Fallon website!

Please check out the pictures we have on the new webpage to accompany the essay! 

Churchill Standard, Fallon Standard, Churchill County Standard

The future site of Fallon Nevada was a rest stop on the California Trail near where it crossed the Carson River.  Its open grazing land eventually attracted cattle rancher Michael Fallon and his wife Eliza in the early 1890’s who established an extensive ranch. In 1896 Fallon established a post office in a small wooden structure which was soon joined by a small store which became a gathering point for the local farmers and ranchers. In 1901, Fallon & Son sold the ranch to Warren Williams, the state senator from Churchill County, for $18,000, and moved, with his cattle, to Smith Valley in neighboring Lyon County. The Wadsworth Dispatch which reported this sale of what it called the finest ranch in Churchill County and center of the county’s (admittedly sparse) population, noted that Senator Williams intended to make it his home, and so he did. In 1902 the Senator introduced a bill in the State Senate to move the county seat from Stillwater to Fallon, supported by a petition of a majority of the county’s property owners. The bill, referred to the Churchill county delegation, easily passed and Senator William’s graciously donated a lot 150feet x 150 feet for a new courthouse. A subsequent bill authorizing the county to issue $8,000 bonds for the construction of the courthouse was also duly passed, enabling not only the construction of an $8,000 Court House but prompting a building boom in Fallon. The boom was chronicled in other local newspapers measured by the number of saloons that had been built, and the notices of local people re-locating to the new town. As the Carson City Appeal noted in the story “A Booming Section”. “The farms all the way down the river and at the Sink are in a flourishing condition. New houses are going up and new ground is being broken. At the town of Fallon which is principally owned by Senator Williams, a scene of activity is encountered, Store, saloons, and blacksmith shops are in the course of construction. It is assuming the appearance of Gardnerville and in a short time it will boast a population that will boost the Churchill County onto the map with a vengeance.”  Fred Fairbanks, the editor of the Lyon County Times wrote in June 1903 “Arriving at Fallon which is to be the new county seat . . ., the writer found a bright little town composed of about 20 or 30 new buildings, nearly all of which have been constructed in the past year or year and a half. . . . In Fallon, at the present time, there are two excellent stores (one owned by Sen. Williams). . a hotel of the first class. .  two saloons (one owned by the hotel owner), a meat market, another small store, a blacksmith shop, and a corral and feed yard, a substantial schoolhouse and a two-story town hall, also the central telephone office in which Miss Austin acts as “hello girl.”  . . . by the first of the next year there will be another store, saloon, and hotel in Fallon, and from that time on the town will no doubt grow rapidly.”

Among the people flocking to Fallon to try their luck in this new boom town were a trio of newspapermen, Bert Hansen from the Tonopah Bonanza, Fred Fairbanks from the Yerington Times (who wrote so glowingly of the prosperity of Fallon) and Leslie Smaill, a young reporter from Carson City whose resume included work on newspapers in San Francisco, Tonopah and Reno. Rumors of a new newspaper starting in Fallon started circulating in July of 1903 but it was not until December that it was reported in Carson City that Fred Fairbanks of the Yerington Times was starting the paper. The first issue of the Churchill County Standard was issued on December 19, 1903 under the aegis of the Standard Publishing Company, with the salutation, “Nobody is behind the paper as a political or financial backer, and if it succeeds to grow and prosper, as we hope it will, it will because our faith in the enterprise and the future of the country will lead us to do some good hard work to bring about the desired results.” Nevada newspaper editors formed a small and close confraternity and a new newspaper was an event usually welcomed by them. When the various editors received their first issue it was hailed as a boon to the Churchill County.  The Tonopah Bonanza saluted their former colleague Bert Hanson, “The Churchill Standard, a five-column paper, published at Fallon, Churchill county, is upon our table. It is published by the Standard Publishing Company, with Bert E, Hanson as manager and editor. It is a newsy and neat paper and the BONANZA hopes the good people of Churchill County will give the Standard liberal financial support. Its editor, Bert Hansen, was employed at this office for over a year and has thorough knowledge of the printing business. Success to you, Bert, old boy.”

The Standard, like most papers, promoted the interests of the town. As Fallon grew it became increasingly apparent that there needed a better connection to the Southern Pacific Railroad line thirteen miles north of the town,  so the county’s property owners raised a subscription to induce the railroad officials to construct a branch line down to Fallon from its mainline station at Massie.  “The benefits a railroad would confer upon Fallon, the Standard boomed, are incalculable, Aside from the big canal, no other one thing would or could do more toward making a great big city out of this place. As a shipping point, it would easily be among the leaders.” With the inducements provided by the county, the railroad was subsequently built, guaranteeing the town’s position as the county’s central transportation and market hub.  And for a rural western county, the US Government and its Department of the Interior provided yet another windfall, in the extensive Truckee – Carson Irrigation Project, which was being extended into Churchill County. “Leslie Smail, editor of Churchill Standard is in town,” reported his hometown paper the Carson City Appeal, “Leslie is certainly a boomer, to hear him spiel on the virtues of his new heath, surveyors are as thick along the line as Senator Williams’ sheep on the range.” The construction of the irrigation canals brought hundreds of laborers into the region and filling the newly saloon-festooned streets of Fallon.

Kent Copany Deliver TruckKent Company Delivery Truck, 1910s

Bert Hansen and Fred Fairbanks left the initial Standard Publishing Company partnership, Fairbanks to return to the Yerington Times. The remaining partner, Leslie Smaill struggled on. Despite its opening disclaimer of being tied to no political party Smaill and the Standard were consistently Democratic in politics, Smaill himself won the nomination to the Assembly on the “Fusion” ticket (a coalition of Democrats and Republican “silverites”) defeating Fallon bank owner George Ernst. The Carson City Appeal noted, “He edits the party organ in Churchill county.” Smaill struggled to keep the paper going until 1905 when he sold it to William C. Black “a newspaperman of experience and ability and a gentleman of worth” as Smaill reported in his florid official notice of the sale and his departure, “it is a tearful task  . . . However the ambitions of youth are sometimes costly, and teach a lesson that remains clearly printed in memory’s book.” Smaill continued his peripatetic newspaper career in the mining camps in Silver Bow, Manhattan, and Goldfield until he settled in Yerington, taking over the Times from his erstwhile partner, Fred Fairbanks.

William Black, an abrasive and opinionated editor, also struggled to keep the Standard afloat; in 1907 he publically denied rumors that the paper was bankrupt and going into receivership. Later that year he announced that he had bought out “outside interests” and was now sole proprietor and editor. According to the Carson City Appeal, “In his editorial announcement of the same he [Black] gives a few of the residents of the town of Fallon and some of the officials a small sized curtain lecture and on which they will be pleased to forget, and have others forget as soon as possible. He says there is no muzzle of his editorial page and we agree with him.”

In 1908 Black sold the Standard to A.P. Bettersworth, of the rival Fallon Eagle, who changed name to the Churchill Standard and increased it to a semi-weekly but after only a few months Bettersworth sold out to J. Otto Lee and C.J. Kinnear who cut it back to a weekly. In 1909 Kinnear, now sole proprietor sold the Standard back to William Black, who returned from California to resume control of the paper. In no wise mellowed and still a strident Democrat, Black attacked the editors of the Democratic Elko Independent in the run-up to the November 1914 elections, for accepting money from Democratic candidates for their newspaper’s support. The Elko Independent fired back, “If brother Black wishes to criticize the honest efforts of any newspaper along the lines of good journalism, let him remember that the Independent has never been a wishy-washy sheet like the so-called newspaper he edits, but has always had one policy and has adhered to it in spite of criticism of a few embryo sheets like the Standard.”

Black ran the Standard until his retirement in 1915 when he sold it to Ernest L. Bingham, late supervisor of the insane asylum. Members of the Bingham family ran the paper until 1926 (changing the paper’s name to the shorter Fallon Standard in 1920) when Claude H. Smith bought a half-interest and took over as editor and ran the paper until his death in 1957. In 1958 William J. Carey of the Fallon Eagle purchased the Standard merging the two paper s as the Eagle-Standard under which names it continues to be published.

Churchill Standard (Fallon)

Churchill (Fallon) Standard   

The future site of Fallon Nevada was a rest stop on the California Trail near where it crossed the Carson River.  Its open grazing land eventually attracted Michael Fallon and his wife Eliza who established a cattle ranch there in the early 1890’s. In 1896 Fallon established a post office on his ranch giving the future town a name.  In 1901, Fallon sold the ranch to Warren Williams, the state senator from Churchill County. The next year Williams introduced a bill in the State Senate to move the county seat from Stillwater to Fallon, supported by a petition of a majority of the county’s property owners. The bill easily passed and Senator Williams graciously donated a lot 150 x 150 feet for a new courthouse. The construction of the courthouse set off a building boom in Fallon. And for a rural western county, the US Government and its Department of the Interior provided yet another windfall, in the extensive Truckee – Carson Irrigation Project, which was being extended into Churchill County. The construction of the irrigation canals brought hundreds of laborers into the region and filling the newly saloon-festooned streets of Fallon.

Among the people flocking to Fallon to try their luck in the new county seat was a trio of newspapermen, Bert Hansen from the Tonopah Bonanza, Fred Fairbanks from the Yerington Times, and  Leslie Smaill  a young reporter from Carson City whose resume included newspapers in San Francisco, Tonopah, and Reno. The first issue of the Churchill County Standard was issued on December 19, 1903, under the aegis of the Standard Publishing Company. The Tonopah Bonanza saluted the new paper and their former colleague, “The Churchill Standard, a five-column paper, published at Fallon, Churchill county, is upon our table. It is a newsy and neat paper and the BONANZA hopes the good people of Churchill County will give the Standard liberal financial support. Its editor, Bert Hansen, was employed at this office for over a year and has a thorough knowledge of the printing business. Success to you, Bert, old boy.”

Hansen and Fairbanks soon left the partnership, Fairbanks to return to the Yerington Times. The remaining partner Leslie Smaill struggled to keep the paper going until 1905 when he sold it to William C. Black. Black, an abrasive and opinionated editor, also struggled; in 1907 he publically denied rumors that the paper was bankrupt and going into receivership. Later that year he announced that he had bought out “outside interests” and was now sole proprietor and editor. According to the Carson City Appeal, “In his editorial announcement of the same he [Black] gives a few of the residents of the town of Fallon and some of the officials a small sized curtain lecture and on which they will be pleased to forget, and have others forget as soon as possible. He says there is no muzzle of his editorial page and we agree with him.”

In 1908 Black sold the Standard to A.P. Bettersworth, of the rival Churchill County Eagle (sn 86076302), who changed the name to the Churchill Standard and increased it to a semi-weekly, but Bettersworth soon decamped selling out to new owners who cut it back to a weekly. In 1909 William Black, returning from California, again purchased the paper, which he ran until his retirement in 1915 when he sold the Standard to Ernest L. Bingham, late supervisor of the insane asylum. Members of the Bingham family ran the paper until 1926 (changing the paper’s name to the shorter Fallon Standard in 1920) when Claude H. Smith bought a half-interest and took over as editor and ran the paper until his death in 1957. In 1958 William J. Carey of the Fallon Eagle purchased the Standard merging the two papers as the Eagle-Standard under which names it continues to be published.

Gardnerville, Nevada

Please enjoy a brief essay about the history of the Gardnerville Record from the beautiful Gardnerville, Nevada 

Gardnerville Record/ Record-Courier

Gardnerville, in Douglas County, Nevada became the business and transportation center for the rich agricultural district of the Carson River Valley, watered by the Carson River carrying snowmelt from Sierra Nevada.  Genoa, the first settlement in Nevada, a few miles north of Gardnerville, was a way station on the California Trail for travelers before crossing the Sierra Nevadas on their way to the California goldfields.  But with the decline of the Comstock in the 1870s and with it wagon traffic through Genoa to and from California, Gardnerville which was more centrally located, became the market and traffic hub serving the prosperous ranching and agricultural population that had settled in the Carson Valley, with roads connecting to the new mining developments to the south in Bodie across the state line in California.

In 1879 Lawrence Gilman, who owned a hotel in Genoa, saw which way the wind was blowing and bought seven and a half acres from local cattle ranchers John and Mary Gardner, on the east side of Carson River, and moved an abandoned hotel that he and his wife owned further south to Gardnerville and opened it as the Gardnerville hotel in 1881, and soon after established a post office.  In 1885 Gilman sold the hotel and half interest in the townsite to Peter Victor Lundergreen who moved a saloon from Millerville to Gardnerville. Gardnerville slowly drew business from Genoa now too far north from the main travel corridors. In 1895 the Reno Tribune reported “Garnerville booms:  It is reported that Gardnerville is experiencing quite a little boom which promises to continue til it is one of, if not the best, towns in Douglas County.” The Winnemucca Silver State reported later that year that “the Gardnerville authorities are raiding the Chinese opium dens and closing the tan games. Gardnerville is getting to be a regular up to date town.”

One of those seeking their fortune in Douglas County’s new boom town was George I. Lamy a “Professor of Violin”, who had settled in Carson City a few years previously, giving lessons and tuning pianos. In 1896 the Carson City Appeal, in its news of local comings and goings, reported that Lamy had settled in the Carson Valley where he was establishing a “colony” of new students. In 1898, when the town decided that it needed its own newspaper, a subscription was raised to purchase the printing press of the abandoned Reno Tribune and Professor Lamy stepped up to manage and edit the new weekly newspaper, the Gardnerville Record issuing its first edition on  July 12, 1898.

The launch of a new newspaper was an occasion for congratulations by other newspaper editors, and such was the case when George Smith, editor of the rival Genoa Courier greeted Lamy’s new enterprise: “The presses and printing material for the new Gardnerville paper arrived this week. The outfit weighs about 6 tons, and the proprietor, Prof. Lamy, has about the same amount of confidence and energy. So we may look for an exceptionally brought paper from that quarter in a few days. It will probably give us a few political pointers, unawed by influence and unbribed by gain: tell us how to irrigate our sagebrush lands and stir us old-timers up generally with the sword of enthusiasm and the spear of truth. Anyhow, it will be a change from the sedate and contemplative course pursued by the Courier. Prof. Lamy does not know that Douglas County cannot support two papers but his ignorance in this respect will benefit the people of Gardnerville, if his paper is worth reading, and he will probably learn a few things before snow flies. . . .”

Lamy took out ads for his new paper in the Carson City Appeal, “All the latest news. Short spicy paragraphs. Progressive journalism. subscription $1.50 a year if paid in advance.” And in his frequent visits to the capital city, according to the Appeal, he “rustled” and “hustled” his paper and enthusiastically boomed the town of Gardnerville “whose new main street,” he proudly reported in 1900, “boasts two livery stables, a woodworking shop, a boarding house, a tin shop, three general stores, a hall, four saloons, one meat market, one furniture store, a drug a confectionary store, and two hotels.” Lamy hustled for four years until he sold the Record in 1902 to Dr. Stoddard Southworth who installed his son Charley, a recent University of Nevada graduate, as editor. Stoddard was welcomed by the editor of the Carson City Appeal, “Doc you are welcome into the flock but you’ll find it harder than pulling teeth.” Stoddard a staunch Republican was nominated for the State Senate from Douglas County in 1904 but was defeated. To add to his woes that year his printing office and equipment were totally destroyed in a fire that also destroyed his residence. It was optimistically reported in Tonopah Bonanza “Dr. Southworth immediately ordered a new plant and will be reissuing paper in 2-3 weeks. The Record is one of the best papers in the state  and in order to show their esteem for it, the people of Gardnerville raised by subscription and presented to Dr. Southworth $600. Here’s long life and success to the new Record.”

Southworth, instead of replacing the Record’s plant, instead bought the rival Gardnerville Courier, (transplanted from Genoa by George Smith in 1899) merging it into the Record-Courier. But Southworth and sons did not keep the paper long selling out later the year to W.C. Ezell and Bert Selkirk, “between the doctor and the freckled boys, “ the Appeal reported appreciatively,  “they have issued one of the best papers in Western Nevada.” As Southworth headed south to Bodie to open a real estate and mining brokerage, Bert Selkirk settled down with his wife to manage the paper, which he did for the next forty years with only a brief hiatus between 1906 and 1908 for health reasons. He retired in 1944. The Record-Courier has since seen a succession of new owners and is still published today, making it one of Nevada’s longest continuously published newspapers.

Carson City’s Historic Newspapers

Also, visit our webpage dedicated to our State Capital!

The Carson Daily Appeal, The Daily State Register, The New Daily Appeal, Carson Daily Appeal, Morning Appeal, The Daily Appeal, and Carson City Daily Appeal

Founded in 1865, the Carson Daily Appeal was a daily newspaper published in Carson City, the capital of the Nevada territory in 1861 and the state capitol in 1864. During these years, Carson City was briefly home to five newspapers: the Territorial Enterprise [(1858-61)Silver Age (1860-61)Carson Daily Independent (1863-64)Daily Morning Post (1864-65), and State Democrat (1864). The Carson Daily Appeal began publication on May 16, 1865, as a Republican newspaper owned by E. F. McElwain, J. Barrett, and Marshall Robinson. The first issue announced the capture of Jefferson Davis which the people of Carson City celebrated by hanging the Confederate President in effigy. Henry Rust Mighels, who had worked for four California newspapers from 1856 to 1860, became the editor of the Appeal in May, and co-owner with Robinson, on November 28, 1865. Mighels was elected as state printer in 1868 and oversaw all government printing in Nevada for the next two years. When he was defeated for reelection in 1870, Mighels left to work for a San Francisco newspaper. The new owners of the Appeal renamed the paper the Daily State Register and changed its politics to Democratic. In 1872, Mighels returned to Carson City, and with financial backing from John Percival Jones, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, he started the New Daily Appeal.

When Jones was elected as Nevada’s U.S. Senator, Marshall Robinson again became a partner, and three days later they bought out the rival State Register, combining its plant with theirs. “New” was dropped from the Appeal‘s masthead on March 11, 1873. The Carson Daily Appeal was printed on a new steam press. In 1877, the title of the paper was changed to the Morning Appeal. In 1878, Mighels was nominated as the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, but failed to be elected. After Mighels’s death the following year, his widow Nellie V. Mighels, took the reins of newspaper and on October 5, 1880, hired Samuel Post Davis, a man she later married, as its editor. A frontier newspaperman, Davis had come to Nevada in 1879 after being fired by the Missouri Republican for making up stories and hired by the Chicago Tribune for the same reason. Davis served as editor of the Appeal for 18 years until he was elected state controller in 1898. His wife Nellie Davis was the first woman to cover a prize fight: in 1897 when Sam Davis was out of town she took his place as a reporter at the first legal boxing match in Carson City featuring Gentleman Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons and refereed by frontier lawman Wyatt Earp.

As the only daily in the capital, the Appeal covered all aspects of Nevada’s politics and government, including legislative sessions, the governor’s proclamations, and Supreme Court decisions, but its editors also provided a more popular appeal. Henry Rust Mighels was an artist, poet, author, and sometime politician; many of his editorials and news stories had a literary flair. As a frontier journalist in the tradition of Mark Twain and Dan DeQuille of the Territorial Enterprise and Lying Jim Townsend of the Reese River Reveille, Davis spiced the Appeal with tall tales and exaggerated stories. He created a fictitious newspaper the Wabuska Mangler as a foil to criticize politicians and other newspapers in the state. Davis’s editorials consistently opposed the Central Pacific Railroad, which repeatedly tried to avoid taxes and regulations. The Appeal was quick to point out and criticize suspected corruption in government: the defalcation of the state treasury by state treasurer Ebenezer Rhodes in the first decade of statehood and the legislature’s interference with collecting the bond from his sureties; mining companies avoiding taxes; and the stranglehold railroads had on interstate commerce. Ownership of the paper went in and out of the hands of the Mighels family, but the Appeal remained a Republican newspaper throughout its existence. From 1906 to 1907, the paper was called the Daily Appeal, and from 1907 to 1930 it was named the Carson City Daily Appeal.

The Lovelock Tribune

The Lovelock Tribune  of the great Nevada town, Lovelock!
This title is currently in digitization so keep an eye out in the near future! 

Lovelock, like other towns across northern Nevada, began as a rest stop near the terminus of the Humboldt River on the overland trail to California. The valley of the Humboldt River provided lush pasture and water for cattle, horses, oxen, and people before they headed west across the dreaded 40 Mile Desert. A few homesteaders settled in the valley to harvest the wild rye and cut and sell the alfalfa for hay. The town took its name from George Lovelock, an English settler who had traveled into Nevada from California after the Civil War and bought up some 320 acres and the water rights in the Humboldt Valley from the local resident squatters. A town was laid out when the Central Pacific Railroad passed through and George Lovelock donated 85 acres for the site for a depot, which became known as “Lovelock’s Deport”. Lovelock diversified his interests, discovered mineral deposits in the surrounding areas, became the town’s first postmaster, and became the proprietor of the Big Meadows Hotel adjacent to the railroad station. By 1900 Lovelock was a bustling town with a school, churches, and a business district along Railroad Street. And the town supported no fewer than three weekly newspapers.

The Lovelock Tribune was the first Lovelock newspaper, established in 1898 by S.R. Young and George W. Peltier, incorporated as the Lovelock Publishing Company, with Charles McKnight Sain as editor and manager. Sain removed to Virginia City in 1902 where, the Reno Gazette (sn 82007252) reported,  “One Charles McKinight Sain of malodorous political, mining and journalistic record is at present editing a blackmailing Stewart organ in Virginia City. It is known as “Campaign Notes.”  In 1905 the Lovelock Argus (sn 86076296) owned and edited by the Riddle family since 1900 consolidated with the Tribune. Howard W. Cherry took over the paper in 1907, joined in 1908 by George Riddle. Cherry left the Tribune to start his own paper the Review, in neighboring Vernon (sn 86076405), which he then moved to Lovelock (sn86076365). John S. Case took over the Tribune in 1908.  Case, originally from Winnemucca, graduated from the State University of Nevada and with one of his classmates leased the Winnemucca Silver State (sn 86076224) newspaper as managers and editors. When the downstate Tonopah Bonanza (sn 86076142) noted his wedding in 1910, Case was referred to as “one of the well-known newspapermen in the state.” He represented the Lovelock Tribune at the organizational meeting of the Nevada Editorial Association in Reno in 1911, for which he served on the executive committee. He expanded the Tribune to a semi-weekly, but in February 1912 he suspended publication of the Tribune and moved briefly to the Lovelock Review-Miner (sn 86076998) before he gave up the newspaper business altogether and returned to Winnemucca, where a fellow editor reported in the Carson City Appeal (sn 86076241), “the former editor of the Lovelock Tribune will engage in the merchandising business in Paradise Valley, having forsaken the newspaper game. It is a hard game, John, and success to you in your new venture.”

Lovelock was incorporated in as a city in 1917 and became the seat of the new Pershing County in 1919 when its famous round courthouse, designed by Frederick Joseph DeLongchamps, was built.  Periodic mining activity, agriculture, and tourism sustain Lovelock to this day.