Argenta, and have the additional advantage of being near the new mines. Among the early residents who made this change of base were the following persons: J. A. Blossom, lumber and coal dealer, J. W. McWilliams, engaged in merchandising, A. Robertson, agent of Wells, Fargo & Co., L. D. Huntsman, hotel-keeper, A. Layton, freighter, Case & Burnette, stage owners, D. McIntyre, and Brown & Sadoris, merchants. The railroad depot building was also occupied by D. W. Earl, and Whitney & Co., forwarding merchants. Previous to the arrival of these parties, the railroad station had been in charge of Daniel Began, who had been the only resident there for six months, and had furnished accommodations for travelers passing to and from Battle Mountain District.
The first fire in Battle Mountain occurred in July, 1877, most of the block between Reese and Broad Streets being burned. It consisted of frame buildings, and the loss was about $20,000. Blossom's brick corner building was saved, and also McWilliam's stable, the latter being protected by an artesian well. The buildings destroyed were insured for about two-thirds their value. In the fall of 1878, Block A was burned, with the exception of Scott Hall, and the flames also entered the Chinese quarter and swept it clean. Again the loss was about $20,000, and the insurance to the value of two-thirds. The third fire occurred in March, 1880, destroying Huntsman's Hotel and the Railroad Local Depot. Loss $15,000, well covered by insurance. The only visible improvement to Battle Mountain resulting from the construction of the Nevada Central Railroad has been the building of round houses.
For forty miles each way, north and south, the country is supplied from Battle Mountain, creating a trade of about $10,000 per month. The business of the town is represented by the following establishments: Two general merchandise stores, one clothing store, a livery stable, brewery, five saloons, three hotels, one tin shop, one blacksmith shop and wagon repair shop, salt works, one harness and shoe shop, two newspapers, post-office, express office, a school house, the railroad depot and sixty dwellings make up the remainder of the place. The water supply is derived from seventeen artesian wells. They are sunk to the depth of from 140 to 160 feet, and flow from six to ten feet. The average flow through a five-inch well is a strong inch. In addition to these, a great strike of water was made in an artesian well belonging to J. A. Blossom, which flows a stream through a large pipe sixty-five feet above the surface of the ground. From this stream 150 acres of ground has been irrigated, literally making the desert to blossom.
[Illustration - J.A. Blossom]
J. A. Blossom was born in Miamisburg, Montgomery County, Ohio, June 9, 1836, where his father still resides. In youth he learned the trade of his father, that of harness maker, but did not work at the business after he reached his majority. In 1856 he left his home and went to Missouri, and took charge of a land office in the interests of an Eastern company, where he remained until March, 1860, when he came to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and
472 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
located in Tehama County. The next year he came to the Territory of Nevada, and settled in what is now Humboldt County, being one of the first settlers and locators of the celebrated Humboldt mines. He was also one of the founders of Star City, on the Sheba Ledge. During his twenty years residence in Nevada, Mr. Blossom has seen much of the State, living at Dun Glen, Winnemucca, and other places. He was one of the first settlers in Battle Mountain, where he now resides, and built the first house, with the exception of the railroad station house, erected in that town. He was also one of the founders of the flourishing towns of Galena, and Lewis, and was the most extensive freighter in that section of the country. His mining transactions have proved very successful, he having sold no less than six different mines within the past five years. He has always been an active business man, and is now engaged in merchandising, and is well known as a mining man; is also largely interested in stock-raising. In 1879 he, under contract, graded the Nevada Central Railroad from Battle Mountain to Austin, employing as high as 800 men and 500 horses in the work. During the years intervening between the years 1861 and the present time, Mr. Blossom has had many curious and thrilling adventures, in his wanderings among the mountains in search of the precious metal, and in fighting the " dusky sons of the sage-brush." He was married in April, 1866, to Miss Elvira Hunter, at Star City, Nevada, and they have three children, two sons, aged twelve and fourteen years, who are at the present time at school at Santa Clara College, in California.
DESERTED TOWNS AND CITIES.
In the excitement of mining rushes there are many speculators in the crowd who are fiercely intent on becoming proprietors of great cities, looking to the future with a happy old age made pleasant by a large rent roll, or acquiring sudden wealth by the sale of city lots. The great example of John Jacob Astor, who, with far-seeing sagacity, acquired much unimproved land in the city of New York; the many land-grabbers of the cities of the Mississippi Valley, who became millionaires, and the examples of Sutter, Lick, Brannan, and others of California, were before them, and they wanted a city. These speculators were exceedingly lively in the Reese River region. Jacobsville had been taken as a ranch before the excitement began, and land there must be purchased. The first rush was for Pony Cañon. On a small level plat of ground at the embouchure of the cañon the city of Clifton was located. Half a mile up, passing a precipitous gorge, the city of Austin was located, and on its borders several " Additions " were surveyed, and half a mile further up the cañon, now broadened into valleys and ravines, was built Upper Austin. These survive.
Almost immediately following the location of settlers in Pony Cañon, cities were located in Big Creek Cañon, seven miles south, in Washington Cañon, twenty-eight miles south, and Amador, seven miles north, on the western slope of the Toiyabe Mountains. South of Austin, in the cañons of the eastern slope, were Geneva, twelve miles, Clinton, fifteen miles, Guadalajara or Santa Fe, eighteen miles, Kingston, twenty miles, and Bunker Hill, twenty-two miles distant. These were all cities of great expectations.
AMADOR, seven miles north of Austin, was very pleasantly located on a bench of level land at the western base of the Toiyabe Range, overlooking the Reese River Valley. In 1863 it was a candidate for the location of the county seat, and polled 700 votes in its own favor, claiming a population of 1,500. Several very promising mines were located in the vicinity, and large sums were expended in prospecting them, but the results appear not to have been encouraging, as work ceased in a few years after the discovery of the mines. The town was built chiefly of cloth, and has gradually disappeared.
BUNKER HILL.—The reader of the files of the Reese River Reveille of 1863-65 will see frequent and favorable mention of Bunker Hill, which appears to have been a thriving place. This was situated in the narrow valley of Big Smoky Creek, twenty-two miles south of Austin. The town was but a collection of miners' cabins, and as there was never a great rush, there were no fortunes made in the sale of city lots. Numerous fine appearing ledges with croppings bearing both gold and silver, a rapid, sparkling stream of cold mountain water, an abundance of wood, sites for buildings and gardens, were the attractions that brought its early inhabitants.
CAÑON CITY, situated on Big Creek, seven miles south of Austin, contained in 1863 about fifty " permanent" residents, had one hotel, one store, two restaurants, three saloons, one meat market, a Notary Public and Recorder's office, a telegraph office, and twelve houses and cabins. The city is no more; the streets are deserted, and the houses, including the cabins, have departed. The beautiful and strong stream of water flowing through the cañon was a most attractive feature in building up the town, the impression being that its power would be required in moving the machinery of the many mills that must be built for the reduction of ores. The ledges, however, proving small and less valuable than anticipated, the sparkling waters have gone unused to their sink in the Reese River Valley.
CLIFTON, in 1863, numbered about 500 inhabitants, had a post-office, Wells, Fargo & Co's Express Office, and many important places of business. Though it cannot properly be said to be deserted, its population is very much decreased, and its business mostly gone; it is a part of the village of Austin, and joins it on the west.
CLINTON was one of the cities of 1863 situated on the eastern slope of the Toiyabe, bordering Smoky Valley, and fifteen miles south of Austin. Some
HISTORY OF LANDER COUNTY. 473
mines of fine promise were opened here, and in 1865 a splendid quartz mill was constructed, but to disappoint for the time, probably to reappear in the future and fulfill by further developments the promise of early days.
GENEVA occupied a little nook in the great Smoky Valley, where Birch Creek, a beautiful stream, debouched from the eastern slope of the Toiyabe Range, twelve miles south of Austin. In the hills inclosing Birch Creek were some large and apparently very rich veins of quartz, some of which were sold to New York capitalists, who expended large sums of money in their development, but with unsatisfactory results. Geneva, in 1864, had some fine stone buildings, and numerous log and cloth houses, but the inhabitants long ago folded what tents they could, and the stone walls, the pretty vale, and the sparkling stream are left in their wildness.
JACOBSVILLE, the first county seat of Lander County, was situated six miles west of Austin, was originally a station on the overland stage line, and at one time, in 1863, had a population of three or four hundred; also contained two hotels, three stores, post-office, telegraph office, Court House and fifty residences. By a vote of the people of the county, in September, 1863, the county seat was moved to Austin, and most of the residents followed soon after. There is nothing left of Jacobsville at the present time but a single farm house.
KINGSTON was not one of the earliest towns, but followed the location of Bunker Hill. A correspondence of the Reese River Reveille, dated February 22, 1864, says:
From Bunker Hill I wrote you last; two miles down the cañon of the Big Smoky a lately constructed wagon road leads to the new village of Kingston. Here improvements are making, building, fencing, and such other as to the enterprising and hopeful promise returns in the future. And the future, too, of Kingston, is bright, in truth, for none can see its pleasant location, survey its unlimited water-power, backed by its inexhaustable ledges of metalliferous quartz of extent and richness unsurpassed, its arable and wood land without stint, its every facility and resource, none can witness without believing it destined to eminent prosperity.
This prosperity continued a few years; a large mill was built to be run by the power of the stream, and a pretty village flourished. The mines not meeting expectations, and a great demand arising for mills in the White Pine region in 1869, the mill was removed thither, and business on the Big Smoky declined.
LANDER CITY had an existence in 1863 with several hundred inhabitants. David E. Buell built a telegraph line to the place, and the city, as the place was called, possessed considerable importance. It was situated at the debouchure of Big Creek upon the plain, six miles south of Austin. The place is now known only in name.
PRINCIPAL MINING DISTRICTS.
AMADOR DISTRICT is a few miles north of Austin, and was organized in 1863, but all its mines have been abandoned with the exception of those in New York Cañon, and it has been incorporated with Reese River District. The mineral vein crosses Now York Cañon, running east and west, a six hundred foot tunnel having been driven in on the vein from the cañon. Three chimneys of good ore were found in this tunnel. On the first one an incline has been sunk to the depth of two hundred feet, to the water level. Hoisting works have been erected over the Midas mine, and a large amount of pay ore has been extracted.
BIG CREEK DISTRICT is situated on the western slope of the Toiyabe Mountains, six to twelve miles south of Austin. None of its mines have been developed, and most of its claims have been abandoned. Five miles north of it there is a large out-crop of antimony on a very high spur of the mountain. One dislodged boulder of antimony is four feet square. The country-rock is granite. The stream which gives its name to the district is of bright, pure water, flowing with a rapid current tumbling over its rocky bed, having a width of from ten to twenty-five feet in the cañon, but soon sinking as it enters the Reese River Valley. The water to a great extent is now utilized for irrigation.
BATTLE MOUNTAIN DISTRICT is ten miles southwest of Battle Mountain Station. It includes within its limits the whole of the Battle Mountain Range, which is twenty miles in length, north and south, and ten miles in width. In these hills, in 1857, John Kirk, of Placerville, California, with a party of road-builders, had a fight with the Indians, hence the name of Battle Mountain. The valley boundaries of the district are as follows: Humboldt River Valley on the north, Reese River Valley on the east, Summit Springs Valley on the west, and, on the south a valley connecting the Reese River and Summit Springs Valleys. The general formation of the range is that of a plateau, the highest elevation being at the center, from which cañons radiate to the valleys, their names being as follows: Copper Cañon, Dark Creek, Cotton Creek, Long Creek, Elder Creek, Trout Creek, Trenton Cañon and Willow Creek. The rocks of the district consist of slates, porphyries, quartzite, sandstones, silicious limestones and granite. The limestones are confined to the highest part of the mountains, as layers, and were evidently formed before the elevation of the mountains took place. The metalliferous deposits chiefly extend along the eastern and western mountain slopes; along the southern extremity of the eastern slope, and along the northern extremity of the western slope. Their nature is that of true fissure veins, although in most cases, the walls are not well defined. They can be traced for distances of from two to five miles, and generally consist of a main channel, from which
474 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
branches extend on both sides. They continue their course independent of any change in the strike or dip of the country rock. The width of the vein varies, producing ore chambers. Slickensides occur inside of their boundaries, as well as on the wall, and are accompanied by a thicker or thinner layer of clay. The ore is often found in conglomerated masses, consisting of separate angular pieces of ore and gangue, cemented by vein matter, quartz or calcspar. Crystallized specimens of ore and gangue are found frequently. Slate and sandstone frequently occur as the main filling of the veins when the country rock is of these kinds. Some of the veins might be classed as contact and some as gash veins. The minerals found are gold, silver, copper, lead and antimony. Free-milling ores, in limited quantities, exist near the surface. The bulk of the ores are worked by the smelting process. The principal silver ores are fahlerz, ruby silver and argentiferous-galena; the principal copper ores, red oxide of copper, copper glance, and carbonates and silicates of copper. Antimony occurs as a sulphuret. All these ores are of high grade, galena having been found assaying as high as $400 in silver per ton, and seventy per cent. lead. The average yield of galena is about $150 per ton, when yielding fifty per cent. lead and over. When mixed with silver ores, as ruby silver or fahierz, it has been found to contain as high as from $3,000 to $4,000 per ton in silver. The copper ores are of equally high grade, shipments having been made frequently of ores of from forty to fifty per cent. Surface indications are most numerous at Copper Cañon and Duck Creek, at the southern end of the eastern slope of the range. Galena, the principal mining camp of the district, is at the head of Duck Creek. In its vicinity a number of parallel fissure veins have been opened. They run in a northerly and southerly direction and are from 1,000 to 1,500 feet distant from each other. The leading mines of this locality, in order from west to east, are the Buena Vista, the White and Shiloh, the Trinity rind the Butte. The principal rocks in which these veins occur, are slates of different kinds, graywacke, graywacke sandstones and dykes of breccia, the latter probably being the eruptive rocks which caused the fissure. These veins have been traced for from two to five miles, and show a width of from three to twenty feet. The Buena Vista ores are principally galena, assaying from $150 to $400 per ton in silver. The White and Shiloh vein is a continuous pay streak 1,300 feet in length, of an average depth of 250 feet. The width of the pay ore has averaged six feet, and the ore, sixty dollars in silver, seven in gold and six per cent. in lead. The ores of the White Mine are distinguished by the frequent and abundant occurrence of ruby silver and argentiferous gray copper ore. Beautiful specimens of galena, covered with wire silver, have been frequently found. The ores in the Trinity Mine are principally argentiferous galena, averaging $180 in silver per ton, when containing fifty per cent. lead and over. The width of the vein is from four to six feet. In the Butte Mine the vein shows a thickness of from two to six feet, with a pay streak of from six to thirteen inches of ore, averaging from severity to one hundred feet. The greatest depth attained is 300 feet. The ores contain less lead than the ores of the previous-mentioned lodes, and are properly milling ores. A mile and a half south of Galena, are the Copper Cañon mines, which are owned by an English company. The ore is shipped to Liverpool for reduction. The prevailing rock there is quartzite, and the galena ores, when entering the formation, change to copper, at least for the depth already obtained. A concentrating mill, capable of working thirty tons of ore per day, is in operation within three miles of these mines, where a good supply of water exists. The wet process of working ore is employed. After concentration, less than two per cent. of the ore remains in the slimes. Battle Mountain District was organized in June, 1867.
JERSEY DISTRICT is forty-five miles southwest of Battle Mountain Station. Ore was discovered in the fall of 1874, by A. S. Trimble. There is a good natural highway from the mines to the railroad. The locations are on the western slope of the mountain. The geological formation is quartzite and porphyry. The principal claim is the Jersey, which has been traced on the surface for a distance of 1,500 feet. The vein is from one to six feet in width, and runs north and south, dipping to the west. Two shafts have been sunk to a depth of 140 feet. The ore is argentiferous galena, with carbonates of lead. It assays from $140 to $160 per ton in silver, and contains about sixty per cent of lead. During the summer of 1876, 500 tons of first-class ore from this mine were reduced at Omaha. The cost of transportation from the mine to the railroad was $12.50 per ton. A small smelting furnace erected at Jersey proved unsuccessful for want of proper fluxing material. It pays best to concentrate and ship the ore for reduction.
LEWIS DISTRICT is on the northern extremity of the Toiyabe range of mountains, about sixteen miles southeast from Battle Mountain. Ore was discovered in the summer of 1874, by Jonathan Green and E. T. George. The geological formation is limestone and quartzite. The principal locations are all on the same vein, which is from two to nine feet in width, and has a course nearly north and south. A hundred tons of ore taken from the Logan & Dusang claim were worked at Winnemucca, and yielded $140 to the ton. Two hundred tons from the Eagle Consolidated yielded $135 per ton. This mine has connected with it a good ten-stamp mill with roasting furnace. The district is well supplied with water, but there is no wood in the immediate vicinity of the mines and mill. The ores contain a large per cent. of antimony, iron and manganese. A short line of railroad connects Lewis with the Nevada Central Rail-
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way at Galena, thus giving ready transportation of ores and supplies to this rich district.
RAVENSWOOD DISTRICT is on the western slope of the Shoshone Mountains, near the summit, and is twenty-five miles northwest of Austin. Water is sufficient for mining purposes, and nut pine and juniper abound. Ore was discovered in 1863, and a district organized. The country rock is limestone and slate; the mineral belt runs ten miles north and south; is two miles in width .and copper occurs more or less in all the mines, yielding as high as fifteen and twenty per cent. The principal mine is the Shoshone, the ore of which carries a large amount of galena, not much copper, and yields thirty dollars per ton in silver. A number of locations yield fifteen and twenty per cent. copper, and twenty-five to thirty dollars in silver, with some gold. Most of the claims in the district have been abandoned.
ROBERTS DISTRICT is about forty-five miles north and a little east of Austin, on the western slope of the Dry Creek Mountains, on a spur running at right angles with the main summit, and about 1,000 feet above the valley. The lower part of the spur is a dark granite. The cropping of the hill is limestone seamed with white spar, running in various directions. A hard, red-covered slate is exposed in a slide a little to the east of the limestone. Granite occurs east of the slate. The ore is found in bunches on the south slope of the spur, which occur irregularly. In one or two places they reach the summit of the hill. The belt of the limestone extends northward about 200 feet, and probably 2,000 feet east and west. Ore has been found in twelve different places, and consists of a chloride with galena and iron. The first discovery was made in August, in 1870, but traces of old work were found. South of the spur on which this district is situated there is a large body of very pure magnetic iron ore. Four miles west of the district is a salt marsh in Grass Valley. Few developments have been made in this district.
REESE RIVER DISTRICT, the principal one in Lander County, includes within its limits the celebrated Pony Ledge and the city of Austin, and was organized May 10, 1862, since which date Yankee Blade and Amador Districts have been consolidated with it. All its records have been carefully preserved. The number of locations in it is over 8,000. The veins are chiefly found in gneiss or granite, although in the northern portions of the district they are found in slate and porphyry. They run nearly southeast and northwest with the formation, and dip to the northeast at an angle of about 35 degrees. The ores contain antimony, some iron and galena, and a little copper and zinc. They are silver bearing, although gold is found in Marshall Cañon, in the southern portion of the district at the rate of from five to fifteen dollars per ton. The principal mines are the New Pacific, King Alfred, Magnolia, Chase, Morris & Caple, Patriot, and those of the Manhattan Company. Many small companies known as Chloriders are also operating. The deepest shaft is in the Oregon Mine, and extends down 700 feet. Plenty of nut pine is to be had at the distance of fifteen or eighteen miles. The water supply is procured from springs in the cañon, and is distributed by the Austin City Water Company. Remoter points are supplied by local springs. Freight from San Francisco costs sixty-six dollars per, ton. The mines of the Manhattan Company have been steadily productive for a long period, and bid fair to continue, so for an indefinite time to come. Allen A. Curtis is the agent of the company. The King Alfred mines are the property of an English company, and have produced a large amount of bullion. A great deal of ore has been extracted by the Pacific Company.
The gross bullion yield of the Reese River District previous to 1865 is estimated at $2,000,000, although no exact record was kept up to that time. Since that time the district has yielded $19,591,551.18, and now ranks the third in the State, only yielding the palm to Eureka and the Comstock.
The principal mines of Reese River District are situated on Lander Hill, which is a gentle ridge projecting westerly from the main Toiyabe Range, and forming a divide between Pony and Emigrant Cañons, north of Austin.
Most of the mines on Lander Hill are owned by the Manhattan Company, such as the Oregon, South America, Ogden, Dollarhide, Mohawk, Freehold and Lone Star.. The ledges are well defined, but are very narrow, which objection is compensated for in a great measure by the richness of the ore. The ores on the surface and down to the water line are chiefly chloride, bromide of silver being occasionally found. Below the water line only antimonial sulphuret ores exist, commonly called ruby silver.
All the ores of the district require chloronation. The ledge of the Oregon Mine varies in thickness from eight inches to three feet, and chiefly contains antimonial and ruby silver. Many smaller mines in the vicinity are worked through the Oregon shaft. The widest vein in the South America Mine averages two and a half feet.
The New Pacific Company is an English incorporation, and, in addition to its ledges on Lander Hill, owns property in Yankee Blade District.
An Act was approved on March 4, 1871, incorporating the Union Pacific Tunnel Company for the construction of a draining and exploring tunnel in Lander Hill. Among the originators of the scheme were B. B. Stansbury and Dr. A. Chase. A, tunnel was run for a distance of 300 feet, when operations ceased for want of funds. It was afterward sold under execution, and was purchased by the Manhattan Company. It never amounted to anything, and, in all probability, never will, as it would, if extended, reach the mines of highest outcrop at a depth of between 700 and 800 feet, and work is now in progress much deeper than that. It is the opinion
476 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
of experienced mining operators that there is not water enough in Lander Hill to justify such a long and expensive tunnel as that would be, for the drainage of the depth it would reach, and the mines can be worked to better advantage by shafts.
SANTE FE DISTRICT is eighteen miles south of Austin in the eastern slope of the Toiyabe range of mountains. It contains some well-defined veins of quartz, the ore of which has given good assays, principally in gold. Very little work has ever been done in the district. It was organized on the twelfth of April, 1863, Peter Brandow, Robert Stuart and John Reed being the discoverers of the mines. The principal mines are the Yo Semite, Eureka, Amazon, Rattler and Hudson. The Shoshone Cañon cuts through the district, and in it flows a perennial stream of excellent water.
YANKEE BLADE DISTRICT is a few miles northwest of Austin and consists of a series of callous. The formation is gneissoid, or granite. The low grade claims have not been worked much for years. A few locations containing high grade ore are being developed. Ore was discovered in June, 1863. The district, of late years, has been incorporated with Reese River District.