History of Nevada, 1881, Thompson and West. Pages 359-372


Topography and Early Emigrants
Organization and Boundaries
Remonstrance and Petition
Legislative Enactments
Education, Temperance and Religion
Soil and Mineral Products
Appointments and Elections
Valuable Springs and Marshes
I. X. L. Mining District
Stillwater the County Seat
Deserted Early Settlements
Ancient Mining Districts
Biographical Sketches.

The topography of Churchill County is peculiar. Its sinks, sloughs, lakes, salt beds and alkali flats, have long attracted the attention of travelers. The early pioneers supposed that the waters of Churchill County reached the ocean through a system of subterranean channels. In no other way could the disappearance of living streams in the earth be made explainable. It is now conceded that simpler causes explain the phenomenon.
Comparatively little rain or snow ever falls, while the extreme dryness of the atmosphere and soil induces extraordinary evaporation and absorption. Humboldt Lake, the chief portion of which lies within the northern limits of the county, receives the waters of the Humboldt River, the longest stream in the State. When the lake is well filled, it discharges its surplus waters into the Humboldt and Carson Sinks to the south of it, by means of connecting sloughs. Carson Lake, in the southwestern quarter of the county is about twelve miles in diameter, and is about fifty feet deep at the utmost. Like Humboldt Lake, it is of an irregular circular shape; has low, flat shores; and connects with the Humboldt and Carson Sinks. Its waters are alkaline, and contain two or three species of unpalatable fish, on which large flocks of wild birds, as gulls, pelican, swans, ducks, etc., subsist. The waters of Humboldt River greatly deteriorate as they approach Humboldt Lake. At various localities in Churchill County are mud lakes and alkali flats. They are slightly basin-shaped, and are composed of a stiff clay, nearly impervious to water. During wet weather they become wide lakes, having a depth, however, of only one or two feet. When the water sinks and evaporates, leaving the basin only moderately wet, it is still impassable for teams, by reason of its miry condition. When it becomes perfectly dry, its surface is covered with alkali or salt, and is so hard that a wagon-wheel scarcely leaves an impression on it in passing. Several of these flats, as explained elsewhere, are of great present and prospective value, by reason of their chemical deposits.
The Carson Sink Mountains, running in a northerly direction through the central portions of the county; the Clan Alpine Range, next to the eastward ; and the Desatoiya Range, forming the eastern boundary of the county, are the principal mountains of Churchill. The Humboldt and Nightingale Mountains extend somewhat southward of the northern boundary line. The New Virginia and Hot Spring Mountains are in the western portion of the county. In these mountains, and along their foot-hills, there is a growth of natural grasses which is well adapted [p.360] to the nourishment of all kinds of stock. In many of the valleys along the Carson River are fertile tracts which are becoming more valuable annually, and produce superior agricultural crops. Irrigation ditches are also being constructed in many localities, thus bringing under cultivation large areas of land which have heretofore been considered worthless. Stock-raising is also becoming a leading industry.
The early emigrants from the East all passed over the western portion of this county on their way to California; but there was little here to induce them to stop or to invite their return from the Pacific Coast, if their dreams of rich mines and sudden, fabulous wealth there were not quite realized. On leaving the Humboldt, turning to the south, they at once encountered a vast expanse of country, with hills and valleys of sand, utterly destitute of water or vegetation. An unbroken desert, forty miles in extent, lay right across their path. Foot-sore and weary on reaching this desert, some perished while crossing, and those who survived were ready and willing to pledge their “lives and sacred honor” never to settle in so inhospitable a country as the present western portion of Churchill County then appeared to be. Subsequent explorations of this county made little more favorable impression than the first emigrants received from their experience in the desert, and it is not surprising that the historian of Churchill County should find no very startling events to chronicle.


Churchill County derives its name from Fort Churchill, an early military post, the site of which is within the present limits of Storey County, and which was named in honor of an officer of the United States Army. The county was created by a Territorial Act approved November 25, 1861, and its boundaries were described as follows:
Beginning at the north-east corner of Storey, and running south, along the eastern line of said county, to the northern line of Douglas County; thence easterly along the said northern line of Douglas County and the northern line of Esmeralda County, to the one hundred and sixteenth meridian; thence north, along said meridian, to the fortieth parallel of north latitude; thence west, on the said fortieth parallel, to where it strikes the old immigrant road leading from the sink of the Humboldt to the lower crossing of the Truckee River; thence westerly, along said road, to the point of beginning.
When Lander County was created, on December 19, 1862, about one-third of the whole area of Churchill was made a part of the new county—all that portion lying east of the 40° of longitude. By an Act approved February 20, 1864, the boundary between Lyon and Churchill Counties was established at the line of longitude 41° 40', by means of which a small cession was made to Lyon County. By an Act approved February 27, 1869, a triangular tract, forming the southwest corner of Humboldt County, was ceded to Churchill County, including about twenty-five miles of Central Pacific Railroad, the object being to increase the revenues of Churchill County. By the same Act the present boundary between Lyon and Churchill was established. By an Act approved March 5, 1869, a small triangular tract at the southeast corner of Churchill County ceded to Nye County.
An Act approved November 29, 1861, attached Churchill to Lyon for county judicial and revenue purposes; including it in the Third Judicial District, and located its county seat at Buckland’s. By an Act approved February 19, 1864, Churchill was made a distinct County, with all the rights, privileges and immunities belonging thereto, and the Governor was instructed to appoint its first officials.


When the bill for making Churchill a distinct county was before the Legislature, a number of farmers living near the line of Lyon County, remonstrated against its passage, and petitioned that body, in case it was deemed advisable to establish the separate organization, to so fix the boundary lines between Lyon and Churchill, as to leave them in Lyon County.

To the Honorable the Council and the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Nevada:--

The undersigned citizens and taxpayers of Churchill County, Nevada Territory, would respectfully represent that we regard the movements now making for the organization of our said county as premature, and calculated, if successful, to work a serious injury to the citizens and taxpayers of said county. We would respectfully represent to you honorable bodies that the voters within the boundaries of county, exclusive of the soldiers at the fort, who pay no taxes, number only about 125.
We would also represent that the taxable property of said county, as shown by the assessment rolls, amounts to only about $175,000. In case your honorable bodies should deem it advisable to establish the separate organization of Churchill County, the undersigned would respectfully request that boundary lines between the counties of Lyon and Churchill may be changed in such a manner as to include the ranches of the undersigned within the limits of Lyon County. Your petitioners trust that at a point not far off in the future the agricultural lands and the mines of Churchill County will invite a population and create a taxable property adequate to sustain a county organization, but we desire to express to your honorable bodies our decided conviction that the time for such organization has yet arrived, and our desire that the county of Churchill may at least, until another session of Territorial Legislature, remain attached to Lyon for judicial, revenue and county purposes.

S. S. Buckland,
J. R. Hougham,
R. D. Price,
John Wood,
K. F. Roney,
Wm. Chappell,
T. Finegan,
D. Barnes,
R. M. Alcorn,
Wm. Fair,
George M. Vicar,
R. Robinet,
B. L. Cross,
Andrew J. Nelson,
F. Luth,
John Schoning,
Frederick Thieler,
James Johnston,
S. Corlett,
James Wharton,
T. H. Coats,
John Lennon,
T. Barnes,
G. W. Burrier,
Z. Belled,
W. Mead,
John W. Miller,
P. I. Hartman, [p.361]
Henry Bethel,
Martin Simms,
Jeremiah Pelcher,
P. Treaner,
A. H. Lissak,
Charles L. Lang,
T. Marshall,
Alfred Merkley.

Jackson Ferguson Ranch Image]


The Territorial Act of November 28, 1861, ordered a special election throughout the State, to take place January 14, 1862. By an Act approved December 19, 1862, the Sheriff was made ex officio Collector of the county.
An Act approved the same day authorized Ellen Redman and others to construct a toll-bridge across Carson Slough at Redman Station, and to charge toll as follows:
  For wagon drawn by six or eight animals ___ $2 00
  For wagon drawn by four animals ____________ 1 50
  For wagon drawn by two animals _____________ 1 00
  For carriage and buggy, two horses _________ 1 00
  For carriage and buggy, one horse ____________ 75
  For horseman _________________________________ 25
  For pack animals _____________________________ 12½
  For loose stock ______________________________ 10
Two per cent. of these charges went to the Territorial School Fund.
The fine for crossing the bridge without paying toll was not less than ten dollars, nor more than $100. Any one maliciously injuring the bridge was liable to be fined from twenty-five dollars to $500. All fines to accrue to the Bridge Company. The rates of toll could be changed by the Governor and Legislature, and the Commissioners of Lyon and Churchill Counties could purchase the bridge in three years at its appraised cash value.
An Act of December 20, 1862, authorized J. Jacobson, John Bowan, Alexander Person, John Taylor, P. Reynolds, and associates, to improve the Carson River from Dayton to Humboldt Slough, thence to Humboldt Lake, thence across the lake and up Humboldt River to Humboldt City, cutting canals, etc., and rendering such route practicable for rafts and vessels.
Act of February 20, 1864, empowers James A. St. Clair and J. J. McClellan to maintain a toll-bridge across Old River, at a point known as the Upper Sink crossing; no other bridge or ferry to be allowed within half a mile either way.
Act of February 19, 1864, organized a distinct and separate county (heretofore connected officially with Lyon County), and, on the second of April of the same year, Governor Nye located the county seat of Churchill County at La Plata.
By an Act of March 5, 1869, the boundary lines between the counties of Nye, Churchill and Esmeralda were established as follows—cutting off a triangular piece from the southeastern portion of the county:
Beginning at the intersection of the meridian of longitude 40° 15" west from Washington, with the eastern boundary line of California, thence northerly, along said meridian of longitude, to its intersection with the thirty-eighth parallel of north latitude, thence northwesterly, to the Hot Springs on the Wellington and Reese River Road, thence northerly, to the thirty-ninth parallel of north latitude, thence easterly, to O’Donnell’s Pass, on the Ione and West Gate Road, and thence the said boundary line shall remain as heretofore established by law.
But little was ever done towards making the Carson navigable under the Territorial Act. In 1868 the county seat was moved to Stillwater, where it has remained ever since.
The Act approved February 27, 1869, by which a portion of Humboldt County was given to Churchill, required Churchill to pay to Humboldt County therefor $3,000; but by an Act passed by the State Legislature, February 13, 1871, Churchill was released from its payment, and all unpaid warrants on this account were ordered destroyed.


The first school in Churchill County, under the county organization, was held in the “Big Adobe,” on the upper sink of the Carson, in December, 1871. The first teacher was Lemuel Allen, who is still a resident of the county. In 1872 the county was divided into two school districts, the one being at the upper sink, and the other at Stillwater, the county seat. In 1874 a third district was organized. In 1876 the three districts were combined into one, known as the Union School District. Soon afterwards a fine school house, costing $4,000, was erected on the upper sink; a teacher and matron were employed, and from forty to sixty pupils attended. The consolidation continued until 1879, at which time the county was subdivided into four districts, the Union School House being used as District No. 1. E. P. Hall was first Superintendent of Schools. Up to 1878 W. H. A. Pike was Superintendent of the Union School. The present Superintendent of Schools is J. W. Allen, who succeeded A. O. Ordway. Mr. Allen, the first teacher, settled on the south side of Carson Lake, in December, 1863, bringing his house with him from Carson City. He is now District Attorney, and has the additional prominence of being the only attorney in the county.
In January, 1880, an unchartered temperance society was organized at Stillwater, with a membership of forty-four persons. Jackson Ferguson was chosen President; William Harmon, Vice-President, and J. W. Bond, Secretary. The present officers are H. N. Hurd, President; William Harmon, Vice-President, and J. W. Allen, Secretary and Treasurer. Monthly meetings are held in the Institute building Three pledges are administered—the tobacco pledge, the whisky pledge, and the total abstinence pledge.
The first religious services held in the county took place in the Institute building at Stillwater in the spring of 1875. A Methodist Episcopal clergyman named Pendleton was in charge. He designed holding services [p.362] then every third Sunday, and organized a Sunday-school with a fair attendance, but was finally obliged to abandon his efforts. The first meeting of the Seventh-day Adventists was held in the Institute Building on the first of June, 1876, under the leadership of Jackson Ferguson, with a membership of forty-four persons, Since then regular services have been held every Saturday at 11 A. M.


Churchill County is not noted either for the products of its soil or its mines. The personal property on the tax-roll consists mostly of hay, cattle and sheep. The total value of property in the county is less than half a million, and the population in 1880 was 479. For a fuller account of its products, the number of acres under cultivation -- the fruit trees, stock and grain raised, and the quantity of land irrigated, reference is had to pages 135, 136, 139 and 140, of the general history.


By virtue of the Creative Act, the first officers of the county were named by the Governor. Below will be found the names of all the persons who have filled the different offices of honor and trust in the county from its organization down to the present time, either by appointment or election, with the date of such appointment or election, and the particular office each has filled.
No record was made of the election of June 6, 1864, for delegates to the Constitutional Convention.


J. B. McClure, elected November 7, 1864; W. G. Hanover, elected November 6, 1866; William Hill, elected November 8, 1870; W. C. Grimes, elected November 3, 1874; Charles Kaiser, elected November 5, 1878.


Henry R. Whitehill, elected November 7, 1864 W. H. Taylor, elected November 7, 1865; J. A. St. Clair and W. C. Grimes, elected November 6, 1866; E. Clark and A. B. Waller, elected November 3, 1868; J. J. McClellan and J. M. Gray, elected November 8, 1870; Cranston Allen and J. M. Sanford, elected November 5, 1872 -- Sanford resigned July 16, 1873; J. M. Sanford and L. Allen, elected November 3, 1874 -- Sanford resigned December 27, 1875; L. Allen, elected November 7, 1876; Jackson Ferguson, elected November 5, 1878; J. W. Richards, elected November 2, 1880.


Benjamin Curler, Thomas J. Cochran and J. B. McClure appointed by the Executive, March 9, 1864 -- Curler did not accept; Robert L. Pooler, E. P. Richardson and Thomas Plane were elected September 7, 1864; William Hill, J. S. Hall and W. S. Lee elected November 6, 1866 -- Hill resigned October 12, 1869; James F. Gregory and J. M. Sanford elected November 3, 1868 -- Gregory resigned March 16, 1870; J. M. Sanford, E. Clark and M. C. Peters elected November 8, 1870 -- Sanford resigned January 2, 1873; D. H. Dillard and E. C. Asher elected November 5, 1872 -- Asher resigned July 7, 1873; J. E. Higgins and E, Clark elected November 3, 1874; William Hill and D. M. Wightman, elected November 7, 1876; and re-elected November 5, 1878; Jacob Springer and Henry Theelen, elected November 2, 1880.


Alfred James, appointed by the Executive, March 17, 1864, and elected September 7, 1864; A. J. Ball, elected November 6, 1866; W. J. Eastman, elected November 3, 1868; J. E. Higgins, elected November 8, 1870; T. S. Dillard, elected November 5, 1872; A. W. Allen, elected November 3, 1874; Samuel Truman, elected November 7, 1876; S. A. Jones, elected November 2, 1880.


A. F. Patrick, appointed by the Executive, March 17, 1864; Benj. Curler, elected September 7, 1864; C. A. Leake, elected November 6, 1866; J. M. Gray, elected November 3, 1868; L. Allen, elected November 8, 1870; Lemuel Allen, elected November 5,1872; Cranston Allen, elected November 3, 1874; A. W. Doolittle, elected November 7, 1876; Lemuel Allen, elected November 2, 1880.


Walter L. Gates, appointed by the Executive April 4, 1864; James G. Hughs, elected September 7, 1864; Thomas H. Ellison and E. L. Caldron each received 110 votes, November 6, 1866; Coldron died June 25, 1867; J. C. Scott, elected November 3, 1868, failed to file sufficient bonds and the office was declared vacant March 10, 1870; Byron Sherman, elected November 8, 1870; Samuel Truman, elected November 5, 1872, and re-elected November 3, 1874; James T. Brown, elected November 7, 1876; John T. Walker, elected November 2, 1880.


W. E. Smith, appointed by the Executive March 9, 1864; commission revoked June 10, 1864; and W. C. Grimes appointed to fill the place June 30, 1864, and elected September 7, 1864; H. H. Chandler, elected November 6, 1866; Daniel Reinwalt, elected November 3, 1868; J. J. Cushman, elected November 8, 1870, and re-elected November 5, 1872, and re-elected again November 3, 1874; J. M. Sanford, elected November 7, 1876; J. W. Richards, elected November 5, 1878; J. H. Kent, elected November 2, 1880.


Walter Goodell, appointed by the Executive, April 4, 1864; Wallace Goodell, elected September 7, 1864; James Buckner, elected November 6, 1866, resigned June 1, 1867, and the vacancy filled by the appointment of Wallace Goodell, who resigned October 7, 1867; J. G. Hughs, elected November 3, 1868; W. J. Brandon, elected November 8, 1870, re-elected November 5, 1872, November 3, 1874, [p.363] and November 7, 1876; Wm. Murphy, elected November 5, 1878, and re-elected November 2, 1880.


J. W. Cummings, appointed by the Executive, April 4, 1864; Wm. S. Lee, elected September 7, 1864; J. B. Welch, elected November 6, 1866; Elisha Sievrance, elected November 3, 1868; D. M. Wightman, elected November 8, 1870, and re-elected November 5, 1872, and re-elected again November 3, 1874; E. Clark, elected November 7, 1876; James A. Danielson, elected November 2, 1880.


Nelson Murdock, appointed by the Executive April 4. 1864; Ira E. Pierce, elected September 7, 1864; M. W. Hoyt, elected November 6, 1866, and re-elected November 3, 1868; J. W. Richards, elected November 8, 1870, and re-elected November 5, 1872, and re-elected again November 3, 1874; J. H. Kent, elected November 7, 1876; J. J. Cambers, elected November 2, 1880.


A. W. Doolittle, appointed by the Executive, April 9, 1864; George A. Nicholls, elected September 7, 1864; C. D. Davis, elected November 6, 1866; James H. Job, elected November 3, 1868; E. P. Hall, elected November 5, 1872; Donald McArthur, elected November 3, 1874; J. B. Ferguson, elected November 7, 1876; J. W. Allen, elected November 2, 1880.


Wm. A. Jackson, appointed by the Executive, March 14, 1864, and elected September 7, 1864; A. W. Doolittle, elected November 6, 1866; N. A. Guill, elected November 3, 1868; Frank Goodnow, elected November 8, 1870; J. W. McCausland, November 5, 1872; James Coffman, elected November 3, 1874; William Reinhart, elected November 7, 1876; J. B. Ferguson, elected November 2, 1880.


Twenty-five miles southeast of Wadsworth, and about two and a half miles from Ragtown, is Soda Lake, in the midst of a desert, and consists of an oval area of about sixteen acres, having a depression of seventy-five feet below the general level. It cannot be seen until the visitor almost reaches its rim. Good drinking water is obtained in this basin all around the deposits of soda, except on the northern side. Here a spring flows out from the north, the waters of which come from another small, circular lake, three-quarters of a mile in diameter and half a mile distant. Besides some other salts, the waters from the spring contain about thirty-three per cent. of soda. The deposit of soda occurs native, in the form of incrustations, which have been annually precipitated by evaporation from the water accumulating in the basin during the rainy season, and from the spring. It is several feet in thickness and formed in layers, between which are dirt and sand blown from the surrounding hills upon the different strata. The soda is dug out in large pieces, and is then dried, separated from the impurities, and sacked for market. The drying process requires the most care, for, at a certain temperature and condition, the soda deliquesces and disappears in the ground. In drying, one-third of the weight of the soda is lost. The purest soda is obtained from the waters of the spring, which are pumped into large vats and evaporated. The solution at a density of 30' and temperature of 70° Fahrenheit, is in the exact condition for the crystallization of the soda, and produces an article containing ninety-eight per cent. of the bi-carbonate of soda. Soda Lake was discovered by Asa L. Kenyon in 1855. When he first saw it he supposed it be a large sheet of ice. In 1868 he sold it to Higgins & Duffy, who in turn sold it to Doe & Dowd. Its present proprietor is J. S. Doe, of San Francisco. Works have been erected near the basin. The bed of solid soda will soon be dug out, but that obtained from the spring is believed to be inexhaustible. Five men is all the force necessary to prepare about sixty tons for the market every month. The cost of shipping it to San Francisco is about nineteen dollars per ton, and it sells there at from fifty-five to sixty-five dollars per ton. It is principally used in soap, glass and paper factories; in calico printing, bleaching and dyeing; and in the manufacture of yeast powders, washing soda, and in many other chemical operations. A two-fifths interest in this property once sold for $35,000.


Is half a mile distant from the one just described, and is much larger in extent, covering an area of about 400 acres, and having a depth of 270 feet. The surface of the water is eighty-four feet below the level of the desert. The Nevada and Pacific Company owns and operates this property. Six crystallizing reservoirs, each one hundred feet square, and containing two feet of water, crystallize the soda by solar evaporation. During the summer months the waters are run into the reservoirs, but the crystallization is not perfected until the approach of winter. For this reason the same reservoirs can be used only once during the season. The facilities for evaporation can be enlarged to an indefinite extent. When the reservoirs are filled the cost of preparing the soda is very trivial. Little care is required until the water disappears. Large quantities of soda are annually consumed in Nevada for milling purposes, but the bulk of it is shipped to San Francisco. Specimens from North Soda Lake were awarded a prize medal and diploma at the Centennial Exposition.
Near Soda Lake are 1,600 acres of borax lands, but only about 400 acres contain enough salts of borax to be worked with profit, and this tract can be worked only once in two years. With present facilities about 2,000 pounds of borax can be produced daily. The material taken from the [p.364] marsh contains about ten per cent. of borax, but occasionally yields thirty per cent. At the present time the manufacture of borax in Nevada is not profitable, by reason of the immense importation of boracic acid from England, which is admitted to this country free of duty. Instead of thirty-three cents per pound, as formally, borax must now be delivered at the railroad for nine an a half cents. There is enough borax in Churchill and Esmeralda Counties to supply the markets of the world.
A salt marsh near the railroad station of Hot Springs yields a large annual supply of salt, which is obtained with little trouble or expense. The whole face of the desert in this vicinity is white, being covered from time to time with saline waters, which evaporate and leave an incrustation of salt. Wooden vats were formerly used for the purpose of crystallization, but excavations in the ground have been found to answer the purpose quite as well. The salt obtained is ninety-nine per cent. pure chloride of sodium. Many other salt marshes, much larger in extent, exist in Churchill County and can be made a source of wealth when a sufficient demand arises for utilizing them.


Is in the Silver Hill range, forty miles southwest of Lovelock Station, on the Central Pacific Railroad. Stillwater is the nearest post-office. Ore was discovered in 1878, and a district was organized in September, 1879. The number of locations made in the district is eighty-five; the number of mines now there, twenty. The camp consists of two blacksmith shops, a boarding-house, and a few cabins. The veins are found between a granite foot- wall and a slate hanging-wall. The veins run northwesterly with the formation dipping to the northeast at a angle of sixty degrees, and contain free and galena ores. Gold predominates in some of the rock, and silver in other localities. The principal mines are the Bayfeld, East Star, Black Prince, Iron Point Spar, Morgan and Mammoth. The Bayfeld mine contains a shaft 170 feet in depth ; the Iron Point mine, a tunnel 160 feet in length. Freight is teamed from Stillwater at twenty dollars per ton, and from Lovelock at thirty dollars. Nut pine is abundant within a mile of the mines, and the supply of spring water is ample for all purposes.


The first settler at Stillwater was J. C. Scott, who located there in the fall of 1862. In the spring of 1863, W. H. Dowd and Moses Job arrived, and soot afterwards they were followed by William Page, J G. Hughs, M. W. Hoyt, J. W. Richards, J. M. Sanford, A. W. Doolittle, and others. Then it was surmised that Stillwater would eventually be the county seat of Churchill County, but more substantial attractions were offered by the fine grazing and agricultural lands in the vicinity, A station of the Overland Stage Company had also been established there in July, 1862. A town gradually grew up, which became the county seat in December, 1868. Stillwater was most prosperous in 1867 and 1868, having then a population of 150. The altitude of this site is 4,000 feet, and is in the valley of the Carson, on the right bank of the slough connecting Carson Lake with the Humboldt and Carson Sink. To the north and west of the town are cultivated fields; to the northeast are extensive grass and tule lands, while sage-brush lands stretch off to the southward. The streets are sparsely shaded by scattered cottonwoods.
Wadsworth is forty-four miles to the westward; Dayton and Sutro are about sixty-five miles distant in a southwesterly direction. Stillwater’s wood supply is obtained from the Silver Hill range, ten to twenty miles to the eastward, and chiefly consists of nut pine and cedar. There are no prevailing diseases at Stillwater, and as in the case of Gilead, there is no physician there. The present population is forty-eight. A store, hotel, saloon, restaurant, post-office and blacksmith shop comprise the places of business. The buildings are constructed of wood. Public meetings are held in the Court House. Carson River affords an abundant water-supply. The principal supplies of goods and merchandise are brought from the Central Pacific Railroad at Wadsworth, by team, the freight charge being twenty dollars per ton. The educational facilities consist of one school, a teacher, and thirteen pupils. The school house is 12x24 feet in size, and is capable of seating thirty pupils. The taxable property in the township is valued at $71,000. Farming and stock-raising is the principal avocation of the surrounding settlers. The basement of the Court House contains a jail. No one has ever been killed in the township, and no serious disturbances of the peace have ever occurred.
The Carson River overflows annually. The most noted occurrence of the kind took place in January, 1862. Before then, the waters of the Carson emptied directly into the Upper Sink, and passed thence through Carson Slough and Stillwater Slough, into the Lower Sink. The dry river bed could be plainly seen in 1861, through which Old River now flows, carrying with it direct into the Lower Sink a great part of the waters of Carson, instead of by the Upper Sink, and thence by the sloughs. The same flood cut a channel where New River now runs, and also changed the outlet of the Upper Sink into an inlet, taking some of the water from New River and emptying it into the Upper Sink. The remainder flows by Stillwater Slough into the Lower Sink thus flowing past the west side of the town of Stillwater. The soil surrounding Stillwater is adobe, and is well adapted for grain.

[John P. Brown Ranch on Old River Image]

In 1876, Richards, Kent and Sanford constructed an irrigating ditch, taking water from Stillwater Slough, one and a quarter miles south of the town. [p.365] The next season they raised the first crop ever produced in the township, and thereafter successfully conducted agricultural operations. In 1879, Walker & Brown cut a ditch and commenced taking water from the first ditch mentioned. At the present time Richards, Murphy & Springer are taking water from the same source.
The land is well adapted to the growth of cereals, and crops are growing larger annually. The farmers have fenced all their cultivated land into one field, consisting of 500 acres, thus saving considerable expense in the way of fence building. No subdividing fences are constructed. Both grain and pasture lands are irrigated. As high as sixty-five bushels of wheat have been raised to the acre in some parts of the county. For a distance of fifteen miles to the northward of Stillwater there extends a chain of sloughs and fine pasture lands, terminating at the “Big Sink,” which is sometimes thirty miles in width. Old River empties into the Carson Sink on the west side after having meandered through the valley for twenty miles, with a scattering settlement along its entire length. The whole region is a net-work of streams and bayous, which have undergone many changes since the country was first settled.
On September 2, 1862, J. T. May was interred on Mr. Magee’s place. There are now eleven graves there, it being the burial place for the surrounding settlement. Back of Mr. Ferguson’s place there are five graves. The first burial took place there in March, 1879.


Ragtown was at one time one of the most noted localities in the Churchill County region, being a landmark of the past. In the earliest times it was a station on the overland road, when the emigrants moved across the Forty-mile Desert from Humboldt and pushed on to the gold fields of California. When the Simpson route was discovered and adopted in 1860, and emigrants came by way of Schell Creek, Egan Canon, and Jacobsville, on Reese River, Ragtown still remained an overland station. Asa L. Kenyon settled at Ragtown in 1854, and has been the only permanent settler there since, stock-raising being his avocation. On his arrival there he found 201 people, but they all left in the fall. Two reasons are assigned for the origin of the novel name of the town. One is that it was originally composed of cloth houses built by traders from California, who leaving in the fall, left their ragged shelters to flutter in the wind. According to another authority, the emigrants, on reaching it, hastened to divest themselves of their ragged garments, and plunge into the cooling waters of the Carson. Long, scattered piles of rags daily adorned the banks of that stream
There was once an emigrant burying-ground at Ragtown containing 200 graves, results of cholera, fever and exhaustion in early years, which were variously marked with log-chains, wagon-tires, etc. During the flood of 1861-62 it was completely covered over and obliterated, and a public road now passes over the spot.
Shortly after reaching Ragtown, Kenyon located fifteen miles distant, on the “Forty-mile Desert,” where he sunk a well and did a very good business in the sale of water to emigrants. His charge for watering stock was twelve and a half cents per head. He also bought a store of his cousin, and in connection with his water enterprise, retailed merchandise until 1860. At a time when the road was not kept open regularly, in the winter, a large party of Indians visited him and desired to purchase gun caps, upon which Mr. Kenyon raised the price to $300 per box. They expressed surprise at such an enormous price, and asked the reason of it. “The cap man is dead,” replied Mr. Kenyon. For powder they were asked $300 per pound. “Is the powder man dead too ?” they asked. “No,” replied Mr. Kenyon, “but he is very sick.” In 1867 an emigrant named Fleming perished from thirst on the desert between the Humboldt and Ragtown. He was out three days. Learning of the circumstance Mr. Kenyon went out to search for him, and finally found him in a hole in the ground which he had clawed out with his fingers, being insane from suffering. He was brought back to Ragtown, but died the next morning, and was buried in the emigrant graveyard.
In May, 1868, E. Clark paid a man twenty dollars to haul two wheels and a log of wood from the Cottonwood, on the Carson, to the crossroads of Ragtown and Wadsworth, preparatory to building a road between those two points. In June the first travel commenced. At about the same time the present road by way of Savage was completed. E. Clark purchased it in September, and has since owned it. St. Clair located the ranch on Old River, in 1862, which Theelan now owns, and established a ferry there. During the following winter he put up a bridge, and toll for crossing it has been charged ever since. Mr. Hill purchased the ranch in 1866, including St. Clair’s store. In 1873, the ranch was purchased by Mr. Henry Theelen.
In early times Centerville, one and a half miles above Ragtown, was a well-known point. Varney & Waters built a hotel there in 1860. Benjamin Curler purchased it in 1864, and subsequently sold it to Joseph Scott. Curler is now practising law at Belmont, Nye County. T. Varney was killed in 1862 by Al. Millstead, who was hanged at Carson City in 1863. Waters was killed on what is now known as the “Little Adobe” ranch, by a man named Wilson, who was subsequently tried and acquitted. In 1866, James Ferguson owned a ranch near Centerville, and was visited one day by a bad Pah-Ute known as “Buffalo Jim,” who was accompanied by thirteen other Indians. They demanded two sacks of flour, a cow, and some money. Ferguson offered to give them the flour, but refused to give anything else, and a quarrel ensued, upon which they strung him up to a hay press, but cut [p.366] him down before life was extinct. They also cut open all the baled hay on the premises. For these outrages Ferguson swore that he would kill “Buffalo Jim;” and meeting him out alone, about a year afterwards, he did kill him. He then fled from the country, and at last accounts was living in Missouri. At the time he left Nevada he was the partner of Sheriff Scott.


“Happy are the people,” says Montesquieau, ”whose annals are brief in the history books.” By that standard the people of Churchill must be the happiest of Nevada, and no one can gainsay it. Once its eastern districts were thronged with miners and prospectors, and the clatter of stamps was heard in its hills. With the discovery of mines in the Humboldt Range, in 1862, prospectors pressed forward into the wilderness, and the districts of Mountain Wells, Clan Alpine, and New Pass were formed, and active operations commenced.
IN MOUNTAIN WELLS DISTRICT a large number of claims were located; and in the years 1863-64-65 many were sold to Eastern capitalists, who proceeded to develop them. The village of La Plata was built, and became the county seat. A quartz mill of ten stamps was built, and for a time prosperity seemed to smile on the region. The developments, however, did not equal the expectations, and the White Pine excitement absorbed the mill and miners. The county seat was removed to Stillwater, and soon thereafter La Plata, the place of silver, was relegated to its original wilderness. The locality where once stood the hopeful village is on the eastern slope of the Carson Sink range, sometimes called the Dun Glen Range; and fronting it is Salt Valley, a broad expanse of barrenness, but rich in salt, were transportation convenient to make it available. In this range is Job’s Peak, a conspicuous landmark for a wide expanse of country.
CLAN ALPINE DISTRICT was organized in January, 1864, and many claims located. Shafts were sunk, and drifts run, exposing veins of small size, containing ore, both gold and silver, of about twelve dollars per ton in value. The country rock is porphyry. The surrounding country being more valuable for producing salt than cereals, and mining not remunerative, the district was abandoned.
NEW PASS DISTRICT was organized in the spring of 1864, and ledges of gold-bearing ore were found, which, on the surface, appeared very valuable. The district lies in the Shoshone range of mountains, about thirty miles west of Austin, and the mines were chiefly worked by people from that city. The mines were quite thoroughly tested, but not yielding to exceed fifteen dollars per ton, were abandoned, but the State Mineralogist of 1867 regards them as valuable.


Was born in Van Buren County, Iowa, March 10, 1843, and resided on the old homestead, attending the common school during his early years, and assisting in the labors of the farm till he attained the age of twenty-one years, when, bidding adieu to Iowa in 1864 he, in company with his mother and two sisters, and following his father, who had preceded them one year before, emigrated from there to the State of Nevada, joining his father, C. Allen, and his brother Lemuel, who had found a home on the south side of Carson Lake. He resided from that time till 1868 in Churchill County, Nevada, from which place he removed Sonoma County, California, where he remained till 1870, at which time he returned to Churchill County, Nevada, and entered into partnership with his father and brother Lemuel, in farming and stock-raising, till 1877, when he retired from the partnership and removed to his present home on New River.
He is the possesser of 420 acres of land, 240 of which is inclosed and mostly under cultivation. The soil is a rich black loam, susceptible of a high state of cultivation, and adapted to the growing of most varieties of grain.
Mr. Allen is much interested in the improvement of stock, particularly of horses, of the Clydesdale and Copperbottom breeds, many fine specimens of which may be counted among the horses on his ranch.
In 1876 Mr. Allen united his fortunes in marriage with Mrs. Kate Peugh, and soon commenced house-keeping in his present residence, which he erected that year. He has been often called by his friends and neighbors to places of trust and honor, filling the office of Justice of the Peace of Upper Sink Precinct for six years, and from 1874 to 1876 the office of Public Administrator of Churchill County, and has been more recently elected Superintendent of Public Schools for that county for the ensuing two years.
He has ever devoted himself to the advancement of morality and temperance, is a consistent and leading member of the Church of the Seventh-day Adventists and the Acting Superintendent of the Sabbath-school, and District Secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist tract and mission work in Nevada and Clerk of the St. Clair Church. He is also known as a devoted and prominent advocate of temperance, and Secretary and Treasurer of the temperance organizations in the county, and Librarian for the library of that society.


The subject of this sketch is a native of Harrison County, Ohio; on the twelfth of April, 1839, he was born and in the same year his father and mother removed to Van Buren County, Iowa. There he remained with his father, assisting on the farm and attending school, until the year 1859. In that year he married [p.367] Miss Sarah Ann Peugh, and in the same year he and his wife started for Pike’s Peak, but stopped in Kansas until the following year, when they returned to Iowa, and resided there up to the year 1862, when they started for Carson Valley, Nevada. They first settled several miles above Fort Churchill, on the Carson River. Possessing little of this world’s wealth, they found their little stock of provisions and the team of patient oxen, all that was left them with which to begin life; but rich in the mutual faith and affection they had for each other, they were nothing daunted, and cheerfully faced the dim and shadowy future. Mr. Allen had paid out his last two dollars on crossing the bridge spanning the slough at the sink of the Carson. There they remained until December 1, 1863, when they removed to the south side of the upper sink of the Carson River, called Carson Lake. He there established a station called “The Wild Cat,” taking his father as partner who had come out to join him, as did also his mother and the family, the following year. The station was on the old Pony Road, and there the family remained until 1867, when he removed to their present residence.
Since that time he has kept a “station” for the accommodation of the traveling public. He now owns in the county 1,040 acres of land, 500 acres of which is fenced and under cultivation. He cuts about 600 tons of hay each year, and has also a fine bearing orchard, including a variety of fruit which yields a sufficient quantity to abundantly supply his own family and also his neighbors. Mr. Allen was ambitious to master the study of the law, but being compelled to seek his own fortunes in life, has had but little leisure time since early youth for anything like systematic study, but during the entire length of time of his residence in the State of Nevada he has devoted every spare moment to the pursuit of his favorite study, and at length, on the sixteenth day of January, 1873, he was admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of Nevada. He was elected District Attorney for Churchill County in 1871, and re-elected in 1873; he was again returned to the same office by the election in the year 1880. In the year 1875, he represented his county in the Assembly, and was in 1876 re-elected to that position. The children living are six, three sons and three daughters. Mr. and Mrs. Allen have buried three other children. With his usual desire to improve everything pertaining to his farm, Mr. Allen is paying special attention to the breeding of good stock, and he is the owner of a fine Durham bull. Over the entire country Lem Allen is well known as one of the most “go ahead” men in a State where such men are numerous, and is altogether a representative man. His father, after long residence in the county, has now removed to Reno, Washoe County, leaving, however, (in Churchill County) many representatives in both children: and grandchildren.


Is a native of Noble County, Ohio, having been born in that county on the twenty-third day of March, 1840. His early years were passed on a farm in that county till the age of twenty-one, when he left the labors of the farm to engage in the profession of teacher in the schools, in which employment he remained till the fall of 1862, when leaving his native home he emigrated to the State of Iowa, and there resumed his occupation of teaching, in which he continued till the spring of 1864, when he determined to seek the fortune awaiting him on the Pacific Coast. Relinquishing the honorable avocation in which he had been engaged for the previous years in Ohio and Iowa, he joined the westward moving army, and crossed the plains, to find a home in California. There he remained till 1866, at which time he retraced his steps as far as Nevada, where he married Sarah C. Allen, a resident of the southern shore of the sink of the Carson, on the second day of September of that year. Returning to California soon after and locating in Sonoma County, he remained till A. D. 1878. During that time he was largely engaged in farming. In the spring of 1878, having disposed of his interest in Sonoma County, he removed to Churchill County, Nevada, and investing the proceeds already accumulated by energy and thrift in lands in this county, which he has by industry and good husbandry made productive, he has become one of the most prosperous and extensive farmers of the county.


Was born February 8, 1826, in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. In 1842 he removed to Kane County, Illinois, and engaged in farming in that county to the year 1850. He then started for California across the plains, and after the usual adventures and hardships encountered in those days on overland journeys, safely reached California. He first settled in El Dorado County, finally going to Placerville the winter of 1852-53. In February, of 1853, he went East by the Isthmus, and returned to California with stock—his brother, Lyman, accompanying him; in the same year he went back to Illinois. During 1854 he married Miss Delia M. Thompson of Huntly, McHenry County, Illinois, a daughter of Shubael Trenk and Margaret West Thompson. Almost immediately after, he removed to Michigan, where he was actively engaged in the lumber business for six years, when he again turned his steps toward the Pacific Coast, locating in Silver City, Nevada. He speedily found employment by starting a business in teaming, which proved remunerative during his stay in that place. Since 1864 he has resided in Churchill County, whither he removed that year to engage in farming.
He is now the owner of a fine farm, containing 660 acres of land, located on Old River, six miles below [p.368] the old overland bridge, and twelve miles from the county seat. One hundred and sixty acres are under cultivation all well adapted to the raising of grain, vegetables, etc., and are all inclosed with a fence of live cottonwood; he has also a young orchard of promising fruit trees, about two hundred in number, only four years planted, and all bearing, giving promise of heavy yields before many years. The larger portion of the farm extends along Old River and is well divided by ditches distributed at convenient distances over the entire farm. The water right is abundant for irrigating, and was the third recorded in the county. Mr. Brown is giving his personal attention to stock-raising, and may be considered as very successful in the business. Although but fifty-five years old, the active life of Mr. Brown has been marked by many changes, and is noticeable for energy and industry. He and his wife have had a family of three children, two of whom, William and Stella, are now living.

[Charles Kaiser Image]

State Senator from Churchill County, Nevada, was born in Freiburg, Baden, Germany, in A. D. 1831 where he received the advantages of a good education, imbibing much of the spirit of democracy that eventually led him to seek his fortune and cast his lot among the many who have found homes among the freedom-loving people of America.

Leaving Germany when scarcely twenty years of age, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean, landing in New Orleans in the year 1850, when hearing tales of the fabulous wealth of California—the gold fields—he only remained sufficiently long to secure an outfit for the journey, when he started overland for the El Dorado of his hopes.
Arriving in California in the fall of 1850, he at once located near the Yuba River, in Yuba County, and successfully engaged in mining, merchandising and teaming for seven years. Moved by an honorable ambition for a larger field of enterprise, he disposed of his business in Yuba County, removed to Sacramento, then fast growing into importance and wealth, and became extensively engaged in the livestock business. In 1870, he removed from Sacramento, and located in Stillwater, Churchill County, Nevada, and became largely interested in merchandising, also dealing in stock. He is an honorable representative of that German element that has been so greatly conducive to the growth and prosperity of this county. He has by his energy, industry and business capacity, accumulated a handsome independence, that places him among the substantial men of his county. In 1878, he was elected to the State Senate on the Republican ticket, and has discharged his duties with sincerity of purpose, and evident desire to advance the best interests of his constituents and the State.
The Senator is married, and both in social and political life enjoys the confidence and respect of those who know him. He is now in the prime of life, with promise of many years of usefulness, a portion of which his many friends will undoubtedly insist upon being, as now, devoted to the interests of the public, and perhaps in a more elevated position than that now occupied by him.

[J.J. Cushman Ranch Image]


Was born October 6, 1838, in Piscataquis County, State of Maine, emigrating at the early age of two years to the State of Ohio, Lorain County, where he remained with his parents the following six years, accompanying them again in their second removal, in 1846, to the county of Henry, State of Illinois; thence to Iowa, and back again to Illinois. There he remained, assisting his father with the care and labor of the farm, till 1859, when leaving his parents he crossed the plains to California, where he remained one winter, and the following summer moved to Nevada, remaining in Carson City during the summer. In 1861 he purchased the ranch on which he now resides, located on Carson Sink, two miles from the Carson Lake on the Belleville and Austin Road, in Churchill County, embracing 1,700 acres of land, 1,000 acres of which is fenced, and 125 acres under cultivation, the remainder being devoted to pasturage. He has the ranch well stocked with cattle and horses, and finds the growing of them profitable and remunerative. Near the old residence, about one-quarter of a mile from his present one, erected in 1877, and shown on another page of this work, he has a fine bearing orchard of many varieties of fruit. In 1865 he married Miss Mary Ellen Adams, by whom he has two sons, Royal D. and Clement O., aged fourteen and thirteen years’ respectively. He was elected Clerk of the County of Churchill in 1872, [p.369] and discharged the duties of the office so acceptably: that he was re-elected in 1874, and continued to perform the duties till 1876, when he retired from public life to devote his attention to the care of his private business.

[William Murphy Image]

The subject of this sketch, and whose name stands at the head of this article, was born in the city of New Orleans, State of Louisiana, on the thirteenth day of May, A. D. 1843, where he remained with his parents till the year 1853; his father during that time being engaged in buying and selling cotton, once recognized as the “king” of Southern commerce, if not of the United States.
During the year 1853, hearing much of the golden paradise of the Pacific Coast, his father disposed of his business in New Orleans, and, following the sun in his western course, accompanied by his family, came to California, by way of the Nicaragua route, settling in Tuolumne County. There he engaged in mining till his death in 1879.
William grew up to manhood in Tuolumne County, at times engaged in mining, after arriving at sufficient age to be of assistance to his father, and at other times in butchering, to supply the mining camps in the vicinity. In 1870, leaving Tuolumne County, he removed to St. Clair, Churchill County, Nevada, and again engaged in butchering, a business he had been largely engaged in since his early youth, and in connection with that followed farming, and is largely interested in stock-raising, growing and feeding many of the animals which supply his main business.
In 1878 his integrity and business ability placed him prominently before the people for their suffrage, for the responsible position of Treasurer of the county, to which office he was elected, and so acceptably discharged his duties, that he was re-elected in 1880, which office he now continues to fill, with honor and credit to himself, and to the satisfaction of his constituents. On his election in 1878, the duties of his office requiring his presence at Stillwater, the county seat, he removed to that place, and has since resided there.
On the fourteenth of December, 1879, he married Miss Elizabeth McGee.
He is the owner of 160 acres of excellent farming land on the west side of Stillwater, and an equal partner in the ownership of the irrigation ditch now under construction taking water from Stillwater Slough and running across his farm, supplying it with water for all needful purposes.


The gentleman to whom this sketch refers is one .of the pioneers of Nevada. He was born in Rome, Oneida County, New York, on the twentieth of April, 1830. His early life was passed in his native State, where his time was varied between attending school, working on the farm of his father, and learning the blacksmith’s trade. His education was confined mostly to the common schools, and was of a nature such as is usually obtained from similar institutions. As youth ripened into manhood, his ambitious nature would not permit him to remain in the quiet paths to which he had been accustomed, but called upon him to go forth into the world, and seek the fortune that lies in store for those who have the hardihood to surmount the dangers and difficulties that beset the paths of the pioneers. During the summer of 1852 he crossed the plains to California, and located at Gold Run, Placer County, where he engaged in mining. In this he was very successful, and, during the following winter accumulated quite a fortune. The following spring he conceived the idea of becoming a speculator in horses, and, in pursuance of this, he returned to Missouri, and with the gold he had saved purchased a band of fine blooded stock, and, on the eighth of March, 1854, started with it for California. On the following first of August, he arrived at Ragtown on the Carson River, and there disposed of his stock, realizing a handsome profit. His next business venture was starting a trading-post at that place for traffic with the emigrants. There were at this time usually from 300 to 500 people at this station, living in tents and willow houses, and the rags fluttering in the breezes gave the place its significant title. In 1855 Mr. Kenyon erected a log house, which he used for a store and dwelling-house, and this was the only house left standing after the flood of1862 in the town. Mr. Kenyon has been a participant, in many of the battles with the Indians, and has also witnessed the great mining excitements that have transpired in western Nevada. [p.370]

[J.W. Richards Image]

Born in Bath County, Kentucky, the third day of November, 1839, is one of the first settlers of Old River, Nevada. Removing with his parents, in 1856, to Ralls County, Missouri, where he remained assisting his father with the labors of the farm till 1862, when, making the acquaintance of Dr. Glenn, of Colusa County, California, he purchased a number of mules, and in company with him crossed the plains into California as far as Sacramento, where he remained three months, till the fall of 1863, at which date he came to Churchill County, Nevada, at that time almost on the verge of civilization in its outreach from the shores of the Pacific over and beyond the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra. His youth and early years of manhood having been passed in the honorable labors of the farm and the cultivation of the earth, he was well able to judge of the adaptability of lands about the Carson to the raising of grain, when properly prepared. Engaging in farming, he was among the first who encouraged the growing of grain at Stillwater, and the originator of the plan, since so successfully reduced to practice, for irrigating the land by means of ditches from Stillwater Slough. He remained at Old River, farming, till 1867, when, joining a party of Government surveyors under Colonel Monroe, he accompanied them in the survey of Arizona, returning in the fall of 1869.

On his return the people gave due evidence of their appreciation of his integrity and ability by placing him in nomination for the office of County Recorder, and full assurance, by electing him, in which capacity he continued to serve the people till 1875, at which time he was transferred to the office of County Clerk, the duties of which office he continued to discharge till 1880. In November, 1880, he was elected to represent the people in the Assembly of the State for the year 1881.
In January, 1871, Mr. Richards, ambitious to acquire the art of telegraphy, commenced, under such instructions as could then be obtained, to practice, during all his leisure moments on the instruments of the Overland Telegraph Line, and so perfected himself that the company, in December, 1874, appointed him their operator and agent, and made his office a repair office, with salary, and he now has charge of the line from Virginia City to Austin.
In 1878 he was appointed Postmaster at Stillwater, which position he still retains.


The subject of this sketch, Jackson Ferguson, was born in the county of Cuyahoga, State of Ohio, on the fourth day of September, 1832, where he remained till the year 1838, when he accompanied his parents in their removal to Wayne County, Indiana, where they were engaged in farming till 1841, at which time all removed to Van Buren County, Iowa. Here he remained, dividing his time in labor on the farm and attending school, till the year 1853, at which time, having attained the estate of manhood, he married Miss Elizabeth Peugh, a resident of that county. In 1854, being moved by the reports of the golden wealth of California, leaving family and friends, he joined the throng crossing the plains to the Golden State, came to California, and mined in Shasta and Trinity Counties till 1858. He then returned to Iowa, and remained till 1862, when, accompanied by his family, he again sought the Pacific Coast, crossing the plains during that year. Locating in Sonoma County, California, he engaged in farming and stock-raising, and also became largely interested in real estate business. In 18— he disposed of his property in Sonoma County, California, and removed to his present place of residence at St. Clair, in Churchill County, Nevada, and near Carson Lake. Here he purchased 740 acres of land bordering on Carson River and along the Belleville road. Of this, 400 acres are fenced, and the larger, portion under cultivation. In 1878 the St. Clair Post-office was removed from St. Clair Station to the ranch of Mr. Ferguson, and he was appointed Postmaster, which office he now holds. He has also represented his county in the Assembly since 1878, with honor and fidelity, and to the satisfaction of his constituents. Mr. Ferguson was appointed to the position of Superintendent of Census for the State of Nevada, for the census of 1880, and entered actively in the discharge of the responsible duties of that position. His son, J. F. Ferguson, made the [p.371] enumeration of Churchill County for the census of that year. Mr. Ferguson is the fortunate father of five sons and one daughter, which with one daughter sleeping in the churchyard, and “the gude wife,” who is still living, constitutes the family.


Was born in Cornish, York County, Maine, on the twenty-fourth day of January, 1854. His early life was passed on the farm of his father, Henry B. Pike who was one of the most extensive farmers and the leading cattle merchant of the State of Maine. The subject of our sketch received a liberal academic education, first at the Cornish High School, Limerick Academy, and afterward at the Oxford Norma Institute at South Paris, Maine. His aspirations to become a lawyer prompted him to enter Bowdoin College, where he was admitted to the Freshman Class in 1873.
In 1874, Mr. Pike decided to discontinue his collegiate course, and “go West,” and we next find him settled in Churchill County, Nevada, where, for several years he was engaged in teaching school and, being one of the few “born to command,” his fitness for a teacher of the young was readily perceived, and he was admitted to be one of the most successful instructors that ever presided over a school in the State of Nevada. At length becoming tired of the confinement consequent with his profession, he turned his attention in other directions, and engaged in the practice of law. In this as in all other things to which he has given his attention, he became eminently successful. In connection with his profession, he has been engaged in stock-raising, and is at the present time one of the principal cattle-raisers in his county. He was married in 1877 to Miss Ida M. Kenyon, of Churchill County, a lady of rare accomplishments, who was one of the first white children born in Nevada.


The subject of the following sketch is a native New York State, where he lived until 1855, at which time he removed to Wisconsin, and was engaged as a tiller of the soil for the succeeding six years.
In 1861 he crossed the plains, and arrived at Ragtown, Churchill County, Nevada, in the fall of the same year, where he remained about one year. He then went to Sacramento, California, and after a few month’s stay there, returned to Nevada, and locating again in Churchill County, engaged in the business of stock-raising and ranching. By strict attention to his business he was soon on a firm basis in that line. He was elected one of the Commissioners of this county in 1869, and one year later removed to the county seat, Stillwater, where he has since resided. In 1873 he was chosen to represent his people in the State Legislature, and was re-elected in 1875. In this honorable position he served his constituents in a satisfactory manner, and won laurels in that body that will remain green for years to come. He has also held the office of Justice of the Peace and Deputy Sheriff, and to-day stands firm in the estimation of his fellow-men.
In 1870 he opened a hotel, a view of which will be found on another page, and has since catered to the public in a style known only to those who “know how to keep hotel.”


Is a native of Germany, born on the fourteenth of January, 1832. He emigrated to the United States when he was about twenty-nine years of age, settling in Illinois, where he remained employed on a farm until 1860, when, with others, he emigrated to California, settling at Red Bluff. Up to 1873 he was employed in teaming, carrying on a successful business between California and Nevada, and as far as Idaho, and to quite a number of other points. In that year he sold his teams and purchased the old St. Clair Station on Old River, Churchill County, Nevada, where he is still settled, and is the proprietor of that very conveniently located station, which he successfully manages for the accommodation of travelers, but more particularly for teamsters who team between Candelaria, Grantsville and Wadsworth. Mr. Theelen has 800 acres of fine land, extending for three miles along Old River, 200 acres of which are cultivated and inclosed with fence. With unfailing success he raises each year an immense crop of alfalfa, which he sells to the teamsters, and also feeds to some very fine stock owned by himself. He owns a toll-bridge crossing the Old River, from which he derives a handsome revenue. He also raises from 500 to 600 bushels of grain per year, and his alfalfa fields cover at least 160 acres. Mr. Theelen is extensively known, and throughout his large acquaintance is very much esteemed and respected. He is a married man, having married in 1874, and is the father of two children: Kate, aged six years, and Annie, who is four years old.


Claims Hancock County, Illinois, as the place of his nativity, and was .born on May 3, 1839. When four years of age his parents died, leaving him to the care of his uncle. At seven years of age he removed to Jackson County, Michigan, where he remained until he was seventeen years of age. In the year 1856, he went to Utah, after stopping in Iowa a short time. His next removal was to Ophir, Virginia City, Nevada, reaching that wonderful mining district on the fourth of July, 1859.
In epitomizing a history of any of the brave men who turned their faces towards the setting sun, in those earlier days when hardships were as much to be expected as wolves and Indians, they who have followed after, when railroad travel and long cultivation of lands have superseded the first named, and bravery and numbers have banished the two last named, will find but scant justice done to the subjects of our sketches. But to many readers, memories [p.372] of those earlier days will be made vividly real by what we write; and to another class of readers, each advance made toward the then outposts of civilization will need but few words to suggest the long, patient and courageous struggle of those pioneers, who have but this terse record to tell of lives and adventures which will soon sound as unreal as stories of romance.
In the fall of 1860, Mr. Wightman settled on his present ranch on the Carson Sink, where he now owns 1,200 acres of land, all fenced, 100 acres of which are cultivated in grains. He has a good breed of stock, both cattle and horses, ranging over his rich pastures. He cuts about 400 tons of hay per year. The old adobe house, as shown in the view, was occupied by him as a residence until the year 1880, when he erected a fine frame house, which he now occupies.
On the nineteenth of July, 1865, he married Miss Sarah J. McGee; seven children bless their union, five sons and two daughters.
His ranch is located on the Belleville road, thirty-five miles from Wadsworth. In 1870, he was elected County Assessor, and discharged his duties so acceptably that he was continued in that office until 1876, a period of six years. Since then, the citizens of his county, appreciating his worth, have again called him to the responsible position of County Commissioner of Churchill County, the duties of which office he is now discharging, with like faithfulness and ability.

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