Ronald James

Sven S. Liljeblad

Sven S. Liljeblad (1899-2000) was a prominent folklorist, linguist, and anthropologist who participated in an important chapter of Great Basin Native American studies beginning in the 1940s. Before his work in Nevada and Idaho, however, Liljeblad had already earned an international reputation for his pioneering research in European folklore.

Frederick DeLongchamps

Frederick DeLongchamps—also spelled Fredric DeLongchamps—was one of Nevada's most prolific architects. Born in Reno in 1882, he learned the building trades from his French Canadian father, a carpenter. Eventually, young Frederick studied mining at the University of Nevada. His doctor warned him not to go underground because of weak lungs, so upon graduation, DeLongchamps took a job as a draftsman for the U.S. Surveyor.


As prospectors dispersed from Austin, several of them discovered rich placer sands located in what is now Elko County. It was in 1867, shortly after the Civil War, and one of the miners called the place Tuscarora to honor a Union gunboat on which he had served. Area underground deposits attracted some attention, but surface placer mining was the primary focus.


Knockers were elves believed to work in Cornwall's mines. Celts generally saw elves as living in families. Because the Cornish excluded women from mines, the same restriction applied to their underground spirits, which appeared as diminutive bearded men, forever digging in abandoned drifts.

Census and Demography of Nevada

The U. S. Constitution requires the federal government to conduct a census every ten years. Enumerators used hand-written pages to record information on every person in the United States. Each census employed different questions, but certain inquiries remain the same. The Census Bureau publishes reports providing general overview of the data. These documents are available at libraries that are official repositories of federal government records.

Territorial Enterprise

The Territorial Enterprise was one of the American West's most important newspapers during the 1860s and 70s. William Jernegan and Alfred James founded the publication on December 18, 1858, in Genoa. Nine months later, the Enterprise moved to Carson City where Jonathan Williams eventually became its sole owner and editor. In October 1860, he moved his business to Virginia City, then barely a year old. Within a few months, Joseph Goodman and Denis McCarthy joined Williams as partners, with Goodman becoming editor-in-chief and eventually sole owner.

Sutro Tunnel

Entrepreneur Adolph Sutro believed that a tunnel, excavated to intersect with the lower levels of the Comstock, would efficiently drain and ventilate the mines. After a failed early proposal, he incorporated the Sutro Tunnel Company with a legislative charter in 1865. His astonishing plan called for an excavation 20,489 feet or over three miles in length. It would climb one and a half percent from the Carson River Valley near Dayton, intersecting with Virginia City's mines at the 1,640-foot level.

Storey County Courthouse

Organized in 1861, Storey County is named after Captain Edward Storey who died during the 1860 Pyramid Lake War. Virginia City has always been the county's seat of government. Officials initially operated from a variety of structures, the last of which stood on B Street, one block above the main commercial corridor. The Great Fire of 1875 destroyed this building and many of its records.

Square Set Timbering

Comstock mining began in 1859 with open pits at Gold Hill to the south and Virginia City to the north. Within months, the Ophir Mine pit at Virginia City's outcropping became perilously deep, forcing miners to excavate underground.

The Comstock challenged traditional methods of supporting mines with timbers assembled in an inverted "U." The decomposed quartz embracing the ore tended to fold itself around wooden supports, collapsing on excavations. In addition, the ore vein expanded up to sixty feet wide. A single timber supporting such a span would snap.

Spanish Speaking Settlers: Nineteenth-Century

The first speakers of Spanish in the western Great Basin came from Mexico and California as well as South and Central America. Like others, they exploited the early Comstock and its vast economic opportunities. In 1860, before the creation of Nevada Territory, the federal census documented a Spanish-speaking population in the area. It possessed two characteristics worthy of comment.


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