Silver Tailings: Borrasca vs. Bonanza

In 1855, the miners in Gold Canyon had their best year, to that date. About 200 miners dug up an estimated $100,000 in gold.

Thereafter, the collective annual earnings declined. By 1857, this decline had spurred some miners to prospect upper Gold Canyon and the adjacent areas.

They looked for gold-bearing gravel, which experience had taught them they would find in canyons, but not on plateaus or level ground. The ‘one ledge theory’ then popular in California held that all gold nuggets and flakes came from a single source and were washed downhill by the passage of water in rivers and creeks, and during spring run-offs.

Some of the miners explored and dug in what would soon be named ‘Six Mile Canyon,’ but no sites of great value were turned up. Few of the men there were able to dig up more than $4 worth of gold in a day, and that not on a regular basis.

The first bonanza (good weather or good fortune) was over; the first borrasca (squall weather or bad fortune) had begun.

Between Labor and Slavery

During the first California state legislative session, lawmakers voted to eliminate the right of Indians to vote because they feared the control the Indian peoples might exercise. The Legislature also enacted the “Act for the Government and Protection of Indians.”

This law set the tone of Indian-white relations for many years. The act provided the following:

  • The Justice of the Peace exercised jurisdiction over all complaints between Indians and whites, “But in no case shall a white man be convicted of any offense upon the testimony of an Indian or Indians.”
  • Landowners would permit Indians who were peaceably residing on their land to continue to do so.
  • Whites could obtain control of Indian children.
  • If any Indian was convicted of a crime, any white person could come before the court and contract for the Indian’s services and in return pay the Indian’s fine.
  • It was illegal to sell or administer alcohol to Indians.
  • Indians convicted of stealing a horse, mule, cow, or any other valuable could receive any number of lashes up to 25, and a fine not to exceed $200.
  • The law also provided that the abuse of an Indian child was to be punished by no more than a $10 fine.
  • An Indian found strolling or loitering where alcohol was sold, begging or leading a profligate life was liable to be arrested.
  • After the justice of the peace, mayor or recorder would make out a warrant and within 24 hours the services of the Indian could be sold to the highest bidder.
  • The term of service would not exceed four months.

This law was widely abused with regard to the use of Indians as laborers. It eventually was used to justify and provide for what would later be coined as Indian slavery.

Silver Tailings: Old Spanish Trail

Mail service was begun between Salt Lake City and San Bernardino in 1852. This led to stations being built at natural springs along the ‘Old Spanish Trail’ where fodder for horses grew without cultivation.

One of these was built-in meadows about 55 miles away from the nearest neighbor to its northeast, which was one of the longest stretches between stations.

In 1855, Mormon settlers arrived at the distant station and planted a settlement. They cultivated about 500 acres of farmland.

When the Mormons anticipated battle with the US Army in 1857, the settlers abandoned their development and returned to Utah. Not long after the Mormon departure, Octavius Decatur Gass moved to the station and expanded the farmland under cultivation.

He sold fruits, vegetables, and beef to miners on the Colorado River and in the Potosi Mountains. Gass preserved the common name by which the area was already known.

He called his little place, “Las Vegas Rancho.”

Silver Tailings: Grant Pays a Visit

In October 1879, former U.S. President Ulysses Grant paid a visit to Virginia City. A parade was held in his honor, at which passed in display several volunteer guard units that had been formed during the Civil War and were still organized.

None of these military companies had ever fought a battle. Membership in them had become a social obligation of rising young men.

Their shiny, satin uniforms had been designed with the thought that the best and brightest got the most applause, and perhaps the most attention from women. The decorations and frills added to their uniforms would have shamed hotel doormen and Admirals, everywhere.

When Wells Drury of the Sarsfield Guard was introduced to President Grant, the ex-soldier looked at the newspaper editor’s get-up and remarked, ‘Young fellow, I never had as fine a uniform as that all the time I was General of the Armies!’

Furthermore, Grant toured the area’s many mines with John MacKay, one of the co-owner’s of the Consolidated Virginia Mining Company, considered the richest mine on the Comstock. He was so moved by the rough working conditions that he exclaimed to MacKay, “That’s a close to Hell as I ever want to get.”

Christmas Tradition

I was talking with my boss, Dan. He told me he’d been so busy the last few weeks that he’d gotten none of his Christmas shopping done.

Then he told me that it would be okay. Why?

He has a family tradition of purchasing at least one present for a family member in the final hours before the stores close for the holiday. His plan of action — treat the entire shopping experience to as a part of his tradition.

His story made me realize — I don’t have any traditions to hold onto or pass along. I’m tempted to feel jealous.

Merry Christmas!

Gold Fever

The first recorded contact between Indians who lived in what is now known as Del Norte County and white men was June 9, 1828. On that day, the Jedediah Smith party met the Tolowa.

However they were not the first as there had been some previous contact with Russian and Hudson Bay fur traders. But sustained contact between white men and the Indians of present day Del Norte County was very limited until 1852.

The events leading to that extensive contact have their roots grounded five years before as on May 13, 1847, the United States declared war on Mexico. And the following year on January 13, California was militarily taken from Mexico and by February 2, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, officially giving title of California to the United States.

Coinciding with the takeover of California from Mexico was the California Gold Rush which began in 1848. Northern California was not immune to “gold fever,” with the discovery of gold by Major Pierson B. Redding in the upper Trinity River.

The discovery of gold triggered a mass immigration of miners and traders into Northern California. This would change life drastically for the Indian peoples of the area.

Then in September 1850 California was admitted to the Union. That same year the first State Constitutional Convention was held.

At that convention the California Legislature was formed. The new Legislature established Trinity County, which encompassed present day Del Norte County.

Silver Tailings: Abandoned Mining Camps

Here’s a salute to the passing of the Silver State’s many abandoned mining camps. And while not standing anymore in their original glory, they will still be remembered in another hundred years.

In 1862, Prebel
In 1863, Buster Falls and Lucky Jim Camp
In 1864, Guadalajara
In 1865, Morey
In 1866, Old Camp and Reveille
In 1868, Arabia
In 1870, Alleghany’s Camp
In 1871, Pinto City
In 1872, Yankee Blade
In 1874, Gouge Eye and Hardscrabble
In 1879, Northumberland

Also a hat tip to the miners who lived in those long forgotten shacks, bought supplies in the general stores, and drank in the town’s saloons. And every once in a while those same miners found a ledge or vein that made them rich – and Nevada famous.

Silver Tailings: China Town

Chinese laborers were hired to dig a canal from the Carson River to Gold Canyon to provide a year round source of water for mining in 1856. The’ Reese ditch’ was a $10,000 failure, though.

The northern end of it, where the water was supposed to go, was 43 feet higher than the southern end of it, from which the water was supposed to come.

White American miners resented the ‘Celestials’ because the latter would work for lower daily wages. This made them an economic threat to those Whites who temporarily hired themselves out to other miners.

This had led to hostility and forced segregation in the California goldfields, and the same situation developed in western Utah Territory.

When the Chinese built homes at a trading post on the Carson River and started panning for gold in the river, the Whites referred to their settlement as ‘China Town.’ It was a descriptive name, but it was not intended to be a pleasant one.

A Come to Jesus Event

By this time next year we’ll know if all the apocalyptic information we’ve been fed through TV shows, movies, news articles, books and the Internet is true or not. This is because according to the Mayan calendar, the world is supposed to come to an end on this date in 2012.

“For two thousand years, the Mayan Calendar has prophesied the end of mankind on a date equating to December 21st, 2012, says Steve Alten, author of Phobos: Mayan Fear, “As that day approaches, greed, corruption, economic collapse, and violence seem to be pushing our species to the predicted brink of disaster.”

Alten’s book is listed as a fiction publication, but in radio interviews he claims it to be based on extensive study and research into the subject. Either way it’s a good read.

And for years we’ve heard rhetoric regarding Global Warming and whether it’s real or merely propaganda to push some other agenda. Lately though, it seems to be at the forefront of apocryphal dialogue.

“Forget global warming. The next ice age could begin any day,” that’s what Not by Fire, but by Ice, author Robert Felix says.

Felix claims we’re looking at another ice age and a possible geomagnetic reversal in the earth’s mantle, meaning what considered north will soon be south. He roots his argument in juxtaposition to those who say the world’s coming to an end through man-caused heat related events.

Then there’s author’s such as John Michael Greer, who proposes in his book, “Apocalypse Not,” the world isn’t going to end anytime soon. In his publication he dispels various “end of the world,” prophecies.

“For almost 3,000 years apocalypse prophecies have convinced people all over the world that the future is about to give them the world they want instead of the world they’ve got,” Greer writes, “All the end time prophecies splashed across the media in every age have had something else in common: every one of them has been wrong.”

Who knows – maybe Jesus is coming and he really IS pissed.

Silver Tailings: First Championship Fight

There were a number of newspaper editorials in January 1897, written in favor of the State Legislature permitting boxing. It would do Nevada good, they said.

The 20,000 people, who would come to see a big bout, two or three times a year, would spend lots of money and put new life into hotels and lodging. While they were here, they would see the wonder of nature that is Nevada and investigate our resources.

What’s more —  they might decide to stay.

Times were tough for Nevada. People were hard up.

Mining was in decline and would never again be the driving economic force it once was. Farming and ranching were on thin margins.

The State Legislature quickly forgot that boxing is a brutal sport. They ignored thundering from the church pulpits and they legalized it.

In the first championship fight, held in Carson City on March 17, 1897, Robert Fitzsimmons knocked out Jim Corbett in the 13th round with a right punch and a left uppercut.

The People of Tsulu

From a tribe that was estimated in 1857 to number 500-600 people, the Chilula Indians have been reduced to “two or three families and a few persons incorporated with the Hupa” within a few short years of contacting white settlers. The Chilula are connected with the Hupa and Whilkut Indians.

While they called themselves the Tsulu-la, the “people of Tsulu,” after the name of their home, locally, they were known as the Bald Hills Indians. They lived on and Redwood Creek to a few miles above Minor Creek.

The whites’ trails from Trinidad and Humboldt Bay to the gold camps on the Klamath and Trinity crossed the Bald Hills. And like the other tribes, the Bald Hills Indians suffered harsh treatment at the hands of the incoming migration.

Finally the tribe was rounded up and moved to the Hoopa Reservation and to Fort Bragg. But blood feuds took their toll, and by 1919 the Chilula were nearly decimated.

Silver Tailings: Mail Delivery Reduced

The U.S. Post Office reduced mail delivery to two days a week in Taylor, Nevada, on January 24, 1886, where the White Pine News was then being published. Isolated mining camps on more than a hundred mail routes in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona suffered the same fate.

The editor of the paper, W.L. Davis, lambasted the federal government for reducing western miners to being second class citizens, but this was a futile gesture as more frequent mail delivery wasn’t soon restored. Many of the stage lines in the West were subsidized by mail delivery contracts.

On that same January 24, 1886, the White Pine Stage Line reduced to two per week the number of trips it made to Eureka. It appears to have been intervention by Wells, Fargo, and Co. that caused return of the third weekly stage as the company offered to forward all letters left at its office.

The ability of Wells, Fargo and Co., to make a profit in the West seems to have escaped officials of the ‘Mugwump Administration’ of Grover Cleveland.

The Santa Bounce

Why Adam and I were trying to convince our sisters, Deirdre and Marcy, Santa Claus was in the area, checking to see if they were being “naughty or nice,” I haven’t a clue. What I do know is the jolly old Elf was nowhere to be found, so I stepped in.

Knowing where Dad kept his Santa’s Helper suit he’d wear on occasion to the VFW Christmas Party, I put it on. Then I climbed up on the roof and waited for Adam to get the girls to come outside and see the “truth” for themselves.

That’s where things seemed to slip – or rather – I slipped.

All I was supposed to do was run along the top beam of the house towards the chimney and duck down out of sight. But no, instead I took two or three steps, and then fell off the roof.

I hit the cement patio with a smack I thought could be heard for miles around.

There was no time to lay there and nurse my injuries though. Instead I jumped up, dashed into the house, stripped off the suit, stuffed it in Dad’s dresser and raced outside to join Adam and the girls. Deirdre and Marcy were so excited — they had jus’ witnessed Santa disappearing in the “twinkling of an eye.”

They were so excited they never noticed I was out of breath from knocking the wind out of myself, or the fact that I was trying not to show I had banged up my left hip and elbow in the fall. Adam didn’t even realized it until after I told him what had happened.

He jus’ laughed when I told him, “This Santa Claus’ helper doesn’t bounce.”

Silver Tailings: Newpapers

Joseph Webb started the first newspaper in what is now Nevada, the Gold-Canyon Switch during the year 1854. It was hand written and distributed in John Town.

Three years later, S.A. Kinsey started the second-hand written newspaper, the Scorpion, in Genoa. No copies of either paper still exist; knowledge of them comes from Dan DeQuille having written about them.

W.L. Jemegan and Alfred James hauled a printing press and rolls of paper over the Sierra Nevada on the backs of mules in 1858. The name of their paper was the Territorial Enterprise, following the practice of using the name of the place where the paper was published.

Instead of Genoa being used, however, the phrase ‘Utah Territory’ was shortened to one word. James sold out to Jonathan Williams before the newspaper was moved to Carson City in November 1859. Jemegan sold out to Williams in May 1860.

Williams moved the newspaper to A and Taylor Streets in Virginia City in October 1860. Today. the Territorial Enterprise Building is located at 23 South C Street, and is home to the Mark Twain Museum.

Eli: Every Life’s Important

Since it was first reported in June, I’ve been following the investigation of nine-month old Elijah Guia’s sudden death while at a babysitter’s home. What I didn’t know was that I know Eli’s mother, Keia.

She worked at the Reno Hilton on the front desk while I was a security officer. I only found this out after the Reno Gazette-Journal published a photo of her holding a black and white picture of her son.

Keia move to Las Vegas shortly after I left the Hilton. She returned to the Reno area, jus’ a month before her son died.

The medical investigation into Eli’s death has only jus’ been completed and turned over to the Reno police for further review. Authorities say they’ll wrap up their investigation in a few weeks and submit a report to the Washoe County District Attorney’s office for further possible action.

Meanwhile an early evening vigil was held Saturday in front of Reno Justice Court at One South Sierra Street. During the vigil, people wore green ribbons — a color that symbolizes life — and is also the color of Eli’s birthstone.

The baby sitter, Rosalinda Lesaca has since left the U.S. and is believed to be in the Philipines. A Facebook page called, “Every Life is Important,” has been established to help maintain focus on this case and others.

Silver Tailings: Stokes Castle

Stokes Castle near Austin was completed in June 1897. It was built of local granite in only a year because it wasn’t a full-sized medieval castle, but a smaller, three-story turret, square on each side. The family apparently referred to it as “the Tower.”

The kitchen and dining room were on the ground floor, living room on the second, and two bedrooms on the third. All were supposedly ‘richly furnished’ and it had interior plumbing. The walls of the castle extended above its roof, with square crenulations that might allow defenders to fight off a siege.

Anson Phelps Stokes, a New York banker and lead financier of the Nevada Central Railway, reportedly built the castle as a summer residence for his sons. They occupied it for two months right after its completion, but never returned.

It is still standing, even though it has been vacant for more than a hundred years.

A Pit’s Christmas

The year 2006 was our pit-bull, Roxy’s first Christmas with us. She had been a Christmas gift the year before to a man who couldn’t take proper care of her – so he gave her to us.

We’d had her jus’ short of a year and felt she was progressing fine in her general socialization with the other dogs as well as the family. Because of this we let our guard down.

Shortly before Christmas, we went got a tree from the local Boy Scout’s lot jus’ down the road from our home. We brought it in and set it up, leaving it undecorated for a couple of days, allowing the dogs to get used to it.

First thing that happened was our black lab, Yaeger, raised his leg against it. I had to take it out in the back yard, hose it down and let it dry off, before bringing it back in.

I chalked this up to his desire to declare ownership over the pine tree.

A day or so later, I dragged the tree back into the living room, where it was left until the following day. That’s when my wife decorated it, using lights, bulbs and her many  heirloom ornaments.

Things went along fine for about a week, so we felt brave enough to start setting out packages under the tree. Each of the dogs took their turn sniffing the brightly colored wrappings, but none of them touch any and there were no more “canine watering” incidents.

Two days later, I returned after being in town for about three-hours, to discover the majority of the tree was missing from our living room. I say “majority,” because there was a number of broken branches and tons of pine needles scattered around the room along with broken bulbs and ornaments.

It took only seconds for my shock to ware off and turn to anger as I raced out the back door and found what remained of our Christmas tree. Roxy had managed to pull, tug and drag the tree through both dog-doors and outside.

For hours afterwards, all I could say was, “G-d damned dog!” as I spent the next several hours cleaning up the mess she had made. Oddly enough she never touched one package that had been placed out – jus’ the tree.

That would happen the following year. G-d damned dog!

Silver Tailings: Railroad Monopoly

It cost Nevadans five cents a mile to travel on the Central Pacific Railroad in 1885, while it cost Californians only three cents a mile. This disparity also applied to freight being shipped. It cost more to ship most goods from Reno to San Francisco than it did to ship the same goods from San Francisco to New York.

This chicanery began when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, although it was modified slightly in 1881. The problem was that the CPR bought successive Nevada State legislatures through bribery and kept them in a pocket.

The problem happened in other states, so Congressional action on regulating the railroads began in 1877. This resulted in the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. However, the US Supreme Court didn’t rule against the railroads in any lawsuit until 1896 and didn’t allow the Interstate Commerce Commission to establish uniform rates until 1917.

Until then, a railroad monopoly built through government subsidy charged whatever the market in Nevada would bear.

The Christmas Stocking

My wife was going through some of her boxes of Christmas ornaments — notice how I say “her” instead of “our” – it’s not that I don’t like them or the Christmas season – it’s jus’ that I’m too dysfunctional to truly enjoy the excitement of decorating. I’d much rather hear everyone else argue over how to do this or that, than join in myself.

Anyway, she found an item I thought had been lost years and years ago. It’s a simple, hand-made Christmas stocking that I was given as a little guy in Klamath.

Mom made one for me and one for Adam when we were still living on Sanders Court about 1965. At that time our sister’s, Deirdre and Marcy, had yet to be born, and because of this I don’t think Mom never made them a “special” stocking for the fire place.

When my wife pulled it from the bottom of the box — for some reason – perhaps allergies – I got all choked up and my eye-balls started leaking.  It’s a silly thing for a dysfunctional man like me to have happen at such a moment.

It’s the best present an old man could receive.

Silver Tailings: A Prediction of War

In January 1860, Governor Isaac Roop wrote a letter to General Clarke of the US Army, Pacific Department: “We are about to be plunged into a bloody and protracted war with the Pah-Utah Indians.”

On February 18, 1860, the Territorial Enterprise published another letter written by Governor Roop. “Citizens of Nevada Territory: Finding that we of Honey Lake Valley are unavoidably about to be plunged into a war with the Pah-Utahs, you are requested to prepare yourselves with arms and ammunition …”

The Enterprise also published letters from other settlers and they wrote that no such thing was about to happen. Some of them felt that incidents with Native Americans were due to traders along the Humboldt River giving them rifles so they could steal horses from emigrants and allow the traders to recover abandoned wagons and their contents.

Others explained that starving Native Americans were afraid to accept food from the settlers because they feared it was  poisoned.

Defending the Tree

We’ve decided not to go with a real tree or our fake tree for Christmas this year. Instead we’re going to use the ceramic cookie jar made by Spode, in which I bought for my wife several years ago.

Go ahead — say “Bah humbug!”

Yes, I know – it lacks the wonderful odor of pine and it’s not as festive as a tree set up and twinkling it’s lights in the corner of the room, but it also doesn’t need to be watered and there no pine needle shedding either. Besides if we really want that “oh, so fresh pine smell,” I’ll go buy an automotive air freshener and drop it inside the container.

On top of that — it’s much more dog proof than the one’s we’ve had over the last few years.

Silver Tailings: The First Millionaires

Sandy and Eilly Bowers began construction of a mansion in Washoe Valley in 1861, while at the same time preparing to tour Europe. They were Nevada’s first millionaires and they spent enough money to prove it.

The Bowers were advised they should give a banquet at International Hotel before they departed on their journey. For this, they ordered every luxury anyone could think of.

In a speech to his guests during the party, Sandy announced, “I’ve got money to throw at the birds.”

Sandy and Eilly had started in poverty. In 1857 they weren’t far ahead of living hand-to-mouth.

However, their destiny was to have adjacent mining claims that had tons of gold ore in them. Four years later, they did have enough “to throw at the birds.”

These days most people think they have that much money when they come across the state line. Remember to thank them.

A Thread to War

Could another shooting-war be coming to the mid-east? It appears to be a strong possibility.

Much of this is speculation on my part — but drawn from various news sources throughout the world. So take it for what it’s worth.

On Tuesday, November 28, 2011, Iranian protesters stormed the U.K. embassy compounds in Tehran. The assault prompted Italy, France  and Germany to recall their ambassadors from Iran.

Yet, after following several strings of information, terms like “false flag” has been put into play. This string includes The Washington Post reporting the attack had the blessing of Iran’s government — something Tehran disputes — which is not surprising.

A false flag operation is the setting up of an event to provide cover for another more  important event. In this case, it’s being proffered this event was so the Brits would have a “legitimate reason,” to withdraw its staff without tipping it’s hand to further action.

What is surprising  — is so far — no proof has been offered up by British government that Tehran had knowledge of or had a part in the planning of this raid. It’s either non-existent or MI-6 is completely blind in regard to the usual chatter that precedes such events.

This situation has been further exacerbated by the U.S. Senate, which plans to target the Iranian central bank in an effort to choke off oil exports. The Associated Press reports the senate bill gives the president the power to bar foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran’s central bank from having correspondent bank accounts in the U.S.

If enacted, it could be much harder for foreign companies to pay for oil imports from Iran, the world’s third-largest crude exporter. It could also be seen as an act of war in itself by Iran.

The Obama administration, which is against sanctions, says they threatens the U.N. Security Council’s work at pressuring Iran over its nuclear program, and could send oil prices upward.  And though the EU remains divided over calls to halt purchases of Iranian oil,180 Iranian officials and companies have been added to their sanctions list.

Also Russia opposes new sanctions against Iran, believing negotiations with Tehran can be resumed. Russia’s also critical of the November 8th report by the U.N. nuclear agency detailing Iran’s alleged secret weapons work.

But oil isn’t the only thing fueling the possibility of a shooting-war. An Iranian general claims Tehran will target a NATO antimissile early warning system in Turkey if the U.S. or Israel attacks the Islamic Republic.

Turkey agreed to the defense system in September, which is designed to countering threats from its neighbors. NATO insists the system doesn’t target a specific country, but Tehran claims it’s meant to protect Israel from Iranian missile attacks if a war breaks out.

None of this sounds like a path to peace to me — and I hope — no, I pray — I’m mistaken.

Silver Tailings: Extracting Silver

The four-dollars-a-day miners who worked at the Ophir Mine in August 1859,  dug up ore that had four or five times as much silver in it as gold — quantity, not value. Since there were no local mills capable of extracting silver from the ore, the mine owners had to send it to San Francisco to be reduced to bullion.

The shipping cost for the forty tons they sent was $20,000. Since only five-percent of the ore was gold and silver, they spent $19,000 in shipping worthless rock. This is why building mills capable of reducing the Galena (raw silver ore) was important.

If the ore could be reduced to bullion at the Washoe mines or on the nearby Carson River, then shipping costs would be greatly reduced. If the local milling costs were about the same as they were in San Francisco, then the mine owners would see increased profits of $500 or more, per ton.

Marcy’s Hollow Leg

Marcy was having a hard time finishing up her third plate of spaghetti As a six-year old, it was obvious that her eye’s were bigger than her stomach.

She was on the verge of giving up when she asked Dad to bounce her up and down in order to make more room. Marcy believed what she had been told — she “had a hollow leg.”

He picked her up at the waist and lifted her off the ground several times in rapid succession. She laughed as he did this and we kids and Mom joined in.

Then without warning Marcy’s laughter became three-dimensional as she tossed up most of her dinner. It hit Dad in the chest and fell in his lap.

We were all about to get sick at the sight ourselves, but Marcy saved the day by exclaiming with a big smile, “So that’s why I couldn’t eat anymore!”

Everyone but Dad practically busted a gut laughing — he was too busy trying not to be sick himself, at the moment.

Silver Tailings: A New Territory is Born

Isaac Roop was elected Governor of the provisional ‘Nevada Territory,’  in October 1859. J.J. Musser certified that Roop had won by a large majority, but never revealed the actual count of the ballots.

This result is at odds with a letter written to the San Francisco Herald, soon thereafter. Richard N. Allen claimed that in an honest election, Roop would have lost to Captain Jim, chief of the Washoe Tribe — who couldn’t run, of course.

The residents of Nevada showed a remarkable flair for freedom and democracy from the very beginning.

They ignored federal law and told Congress where Nevada was before Congress located and defined the dimensions of the territory.They also elected a Governor, even though it was a requirement of law that the President appoint that person.

No wonder the U.S. Government has kept a heavy boot on Nevada ever since.

Not Jus’ for Dogs Anymore

My friend Anne Combs Swanson asked me to do a bit of research into the question regarding President Obama signing a law legalizing the slaughter of horses for human consumption. After hearing numerous news reports about how he had done this — on no less than Thanksgiving Day — I’m happy to report that he signed H.R. 2112 on November 18th — nearly a week before.

While looking into this, I spoke with several people who told me that no where in H.R. 2112, does it specifically use the wording, “horse slaughter,” or “human consumption.” I must admit — they got me on that one too.

However, after reading through the entirety of H.R. 2112, this is what I found on page 77, Line 8 through 17 as it pertains to horse slaughter. The section is struck out line-by-line and now legalizes the inspection of horses under the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

SEC. 739. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to— (1) inspect horses under section 3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603); (2) inspect horses under section 903 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901 note; Public Law 104–127); or (3) implement or enforce section 352.19 of title 9, Code of Federal Regulations.

In essence, this is what some might call “an end round run” in changing the law. It doesn’t specifically say “horse slaughter for human consumption,” but this can be inferred by the very fact it’s being inspected solely on the basis of meat.

You be the judge.

Silver Tailings: A Picnic for ‘Little Mac’

The Copperheads, (now known as the Democrats) of Washoe Valley planned a barbecue in September 1864 for General George B. ‘Little Mac’ McClellan. He was their candidate to defeat the bid for reelection by Abe Lincoln.

There would be a general feast and then political speeches for the soon-to-be Nevada voters. It was to be a grand political rally.

Local farmers would supply cattle, hogs, and sheep. Saloonkeepers offered kegs of beer and barrels of lemonade. Subscription money would pay for cakes, pies, and stuffing for the roasts.

When the great day came, a cannon was fired at dawn. A dozen men started the roasting pits.

Tables were set up and evergreen boughs were arranged for shade. There was only one problem, not many people showed up.

There was food for thousands and not two hundred people to feed. After awhile, the party leaders sent word to local Republicans that they were invited to come and partake. Even then, there were several baskets of leftovers for the needy.

Washoe County voted Republican that year.