Author and historian Michael Makley will present about the wealthiest men to emerge from Nevada’s fabulous Comstock Lode in a free presentation at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park in Minden.
“John Mackay, William Sharon and the Fight for Comstock Bonanzas” will follow the story of John Mackay, the hero of Virginia City who rose from poverty. He was respected by its miners and mine owners, and idolized by its children. William Sharon, the brains behind the “Bank Crowd,” was generally perceived as a villain. When he ran for the U.S. Senate, Nevada’s leading newspaper, The Territorial Enterprise, characterized him as a “hyena.” Makley will tell how these two Comstock “kings” battled each other, amassed their fortunes and used their wealth.
The presentation is part of the park’s Ferris Family Speaker Series, named in honor of the family of Margaret Ferris Dangberg, the wife of ranch founder Heinrich F. Dangberg. The series is sponsored by Bently Ranch, SoaringNV, The Record-Courier, Douglas County, Alpen Sierra Coffee Company, and the Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation. Alpen Sierra Coffee Company is providing complimentary coffee for visitors throughout the series, and 88 Cups & More Coffee Shop is providing baked treats.
Michael Makley is the author of seven books on Western history, including five published by the University of Nevada Press. “The Infamous King of the Comstock” won Foreword magazine’s 2008 silver award for biography. This book will be available for purchase on the day of the event at a reduced price. Booklist called A Short History of Lake Tahoe, “a polished gem,” saying “Makley’s work could serve as a blueprint for writing relevant and engaging regional history.”
This is a free outdoor event. The park is located at 1450 Highway 88, a quarter of a mile north of the Carson Valley Veterinary Hospital. Visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair. Dogs are not permitted in the park, with the exception of certified service animals.
For more information, visit dangberghomeranch.org, or call 775-783-9417.
Upcoming speakers in the series include chauatauquan Michael Fischer portraying Carson Valley rancher Heinrich F. Dangberg on June 20; Kim Copél in a chautauqua portrayal of Lillian Virgin Finnegan, the creator of Genoa’s annual Candy Dance event, on June 28; author of children’s adventure books Mary Randall presenting her book A Walk Through the Woods on Aug. 8; and the Naughty Tea Mistresses of Nevada on Aug. 15.