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Nevada became the 36th State

on October 31, 1864


Trails to the Past of Nevada is accepting any donations of genealogy materials that you may have such as marriage announcements, news articles, old obituaries, births, (you do not need the birth certificate) just the information, and biographies.  If you have any of these items please contact me Marie Miller the Nevada State Administrator.

Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864, after telegraphing the Constitution of Nevada to the Congress days before the November 8 presidential election (the largest and costliest transmission ever by telegraph). Statehood was rushed to help ensure three electoral votes for Abraham Lincoln's reelection and add to the Republican congressional majorities
Nevada's harsh but rich environment shaped its history and culture. Before 1858 small Mormon settlements existed along the border of Utah, with the western part stumbling along until the great silver strikes beginning in 1858 created boom towns and fabulous fortunes. After the beginning of the 20th century, profits declined while Progressive reformers sought to curb capitalism. They imagined a civilized Nevada of universities, lofty idealism, and social reform. But an economic bust during the 1910s and disillusionment from failures at social reform and a population decline of nearly one-fourth meant that by 1920 Nevada had degenerated into a "beautiful desert of buried hopes."
The 1859 Comstock Lode discovery opened the era of silver mining in Nevada, and attracted thousands of miners-most from California. It was discovered by James Finney in Carson County. Disputes over the legal limits of a claim soon went to court, as the Law of the Apex, used to determine those limits, was unworkable for the deep ore bodies in the Comstock. The legal and judicial system of Carson County was unprepared for the tremendous demands placed on it. Judges were underpaid and underqualified, bribery of witnesses and jurors was commonplace, vague record-keeping created nearly insurmountable difficulties with property titles, and evidence was often destroyed. Though workable mining laws still were needed, the resignation of the entire territorial supreme court in 1864 did cause litigation to stop and allowed mining work to resume.There was a gold rush that created Aurora in (1860). Located on the disputed border with California, at one time Aurora was the county seat of counties in California and Nevada, until the boundary dispute was settled locating Aurora in Nevada.

The 1867 expansion of the state's southern boundary was prompted by the discovery of gold in the area since officials thought Nevada would be better able to oversee the expected gold rush. By 1872, Nevada mining was an industry of speculation and immense wealth. After 1870, however, the mining industry went into eclipse, as the state's Silverite politicians worked to secure laws to require the federal government to purchase silver.
The discovery of silver and gold in 1910 near Tonopah set off a boom that ended Nevada's Economic depression.

The operators used the best available technology to recover gold and silver from ore, but by modern standards there was much inefficiency and chemical pollution. Methods included the use of the arrastra, the patio process, the Freiberg process, and the Washoe pan process. Estimates of value lost through recovery processes ran as high as 25%. Mine operators sought improved technology, but were unwilling to wait years or decades for it to arrive. No one at the time understood the health problems such metals as mercury could cause.
In the 1770s, Franciscan missionary Francisco Garcés, born in Morata del Conde, Aragon, Spain in 1738, was the first European in the area.[8] Nevada was annexed as a part of the Spanish Empire in the northwestern territory of New Spain. Administratively, the area of Nevada was part of the Commandancy General of the Provincias Internas in the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Nevada became a part of Alta California (Upper California) province in 1804 when the Californias were split. With the Mexican War of Independence won in 1821, the province of Alta California became a territory-not a state-of Mexico, due to the small population. In later years, a desire for increased autonomy led to several attempts by the Alta Californians to gain independence from Mexico.

Jedediah Smith entered the Las Vegas Valley in 1827, and Peter Skene Ogden traveled the Humboldt River in 1828. As a result of the Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico permanently lost Alta California in 1848. The new areas acquired by the United States continued to be administered as territories. As part of the Mexican Cession (1848) and the subsequent California Gold Rush that used Emigrant Trails through the area, the state's area evolved first as part of the Utah Territory, then the Nevada Territory (March 2, 1861; named for the Sierra Nevada)

Nevada became part of the United States with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with Mexico in 1848. Mexico had never established any control in Nevada, but American mountain men were in Washoe (the early name for Nevada) as early as 1827. A permanent American presence began in 1851 when the Mormons set up way stations en route to the California gold fields. In the absence of any governmental authority, some 50 Mormons and non-Mormon prospectors and cattle ranchers drew up the "Washoe code" to deal with land claims; its coverage eventually covered other governmental issues. There still was no federal presence in the area so religious tensions worsened and petitions of complaint went to Washington. Non-Mormons sought annexation to California. Utah Territory countered this by incorporating the area as a county. When Federal troops were sent to Utah in 1857, the Mormons left Washoe. The non-Mormons took over and launched a move for separate territorial status.
The early 1860s saw the end of an Indian war, the great Comstock mining boom of 1859 in Virginia City and the coming of the Civil War. The provisional territorial government led to the creation of Nevada Territory by Congress in 1861. The pragmatic attempts to establish workable frontier institutions had failed and the paternalistic territorial system was welcomed.

The University of Nevada was founded in Elko in 1874 and moved to Reno in 1885
Although the transcontinental railroad crossed the state in 1869, most town and mines were remote from it and required a network of wagon freight and stagecoaches. Numerous small companies supplied the horses, mules, and wagons for hauling borax and silver ore. Stagecoaches were notoriously uncomfortable across the roadless land, but were better than the alternatives and flourished until a railroad finally arrived. Hold-ups were rare, and usually involved petty theft since armed guards were an effective deterrent. Mail contracts kept stage lines afloat and allowed the emergence of a class of entrepreneurs who won contracts and subcontracted the actual work.

The Eureka and Palisade Railroad was a narrow-gauge railroad ninety miles long built in 1875 to carry silver-lead ore from Eureka, Nevada, to the Southern Pacific Railroad trunk line that ran through Palisade. Nevertheless, despite the determined and colorful management style of John Sexton, the line succumbed to the effects of flood, fire, competing road traffic, and dwindling amounts of ore extracted in Eureka. The rails and rolling stock of the last surviving narrow-gauge railroad in Nevada were removed in 1938.
Crimes These also give the name of the victim, so if you have an ancestor that is just missing be sure to look here. I also have all the crimes listed in each county under the News section.
Nevada Counties

County County Seat Established Origin Origin of Name
Carson City Independent City 1969 Founded in 1858, consolidated with ormsby county in 1969 Carson River named for Christopher Houston (Kit) Carson (1809-1868) the frontier scout and soldier.
Churchill Fallon 1861 Original Sylvester Churchill (1783-1862) a general in the Mexican-American War
Clark Las Vegas 1909 Lincoln County William A. Clark (1839-1925), former United States Senator from Montana, and builder of a railroad line through the area.
Douglas Minden 1861 Original Steven Arnold Douglas (1813-1861), former United States Senator from Illinois.
Elko Elko 1869 Lander County A Shoshoni word meaning white woman. It is said, among the very old Shoshoni, that this is where they first saw a white woman.
Esmeralda Goldfield 1861 Original Esmeralda Mining District, named in turn for the legend that a massive amount of emeralds was buried in what is now Nevada. Esmeralda is the Spanish and Portuguese word for emerald.
Eureka Eureka 1873 Lander County Greek expression Eureka,meaning I have found it! In reference to deposits of silver found in the vincinity
Humboldt Winnemucca 1861 Original Humboldt River named in turn for Alexander Humboldt (1769-1859) a German explorer.
Lander Battle Mountain 1861 Original Fredrick W. Lander (1821-1862) an American Civil War general and developer of the area.
Lincoln Pioche 1866 Nye County and territory ceded by Arizona Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) the sixteenth President of the United States.
Lyon Yerington 1861 Original General Nathaniel Lyon (1818-1861) who was killed in action at the Battle of Wilsons Creek.
Mineral Hawthorne 1911 Esmeralda County Mineral deposits in the area.


Tonopah 1864 Esmeralda County James W. Nye (1815-1876) a governor of the Nevada Territory and U. S. senator from Nevada.
Pershing Lovelock 1919 Humboldt County John Joseph (Black Jack) Pershing (1860-1948) the World War I general
Storey Virginia City 1861 Original Edward Farris Storey (1829-1860) a captain killed at Pyramid Lake in the 1860 Paiute War.
Washoe Reno 1861 Original The Washo a small Indian tribe that inhabits the area.
White Pine Ely 1869 Lander County Heavy growth of pine trees in the area, thought to be white pine.

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