Jackson Lee Davis “Diamondfield Jack”

Jackson Lee “Diamondfield Jack” Davis who was pardoned for murder in Idaho and moved to Nevada where he founded several mining camps. Davis was a hired gun who worked for the cattlemen “protecting” cattle herds and their grazing land from sheep famers.

Jackson Lee "Diamondfield Jack" Davis (12 Aug 1863–2 Jan 1949)
Jackson Lee “Diamondfield Jack” Davis (12 Aug 1863–2 Jan 1949)

In 1895, Davis is hired by the Sparks-Harrell cattle company to keep the sheepherders off of the grazing lands. After an altercation where Davis wounded Bill Tolman in a shooting. Following this incident, he fled south to Nevada to star or of sight. While in Nevada, Davis is known to brad about his exploits.

In February, 1896, Davis returned to Idaho and returned to work for Sparks-Harrell in Idaho. During this time, two sheepherders, Daniel Cummings and John Wilson, are shot and killed. Due to he previous bragging and his being in the area at the time, Davis became a suspect. Davis fled to Arizona and is eventually captured. Upon his capture, he is returned to Idaho, tried, found guilty and sentenced to death for of the shooting.

DiamondField Nevada  - 1904 - Paher
DiamondField Nevada – 1904 – Paher

keep the sheep back. Don’t kill but shoot to wound if necessary. Use what measures you think best. If you have to kill, the company will stand behind you – regardless what happens.

While “Diamondfield Jack” is waiting his execution, two other men, James Bower and Jeff Gray, confess to the killing. During their trial, the two men are found not guilty. Regardless, this trial raised doubt as to the trial and Davis is reprieved one day before his scheduled execution.

Following a series of appeals, Davis is again scheduled for execution on July 3rd, 1901. At this point in time, public opinion no longer supported the death penalty. His execution is rescheduled until the Board of Pardons commutes his sentence to life in prisons. Davis is eventually pardoned on December 17th, 1902.

Following his release, Davis moved south into Nevada. In the spring of 1903, when news of promising gold strikes in Goldfield, Davis travelled to the town. After exploring and prospecting he uncovered promising ore ledges on McMahon Ridge northeast of town.

Within weeks of his discovery, prospectors flooded into the area. “Diamondfield Jack”, ever the opportunist plotted a townsite for the location and build a toll road to the new town from Goldfield. In the fall of 1904, the town reached its apex. At that time, it boasted a Post Office, three saloons, restaurants, general stores, schools, church, livery, butcher shop, blacksmith and union hall for the miners, which is impressive for a town just six months old. Public servants such as a sheriff, notary public and lawyer also maintained offices in the new formed district.

Nevada State Historic Marker #251 Text

This historical marker commemorates the lasting notoriety of flamboyant western gunman Jackson Lee Davis (1870-1949), who was better known by the colorful name, “Diamondfield Jack.” As a young man, after unsuccessfully prospecting for diamonds in the nearby hills, Davis was jokingly called “Diamondfield Jack,” a nickname that he carried the rest of his life.

In the late 1890’s, Davis gained a measure of fame as a gunman for the cattle interests, including rancher John Sparks, who would later become a Nevada governor, that were attempting to restrict sheep ranchers from southern Idaho and northeastern Nevada rangelands. Following a sensational trial in 1896, Davis was convicted of murdering two sheepherders. He was sentenced to be hanged, even after others confessed to the murders.

In 1902, Davis was finally pardoned for the crimes. He moved to the central Nevada mining towns of Tonopah and Goldfield, where he became a successful mine operator. He also helped found several mining camps, including one called Diamondfield. In later years, he drifted into obscurity and died in Las Vegas in 1949 after being struck by a car.

Nevada State Historic Marker #251 Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker251
NameDiamondfield Jack Davis
LocationElko County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude41.98471, -114.67209

Resources

Christian Brevoort Zabriskie

Christian Brevoort Zabriskie was a vice president and general manager Pacific Coast Borax Company located in Death Valley National Park. Zabriske served teh Pacific Coast Borax Company for some thirty six years, and due to this activity is honored by the naming an Zabriske Point.

Christian Brevoort Zabriskie
Christian Brevoort Zabriskie

Christian Brevoort Zabriskie (1864–1936) was born at Fort Bridger in the Wyoming Territory. After schooling, he worked for the Virginia & Truckee Railroad located in Carson City, Nevada. For a time, he relocated to Candelaria, Nevada at work for the Esmeralda County Bank. He briefly venture into the mortuary business with a partnership formed with a local cabinet maker. His lack of knowledge in the art of embalming was not considered a liability as burial speed was a huge priority.

In 1885, at the age of twenty one, Zabriske was hired by Francis Marion “Borax” Smith to supervise the Chinese laborer’s. These men worked for the Pacific Coast Borax Company is the Columbus Marsh located near Candelaria. During his thirty six year tenure with the Pacific Coast Borax Company, the company closed up Candelaria operations and relocated to Death Valley to increase production. The company also expanded into the Calico Mountains and Trona, California

Zabriskie Point named for Christian Brevoort Zabriskie - Photo by James L Rathbun
Zabriskie Point named for Christian Brevoort Zabriskie – Photo by James L Rathbun

Zabriske retired from the Pacific Coast Borax Company in 1933 as Vice President and General Manager. All of his work in Death Valley took place before the area was designated National Monument. He passed away just three years later, on February 8thm 1936 at the age of 71. He is buried in Carson City, Nevada.

Zabriske Point is named to honor the man for his many years of service to the Pacific Coast Borax Company.

References

Goldfield NSHM Nevada State Historic Marker #14

Goldfield NSHM is Nevada State Historical Marker number fourteen and is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada.

Photograph of half-tone print of a busy main street in Goldfield, Nevada, ca.1905. The dirt street is crowded with horse-drawn wagons, and pedestrians. Stores and other commercial ventures front most of the small buildings lining the street. A hill is in the background at the end of the street. - Photo Credit “University of Southern California. Libraries” and “California Historical Society” as the source. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library.
Photograph of half-tone print of a busy main street in Goldfield, Nevada, ca.1905. The dirt street is crowded with horse-drawn wagons, and pedestrians. Stores and other commercial ventures front most of the small buildings lining the street. A hill is in the background at the end of the street. – Photo Credit “University of Southern California. Libraries” and “California Historical Society” as the source. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library.

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

For a 20-year period prior to 1900 the mining in Nevada fell into a slump that cast the entire state into a bleak depression and caused the loss of one-third of the population.

The picture brightened overnight following the spectacular strikes in Tonopah and, shortly afterwards, in Goldfield. Gold ore was discovered here in December, 1902, by two Nevada-born prospectors, Harry Stimler and Billy Marsh. From 1904 to 1918 Goldfield boomed furiously. The city had a railroad that connected into Las Vegas and a peak population of 20,000. Between 1903- 40 a total of $86,765,044 in metals was produced here.

Neada State Historic Marker #14

Summary

ID14
NameGoldfield Nevada State Historic Marker
LocationEsmeralda County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude37.70757, -117.23345

References

Palmetto NSHM Nevada State Historic Marker #158

Palmetto NSHM 158 is Nevada State Historical Marker number one hundred and fifty eight and is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada.

Palmetto HSHM

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

NSHM Marker Text 158

Thinking that local joshua trees were related to palm trees, the 1866 prospectors named the mining camp Palmetto. The town “died” and revived three times.

New prospecting in 1903 caused Palmetto to grow to a town of 200 tents on a platted townsite. At its peak year, 1906, the commercial street, over 1/2 mile long, contained all the necessary mining camp businesses.

Local miners drifted away in autumn, 1906. Mining, on a lease basis, has been minimal since that time. An important talc deposit lies nearby.

Nevada State Historica Marker #158

Palmetto NSHM 158 Summary

ID159
NamePalmetto, Nevada
LocationEsmeralda County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude37.4443, -117.69524

References

Columbus NSHM Nevada State Historic Marker #20

Columbus NSHM is Nevada State Historical Marker number twenty and is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada.

Nevada State Historical Markers identify significant places of interest in Nevada’s history. The Nevada State Legislature started the program in 1967 to bring the state’s heritage to the public’s attention with on-site markers. Budget cuts to the program caused the program to become dormant in 2009. Many of the markers are lost of damaged.

Columbus Nevada Late 1870s
Columbus Nevada Late 1870s

The remnants of Columbus are located on the edge of the Columbus salt marsh, five miles to the southwest.

The town was initially settled in 1865, when a quartz mill was erected at the site.  This was a favorable location for a mill, because it was the only spot for several miles around where water was in sufficient quantity for operation.

The full importance of Columbus was not recognized until 1871, when William Troop discovered borax in the locality.  Shortly thereafter, four borax companies were actively engaged in working the deposits on the marsh.

Columbus probably enjoyed its most prosperous time in about 1875, when the population was reported to have reached 1,000.  That year, the town had many kinds of business establishments, including a post office and a newspaper, The Borax Miner.

In 1881, about 100 people were left after the borax operations had practically ceased.  All mining and milling stopped entirely shortly after that time.

STATE HISTORICAL MARKER No. 20
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE

Columbus NSHM Map

Columbus NSHM Summary

ID20
NameColumbus, Nevada
LoctaionEsmeralda Couty, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude38.14959315202111,-117.94723391532898

References