Submitted by scott on Fri, 09/23/2016 - 13:13

"We arrived, disembarked, and the stage went on. It was a “wooden” town; its population two thousand souls. The main street consisted of four or five blocks of little white frame stores which were too high to sit down on, but not too high for various other purposes; in fact, hardly high enough. They were packed close together, side by side, as if room were scarce in that mighty plain.
The sidewalk was of boards that were more or less loose and inclined to rattle when walked upon. In the middle of the town, opposite the stores, was the “plaza” which is native to all towns beyond the Rocky Mountains—a large, unfenced, level vacancy, with a liberty pole in it, and very useful as a place for public auctions, horse trades, and mass meetings, and likewise for teamsters to camp in. Two other sides of the plaza were faced by stores, offices and stables.
The rest of Carson City was pretty scattering."

"Originally, Nevada was a part of Utah and was called Carson county; and a pretty large county it was, too. Certain of its valleys produced no end of hay, and this attracted small colonies of Mormon stock-raisers and farmers to them. A few orthodox Americans straggled in from California, but no love was lost between the two classes of colonists. There was little or no friendly intercourse; each party staid to itself. The Mormons were largely in the majority, and had the additional advantage of being peculiarly under the protection of the Mormon government of the Territory.

"The “Washoe Zephyr” (Washoe is a pet nickname for Nevada) is a peculiar Scriptural wind, in that no man knoweth “whence it cometh.” That is to say, where it originates. It comes right over the mountains from the West, but when one crosses the ridge he does not find any of it on the other side! It probably is manufactured on the mountain-top for the occasion, and starts from there. It is a pretty regular wind, in the summer time.

"By and by I was smitten with the silver fever. “Prospecting parties” were leaving for the mountains every day, and discovering and taking possession of rich silver-bearing lodes and ledges of quartz. Plainly this was the road to fortune. The great “Gould and Curry” mine was held at three or four hundred dollars a foot when we arrived; but in two months it had sprung up to eight hundred. The “Ophir” had been worth only a mere trifle, a year gone by, and now it was selling at nearly four thousand dollars a foot!

"We put our names to it and tried to feel that our fortunes were made. But when we talked the matter all over with Mr. Ballou, we felt depressed and dubious.

"I had already learned how hard and long and dismal a task it is to burrow down into the bowels of the earth and get out the coveted ore; and now I learned that the burrowing was only half the work; and that to get the silver out of the ore was the dreary and laborious other half of it. We had to turn out at six in the morning and keep at it till dark. This mill was a six-stamp affair, driven by steam.


140.4 Washoe is a pet nickname for Nevada] “Washoe” comes from the word “washiu,” which means “person” in the language of the Washo Indians. The Washo, traditional enemies of the Paiute, were a small tribe inhabiting the region around Carson City and Lake Tahoe; in 1859 they numbered only about nine hundred (Hodge, 2:920).  Chapter 21: note for 140.4," in Roughing It : an electronic text. 2016 

176.19 Col. Whitman] In October 1861 George W. Whitman (1811?–1891), the former state controller of California (1856–58), announced his recent discovery of extensive coal beds fifteen miles southeast of Virginia City: “I am greatly mistaken if the supply of coal at this point is not more than sufficient to meet every demand for a period much longer than you or I will need fire in an earthly habitation.” This discovery of a potential source of fuel in timber-scarce Nevada was as significant as a major ore strike (Mining and Scientific Press: “Nevada Territory,” 4 [12 Oct 61]: 5; “Regular Correspondence,” 4 [1 Feb 62]: 5; Curry, 644; Hutchings’ California Magazine 2 [Mar 58]: 390).  Chapter 26: note for 176.19," in Roughing It : an electronic text. 2016