Exploring the home of Nevada’s seventh governor
November 30, 2008
“Time gently lay his hand, old friend, on you.”
These were the words written by Joanna Colcord of the Russell Sage Foundation about Nevada’s seventh governor, Roswell K. Colcord, who governed from 1891 to 1894.
Colcord was born in Seaport, Maine, in 1839, and came west when he was 17. He was a true pioneer of Nevada ” arriving here in 1859. He married Mary Hopkins of Virginia City and they had three children.
A trip back to Maine to visit the Colcord family resulted in disaster when the children were exposed to Scarlet fever, and all three children came down with it. Two died and were buried at sea, but the third child Stella lived. She later worked in a state office in the Capitol.
Long before Colcord was governor, a house was built on the corner of Elizabeth and Telegraph streets in Carson City by the Honorable Chas. F. Bicknell. The house next door had the same floor plan, and was built by William Thaxter for his wife, who was sister to Bicknell’s wife. Both houses still are in existence ” somewhat like tract housing ” but have changed through the years. The original sketch of the house from Thompson and West is pictured. The house was built in the fall of 1874 using a Victorian-type architecture. The lumber came from Glenbrook. Colcord lived in that house and conducted business as governor in 1891, and remained there until his death in 1939.
Every year Colcord was honored and on his 100th birthday ” April 24, 1939 ” he received the following message from the president: “Please accept hearty birthday greetings and best wishes that all your days may be full of peace and happiness ” Franklin D. Roosevelt.”
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During his term as governor he strengthened the state’s economy (he also was willing to assist with the Panic of 1907). He was noted as having the “…proverbial Yankee’s thrift and frugality.”
He signed the first Admission Day bill for the state. In 1898 he was named superintendent of the Carson City Mint, a position he held until 1911. Colcord had been in Nevada before it was a state, met all of the early Nevada governors, and witnessed the wild West in Nevada. Colcord even met Mark Twain. He voted (by straw vote for John C. Fremont), and twice for Abraham Lincoln.