Spunky Fanny Gore, 24, crossed America in a prairie schooner with her brothers Charles and Johnny, arriving in Dayton, Nevada Territory, in August 1862 after a 16-week, 2,000 mile journey from Iowa over the Emigrant Trail.
"This is mining country and the society is rough ... with shooting affrays being frequent and drinking, gambling at every other door ... about 20 men to one woman," Fanny wrote home. Her first Nevada abode was a tent at a "nut pine" wood ranch south of Dayton where she socialized with 30 rowdy miners and about 200 local Indians.
In 1864, Fanny married Dr. John Clark Hazlett, a prosperous physician, Lyon County senator and district attorney. The couple raised a daughter, Gertrude, who married into the Randall family, ranchers and longtime Lyon lawmen. Gertrude died young, leaving sons, Dixie, Roy and Arthur and a daughter, Dorothy. Later a Reno resident, Dorothy "Dixie" Layman preserved her grandmother's Dayton history.
Fanny lived in Dayton 52 years. She wrote the "Historical Sketch of Dayton" published in the 1921-22 Nevada Historical Society Papers. Living during an exhilarating era, she met Brigham Young, heard Mark Twain lecture and socialized with Nevada's first governors and legislators.
After her husband's death, she was the Dayton post master, organized a library and served the community, later moving to Reno to be near family and friends.
Fanny supported women's suffrage, writing a letter to the editor, Nevada State Journal, January 1895. "... with the ridiculously small State vote, it seems an opportune time to increase the voting population ..." she reminded state leaders needing support on national issues of the pertinence additional voters might provide.
She made national news, being one of the oldest women in the world to ride in a small, open airplane. A 1922 news story notes: "At 85 she flies in plane o'er city where she came in an ox-cart ..."
Younger friends remembered Fanny as progressive, having a youthful attitude and sense of humor, describing her as "short and plump ... having inquiring eyes, being immaculately clean and well groomed but caring little for style."
They said: "Grandma Hazlett is intelligent, outspoken, kind, charitable, has an extraordinary memory, is an outstanding leader with remarkable energy and endurance interested in everybody and everything."
Proving hardship and adventure add to life's treasures, at age 95, Fanny died. She is buried at the Dayton Cemetery near the wagon trail she rode on in 1862.
- Biographical sketch by Laura Tennant