George Benjamin Wittick – Photographer

George Benjamin Wittick was born in Pennsylvania and later moved to Illinois, and then out west in 1878 to pursue frontier photography. He served in the Civil War for the union using the name “Benjamin Wallace” in Company A of the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Cavalry and Company D of the 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Cavalry, from 1862 to 1865. He first worked for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroads before establishing his first photography studio in Gallup, New Mexico.

George Benjamin Wittick
George Benjamin Wittick

During his career, he photographed many subjects to include the railroad; southwestern landscapes such as Canyon de Chelly, the Navajo Reservation, and Pueblo scenes; and the Native peoples mostly the Apache, Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni. Wittik was the first person to photograph the Hopi Snake Dance. An elder warned him at the time that he would die from a snake bite for witnessing the ceremony and not being an initiated member.

His photographs from this event brought the Hopi religious ritual great attention. 

George Benjamin Wittick - Self Portrait
George Benjamin Wittick – Self Portrait

He carried with him a collection of props for his photographs to include rifles, pistols, blankets, pottery, and more. Most of his photographs were taken outside using the natural sunlight against backdrops.

Geronimo (Goyathlay, 1820–1909), a Chiricahua Apache; full-length, kneeling with rifle, 1887 - Photograph George Benjamin Wittick
Geronimo (Goyathlay, 1820–1909), a Chiricahua Apache; full-length, kneeling with rifle, 1887 – Photograph George Benjamin Wittick

Billy The Kid

Easily, Wittick’s most famous photograph is of Henry McCarty, AKA Billy the Kidd, in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. The image is the only known image of the outlaw to be identified by those who knew him. The image It shows the outlaw dressed in a rumpled hat and ragged clothes, which include a bulky sweater. He’s is holding a Winchester carbine on his right side and a Colt revolver holstered on his left side. Two of these tintypes were produced. One is given to Paulita Maxwell, the kids girlfriend, and the other to friend Dan Dedrick. The last time this original is auctioned, it sold to William Koch for 2.3 million dollars.

Henry McCarty - AKA Billy the Kid - Fort Sumner, New Mexico, 1879 - 80 Tintype by George Benjamin Wittick
Henry McCarty – AKA Billy the Kid – Fort Sumner, New Mexico, 1879 – 80 Tintype by George Benjamin Wittick

It was taken by a traveling photographer who came through Fort Sumner [New Mexico] in 1880. Billy posed for it standing in the street near old Beaver Smith’s saloon. I never liked the picture. I don’t think it does Billy justice. It makes him look rough and uncouth. The expression of his face was really boyish and very pleasant. He may have worn such clothes as appear in the picture out on the range, but in Fort Sumner he was careful of his personal appearance and dressed neatly and in good taste.

Paulita Maxwell Jaramillo, the Kid’s girlfriend – 1920’s

In 1900, he established his last studio at Fort Wingate. In 1903. he decided to return to visit the Hopi Snake Dance. As a gesture of friendship towards the Hopu, he captured a rattlesnake to bring to as a gift. While handling the snake, he is bitten on the thumb on August 8, 1903 and died three weeks later at Fort Wingate, New Mexico, just as the Hopi elder had predicted many years earlier.

References

Timothy H. O’Sullivan – Photographer

CDV of Timothy H. O'Sullivan with imprint of F.G. Ludlow, Carson City, Nevada Territory on verso. Taken between 1871–74 while O'Sullivan was the official photographer for the Wheeler Expedition.
CDV of Timothy H. O’Sullivan with imprint of F.G. Ludlow, Carson City, Nevada Territory on verso. Taken between 1871–74 while O’Sullivan was the official photographer for the Wheeler Expedition.

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (c. 1840 – January 14, 1882) was a photographer best known for of the Civil War and the western United States. O’Sullivan began his photography career as an apprentice in Mathew Brady’s Fulton Street gallery in New York City. He moved on to the Washington, D.C., branch managed by Alexander Gardner. In 1861. At the age of twenty-one, O’Sullivan joined Brady’s team of Civil War photographers.

Little is known about his early life. He was either born in Ireland or New Work City. As a teenager, Timothy was employed by Matthew Brady where he learn the newly invented craft of photography. When the Civil War broke out, he is commission as a first lieutenant in the Union Army, in 1861.

After the was, in 1867, Timothy H. O’Sullivan is hired by Clarence King to accompany the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel as a photographer. O’Sullivan was with the Survey for the seasons of 1867, 1868, 1869 and 1872.

During these expeditions, he is known to carry two or possibly three camera outfits which include a 9″x12″ and 8″x1O” plates and for stereoscopic views. He developed the plates in the field, as was necessary with the wet plate process, and worked in either a photographic tent or a mule-drawn ambulance wagon. The negatives were usually sent back to the Survey offices in Washington D.C. where they are printed.

In 1871, O’Sullivan join the geological surveys west of the one hundredth meridian, under the command of Lieutenant George M. Wheeler of the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Wheeler would caption O’Sullivan’s photographs with practical information useful in the later establishment of roads and rail routes and emphasized the west’s suitability for settlement.

In 1873, on another Wheeler expedition, O’Sullivan photographed the Zuni and Magia pueblos and the Canyon de Chelly and its remnants of a cliff-dwelling culture. He returned to Washington, D.C., in 1874 and made prints for the Army Corps of Engineers. Soon after being made chief photographer for the United States Treasury in 1880, O’Sullivan died of tuberculosis at age forty-one.

Sand dunes, 1867, Carson Desert Western Nevada RG 77 Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, 1789-1988 Photographic Album of the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel – The King Survey, 1867-1872 ARC ID 519530 77KS-3-160

Timothy H. O’Sullivan Portfolio

References

Culverwells Ranch

Culverwells Ranch is Nevada State Historical Marker number fifty five located in Lincoln county, Nevada.

The meadow area around the junction of Meadow Valley Wash and Clover Creek was originally settled in the early 1860’s by Ike and Dow Barton, two Negro slaves who had escaped from Arkansas. In the early 1870’s the area was known as Dutch Flat. In 1874, ranchers Charles and William Culverwell purchased the Jackman Ranch and renamed it as Culverwell Ranch. It was later referred to as “Culverwell.” Along with ranching, the family earned a living by providing hay for the mining camps in Pioche and Delamar.

Culverwells Ranch - Caliente Nevada - Early 1900's
Caliente Nevada – Early 1900’s

A dispute between two major railroad companies began when E.H. Harriman of the Oregon Short Line and Union Pacific, pushed track from Utah to the site of Culverwell. Even as Harriman’s crews worked on the line, the newly formed San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad owned by Senator William Clark, claimed the same territory. These rival groups had sought the right-of-way in a canyon only big enough only for a single set of tracks. The Union Pacific had grade stakes set all the way into Culverwell and on toward Pioche, but their rival group gobbled up enough of the narrow canyon to set a road block in the path of Union Pacific

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.

Marker Text

Caliente was first settled as a ranch, furnishing hay for the mining camps of Pioche and Delmar.  In 1901, the famous Harriman-Clark right-of-way battle was ended when rancher Charles Culverwell, with the aid of a broad-gauge shotgun, allowed one railroad grade to be built through his lush meadows.  Harriman and Clark had been baffling eleven years, building side-by-side grades ignoring court orders and federal marshals.


The population boom began with an influx of railroad workers, most of them immigrants from Austria, Japan, and the Ottoman Empire.  A tent city was settled in August 1903.

With the completion of the Las Angeles, San Pedro, and Salt Lake Railroad in 1905, Caliente became a division point.  Beginning in 1906, the Caliente and Pioche Railroad (now the Union Pacific) was built between Pioche and the main line at Caliente.  The large Mission Revival-style depot was built in 1923, serving as a civic center, as well as a hotel.

STATE HISTORICAL MARKER No. 55
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
LINCOLN COUNTY AREA DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker55
NameCulverwell’s Ranch
LocationLincoln County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude37.6133, -114.5148

Nevada State Historic Marker #55 Map

References

Delamar NSHM Nevada State Historic Marker #90

Delamar NSHM is Nevada State Historical Marker number ninety seven and is located in Lincoln County, Nevada. Nicknamed “The Widowmaker”, Delamar, Nevada is a ghost town and gold mining town in Monkeywrench Wash, Lincoln County, Nevada. Prospectors and Farmers from Pahranagat, John Fergusen and Joseph Sharp officially discovered gold in 1889 around Monkeywrench Wash. This event lead to the founding of the Fergusen Mining District and a camp of that name was established. Initial assays ranged from $75 to $1000 per ton of gold ore. This was more than enough to attract the attention of investors.

Delamar mill and tailings in foreground. Hog Pen, the opening to the Delamar mine, is in the background high up on the mountain - Unknown photographer - Stanley W. Paher, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, (1970), Howell North, p299, Ashley Cook Collection
Delamar mill and tailings in foreground. Hog Pen, the opening to the Delamar mine, is in the background high up on the mountain – Unknown photographer – Stanley W. Paher, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, (1970), Howell North, p299, Ashley Cook Collection

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.

Gold was discovered here in 1889. This isolated, treeless metropolis of over 1,500 residents, had a newspaper, hospital, school, churches, saloons and a stockbroker. Entertainment included brass bands, dance orchestras and stage attractions at the Opera House.

Water came from Meadow Valley Wash, 12 miles away. All other materials were hauled through the mountains by mule team 150 miles from a railroad head at Milford, Utah. For 16 years, most of the bullion was hauled out in the same manner.

The dry milling processes used prior to the introduction of wet methods created a fine silicon or “death” dust which caused the deaths of many residents and gave the town its nickname.

Delamar produced $15,000,000 in gold and was Nevada’s leading producer of that decade.

NEVADA HISTORIC MARKER #90

Delamar NSHM Map

Delamar NSHM Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker90
NameDelamar “The Widow Maker”, Nevada
LocationLincoln County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude37.6207, -114.7839

References

Old Boundary (Nevada’s Southern Boundary 1861-1867)

Old Boundary (Nevada’s Southern Boundary 1861-1867) is Nevada State Historical Marker number fifty seven located in Lincoln county, Nevada. The marker is located about 6 miles north of Beaty along highway 95.

Midas, 1908 - Stanley W. Parmer, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, (1970), Howell North, - Old Boundary (Nevada's Southern Boundary 1861-1867)
Midas, 1908 – Stanley W. Parmer, Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, (1970), Howell North,

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.

Nevada State Historic Marker 57

The 37th degree north latitude is marked at this point as the dividing line between the Territories of Utah and New Mexico under the provisions of the Compromise of 1850 which originally organized the land ceded by Mexico in 1848.

When the Territory of Nevada was carved from western Utah in 1861, this line became the southern boundary of the new territory and continued to serve as such when the Territory and State were enlarged by extensions to the east in 1862 and 1866 respectively.

In 1867, the Nevada Legislature approved the action of Congress to add that portion of the Territory of Arizona which lay to the south of this line, west of the 114 degree west longitude and the Colorado River, and to the east of the boundary of California. This action, taken on January 18, 1867, gave to the State of Nevada the permanent boundaries as they are today.

STATE HISTORICAL MARKER No. 58
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE

Nevada State Historic Marker 57 Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker57
NameOld Boundary (Nevada’s Southern Boundary 1861-1867)
LocationLincoln County
Latitude, Longitude36.9772, -114.9771

Nevada State Historic Marker 57 Map

References