Fort Churchill Nevada

Fort Churchill is a Civil War era United States Army Fort, Pony Express Station and overland stage stop located in Lyon County, Nevada just West of Buckland’s Station. The fort was commissioned to protect early settlers from the east from Indian attacks. The garrison was the largest, most elaborate fortification in the Nevada Territory at the time.

A lithograph drawing of Fort Chuchill, Nevada Territory created by Grafton Tyler Brown in 1862
A lithograph drawing of Fort Chuchill, Nevada Territory created by Grafton Tyler Brown in 1862

The discovery of gold in California caused a massive rush of people across the United States. Some of these early settlers came into the Nevada Territory and setup stage stops and mining operations. The arrival of settlers in their territory threatened the the Northern Paiute people. The increase populations of settlers increased the competition for local resources, such as game. These tensions, along with kidnapping and of rape of two young Paiute girls by prospectors from Williams Station erupted into Pyramid Lake War in 1860.

The U.S. Army fort was build along the Carson River and construction of Fort Churchill started on July 20, 1860. The base was named in honor of Sylvester Churchill who was the Inspector General of the Army. The fort is completed in early 1861 and home to some 200 soldiers charged with protecting settlers and mail routes. The post is abandoned in 1869.

On October 6, 1932, Nevada took control of the 200 acre fort and took steps to preserve the ruins as a state park.

Fort Churchill Map

References

Buckland’s Station

Buckland Station is a pony express station, stage stop, boarding house and supplier near Fort Churchill in Lyon County, Nevada.

Buckland Station early 1900s
Buckland Station early 1900s

In 1857, Samual Buckland moved from California to the future site of Buckland’s Station. Buckland, a cattle rancher, improved the property by building a tradingpost, tent hotel, stage stop and toll bridge over the Carson River. A small log cabin was constructed in 1860.

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Diamond Springs Station

Diamond Springs Station is a Pony Express Station number 133 and located in a meadow in Eureka County, Nevada. Today the station is on private land which is believed to be owned by Olive Thompson. The station was described by Sir Richard Burton as the Eden of the Pony Express Trail when he visited the site on October 9th, 1860. He also reported that the site was managed by an unfriendly Mormon couple.

Diamond Springs Station
Diamond Springs Station
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Ruby Valley Station

The Ruby Valley Station was started in 1859 as part of George Chorpenning’s mail route. Later the station served the Pony Express and Overland Mail Company line in White Pine County, Nevada. The station was managed by William “Uncle Billy” Rogers and Frederick William Hurst.

Ruby Valley, White Pine County, Nevada - Ruby Valley Pony Express Station - photo taken in 1944
Ruby Valley, White Pine County, Nevada – Ruby Valley Pony Express Station – photo taken in 1944
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The Pony Express Trails and Stations In Nevada

The Pony Express operated for a very brief period of time from April 3, 1860, to October 26, 1861. The mail service allowed quick delivery of mail, messages and newspapers between California and Missouri. The pony express was built and operated around one hundred and eighty six stations, which enabled a rider to change horses frequently and quickly traverse the county.

Pony Express Riders "Billy" Richardson, Johnny Fry, Charles Cliff, Gus Cliff - Ernest and Elaine Hartnagle (original tintype from the Martin E. Ismert Collection - Kansas City, Missouri) - http://www.historybuff.com/library/refrichardson.html
Pony Express Riders “Billy” Richardson, Johnny Fry, Charles Cliff, Gus Cliff – Ernest and Elaine Hartnagle (original tintype from the Martin E. Ismert Collection – Kansas City, Missouri) – http://www.historybuff.com/library/refrichardson.html

The Pony Express only operated for a brief 18 months. Yet, the lore of its riders racing the mail across the country maintains a special place in history. The service was not a financial success and heavily subsidized. Despite this influx of capital, the service was doomed on October 24, 1861 with the success of the transcontinental telegraph.

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