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Documents show old Dayton’s diversity

Many documents in the Dayton Museum have been there since at least 1851. Look around the museum, and you can find significant evidence of the meaningful lives of the people who settled Dayton, including when it was named Chinatown.

Let’s start with the marriage license of Hep Sing and Ty Kim. They were married in San Francisco in 1873, moved to Dayton, and lived out their lives there. The last historic Chinese woman to call Dayton home was China Mary, who lived in the old Chinatown area of Dayton into the early 20th century.

On Oct. 18, 1878, at the age of 23, Ginocchio Gio Buttista became a U.S. citizen. His citizenship is verified on a document signed by J.S. Dallas, the Lyon County clerk who swore in this new citizen, an Italian emigrant.

On display are gold and silver stock certificates from 1873 to the 1920s throughout the museum. A lot of people invested in mining stock in Dayton’s earliest days – playing the stock market was something most everyone did. Many lost their shirts.

There is also a diploma dated 1899 certifying that William Henry Scott completed his high school courses at Dayton High School. The diploma is signed by J.E. Monroe, Margaret E. Mack, L.A. Guild (Judge Clark Guild’s father), W.W. Coffin and O.A. Brooks. These names are important in documenting who was associated with Dayton in 1899.

Another important document is the running charge account of O. Baroni & Co. with Paul Pieretti, General Merchandise, 1920. I can’t tell you what was bought because it’s written in Italian.

On Sept. 29, 1922, Andrew Walmsley bought shares in the Dayton Land & Development Co. He obviously had faith in Dayton since the family has been here since 1853, and is still going strong.

And there are two very wordy proclamations written by Nevada Legislators pertaining to Nevada’s first gold discovery sesquicentennial celebration held in Dayton in July 1999, and the first Nevada settlement festivities held in May 2001.

There are numerous other antique documents exhibited in the museum – too many to mention. Stop by to read about our history soon.

The Dayton Museum is on Shady Lane and Logan in Old Town Dayton. It’s also the location of the Dayton Chamber office. It is open during the week at random hours, on Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays, 1- 4 p.m. Go to daytonnvhistory.org. Group tours are available. Call 246-5543, 246-0462 or 246-0441.

n Longtime Dayton resident Ruby Mcfarland is a member of the Dayton Museum.