Take it easy
  Pine Grove

38° 40' 42"N, 119° 07' 23"W - PINE GROVE SPRING quad

VISITED 5/3/2003
DIRECTIONS From Fallon, west on Highway 50 27 miles to Silver Springs; South on US 95A 33 miles to Yerington; South on SR 208 for 31.5 miles; SE on East Walker River Rd (aka Pine Grove Road or Highway 3C) for 10.2 miles; West on National Forest Road for 4.9 miles. About halfway up the road forks- take the right fork- it's flatter and smoother. From Fallon: 84 miles

Captain Fremont had been stumbling around this area as early as 1844- it's said he saw his first pinenuts in the area. Paher mentions that the camp was at one time named Wilsonville, after the founder William Wilson, and was renamed Pine Grove two years later. At one time close to a six hundred people lived here and the mills were shipping $10,000 in gold a month- but like most mining camps, the gold ran out, and the town died in the 1930's, although some mining activity went on until the 1960's.

Jack "Wovoka" Wilson, the Numu Paiute who helped popularize the "Ghost Dance" was informally adopted and raised by one of the founders of Pine Grove, and hid there occasionally when they went looking for him.

The first discoveries of gold were made on some outcroppings on the north side of the canyon at the town of Pine Grove in 1866 by William Wilson, a resident of Mason Valley. The WIlson mine covers the original location, and also about 80 acres of ground in the vicinity. For some years the district was called the Wilson, after its discoverer, but the name of Pine Grove was finally adopted from a grove of pinon tress, which the Indians visit annually to gather nuts. In 1869, according to Raymond, there were several arrastra and a 10-stamp mill in operation on oxidized ore, which ran from $30 to $90 a ton. The bullion produced at the time was said to be 0.917 fine. The Wheeler mine, on the south side of the canyon, about three-fourths of a mile out of town, was discovered shortly after the Wilson. In 1882 Burchard reports that both the Wheeler and Wilson mines were working ores between $50 and $60 in grade in amalgamating mills. The Wheeler mill had 15 stamps and the Wilson mill 10 stamps .A small cyanide mill still not in use in 1912 was still standing in the canyon just north of Sugar Loaf peak. It is said that a large quantity of the tailings from the Wheeler mine had been re-treated in this mill with considerable success.
-Excerpt from "Some Mining Districts in Northeastern California and Northwestern Nevada, J.M. Hill, 1915

Sometimes, the excitement was felt from far away!

A vein of gold was uncovered by a cloudburst at Pine Grove, Nevada, a week ago.
- The Philadelphia Enquirer, September 1, 1886

This was from back in the day, when there was no such thing as "alleged" criminal. Instead, you were convicted in the newspaper.

Several days ago the Journal published an account of the finding of the body of a man on the summit of the Sierra Nevadas in Mono county, California. The man has been identified as Frank Augustine Williams, better known by the name of "Magpie Williams," late of Pine grove, Nevada. He was an eccentric person, 30 years of age and a native of Canada. He was blind in one eye, the sight of the other being good. He left Pine grove with a bundle of blankets and was mounted on a buckskin mare. The animal was about 14 years old, had a white strips the length of the face, both hind legs were white, and also the left foreleg, the right foreleg having a little white on it. The animal was branded on the left hip with the letters CH which were inverted, and her weight was about 1,000 pounds. Some few weeks ago Walter Barth, who was sent from Ormsby county to the State Prison for a number of years for the crime of burglary, escaped from the institution. He was aided in gaining liberty by friends, as recent events have proved. The convict was seen near Carson on different occasions, but always was successful in eluding officers who were looking for him. About two weeks before Williams was murdered Barth was seen near Gardnerville, Douglas county, and was at the time making his way south. It is now thought that Barth, who is considered a desperate criminals, met "Magpie" Williams on the summit of the Sierra Nevada on October 20th, shot him, robbed his body, took his horse and blankets and continued on south with the view of escaping into Mexico. It is known that Barth is a man who would not stop if he could gain anything by committing murder. He has always been suspected of being the person who killed a man near the box factory in Carson several years ago, his object being robbery.
-Nevada State Journal, November 5, 1893

Just some newsy items....

McPheltre's Stage Line Carries U.S. Mail and Wells Fargo Express Wabuska Yerington Nordyke Wellington and Pine Grove Stage leaves Wabuska for Yerington every day Leaves Yerington for Pine Grove on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week, returning on alternate days. These stages connect with all trains. For further particulars, address James Twadale, Wabuska, Nevada
-Yerington Rustler, October 14, 1899

Pine Grove Nevada has two women miners. They are good judges of or and are excellent miners, commanding four dollars per day.
-Mohave County Miner, January 5, 1901

The old Wheeler mine at Pine Grove, Nevada, is now being worked by lessees.
-Salt Lake Mining Review, January 30, 1901

The Location of the Lincoln Ledge, Central Ledge, Mysthry Ledge is recorded in the office of District Mining Recorder of Wilson Mining District, at Pine Grove, Nevada.
-Lyon County Monitor, November 22, 1901

FREE GOLD IN SHAFT AT PINE GROVE A.M. Wishart returned to Yerington this week from Pine Grove where he is operating a lease on the Black Horse mine. With him he brought a quantity of quarts well sprinkled with free gold. He reports that his men have broekn into an ore shoot at the bottom of the shaft which is in the nature of a good sized vein, showing gold in the free for its entire width. The Black Horse is one of the original locations of the Pine Grove district. It had a history of big production up to a few years ago, when work was abandoned for a lack of funds to prosecute further development. It was never mined in a workmanlike manner.
-Yerington Times, January 11, 1908

The Wilson Leaching Company sent in a consignment of 550 pounds of gold dust from its plant at Pine grove, Nevada.
-Deseret News, February 17, 1909

Pine Grove founder dies

PIONEER IS LAID TO REST IN CARSON CITY William Wilson, Old-Timer of Pine Grove, is Buried in Carson City A few days ago in this city was laid to rest one of the old pioneers who made this state waht it is today. This was William WIlson of Pine Grove, who died on the 11th of January. He was born in Stillwater, Ohio, on the 16th day of January, 1827, and crossed the plains of Nevada in 1850. In 1863 he journeyed to the then wilds of Mason Valley, and from that time ever since has made that section his home. On the 10th day of July 1866, he discovered the lead which afterward developed into the famous mines of Pine Grove, which are still being worked. In 1874 he married Maria Jane White and moved with her to the camp of Pine Grove, where they made their happy home until they returned to Carson City, where the wife died shortly after a year of wedded life. In Carson City on the 21st day of March, 1880, he was married to Elizabeth A. Stewart, who with the two daughters of the union, Mrs. Jesse Martin and Mrs. Jeanne Lankin, are mourning his departure. -- Carson News
-Reno Gazette Journal, January 17, 1911

Pine Grove sees some new action and investment

Jim Corbett, an employee of the pwoer line being built to Pine Grove was struck by a falling pole last Monday and had his back quite badly hurt. He was taken to the Mason hospital for a few days but is out now and around.
-Yerington Times, August 9, 1913

OLD PINE GROVE CAMP HAS AN AWAKENING There is much activity at the old camp of Pine grove, about 25 miles south of Yerington,at the present time, and the old Wilson property, at that place promises to again be a producer that will be heard from. At the present time a telephone line from Pine Grove has been completed to connect with the line which runs from Yerington to River. The Pine Grov Mines company, the Fallon ranch, on the East Walker has also contracted with the Trucke River General Electric company for electric power, and this line is under construction from the Bluestone substation of the power company. The company is also grading a site for a 40-stamp mill and cyanide plant, and the material for these is going in by wagon from the railroad every three days. A pipeline has also been constructed from a fine spring a couple of miles to the southwest of the Grove, which furnishes an abundance of splendid water for all purposes. The mill will stand a short distance below the site of the old mill, which burned down over a year ago.
-Nevada State Journal, August 30, 1913

The brother passes

The Yerington Times tells of tghe death last Wednesday of Lyon County's oldest pioneer, David Wilson, who first came west in 1850 and engaged in mining on Yuba River, Cal. He returned to his old home in Missouri, served in the Civil War until disabled, and then, in 1863, went to Virginia City and was induced by a brother to go to Mason Valley where he resided until hsi death. He and his brother took a fortune fromthe Pine Grove mine and he accumulated 2,000 acres of land and big herds of cattle.His wife was the first white woman to settle in Mason Valley. Funeral services were held at the John McGowan ranch. Mr. Wilson was 85 years old and a native of Ohio.
-Reno Gazette Journal. March 31, 1915

The big 100 ton mill at Pine Grove, now being operated by the Pine Grove mining & Company, who have an option on the Pine Grove mines, was put in operation Friday.
-Mason Valey News November 21, 1925

Buildings and equipment consist of the following:
Office and boarding house - 10 rooms
Manager's house and bath, 5 rooms
Three houses, 4 rooms each
Two miner's cabins
One two-story bunk house
Two barns
Two garages
Two blacksmith shops
One compressor house
One mill building, 5 floors, large enough for 200 ton mill, now equipped with 100 ton mill
Ore bins, 20 tons capacity
Jaw ore-crusher, 9x12 Conveyor and automatic feed
One Agnew Centrepact "Model L" 100 ton mill
Two Centrepact amalgamators
Two concentrating tables
Two 8 inch vanners
One mill, 10 stamps of 1250 pounds each, not in use
One mill, 2 stamps of 860 pounds each, not set up
Two 5 1/2 foot Huntington mills
Two amalgamating tables, 3 plates each
One 14x20 compound air compressor
One 40 H.P. semi-diesel engine
One 4x6 air compressor
One 6 H.P. Fairbanks-Morse engine
One 2 H.P. Fairbanks-Morse engine
Also miscellaneous mining equipment.
-Pine Grove Mining Property, Hubert O. Taber, E.M., 1930


POST OFFICE September 1868- November 1912
NEWSPAPER Pine Grove Observer, Pine Grove Burlesque, Esmeralda Sun , Pine Grove Chronicle, Pick and Shovel

Pine Grove seems to be separated into roughly three sections. The first section you come to (from the east) is a large stone ruin with a sign. Then, the mill, and what appears to be some sort of school house- at least, that's what the floorplan suggests to me. And the far end are the remains of two other large wood frame buildings. Above the camp and to the north is the graveyard. The road continues west, then south, and east, to loop around through Rockland and back to the road again. It's a pleasant drive for high-clearance vehicles.

There are assorted dumps and debris scattered about, although not as much as I expected. There are signs of many drunken slobs and cretins camping, unfortunately- the remains of their stupid little fires, graffiti, and goings on are evident everywhere. May the curse of Pine Grove infest their bowels. Special Forgotten Nevada Correspondent Marc Conelly reports in March of 2013 that the recent fire has devastated the area. Sad face.

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