4WD or high clearance desired

40.445556, -118.120833

VISITED 3-24-04
Our Lunch: The Pizza Factory - Lovelock
DIRECTIONS From Fallon, take Highway 95 33.3 miles north to the junction of Interstate 80; take Interstate 80 East 67.1 miles to the Mill City exit; turn right onto Highway 400 and proceed generally south for 16.2 miles; continue west on Highway 400 for 2.9 miles to Unionville.

Indians came to Virigina City in the Spring of 1861 with silver ore from Buena Vista Canyon. After leading white miners to the location, the Unionville or Buena Vista District was organized ten days later. Unionville became the center of mining activity in the area, and was the Humboldt county seat until 1883. (Pershing County wasn't created until 1919) At first named Buena Vista for the canyon in which is sits, it was later named Dixie, until Union sympathizers outnumbered the Rebels and effected a name change to something more patriotic on July 4, 1861. Samuel Clemens was said to have prospected in the area in late 1861. The Arizona Mine was the most prominent producer, operating from 1862 until 1880. By 1875 there were three ten-stamp mills processing lower grade ores, although the higher grade stuff was freighted to Sacramento and from there to Wales. Wages at the time (1869) were said to be $4 a day for miners, $3 a day for surface workers, and $2 a day for Indians. That's $52, $39, and $26, respectively, in 2002 dollars. A dozen eggs cost roughly $13 2002 dollars.

From the historical marker:

Southern sympathizers settled in Buena Vista Canyon in 1861 after the discovery of silver ore. Appropriately called Dixie, their camp's name changed to Unionville in late 1861, when the will of the neutral and Northern factions of the population prevailed. The town was designated as the seat of Humboldt County, which was itself the product of Buena Vista mining activity. Unionville lost this distinction to Winnemucca in 1873.
-Nevada Historical Marker

From the transcendent Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps

In 1862 a rival townsite started in the lower part of the canyon, boasting over 200 houses within a year. In the summer of 1863 Unionville had almost 1000 people and served as the county distribution point for supplies and machinery shipped overland from California. The camp had ten stores, nine saloons, six hotels, four livery stables, drug stores, express houses, a brewery, assays, a jeweler, watchmaker, notaries, lawyers and a lively weekly, the Humboldt Register. An omnibus line made hourly trips along the tri-sectioned town which extended for two miles. The two-year-old camp consisted of imported adobe and lumber structures. According to the Register, about half of the poor quality shipped-in lumber was "just what it was cracked up to be" and the other half was "knot." The building that housed county offices was so poorly built that once a visitor who called on the county clerk during a rainstorm found him and his records in a corner of the room "where the rain didn't come any thicker than it did outside." Almost three dozen wildcat companies were formed during 1863-64; scores of claims were made, many tunnels were in development, and speculation and trading of "feet" took place at a brisk pace.
-Nevada Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, Stan Paher

Despite its name, Unionville was originally a stronghold of southern sympathy. It was actually divided into three settlements, Lower Town, or Dixie, Centerville, and Upper Town. Throughout the Civil War Centerville was the Mason-Dixon line running between the two townsites with opposite sympathies. Approximately a year after the camp was established in 1861, an influx of Northerners gradually took over control and the entire settlement was baptized Unionville. The southerners maintained their homes in Lower Town and the notherners stayed in Upper Town. The two distinct settlements with Centerville in between were connected by an hourly shuttle stage.
-Public Servant in '63, Reno Evening Gazette, March 5, 1947

Were the thieves Yankees or Rebels- Or both?

A large deall of small stealing is done in this country. We hear of thefts of all sorts in the different towns, and a number of complaints have recently been made in Unionville. Some scoundrel thought meet to lug off a quarter of beef, the other night, from a cabin a little way up the canon.
-Gold Hill Daily News, November 16, 1863

Things were expensive in out-of-the-way Nevada mining camps. Better get used to it.

The Humboldt Register published at Unionville, N.T., says "Nobody thinks of getting good eggs here for les than $2 a dozen." The price of bad eggs is not stated.
-Gold Hill Daily News, February 2, 1864

If mining was too hard, there was always ranching. Or soldiering.

Thirty men to complete the organization of Company F, Capt. John Y. Paul, 1st Regiment of Nevada Territory Volunteeers!
One Hundred Sixty Acres of Land!
Twenty-Two Dollars per Month!
Sustenance and clothing furnished each recruit as soon as enlisted. The best of medical attendance provided.
Recruiting offices opened at
Nevada Territory
Lieut. W. G. Seamonds, Recruiting Officer
-Gold Hill Daily News, May 19, 1864

Oh, well, yeah, I guess they did some mining and stuff here.

Wells Fargo & Co., in Virginia, last evening received from unionville, Humboldt county, for forwarding, four packages of bullion, weighing 330 pounds, and of the value of $6, 731.15.
Gold Haill Daily News, October 5, 1864

Unionville won the vote! Take that, Winnemucca!

Latest advice from Humboldt County indicates that the county-seat will remain at Unionville. The contest on Monday was close, but in favor of Unionville to the extent of ten votes.
-Gold Hill Daily News, December 10, 1869

Speaking of mining....

The Unionville or Buena Vista district is on the east slope of the Humboldt Range 20 miles south of Mill City, the nearest railroad point. The district was organized in 1861 and the town of Unionville founded. This town became the center of mining activity and was the county seat of Humboldt County up to 1883. Silver-bearing lodes were discovered in this area shortly after the first develcdpments on the Comstock. The most prominent mine was the Arizona, which was discovered in 1862. The mine was purchased by John C. Fall and company in 1866. The property was shut down in 1880 but was subsequently worked at various times. Other important mines that were worked in the early days are the Henning (Wheeler) and Pfluger (Mama). In the early seventies three 10-stamp mills were treating the lower-grade ores in the district; the higher-grade ores were hauled by team to Sacramento and shipped in sailing vessels to Swansea, Wales. The stamp mills employed the Washoe pan-amalgamation process in which the ores were crushed wet and amalgamated in pans without roasting. The ores in this area were not so amenable to pan amalgamation as those in the Comstock, therefore the yield from the first treatment was little more than 50 percent of the assay value. The tailings were reworked.by the same process after standing a while, to recover additional values. Table 4 presents interesting data on mining and milling costs at Unionville in 1869.

TABLE 4. - Mining and milling costs at Unionville in 1869
Wages of first class miners - $4 a day or $3 and board.
Wages of second class miners - Not known here.
Wages of surface laborers - $3 to $3.50 per day.
Cost of lumber per thousand - $50 to $60.
Cost of mining timber - $.25 to $2 a piece.
Cost of common powder - $5.to $6.
Cost of giant power - None used.
Cost of quicksilver - $0.65 to $0.70 (per lb.)
Cost of freight from base of supplies - $60 per ton.
Cost of fuel - $10 to $12 per cord of cedar wood.
Average mining cost per ton - $12 to $15.
Average pulp assay of ore - $60 to $100.
Average yield of ore - $30 to $40.
Indian laborers, employed about the mine, get from $1.50 to $2.50.
Very little lumber is used in the mines. Timber is used to support loose parts of rock in stoping.
The mines being yet in their infancy, much deadwork has been done, increasing the average cost of mining per ton.
-Report on Unionville (Buena Vista) District, W. O. Vanderburg 1936

Besides Virginia City, Carson City, and Aurora, Mark Twain also spent some time in Unionville-- until he discovered how much work mining could be.

On the fifteenth day we completed our march of two hundred miles and entered Unionville, Humboldt county, in the midst of a driving snow- storm. Unionville consisted of eleven cabins and a liberty-pole. Six of the cabins were strung along one side of a deep canyon, and the other five faced them. The rest of the landscape was made up of bleak mountain walls that rose so high into the sky from both sides of the canyon that the village was left, as it were, far down in the bottom of a crevice. It was always daylight on the mountain tops a long time before the darkness lifted and revealed Unionville. We built a small, rude cabin in the side of the crevice and roofed it with canvas, leaving a corner open to serve as a chimney, through which the cattle used to tumble occasionally, at night, and mash our furniture and interrupt our sleep. It was very cold weather and fuel was scarce. Indians brought brush and bushes several miles on their backs; and when we could catch a laden Indian it was well—and when we could not (which was the rule, not the exception), we shivered and bore it.
-Roughing It, Mark Twain

Having a railroad in your town helps when you're vying for keeping the county seat. There is no railroad in Unionville.

Stoddard gave notice of a bill to remove the county seat of Humboldt from Unionville to Winnemucca.
-Eurkea Daily Sentinel, January 14, 1873

Tempers flared!

Coincidentally perhaps, once the county seat was removed, mining activity slowed and was pursued only by small operators and indivuduals.

In 1919, the folks in Lovelock decided they would very much to have their own county, and, they should probaby be the county seat as well. Unionville would find itsself in Pershing county, and denied the chance to become the county seat of that county as well. It was not without some resistence. But there were only about 70 people living in Unionville in 1920, so the chances of it regaining the seat were slim to none. According to the 1920 census, there were 16 Unionvillers working as miners, 2 milling, 6 farming or ranching, 1 Assayer, 2 mechanics, 1 cook, 1 teacher, and 1 laborer, the remainder being women and children.

Winnemucca, naturally enough, is "all agog" over the county division scheme proposed by Lovelock. The most accurate information regarding just what Lovelock is after is contained in a report from the special legislative corespondent of the Reno Gazette. The gist of this report is as follows: "Senator Friedman has received a petition from some some of the most prominent citizens of the Lovelock end of Humboldt county, asking that the county be devided. . . . The destruction of the court house at Winnemucca by flre, and the proposal to issue bonds to build a new one are said to be the cause of the movement. Taxpayers at Lovelock are said to be opposed to the bond-issue proposition. . . . The dividing line spoken of would just about cut the county in half. The Winnemucca end would have a little the best of it on a population basis, but the division of assessed valuation would be slightly in favor of the Lovelock end." The division of the county, according to this correspondent's information, is to be asked for on an east and west line which would strike Mill City. A letter from Lovelock to the Business Men's Association of Winnemucca requests that body to assist Lovelock in "securing an equitable division of Humboldt county." At press time no word had been received from the Winnemucca delegation which went to Carson City yesterday in the interest of the court house bonds, further than that the county division bill had been introduced. No accurate information as to just what Lovelock asks for has yet arrived. It is not supposed here that the instigators of the move intend to consult with Winnemurca or the remainder of the country before making their demands. During the day evidences of disapproval of the action of Lovelock have begun to accumulate from outside this city. A. J. Crowley of Sulphur is in town and said he had forwarded a protest to Carson. John Thornton of Unionville, a heavy taxpayer, declared himself opposed to any division of the county. These gentleman, and a man from Kennedy remarked upon the inaccessibility of Lovelock as a county seat for anything except Lovelock.
-Silver State, February 25, 1919

Unionville is about to become very, very quiet.

Unionville's News Source Writes '30'
Unionville's only news source ceased operation this week, the Lovelock Review-Miner reports. For the last 25 years or more, Mrs. A. S. Davidson, postmistress of Unionville and daughter of pioneer residents Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Leonard, has contributed Unionville news to the Review-Miner. The Unionville newsletter has carried Mrs. Davidson's by-line, but much of it was contributed by Mr. Leonard, who is 90. He recently fell and has been in poor health since then. Mrs. Davidson has added responsibilities which prevent her getting up the weekly column. The Review-Miner noted that it is with "deep regret" that no more on-the-spot correspondence can be expected from a town that was once the county seat of Humboldt county.
Nevada State Journal, 16 Jan 1955

The post office at Unionville, Nev., older than the state itself, may be closed July 1. Sen. Alan Bible said from Washington today the post office department wants to close the office which began selling stamps 94 years, two years before Nevada became a state. The post office served a booming gold and silver mining camp in Civil War days but now has only nine families as patrons. Its expenses last year exceeded receipts $1324 to $206.24. Also, Postmaster Jane Davidson is retiring. Postal officials want to serve the nine families with a star route running from the Imlay railhead in northern Nevada. Bible said the post office department has agreed to consider any protests received from Unionville before issuing the closure order. The senator is interested because Mark Twain once lived in Unionville—and it's the birthplace of Mrs. Isabel Bible, his mother.
-Reno Evening Gazette, February 1, 1956

POST OFFICE April 1862 - June 1956
NEWSPAPER Humboldt Register, Silver State, Mining Topics

Unionville is a fine example of an old Nevada mining camp. Not quite in a state of arrested decay, it is somewhat protected by its out of the way location and the fact that people still live there. So, there's lots to see.

However, private property abounds, so you have to respect NO TRESSPASSING signs unless you want to end up as a rug in someone's living room. The school, for example, is behind a no tresspassing sign, so you'll need permission to view it up close. There is a blend of old and new here- ruins, maintained ruins, newer buildings encompassing ruins, and new buidlings. There is still agriculture in this canyon, as there has been for over one hundred years, and the spring run-off was noisy and plentiful. My old metal-shop teacher lives in Unionville somewhere, or did. Metal shop- where every piece of stock started as a ball-peen hammer and ended up as a cannon.

Since we got a chance to leave early in the morning this time, we stopped for lunch instead of dinner. There doesn't seem to be much to pick from when you're roling down Cornell Avenue in Lovelock, you have some casino food, pizza, or Mexican. Pizza won out, and the Pizza Factory was a decent pizza with a crisp crust, and everyone who worked there had an excellent attitude.

I took the photo of the gravestone below not realizing who is belonged to. Thank goodness for Google- entering the name "Kahtz Kinkead" revealed that this was the adopted son of John Henry and Lizzie Fall Kinkead. As I'm sure you know,

John Henry Kinkead served as the only Territorial Treasurer. Kinkead was born on December 10, 1826 in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. He came to Carson City in 1860 to establish a branch of his father-in-law's mercantile firm, Kinkead, Harrington & Co. He was a member of both the 1863 and 1864 Constitutional Conventions, representing Ormsby County. He served as Treasurer of the Territory from 1862-1864, and then moved to Alaska in 1867 for four years. After Kinkead returned to Nevada he became Nevada's third governor, serving from 1879-1883. Kinkead revisited Alaska once again where he served as Territorial Governor from 1884-1885, then came back to Nevada where he lived until his death. Kinkead died in 1904.

Sometime between Kinkead's stint in Alaska, where they presumably adopted the child, and his term as governor, they must have found their way to Unionville where the child died and was buried.

I didn't mean to bum anyone out, I just thought it was interesting.



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