Some sources give the sites of Washington and Pedro as separate locations. Nevada Post Offices certainly lists two distinct entries, with Washington being first, and Pedro coming a decade later. However, the postal map turned in for the Washington location shows the name "San Pedro Canyon" crossed out and "Washington" written in.
The map shows the location of Washington where other sources show Pedro to be. And the General Land Office Survey shows Washington to be straddling T 15N R42E, sections 17 and 16, right where there are many ruins. Therefore, we have to surmise that Washington came first, and was reneamed Pedro at a later date. Hence, we'll combine the two here until told otherwise.
The Washington Mining District was one of the very early mining locations. Nestled in the Washington Mining Distinct , right on the Lander / Nye county line on Washington Creek, mining activity in this general area began as early as 1855.
Twenty-two miles further south [of Austin] comes the Washington mining District, which is repect to numbers of enormous ledges and good ore within a few feet of the surface, can scarely be surpassed, and it is not likely to be equalled, taking the abundance of its woods and water into account, by any other section in Reese River.
-Gold Hill Daily News, March 19, 1864
A bit o' history:
The original name of the canyon was San Pedro Canyon, named after Manuel San Pedro. The
name of the canyon was changed to Washington Canyon in 1906.
-WASHINGTON MINING DISTRICT
There are tons of info in this report, which is kind of jumbled, and quotes text which was obviously
not written in 2007. The entire report may be obtained here:
In the 15th of August, 1863 edition of the Reese River Reville, the paper reported a discovery
by a group of Spaniards and they had discovered a new district. The paper, on that date, had
been unable to learn the truth or to form an idea of the extent and value of their discovery, but the
information they had received had fully persuaded them that their discovery was far from being a
"Humbug". It was reported in the Reese River Reville, on August 19, 1863, Messrs. Washington
Bartlett, Dr. Crowell and A. C. Austin recently sent out a party of well posted Chilenos, headed
by Jesus Alvarez, to prospect for silver. They returned about a week ago, bringing several fine
specimens of silver bearing quartz, which, on being assayed by Fred A. Miller, showing $315 a
ton in silver. This was entirely satisfactory to the company and they immediately took steps to
secure their discovery. Men were sent out before daylight with the intent on locating and
properly recording the claim, the claim was nearly forty miles south-- up Reese River Valley, on
the east side and in the main range of the Toiyabe Mountains Range. The New Hope Ledge
Location Notice was dated August 3, 1863 and was referenced as being in the Washington
Mining District. They gave their discovery the name of the company they were working for;
"New Hope". The canyon, where their discovery was made, they named San Pedro, after Manuel
San Pedro, the member of their party who actually discovered the outcropping.
TOWN OF WASHINGTON
The town of Washington starts near the mouth of Washington Canyon and, on the north side
of the canyon, and continues into the next left hand side canyon, there are but few remains of
commercial buildings and individual homes. The lower portion of the homes were dug into the
hills. The town was named after the father of our country, George Washington.
The Historian, Bancroft reported the town of Washington was recognized as being in
existence prior to the time the Territory of Nevada was formed.
The town of Washington, is the principal place in the District, it was well chosen because of
its natural beauty and being well close to the mines. The canyon, San Pedro, is very wide and
smooth sloped and the soil is capable of producing garden vegetables. The main stream of water
runs through the town. In many of the lots, the owners have planted cottonwood trees which in
several years will add new features to the place. At the Washington House good
accommodations for the traveler render this community, with its natural beauty of a pleasant
resort. The town was described as being a little paradise upon the earth, with the most delightful
climate, an abundance of the purest and best water, plenty of wood and fine timber, and even in
January, feed for almost any number of horses and cattle, and there were no end to "big ledges".
Fabulous stories were told as of the width and richness of ledges in the district, and it is useless
to attempt to describe them.
The community was considered to be the "Capital" of the region, and was the residence of the
Washington Mining District Recorder.
The town boasted, among other things, 3 saloons, a bakery, hotel, and a general store. It also
boasted of what is thought to be the first "Billiard Parlor" in Nye County. The canyon, in which
the town is situated, is supplied with about 75 inches of pure spring water, running the year
around, and an abundance of nut pine in the immediate vicinity, furnished for $4 per cord.
In a letter, dated January 3, 1863, A. Monroe says that in the town of Washington, he has
already bought six lots and has built a general & liquor store. He was in partnership with a man
named Jewell. Jewell had purchased the supplies for the store and Monroe was to run the store,
from which the two of them would split the profits. Next to the store, he had also built a 20 x 30
log house. Monroe also secured a ranch on the Reese River, some 4 miles from the town. Mr.
Monroe stated the mines were the richest in the territory. He had already purchased 200 feet on
two different ledges.
-WASHINGTON MINING DISTRICT REPORT, 2007
Not a stranger to violence, Washington had its chare of mayhem.
MURDER IN THE WASHINGTON DISTRICT
On January 2, 1864 it was reported that; early last Saturday morning the body of a man was
found lying on the road in the town of Washington, Washington Mining District. It was
recognized as being that of J. M. McCourtney. It was mangled in a most horrible manner, there
being three bullet holes in the head, two in the breast, and two stab wounds in the stomach and
breast. The face was also much blackened, with powder as if a pistol or gun, which inflicted the
wounds had been held very close to the head. There was also evidence that the body had been
dragged about one hundred and fifty feet from where it had fallen The assassins are as yet
unknown. The Deceased had been in Washington but a few days, having arrived there from Big
Creek. He formally lived at Bear Creek. On Friday he had become involved in a difficulty with
some Mexicans at a gambling saloon in Washington during which he had fired at, but missed
them. He was supposed to be about twenty-six years of age. Immediately after finding the body,
a meeting was held, a coroner was appointed, a jury selected, and an inquest held.
The following verdict was returned: The coroner and jury selected to hear the evidence and
facts in relation to the death of J. M. McCourtney, reporting the following: We the jury find the
deceased came to his death on the night of January 1st between the hours of 10 and 12 P.M., by
five wounds inflicted on various parts of his body, by pistol shots from pistols in the hand of
person or persons to the jury unknown". "Wm. Manning, Foreman, G. A. Moore, A. B. Austin,
F. Domingues, G. H. Murcer, Francis Padro, F. H. Warner, James Dougherty, M. Marti, B.
McGirr and Ramon Diaz.
signed: D. Batone, Coroner.
Upon receiving information ofthe murder ofMcCourtney at Washington last Friday, Sheriff
Taber left for that place very promptly in order to ferret out if possible and arrest the murders.
He had not returned up to yesterday afternoon. It is to be hoped that he will be successful in his
The Sheriff returned from Washington last Wednesday evening, bringing with him three
persons charged with the murder of McCourtney. They are now in custody at the Court House
awaiting examination. Their names are Pasqual Felic, Jose Trinidad Lopez and J. N. Dom, the
two former Mexicans, and the latter an American. On January 16, 1864, the three accused of the recent murder of McCourtney at Washington,
had their examination last Wednesday, before Justice Childers, of Washington. After hearing the
evidence they were discharged.
-WASHINGTON MINING DISTRICT REPORT
A DEAD POST OFFICE
As reported in the July 26, 1875, Reese River Reveille; While riding up Reese River Valley
with Studs Austin to lone Express Stage, Stubs pointed his finger across the valley and said that
over yonder is Washington; it's on this mail route. There used to be a post office over there; but
the postmaster got killed and they buried him with his clothes on. The key to the post office was
in his breeches' pocket, and when they buried him. They buried the whole post office, and it's a
dead-letter post office now.
-WASHINGTON MINING DISTRICT REPORT