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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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September 18, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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September 18, 1997
 

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Outdoors / Operation Game Thief." 1-800-992-3030 Operation Cal- Tip: 1.800-952-5400 Pahruntp ValleyGazette, Thursday, September 18, 1997 25 Nye County Historical Markers (Part H) by Ed Tomchin A visit to Nye County's historical markers throughout Nevada continues. Tonopah (Marker No. 15), Big Smoky Valley (Marker No. 42) and The Old Boundary (Marker No. 58) were featured in the September 11, 1997 issue of the PV Gazette. OPHIR (MARKER NO. 64) Located on S.R. 376, 35 miles South of the junction with U.S. Highway 50, this marker is situated at the foot of a canyon to the west which leads to the ghost town of Ophir, midway up into the Toiyabe range. Ore was discovered in Ophir in 1863 by S. Boulerond and his companions. In 1964, the Murphy mine was discovered and became a leading producer, which created the mining district. In 1865, a 20 stamp mill was built at a cost of over $200,000, which was outrageous for its day. The first experimental Stetefeldt furnace was built next to the mill. This project started the town and it grew to a population of 400. In the 1870s, the mines declined and Ophir became almost deserted. In the 1880s, the mines were reacti- vated and the town had another period of prosperity, but by the 1890s, Ophir was again deserted. However, some mining activity continued into the 20th century. You can still see the massive stone foundations of the gigantic and costly stamp mill, as well as the stone walls of a very elegant office and mansion. Over $2 million in gold and silver were mined from the Murphy vein and surrounding properties. Iron, copper and arsenic were also found. In its heyday, Ophir sported all the accoutrements of a large community, including a school, church, various lodges, and of course, several saloons. The discovery of the outcrop of Ophir bonanza has been linked to the original discovery of the Cgmstock Lode and leads to the conflicting stories regarding the identity of the original locator, or locators, and the date of the discovery and the naming. The problem remains largely unresolved. Among the possible original discoverers were Hosea Ballou and Ethan Allen Grosch, brothers who were engaged in placer mining in Gold Canyon as early as 1853. According to an old directory of Storey County, in 1853, Allen and I-losea Grosch relxirtedthey had discovered silver ledges, staked a claim and called it the Pioneer. This first location, where the Virginia now stands, was the very claim afterward jumped by Comstock, and which has since given his name to the lode. When the Grosch Consolidated Gold and Silver Mining Company filed against the Ophir and the Gould and Curry, claiming the original rights of the brothers, the company was unsuccessful in establishing its claim. Although the consensus today is that the Grosch brothers did not discovex the Comstock Lode, the following account asserts their prior claim and explains away other contenders for the honor of the original discovery of the lode. "The claim was afterwards enlarged by the addition of other claims, and had several owners, among whom were Penrod, Comstock, Finny (Old Virginia), Reilly and McLaughlin, and was at one time run by Penrod, Comstock & Co. The name was several times changed, until at last the name 'Ophir' was given. This is the claim which gave the name of Comstockto the lode... If the lode had been called after the first discoverer, it should have been named the 'Grosch Lode' for the brothers located claims for themselves and others thereon long before the days of Virginia and Gold Hill were known." Unfortunately, the Grosch brothers were unable to do anyo thing abut their discovery, for Hoseadied in the fall of 1857, and Allen died the following winter. On October 21, 1859, the first indictment for murder on the Comstock was handed down against William Sides, the brother of Richard Sides for whom the Sides Claim was named, for a homicide committed at Gold Hill a short time after the discovery. The victim was John Jessup, reported to have been the original locator of the Ophir. "After the death of Jessup, and while the majority of the inhabitants of Gold Hill were over in Eagle Valley with his murderer, Reilly and McLaughlin jumped his claim, and have received the credit of first discovering the Comstock." In 1864, the Ophir gave John Jessup's mother $30,000 for his claim. Peter O'Reilly and Patrick McLaughlin are usually credited with having discovered the Ophir. According to Smith, in 1859 they "dug into a layer of rich black sand that proved to be a concentrate from the hidden Ophir bonanza." A historian named Lincoln mentions Henry Comstock's connection with it. "In June, 1859, two Irish miners named Peter O'Reilly and Patrick McLaughlin, were working at the head of Six-Mile Canyon to the North of Gold Hill. In digging a water hole, they uncovered the top of the Ophir bonanza, located it, and washed gold from it. Henry Comstock happened along that evening, and by putting up a bluff, secured a place for himself and a friend on the location notice." Dan DeQuille's account of the naming of the mining camp seems to confirm the 1859 date, insofar as the application of the name Ophir is concerned. The camp has been spoken of and placed upon the records as Pleasant Hill and Mount Pleasant Point. In August, 1859, it was designated as Ophir, in Septem- ber as Ophir Diggings. p ag"ick McLaughlin sold ut, and it was his one-sixth interest that started the Hearst fortune Peter O'Reilly sold his interest in the Ophir in the fall of 1859 to John O. Earl and Judge James Walsh. Henry Comstock is accused of having secured a place for himself on the Ophir either by out nmneuvering O'Reilly and McLaughlin, or by trading a horse and bottle of whisky for"Old Virginia's" stake in the Ophir, after which trade he immediately formed the firm of Penrod, Comstock and Company. He wanted to call the property the Comstock, but compromised on the Ophir. The traditional and prevalent name Ophir derives from the Judaic tradition andrefers to abiblicalregion famous forits gold. Wildlife Commission to meet in Henderson Geoff Schneider Nevada division of Wildlife The NevadaBoard of Wildlife Commissioners is scheduled to meet Friday, September 26 and Saturday, Sept. 27 at Valley View Recreation Center, 500 Harris Street in Henderson. Friday's meeting will get underway at 3 p.m. with a report on planning for the state's wildlife management areas. There will also be a req.uest from waterfowlers to expend $8,000 to develop a field at Overton Wildlife Management Area. Saturday's session begins at 8:30 a.m. with discussion on allocation of up to five auction tags for wild turkey. This will be followed by the setting of 1998 and 1999 fishing seasons and limits. Other agenda items include the final reading of the 1997-99 big game release plan, discussion on a petition to allow scopes on muzzleloaders, discussion on conflicts between mountain bikers and hunters, a report on mule deer task force activities and a report on mountain lion predation on bighorn sheep. Fishing Report by Cnroff Schneider Nevada Division of Wikage LAKE MEAD - Despite the recent storm and windy weather, anglers are finding excellent fishing for largemouth bass and striped bass. Some of the better action for stripers is being found by boaters who are downrigging in the mouth of Government Wash. Fish up to six pounds have been caught in that area during the past week. Anglers report the action for stripers has been good at Rogers Bay in the Overtou Arm. Some success is also being found by trollers in the Muddy River area. Largemouth bass are being taken along ledges with artificial worms and tube lures. One of tim beRer areas for bass has been Indian Canyon, which is located across the lake from Callville Bay. LAKE MOHAVE. Striped bass ranging from one and a half to three and a half pounds are being caught by trollers from Owl's Point to the north power lines. Boaters are using lead line and trolling whole anchovies to take the fish. A Southern Nevada Bassmasters tournament held Saturday Sep- tember 13, resulted in 14 competitors catching 20 largernouth bass. The two anglers on the winning team caught six bass for a combined weight of nearly 21 pounds. Rainbow trout are still being caught by boaters above Willow Beach. The action for channel catfish has been good in shallow coves, EAGLE VALLEY RESERVOIR- Water conditions continue to be murky. Trout fishing is poor. ECHO CANYON RESERVOIR - Fishing has been fair for small largemouth bass and rainbow trout. The action for crappie is slow. SCHROEDER RESERVOIR- Rainbow trout fishing is poor in the reservoir, but excellent for small fish in the stream below the lake. Flies and small spinners are the tickets for catching fish in the stream. WAYNE E. KIRCH WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA - Rainbow trout fishing is showing signs of life while the action for largemouth bass has been slowing. Trout fishing is reported to be fair from the dam at Haymeedow Reservoir. The Nevada Division of Wildlife reports the area has received three inches of rain during the past month. This has led to good water levels at the lakes.