March 11, 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. 527-563]
HISTORY OF ORMSBY COUNTY. 541
then the largest in the Territory, and estimated to be capable of running 150 stamps. The mill edifice was a fine solid structure, 160 feet long and sixty feet wide. A substantial stone building, 30x40 feet, served for offices and for the use of mill hands. This was one of the most complete and best constructed in the country in 1862, costing about $50,000. The company owning it were the owners of thirty-three and one-third feet of the best of the Gold Hill ground, and crushed the ores from that mine. In 1863 this mill was known as the Zephyr Flat Mill, and owned by Messrs. H. H. Raymond and Wm. Thompson, Jr., with Mr. Wm. S. Rowe as Superintendent.
Baldwin & Co's. Mill was at Empire City in 1863. This combined steam and water-power, using the first to drive its battery of sixteen stamps, and the twenty amalgamating pans were run by water received from the Carson. Fourteen men were employed under the superintendency of Joseph Baldwin, Jr.
These mills have experienced many vicissitudes of fortune since their construction in 1860-61-62-63, and have undergone alterations and changes unnecessary to trace. Surveyor General S. H. Marlette, in 1866, reports six mills in the county, viz.: Mexican, forty-four stamps; Yellow Jacket, forty stamps; Brunswick, eight stamps; Merrimac, twenty stamps; Vivian, sixteen stamps, and Santiago, twenty-four stamps. In 1874 Mr. Henry R. Whitehill, State Mineralogist, reports five mills, viz.: Mexican, forty-four stamps, with capacity of crushing 120 tons per day; Morgan, forty stamps, and seventy-five tons capacity; Brunswick, fifty-six stamps and 155 tons capacity; Merrimac, twenty stamps and forty tons capacity, and Santiago, thirty-four stamps and eighty tons capacity; and such is their present condition, receiving their ore from the Comstock, brought to them by the cars of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad.
The grand forests of the Sierra Nevada were a great attraction to the early settlers of the "eastern slope," offering them facilities for obtaining lumber of which they quickly availed themselves. The first saw-mill erected in the region afterwards embraced in Ormsby County, was built by Mr. Gregory in the fall of 1859, on Mill Creek, three miles west of Carson. This was a steam-power mill, and was the first steam mill of any kind erected in what is now the State of Nevada. The transportation of heavy machinery over the Sierra at that date was a very expensive undertaking, and this was regarded as an enterprise quite extraordinary. The mill was capable of cutting 15,000 feet per day, and for many months was run to its full capacity, so great was the demand for lumber. Orders were taken weeks in advance of the possibility of filling them, and customers contended greedily for their turn.
Shortly after this Mr. Alexander Ashe built a sawmill on Mill Creek near the former, running it by water from the creek. One mile north of Gregory's, Messrs. Thompson & Treadwell erected a powerful steam mill capable of cutting 15,000 feet of lumber per day, also containing a shingle and planing machine, which prepared for market large quantities of material for building purposes. In 1861 these three mills were employing upwards of 100 men; and had cost in their construction $60,000.
Mills now multiplied rapidly, there being in 1862 three on Clear Creek at a distance of from six to eight miles southwest of Carson City. The first was the Coyote Mill, owned by Mr. George W. Chedic and Mr. D. B. Milne, afterwards by Mr. Samuel B. Martin. This was propelled by water, and was of large capacity. Haskell & Co.'s Mill, built in 1861, was also propelled by water, and the Clear Creek Mill, owned by Mr. C. Jones and Mr. Denton, was driven by steam. To one of the mills was attached a shingle machine, there being a great demand for the latter article, of which large numbers were also made by hand, there being much timber in the neighborhood suitable for that purpose. These mills had been erected at an aggregate cost of $33,000. In 1862 they employed 100 men, and were capable of cutting 50,000 feet per day. Several changes, improvements and additions were made this year and in 1863. Howe, Gray & Co. had succeeded to Haskell & Co., and Elliott's Mill, driven by steam had been added to the group in Clear Creek Cañon, each turning out from 15,000 to 30,000 feet daily. Two shingle machines had also been added, and were constantly employed, so great was the demand. At the point where Clear Creek debouches upon the plains, a substantial structure was erected in 1862 for a sash and door factory, driven by a large overshot wheel of thirty-horse power, but the design was altered and the factory was converted into a quartz mill.
The Lake Bigler Lumber Company, C. R. Barrett, A. W. Pray, and N. D. Winters, proprietors, went into operation in 1862 in the region, as the name implies, of Lake Bigler, or Tahoe, where was an abundance of large trees affording a superior quality of clear lumber, compensating for its distance from, and at that time difficult access to market. The mill of the company was propelled by water conducted through a flume and ditch upwards of half a mile in length, giving abundant power. In 1862 this mill contained a set of double circular saws, a muller, edger and shingle saws, employed twelve men and turned out 20,000 feet of lumber daily, besides a large quantity of shingles. The company secured by location and purchase several quarter sections of land in the vicinity of their mill. Shortly after the construction of this mill the King's Cañon toll-road was made, giving it opportunity to send its products to the markets of Carson City and the mines of the Comstock. The Monitor Mill was erected in King's Cañon in 1863, doing a large business, and, says the chronicler of the times, " were there half a dozen others in that neighborhood, they could hardly supply the ex-
542 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
traordinary want of lumber for mining, milling and building purposes."
In 1862, Messrs. Hobbs, Russell & Co., built a large saw-mill one-quarter of a mile below Empire City, expending thereon about $20,000. This was enlarged in 1863, and many improvements have been added since, making it one of the best and largest sawmills in the State. This mill was built in conjunction with a company organized for the improvement of the Carson River to make it available at all times for the purpose of rafting logs from its head-waters in the Sierra Nevada. For this purpose the Legislature of Nevada in 1863 granted the company an exclusive franchise extending five years, to use the river for the purpose of rafting logs, fire-wood and lumber, in consideration of the improvements to its channel. The timber sawed at this mill is cut in Alpine County, California, on the east fork of the Carson, a distance by the river of upwards of eighty miles, and driven down the stream in bodies, usually consuming forty days in a drive. About 5,000,000 feet of lumber is made annually.
From the earliest date of settlement, particularly in 1862-63-64, when the building excitement was at its height, there was much wanton destruction of timber. The shingle and shake makers were encouraged by the great demand for the product of their labor, and these destroyed great numbers of the most valuable trees, being the most wasteful of all classes of lumbermen. The forests being on public land there was little care for economy, and all energies were exercised for immediate gain regardless of what destruction resulted. As a consequence the forest rapidly disappeared before the legitimate enterprise of the mill owner and the ruthless destruction by the shingle and shake maker, until the greater part has entirely disappeared. [For later reports see chapter on V flumes.]
The settlement of the county came with a grand rush, attracted by the discovery of the silver mines, and at that time the avenues of travel were about as the first emigrants had found and left them. For the ordinary travel of passing from one bend of the river to another, or crossing the valleys, or even penetrating the cañons and foot-hills, they were passible, but were entirely inadequate when the great mass of travel poured into the country, bringing its mammoth "prairie schooners" with merchandise, its heavy machinery, and dashing stage coaches. The necessity for good roads was great, and the opportunity for individual enterprise in making them was very bright. A few, leading to Nevada, up the western slope of the Sierra, had enriched the builders, and one, leading down the eastern slope, built by Kingsbury & McDonald, in 1859-60, annually returned double its cost. Then followed a fierce contest for toll-road franchises, wherever there was a prospect of a passing team.
There was an effort on the part of the public to improve the natural roads, and, on the twenty-fifth of February, 1862, the county was declared by the Commissioners to be one Road District, and Timothy G. Smith was appointed Road Supervisor. But official duty did not carry the power or enterprise to construct new roads. This was left to the enterprise of individuals.
The road leading across Eagle Valley to Virginia City was over sandy and marshy land, which, at times, rendered passage difficult. To avoid this, Messrs. Mark L. McDonald and Thomas Bedford, in 1862, constructed a road from Carson City to the Half-way House, six miles, skirting the foot-hills on the west of Empire City. This was a very profitable road, was well built, and traveled daily by hundreds of the heaviest teams. On July 11, 1862, the toll on this road was fixed by the County Commissioners as follows:—
Loaded wagon, two animals 50 cts.
Each two additional animals 25
Buggy, two horses 50
Buggy, one horse 37 1/2
Horseman _ 12 1/2
Pack animal 5
Loose animals (each) 3
Empty wagons half rates.
At the same time a license tax was fixed at three per cent. of the gross receipts on all toll-roads. The same year Levi Fisk & Co, owned a toll-road leading over the divide between Eagle and Washoe Valleys, the tolls on which were:
Loaded teams of two animals 25 cts.
" " four " " 50
Empty wagons and buggies free.
David B. Milne owned a toll-road on Clear Creek, running northerly from the Coyote Saw-mill to Jack's Valley, on which the Commissioners, July 11, 1862, fixed the toll as follows:
Loaded wagon, two animals 25 cts.
Each two additional animals. 12 1/2
Pack animal 5
Loose stock (each) 3
Empty wagons free.
Rufus Walton at the same time owned a toll-road leading from the Coyote Mill down Clear Creek to the Jack's Valley Road, on which tolls were fixed July 11, 1862, as follows:
Loaded wagon, two animals 25 cts.
Each two additional animals 12 1/2
Pack animal 5
Loose stock (each) 3
Empty wagons half rate.
The Lake Bigler Road from Small & Burke's (" Friday's") Station, on the southern shore of the lake to Carson City, running along the eastern shore, and entering Eagle Valley via King's Cañon, was completed in 1863, and was a very important improvement to the county. The length was twenty-one and a half miles, and the heaviest grade was eight feet in 100. This crossed the summit of the
HISTORY OF ORMSBY COUNTY. 543
Sierra 200 feet lower than that of Kingsbury & Mc-Donald's, and saved, on the road from Carson to the junction with the Placerville Road, three and a half miles. This was a broad and well-constructed road, and, during the dry season, was kept sprinkled as a protection against the wear of its surface and for the greater comfort of those passing over it. This, however, was the custom on all first-class toll-roads.
The rates were fixed by the County Commissioners, July 9, 1863, as follows:-
Wagon with two animals $2 00
Each additional animal 25
Empty wagons, half rate
Buggy and two horses 1 50
Buggy and one horse 1 00
Pack animal 25
Loose animals, (each) 12 1/2
The Trustees of this company were Messrs. H. F. Rice, Alfred Helm and Thomas E. Haydon; Butler Ives was Superintendent.
Hartshorn's Ferry, on the Carson River, was licensed July 8, 1863, and tolls fixed as follows:-
Loaded wagon, two animals 50 cts
Each additional animal 6 1/4
Buggy and two horses 50
Buggy and one horse 37 1/2
Man and horse 25
Footman 12 1/2
Pack animal 5
Loose stock, (each) 3
By Act of Legislature approved December 19, 1862, J. M. Forsythe and his associates were empowered to construct a plank and turnpike road between Carson City and Empire City.
December 20, 1862, the Legislature granted to A. J. Van Winkle and associates the right to construct a toll-road from Como, in Lyon County, to Empire City, in Ormsby County, and to bridge the river as part of their road; and the same rights were granted, February 20, 1864, to D. E. Hunter and associates. The Legislature of the same year, February 9, granted to A. Curry and associates the right to build a macadamized road from Carson City to Empire City.
By an Act approved January 27, 1869, the County Commissioners of Ormsby County were authorized, to issue $200,000 bonds in aid of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad.
This Act was considered by some as unconstitutional and the payment of taxes to meet the interest was contested. On the tenth of November, 1869, the Board of Commissioners ordered:-
That the taxpayers of Ormsby County be permitted to pay all taxes assessed against them under protest, pending the case now in the Supreme Court testing the legality of the issuance of certain railroad bonds, and the tax of one per cent. for the payment of the interest thereon, and in the event of a decision against the collection of said railroad tax, the same shall be refunded to each person paying the same without suit.
At a special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, held December 9, 1869, for the purpose, it was ordered that the $200,000 bonds authorized by the Act of January 27, 1869, be issued to the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in denominations of $1,000, dated December 10, 1869, and that the interest be payable on the first day of June and December of each year.
These bonds were delivered to Mr. Wm. Sharon on the twentieth of December, 1869, also the coupons due June 1, 1870, were paid, the road discounting $350. This road, to which so much aid was given, soon after its completion claimed to be the best paying road in the world, running over thirty heavily freighted trains daily.
The county being created in 1861, it became necessary to possess a Court House, and before building or purchasing one the first step was to rent rooms for temporary purposes. For this, on the fifteenth of February, 1862, the County Commissioners rented the lower story of the building owned by C. Adams, at the rate of $140 per month. The Board of County Commissioners, May 5th, advertised for proposals for grounds on which to erect a Court House, and also plans for the building, and the first of July, 1862, was set for the opening of bids and plans. On the fourteenth of October following, the county purchased of Abram Carry the stone building known as the " Great Basin Hotel," corner of Carson and Musser Streets, for the purposes of a Court House. The price agreed upon was $42,500, of which $5,000 was paid in cash and bonds issued for the remainder bearing interest at the rate of ten per centum per annum. The bonds were issued as follows: $10,000 due January, 1, 1864; $10,000, due January 1, 1865; $10,000, due January 1, 1866; and $7,500 due January 1, 1867. A jail was added at a cost of $5,954.35, and a further sum of $4,493.65 was expended in alterations and additions to render the building suitable for the purposes designed.
The Court House stands in 1881 nearly as it did when first converted to its present use, not conspicuous as a public building nor particularly ornamental.
On the twenty-fourth of June, 1870, the building met with disaster, being partially destroyed by fire. Being insured, the damage was estimated at $3,000, which amount was paid to the Board of County Commissioners on the sixteenth of August ensuing by the Pacific Insurance Company. The repairs made cost about $5,000, including a new tin roof.
The building is of two stories, in the upper of which are the court rooms and below are the offices of the county officers.
The jail is thus referred to in the Nevada Tribune of Carson City, July 24, 1874: " It is bad enough to be confined in jail; it is bad enough to be a criminal; it is bad enough to be sentenced to be hung by the neck; but nothing is so bad as to be confined in that damnable hole called the County
544 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
Jail of Ormsby County. The Sheriff and his subordinates do all in their power to keep it clean, but all their labor is ill-bestowed, for it is the worst hole we ever read of, the Black Hole of Calcutta excepted. The stench emanating from the cells is intolerable, and we pronounce it a disgrace to incarcerate prisoners of any kind therein."
The severity of this denunciation may lead to exaggerated opinions of the condition of the jail; the editor undoubtedly delighting in sensation, not thinking his opinion might ever be incorporated in history.
The Court House is at times used for other than court purposes. The large hall of the court room is available for parties, dances, fairs, etc. In 1862 a very successful fair was held in it, the first in Nevada, by the Territorial Agricultural, Mining and Mechanics Society, continuing three days.
MONROE A. DRIESBACH, son of Peter and Hannah (Zerfars) Driesbach, is a native of New York State, born in the town of Sparta, Livingston County, April 18, 1845. His parents were of German descent, but the date of the arrival of his ancestors in America takes us back before the days of the American Revolution.
His grandfather, Henry Driesbach, emigrated from Pennsylvania in 1804, and settled in the wilds of New York, in what in now called Genesee Valley, purchasing a large tract of land, some of which still remains in the possession of his descendants. Both the father and grandfather of the subject of this sketch, fought in the defense of their country, one, in the Revolution, for American Independence, and the other, in the war of 1812, and was in the memorable battle of Lundy's Lane. Monroe, our present subject, was brought up on a farm, as the "best man," his mother being a widow for many years. After reaching his majority, he, to satisfy his ambition for learning entered Alliance College, afterward transferred to Mount Vernon College in Ohio, from which he graduated. He then entered the Albany Law School, and graduated with high honors. He was married September 23, 1874, to Helen A. McNair, at Danville, New York. Mr. Driesbach was in the employ of Messrs. A. W. Cootes & Co., Alliance, Ohio, manufacturers of farming implements, as book-keeper, until his departure for Nevada in the spring of 1877. He was elected District Attorney of Ormsby County, Nevada, in 1878. Mr. Driesbach is a resident of Carson City, and is a man much respected by his fellow-townsmen.
HON. TRENMOR COFFIN, was born in Hendricks County, Indiana, A. D. 1848.
His father was a farmer, and the subject of this sketch was brought up on a farm, and accustomed to hard work, he working with his father in clearing away the native forest which covered the farm in early days. Up to the age of twenty years be acted as plow-boy during the summer, and attended a small country school during the winter, where he acquired the rudiments of a common-school education. He entered the National Normal School, at Lebanon, Ohio, when twenty years of age, and by strict economy maintained himself for three years. His pluck, in connection with the disadvantage under
HISTORY OF ORMSBY COUNTY. 545
which he labored to gain his education has been a characteristic feature with him all through his life. One of his modes for reducing the expense of his tuition, was acting as steward for a club of fifty students, receiving for his services his board and a very small sum of money from each student. After graduating from this school, he came west, and reached Carson City, Nevada, in the month of August, 1871. Having no bank account at that time, and not finding a situation suitable to his position in the world, he went to work with a pick and shovel, helping to build a mountain road, and, for some four years thereafter, he was engaged in various employments, such as driving a team, and for a time worked under the Hon. Wm. Westerfield, running a truck in the freight depot, at Steamboat Springs, that being the terminus of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, at that time. Mr. Coffin is a living example of what can be done with courage and a persistent self-will, intermingled with an ambitious nature. He finally succeeded in obtaining a situation as teacher in the grammar department of the public schools of Carson City, where he acquitted himself creditably, and was soon after placed in charge of the Nevada State Library, and for one year acted as Librarian. During the time of his teaching and acting in the capacity of librarian, he devoted his spare time to the study of law, and such progress as he made is seldom recorded, for in the month of October, 1874, he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Courts of Nevada. In connection with Hon. C. N. Harris, he opened a law office for the practice of his profession in the State. In 1876, Mr. Coffin was elected District Attorney, of Ormsby County, and, in 1880, he was placed upon the Republican ticket as a candidate for the Assembly. This nomination was not sought by him, but was tendered to him by his party from pure principle. It is needless to add that he was handsomely elected, and his constituents have had no cause for complaint in regard to his actions as their representative. He is ostensibly a self-made man, and, by diligence and energy, has built up a lucrative practice, and has also built a reputation among his fellow-men that will be remembered long after he ceases to exist in human form.
COUNTY DIVIDED INTO TOWNSHIPS.
The creation of the county by the Territorial Legislature in November, 1861, its organization by the appointment of officers, and their meeting in December following, have been fully related. At the first meeting of the Commissioners, December 24, 1861, the county was made one voting precinct, with polls established at Carson City, Empire City, Haskell's saw-mill on Clear Creek, and the Half-way House; four in all. July 11, 1862, the county was divided into two townships, by a line running north and south from the southern boundary of the county to the northern boundary on a direct line of the eastern boundary of the race-track east of Carson City. All that portion lying west of that line to be called Carson Township, and all east to be called Empire Township.
The dividing line between the two townships was changed on the fourteenth of August following, so as to run along the eastern edge of Eagle Valley. This division, as the names imply, made Carson City the nucleus of one township, including Eagle Valley and the mountain region of the Sierra Nevada; and the other with Empire City as central point, taking in the busy milling and lumbering population along the Carson River and the miners and woodchoppers of the Pine Nut range east of the river.
Carson Township, on the ninth of November, 1863, was divided into two townships; that portion north of the line of Spear Street and its extension in Carson City, to be called Carson Township Number One; and all south to be called Carson Township Number Two.
These divisions remained in force until September 4, 1865, when the county was divided into two townships by a line running from the mouth of Clear. Creek, northerly, with the summit of the mountains running west of Carson River, and east of Eagle Valley, to a point east of the State Prison, where the county road between the Warm Springs Hotel and Empire City crosses the reservoir or dam of the Mexican Mill Company, thence due north to the county line. All west of said line to be Carson Township, and all east to be Empire Township.
The limits of the city of Carson were defined in February, 1873, as comprising an area of one and a quarter sections of land according to United States surveys, being parts of sections seven and eight, and seventeen and eighteen of township number fifteen north, range number twenty east, of Mount Diablo base and meridian.
With criminals abundant and crime prevailing it was the evident duty of the first Territorial Legislature to provide the usual means for preserving law and order. In December, 1861, the Legislature created a Board of State Prison Commissioners, consisting of the Secretary of the Territory, the Auditor and Treasurer, and clothed them with power to lease suitable buildings and grounds for the use of the Territory as a Territorial Prison from the first of January, 1862. Abram Curry, one of the most public-spirited citizens of Nevada, had furnished a place of meeting for the Legislature, and now proposed to do the same for the criminals, and the lease was made of Curry's property at Warm Springs for the future prison. The property included a stone quarry where the prisoners could be put at work and by their own labor add to the buildings already existing such as would be needed for workshops, cells, dwellings, walls, etc. The location was in the suburbs of the city of Carson, and in every way seemed the most suitable place that could be selected.
January 1, 1862, the Governor appointed Abram
646 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
Curry, Warden, completing the steps to the organization of the prison. This was but a beginning, and for a year or more the Territorial Prison was but a place of detention, with Warden Curry as contractor in charge. The Territorial Legislature at the succeeding session passed an Act, which was approved December 2, 1862, empowering the Board of Prison Commissioners to renew the lease of the property made the previous year, from January 1, 1863, to March 1, 1864, and for the keeping of all the prisoners for said fourteen months, the expense not to exceed $10,000. Section two of the Act said: "It shall be the duty of said Commissioners to report to the next Legislative Assembly at its next session what kind of property, if any, it is advisable to purchase for a Territorial Prison." Accordingly the Board recommended the purchase of the property already leased.
February 20, 1864, an Act was approved to provide for a Territorial Prison. The Act saying: " The Board of Prison Commissioners, consisting of the Secretary of the Territory, Territorial Auditor and Territorial Treasurer, shall, on or before the first day of March, 1864, contract with Abram Curry for the purchase of the building now occupied for a Territorial Prison, together with twenty acres of land including the stone quarry, with all improvements, implements, arms and mechanic's tools belonging to or now used for the labor and security of the prisoners. The said Curry shall make a deed of conveyance of the said premises to the people of Nevada Territory, with full particulars of boundary, description of property, inventory, source of title, etc., and upon the proper execution thereof the Territorial Auditor shall, by order of the Board of Commissioners, issue bonds to said Curry to the amount of $80,000 bearing interest at the rate of ten per centum per annum for the purchase of said property."
The buildings then purchased were destroyed by fire on the first of May, 1867, together with the records of the prison. Of these structures, Lieutenant Governor James S. Slingerland, ex officio Warden, writes in his report to the Legislature in 1868:
The " old kitchen " which stood as a landmark, to which, it is presumable, the main buildings, composing the prison were afterwards built, was nothing but a tinder box built of rock, with here and there a patch of mortar, full of seams and openings, through which the wind had full sweep; covered with an old, weather-worn shingle roof, through which the rain poured in winter; lined inside with canvas, that hung in tatters on the walls, and connected with the main building by an opening in which no door had ever been built. The dining-room was lined in the same manner, and also the two front rooms adjoining, with the addition of here and there a patch of wall paper, making it still more inflammable. Office and guard were in the same condition; wood-work old and decayed, and with all the rest sadly in need of new material. The roof of the main building, 40x100 feet, was shingled, rivaling in antiquity the roof of the kitchen—open and leaky in winter, and in summer ventilate, the whole building with a hurricane of wind and sand throughout the whole of this 100 feet, but three flues, to which the stove-pipes led from the different parts of the building, some of which reached for a distance of thirty feet, smoking and leaking with every storm of wind and rain; putting all together, you have a fair picture of the condition of the buildings as I found them on the seventh of January, 1867, and for which, with the rock pile adjoining, the Territory paid $80,000.
After the purchase of the property in 1864, Robert M. Howland was made Warden. The records having been destroyed, no official particulars are attainable. As a reminiscence of prison discipline of early days the Eureka Sentinel, of a recent date, relates the following as occurring during Howland's incumbency:—
Bob had then the same reputation for levity that he now enjoys, and when he became Warden the prisoners thought they would have an easy time of it, but were disappointed, as Bob looked well after the discipline of the prison, and not a prisoner escaped during his term of office. George Kirk, a notorious character, was sentenced in 1864 to imprisonment for highway robbery. The first morning of his stay in the penitentiary he refused to come out of his cell and "fall in line" with the other prisoners. This is how Howland subdued Kirk: The Warden quietly ordered his cell door closed, and the other prisoners were marched " left hand on next man's shoulder" to breakfast. Kirk, in the meantime, was raving, and loudly cursing, and defying the Warden or any other — — — to even try to make him come out, until he felt disposed to. The Warden quietly went to the blacksmith shop, pro-, cured a bar of steel about twelve feet long, and had it heated for about four feet on one end to a red heat, and as quietly came back with it to cell No. 5. He again ordered Kirk to come out and "fall in," and was met with the former refusal and violent abuse. The Warden closed the grated door of the cell, and shoved the bar of steel, hot end foremost (which he had now cooled to a dull color), through the bars. Kirk sprang for and grasped it with both hands with a close grip to wrench it from the Warden. With a howl of pain, as it seared the flesh, he dropped it and retreated, cursing with fierce rage. The Warden, without speaking, swayed the hot bar back and forth in the narrow cell, at times wedging Kirk in a corner, searing his limbs with every touch. Kirk howled with mingled rage and torture, now bounding over it, and again under it, striking his head against the top of the cell and falling back upon the bar, yelling and screeching like a pandemonium turned loose. At last he realized the helplessness of his position and begged for mercy.
After this discipline, Kirk became very submissive, but his good behavior did not seem to be of long continuance, as it is related that he took part in an émeute in the winter of 1864-65, when Alexander Hunter, Assistant Warden, was shot, and made his escape. A reward of $1,000 was offered for his arrest, which was accomplished by Sheriff Sexton, of Placer County, California, and he was returned to the prison. The tragic end of this noted criminal occurred in 1871, when, refusing to obey the order of the mystic " 601 " in Virginia City, to leave that place, his body was found hanging to the Sierra Nevada hoisting-
HISTORY OF ORMSBY COUNTY. 547
works, with a card, labeled " 601," pinned to his breast.
Of the Territorial prisoners there were but two remaining in 1867, at which time there were forty-one convicts in the prison, of whom five were undergoing life sentences. All the prisoners, even Chinamen, of which race there were two, were able to read and write. Of the forty-one prisoners, twenty-three were of foreign birth, and eighteen natives of the United States.
The Constitution adopted in 1864, provided for a State Prison, which " shall be maintained as provided by law." The Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General were constituted the Board of Prison Commissioners—the Governor being President of the Board, and the Secretary of State, Secretary. The Constitution, following the example of California, provided that the Lieutenant Governor should be ex officio Warden. The first Legislature meeting under the State Constitution, passed an Act to provide for the government of the State Prison, which was approved March 4, 1865. This authorized the Board of State Prison Commissioners to take possession of the Territorial Prison. One of the provisions of the Act was the prohibition of any barbarous or unusual punishment; and another that ordered the Warden to furnish each convict with a Bible and such other books and papers as the Commissioners may direct. The Lieutenant Governor was John S. Crosman, and he became Warden of the prison, continuing in the position until January 7, 1867, when be was succeeded by Lieut. Gov. James S. Slingerland. Governor Crosman had many things to contend with during his wardenship arising from the meager appropriations allowed, and the inadequacy of the prison buildings, grounds and resources to make the labor of the convicts remunerative. Governor Slingerland, in his report to the Legislature, says:
The improvements made by Mr. Crosman were eminently fit and proper, and doubtless would have been continued on a larger scale had there been funds sufficient to have carried out the plans as originally projected.
As previously stated, the principal buildings were burned on the first of May, 1867. Of this fire the report further says:
The timely arrival of the Fire Department, of Carson City, with their engines, was all that saved to the State the " Territorial Addition," in which the prisoners were confined when the fire broke out. Their superhuman efforts saved this portion of the prison property, which was not damaged to the amount of $1,000, as on the third day following the prisoners were all safely housed in their same quarters once more, and ready for work as usual, owing solely to the good and effective work of a Fire Department which any city might well be proud to claim as its own.
The fire was undoubtedly the work of an incendiary. During the fire the prisoners were taken to and kept in the Ormsby County Jail until the fourth of May, when they were returned to the prison and to work. The ruins were cleared away, and the Board of State Prison Commissioners authorized the Warden to take immediate steps to rebuild the prison in conformity with the plan submitted by the Board. Sealed proposals for furnishing material for the building were called for and the prison rebuilt, having a total capacity for 112 prisoners. Of the treatment of prisoners, Governor Slingerland reports:
In the system adopted, I have not proposed to consume precious time in trying to make an unmitigated rascal an honest man. I have no " trusties," they all stand on a equal footing, one with another; yet among them there are good men, who, if restored to liberty, would make good citizens and become worthy members of society.
They are all cleanly clothed and well fed, each one is dressed in prison uniform, made of woolen cloth with stripes black and white. They all labor faithfully each day in the prison yard, and at meals get for
Beefsteak, potatoes, bread, hot or cold.
Roast beef or stew. Baked beans on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Mush and molasses, or pudding, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Soup on Tuesdays. Bread and potatoes each day.
Cold meat, hash, potatoes and bread, stewed peaches or apples every other day. To which may be added vegetables, when in market.
It is a fact worthy of notice that during the past two years there have been but two occasions for punishment, those being for insubordination. Prisoners have been orderly and well behaved, and with a few exceptions have all been credited with the five days, commutation allowed by law for good behavior, thus materially shortening their terms of imprisonment. A " Conduct Roll " is kept, and posted at the end of each month, in which the five days is credited, if deserved, and if not, in lieu thereof, a black mark is set opposite the name of the prisoner incurring, by misconduct, the forfeiture.
It seems to be the general desire of all to gain this commutation, and, as the record shows, but few have failed to gain it for each month of the two years.
The expenses of the two years covered by the report aggregated $72,070.04, made extraordinary by the cost of rebuilding, and for the two years to follow the Warden asked an appropriation of $60,000, to cover care of prisoners and to make further necessary improvements.
By the election of 1868 Frank Denver was chosen Lieutenant Governor, and by virtue of his office succeeded Lieutenant Governor Slingerland as War den, in January, 1869. During his Wardenship stone was quarried for the State Capitol and other buildings.
The Carson Appeal of December 2, 1870, gives the following account of an outbreak at the State Prison:
Theodore Hawkins, one of the guards, unlocked
548 HISTORY OF THETATE OF NEVADA.
the outer grated door to let out the kitchen hands. McCluer was one of these and came out first, he struck Hawkins a blow in the neck, knocking him clear off the door. McCluer was followed by William Shea, Thomas Heffron and Michael Loon. These four made a rush at Jake Whipple, Captain of the Guard. McCluer attacked him with a butcher knife, cutting him in the palm of the hand and drove the knife through the rim of his hat, clothing, etc. Other members of the guard hearing the scuffle came to the scene of conflict. Heffron grabbed Biggs and prevented him from using a gun. Then Bowen turned loose with his pistol shooting McCluer through the head and again through the breast killing him instantly. Bowen then shot Heffron just below the right shoulder-blade. Shea dealt Bowen a terrible blow with a slung-shot made out of a piece of lead pipe in a woolen stocking. Bowen turned and shot Shea in the abdomen. Loon during the melee ran out the front door and hid in the cellar. In the meantime Captain Dingman, the inside guard, had a perilous time of it. One of the prisoners supposing him unarmed seized him and attempted to drag him away, when the Captain drew a derringer and shot him in the abdomen, he then got outside and rushed to the armory and got a gun, mounted the roof just in time to prevent Pat Hurley and other prisoners from escaping through the skylight.
The most serious émeute occurred on the seventeenth of September, 1871, during which Governor Denver and four of the guards were badly wounded, and F. M. Isaacs, a guard, and Matthew Pixley, a prominent citizen of Carson, who had volunteered to assist in the suppression of the revolt, were killed. Twenty-nine of the most desperate characters escaped, many of whom were hunted and killed in various parts of the State and California, and some returned to prison and were tried and executed. Great consternation and excitement prevailed in Carson. All able-bodied men rallied to the assistance of the officers, and the militia were called out as an addition guard.
By the election of 1872, P. C. Hyman became ex officio Warden, but did not easily obtain possession of the prison. The Carson Appeal of March 13, 1873, relates the following:
THE STATE PRISON WAR.
Owing to a conflicting construction of a new law, Frank Denver,. Warden of the Penitentiary, refuses to surrender the prison to his successor, P. C. Hyman. He even refuses to admit Governor Bradley, Attorney General Buckner and Secretary of State Minor—who constitute the Board of Prison Commissioners—into the prison. Thereupon the Governor orders Major General Van Bokkelen to assemble an armed force of sixty men. On the fourteenth the sixty men, and a piece of artillery arrived at Carson, they consisting of thirty men of the National Guard, Virginia City; ten men and a corporal from the Emmet Guard, Virginia City; ten men from the Sarsfield Guards and ten men from the Montgomery Guards. General Van Bokkelen is then ordered to place Hyman in possession of the prison, even at cost of life. After receiving a summons, Denver surrenders the "Bastile," saying: "Under military, necessity, and from the fact that you have a superior force in numbers, and that if I should stand by my rights by meeting force with force, innocent blood might be shed, and the convicts escape, I hereby surrender to you as commander of the military force." The capitulation then took place.
The position of Warden, at no time a bed of roses, was a particularly trying one during the incumbency of Mr. Hyman. To make the prison a source of revenue a boot and shoe factory was added which, though at first badly managed, aided largely in paying the expenses of the institution. For a short period Hyman was suspended and Milton R. Elstner was made temporary Warden. At the close of the term, ending December 31, 1876, there were 128 convicts. The earnings of the prison aggregated $74,417.71, and the actual cost of maintaining the prisoners $44,887.11.
March 17, 1877, Gen. C. C. Batterman succeeded to the Wardenship. In his report he relates the following:—
On the twenty-ninth of October, 1877, there was an uprising among the prisoners with a view to escape, in the suppression of which prisoner Ole Johnson was killed and prisoner Daniel Matheny wounded. None succeeding in escaping. In suppressing the outbreak Deputy Warden Mathewson and Captain of Guard Gounond were wounded. To these officers, and to all of the officers and guards on duty at the time, great praise is due for their cool judgment and prompt action.
Of this revolt the Carson Appeal of October 29, 1877, says:— -
At 3 o'clock P. M., the convicts at the State Prison made an outbreak. Captain Mathewson, Deputy Warden, on entering the shoe shop was seized by Matheny and Kelly (prisoners for life), Crawford (seven years), Ole Johnson (twenty-five years), Estrada (twenty-five years) and Allen (six years). Gounond, Captain of the Guard, was seized by Badaracco (life), Belcher (twenty-one years) and Burton (three years). All these convicts were armed with knives. Gounond received a dangerous cut in the groin. Mathewson, on being pushed outside, ordered three times for the guards to fire. Mathewson was shot through the right arm. The convict Johnson received twenty-seven slugs and shot through the back and shoulders, and died at 5 P. M. These shots quelled the revolt.
At the close of General Batterman's incumbency there were 149 prisoners, of which two had received a university education, and 116 are reported as able to read and write, and the same number were unmarried; thirty five were temperate, and the remainder addicted to the use of intoxicating drinks; sixty seven were of foreign birth, and eighty-two native born; three were convicted of murder in the first degree, twenty-seven in the second degree, and eight for manslaughter.
The appropriation for the support of the prison for the years 1877-78 was $175,000. Receipts from the sale of boots and shoes, $69,066.54; sale of stone from the quarry, $3,892.12, and for stone charged to building account, $3,984.
General Batterman continued as Warden until January 1, 1881, saying in his report of that date:—
HISTORY OF ORMSBY COUNTY. 549
Good order and discipline among the prisoners have generally prevailed. While those among them disposed to infraction of the rules have been closely watched and kept in check, the treatment of all has been just and impartial. In August, 1879, an attempt was made to fire the prison; no other serious attempt at an outbreak has been made.
The number of prisoners was 151. The appropriation for the years 1879-80 was $175,000, of which $17,744.68 remained unexpended. The proceeds of the labor of the convicts amounted to $56,756.48. The present Warden is William Garrard.
The Legislature, in March, 1873, passed an Act to provide for the purchase of ground and construction of a State Prison, sufficient to accommodate 300 prisoners, and appropriated $100,000 for the same. The site was selected at Reno, and work begun, but whether it will be finished as designed, is a question of doubt.
Of this new State Prison we give the following history :—
The State Prison at Carson City being regarded as unable to accommodate the number of prisoners that would, at the usual rate of increase, soon become inmates of it, a bill passed the Legislature, and was approved March 7, 1873, " to provide for the erection of a State Prison." By this Act the Board of State Prison Commissioners, consisting of the Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General, as provided by the Constitution, were authorized to purchase the necessary lands and erect thereon a State Prison with a capacity to accommodate 300 prisoners, enough of the building to be at once completed to hold 125 prisoners. The Board were authorized to use prison labor, and $100,000 were appropriated for the purchase of lands and the erection of buildings.
Not until the summer of 1874 did the Commissioners select the site and make active preparations to carry out the will of the Legislature. At that time they purchased 206 acres of land on the bank of the Truckee River, a little more than a mile east of Reno, chosen on account of its healthful location, splendid water-power and contiguity to the overland railroad. Plans for a building 450x500 feet were adopted, S. F. Hoole was placed in charge, and the work was commenced August 29, 1874. At first but few men were employed, then the number was gradually increased to 160, and about the last of December work ceased entirely.
The Legislature of 1875 appointed a joint committee, consisting of C. S. Varian and W. L. Ross, of the Senate, and J. P. Smith, A. Spencer and L. Morrill, of the Assembly, to investigate the matter. The committee reported in favor of the location; that the land had cost $3,318.35, that a foundation wall nine feet high, seven feet thick, and 1,904 feet long, inclosing five and one-half acres of ground, had been constructed of granite, concrete and rubble stone, at a cost of $29,520.35; that other work had been done, and materials purchased to the amount of $50,711.87; that $35,000 properly expended would have accomplished the same work; that $100,000 more would be sufficient to complete the wall and enough of the cells to enable the prisoners to move thither and engage in the completion of the work; that estimates by two architects of the cost of completing the works were $345,143.67 and $304,352.95. A minority report was presented by W. L. Ross, dissenting from the report of the majority that the work could have been done for $35,000, and accompanying it with an estimate by G. Haist, one of the architects who made the above estimates, showing that the value of the work done was $50,771.10.
Final Report of S. F. Hoole, architect of the Rene State Prison, July 17, 1876, says the contract is completed, and the walls in following condition:-
" The walls are finished to their connection with the southeast corner of the cell-house, and the west wall of the Warden's house, leaving an open space for the Warden's and cell-house of 377 feet. If this wall was built twenty-four feet high to its connections at each end, in accordance with the plats, the iron doors and gratings inserted in their proper places, all the prisoners now in the Carson State Prison, with the cells and other material, could be moved to the Reno Prison, and the whole work could be completed by prison labor under the direction of the Warden. The cost of placing the walls in perfect security to receive the prisoners will not exceed $15,000, including all the iron work required."
Wm. Thompson, contractor for State Prison walls at Reno, settled with Board December 16, 1876, having $2,328.04 due him, which he authorized the Board to pay pro rata on certain debts contracted by him in prosecuting the work, amounting to $2,687.42.
The word " game " does not, in Nevada, always apply to the animals running wild in forest and field, nor to the untamed birds of the air, neither to the fish of its lakes and streams, although " seeing the elephant " is commonly mentioned, and "hunting the tiger in his jungle " appears to be an every-day, and nightly, sport. A writer of the region says "A man can find there any game he wants, whether played with a pack of cards or pistol; whether it comes in the shape of a big knife, or a straight from the shoulder, or in courtesy and kindness, from the heart." Hunting game, in this acceptation of the term, has often brought " a man for breakfast." But " game " in cities and mining hamlets, and " game " in the open country, in the plains and hills of the broad State, are widely different things.
The extended area of barren plains, sparsely covered by shrubby, dull-colored sage-brush, often vast expanses of salt and alkaline plains, and hills bearing but few trees to conceal their baldness, or furnish a refuge, seemed to forbid the idea of the presence of wild animals. While large game was never abundant, there were frequently found bands of antelope, and deer, and occasionally a few mountain sheep. Coyotes were quite numerous, and foxes, wolves,
550 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
lynx, bear, and California lions, were sometimes met. In some sections were badgers in great numbers. The trappers of the early period sought the streams for beaver and muskrats, of which some are still found in the wild regions of the State. Rabbits, hares and sage-hens were the most plentiful of all game worthily so-called, but the degraded savages of the Great Basin sought for mice, rats, ground squirrels, snakes, lizards, horned frogs, and the like, which were numerous and afforded him food. The sage-brush and other shrubby bushes of similar character appeared to furnish the desired food for rabbits and hares, for where they grow, and the coyote driven off or exterminated, there these little animals increase exceedingly, so much so as to become a pest to the farmers and ranchers.
Of Eagle Valley, Mr. Henry Fulstone writes in his diary, January 1, 1850: " We are much troubled with rats. This place abounds with mice, rats, ground squirrels, horned frogs, lizards of several kinds, night owls and night hawks of several kinds, coyotes, magpies, rabbits, hares, sage-hens, grouse and ducks."
Every city dates its rise from some obscure or accidental beginning, but all must have a cause for business, prosperity, and, consequently, existence. Lines of travel, arable land, facilities for manufacture, rich mines, resort for health, grand scenery, one or more of which must exist to fix the site of a town or city, which will grow in proportion as its natural advantages are utilized and improved by the necessities and enterprise of its inhabitants.
Nestling at the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada is a little valley, nearly circular in form, of about twenty-five square miles of area, separated from the Carson Valley and River, on the south and east, by a low, projecting spur of the Sierra, opening to the river in the northeast, and fronting the hills of the Washoe Mountains in the north.
This valley was crossed by one of the roads traveled by the early emigrants to California, and near its western border, about three miles from the river, appeared an eligible site for a ranch and trading-post. The locality was well watered, with a fertile soil, having an elevation of 4,615 feet above the sea, and with a salubrious, healthy climate. The great travel, many thousands of emigrants with long trains of wagons and herds of cattle passing continually, affording a most favorable opportunity for trade, a fertile soil with natural grass, neighboring mountains clothed with luxuriant forest, and springs and mountain streams supplying abundant water of purest quality, were the attractions, centering to a point on the western side of the valley, that directed the location of the settlement.
Here, in November, 1851, as told in the history of Ormsby County, Frank and W. L. Hall, A. J. and Frank Barnard, and George Follensbee settled and established a trading-post, using an eagle, killed upon the spot, as a sign and trophy over their house. From this circumstance the station became known as Eagle Ranch, and the valley became Eagle Valley unto this day—and this was the beginning of Carson City. We have traced the history of the settlement until the purchase of the Eagle Ranch by Curry, Proctor, Green and Musser, in July, 1858, and the laying out of a town site in September of that year. To that date the history is that of Ormsby County.
The laying out of the plat of Carson City is told in the Nevada Tribune of July 22, 1876, as follows:—
In September, 1858, Mr. Curry proposed to his partners to survey a town site. After due reflection they consented, and Mr. Green went to Chinatown (now Dayton) to secure the services of Jerry Long (J. F. Long, formerly of Placerville, California,) to survey and lay out the town. When the Surveyor examined the premises he doubted very much the propriety and feasibility of the enterprise, and urged its abandonment. Curry had not forgotten his pledge to the speculators of Mormontown, to build a city of his own, and no argument could deter him from his seeming rash enterprise, and in the face of natural objection, and notwithstanding all the reasonings urged by the less sanguine, who looked upon the plan as a foolish one, the survey of the site progressed to completion, and for the first time Carson City, that being the name given it, figured as a city on paper only. The streets were made wide for the reason that by pursuing that plan the plot would be larger, which, of course, would give it more prominence.
The survey must be paid for, and Mr. Curry offered to give the Surveyor that block of land east of the plaza, on which is located Mr. E. B. Rail's hardware establishment, J. M. Benton's livery stable and a number of other business places. But Jerry Long could not see the point, refused to take it, and said he would rather have him (Curry) owe him than to take such stuff as compensation for his skill and labor. On the other hand, so great was the faith of Mr. Curry in the success of this new enterprise that when surveying the plaza he repeatedly said that the Capitol of the State would, ere many years, be built on that square.
The reader will remember that the territory now comprising the State of Nevada was at that time a part of Utah Territory, and known as Carson County. Mr. Curry at this very early day looked forward to some time in the near future when Utah Territory would be divided, the western portion be given to a new Territory, which in a short time would assume the proportions of a State of the Union. The plaza, or Capitol Square, was fully designed by Mr. Curry to be the site for the Capitol building of the new State, the hope of which his own mind alone seemed to grasp. Our readers can now see the wisdom of his predictions and their fulfillment.
The four men purchasing the ranch of its previous owner, Mr. John Mankin, were Abram Curry, F. M. Proctor, B. F. Green and J. J. Musser, and were now the owners of a city—on paper. Their names, and those of other residents of the vicinity at the time of the survey, were given to streets, perpetuating their memory. Shortly after the sur-
HISTORY OF ORMSBY COUNTY. 551
vey, in the same month, an equal division of the town lots was made between the four proprietors. These gentlemen were alive to their interests, were energetic, able and enterprising, and each took an active part in the future development and political history of the Territory and State.
Says the historian of Eagle Valley, published in the Nevada Tribune July 24, 1876:
About the time the proprietors divided the town lots between themselves, Curry was engaged in making adobes in a yard situated near P. H. Clayton's residence in the southwest part of town. The first house was built by Mr. Green, and is a part of the present residence of Mr. W. D. Torreyson; the second was built by Mr. Proctor, and is a part of the present residence of Mr. A. Waitz; the third was built by J. J. Musser, and is now the property of Mrs. Sheyer, and the fourth was an adobe store on the northeast corner of the county building block, into which Major Ormsby moved in the latter part of the year, and in which he did a general merchandising and hotel business on a limited scale. He had previously engaged in business in Genoa, his first location.
Lots were freely given away to parties who would agree to build upon them, and some were traded off for almost anything that was necessary and obtainable. For instance, the Methodist Church block and the next one south were sold for twenty-five dollars and a pair of boots. The property conveyed in this transaction is now (1876) worth about $7,000 or $8,000. A fourth interest in the Warm Springs (unimproved) was sold to Mr. Curry for a pony, which was afterwards traded by its new owner for twenty-five pounds of butter, which goes to prove that Mr. Green appreciated butter more than he did hot water; whilst Messrs. Proctor and Musser made a gift of their two-fourths interest in the springs, and in this way Mr. Curry became sole owner of the W arm Springs.
By this time quite a community had gathered in the little valley and the new village, there being several families, as has been previously related under the heading of " Old Settlers." All the people of those dates have left a record of respectability and obedience to law, and among them are names, seemingly the great majority, which are still held in remembrance of the warmest regard and highest respect. In such a community of pioneers is found the pioneer preacher of the church of the pioneers, the Methodist, always in the van of civilization. The Rev. Mr. Bateman (or Jesse L. Bennett), of the, Methodist Church, represented that denomination in the little hamlet of Carson City in the fall of 1858. He was devoted to his work, and without doubt exercised a restraining influence over the community where he dwelt, as well as affording an unspeakable comfort to those who were religiously inclined.
This pioneer minister also solemnized the first Christian marriage in the valley. A marriage by civil contract had taken place in the valley of the Carson on the fourth of July, 1854, the history of which is elsewhere given, the celebration of which with a wedding festival party took place at the Eagle Ranch.
The winter of 1858-59, says the chronicler before quoted, was very severe, which worked great hardship on the people, uncomfortably housed as they must have been and were. Stock died because of scarcity of food and shelter, and, altogether, this people had to endure privations that none of us can now realize. These great mountains, covered in winter by excessive snows, separating them from communication with California, it could not be other than uncomfortable; but the hope of something better in the future—a hope to which we are all indebted—sustained them. The next place of business erected was the Gem Saloon, and occupied by Mr. F. Perkins for that purpose, and is the building stow occupied by Mr. O. P. Willis for his apothecary business.
During this period Mr. Harry Fulstone one of the pioneers of Carson City kept a private journal, from which the following extracts are taken, distinctly bringing to view the scenes and actors of those primitive days.
November 7, 1858. Flour is now selling at twelve dollars per hundred pounds; potatoes, five cents per pound; beef and pork, twelve and one-half cents per pound; milk, twelve and one-half cents per quart; cow, if you want to sell her, forty dollars, if you want to buy, seventy-five dollars.
November 15. You have a deal of trouble here to get your pay after it has been due for months. They are a pack of speculators, robbing one to pay the other. They pay what they please after making agreements, and have it all their own way, and it is of no use to remonstrate.
November 17. Stebbins wanted my team to-day to fetch lumber.
November 19. Fall of rain and snow; water came through the roof and wet the room. My son William collected a debt to-day in potatoes and squashes.
November 28. Got some meat to-day. Quite a treat. Meat is scarce. We are sick of rabbits.
November 29. Had a hare to-day. It was quite fat. They are still quite fat at this time of the year. I would rather have an English tame rabbit than one of these American dainties.
December 4. We have had a great deal of snow lately. Money rather scarce.
December 23. The grass on the ground is dry and buried in the snow. The cattle begin to want feed. The winds are tremendous.
December 24. Abe Curry gave me a bottle of whisky to celebrate Christmas with.
January 1, 1859. A dance in Curry's new building at night. We are very much troubled with rats, etc.
January 11. Times very hard. Not much trading, and things very high. Poor men working simply for their food. Flour fifteen dollars per 100 pounds; vegetables seven to eight: dollars per 100 pounds.
January 12. Turned tailor to-day, and cut out for Joseph a pair of buckskin pants. The mines in the cañons at Walker River cannot be worked by reason of heavy frosts and want of water. Times seem dull, but there are plenty of dances; the charge per couple is five dollars. Feed for cattle is getting plenty again.
January 30. Planted trees for Stebbins. [The first planted in Carson City. One is still standing on Main Street.]
February 2. First horse race of Carson. Fifty persons present. Nearly every one drunk.
552 HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA.
February 15. Bad weather, wind and snow. Cattle and horses suffering.
February 19. Finished Joseph's buckskin pants.
February 21. Twenty-eight feet of snow on the summit of the mountains. Snowing almost daily.
March 9. A boy at Genoa shot a man yesterday about a bridle. [Killing of E. Knott by John Herring, aged nineteen years.]
March 18. Went to another horse race. It was about the same kind of an affair as the other. March 25. Another horse race.
March 27. Horse race. They have found good diggings at Gold Cañon. Some men have made from $175 to $300 in three days. [Gold Hill stands at the head of Gold Cañon.]
March 30. Went down to a dance at Jacob's, at Johntown, in Gold Cañon. Walked. Stage overtook me. Sallie King urged me to get on the stage, and I did so. We had a gay time. I came back in Major Ormsby's wagon. It broke down three times, and we had to tie it up with ropes.
April 1. Flour hard to get. Paid twenty-eight dollars per 100 for it to-day.
April 22. We sow wheat.
April 29. Bill Sides murdered a man named "Pike," (Jessup) at Gold Cañon. Stabbed him twice. Row over cards.
April 30. Sides brought to Eagle Valley.
June 2. Sides liberated on bail after a week's mock trial. He paid Musser $700 to clear him. Trial put off till fall. Got bondsmen in $2,500. [Finally acquitted, as is told elsewhere.]
July 4. Celebration. Cannon burst near Green's house. Man severely hurt.
July 17. Made Robert a pair of buckskin pants.
July 18. Great excitement at Gold Cañon. Only seven dollars an ounce paid for gold-dust at Genoa, [Genoa being the chief commercial point] and twelve dollars fifty cents allowed at Gold Cañon.
That society was progressing at this early period, and that the dwellers of the neighboring valleys and hamlets enjoyed themselves, is shown from the following from a communication to the Territorial Enterprise of January 29, 1859, published at Genoa, then the chief town of western Utah:
Some of us sought these valleys when they belonged to nature's solitudes, assured that their natural advantages would soon gather society about us. In this we have not been disappointed. The influx of actual settlers has of late been very considerable, and our late holiday frolics should convince an anchorite that society in Carson Valley is a fixed fact. Youth, beauty, intelligence and grace are all here in their freshness and potency, and the spirit of concord seems to preside over our pastimes.
Our New Year's ball at Eagle Valley was a perfect jam. The house, though large, was quite too small. We crowded ourselves out ! If any cold-blooded mysogamist doubted the fact that man is gregarious, our New Year's ball would have cured him. All seemed to say in the language of the poet:
"On with the dance, let joy be unconfined."
The people of Carson seemed determined to have a happy time, notwithstanding their many discomforts arising from badly constructed dwellings, the high price of comestibles and the severity of the weather.
The rigors of winter abated about the first of February, giving great relief to stock and their owners, but the deep snow on the Sierra Nevada rendered communication with California exceedingly difficult. With the opening of spring additions were made to the population which had been constantly increasing since the exodus of the Mormons. There is now here the nucleus of a city. The surrounding valley is " claimed " in ranches and occupied by the claimants, herdsmen and station keepers. South is the greater valley of the Carson, with Genoa as its capital, and northeast are Johntown, Gold Cañon and the settlements along the Carson River. A few white men and Chinamen have been washing, or mining, for gold at Johntown and in the cañon at intervals for several years, and now, in the spring of 1859, are meeting with greater success than before. Astonishing developments are made in the mines, and soon their fame spreads abroad. Population flows in, and Carson City has soon grown so large that it would be difficult to keep the record of its individual citizens, although at this date all are pioneers. As soon as the mountains were passable in the spring, the proprietors of the town site, Messrs. Curry, Proctor, Green and Musser, brought their wives and children to join them, and comfortable dwellings were erected. City lots, before the rich mining developments were made, were usually sold at fifty dollars each, and many were given away to those who would build upon them.
A great excitement followed the discovery of the rich gold deposits in the upper part of Gold Cañon, changing entirely the condition of affairs and transforming the inhabitants from a simple pastoral and trading people to a busy mining, manufacturing and speculating community. With the quality, instinctive to all Americans, of self-government, obedience to law and the observance of legal forms, courts were organized in the absence of any regularly constituted authorities. This was soon found to be necessary.
The organization of a Lynch Court, under the excitement of some recent outrage when passion sways justice, is very repugnant to all law-abiding citizens, although in cases of necessity they are compelled to take such a course. To avoid this exigency a People's Court was organized, and J. L. Cary was made Judge. In the diary of Mr. Fulstone, from which extracts have been made, the killing of Jessup by William Sides, is mentioned, and that the murderer was brought to Carson City for examination. Sides and Jessup, miners in Gold Cañon, bad quarreled over a game of cards, resulting in the death of the latter as is elsewhere related.
The examination of Sides, which partook of the form of a trial for the murder of Jessup, was before the People's Court. Mark Stebbins and Samuel Tyler managed the prosecution, and J. J. Musser and F. M. Proctor were attorneys for the defense. A. G. Hammack was appointed Judge in placeHISTORY OF ORMSBY COUNTY. 558