I wrote a column a couple of weeks ago about visiting Quill Canyon in west Carson City with a Carson High School biology class.
I had never heard of it nor seen it before then, but the same day it ran, I got an email from a reader Jean Hesse, giving me its history.
“My husband’s Grandmother was Agnes Quill,” she wrote. “I thought you might be interested in a little family history.”
She said the Quills came to Carson City around 1858 and settled in Kings Canyon.
“They had the water rights that supplied Carson and they lived in the old house at the top of Kings Canyon,” she said. “Agnes married Diedrik Hesse, who came here 1892 from Prague.”
Hesse was 38 when he arrived in the United States, and became captain of the Emerald at Lake Tahoe. After getting married in 1896, they later moved to Virginia City where Agnes had an antique shop and Diedrik was night guard for the V&T Railroad. They reiased three children Henry, John “Dick” and George Leslie.
Seven generations of Hesses have lived in Carson City, and six of them have gone to Carson schools.
I went to Jean’s house this week to look through some of her old photos and hear the stories of the Quills and Hesses, as well as her own family. Her grandfather was born at Carson Hot Springs in 1865, but her family’s roots are in Smith Valley.
I’m sure you’ll see some stories between now and Nevada’s sesquicentennial celebration on Nov. 1 on Jean and her family’s history.
• • •
I also got a visit this week from seasonal icon “Willow” Bill Goulardt, who comes to Carson City each year to make willow reindeer with students in schools in the area. The reindeer are wrapped in Christmas lights and displayed along Highway 395, including at the Capitol under the state’s holiday tree.
He’s got a wish list of things he’d like help with.
Over the years, he’s made thousands of reindeer with the children, and each year about 10 percent of them have lights that have burned out, he said.
He’s hoping for a group of volunteers to help him check lights 5-7 p.m. Oct. 17 and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 18 in the west parking lot of Carson Lanes.
He will also be walking with his reindeer in the Nevada Day Parade on Nov. 1 and would like children accompany him.
“If you want to show the country the nation’s largest art project, come carry a willow reindeer,” he said.
He’s also looking for donations to help him get to Connecticut to build reindeer with the children affected by the mass school shooting in Newtown.
To volunteer with Willow Bill or to make a donation, call him at (775) 842-3594.