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Newspaper stories, ads attest to city’s rapid growth

Sue Ballew
Special to the Appeal

By 1859, Carson City was growing. Advertisements in the Territorial Enterprise Dec. 31, 1859, indicate what businesses were in town, who the doctors and lawyers were and in some cases where they were from. For example, Richard Stege was the proprietor of the Downieville Restaurant, Carson City, Utah. “Stege invites the attention of his old California friends who may happen his way, to the fact that he has opened a Restaurant at Carson City, the rendezvous of visitors to the New Diggings.”

Many of the early pioneers to Carson City came from Downieville, Calif. Richard Stege even named his Carson City, Utah, restaurant for Downieville.

People had needs for transportation as well. Thompson and Sears had purchased the Pioneer Stage Lines from Lewis & Wylie and “… will continue to run, as heretofore, from Carson City via Johntown, the Devil’s Gate, and Gold Hill to Virginia City.” Their office was located in Major Ormsby’s Block on the corner of Carson and First Streets.

Some of our founding fathers were attorneys: “J. J. Musser, Attorney at Law will practice in the Supreme, District, and Probate Courts of Utah. Will also practice in the Courts of California. Residence ” Carson City, Genoa Office ” Holmes Hotel.” “Wellington Stewart Attorney and Counselor at Law, Carson City.” “William S. Spear, Attorney at Law, will practice in all the Courts of Utah Territory. Office ” Carson City, Eagle Valley.”

Carson City was growing and the establishment of a formal municipal government was in the early stages. On Dec. 27, 1859, the citizens of Carson City attended a meeting at the Gem Saloon to establish a preliminary constitution. Chairing the meeting was Major W. M. Ormsby, and Parker H. Pierce was appointed Secretary. A committee of three were appointed, Messrs. Proctor, Purkitt and Goodridge “… to report a Constitution for the Government of the town.” For this meeting, the issues were addressed by Judge Gilchrist, Messrs. Ormsby, Milne and Pierson.

The Preliminary Constitution provided an overview of everything that was needed to provide the benefits for the new town of Carson City. It established organization, security, boundaries for the town, and an outline of the officers needed to run the city, and their duties, provided below in part:

Organization and security ” “Whereas, The citizens of Carson City, Nevada Territory, are deprived of all civil organization; and Whereas, Civil Government and Laws are necessary for the security, peace and prosperity of society…”

Boundaries ” “Commencing at a point where the road leading from Eagle to Washoe Valleys crosses the dividing ridge, running thence due went to the summit of the first range of mountains; thence south following out said range of mountains to a point opposite the divide between the waters of Clear Creek and those that flow into Eagle Valley; thence easterly, following out said divide to the Valley between Eagle Valley and Clear Creek …”

Powers of Government ” Article Ist, Section 1st. “The Powers of the Government of the City of Carson shall be divided into, first, Five Supervisors; second, Two Justices of the Peace; third, One, Marshal; fourth, One Recorder.”

The Constitution continues on to describe the powers of the government.

The town of Carson City in the Territory of Utah was growing with businesses that provided for the needs of its citizens, and a preliminary constitution was in progress for the “security, peace and prosperity of society.”

– Sue Ballew is the daughter of Bill Dolan, who wrote the Past Pages column for the Nevada Appeal from 1947 until his death in 2006. She is president of the Carson City Historical Society.