Carson City, Nevada

Quick early facts

1851: Settlement of Eagle Station trading post
1858: Carson City was founded as a community
1858: The Territorial Enterprise was found
1861: Nevada becomes a Territory
1864: Carson City was selected as the state capital
1865: Carson Daily Appeal – Carson City’s main newspaper was first published
1869: U.S. Mint was completed
1869: V&T railroad completed
1891: The Federal Government Building completed. It served as U.S. Post Office and Courthouse up until 1970

Carson Daily Appeal title changes

1865-1870: Carson Daily Appeal
1870-1872: Daily State Register
1872-1873: New Daily Appeal
1873-1877: Carson Daily Appeal
1877-1906: Morning Appeal
1906-1907: Daily Appeal
1907-1930: Carson City Daily Appeal

Photo courtesy

UNLV Special Collections
UNR Special collection

 
History of Carson Daily Appeal

Founded in 1865, the Carson Daily Appeal was a daily newspaper published in Carson City, the capitol of the Nevada territory in 1861 and 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. “Newwas 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 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 regulation. 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.

 

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