Overview of the Collection
Scope and Content
Overview of the Collection
Title: Nye County, Nevada, Court Documents
Dates (inclusive): 1865-1890
Collection Number: mssNyeCountydocuments
Extent: 49 items in 1 box.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Abstract: 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.
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services
Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to
quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such
activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is
one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
[Identification of item]. Nye County, Nevada, Court Documents, The Huntington
Library, San Marino, California.
Purchased from Dawson's Bookshop, January 1962.
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.
Scope and Content
The documents in this collection relate to the Nye County District and Justice
Courts between the years of 1865 and 1890. They are organized into four
content-based groupings: Bonds and Oaths, Criminal Court Documents, Correspondence,
and Ephemera. The contents grouped as Bonds and Oaths cover the swearing-in of Nye
County servants, often Justices of the Peace and once a Road Overseer, and are
organized chronologically (see folders 1-5). Within the Criminal Court Documents,
grouped together are multiple documents related to the same defendant; this group
makes up the majority of the collection (see folders 14-44). The grouped documents
have been organized alphabetically by the last name of the defendant, and are then
sorted chronologically. The criminal court documents that are not part of a group
(i.e., are single references to unrelated cases) have been organized chronologically
(see folders 6-13). The group of Criminal Court Documents ranges from court summons,
to sworn testimony of witnesses, to instructions for the jury, settlements and
verdicts. The crimes alleged include: rape, burglary, embezzlement, libel, illegal
gaming (gambling), and assault with deadly intent. Unfortunately, even when there
are multiple documents relating to one criminal defendant, there is not enough
information to construct a beginning-to-end (or accusation-to-verdict) narrative of
any of the cases. The documents are recommended, however, to researchers interested
in the social history of the American West, conflict in mining boom towns, or early
branches of United States government in the West. The documents grouped as
Correspondence include four letters, one of which is written in Italian (see folders
45-48). The Ephemera group consists of one receipt for purchases made at a livery
and seed store.
Items organized into four
content-based groupings: Bonds and Oaths (Folders 1-5), Criminal Court Documents (Folders 6-44), Correspondence (Folders 45-48),
and Ephemera (Folder 49).
Crime -- Nevada -- 19th
Criminal courts -- Nevada -- 19th
Justices of the peace -- Nevada -- 19th
Nye County (Nev.) --
History -- 19th century -- Sources.
Criminal court records -- Nevada --
Letters (correspondence) -- Nevada --
Oaths -- Nevada -- 19th century.