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Nevada Flag - silver state legends icon NEVADA LEGENDS

Pioneers on the Nevada Frontier

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By William Daugherty in 1891

<<  Previous  1 2 3 4 5 6  Next  >>

Absent Minded in Pioche

Zinc Barnes Rich in Ingenuity

Bathing Under Difficulties

Blunt Joe Potter

Cactus and Coyotes

Death Valley Myths

A Doctor Without A Diploma

A House Built On Rocks

An Irresistible and Irrepressible Pioneer

Last Words And Wishes

Never Thinking of Tomorrow




PioneerPioche Peddlers

Pioneer Justice

Pioneer Preachers

Poker Against Prayer

Privations of Pioneers

Red Frank Wheeler - A Convivial Pioneer

Snow Bound, Alone, and Surrounded by Wild Varmints

Two Years In Prison

Whiling Away Time in a Snow Blockade




Pioche, NevadaAbsent Minded in Pioche - During the rushing days in White Pine in the exciting times of 1869, one of the busy men of Hamilton was Ed Estes. He was a saloon keeper, and connected with it, was a large gambling hall that was always crowded. Ed did not gamble, but he paid the State licenses on the tables and leased them out to others who paid the rents, furnished the money and threw an extensive patronage into the bar. This involved altogether a very large capital, and as an illustration of the amount required, the quarterly licenses alone came to $2,800. Large sums were nightly deposited in the saloon safe and a special watchman employed to guard it. The house was doing a large business, and Estes was also interested in mining enterprises that called for heavy outlays. He handled money carelessly, and when the collapse came he found himself without any, and utterly unable to tell what had become of it. In the midst of his financial distress some eastern parties appeared to look at his mining properties, and desiring to make a good impression upon them he determined to entertain them royally during their brief stay. This would involve an expense of $200, and as he was short, he tried to borrow it from a friend, but he didn't have it, and suggested to Estes that he should try to obtain a loan from the First National Bank.


Estes was doubtful about getting it, as the bank was refusing loans unless accompanied with gilt edged security. But, as a last resort he walked in and accosting the cashier, said: "Good morning Mr. Gilmore; by the way I hear you are getting pretty close in banking matters lately; how does my account stand?" He did not express himself clearly, nor did not mean what he said, for he supposed the account was balanced and closed long before, and the remark was thrown out to pave the way to the favor of a loan. The cashier turned to the balance book and pleasantly informed him that there was $1,750 to his credit. It startled Estes so that he could barely speak, but he succeeded in saying, "You may give me $250 that I need this morning." The cashier replied, "All right; fill out a check," and handed a blank one to him. Estes was too nervous to write and asked the cashier to fill it out for him, which he proceeded to do. This gave Estes time to gather his wits and he said: "I believe I will need it all today, so fill it out for the total." This was done and the money counted out to him, and Estes hurried out to conceal his surprise, and he confidentially informed a friend that he had no recollection of having made the deposit, and added, as he invited him to take a drink, "I must have been pretty drunk when I did it, and I guess that's what was the matter."


First appeared in the Reno Evening Gazette, March 23, 1891




Gold Hill, Nevada, 1867Zinc Barnes Rich in Ingenuity - Sometime in the early 1860's, Zinc Barnes was engaged in the livery business in Gold Hill and had Dick Dey in his employ as bookkeeper. After an unsuccessful season, during which the business went from bad to worse, Zinc failed and petitioned the court to be declared an insolvent. In due time, the case came on for a hearing, and that morning Zinc met Dick and said that he desired him to go into court and attend to the matter. Dick replied in much surprise that there wasn't anything to be done that he knew of, and asked, "What do you want me to do?"   Zinc's knowledge of books and accounts was very limited, but in a general way, he thought the bookkeeper would be wanted, and so he said, "Well, go up to court and make a showing of some kind for me." "A showing," said Dick, "why, there is no showing that can be made. It is a clear case of insolvency, and the books and accounts are all on file in the court."


"Well," said Zinc, "Go up anyhow, and if you can't do nothin' else, charge somethin' up to sundries."


Dick picked his teeth and went on his way, and the case came to a conclusion without any "showin'." Some years afterwards, Zinc made a raise in the sale of water rights at Pioche, and again engaged in the livery business. At this time, he called in and engaged as his bookkeeper, J. F. Hallock.


Zinc was liberal and the matter of salary was easily agreed on, and then Hallock asked how he wanted the books kept, in double or single entry.


"Oh," said Zinc, "single entry will do for me. I don't want to charge a man but once. It makes a better showin' in the assets if a man fails."


"Very well," said Hallock, "I merely wanted to know, so as to be guided in closing up the books, when you may wish it done."

"Oh, never mind about closing them," said Zinc, "the sheriff will attend to that."


In due time, the Sheriff did so, for Zinc was too liberal and reckless, and, of course, failed. Then, he fitted out a prospecting party from the remnant that was exempt from execution and, as liberal as ever, took a couple of broken down companions -- "old stiffs" he called them -- and started off for Arizona. They spent the winter in prospecting, and, when all their supplies were gone, started across the deserts for Los Angeles, and ultimately San Francisco, or any other seaport and without any definite object in view. It was before the Southern Pacific Railroad was built and the trip to Los Angeles was fatiguing and not without many dangers. One by one, their animals gave out and died and then they were all on foot and dead broke. Zinc had left, as a relic of better days, a pair of sleeve buttons made from $10 gold pieces, which, as soon as they arrived, he took to a jeweler and sold and divided the proceeds with his two comrades. He then sent a dispatch to a friend in San Francisco, saying, "Just arrived from Arizona. Took breakfast on a sleeve button. Send me some money for steamer fare. Answer." His comrades had left him to "see the town" and Zinc heard nothing of them until noon, when he learned they were in jail for being drunk and disorderly.


Without any delay he hurried around and put up all the money he had left and bailed them out. Getting no reply from his telegram, he concluded his friend was out of San Francisco, and something must be done and, as he expressed it, "p.d.q.," and at once he drew on his fund of ingenuity.


He had already discovered that the people there were very boastful of their climate and also very sensitive about any adverse opinions. He was begrimed with dust and tanned like a tramp and fully as ragged. His boots were run over at the heels and out at the toes, and his general appearance was such, that at the present day, they would arrest any one in such a condition for a vagrant, but then it was different. Los Angeles was advertising climate and offering bonds for railroads; anything, in fact, to get emigration headed that way. Zinc took in the situation, and lounging up to the crowd of dons and land-owners in front of the bar at the Pico House, be began an energetic soliloquy in tones loud enough to be heard by all, and which is reported as follows. Said he: "It's a fine climate here in Southern California. A man can live on the climate. I haven't had anything else for three weeks, and I'm getting fat. I went out to Santa Monica today, and there, I found a lot of big, lusty Irishmen surf bathing, but shivering and blue with the cold. A one-lunged tourist on the wharf asked one of them how long he had lived there, and he answered: 'Sure, sir, I was born here.' And when nobody was watching they all come out of the surf and stood on the sunny side of the bathhouse to get warm. Senator John P. Jones of Nevada hires 'em at $4 a day to bathe there and advertise the climate. Oh, he'll get up a boom, and don't you forget it. He knows all the tricks on the stock market, he does. All you want is water down here, and that's all they need in h--l."


By this time all the tourists in the hotel were out listening to Zinc, and to choke him off and stop the disastrous effect of his diatribe on the climate, a number of leading citizens, among them being Temple, Hellman, Mesmer and Downey, made up a purse and hustled Zinc off on the afternoon train to San Pedro to catch the steamer for San Francisco. And they always regarded it a good investment to get rid of Zinc Barnes at any price. 


Article in the Reno Evening Gazette, July 14, 1891.  



Pioche, NevadaBathing Under Difficulties - Water was a luxury in the early days of Pioche, when it cost 25 cents a bucketful, which by the way, is usually the price paid, and the first tax levied in the history of all Nevada mining camps. Hence, it is not mentioned here as a novelty, or a matter of extraordinary character, but merely as one of the conditions under which the vagaries of human nature are developed into a craving for the unattainable, especially in the case of sick people, who are in like cases, usually petulant and exacting.


At the time mentioned, the Meadow Valley Company had an outside foreman named Tom, an Irishman, who was noted for his robust strength and general disregard for that quality that is akin to godliness. In direct opposition to Tom's nature, the company had provided him with a clerk, who was a little sickly fellow that was in the last stages of consumption, and deeply convinced that only daily bathing in cold water would prolong his life. Tom and he occupied a comfortable cabin together, fairly furnished and carpeted. For convenience and economy the clerk, whose salary would not stand a daily tax of a dollar for a bath, as was then charged, sent for and obtained a patent rubber bath tub, and commenced taking a bath daily in the cabin, during Tom's absence. Tom observed the wet spots on the carpet and showed his impatience over such a waste of water, but concealed his anger for a while, until he discovered the clerk's habits were unchangeably fixed, and then Tom let his Irish temper loose, and asked him why he did it. The clerk explained, but Tom hooted at the need of a daily bath, and in support of his position he said: "Here ye are, takin a bath ivery day, spillin the wather all over the kyarpet, and makin a muss; and yur so wake you can hardly walk. And luk at me, I'm strong and harty, and kin thrash a houseful of yez, and I niver take a bath." 


Article in the Reno Evening Gazette, February 12 , 1891. 



Continued Next Page

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