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Disdain for lawyers, fear of Indians, love of celebration

Trent Dolan
Special to the APpeal
nevada historical society The Sutro Tunnel connected the Comstock ledge at the Savaga Mine.
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Elmira Louisa Pepsey of Willow-vale wrote this to the Morning Appeal in 1878:

Your invaluable family journal reaches us somewhat irregularly. But we look forward to its coming as to the coming of a Boon! We take many other papers; we welcome the Morning Appeal.

We have noticed one pleasing peculiarity of your instructive and purifying paper: It is free from all such horrid things as lawyers advertisements! Ma, who has a great dislike for lawyers, says your paper is a precious blessing on this account.

Enclosed you will find a three cent postage stamp, for which please send me the Morning Appeal for three months and oblige.

Your sincere admirer and sister in piety.

P.S. What do they pay for paper rags in Nevada and will you oblige me with your photograph?

The editor responded with gratitude for the testimonial, asking readers to pay attention to a curious phenomenon that there were no lawyers in Ormsby County, and if there were, they would certainly want their presence known by advertising in the paper.

Not all lawyers are horrid. Here and there one is to be found who, guided by the moral precepts thought in these columns, has become wiser and a better man than the larger proportion of his associates. Virtue is its own reward.

The Bannock Indian War

The news from the Bannock front was universally warlike. General O.O. Howard started for the sheep ranch in what would become a bloody and expensive conflict. The government’s movement against the Indians is in adequate numbers and will be prompt.

The Silver State newspaper tells a story of the Wells Fargo & Co.’s express from Silver City, Idaho, carrying two messengers, E. B. Tague and William Moody, and a helper named Robert Bruce, who found the burned out remnants of a stage near Owyhee. They brought in the remnants of seven mail bags the Indians had destroyed. No trace of McCutchen and the driver was found and it is surmised the Indians took him to the hills where they tortured him to death. The number of ponies on the raid numbered some 300. All stations from Owyhee to McDermitt were abandoned and stock driven off or strayed.

The next day, the Silver State gave the account of the murder of McCutchen by the Bannocks. Elias Jones, one of the volunteers, went with Andy Hubbs, Andy Baker, division superintendent of the stage line, and four soldiers to find the stage. All that was found three miles from Owyhee was the iron from the stage. Later they found the scattered mutilated remains of McCutchen one mile from the stage in the sagebrush. He had taken three bullets, one through the hip, the other through the breast, and a third through the neck. The eyes had been gouged out and there was a deep wound in his heart. His clothes remained on him, but his watch and $200 had been taken.

Hamilton, the passenger who escaped, said the driver saw the Indians a short distance ahead of him, they turned the stage, cut the horses and mounted them. The driver’s horse either stumbled or was shot and the last Hamilton saw of him, he was surrounded by “savages.”

On July 6, the Grant County Times reported that the Malheur Indian Agency was completely deserted and Major Downey found the offices and storehouses open and everything lying around indicating the hasty departure of the inhabitants.

In the New York Times in a special dispatch, Agent Rhinehart reported that Chief Egan, with 400 Indians, was grouping 50 miles south of the Malheur Agency:

He says he don’t want to talk, but wants to fight. The Indians were having a scalp dance. When the messenger arrived at the camp, they made him return to Harny.

A Mr. Scott was sent to the Barren Valley to find out why the Indians were unhappy. Upon arrival he was told by Chief Egan that they had been robbed, cheated and lied to and that all the white men, and particularly the Indian agents, were liars and they would not submit to it anymore. They were going to kill all the cattle they wanted and shoot anyone that interfered with them.

In Winnemucca, according to the Times, Captain Eagman had arrived with Companies H and K, of the Fourth Artillery. They were to go north on the stage road with the approval of Gen. McDowell and the Secretary of War.

Every house at Stein Mountain has been reported burned and Smythe and his son, who were at the ranch when it was burned, were supposed to have been murdered.

The existing policy only invites discontent and revolt, and then leaves the settler to incur at the hands of the Indians the indiscriminate vengeance of a savage to whom all white men are alike, and being alike, are all equally treacherous, dishonorable and false of word and act.

The Grant County Times called for plain, inflexible, unremitting justice and asked that the government either assert its power in dealing with the outbreak, or leave the Indians alone.

July 7 General Howard reported by courier that he was at Granite Creek chasing some 1,000 to 1,500 hostiles toward the Columbia River. According to Howard, he was in vigorous pursuit, cleaning up as he went.

The Fourth

It would be a day after the fair piece of business to give, or attempt to give, a full description of our Fourth of July celebration.

Everything contributed to make the Fourth in Carson the biggest day ever known here.

Guests from Reno, Gold Hill, Virginia City, and around the state converged on Carson to celebrate. Extra trains ran filled to capacity from all ends of the circuit. The Washington Guard, Captain Page, with his band, the Liberty Engine Co., of Gold Hill, some 116 strong came to town. The parade, some 1,500 people could not move for an hour which caused the people train to stop early at the Opera House to allow the literary exercises to be held in its entirety. The Opera House was filled to capacity so the Carson Guard and visiting firemen banqueted at Turnverein Hall where the Carson Fire Department had made preparations.

After the opera and banquet, all local conveyances were used to transport guests to the race track where an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 people packed the grandstands. The promenade ball and concert at the Opera House concluded the day’s activities.

The singing of an original ode, to the tune of “Hold the Fort,” was excellently done by five of our best male singers. The new act drop, a scene in Venice, was lowered, during the evening, and the appearance was hailed with loud demonstrations of applause.

According to the Reno Journal: Reno turned out en masse to witness the celebration at Carson and see the races. Carson presented a magnificent appearance, her natural beauty appearing to the best advantage, and all that was artificial forming a pleasing contrast to the other … a magnificent attendance … and we see no reason why Nevada can not now have good sport every year.

The Sutro Tunnel

On July 10, the Territorial Enterprise announced the connection of the Sutro Tunnel with the Comstock ledge at the Savage mine.

The blast which knocked a hole through was put in by the Savage folks. The current of air which came up through this opening was so strong that it sent clouds of dust flying along the drift. It even blew small gravel stones away from edges of the opening.

Thus is accomplished the most daring undertaking of its character ever projected in America.