Pioneers on the Nevada Frontier

By William Daugherty in 1891

[Editor’s Note:  William Daugherty wrote a series of articles about Nevada Pioneers for the Reno Evening Gazette in 1891]

The Pioneer by Harper's Weekly

The Pioneer by Harper’s Weekly

Absent Minded in Pioche – First appeared in the Reno Evening Gazette, March 23, 1891

Early Pioche, Nevada

Early Pioche, Nevada

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.”

Zinc Barnes – Rich in Ingenuity – Article in the Reno Evening Gazette, July 14, 1891.

Gold Hill, Nevada Timothy H. O'Sullivan, 1867

Gold Hill, Nevada Timothy H. O’Sullivan, 1867

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.”

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