Ronald James

Virginia City and Gold Hill

Virginia City was known as the Queen of the Comstock, the internationally famous mining district. Founded in 1859, the settlement was the focus of a gold rush and within a year, it became the region's largest community, a status it maintained in Nevada into the 1890s. Virginia City was incorporated under the Utah Territory in 1861.

Ward Charcoal Ovens

The Ward Charcoal Ovens are the main attraction of a state park in White Pine County fifteen miles south of Ely. The ovens take their name from Thomas Ward who founded a local mining district in 1872. The local gold and silver ore required the high burning temperature of charcoal for milling, inspiring the construction of the ovens in the mid 1870s. The design of the beehive ovens caused heat to be reflected back on the wood as it slowly burned to produce charcoal. Each of the six ovens stood thirty feet tall and was twenty-seven feet in diameter at the base.

Washoe County Courthouse

Established in 1861, Washoe County's original seat of government was in Washoe City, the location of its first courthouse. In 1871, the county government transferred to Reno where the commissioners built a simple brick Italianate courthouse. Shortly after the move, a contractor demolished the Washoe City courthouse for the brick.

Lander County Courthouse

Created in 1862, Lander County built courthouses in three different towns due to subsequent shifts in county seat location. The first, located in Jacobsville, was a simple wooden structure built by A. J. McDonald at the price of $8,440.

The single-story courthouse measured 20-by-40-feet. Clad in one-inch clapboard, the walls of the building met the shingled roof with a plain-box cornice. The exterior featured side windows and a porch along the extent of the building's front.

Lambert Molinelli

Lambert Molinelli is the author of the only early published book on Eureka, Nevada. He was born in Italy in 1853. In the early 1870s, his family immigrated to Eureka, where he met his wife, Mary, a woman from Iowa.

Joseph Goodman

Joseph Goodman was born in Masonville, New York in 1838. He traveled to California with his father in 1856 and secured employment with Rollin Daggett, typesetting for The Golden Era, a San Francisco literary weekly. Goodman met fellow-printer Denis McCarthy, and the two traveled to Virginia City in 1861, where they acquired interests in the Territorial Enterprise.

John William Mackay

John Mackay was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1831. His surname was Scottish, but he identified with his Irish heritage. In 1840, Mackay's family immigrated to New York, his father dying shortly afterwards. John Mackay left school and eventually apprenticed as a shipwright. In 1851, he traveled to California where he gained experience mining for gold.

John Ross Browne

During two brief Nevada sojourns, John Ross Browne, traveler, author, and artist, created an invaluable portrait of the territory's early development. He was born near Dublin, Ireland, in 1821, where his father edited a nationalist paper, inspiring British authorities to imprison him. They exiled the elder Browne and his family to America in 1833.

James Graham Fair

James Fair is credited with discovering the Big Bonanza, one of the richest pockets of gold and silver on the Comstock Lode. He used his wealth to secure a seat in the U.S. Senate. Born in Northern Ireland in 1831 to Scots-Irish parents, Fair immigrated with his family to the United States when he was a boy. Following the 1849 Gold Rush, he traveled to California.

James Finney

James "Old Virginny" Finney, born in Virginia in approximately 1817, is credited with discovering the Comstock Lode. Traveling west, he became one of the first of several hundred placer miners in Gold Canyon during the 1850s. In January 1859, Finney, Alec Henderson, Jack Yount, and John Bishop climbed up the canyon, having depleted the surface deposits along the creek. They discovered a rich outcropping they named Gold Hill, which was the southern end of the great Comstock Lode. Within a few months, Old Virginny gave away his subdivided claim as gifts or for little money.


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