Nye County, Nevada, Court Documents: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Aubrey Adams, September 8, 2010.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2010
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Collection

Title: Nye County, Nevada, Court Documents
Dates (inclusive): 1865-1890
Collection Number: mssNyeCountydocuments
Extent: 49 items in 1 box.
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
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 documents, as well as some bonds and oaths and correspondence.
Language: English.


Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

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.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Nye County, Nevada, Court Documents, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Purchased from Dawson's Bookshop, January 1962.

Biographical Note

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).

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


Crime -- Nevada -- 19th century.
Criminal courts -- Nevada -- 19th century.
Justices of the peace -- Nevada -- 19th century.
Nye County (Nev.) -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.


Criminal court records -- Nevada -- 19th century.
Letters (correspondence) -- Nevada -- 19th century.
Oaths -- Nevada -- 19th century.

Box 1



Bonds and Oaths

Folder 1

1865, July 14. Simonds, A. A. “Appointment John Sharp Deputy County Treasurer.”

Folder 2

1866, Feb. 8. John Bowman. “Oath.” [Note: incomplete]

Folder 3

1870, Dec. 12. Williams, [George] R. “Official Bond of [George] R. Williams.”

Folder 4

1872, Dec. 9. Southworth, E. C. “Official Bond of E. C. Southworth.”

Folder 5

1877, May 14. Veatch, [George] W. “Oath of [George] W. Veatch, Road Overseer.”


Criminal Court Documents

Folder 6

1882, Feb. 21. Turin, George. “Evidence of C. H. Sullivan.”

Folder 7

1882, Apr. 14. Herwood, J. C. “Receipt of J. C. Herwood.”

Folder 8

1883, Mar. 7. Griffith, J. D. “Complaint.”

Folder 9

1877, Jan. 24. Bowman, John. “Bench Warrant for E. D. Vaughn a Defaulting Witness.”

Folder 10

1877, Mar. 27. McKinney, D. C . “Instructions to the Court.”

Folder 11

1878, July 16. Ball, J. A. “Criminal Complaint.”

Folder 12

1879, Feb. 25. Ball, J. A. “Huyck Bail Bond.”

Folder 13

1879, July 23. Curler, Benjamin. “Indictment for Libel.”

Folder 14

1879, Dec. 18. Snow, C. B. “Testimony of D. N. Miller.”

Folder 15

1879, Dec. 22. Snow, C. B. “Testimony of Ben Blackmore.”

Folder 16

1880, Apr. 7. Bell, Joseph. “Petition for Writ of Habeus Corpus.”

Folder 17

1880, Apr. 7. McKinney, D. C. “Order Granting Writ of Habeus Corpus.”

Folder 18

1882, May 4. Norris, J. E. “Summons.”

Folder 19

1882, May 29. Norris, J. E. “ Execution.”

Folder 20

1890, Feb. 25. Norris, J. E. “Summons.”

Folder 21

1884, Nov. 29. Lamb, J. L. “Notice of Motion for New Trial.”

Folder 22

1884, Dec. 4. Lamb, J. L. “Motion for New Trial.”

Folder 23

1884? [Lamb, J. L. ?). “Jury Instructions 3.”

Folder 24

1884? [Lamb, J. L. ?). “Jury Instructions 4.”

Folder 25

1884? [Lamb, J. L. ?). “Jury Instructions 5.”

Folder 26

1884? [Lamb, J. L. ?). “Jury Instructions 7.”

Folder 27

1880, July 24. Bryden, W. S. “Defendant’s Instructions No. 1.”

Folder 28

1880, July 24. Bryden, W. S. “Instruction of Deft. No. 5.”

Folder 29

1883, Nov. 3. Bryden, W. S. “Affidavit for Continuation.”

Folder 30

1883, Nov. 28. Marburton, Thomas. “Verdict.”

Folder 31

1880, Apr. 21. Snow, C. B. “Complaint.”

Folder 32

1880, Apr. 22. Snow, C. B. “Testimony of William Brannan.”

Folder 33

1880, Apr. 22. Snow, C. B. “Testimony of Thomas Brennan.”

Folder 34

[1880, Apr. 22.?] [Snow, C. B.?] Testimony of C. H. Burns.”

Folder 35

1880, Apr 22. Snow, C. B. “Testimony of Dr. J. J. Callahan.”

Folder 36

1880, Apr. 22. Snow, C. B. “Testimony of John Harknett.”

Folder 37

1880, Apr. 22. Snow, C. B. “Testimony of John Leach.”

Folder 38

1880, Apr. 22. Snow, C. B. “Testimony of Patrick McCann.”

Folder 39

1880, Aug. 12. Ball, J. A. “Warrant of Arrest.”

Folder 40

1880, Nov. 9. Curler, Benjamin. “Indictment for dealing and carrying on Banking Game without a License.”

Folder 41

1880, Nov. 16. [Curler, Benjamin]. “Instructions for the Jury.”

Folder 42

1880, Nov. 16. [Curler, Benjamin]. “Instruction No. 3; for Defendant.”

Folder 43

1880, Apr. 22 -June 1. Kerwood, J. C. “Complaint, Judgment, Execution.”

Folder 44

1880, May 4. Kerwood, J. C. “Writ of Attachment.”



Folder 45

1863, Sep. 13. Learned, Marshel W. I letter to Brother Marshel.

Folder 46

1888, Feb. 16. Corrsocio, A. 1 letter to Corrsocio.

Folder 47

[Between 1890 and 1899]. Virden, W. H. 1 letter.

Folder 48

[Undated]. Learned, Frances M. 1 letter.



Folder 49

1880 Ephemera. 1 receipt.