Ronald James

Austin and the Reese River Mining District

In 1862, William Talcott discovered silver ore in Pony Canyon, a pass through central Nevada's Toiyabe Mountains. The strike attracted newcomers who founded Clifton below the new claims. David Buel then platted Austin up the canyon, naming his town for his partner Alvah Austin. Because of the rush, legislators created Lander County in December 1862.

Artemus Ward

Artemus Ward, often called the first standup comic, played a pivotal role in the history of American literature during an 1863 Christmas visit to the Nevada territory when he influenced the career of Mark Twain. Born Charles Farrar Brown in 1834 in Maine, the future Artemus Ward lost his father when young and became an apprentice printer at age thirteen. Eventually, Brown graduated to reporter and comic columnist during a career that took him to Ohio.

William Chapman Ralston

William Ralston was a California investor who assembled the means to monopolize the Comstock Lode during the 1860s. Born in Ohio in 1826, Ralston moved to San Francisco in 1854 and became a rising star as part owner in a steamship company. Beginning in 1860, he turned his attention and his investments to Comstock mines.

Art Deco Style Architecture in Nevada

Art Deco was a style that influenced everything in the visual and decorative arts. The 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris made the Art Deco movement international. The style established a thoroughly modern look that would, in its permutations, affect the rest of the twentieth century and even the next century.

William Sharon

William Sharon played an important role in early Nevada. Born in Ohio on January 9, 1821, he practiced law in St. Louis then pursued business in Illinois. With the 1849 Gold Rush, Sharon traveled to California where he engaged in business and real estate, but he lost his earnings in stock speculation.

Archaeology on the Comstock

Professional archaeology has yielded many insights into Comstock life over a century ago. The discovery of an African American saloon, the world's oldest Tabasco Sauce bottle, and the first examples of human DNA retrieved from artifacts other than human remains have captured international headlines. Still, the real story involves the patient, labor-intensive analysis of hundreds of thousands of artifacts examined in context.

William Wright, aka Dan De Quille

Most who knew William Wright, a colleague of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) on Virginia City’s Territorial Enterprise, believed that of the two, Wright was the most likely to succeed. Instead, Twain went on to achieve immediate national and international fame while Wright, nineteenth-century Nevada’s most important literary figure, slipped into obscurity until recently.

Andrew S. Hallidie

Andrew S. Hallidie was the inventor of the flat wire cable, a device that made it possible to send elevators into deep, hard rock mines. Born Andrew Smith in London in 1836, he was the son of an engineer who held patents for making metal wire ropes. Smith eventually adopted the name Hallidie after his godfather, Sir Andrew Hallidie.

Americans at the Birth of Nevada

Historians of ethnicity and immigration often overlook those born in the United States, and yet these people have just as much sense of a self-identity as someone from another country. Between 1850 and 1860, virtually everyone in the western Great Basin except the Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe Indians came from somewhere else, and the newly-arrived brought distinct, diverse experiences and prejudices.

Yellow Jacket Disaster

Gold Hill's Yellow Jacket Disaster was probably the worst mining accident in Nevada history. On the morning of April 7, 1869, fire spread at the 800-foot level. As the day crew descended, smoldering timbers collapsed, flooding poisonous air into the Yellow Jacket and neighboring Kentuck and Crown Point Mines. Fortunately, shifts were changing or casualties would have been higher. Nevertheless, survivors described horrible scenes of miners desperately struggling for life.


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