The rise of the Ponderosa 1849 - 1860

• Historical fact

• Bonanza history as drawn from episodes (more or less)

• From the 'Dreaming Eagle' (or of utmost importance to it...;)

Early 1849 -
At the beginning of 1849, only 54 Chinese lived in California. With the news of the Gold Rush spreading to the Chinese Empire, a rush of Chinese immigrants started to come across the Pacific Ocean.
History: The Chinese in California

In the Sacramento Valley

A lonesome wagon on its way

Since Hop Sing is believed to be with the Cartwrights for quite a long time, even knew Marie, he might have been one of the 54 and might have worked on Sutter's land. With the Cartwrights moving to the Sierras, Hop Sing might have accompanied them. His help would certainly be needed.

Hoss would be around thirteen years old at this time, Little Joe seven.

At this time, the (future) Ponderosa was forced to be largely self-sufficient, as there was nothing around to buy any goods from, except for the young Sacramento town (170 miles away) and the crude Dry Diggins (90 miles away in the opposite direction) - provided Ben knew about Dry Diggins, that is. All the goods required to build the ranch must have hauled across the Sierras in a wagon - nails, tools, lamp oil, flour, sugar, coffee, ropes, harnesses, tacks, clothes, furniture, all personal possessions, and the livestock.

The episode 'Blood on the Land' mentions that one of the first things Ben did was clearing pastures and planting grass - given that we're not talking about a small backyard garden here, add a load of seeds to the list.

This map of 1848 below shows the way from Sutter's Nueva Helvetia across the Sierras into Nevada - I've highlighted it in red so it is easier to see. If you click on the map and have a look at the bigger one, you can see that some more of future Nevada territory has been explored. Pyramid Lake jumps into the eye, as well as the Carson and Walker rivers. Funny how the draw Pramid Lake so big and (what I suppose is) Lake Tahoe can barely be seen.

1848 Sierra Nevada

1848 map of Sierra Nevada (cut - click for a bigger version)

Early 1849 -
Prompted by the gold rush, a settlement was founded at a location 60 miles (97 km) northeast of Sacramento, and called 'Nevada' (meaning 'snow-covered', a reference to the snow-topped mountains in the area). Later in 1850-51, it would become the most important mining town in the state, its Nevada County being the leading gold-mining county in the state. The town of Nevada was incorporated on April 19, 1856. In 1864, 'City' was added to the name to avoid confusion with the state of Nevada, making it 'Nevada City'.

Good - another shopping avenue for the Cartwrights, and only 130 miles away...

1849 -
Hundreds and then thousands of prospectors and settlers crossed the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada into California in search of a quick fortune. It is estimated that 22,500 settlers passed through the Truckee Meadows in 1849, then 45,000 in 1850 and up to 52,000 in 1852. Gold and silver prospectors began combing the barren lands of Northern Nevada.

Wagon train

Westbound wagon train

Spring 1849 -
All this might have proven to Ben that his dreams of building a ranch on his Ponderosa land would not only have a big chance to become true, but might also have a bright and prosperous future. The wagon trains must also have provided some more chances to do business for Ben, selling beef and probably trade in the one or other item for the ranch house.

Ben writes a letter to his 19-ys-old son Adam, who is still studying in New England.

March 1849 -
Mormon leader Brigham Young in his far away settlement at the Great Salt Lake proclaimed the so-called 'State of Deseret', an area encompassing present-day Utah, Nevada, southern California and parts of Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico and Colorado. That guy certainly was a raving megalomaniac - and sheds a certain light on what kind of people he represented.

1849 -
William Sharon arrived in the west to search for gold. He had no luck so he went into real estate. He met William Ralston, owner of the Bank of California in San Francisco. Later in 1864, a branch opened in Virginia City.

1849 -
Captain Jefferson Hunt took a wagon train from Salt Lake City to Southern California via the Mormon Trail. One of the groups he led to California became impatient at his slow progress, and many of the party members elected to abandon Hunt's group, and follow their own route to California. They became the infamous Death Valley '49ers. Those staying with Hunt made the journey without serious incident.

1849 -
The first recorded discovery of gold in Nevada was in Gold Canyon near present day Dayton.

Later in 1849 -
Adam, 19 years old, receives his father's letter, informing him about the latest development and speaking in glowing terms of the future that the land would hold for a young man and studied engineer. Adam, having finished his college, breaks off his private architecture studies and heads west to reunite with his family. Given the times and the absence of stage coaches, the journey must have taken him months

Somewhen around this time, Marie Cartwright died after a riding accident on the Ponderosa, just in front of the house (Marie, My Love). In the episode 'A Rose For Lotta' Joe recalls his mother died before he was five, but I'm inclined to believe it must have been later than that. In 1849, Joe would have been seven years old.

As Adam recalls, he arrived in the Sierras 'only months before the whole area was declared Utah territory' (which was in Septmeber 1850). He remembers his pride when he presented his plans for the re-building of the crude ranch house to his father.

The episode 'The Philip Deidesheimer Story' states that Adam designed and built the ranch house in its later form.

June 1850 -
In early June, 1850, a party of Mormons established a temporary trading post about a mile to the north of what would become Mormon Station (later Genoa), almost a year later.

At that time, the 'nearest' chances for the Ponderosa to buy, sell or barter any goods and much needed supplies at all would have been Dry Diggins/Hangtown (a whoppy 90 miles away in the rough Sierras) or the Californian town Nevada (130 miles through equally rough terrain).

Ben must have used up all his savings to build the ranch, as we learn in the episode 'Broken Ballad' that the shop owner Will Cass 'carried them for five long months' until they could finally pay their bills.

For the sake of my sanity, in the Eagle Will Cass is told to have had one of the first mercantile stores in Dry Diggins/Hangtown at that time.

Also, Adam will later recall how he first met Roy Coffee who was the sheriff of Hangtown in the early 50s.

September 9, 1850 -
US Congress rejected Brigham Young's vast 'State of Deseret' and established Utah territory instead, about half the size of the envisioned 'state', comprising most of what is now the states of Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. The new territory came under the control of Brigham Young, Territorial Governor and leader of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City. This resolution was part of the Compromise of 1850 that sought to preserve the balance of power between slave and free states. United States Congress established the Utah Territory. At the same day, California was admitted to the U.S. as a state.

1850 -
Monthly mail services were established from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe and to Salt Lake City.

May 1851 -
Mail delivery between Sacramento, California and Salt Lake City, Utah Territory began in 1851. These routes paid poorly, so only one team was usually employed for the trip. No way stations were maintained, making the carriers' journey lonely and sometimes perilous. Because of these limited facilities, practically all mail for California went by steamer, via Panama, with a thirty-day schedule from New York to San Francisco.

May 1851 -
The first permanent settlement was established at Gold Cañon/Chinatown/Dayton, which later became just Dayton. Whether Dayton was the first settlement has been a debated issue, as Dayton preemted Genoa by only two weeks.

Mormon Station/Genoa was approximately about 20-25 miles south from the Ponderosa, Dayton about 20-25 miles east.

June 1, 1851 -
Col. John Reese and other Mormons (all males) arrived in Carson Valley with thirteen wagons loaded with supplies for a trading post, which became Mormon or Reese's Station (and later Genoa). Soon the post, included a blacksmith shop, saw mill, general store, hotel, and corral.

Relations between Mormons and gentiles in Carson Valley were strained from the very beginningy, and non-Mormon settlers in the area strifed for a separation from the Mormon-dominated Utah territorial government.

November 12, 1851 -
Separated by some 500 miles from the territorial capital in Salt Lake City and neglected by Young, the western settlers were left with no government and no protection from bandit and Indian attacks. In an attempt to establish law and order, settlers held three meeting at Mormon Station (later Genoa) on November 12th, 19th and 20th.
In these meetings, the settlers created a squatter government to establish bylaws and regulations for the community and to create public offices. Ten resolutions were adopted dealing with the survey and recording of land claims, while an eleventh established a committee of seven officers to act as the region's governing board. In addition, a magistrate's court, made up of a justice of the peace and four others, was to serve as the area's judicial body. Most notably, the group also adopted a petition to Congress, seeking a 'distinct Territorial government' for the Western Utah territory. Congress ignored the petition.

November/December 1851-
Frank & Joseph Barnard, George Follensbee, Frank & W. L. Hall and A. J. Rollins opened a trading post in the Eagle Valley - so called after Frank Hall shot and killed an eagle there. The post was named 'Eagle Station' and would later become Carson City.

January 1, 1852 -
The first dance in Nevada was in Dayton. It was attended by nine women and 150 men. The dance was held at Hall's Trading Post, New Year's Eve.

March 1852 -
In search for some solitude, Adam rides into the mountains and has a bad accident, losing his horse. Near death, he is found and rescued by Donegal Grumpston.

The first toll bridge in Nevada was built by Col. John Reese, over the Carson River not far from Mormon Station.

Gold Coins began to circulate in Carson Valley. The coins were minted by the Mormons at Salt Lake City in the Church Mint.

Edwin Booth

Edwin Booth

The first land claim was granted by the Mormon Station squatter's government, to Col. Reese.

This might be the time for Ben to significantly enhance the lands around the Ponderosa.

Actor Junius Brutus Booth was involved in a tour of California with his sons Edwin Booth and Junius Brutus Booth, Jr., performing in San Francisco and Sacramento.

It might be that Adam met his friend in Sacramento.

1853 -
The first post office in Nevada was established at Mormon Station, later Genoa.

The first school was established in Nevada, located in Israel Mott's house in the Carson Valley, a site that would later become Mottsville. The teacher was told to be a 'Mrs. Allen'...

... but was probably a Miss Abigail Jones... ;)
Mottsville would have been around 25-30 miles from the Ponderosa, but the only chance for 11-ys-old Joe to attend a school at all. Hoss, 17 at the time, most likely had visited school in California.

June 24, 1853 -
President Franklin Pierce signed a treaty for the so-called Gadsden Purchase (known as Venta de La Mesilla, or 'Sale of La Mesilla', in Mexico), for a 29,670-square-mile (76,800 km2) region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. The treaty was ratified by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 1854.

1853 -
Frank Hall sells his interest in the Eagle Station ranch to one John B. Mankin.

1853 -
The ineffectiveness of the squatter government in achieving law and order, combined with the objection of many non-Mormons to any control by Salt Lake City, led 43 settlers to sign a petition to the California Legislature requesting annexation 'for judicial purposes until congress (sic) should provide otherwise'.

January 17, 1854 -
While California ignored the petition of the settlers, the Utah territorial government took note of it and attempted once more to bring some order into its western territory. The territorial legislature created Carson County, a large new county in the Great Basin. It encompassed what is today Carson City, Washoe, Douglas, Storey, Lyon and Mineral counties. In 1854, the whole Carson County had about 200 permanent white residents.
However, once again, the Utah authorities made no attempts to exercise control over the county or take any care at all for its latest creation, so by and large things just went on as before.

1854 -
Nevada's first newspaper, the Gold-Canon Switch was founded in the mining camp Johntown.

May 1, 1854 -
The first white birth (a boy) in Nevada was registered in a journal kept by Laura Ellis. She and her husband James settled on a farm in Gold Canyon, near Dayton.

January 1855 -
The Utah Legislature finally took action to maintain territorial control over the Carson Valley. It established Carson County as Utah's Third U.S. Judicial District and assigned George P. Styles as presiding judge. Orson Hyde, a member of the church's governing board, was appointed as probate and county judge to organize the county.

May 1855 -
George P. Styles, Orson Hyde and 38 others left Salt Lake City and travelled to Carson County to once and for all establish territorial (and Mormon) control over Carson Valley.

June 15, 1855 -
Mormon Prophet Brigham Young sent a group of 30 men led by William Bringhurst to Las Vegas valley. Bringhurst had orders to establish a mission for the Latter-day Saints Church. They built a 150 square foot adobe brick fort, named the Mormon Fort. The mission was to serve a dual purpose: establish supply stations along the Old Spanish Trail and convert the Native Americans. The Mormons spent two years there before the harsh desert defeated their ambitions. The residents of the mission were also instructed to search for minerals that could be of an industrial use.

September 20, 1855 -
Orson Hyde called for county elections at Mormon Station (later Genoa). All but one of the victorious candidates were Mormons - not surprisingly the non-Mormons in the county were less than pleased by the outcome.

November 1855 -
Once again, settlers of the Carson Valley sent a petition to California, asking once more for annexation of the western part of Utah territory to California. This time, the California legislature looked favorably upon the petition, but Congress failed to act on their plea.

May 1856 -
The Potosi mine was discovered about forty-three miles to the southwest of the Las Vegas mission by James Morgan who worked it for quicksilver and zinc. It produced lead and a group was later sent to mine and smelt the lead, used to make bullets for hunting and Indian fighting. The lead was shipped to the Las Vegas rancho where they built and operated the first smelter west of the Missouri River. The mine was referred to as the Lead Mine, but later became known as the Potosi, and was opened as the first lode mine in Nevada.

Around 200 Chinese laborers were brought in to Dayton in order to dig a ditch from Gold Canyon to Carson River within two miles of town.

Franktown near Washoe Lake was established by Orson Hyde, probate judge of Carson County, Utah Territory, in the Washoe Valley.

Only 10 or so miles from of the Ponderosa, this would have been the Cartwright's closest neighbors, beside Eagle Station that was also about 10 miles away. The Cartwrights probably had a warmer relationshop with their fellow gentiles from Eagle Station, though.

1856 - Mormon Station was renamed Genoa

1856 -
After the death of his wife Mary, and having no children or other family, Roy Coffee left Placerville and relocated to Genoa. While the episode 'No Less A Man' states the death of Roy Coffee's wife and the fact that they had no children, it was not mentioned where he lived prior to 1861 (which was the earliest possible date for him to become the sheriff of Virginia City).

1856 -
A certain Henry Tompkins Paige Comstock appeared in Nevada tending a flock of sheep. He claimed 160 acres of unoccupied land for a ranch. Although he maintained good relations with the Paiute Indians, they were starving and decimated his flock. He relocated to Johntown, a crude settlement in Gold Canyon, any tried his luck in prospecting, albeit with little to none success.

1856 -
After his father's death in 1852, Edwin Booth went on a worldwide tour, visiting Australia and Hawaii, and finally gaining acclaim of his own during an engagement in Sacramento, California in 1856.

November 1856 -
Judge Hyde left Carson Valley in frustration, later complaining that the whole valley 'has rejected the authority of God ' and ' shall be visited by the Lord of Hosts with thunder and with earthquakes and with floods, with pestilence and with famine until your names are not known amongst men'.
Must have been a real nice fellow, that...

March 6, 1857 -
Dred Scott v. Sandford, commonly referred to as The Dred Scott Decision, was a decision by the United States Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants - whether or not they were slaves - were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States.

The episode 'Enter Thomas Bowers' later refered to that decision.

June 1957 -
The Pioneer Stage Line, the first stage to navigate the Sierras, traveled from Placerville to Genoa and began a once a month route with passengers and mail traffic. Regular service was started shortly there after.


August 5, 1857 -
From 1857 to 1858, the administration of president James Buchanan sought to quell what it perceived to be a rebellion in Utah Territory while the Mormons, fearful that the large federal army dispatched to the region had been sent to annihilate them, blocked the army's entrance into the Salt Lake Valley. Brigham Young recalled Mormon colonists from the western areas of the proposed State of Deseret to the core area of Mormon settlement south of the Great Salt Lake. Most Mormons moved out from Genoa and Franktown, and abandoned the Mormon Mission at Las Vegas which also meant the closing of the Potosi mine.

September 11, 1857 -
Date of the Mountain Meadows massacre, a brutal mass slaughter of the Fancher-Baker emigrant wagon train at Mountain Meadows, Utah Territory, by local Mormon militia and members of the Paiutes. It began as an attack, quickly turned into a siege, and eventually culminated in the murder of the unarmed emigrants after their surrender. All of the party except for seventeen children under eight years old - about 120 men, women, and children - were killed. After the massacre, the corpses of the victims were left decomposing for two years on the open plain, the surviving children were distributed to local Mormon families, and many of their possessions auctioned off at the Latter Day Saint Cedar City tithing office. As said, real nice people...

1857 -
After the Utah legislature's dissolution of Carson County and Judge Hyde's return to Salt Lake City, the Carson Valley was left lawless. The representative of the remaining settlers, one James Crane, was sent to Washington to work for a separate territory status for the area. Crane tried for two years, to no avail. Meanwhile, the residents formed a provisional squatter government of 28 men.

1857 - The Rogers & Thorington House is Nevada's first hotel in Genoa.

1857 -
Nevada's second newspaper, The Scorpion, was handwritten when Stephen A. Kinsey puplished the first issue at Genoa.

Winter 1857-58
Fort Mohave was established in the southern tip of Nevada, and it's believed that soldiers from the fort discovered gold in Eldorado Canyon which led to active mining in that area.

1858 -
The first telegraph line was constructed between Placerville, CA and Genoa - the newly developed stage line.

Construction of the telegraph line

Construction of the telegraph line

March 1858 -
Still without any functional government, the area fell into the same lawlessness that had prevailed before the Mormons had moved in. The period between 1857 and 1861 was described as 'an era of anarchy and confusion'. The 'squatter government' had nothing to say, and the residents formed a vigilante committee to try and maintain law and order.

The vigilante committee was more or less a hapless lynch mob before one man took control of it and served as some sort of provisional sheriff: Roy Coffee. Adam recalled later how Roy, having nothing left in his live after his wife's death, made the security in the valley his personal agenda; and how people used to refer to him as 'Sheriff Coffee' long before this position was legally created in the valley.

Lincoln and Douglas

Lincoln & Douglas

June 16, 1858 -
Abraham Lincoln made his 'A House Divided' speech in Springfield, Illinois, upon accepting the Illinois Republican Party's nomination as that state's United States senator. The speech became the launching point for his unsuccessful campaign for the Senate seat against Stephen A. Douglas, which included the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. The speech created a lasting image of the danger of disunion, and it rallied Republicans across the North

In the episode 'A House Divided' Ben states this speech was made 'a month ago' - not very likely... Senator Douglas achieved immortal fame in the episode 'Love Me Not'... ;)

August 12, 1858 -
John B. Mankin sold his interest in the Eagle Station ranch to Abraham Curry, John J. Musser, Frank M. Proctor, and Benjamin F. Green for a $1,000. The sale was filed with the Ormsby County Recorder on June 11, 1862.
At the place where Eagle Station was, Carson City was founded.

November 7, 1858 -
Abraham Lincoln resumed his law practice after losing the senate election to Stephen Douglas.

December 18, 1858 -
The first edition of the Territorial Enterprise was printed in Genoa, Utah Territory. The Enterprise was not, however, the first newspaper in Nevada. It was the first printed paper, but was preceded by two handwritten newspapers.

1858 -
Frederick Dodge became the first Federal Indian Agent for Western Utah.

1858 -
The Reform War in Mexico began between Liberal and Conservative forces. It would last to 1861. The conservatives controlled Mexico City, but not the city of Veracruz. From here, Benito Juárez directed the opposition movement, and from which the liberals obtained supplies and money through duties received in the port city.

Early spring 1859 -
Gold was found at the head of Six-Mile Canyon at Gold Hill in 1859 by two miners named Pat McLaughlin and Peter O'Reilly. A fellow miner, Henry Comstock, stumbled upon their find and claimed it was on his property. The gullible McLaughlin and O'Reilly believed him and assured Comstock a place in history when the giant lode was named.


Six-Mile-Canyon at Gold Hill

Following the gold up the canyon an outcropping of gold in quartz was found. Another miner, James Finney, nicknamed "Old Virginny" from his birthplace, is reported to have named the future town during a drunken celebration. He dropped a bottle of whiskey on the ground and christened the newly-founded tent-and-dugout town on the slopes of Mt. Davidson "Old Virginny Town," in honor of himself.

The biggest problem in this grubstake paradise was the sticky blue-gray mud that clung to picks and shovels. When the mud was assayed, it proved to be silver ore worth over $2,000 a ton - in 1859 dollars

June 13, 1859 -
One Captain James Hervey Simpson of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers arrived in Genoa in search for a shorter route through the Great Basin to California. Up to then, the principal pathway for overland migration through this desert region ran alongside the Humboldt River, in western Utah Territory.

Captain simpson arrives in Genoa

Genoa in June 1859 (arrival of Capt. Simpson and his men)

July 1, 1859 -
Californian newspapers began reporting the find, and masses of people flooded into the area.



Virginia City sprang up over night. quickly outpacing neighboring Gold City, even though both towns looked more like refugee camps that time, with masses of tents and crude huts. The boom brought a flood of traffic through the Truckee Meadows. Stage coaches, pack trains, mule and ox teams, prairie schooners, carrying settlers, miners, foodstuffs, lumber, mining equipment, etc. to Virginia City - and they all needed to cross the Truckee River. One Charles Fuller built a wooden bridge near the present site of Reno, and charged a toll to everyone and everything that crossed his bridge. Fuller also provided gold-seekers with lodging, as well as a place to dine and exchange information with other prospectors.

Adam recalled years later how the boom of Virginia City propelled the Ponderosa to prosperity.

July 18, 1859 -
A constitutional convention was held at Genoa. A Bill of Rights and a proposed State Constitution was adopted. Isaac Roop was elected Provisional Governor of (the officially still non-existing) Nevada Territory. Consequently, his office had no legal authority.

Late 1859-60
The vast numbers of whites chasing their fortunes at the newly discovered Comstick Lode had devastating effects on the Indians living in the area. Their main source of food, the pinon pines, were felled in masses, the game depleted by white hunters. Their plight was best confirmed by the reports of Frederick Dodge, the Federal Indian Agent for Western Utah, when his reports noted the growing poverty of the Indians in the area. Yet instead of questionning his own folks, he believed Indians might be better off in reservations.

November 1959
The extremely severe winter weather of 1859-60 started early in November and many miners returned to California. Activity picked up again in February 1860. However, the Pyramid Lake Indian War, erupting in May, brought mining on the Comstock to a virtual standstill until hostilities ceased just prior to that summer.

1859 -
Telegraph line was extended from Genoa to Carson City.

January 1860 -
The chief of the Northern Paiutes, Chief Truckee, died and was succeeded by his son Poito, better known as Winnemucca. Unlike his father, Winnemucca was distrustful of the whites.

Early spring 1860 -
As soon as the mountain passes were safe again after the harsh winter, masses of fortune seekers washed over from California.

Pony Express

Great job offer...

April 1860 -
The Pony Express began its route from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California - 1800 miles. It took about 10 days to make the run - one way. The riders changed horses twice per trip, about every 10-15 miles, and averaged about 33 miles per day.

April 1860 -
Philip Deidesheimer was hired by W. F. Babcock, a trustee of the Ophir Mine in April 1860. He invented a system of supports for mines, using heavy timber 'cubes' now known as square set timbering, that enabled skilled miners to open three-dimensional cavities of any size underground. The system, which was inspired by the structure of honeycombs, enabled mining of the large silver orebodies of the Comstock Lode. Deidesheimer refused to patent the innovation.

Philip Deidesheimer played a role in the episode 'The Philip Deidesheimer Story'.

May 6, 1860 -
Williams Station, a combination of a saloon, general store and stagecoach station located along the Carson River, was raided by Paiutes. Three whites were killed and the station was burned. According to Sarah Winnemucca, this raid was in retaliation for the kidnap and rape of two young Paiute girls by the proprietors of the station. One white managed to escape to Virginia City, and his story caused a general panic in the region.

May 12, 1860 -
A battle between Indians and whites near Pyramid Lake cost the lives of 66 white men, including Major William M. Ormsby. Northern Paiute warriors decisively defeated a volunteer army from Virginia City and nearby settlements. The Pony Express was stopped and stagecoaches were diverted from the Comstock as panic spread through the area.

June 2, 1860 -
A strong force of 754 volunteers and regular U.S. Army troops led by Capt. Joseph Stewart and Col. John C. Hays engaged the Indians in battle along the tableland and mountainside in retaliation for the battle on May 12th. Several hundred braves, attempting a delaying action to allow their women, children and elders to escape, fought with such courage and strategy that the superior white forces were held back during the day until the Indians withdrew. Four whites were killed in the second battle of Pyramid Lake and claimed 160 Paiutes killed.

The episode 'The Paiute War' tells us that the Cartwrights participated in the fighting.

July 20, 1860 -
Captain Stewart, leading the Regular contingent, afterward established a permanent U.S. Army fort along the Carson River near the location of where the hostilities began at Williams Station. The post was named Fort Churchill for Sylvester Churchill, Inspector General of the U.S. Army. Construction on the fort began on July 20, 1860 and was completed in 1861.

Summer 1860 -
William M. Stewart, a lawyer from Nevada City, moved to Virginia City, where he participated in mining litigation and helped the development of the Comstock Lode. He would later help the territory develop its constitution when Nevada became a state in 1864

Territorial Enterprise office

Territorial Enterprise 1860/61

November 3, 1860 -
The Territorial Enterprise newspaper resumes publishing a newspaper after its move from Genoa to Virginia City. The first issue of the paper printed in Virginia City was published from the corner of A Street and Sutton Avenue, then the heart of the booming business district.

November 6, 1860 -
Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th President of the United States, beating Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, John C. Breckinridge of the Southern Democrats, and John Bell of the new Constitutional Union Party. He was the first Republican president, winning entirely on the strength of his support in the North: he was not even on the ballot in ten states in the South, and won only two of 996 counties in all the Southern states. His election was not perceived warmly by the South and talks of secession increased.

1860 -
Telegraph line was extended from Carson City to Virginia City. It was called the 'Placerville & Humboldt Telegraph Company Line'.

The first bank opened in Nevada when the Wells Fargo Express and Banking Company opened an office in Virginia City. The International Hotel opened on “C” Street.

Wells Fargo 1861

Wells Fargo Bank in
Virginia City 1860/61

The International Hotel

The International Hotel in its early state 1860/61

The first ore mill built in Nevada was built at Galena to process gold from the Comstock lode.

The following two images show how much Nevada had grown in just one year:

1860 population

1860 business census

proceed to the years 1861 - 1864