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Frederick E Shearer.

The Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... online

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Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 33 of 61)
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acres fenced in. Their fences, made of redwood
posts ^ind Oregon pine boards, cost them a little
over $900 per mile. They have, altogether,
about 40,000 head of cattle, mainly in two
herds one here and the other north, on the
Snake River. They have purchased of the State,
government and Central Pacific Railroad and
now own about 30,000 acres of land. Most of
their cattle are shipped to, and find a market in
San Francisco.

The immense range fenced in at this point is
occupied by a select herd of graded stock, and
some of the best blooded animals in the country
are annually purchased to improve the grades.
The Humboldt Valley and its tributaries con-
stitute the best part of the State for stock
ranges. The snow seldom falls very deep, does
not stay long, and the grass makes its appear-
ance early in the spring. The purchase of
large tracts of land by these foresighted cattle-
men will give them a monopoly of the business
in the future.

Argenta 486 miles from San Francisco;
elevation, 4,548 feet. It is simply a side track
station, where considerable hay is shipped.
This station is immediately surrounded by alkali
flats, near the base of the Reese River Moun-
tains. The road continues for a few miles
along the base of these mountains, when sud-
denly a broad valley opens out on the left.
It is the valley of Reese River. We turn to



203



the right, cross the valley and the river all
there is left of it and arrive at

Battle Mountain 474 miles from San
Francisco, with an elevation of 4,511 feet the
junction of the Nevada Central Railway, has a
population of 700. It is located at the junction
of the Reese River and Humboldt Valleys.
The mountain which gives it its name is about
three miles south of the station, where there
are magnificent springs from which water is
conducted to the town, supplying the railroad
and inhabitants with water. In the midst of
a surrounding desert he will observe the flow-
ing fountain and patches of green grass which
will here greet his eyes, together with the evi-
dent taste and care which is manifested about
everything connected with the house.

The town has several quite extensive stores,
a public hall, an excellent school-house, two
large freight depots, and the "Capital," a first-
class hotel, the table being bountifully supplied
with all the delicacies of the season; besides
the machine shops of the Nevada Central Rail-
way. It has an extensive and rapidly increasing
trade with the surrounding country, and newly
developed mining districts in its neighborhood.
It is the business center of a large number of
stockmen, and the trading point for a large
number of mining districts districts consid-
erably scattered over quite a large part of the
State. The town is located in Lander County,
but is not the county-seat. Austin, ninety
milestaway, claims that honor.

The following mining districts, south of the
railroad, are more or less tributary to Battle
Mountain; commencing on the east side of the
Reese River Range, first is the Lewis Mining
District, sixteen miles distant from Battle
Mountain. It is located on the northern ex-
tremity of the range. At the southern ex-
tremity of this range is the Austin District.
The mountain range between these two districts
is said to contain mines, but it has not been
thoroughly prospected. The Reese River Val-
ley is about 160 miles long, traversed its entire
length by the river of the same name, though
it cannot be called much of a river where the
railroad crosses it, near Battle Mountain. The
upper portion of the valley, about fifty miles in
length, is a very fine agricultural district, is
quite well settled, and is tributary to Austin.
The valley is also settled in places where moun-
tain -streams come into it, between Battle
Mountain and Austin.

On the west side of the Reese River Valley,
and immediately south of Battle Mountain, are
the following districts: Battle Mountain Dis-
trict, seven miles distant; Galena District, six-
teen miles; Copper Canon, eighteen miles, and
Jersey, fifty-five miles. The copper mines are
owned by an English company. The Jersey
District produces smelting ore. North of Bat-



tle Mountain are the Cornucopia and Tuscarora
Districts.

Battle Mountain not north of the Humboldt
River, but about three miles south of the sta-
tion is reported to have been the scene of a
conflict between a party of emigrants camped
near the springs heretofore spoken of, and aband
of redskins who had an innate hankering after
the stock of the said party of emigrants. The
losses of this battle are said to have been quite
severe on both sides, considering the numbers
engaged. It is generally conceded, however,
that the redskins got the worst of it, though
they say, " A heap white men killed there."

Battle Mountain is supplied with water from
artesian wells, of which there are more than a
dozen from 100 to 280 feet in depth. The flow
is good, one discharging through an inch and
a half pipe seven feet above the surface of the
ground.

There are daily stages to Tuscarora 68 miles
fare, $10.00; to Cornucopia, 80 miles, $12.00;
Columbia, 130 miles, $20.00, and Mountain
City, 100 miles, $15.00.

NEVADA CENTRAL RAILWAY.

JOSEPH COLLETT, - - President and Supt.

F. W. DUNN, Assistant Supt.

C. W. HINCHCLIFFE, - Sec. &G. F. &P. Agt.
R. AMEBMAN, - - - - Cashier.

Leaving Battle Mountain the road passes up
through the Reese River Valley in full view of
Lewis and Galena, respectively situated in the
mountain ranges lying to the east and west of
the tradk. At Galena Station, eleven miles
south of Battle Mountain, connections are
made with the Battle Mountain and Lewis
Railway, a narrow-gauge railway running up
into the mountains to Lewis, eight miles dis-
tant. The celebrated Star Grove mines are
situated up a beautiful canon, three miles above
Lewis. The Battle Creek mine lies to the south.

Lewis is a thriving and prosperous town,
having a rapidly growing population, two good
hotels, numerous stores and two 20-stamp
mills; a new 40-stamp mill is being con-
structed, and when completed the camp will be
able to turn out twenty bars of bullion per
day.

Leaving Galena Station we continue up the
valley, passing ANSONIA, twenty-five miles dis-
tant, near which station are about sixty hot*
springs, covering half a section of land the
largest is sixty feet long, thirty wide, and rises
and falls from three to five feet; the medicinal
qualities are surpassed by none in the State
until we reach BRIDGES, eight miles south of
Ansonia, the regular eating station for all
trains. Leaving Bridges we enter the pictur-
esque Reese River Canon, twenty miles in.
length. The valleys in the canon are cultivated
and productive of rich crops of hay and grain.



204



Tlie tfreat Plains and Desert.



BY JOAQUIN MILLER.



Go ye and look upon that land,
That far, vast land that few behold,
And none beholding, understand ;
That old, old land, which men call new,
That land as old as time is old :

Go journey with the seasons through
Its wastes, and learn how limitless,
How shoreless lie the distances,
Before you come to question this,
Or dare to dream what grandeur is.

The solemn silence of that plain,
Where unmanned tempests ride and reign,
It awes and it possesses you,
'Tis, oh, so eloquent.

The blue

And bended skies seem built for it,
With rounded roof all fashioned fit,
And frescoed clouds, quaint-wrought and true :
While all else seems so far, so vain,
An idle tale but illy told,
Before this land so lone and old.

Lo ! here you learn how more than fit,
And dignified is silence, when
You hear the petty jeers of men,
Who point, and show their pointless wit.
The vastness of that voiceless plain,
Its awful solitudes remain,
Thenceforth for aye a part of you,



And you are of the favored fe\r,
For you have learned your littleness.

Some silent red men cross your track ;
Some sun-tann'd trappers come and go ;
Some rolling seas of buffalo
Break thunder-like and far away,
Against the foot hills, breaking back,
Like breakers of some troubled bay ;
But not a voice the long, lone day.

Some white tail'd antelope flow by,
So airy-like ; some foxes shy,
And shadow-like shoot to and fro,
Like weaver's shuttles as you pass ;
And now and then from out the grass,
You hear some lone bird chick, and cah,
A sharp keen call for her lost brood.
That only make the solitude,
That mantles like some sombre pall,
Seem deeper still, and that is all.

A wide domain of mysteries,
And signs that men misunderstand !
A land of space and dreams : a land
Of sea, salt lakes and dried up seas !
A land of caves and caravans,
And lonely wells and pools.

A land

That hath its purposes and plans,
That seem so like dead Palestine,
Save that its wastos have no confine,
Till pushed against the levell'd skies.



205



On either side and above tlio railroad rise up
precipitous mountain ranges, whose untold
mineral wealth is yet to be brought to the sur-
face and developed. Emerging from the canon
we stop at HALLSVAIJE, twenty-three miles south'
of Bridges, at which station is a large boarding-
house, owned by the company, and used for
the accommodation of the trackmen and labor-
ers. Between Hallsvale and SILVER CKEEK
five miles are four wood stations, from which
during the past season 18,000 cords of wood
have been shipped to the mines and mills at
Austin and Lewis. From Silver Creek we
traverse the banks of the Beese Biver, pass-
ing several fertile ranches until we reach
LKDUE, eighty-seven miles from Battle Moun-
tain. Ledlie is the distributing station for
freight destined to all points in central and
southern Nevada, from where, in connection
with the railroad, are run the fast freight teams
of Wrayner's line, transporting freight to lone,
Grantsville, Ellsworth, Gold Mountain, Silver
Peak, Belmont, Jefferson, Kingston and minor
camps. To accommodate this traffic, 250 mules
and 60 wagons are employed.

Leaving Ledlie the railroa<i ascends the foot-
hills and reaches AUSTIN, six and a half miles
distant, with an elevation of 6,021 feet. Aus-
tin is a city of 3,000 inhabitants, of con-
siderable spirit and culture. It is the county-
seat of Lander County, has a fine court-house,
three churches, a comfortable theatre, a large
brick school-building, a banking hou.se, numer-
ous large business blocks, a good hotel and
some magnificent residences. A street rail-
way connects at the depot, transporting both
passengers and freight from one of the city
to the other. At the upper end of the
city are the mines and mills of the Manhattan
Silver Mining Company, shipments averaging
ten bars of bullion per day, or $300,000 per
month. Daily stages, carrying passengers,
mail and express, leave Austin for Kingston,
Jefferson, Belmont, lone, Grantsville, Clover-
dale and Candelaria, to and from which points
the Nevada Central Railway, in connection with
the stages, forms as peedy and pleasant route.

How the Piutes Catch Fish. Nearly
all the Indians seen on the line of the road be-
tween Battle Mountain and Reno, are Piutes.
They are great rabbit-hunters, and very success-
ful in fishing. They make hooks from rabbit
bones and greasewood, which are certainly su-
perior to the most improved article made by the
whites. This hook is in the shape of what
might be called the letter " V " condensed ; that
is, the prongs do not spread very far. A line,
made of the sinews of animals, or the bark of a
species of wild hemp, is attached to this hook at
the angle, and baited with a snail or fresh water
bloodsucker. Several of these hooks are tied to
a heavier line, or a piece of light rope, one above



the other, so far that they will not become tan-
gled or snarled. A stone is then tied to the end
of the heavy line, and it is cast into the stream.
The fish take the bait readily, but Mr. Indian
does not " pull up " when he feels one fish on the
line. He. waits until the indications are that
several fish are there one on each hook and
then he pulls out the heavy line, with fish and all.
It seems that the hooks are so made that they
can be swallowed easily enough with the bait, but
as soon as the fish begins to struggle, the string
acts on both prongs of the hook, pulling it
straight, the ends of the letter " V " hook, of
course, piercing its throat. It can neither swal-
low it, nor cast it forth from its mouth. The
more it pulls and struggles, the more straight-
ened the hook becomes. Besides the superiority
of this hook, one fish being caught, others are
naturally drawn around it, and seize the tempt-
ing bait upon the fatal hook. In this way an In-
dian will catch a dozen or so fish, while a white
man, with his fancy rod and " flies " and
" spoons," and other inventions to lure the finny
tribes and tempt them to take a bait, will catch
not one.

Leaving Battle Mountain we have a straight
track for about 20 miles, across a sage brush
plain, the river and a narrow strip of bottom-
lands, on our right.

Piute, 469 miles from San Francisco, with
no elevation given, and

Coin, 462 miles from San Francisco, are
simply side track stations where trains meet and
pass, but of no importance to the traveler. There
was no Indian battle fought near Piute, nor does
the Reese River sink into the valley here. What
battle there was, was fought, as before stated,
about three miles south of Battle Mountain Sta-
tion, and what the sands in the valley do not ab-
sorb of the waters of Reese River, may be seen
a little alkali stream flowing across the railroad
track, east of Battle Mountain, to effect a junc-
tion with the Humboldt River.

Stone House, 455 miles from San Fran-
cisco, with an elevation of 4,422 feet. This was
not an old trading post, but a station in former
tunes of the Overland Stage Company, and the
house, built of stone near some very fine springs,
was one of the eating-houses on their line, where
travelers could relish square meals of bacon and
coffee with safety. There is no particular ravine
near the old ruins which the traveler would
notice as an impregnable fortress. Quite a
number of skirmishes are reported to have taken
place near this station, however, and the graves
yet distinguished in its vicinity tell of the num-
ber who were killed near this place, or died here
on their journey to the golden shores of the
Pacific. Stone House Mountain, as it is now
called, rears its head just back of the crumbling
ruins, and from its summit a most extensive and
beautiful view of the neighboring valleys and



206



surrounding country can be obtained. On the
western slope of this mountain, and about
seven miles from the station, are some hot
springs similar to others found in the Great
Basin. During the passage of the Humboldt
Valley we cress several dry valleys, between
ranges of mountains that seem to be cut in
twain by the river. These valleys are mostly
covered with sand and sagebrush; occasionally
they have streams flowing down from the moun-
tains which soon sink in the sands. There is a
wide valley ot this description north of the
track as we approach

Iron Point 442 miles from San Francisco;
elevation, 4,375 feet. This station is near the
point of a low ridge, witn barren sides and
rocky summit; the rocks a little reddish, indi-
cating the proximity of iron. It is a shipping
point for cattle, and has extensive stock yards,
though there are no other accommodations near
by. This ridge was formerly considered the
boundary line between the Shoshones and
Piutes, and a trespass by either party has been
the cause of many an Indian war. The wasting
away of these tribes, however, renders the line
simply imaginary, and the rights of either
party to exclusive privileges on either side are
no longer regarded. The valley now narrows,
and we pass through a sort of a canon, with high
bluffs on both sides of the road. We wind round
numerous curves, and after the canon is passed,
we shall see the remains of an old irrigating
ditch that was started here by a French com-
pany to take water from the Humboldt and
carry it down the valley quite a distance for
irrigating and mill purposes. A great amount
of labor and money was expended upon this
enterprise, but it was finally abandoned.
Emerging from a short canon, the valley again
begins to widen. This pass was called Emigrant
Canon in the days of wagon travel.

Golconda 431 miles from San Francisco,
with an elevation of 4,385 feet. The little
town here has one or two stores, a hotel, several
adobe houses, and the usual railroad conven-
iences. Golconda is favorably located, as re-
gards two or three important mining districts.
It is also the location of some eight or ten hot
mineral springs, which are passed on the right
side of the track, just after leaving town. These
springs vary in temperature from cool, or tepid
water, to that which is boiling hot. The
swimming bath an excavation in the ground
is supplied with tepid water, and is said to be
very exhilarating. The Boiling Spring is util-
ized by the farmers in the valley in scalding
their swine. The water is said to be hot enough
to boil an egg in one minute. Here clouds of
steam can be seen when the weather is cold,
rising ^ from the hot water and warm soil sur-
rounding. One of the springs near this station
is also a curiosity, and should be visited by



tourists. It is conical in shape, like an inverted
tea-cup, four or five feet high, with a basin
about three feet in diameter on the top. For-
merly the water came in at the bottom of this
basin and bubbled over the rim; but a few
years since it was tapped from below, and the
water now flows out at the side, leaving the
basin and cone as it was formed by the sedi-
mentary incrustations and deposit. The water
flowing from the hot spring is used for irrigat-
ing purposes, and the owners of the spring
have a monopoly of early vegetable "garden
truck," raising early radishes, lettuce, onions,
etc., before their season, by the warmth pro-
duced from the hot water.

Sunday excursion trains are run from "Winne-
mucca to accommodate parties who desire to
enjoy the luxury of these springs.

Gold Run Mining District, south of Golconda,
is tributary to the place.

Paradise District, of gold and silver mines, is
about eighteen miles north of Golconda.

Title 420 miles from San Francisco, with
an elevation of 4,313 feet. It is simply a
side track of no importance to travelers, and
trains seldom stop. After leaving Golconda,
we look toward the north and see the
opening of Eden Valley. East of this val-
ley, and to our right, is the Soldier's
Spring Range, a broken range of moun-
tains. Eden Valley extends north to the Little
Humboldt River. In fact, this river flows through
the upper portion of the valley, and rises in the
range just named, and flows in a south-westerly
direction through Paradise Valley and unites
with the Humboldt, nearly opposite, north of
Tule. Paradise Valley is a fine agricultural
basin, thickly settled, about 30 miles north.
Paradise Valley is the name of the post-office
a semi-weekly line of mail stages connecting it
with Winnemucca, the county-seat of Humboldt
County. This valley is shaped like a horseshoe,
and produces superior crops of bai'ley, wheat,
rye and all kinds of vegetables. It seems to
have a depression in the center, and, while it is
nearly all cultivated, the best crops are raised on
the slopes toward the mountains. The soil is a
black, gravelly loam, and sage brush grows on
the slopes to enormous size. Experiments in
fruit culture have been tried, but, thus far, with
indifferent success. Paradise Valley has a flour-
ing-mill, store and dwellings, and gives every in-
dication of thrift. Its name indicates the nigh
esteem in which it is held by the settlers. It is
nearly surrounded by mountains, and the numer-
ous streams flowing down from them, afford am-
ple water for irrigation. Most of these streams
sink in the ground before they reach the Little
Humboldt. Five miles beyond Tule, we reach

IViitttemucca, 463 miles from San Fran-
cisco ; elevation, 4,332 feet. It is named in
honor of the chief of the Piute tribeof Indians.



207



The name itself means "chief," and is given
to any member of the tribe who holds that
office. The Piutes are divided into several bands,
each under a chief they call "Captain, "thought
here to be derived from the Spanish, and to
mean the same as our English word, " captain."
Winnemucca is now about seventy -six years old,
and lives on the Malheur ^Reservation in Oregon
a reservation occupied by the Piutes and
Bannocks. He is very much respected almost
worshipped by his dusky followers.

The town is the county-seat of Humboldt
County, and has a population of about 900 peo-




WTNNEMUCOA, TH NAPOLEON Of THB PIOTTES.

pie, among whom are some Indians, and quite
a number of Chinamen. It is the western ter-
minus of the Humboldt Division of the Central
Pacific, has a large roundhouse, two large freight
depots and the usual offices, etc. , for the accom-
modation of the railroad business. An elegant
brick court-house has been erected, together with
several stores, hotels, shops, alargeflouring-mill,
a foundry, a 10-stamp quartz mill, with a capac-
ity for crushing ten tons of ore every 24 hours,
and other public improvements completed, or in
contemplation. The town is divided into two
parts upper and lower; the latter being built
on the bottom land near the river, and the upper



on a huge sand-bank, adjoining the railroad.
Most of the buildings are frame, though a few
are built of brick or adobe, which, in this
western country, are called " dobe " for short.

There is a school-house with accommodations
for about 150 pupils two apartments, and no
churches. It is also quite a shipping point for
cattle and wool. About 9,000 head of cattle
were shipped to the San Francisco market from
this place, in the months of January and Feb-
ruary of the present year. In the spring of
1875, over 500,000 Ibs. of wool were shipped to
New York and Boston markets. It is also the
shipping point to Camp McDermott, near the
northern line of the State; to Silver City and
Boise City, Idaho; and to Baker and Grant
counties, in southeastern Oregon. The stage
lines are as follows: Daily stage and mail line
to Silver City and Boise City, Idaho distance
to Silver City, 210 miles, extension to Boise, 65
miles farther. The same line supplies Camp
McDermott, 85 miles distant. Semi-weekly
line, Mondays and Fridays, to Paradise Valley,
45 miles. There was also an immense freight-
ing business done with the mining districts in
the vicinity, and with Idaho Territory. Begu-
lar freight lines are on the road between this
place and Silver City.

The following mining districts are tributary
to Winnemucca and located in Humboldt
County, beginning north of the railroad: Wil-
low Creek, about 60 miles distant; Bartlett
Creek, gold and silver, 100 miles distant.
Varyville is the town of this camp.

Central District, in Eugene Mountain, south-
west of the town, produces silver ore.

South of the railroad there is Jersey District
and town, 65 miles distant. The business of
this mining camp is divided between Battle
Mountain and this place both claiming it.

Antimony District is 80 miles due south of
Winnemucca. Slabs of that mineral, weighing
three tons, and averaging 70 per cent, pure
antimony, can be obtained in this district.
Near it is the Humboldt Salt Marsh, where
salt, 95 per cent, pure, can be shoveled up by
the wagon load. This salt deposit is very ex-
tensive, and the supply seems to be exhaustless.
Underneath the surface deposit, rock salt, or
salt in large cakes or slabs, is taken out in the
driest part of the season, by the ton.

In the valley leading to the above-named dis-
trict are some very fine hot springs, but they
are so common here as to be no curiosity.
Kyle's, 35 miles southwest, and Leach's, 8 miles
from Unionville, the old county-seat, and Gol-
conda, 16 miles, to which Sxinday excursions
trains run, are the most noted. Twelve miles
out, in the same valley, is a rich agricultural
district, thickly settled, where not only grain
and vegetables have been successfully cultivat-
ed, but the experiments in fruit culture have



208



also proved successful. At the county fair,
held in this city during the fall of 1875, fine
specimens of apples, peaches, pears and plums
were exhibited which were raised in this valley.
As the tourist walks the platform at this
place, looking across the river to the right, he



Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 33 of 61)