African Americans and the Boston Saloon – NSHM #266

William A G Brown - Owner of the Boston Saloon, Virginia City, Nevada
William A G Brown – Owner of the Boston Saloon, Virginia City, Nevada

African Americans and the Boston Saloon – NSHM #266 is a Nevada State Historic Marker Located in Virginia City, Storey County, Nevada. Virginia City has eight Nevada State Historic Markers and a wonderful location to visit and dive deep into history.

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.

William A G Brown, a freeman, moved to Nevada and started the Boston Saloon. The Boston Saloon was located at the intersection of D and Union Streets . The Virginia City newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise called the saloon a “popular resort for many of the colored population”

The saloon building is lost the great fire of 1875. The site of the saloon was subject of an archeological excavation in the year 2000.

NSHM #266 Text

Between 1866 and 1875, a remarkable business thrived in Virginia City.  Free-born William A.G. Brown operated the Boston Saloon, serving Virginia City’s African Americans.  Archaeologists have revealed that Brown offered his customers finely prepared meals with the best cuts of meat.  Shortly after Brown sold his business, the great fire of 1875 swept through town and destroyed the building.

There were rarely more than one hundred African Americans living in Virginia City during its height in the 1860s, but they played varied and important roles in the community. Some African Americans pursued work as laborers, porters, and barbers.  Others became affluent business owners, and a prominent doctor won widespread respect.  By the 1870’s, African American children attended integrated schools. However, the decline of mining by 1880 sent many Nevadans, including African Americans, elsewhere. When mining in the state revived in the early 1900s, a shift at the federal, state, and local levels that implemented segregation via law or practice kept most African American families from returning to communities like Virginia City.

The site of the Boston Saloon is located uphill and to the left of this location at the corner of Union and D Streets now occupied by the Bucket of Blood Saloon parking lot.

STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
DON MCBRIDE AND THE BUCKET OF BLOOD SALOON
RENO-SPARKS BRANCH OF THE NAACP, UNIT #1112
STATE HISTORICAL MARKER No. 266

Nevada State History Marker Summary

Nevada State Historic Marker266
NameAfrican Americans and the Boston Saloon
LocationVirginia City, Storey County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.31054, -119.64942

References

The Comstock Lode – NSHM #13

The Comstock Lode – NSHM #13 is Nevada State Historic Marker #13 and located in Historic Virginia City, Storey County, Nevada. Virginia City is a wonderful little town to visit and home to Eight Nevada State Historic Markers.

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.

"Mining on the Comstock", depicting the headframes and mills of the various mines, and mining technology used at Comstock, most prominently the method of square-set timbering developed there to work the veins. -T.L. Dawes (drawing); Le Count Bros., San Fransisco (lithographers)
“Mining on the Comstock”, depicting the headframes and mills of the various mines, and mining technology used at Comstock, most prominently the method of square-set timbering developed there to work the veins. -T.L. Dawes (drawing); Le Count Bros., San Fransisco (lithographers)

Nevada State History Marker #13

Near this spot was the heart of the Comstock Lode, the fabulous 2 ½ mile deposit of high-grade ore that produced nearly $400,000.00 in silver and gold.  After the discovery in 1859, Virginia City boomed for 20 years, helped bring Nevada into the union in 1864 and to build San Francisco.

Several major mines operated during the boom.  Their sites are today marked by large yellow dumps, several of which are visible from here – the Sierra Nevada a mile to your left, the Union, Ophir, Con Virginia and, on the high hill to the southeast, the combination.  The Lode was worked from both ends, north up Gold Canyon and south from the Sierra Nevada Utah mines.

NEVADA CENTENNIAL MARKER NO. 13
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE

The Comstock Lode – NSHM #13 Summary

Nevada State History Marker13
NameThe Comstock Load
LocationVirginia City, Storey County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.31668, -119.64736

References

Savage Mansion – NSHM #87

Savage Mansion – NSHM #87 is Nevada State Historic Marker #87 and located in Historic Virginia City, Storey County, Nevada. Virginia City is a wonderful little town to visit and home to Eight Nevada State Historic Markers.

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 #87

This elegant mansion, designed in the French Second Empire style, served as a residence for the superintendent, as well as a mine office for the Savage Mining Company.  The first floor served as the mine office while the upper two stories provided a residence for many successful superintendents.

Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States and “General of the Armies,” spoke to the townspeople from the second floor balcony on October 27, 1879, after a town parade in his honor.

STATE HISTORIC MARKER No. 87
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
NEVADA LANDMARK SOCIETY

Marker Summary

Nevada State History Marker87
NameSavage Mansion
LocationVirginia City, Storey County Nevada
Latitude, Longitude39.30537, -119.65106

References

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

Walter Edward Perry Scott – “Death Valley Scotty”

Walter Edward Perry Scott  (September 20, 1872 – January 5, 1954), also known as “Death Valley Scotty”, was a miner, prospector and conman who operated around Death Valley, California. Later in life, he was befriended by Albert Johnson, who built the Death Valley Ranch in Grapevine Canyon in Death Valley, which is commonly known as “Scotty’s Castle“.

Walter Scott (1872 - 1954)
Walter Scott (1872 – 1954)

Walter was born in Cynthiana, Kentucky to a family of six children. He moved west to Nevada to join his brothers at the age of eleven. He worked as a water boy for a survey party, and later found employment at the Harmony Borax Works in Death Valley. Later, Scotty worked for the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show as one of the rough riders. It was seasonal work, and while he was employed by the show for twelve years, he would return to Death Valley for odd jobs.

After a disagreement with Buffalo Bill, Scott left the show for good and again returned to Death Valley. Upon his return, he took up prospecting for gold. Scotty as a prospector was more of a con man who used to con investors in to backing his “mining” adventures.  It was reported that when the investor’s delegation wanted the view their new mine, Scotty would march them around the hot valley until they forgave or forgot about their investment.

On March 11, 1906 Scotty stared as himself in a play which opened in Seattle to a full house.   We was arrested after his only performance and the charged for his crimes, the publicity exposed him to new investors.  In spite of this Albert Johnson maintain interested in his “mine”. Another investigator was sent, who reported back that the mine did not exist. Johnson refused to believe this, and the following year he visited the mine himself, but left without seeing the mine.  He was later sued by his investors in 1915 and ended up in jail.

Death Valley Scotty and the Johnsons
Death Valley Scotty and the Johnsons

For various reasons, Johnson felt beneficent towards Scott, and in a verbal agreements made specific provisions allowing Scott the right to live out the rest of his life at the castle. Johnson is known to have provided several thousand dollars for years. Walter Edward Perry Scott, AKA “Death Valley Scotty” died in January of 1954 and is buried on a hill about the Death Valley Ranch, which is known as Scott’s Castle.

References