Author: Dennis Cassinelli

State History: Stagecoach Travel in Nevada

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), traveled by stagecoach across the Territory of Nevada in 1860 with his brother, Orion. At that time, the most convenient method of traveling any long distance was either by stagecoach, or by horseback. Twain wrote about his journey from Missouri to Carson City in his classic book, “Roughing It.” Several stage lines were in business during the Comstock mining boom to provide passenger service to the growing population of the region. Pioneer Stage lines, Wells Fargo and Butterfield were some of the stage lines that worked the area. Wells Fargo Stage Lines posted the following set of rules to be observed by passengers on their routes that give an idea of what some of the conditions were: 1) Abstinence from liquor is requested, but if you must drink, share the bottle. To do otherwise makes you appear selfish and unneighborly. 2) If ladies are present, gentlemen are urged to forego smoking cigars and pipes as the odor of some is repugnant to the gentler sex. 3) Chewing tobacco is permitted, but spit with the wind, not against it. 4) Gentlemen must refrain from the use of rough language in the presence of ladies and children. 5) Buffalo robes are provided for your comfort in cold weather. Hogging robes will not be tolerated and the offender will be made to ride with the driver. 6) Don’t...

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Indian Artifacts Can Be Found Almost Anywhere

Ever since I grew up on a ranch that had been an old Indian village site, I have had a special fascination for Indian artifacts. Arrowheads, beads, scrapers, and fragments of other stone tools can still be found just about anywhere in the mountains, fields, and deserts of the Great Basin. There are laws against removing such items from public lands, but many can still be found on farms and ranches throughout the region. I have written extensively about the subject, and you can find this information on my website at http://web.mac.com/denniscassinelli or in the books I have written now being sold at a 50 percent discount. This article is about some of the more humorous things I have encountered in my amateur archaeological experience. For a few years of my highly illustrious and varied career, I was employed as a paving inspector for a construction engineering company. I worked on several highway construction projects in some of the remote sections of the Nevada desert. Being an old desert rat at heart, I relished the opportunity to wander around through the sand and sagebrush, looking for the strange desert plants, colorful gemstones, purple bottles and the occasional oxen shoe or arrowhead. On one such project in the Hawthorne area, I saw some Indian petroglyphs etched into the dark chocolate-brown desert varnish of some boulders along the highway. I knew...

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Nevada’s Fort Churchill Remains a Sight to See

Just one year after silver was discovered in the Comstock Lode, a band of Paiute and Bannock Indians attacked several white settlers at Williams Station about 30 miles east of Virginia City along the Carson River. The station was burned and several men were murdered. When word of the attack reached the Comstock, a volunteer group of soldiers and vigilantes was formed under the direction of Major Ormsby. Virginia City, Genoa, Dayton, Silver City and Carson City all sent volunteers to retaliate for the attack. Over one hundred men marched down the Carson River to the ruins of Williams...

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Nevada’s Hidden Cave

About 10 miles southeast of Fallon, Nevada on US Highway 50, there is a place known as the Grimes Point Archaeological Area. Over the last 10,000-21,000 years, the level of ancient Lake Lahontan fluctuated widely due to natural climate changes. At times, the water was so high, it formed a fresh water lake that extended from Honey Lake in California to Lake Bonneville in Utah. Periodically, the Grimes Point area was covered with rich marsh lands that supported abundant wildlife, vegetation and early human visitors. During times of high water, wave action created many caves along the hillsides that later became attractive places for early man to inhabit and to use for shelter and storage. Evidence of this ancient habitation is abundant in the area and it is truly worthy of a visit to see. There is a petroglyph trail that winds through hundreds of boulders where people have carved mysterious images in the desert varnish for the past 8,000 years. Traveling a short distance north of the petroglyphs, one can see several caves that were used in ancient times, including Fish Cave, Spirit Cave and Hidden Cave. In 1927, four young boys were exploring the area, and found a large cave whose floor was littered with Indian artifacts. Archaeologists were contacted to visit the cave and a series of archaeological digs revealed an incredible array of Indian artifacts...

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Pony Bob Haslam and the Pony Express

Much has been written about the Pony Express and the place it has occupied in the History of the American West. Many of the stories written about the Pony Express were romanticized fictional accounts. One true story about the Pony Express that is well documented is the exciting adventures of of Pony Bob Haslam. Born in England in 1840, Robert Haslam came to the United States as a teenager. At age 20, he was hired by Russell, Majors and Waddell, founders of the Pony Express, to help build the Pony Express stations through Nevada. April 3, 1860 was the official beginning of service for the Pony Express with riders leaving eastbound from San Francisco and westbound from St. Joseph Missouri. Robert Haslam, later to be called “Pony Bob” was assigned to the run from Friday’s Station (State Line Nevada) to Buckland’s Station near present Fort Churchill 75 miles east. 1860 was a historically important year in the History of Nevada. At that time, what we now know as western Nevada was part of the western Utah Territory. This region was loosely called Washoe, due to the Washoe Indians who had inhabited the area for centuries. Following the discovery of silver in the Gold Canyon and Virginia City area in 1859, the “Rush to Washoe” was in full swing by the spring of 1860. At the same time, on April...

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