Ronald James

National Mining Act of 1872

The 1872 National Mining Act emerged from decades of debate about mining and public lands. The British Crown, followed by American state and federal governments, experimented with the management of mineral resources. Their approaches ranged from reserving mineral wealth for the government to the leasing or sale of land.

Miners' Unions: A Comstock Case Study

Conflict between western hardrock miners and management has its roots in the Comstock. In May 1863, Comstock miners initiated efforts to form an association. The following year, the Storey County Miners' League became the first sustained attempt at unionization of miners in the American West. Organized during a local depression, the League called for a $4 minimum daily wage for underground work and demanded "closed shops," insisting companies hire only union members.

Mineral County Courthouse

Hawthorne has the only courthouse in Nevada to serve two counties. The state legislature created Mineral County in 1911, and designated Hawthorne as its county seat, but the courthouse first served as Esmeralda County's seat of government until 1907, after which the county moved its offices to Goldfield.

Milling Technology in the Nineteenth Century

One of the greatest challenges the mining industry faces is the extraction of resources from ore, the material that encases valuable minerals. This task follows the better known first phase of mining, the retrieval of ore from the surface or underground. During the nineteenth century, Nevada industrialists revolutionized the milling of gold and silver ore.

Manx: Immigrants from the Isle of Man

The tiny Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea, had a nineteenth-century population of roughly 60,000, so it was not able to send a substantial number of immigrants to Nevada. Nevertheless, those who arrived had an important effect on the territory and state.

In addition, the Manx belonged to the larger group of Celtic immigrants, without which Nevada would have been very different. Historically, the Manx were Gaelic speakers, making them close relatives of the Irish and the Scots, and more distantly of the Welsh, Cornish, and the Bretons of France.

Mackay School of Mines

The 1864 Nevada state constitution called for the founding of a school of mines. The creation of the University of Nevada School of Mines in 1888 makes it one of the oldest in the nation. The institution is a testament to the industry's importance to the state. The name "Mackay" honors Comstock silver baron John Mackay and the philanthropy of his family and especially of his son Clarence. The highly regarded school trained generations of engineers who plied their trade internationally.

Lyon County Courthouse

Created in 1861, Lyon County established its first seat of government in the mining town of Dayton. The economic success of nearby Virginia City prompted officials to invest early in public architecture. Dayton's courthouse was one of the first built in the state.

Lucius Morris Beebe and Charles Clegg

Lucius Beebe and his lifelong companion, Charles Clegg, helped restore Virginia City, resuscitated the Territorial Enterprise, and promoted the Virginia and Truckee Railroad. Born in 1902 with Massachusetts aristocratic roots, Beebe flamboyantly disregarded authority from an early age. Although he won Yale's Richard Memorial Prize for Poetry, he was eventually expelled.

Virginia City and Early Nevada Mining

Virginia City and the Comstock Lode played a crucial role in the development of the region and the nation. The news of its importance has reverberated throughout the world for nearly 150 years. The wealth of the Comstock's fabulously rich mines affected presidential politics and gave Nevada international fame. Immigrants arrived from every continent, attracted by legendary amounts of gold and silver, which poured into the economy during the crisis of the Civil War.

Lincoln County Courthouse

Established on February 25, 1866, Lincoln County lacked a permanent courthouse until 1871 when it acquired a building site in Pioche. Construction began on an Italianate 40-by-60-foot brick building designed by T. Dimmock and Thomas Keefe.


Subscribe to Ronald James