He Signed Las Vegas into Existence


tasker oddie

Born in Brooklyn, New York, October 24th, 1870, Tasker Oddie lived in East Orange, New Jersey, where he attended school. From the age of sixteen to nineteen, he lived on a ranch in Nebraska.

After returning from Nebraska he engaged in business in New York City. During this time he attended night law school, from which he was graduated, and in 1895 was admitted to the New York Bar and becoming a member of the Nevada Bar in 1898.

Three-years later he arrived in Austin, Nevada to investigate conditions in his employers mining, railroad and banking. He uncovered several cases of fraud and as a result recovered large sums of money which they had lost.

Around 1900, he became interested in the original discovery of the Tonopah mines with Jim Butler. He was manager of the properties for the first five years.

Goldfield and other important mines were discovered as the result of the opening up of the Tonopah District, and millions of dollars a year were produced in the various camps. The effect meant the building of hundreds of miles of new railroads and the building of towns.

Oddie was heavily invested in mining in Goldfield and a number of other mining camps as well as in banks, ranches, stock-raising and other industries. However, the panic of 1907 caught him unprepared to weather the financial storm and by the following year he was broke.

From 1901 to 1903 he was District Attorney for Nye County. From 1904 to 1908, he was a state Senator, then a U.S. Senator from 1921 to 1933 and Governor from 1911 to 1915.

Throughout his political career, Oddie was in debt. In March of 1921, George Wingfield sent the recently elected U.S. Senator money to pay his bills. In return, Wingfield instructed him to nominate Washoe County Republican Louis Spellier to be U.S. marshal.

During his tenure, women got the right to vote, a state motor vehicle law was sanctioned, mining safety legislation was endorsed, and there were improvements to workmen’s compensation benefits. On March 17, 1911 he signed the city charter for Las Vegas.

Oddie died February 17th, 1950 in San Francisco, California, at the age of 79. He is buried at Lone Mountain Cemetery in Carson City, Nevada.

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