Minor family leaves lasting mark
Before the 1920s, the ranch was the Heidenreich Brothers Ranch; then George Minor bought out two of the Heidenreich brothers, and he and Henry (the one brother left) continued to run the ranch until the 1950s.
Then a young woman named Delphine Spaletta married Gene Savery Minor in Reno and came to Dayton to ranch and raise pheasants and a family. And what a family it is.
It wasn’t long before they had a son, Steven. When a second child was on the way, Dayton had one of its wrecking floods that washed out the bridge across the Carson River. Del (as people know her) was very pregnant with her daughter Cam (Carolyn Ann Minor). Del was so close to having the baby, people in Dayton had to make a makeshift log route to get her over the water. Cam’s nickname became “Floodia.”
Del wanted to be an artist and had attended the College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, but put that dream aside to raise children and pheasants. The pheasants didn’t last long, but the kids all grew up to be assets to Dayton and the world.
Gene took to raising cattle and became interested in the community. He served on the school board for many years in an attempt to ensure his children and others in the Dayton area received a good education. By this time, the couple had three more children: Julie, Tom and Mary.
Del wanted to be sure her children had plenty to do so she formed a 4-H club, a Dayton High School drill team called the Haymakers and Haymakerettes, the booster club and Fire Belles, to name a few activities that benefitted her kids and the community. She also worked to put together the Dayton Museum Historical Society with other interested people, and now we have a wonderful museum.
One of the activities started by the Minors is the annual Easter egg hunt on the ranch, mostly for her young ones. Only briefly did they not have a hunt – it started again when the grandkids came along.
It is known that it was much colder in the past. The ponds in front of the Minors’ house froze over, and the family and friends could ice skate around an island created by the Carson River. There was always some activity going on around the Minor Ranch.
It hasn’t always been easy for the Minors, as ranching is unpredictable, but you can be assured there is plenty of love for everyone. Come see the Dayton Museum and support the volunteers who worked so hard to get it started.
Clarification: Last week’s column dedicated to Nevada’s first gold discovery indicated that Abner Blackburn, the man who discovered the first gold, was a Mormon. Blackburn guided the Mormons across Utah Territory to California, but he was not a member of the church at that time.
n Ruby McFarland is a 17-year resident of Dayton, a board member of the Dayton Historical Society and a docent at the museum.