No other Nevada newspaper so closely replicates in its own history and travels the history and vicissitudes of its county than does the White Pine News. In its 55 years of near-continuous publication from 1868 to 1923, The White Pine News moved six times to six different mining camps and towns, all within a 45-mile radius.
White Pine County in eastern Nevada epitomized the dramatic and sometimes violent boom and bust of western mining and mining camps. After the initial discovery of gold and silver deposits on Treasure Hill in 1868, there was an explosion of furious but relatively short-lived booms that traveled from one new strike to the next leaving a trail of recently bustling but soon deserted camps behind. The White Pine News began its life in the town of Treasure City perched just below the top of Treasure Hill at an elevation of 9,000 feet. In 1868 W.H. Pritchard and Robert W. Simpson acquired the press of the defunct Silver Bend Reporter (sn 86076157, 86076162) in Belmont, in Central Nevada and hauled it to the new bonanza in White Pine County and up to the new boomtown of Treasure City where in December they began publishing the weekly White Pine News. It quickly grew to a tri-weekly then by April a daily, reflecting the town’s boom. The paper changed ownership frequently, and by August 1869 was reduced to a tri-weekly and by October back to a weekly. The then owner, William J. Forbes, a staunch Republican who was engaged in a bitter rivalry with the newspaper in the neighboring town and newly designated county seat of Hamilton, finally decided to suspend the News in Treasure City and haul his press down the mountain to Hamilton where he resumed the News as a daily in January 1870 and his battle with the Inland Empire which succumbed and suspended publication in April. Forbes reduced his paper to a weekly in 1872 and sold the paper in 1873 to new owners who changed the paper’s politics to Democratic. As the mines declined, and with it Hamilton, the paper and its owners struggled. Publication was suspended in 1878 and after a number of unsuccessful attempts to revive it, in 1880 its owners moved the White Pine News moved with its plant to the new boomtown of Cherry Creek, where it resumed publication in January 1881 as a weekly. It was published by the same owner W.L. Davis in Cherry Creek until August 1885 when he removed the paper from waning Cherry Creek to the newest boomtown of Taylor. Davis bought out the other paper in Taylor, the White Pine Reflex (sn86076314), and combined the two plants to publish the White Pine News. But Taylor’s prosperity also proved short-lived, and when the county courthouse in Hamilton burned down in 1887 and the county seat moved to Ely, Davis followed the next year and re-established the peripatetic White Pine News in the new town of Ely, which was to remain the seat of county government and the center of the new copper mining boom. With Ely established as a relatively stable town, the White Pine News settled down into an established newspaper despite the frequent changes in ownership that characterized many newspapers, and prospered with the town. In 1907, the News, now a daily, began a separate weekly edition, The White Pine News Weekly Mine Review (sn86076354). In 1908 the paper moved for the last time to the end of town to the new industrial suburb of East Ely where it stayed (the Mining Review was absorbed back into the News in 1909), until 1923 when this indefatigable paper suspended publication for the last time.
picture was taken last week at
the Boot Hill Cemetery of Pioche, Nevada
Well, what can I say about this? The grave “stone” made me think this was a mysterious man who was stabbed in the back (shot in the back). That’s what it says!
Well, I have not even gotten through all the news on this man. Mysterious indeed! I have pages of results from the historic pages on Chronicling America. I will add as I learn of more dirt! And there is a lot on this guy! Here is a little to frame this Pioche story of 1873.
First all, his real name is not Morgan Courtney. His name is Richard. He went by Rick Moriarty. He changed his name and moved to Nevada running from the law in Virginia. He murdered a man there. So, that was the beginning of this story. (For now! If and when I extend my search to other states in Chronicling America, who knows how early this man’s story goes!)
Incident occurred in 1868 – charged with the murder of John O’Toole in Virginia; see the below:
He has an extensive criminal history.
1872 was an active year… He did go back to trial in VA, which I find impressive. After all, there was no facebook or twitter but they did find him and learn of this name change. He was escorted back, faced trial, and was not convicted.
Oh, here is ANOTHER MURDER (Nevada)!! James Sullivan by Courtney in 1872!
Just a side note from someone [me] that reads a lot of historic news of Nevada 1864-1910; a lot of people did not face convictions and long jail time for murder then. I think the evidence was just not there a lot of the time. Criminal justice was weirdly still in infancy and forensic science practice was nonexistent. Innocent until proven guilty. And then if they did go to jail, it was often not for extended periods of time like today – perhaps they just could not afford to clothe (they didn’t – prisoners wore their own clothes) and also feeding these people – winters were harsh, Carson City is not a cake-walk winter! I know security is an issue of jails of Nevada – there were often jailbreaks and officers attacked (I did a blog on jail).
Next, the news portrays a negative opinion of Mr. Courtney. He was active in the happenings – I see his name in the “quick mentions” area here and there – but you can sense clearly that he was not liked. One article states, “the community loses nothing by his assassination…”
Perhaps Courtney was cocky, over-confident – maybe from his past of killing men and walking! There is also an account of him threatening a bartender for serving him the wrong drink (whiskey and wine).
“Courtney was one of the most
desperate and bloodthirsty characters that ever disgraced a mining town…”
Mr Courtney was shot down by George McKinney, a young man working the mines of Nevada and Utah from about 1868. I am not seeing evidence of McKinney being possible innocent and an angel, he was not highly reputable in the community either (one man claims to know McKinney from 1871 and refers to him as lazy).
McKinney had lived in Pioche for a short time before this incident, Courtney was not a long-timer either.
So, was McKinney a coward attacking from behind? I doubt it.
One reporter did get into the jail to talk to McKinney. His side of the story was given and he [McKinney] expressed concern that everyone thought Courtney was wrongly “shot in the back.” They began face-to-face and this was not isolated aggression, there had been tension between these two for the weeks leading up to this.
From all accounts, Courtney was mad [jealous] that his girl Georgiana was poking around visiting McKinney. And Georgie also was supposed to visit McKinney at his room one evening, she never showed. The next day he asked her why and she stated that she was afraid of Courtney finding out. So, there is how it started.
Courtney made it known that he was after McKinney with open threats, finally these two men faced each other in the street and had an old fashion old wild west shoot-out.
Shots fired, then Courtney turned and ran. McKinney suggested he knew that once shots are fired, that is that – someone is going to die, so he kept shooting (that’s how he was shot in the back, not an ambush). Those may not have been the fatal shots – these two moved around! Courtney was shot in the back when he was running into a saloon, in there McKinney said he “stayed close to shoot him again” and then they moved out into the street!
Wow. Hmmm… Perhaps the firearms then were not as good today. I wonder if a firearms enthusiast can shine some light on this as a factor in the case?
Courtney wanted to be thought of as a mystery man gunned down in an ambush, and whoever was in charge of the grave markers complied. Before dying, Courtney gave his story that he never fired and portrayed himself as a victim of McKinney’s savage violence.
You can read the testimony in the articles. In fact, I will attach ALL the articles I used in my investigation.
McKinney was reported acquitted September 21, 1873.
It was a quick trial – the incident occurred Aug 1, 1873. Speedy trial!
The wild west was wilder than we know.
The sn # is the LCCN which will give you the title, the date will be on the first clip of each story. These are all from Nevada papers. Title saved on first clip of story.
Yesterday I took a drive to Pioche – my first “visit” and I cannot wait to go back! I plan on going back when the quarantine is over – I can take more pictures and talk with the locals about the history. Anyway, when I visit these little historic Nevada mining towns, I always like to visit the cemeteries. They always have many stories to tell and Pioche is no exception.
The grave markers always give some detail about the person or incident in which they met their death. I have noticed this in Tonopah and Goldfield too. I will have to find my pic of the “Unknown man Died from eating Library Paste” and it turns out library paste was poison then – and well, hunger can make a person do some pretty desperate things.
So, back to Pioche! It was a beautiful town and the people that were out and passed waved hello, even the passing cars greeted me. I cannot wait to go back. Really a great place!
Below is a couple of pics I took a few from Boot Hill Cemetary and here is what I found in the newspapers to tell the tale!
I have at least one other to talk about, but there sure is a lot of news coverage – I need to get it all in order first. Until then – read about James Bass and John Lynch. (The next blog up will be Morgan Courtney – what a story!!)
Well, the witnesses’ accounts vary — slightly. I am unsure if he fired first or at all, but one thing is for sure, there was a conflict with two police. He was intoxicated and driving his team of horses (possibly “speeding” again, there are different accounts regarding the speed) after supposedly threatening an officer with his pistol. He was a colored man, I am guessing he was Black – but more investigation may reveal otherwise.
Another note – his grave states he was shot by officers 5 times but accounts lean toward 3 times with 5 shots being fired. Whatever the truth is proves very misfortunate and sad. What happened to his wife after this? I will look and see if I can find any info. If I find any, I will post an update here. I guess we can look at this as a “DUI and speeding” in today’s terms…
July 6, 1873 – Shot during dispute over a dog. A native of Ireland. Killed by John Harrington – who killed THREE other men before this incident. And this was a dispute over a dog. Very reckless and sad.
This all took place at Lynch’s chophouse (see an ad in the local paper below).
The list of people involved: Lynch, Schoonmaker, O’Neil, Harrington, and Sullivan.
O’Neil and Sullivan came in – Sullivan handled the dog and hurt it, Schoonmaker said something to him about it; he apologized saying he did not intend to hurt the dog. Having appeared to be solved, the men left and outside – O’Neil said to Sullivan that he was a d—d coward (damed coward?) for apologizing about hurting a dog, Schoonmaker replied something, ONeil remarked back then Schoonmaker struck him. Then Harrington, who had nothing to do with the dog dispute stepped in with a six-shooter.
Three shots fired resulting in 5 wounds. Sullivan, Lynch, O’Neil. and Schoonmaker all wounded. Lynch’s wounds proved fatal.
This man had a wife in San Fran, CA. How sad – he was just running his chophouse.
The Battle Mountain mining district was organized in 1866 after the discovery of copper in the north of Lander County, following the rush to the Reese River area in the south of the county where Austin was booming. The name Battle Mountain was said to commemorate a battle between white settlers who had detoured from the established Humboldt River trail and were set upon by a war band of the native tribes (Western Shoshone and Northern Paiutes) in 1857, but this story is almost certainly apocryphal, there being no actual evidence of any such “battle” having taken place. It may simply commemorate the endemic tensions between white settlers and the local tribes. A number of small camps sprung up in the district and when the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad reached the area in 1868 it established a station at Argenta, but after a few months the railroad moved its station closer to the Reese River and laid out a new townsite. The new town of Battle Mountain became the rail head for the surrounding mining district, and its position as a regional entrepôt was strengthened in 1880 when the Nevada Central Railroad completed its line from Austin to Battle Mountain to connect the silver mines in the Austin District with the Central Pacific’s main line.
The first paper in Battle Mountain was the Measure for Measure [LCCN: sn86076252] published by the eccentric and vitriolic newspaperman William J. Forbes in 1873, and which died with its publisher in 1875. Two more papers followed, the Battle Mountain Messenger [LCCN: sn86076250, sn86076251] and its rival the Lander Free Press [LCCN: sn86076371] both succumbing by 1884 to the general depression in silver mining.
In 1885, in answer to public demand and promises of support, veteran newspaperman John H. Dennis, former owner of the Messenger, inaugurated The Central Nevadan in January 1885. It was a four-page, six-column sheet selling for a yearly subscription of $5. “It is with a firm belief in the future prospects of Nevada,” Dennis wrote in his “Salutatory” column, “and especially the central portion of the State, that we begin the publication of a new paper to be known as the CENTRAL NEVADAN, which will be issued weekly, and will at all times give a truthful and correct account of all occurrences in this locality, as well as general news of the State and Pacific Coast. The Central Nevadan will be independent in politics, thus reserving the right to criticize or censure the acts of the politicians and representatives of either party. The chief object of the publishers will be to offer to the people a class of matter that will be instructive and beneficial, and in order to attain that end we will endeavor, through the columns of our paper to labor industriously for the best interests of the country, and to assist in the development of many resources upon which depends the future prosperity of Nevada.”
Dennis ran the newspaper until 1889. It then went through a series of owners and editors until Fred L. Woolcock took over as editor in 1892, continuing in that role until the paper was suspended in December 1907 when the owner, A.D. Lamaire, sold it to its competitor the Battle Mountain Herald with which it merged to become the Battle Mountain Herald and Central Nevadan [LCCN: sn86076257]. This paper prospered for a few years, finally suspending publication in 1911. As a small but bustling regional freight depot Battle Mountain survived the decline of the local mining districts and vied with Austin for the seat of Lander County until 1979 when the state legislature moved the county seat from Austin to Battle Mountain, which had experienced a small boom from the recent resurgence in copper mining.
This is a revision of the Headlines and Heroes 2019 International Women’s Day blog. Sunday, March 8, 2020, was International Women’s Day and today we return to our historical newspaper archives for stories featuring change-making women in newspapers searchable in Chronicling America. This database, sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, provides access to historic United States newspapers published between 1789 and 1963. As the Library’s digital collection grows to over 16 million digitized pages, we are featuring 16 Chronicling America topics pages. Each page provides links to articles and
includes significant dates and associated search terms useful for searching the topic in historical newspapers.
Alice Paul was arrested seven times, jailed on trumped-up charges, and force-fed in prison – all for having the audacity to fight for women to be enfranchised. She was in relentless pursuit of a federal amendment to the constitution that would grant women the right to vote. Her story is one of trial and triumph, as she continued to fight for equality for women even after the Nineteenth Amendment was passed.
Fashion became political in the 1850s with the introduction of the bloomer, loose-fitting trousers named after women’s rights activist Amelia Bloomer. Promoted as a healthier and more liberated dress alternative to tight corsets and heavy petticoats, the bloomer was quickly adopted by suffragettes such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. While the 1850s fashion trend was shortlived, the bloomer’s popularity returned stronger than ever with the bicycling craze of the 1890s.
In June of 1889, Clara Barton and 50 American Red Cross volunteers assist the survivors in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, after a massive flood kills over 2,000 residents. The response to this disaster was one of the first major relief efforts organized by the
American Red Cross, which Barton founded in 1881. She led the American Red Cross for 23 years, helping establish the organization as a renowned resource of humanitarian aid.
Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer (aka Dorothy Dix) was the original syndicated women’s advice columnist and a well-known American journalist. Throughout her career, more than 2,000 people wrote to her for her advice, and about 60 million read her daily column published in newspapers and magazines across the country.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.” Penned by Elizabeth Cady Stanton at Seneca Falls, the Declaration of Sentiments paved the way for the first organized women’s rights and women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Stanton, one of the most prominent of the American suffragists, fought to secure equal rights for women, including the right to vote.
On April 6, 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out from New York to cross the US stumping for the women’s right to vote. Traveling in the Golden Flyer, a yellow two-seater, the suffragettes embarked on a five-month cross-continent trip across many dirt
and gravel roads. Armed with a fireless cooker, hand sewing machine, typewriter, and a cat named Saxon, the women spoke tirelessly across the country to garner support and encourage women to attend parades at the 1916 Republican and Democratic National
Conventions in Chicago and St. Louis.
Known as the “Moses of her people,” Harriet Tubman ran away from slavery but went back to the South at least 19 more times, risking her life to bring others to freedom along the Underground Railroad. In the Civil War, she worked as a Union spy and scout and was celebrated for her courage.
Despite being the leading American prima donna of her day, Helen Bertram’s story is often left unsung. Bertram was a comic opera soprano who trained at the Cincinnati College of Music before becoming the lead singer for various opera companies, such as Abbott, Conried, and The Bostonians. Her roles in “The Gingerbread Man” and “The Prince of Pilsen” helped to further develop the unique genre of comic opera. But her off-stage life may have been even more interesting, with scandalous affairs, deceased lovers, heated rivalries, and multiple bankruptcies.
“The facts have been so distorted that the people in the north and elsewhere do not realize the extent of the lynchings in the south,” stated Ida B. Wells in June of 1895. Wells worked tirelessly to fight against lynching in the American South through newspapers, pamphlets, and speeches. A former school teacher, she is remembered for her work in both civil and women’s rights.
“Woman Rebel” Margaret Sanger spearheaded the birth control movement in the United States, coining the term “birth control” and opening the first birth control clinic in the country. Her activism directly targeted the Comstock Laws, which made it illegal to disseminate birth control information. A prolific writer and lecturer, Sanger overcame many obstacles to pave the way for women’s rights in the United States.
Labeled as “a very modest and undemonstrative woman,” by the Pacific Commercial Advertiser in 1910, Marie Curie’s accomplishments in the fields of science and physics were anything but. One of the most renowned scientists in history, Marie made her mark in her field in 1898 when she, along with her husband, discovered the new elements radium and polonium.
Irish born Mary Harris Jones, known as “Mother” Jones, was a constant presence in the labor movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Jones once testified before Congress that she lived “where the big thieves are wringing their dollars out of the blood and bone of my poor, miserable people.” As the “angel of miners,” she witnessed many major labor events including the Colorado Coalfield War and the March of the Mill Children.
The most famous newspaperwoman of her time, Nellie Bly amazed readers across America with her pluck and fearlessness. Writing for The Pittsburg Dispatch, New York World, and New York Journal, Bly pioneered the field of investigative journalism, posing as all kinds of characters and going to great lengths to seize the inside scoop. As well as writing the headlines, Nellie Bly was frequently the subject of them as a trailblazing business leader and humanitarian.
Queen Victoria is the second longest-reigning monarch in British history, following the present Queen Elizabeth. Generally popular, Queen Victoria pushed for social and educational reform and also oversaw the great expansion of England into an empire. As a woman, she constantly dealt with power struggles and detested the ideas of marriage and babies.
“No man is good enough to govern any woman without her consent,” declared Susan B. Anthony, renowned American social reformer and suffragist. Alongside close friend and partner Elizabeth Stanton, Susan B. Anthony campaigned for women’s rights in the United States. The Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote, is popularly known as the Anthony Amendment. She also became the first non-fictitious woman to appear on U.S. currency when her portrait appeared on the 1979 dollar coin.
Victoria Woodhull was one of the most controversial and well-publicized women of her time. The first female presidential candidate as well as a proponent of “free love,” Woodhull also operated the first female brokerage on Wall Street and exposed the sexual infidelities of America’s favorite preacher, Henry Ward Beecher.
Finding more stories about remarkable women in Chronicling America? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to check out more Headlines and Heroes posts featuring amazing women.