March 17, 2006

Nevada's Online State News Journal


[From The History of Nevada, edited by Sam P. Davis, vol. I (1912)]
Nevada History: 







            Nevada's Territorial history began November 12, 1851. On that date a public meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a squatter government. Less than a hundred persons took part in the gathering which was held at "Mormon Station" (now Genoa.) The object of the meeting was to adopt local rules and regulations for the benefit of the settlers then coming into the country. There was but little semblance of law and order at the time, and life and property rights seemed to need additional protection.

            But little was done at the preliminary meeting, and it was adjourned to a later date the same month. Subsequently a local form of government was adopted and Carson County, Utah, was organized by the following Act.

            An Act defining the boundaries of Carson County, and providing for the organization thereof.

            SECTION I. Be it enacted by the Governor and Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah : That all that portion of the country bounded north by Desert County, east by the parallel of longitude 118°, south by the boundary line of this Territory, and west by California, is hereby included within the limits of Carson County, and until organized is attached to Millard County for election, revenue and judicial purposes.

            SEC. 2. The Governor is hereby authorized to appoint a Probate Judge for said county, when he shall deem it expedient, and said Probate Judge, when appointed, shall proceed to organize said county, by dividing the


county into precincts and causing an election to be held according to law, to fill the various county and precinct offices, and locate the county-seat thereof.


President of the Council.


Speaker of the House of Representatives. Approved January 17, 1854.


Governor of Utah Territory.


SECRETARY'S OFFICE. I, Elijah Sells, Secretary of Utah Territory, do hereby

certify that the above and foregoing is a true copy. SEAL

Witness my hand and the Great Seal of the Territory this 22d day of October, 1892.


Secretary of Utah Territory.

            This embraced all of Washoe, Douglas, Lyon, Ormsby and Storey counties, the greater part of Esmeralda and Churchill counties, and a portion of Humboldt. The first attempt at representation at Washington was made by electing James W. Crane as a delegate to represent the claims of the settlers to a Territorial Government. Crane having died, John J. Musser was elected his successor November 12, 1859. On June 6, 1859, a mass meeting of delegates from the several districts was held, at which the 14th day of July, 1859, was fixed for holding an election to elect delegates to a constitutional convention. Delegates met at Genoa on the 18th day of the same month, and in a ten days' session adopted a declaration of rights and a Constitution. The Constitution was submitted to the people September 1, 1859 and was adopted, and Isaac Roop elected Governor, with a Legislature and other State officers. Roop was the only officer who attempted to qualify. The Legislature met at Genoa on the 15th day of December, 1859, and adjourned to meet in July, 1860. They never met again.

John Cradlebaugh, one of the United States District Judges for Utah


Territory, arrived at Genoa in the summer of 1859 and impaneled the first grand jury that ever met in what is now the State of Nevada.

            Territorial Government.—The Territory of Nevada was organized by an Act of Congress entitled "An Act to organize the Territory of Nevada," approved March 2, 1861. In pursuance of this act, James W. Nye, of New York, was appointed and commissioned Governor of Nevada Territory by President Lincoln, March 22, 1861. Governor Nye arrived in Carson, July 8, 1861, and on the 11th day of that month issued a proclamation declaring the Territorial government organized.

            The population, as shown by a census taken by Henry DeGroot, July, 1861, was 16,347. The following officers constituted the Territorial Government : J. W. Nye, Governor; Orion Clemens, Territorial Secretary; Benj. B. Bunker, Attorney-General ; John T. Lockhart, Indian Agent ; Perry G. Childs, Territorial Auditor; J. H. Kinkead, Treasurer; John W. North, Surveyor-General; Butler Ives, Deputy Surveyor-General; John F. Kidder and Julius E. Garrett, Surveyor-General's Clerks ; S. C. Gallagher, Governor's Private Secretary ; John Cradlebaugh, Delegate in Congress ; George Turner, Chief Justice Supreme Court; Horatio N. Jones, Associate Justice ; Gordon N. Mott, Associate Justice, and J. McC. Reardon, Clerk.

            The District Courts were organized as follows : First District—Gordon N. Mott, Judge ; David M. Hanson, Clerk; Dighton Carson, District Attorney. Second District—George Turner, Judge ; Alfred Helm, Clerk ; Marcus D. Larrowe, District Attorney. Third District—Horatio N. Jones, Judge ; Alfred James, Clerk ; E. B. Zabriskie, District Attorney.

            The following were appointed Probate Judges : Chauncey Noteware, Douglas County; A. W. Oliver, Humboldt County ; William Haydon, Lyon County ; E. C. Dixon, Ormsby County; L. W. Ferris, Storey County.

            Members of the First Territorial Council were : J. W. Pugle, Ira M. Luther, W. M. Stewart, John W. Grier, Thomas Hannah, A. W. Pray, J. L. Van Bokkelen, Solomon Geller, Isaac Roop. The officers of the Council were: J. C. Van Bokkelen, President ; Henry 0. Smeathmen, Secretary; W. H. Barstow, Assistant Secretary ; Noah T. Carpenter, Sergeant-at-Arms ; P. H. Shannon, Messenger, and Henry Lewis, Page.

            Members of the Assembly were : William Teall, Samuel Youngs, James McLean, William P. Harrington, Jr., John D. Winters, Wm. L.


Card, R. M. Ford, John H. Mills, Mark H. Bryan, Ephraim Durham, Miles N. Mitchell, Edward C. Ing, James H. Sturtevant, William J. Osborn, John C. Wright. The officers of the Assembly were : Miles N. Mitchell, Speaker; William Martin Gillespie, Clerk; Samuel E. , Wetherell, Assistant Clerk ; J. B. McCormack, Sergeant-at-Arms ; Charles C. Conger, Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms ; C. N. Piersen, Messenger, and Robert T. Haslan, Page.

            The Territorial Legislature of 1862 passed an act entitled "An Act to frame a Constitution and State Government for the State of Washoe," which was approved December 20, 1862, providing for an election on the first Wednesday in September, 1863, at which election the question of State Government or no State Government was submitted at the same time delegates were voted for as members of the convention. At this election the vote showed a popular demand for Statehood, and elected the following citizens as members of a convention :

            John H. Kinkead„ George L. Gibson, Warren Wasson, J. Neely Johnson, E. B. Dorsey, C. N. Notewear, J. W. Haines, James W. Small, James Stark, F. K. Bechtel, Samuel Youngs, L. 0. Stearns, Henry Connor, W. Epler, A. W. Nightingill, W. R. Harrison, J. H. Ralston, Marcus D. Larrowe, F. N. Kennedy, W. B. Hickok, George A. Hudson, Wm. H. Verdin, James B. McClure, Wm. M. Stewart, S. A. Chapin, M. N. Mitchell, J. R. Plunkett, C. M. Brosnan, John A. Collins, N. A. H. Ball, W. G. Albon, J. C. Corey, Levi Hite, J. W. North, E. C. Ing, C. S. Porter, T. B. Shamp, F. A. Ent.

            On the 2d day of November, 1863, the members elected to form a convention were called to order by Orion Clemens, Territorial Secretary, and the body was organized by the election of John W. North as President, and Wm. M. Gillespie as Secretary. This convention was in session thirty-two days, and adjourned on the nth day of December, 1863. On the 19th day of January, 1864, the Constitution framed by this convention was submitted to a vote and at the same time the following ticket was voted for State officers:

            For Representative in Congress—John B. Winters of Lyon County.

            For Governor—Miles N. Mitchell of Storey County.

            For Lieutenant-Governor—M. S. Thompson of Humboldt County.

            For Attorney-General—H. C. Worthington of Lander County.

            For Justices of Supreme Court—J. B. Harmon of Storey County; M. D. Larrowe of Lander County; R. S. Mesick of Esmeralda County.

            For Clerk of Supreme Court—Alfred Helm of Ormsby County.

            For Secretary of State—Orion Clemons of Ormsby County.

            For State Treasurer—W. B. Hickok of Lyon County.

            For State Controller—Edwin A. Sherman of Esmeralda County.

            For Superintendent of Public Instruction—A. F. White of Ormsby County.

            For State Printer—G. W. Bloor of Storey County.


            The Constitution was overwhelmingly defeated, while the officers were elected, but found their honors empty because there were no offices to fill. The question of Statehood was still agitated by aspiring politicians. A session of the Territorial Legislature was held in January and February, 1864, but no provision was made for another convention. On the 21st of March, 1864, the Congress of the United States passed "An Act to enable the people of the Territory of Nevada to form a Constitution and State Government, and for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original States."

            Under the Congressional Act delegates to a convention were elected, and on the 4th day of July, 1864, met at Carson City, Nevada. The Constitution of 1863 was taken as a basis, and, after a session of twenty-three days, the present Constitution was formulated, differing in but few material features from that of 1863.

            The personnel of this convention was as follows :

            Nathaniel A. H. Ball, James A. Banks, W. W. Belden, H. B. Brady, Cornelius M. Brosnan, Samuel A. Chapin, John A. Collins, Israel Crawford, J. S. Crosman, Charles E. De Long, E. F. Dunne, Josiah Earl, Thomas Fitch, Lloyd Frizell, Gilman N. Folsom, Geo. L. Gibson, J. W. Haines, Albert T. Hawley, Almon Hovey, George A. Hudson, J. Neely Johnson, William H. Jones, Francis H. Kennedy, J. H. Kinkead, A. J. Lockwood, B. S. Mason, J. G. McClinton, E. A. Morse, H. E. Murdock, George A. Norse, H. G. Parker, Francis M. Proctor, James H. Sturtevant, Francis Tagliabue, Charles W. Tozer, J. H. Warwick, D. Wellington, William Wetherell, R. H. Williams,

Officers—J. Neely Johnson, president; William M. Gillespie, secretary; Andrew Whitford, assistant secretary; Andrew J. Marsh, official reporter ; Thomas M. Carson, sergeant-at-arms; William E. Skeene, doorkeeper; George Richard, page.

            The Constitution framed by this convention was submitted to the people on the fourth Wednesday in September, 1864, and was approved by a considerable majority of the electors voting. On the 31st day of October following the State was by proclamation declared to be one of the States of the Union. At a general election, held a few days after, the following named citizens were elected national and State officers :

For Presidential Elector           S T. Gage of Storey County

For Presidental Elector            A S. Peck of Esmeralda County

For Presidential Elector           A. W. Baldwin of Storey County

For Governor                          H. G. Blasdel

For Lieutenant-Governor        J S. Crosman

For Member of Congress        H. G. Worthington

For Judge of Supreme Court   H. O. Beatty

For Judge of Supreme Court   C M. Brosnan

For Judge of Supreme Court.  J F. Lewis


For Clerk of Supreme Court   Alfred Helm

For Secretary of State              C N. Noteware

For Attorney-General              George A. Nourse

For Treasurer                          E. Rhodes

For Controller                         A. W. Nightingill

For Surveyor-General              S H. Marlette

For Superintendent of Public Instruction       A. F. White

For Adjutant-General              John Cradlebaugh

John Church was chosen State Printer and Thomas Wells the Governor's Private Secretary.

            An Act of the Legislature of 1861 provided for a Territorial Seal, designed as follows:

            Mountains with a stream of water coursing down their sides and falling on the overshot wheel of a quartz mill at the base. A miner leaning on his pick and upholding a United States flag with a motto expressing the two ideas of loyalty to the Union and the wealth to sustain it—Volens et Potens.

            Several designs were made and submitted for a State Seal, none of which proved acceptable. The Legislature in 1866 passed an act providing for "a Seal of State for the State of Nevada." It is described in the act as follows: "The Great Seal of the State of Nevada," the design of which shall be as follows, to-wit: In the foreground two large mountains, at the base of which, on the right, there shall be located a quartz mill, and on the left a tunnel penetrating the silver leads of the mountain, with a miner running out a carload of ore and a team loaded with ore for the mill. Immediately in the foreground there shall be emblems indicative of the agricultural resources of the State; a plow, a sheaf and a sickle; in the middle ground a train of railroad cars passing a mountain gorge; also a telegraph line extending along the line of the railroad. In the extreme background a range of snow-clad mountains, with the rising sun in the east; thirty-six stars to encircle the whole group in an outer circle, the words "The Great Seal of the State of Nevada," to be engraven, with these words for the motto of the State, "All for Our Country."


Federal and Territorial, located at Carson City, the Capital of the Territory-1861-1864.

            Name.                                     Official Position.

            James W. Nye                          Governor

            Orion Clemens                       Secretary of State

            Benjamin Bunker                   Attorney-General


            Berry G. Childs                       Territorial Auditor

            John H. Kinkead                     Territorial Treasurer

            S. C. Gallagher                        Governor's Private Secretary

            John W. North                        Surveyor-General

            Butler Ives                               Deputy Surveyor-General

            John F. Kidder                         Chief Clerk

            Julius E. Garret                        Assistant Clerk

            John Cradlebaugh                   Delegate to Congress

The Supreme Court.

            George E. Turner                    Chief Justice

            Horatio N. Jones                     Associate Justice

            Gordon N. Mott                     Associate Justice

            J. McC. Reardon                     Clerk

Changes in 1862.

            Gordon N. Mott                     Delegate to Congress

            A. F. White                             Superintendent of Public Instruction

            William Sampson                    Governor's Private Secretary

Changes in 1864.

            Theodore D. Edwards             Attorney-General

            Warren Wasson                      Marshal

            William W. Ross                     Territorial Auditor

            J. T. Lockhart                         Indian Agent

            Alfred Helm                            Clerk Supreme Court

            P. B. Locke                              Associate Justice

            John W. North                        Associate Justice




            Name.                                     Residence.

            Solomon Geller                       Washoe Valley

            John W. Grier                         Silver City

            Thomas Hanna                       Gold Hill

            Ira M. Luther                          Genoa

            A. W. Pray                               Virginia City

            J. W. Pugh                               Aurora

            Isaac Roop                               Honey Lake

            William M. Stewart                 Carson City

            J. L. Van Bokkelen                  Virginia City


            Name.                                     Residence.

            Mark H. Bryan                       Virginia City

            W. L. Card                              Silver City

            Ephraim Durham                   Virginia City

            R. M. Ford                              Dayton

            William P. Harrington, Jr       Carson City


            Edward C. Ing                         Truckee Meadows

            James McLean                         Genoa

            John H. Mills                           Gold Hill

            Miles N. Mitchell                    Virginia City

            William J. Osborn                   Buckland's

            James A. Sturtevant                Washoe Valley

            William E. Teal                       Aurora

            John D. Winters                      Carson City

            John C. Wright                       Honey Lake

            Samuel Youngs                        Aurora



            R. M. Ford, Solomon Geller, Gaven D. Hall, Thomas Hanna, John C. Lewis, Ira M. Luther, A. W. Pray, John W. Pugh, Isaac Roop, Henry M. Steele, James H. Sturtevant, M. S. Thompson, J. L. Van Bokkelen.


J. M. Ackley, Ed. R. Burke, H. H. Brumfield, J. M. Calder, Wm. H. Claggett, Abram Curry, W. H. Davenport, Robert Fisher, J. G. Howard, J. K. Lovejoy, J. McDonald, Jr., J. D. Meagher, Arthur S. McKeel, John H. Mills, W. S. Mineer, N. N. Mitchell, R. W. Perkins, John S. Ross, A. J. Simmons, A. D. Treadway, C. M. Tuttle, M. S. Thompson, J. Williams, John D. Winters, T. Winters, D. E. Waldron.



            A. W. Baldwin, P. Chamberlain, J. J. Coddington, A. Curry, R. M. Daggett, H. H. Flagg, T. G. Negus, N. P. Sheldon, James E. Sturtevant.


            T. Barclay, W. H. Brumfield, J. W. Calder, Wm. H. Claggett, B. Curler, J. C. Dean, E. C. Dixon, A B. Elliott Robert Fisher, W. M. Gillespie, Hiram Gore, Warren Heaton, Jacob Hess, D. E. Hunter, S. E. Jones, J. McDonald, Jr., John Nelson, E. E. Phillips, I. L. Requa, W. Stewart, A. J. Simmons, R. E. Trask, T. J. Tennant, A. H. Unger.