IN SEARCH OF NEVADA SILVER RUSH ARTIFACTS
SEARCHING FEDERAL & STATE ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
CLARENCE KING SURVEY PARTY NEAR OREANA 1867
Between 2010 and 2018 outhousepatrol.com spent several thousand hours in historical libraries and utilizing online resources. Local, state and federal records relating to mining camp businesses throughout the Western United States.
Montana Territory business license receipts (between 30 and 40 thousand) were searched in most mineral producing counties in southwestern Montana. Names, place of business, fees and dates of operation were logged. Montana Territory, in 1865, mandated licensing fees for hotels, saloon, liveries, and other business types. More that 4,700 names covering the period 1865-1886 were retrieved. The Montana licensing fees were modeled after Federal licensing that the forerunner of the IRS instituted to pay for the Civil War.
Extensive research was conducted on IRS records existing for Iowa and the major gold producing areas of California. Iowa records exist starting in 1862, California records (1863-1866) total more than 2,600 entries. More recently I have examined Idaho records 1865&1866 and Nevada data 1863-1864. i am also involved in a much more detailed study of Colorado IRS records covering the years 1862-1866. The first searches were limited to gold country hotels, saloons, wholesale liquor dealers, liveries, eating houses, and apothecaries. They were the high-volume types of businesses we thought had the best chances of yielding antique bottles or other gold rush artifacts.
Counting the 5 western states and then adding Iowa to the mix I have the operators names and location for more than 13,000 Hotels, Saloons, Wholesale Liquor Dealers,Apothecaries, Eating Houses, and Livery Stables.
Considerable researching of county courthouse deed books is involved in pinpointing these business locations. If the saloon operator owned the property these sites can be found. If it was rented the location if probably lost to history……….But with 13,000 names and locations many of these sites can be found.
THE TAX MAN COMETH
The Civil War income tax was the first tax paid on individual incomes by residents of the United States. It was a “progressive” tax in that it initially levied a tax of 3 percent on annual incomes of $600 but less than $10,000 and a tax of 5 percent on any income of $10,000. In 1864 the rates and the ceiling dropped so that incomes between $600 and $5,000 were taxed at 5 percent, with a 10 percent rate on the excess over $5,000. Annual licenses were required for bankers, auctioneers, wholesale and retail dealers, pawnbrokers, tobacconists, jugglers, confectioners, horse dealers, peddlers, apothecaries, photographers, lawyers, and physicians.
Hotels, Inns, and taverns were classified according to the annual rent or estimated rent, from a first-class establishment with a yearly rental of $10,000 to an eighth-class hotel with a yearly rental of less than $100, charged license fees $200 to $5 accordingly. Eating houses paid $10 per year for a license.
GOLD HILL NEVADA TIMOTHY O’SULLIVAN PHOTO 1867
NEVADA IRS BUSINESS LICENSE DENSITY STATEWIDE 1864
EATING HOUSES 88
LIVERY STABLES 46
WHOLESALE LIQUOR 46
IRS BUSINESS LICENSE HISTORY OF 186O’s MINING CAMPS ON PUBLIC LANDS
We are actively researching and approaching property owners regarding possible access to their lands that are the sites of old hotel and saloon operations. Please contact us if you have, or believe you may have a site on your property. Have all names and locations, as entered by the assessor, for Nevada businesses in 1863 & 1864, records from 1865 & 1866 have not yet been researched.
We do have large amounts of data on town sites that are located on Forest Service or BLM land. We are making that data available below to the public and downloadable in an excel format.
Aurora, first named Esmeralda because it was founded on Esmeralda flats, was a gold and silver mining town. Quartz ledges were first found by prospectors heading for Mona Lake in California in August, 1860.
The town was renamed Aurora for the goddess of dawn. It was laid out in proper grid fashion and many of the buildings were built with brick. The town quickly grew into a city and both California and Nevada claimed it as a county seat. It was the county seat for Mono county, CA and the county seat for Esmeralda, NV until a subsequent survey showed that Aurora was indeed located 4 miles inside of the Nevada state line.
The Mono county government with records in hand, moved to Bodie before it eventually settled in Big Meadows (now known as Bridgeport). Some 2000 people had made Aurora their home by this time. Sam Clemens even tried his hand at mining near Aurora and spent some time working at a local stamp mill for $10 per week plus room and board. While Sam was in Aurora he sent some sketches of the local mining community to the editor of the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City using the pseudonym “Josh”. A few weeks later, Sam Clemens was hired by the Enterprise as a reporter. It was as a reporter for the Enterprise that he took the name that he is famous for, Mark Twain.
By 1863, (according to one unnamed source ) Aurora could claim 20 stores, 12 hotels, 21 saloons, and 2 newspapers. The original 8 stamps of the small milling operation had grown to some 200 stamps in 16 different mills pounding day and night.
According to the Internal Revenue Department collector, in his May and June 1864 report,following businesses operated in Aurora.
3 EATING HOUSES
3 LIVERY STABLES
WHOLESALE LIQUOR DEALER
As has happened in many mining towns, extreme speculation in the mining stocks coupled with ore values that could not keep up caused the decline of the town beginning in 1864. By 1869 the high grade ores were worked out after having yielded some $29 million in gold. The post office finally closed in 1897.
The town was revived in the early 1900’s and the post office reopened along with several other businesses. By 1918 the mining companies had been able to recover an additional $1.8 million dollars but the post office was closed again in 1919. Much of the town was torn down in 1946 by builders from Los Angeles, CA in order to reuse the brick. Today there is very little to show for all of the investment of time and money in the town. A few shells of buildings, a piece or two of stamp mills, and broken glass are all that remain of this once spectacular town.
Over the hill from the main town site is a modern mining operation still working the veins that lured the original miners to this mountain. Just off of the road leading down to the main town site, is the old cemetery. This cemetery includes graves for many prominent people involved with early Nevada history.
Star City was a silver-mining boom town in Pershing County, Nevada. It was located in the now a ghost town, it was located in the Star Mining District.
The site is marked as Nevada Historical Marker 231.
Star City was established in 1861 when rich silver ore deposits were discovered in the area. During its height from 1864 to 1865 the town was home to 1,200 people. It also housed, according to some reports, two hotels, three general stores, a Wells-Fargo office, a church and more than a dozen saloons.
STAR CITY 1863 IRS RECORDS: According to assessors records for 1863 Star City was home to One Hotel, 2 eating houses, 4 livery stables, 9 saloons, and 3 wholesale liquor dealers.
The largest mine in the Star Mining District was the Sheba Mine, which produced about $5 million in silver by 1868. That same year the ore deposit began to run out. An 1868 account remarks on Star City: “So sudden was its decline that the daily mail, the express office and the telegraph office are all in operation yet, though the entire population consists of a single family.”
By 1871, only 78 people remained in Star City. Today the only reminders of the town are crumbling foundations and rusted mill equipment.
A rare map references Star City on an early Map of the Overland Railroad route for the Central Pacific Railroad as “Ostar City,” between Humboldt and Humboldt Wells, Nevada by mistake.