This small collection contains 49 documents related to the Nye County District Court and Nye County Justice
Court in the mining boom town of Nye, Nevada, between the years of 1865 and 1890. Documents chiefly consist of criminal court
as well as some bonds and oaths and correspondence.
Nye County, Nevada was created by the state legislature in February of 1864 and
named in honor of the Nevada Territory's first governor and later U.S. Senate
representative, James W. Nye. The county seat and first county courthouse were built
in Ione in 1864, and served the resident population of between 1,000 and 1,500
mostly migrant gold and silver miners. In 1867, following the shifting fortunes of
boomtown mining, the Nye county seat and courthouse were relocated to neighboring
Belmont. Mining in the area began with the discovery of silver along the Reese River
in 1862. While the most productive ore-processing mills were located along the
northern length of the river in Lander County (founded 1861), some prospectors
followed the river southward, discovering modest amounts of silver, quartz, and
mercury in the rocks and rivers. The county's fortunes were intimately linked to the
economy of mining and metal, and an enduring bust followed a short turn-of-the-20th
century boom. By the 1950s, only around 3,000 people occupied Nye County's 18,159
square-mile territory, a fact which may have contributed to the Federal Department
of Energy's choice to establish the Nevada Test Site - for nuclear energy and
weapons testing - there in 1951. Nye County only achieved sustained growth at the
end of the 20th century, with the rise of Las Vegas bedroom communities.
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