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  1. Hey everyone, so this is my first explore post, I'm probably going to be slow sharing since I'm planning on waiting until my YouTube videos come out. but I just wanted to give an update on Olinghouse Nevada. I was out there about a month ago with my friend. As some of you may know there is many rumors about the Olinghouse area being guarded by an "old man with a gun chasing people of the property". Well I took a few trips out there because I really wanted to get some cool footage. I didn't go into all of the structures because it seemed like the floors weren't sturdy enough to hold my weight. My friend went in them but she only weighs about 115 lbs. The mine has been purchased and is currently active. We went on a Sunday after the first ground freeze because that's usually when mining operations stop for the winter. There was still a lot of activity of a small ATV vehicle going back and forth to the miners headquarters building, so we tried to stay hidden as possible. I looked at the Olinghouse Facebook page just a few days ago and it said people tried to get permission to go out there but were denied, so I'm glad I got what I did without being seen. The place is still in really good shape. Its hard to tell the age of some of the buildings, most of them have probably been frankensteined over the years since its been a home to squatters, meth-labbers, and the occasional mine enthusiast. If you plan on exploring the area, I suggest at least with 4 wheel drive and drive past the headqaurters building and do a little 4wheeling to the back ranch house and you can stay hidden easier from back there. There is also a road that seems to lead to some interesting thing that I can see from the Sat pics, but I will definitely need an ATV to get there. anyways. Here is the video if you'd like to check it out. See you out there! Backwoods Beast
  2. I know many people like to keep their favorite ghost town locations secret, and I certainly agree when you find a nice one without much vandalism since losers like to destroy them. What do you think, should well preserved ghost town locations be kept secret or would you post their locations for others to see?
  3. I've run across a lot of odd things in the desert, right? Today's installment isn't just one of the oddest, it is one of my all time favorites as well. It's called "The Shaffer Fish Bowl." I've spoken to many people who know a great deal about Route 66 and very few had ever heard of it, and not a single one of them had actually seen it. We went there in late March. I knew that photos wouldn't reflect just how isolated this place is. So, If you don't mind, please watch this very short video. I apologize in advance for my nasal sounding and spontaneous narration. I hope the feeling of pure solitude and isolation comes through for you in this video. https://picasaweb.google.com/115893260639092994154/PatrickTillett04#5922211896425413282 Nothing as far as the eye can see. It's that way in the other direction as well. Kingman Arizona is on the other side of the far mountain range. The Shaffer Fish Bowl Moss grows in the tank, the fish eat the moss and the spring keeps the tank full. Add to that the fact that goldfish can live for up to and beyond 20 years under the right conditions. The can even survive under ice. I'm still thinking that somebody replaces the fish if they die. The hike up to the spring is short, but kind of steep. After checking out the fish bowl, I noticed that there was another trail leading around the rocks. I'm no geologist, but I'm pretty sure that there aren't any square caves in nature. I'm thinking that maybe this was going to be a mine shaft and was carved out by the same person who created the tank to catch water from the natural spring. It might have been Shaffer, or maybe he came along later. It's a mystery to me (for the time being anyway). I always have to do this to show you how steep a drop off is. The trail abruptly ends at that large rock. Another mystery.
  4. The People of Seven Troughs & Mazuma Thanks to recent postings by our members, we have gained a lot of valuable information about the towns of Seven Troughs and Mazuma. We have learned about the devastating flood of 1912 that raged through the canyons, wiping out structures and taking a number of lives with it, as well as explored the small cemeteries that mark the landscape with many unmarked graves. Now, we are going to uncover the stories behind some of those who lived in these towns, those who brought life and personality to the dusty streets and desert beaten buildings and homes. As a note of reference, the remains of the flood victims were taken to the funeral parlors of Groesbeck and O'Brien in Mazuma. Below is an account given by P.E. Groesbeck, undertaker… MAZUMA DEATH LIST FIXED AT 9 PERSONS AND LOSS $100,000. BRING REMAINS OF VICTIMS TO THIS CITY. ONE CHILD IS STILL AMONG THE MISSING. P. E. GROESBECK RETURNS FROM SCENE OF TRAGEDY AND GIVES DETAILS OF DISASTER. “Lovelock, July 20. -- The list of dead in the Mazuma disaster still remains at nine persons and nine were injured. Additional details fix the approximate loss due to the flood at about $100,000. P. E. Groesbeck of the undertaking firm of Groesbeck and O'Brien of this city returned from the scene of the flood-stricken Mazuma district this morning. "I reached Lovelock about 3 o'clock Friday morning in response to a call sent out from that place. I found no automobiles or other conveyances awaiting, and, known that the services of an undertaker would be one of the crying necessities of the hour, proceeded toward Mazuma on foot. The first automobile which I found returning from Mazuma I stopped and, explaining the situation to the driver, he consented to take me back." "We got into Mazuma about 8 o'clock Friday morning, accompanied by a nurse and my assistant, a Mr. Bird of the Coalition Mining company. I met the officials of the mining companies, who in turn took me to the building where the remains of MRS.RUDDELL, MRS. FONCANNON, MICHAEL WHALEN, the youngest KEHOE boy and the 6-year-old son of MR. GILLESPIE of the Mazuma Hills Mining company had been placed." "The condition of all these bodies was terrible to behold. They were bruised from head to foot and were almost completely beyond recognition. The bodies were entirely denuded when found. They were covered with debris, dirt and sand. some of the bodies, were picked up several miles from the place of residence." "Many of the escapes from death were miraculous. The flood apparently came without warning and swept down on the victims in a moment. Many of the survivors had to be held back from rushing into the flood in an effort to rescue minor effects." "MICHAEL KEHOE had just retired when the flood struck the building. He jumped from his bed and ran to the door. He saw the body of the smallest KEHOE boy float by him on the crest of the flood and lost his life trying to save the lad." "The entire town, with the exception of one or two buildings located high on the hill, was wiped out. The Coalition Mining company lost nearly its entire plant and its big vault where in the neighborhood of $20,000 worth of bullion was stored. The bullion was all lost." "One of the KEHOE children still is missing. There is no doubt but what the unfortunate child is dead. The remains are either covered with debris or have been buried in the mud." "The remains of MRS. RUDDELL and MRS. FONCANNON were brought to Reno this morning and will not be disposed of until instructions are received from relatives. The remains of WHALEN will be brought to Reno to await the coming of his mother, who has started from his home in Illinois to take charge of them." "The property loss is estimated in the neighborhood of $100,000." Casualties as known: GEORGE S. KEHOE, aged 4 years old. JAMES C. KEHOE, aged 6 years old. RONALD M. KEHOE, aged 1 1/2 years old. JULIA FONCANNON, wife of Floyd. PERRV GILLESPIE, son of Matthew, 10 years old. MRS. KEHOE, wife of William. MRS. McCLEAN, wife of Alex. MARGARET O'HANLON, wife of Steve. MAUDE EDNA RUDDELL, aged 33 years. JOHN TRENCHARD. MICHAEL WHALEN, aged 45 years. Reno Evening Gazette Nevada 1912-07-20” Now on to those who lived, worked and died in the towns of Seven Troughs and Mazuma. Matthew M. Gillespie, born January 25th, 1875 and Sara Mayne Heron, born circa 1884, were immigrants from Northern Ireland. The maiden name of Matthew’s mother was Burns. Arriving first in Canada in 1905, where son Thomas Perry Gillespie was born in May 1906, they soon made their way down to Oakland, Alameda County, California, where son Richard H. was born May 15th, 1909. The 1910 census enumerates this family as living in Berkeley, Alameda County, California. The household consists of Matthew, wife Sara, and sons Thomas and Richard. Matthew’s occupation is listed as manager for a mining company, and at this time he and Sarah had been married for a period of four years. In 1911 the family moved to Mazuma, Nevada, but by 1912 were planning to move back to Oakland, California. On July 18th, 1912 a flash flood tore through the towns of Seven Troughs and Mazuma, washing away buildings and humans alike. Thomas Gillespie, just 6 years old, was one of the victims who drowned in the flood. The family had his body sent to Oakland, California, where he lies buried in the Mountain View Cemetery. A newspaper article in the Bridgeton Evening News (Bridgeton, NJ), July 20th, 1912, provides us with further information… “While saving his wife, Dr. Gillespie, the superintendent of the Daily Mining Reduction Works at Mazuma, was compelled to see his oldest son drown. If he had let go his wife to save the son the wife would have drowned, and although the mother tried to prevail upon the physician to let her drown in order that her boy might live, the husband clung to his wife and finally got her out of danger,” One can only imagine with horror and compassion the trauma and long lasting after-affects of this incident in the life of this family. No other children were born to this family, even though both Matthew and Sara were still young enough, which makes me wonder about how the dynamics in their relationship may have changed after the death of young Thomas. In 1920 the family are living back in Oakland, California, with the household consisting of Matthew, Sara and son Richard. By this time Matthew was working as an importer. The 1930 census for Oakland shows the same information. In 1935 Matthew and Sara were living in Berkeley, California, and by 1940 they had moved to Contra Costa, California. Matthew Gillespie was naturalized as an American citizen in 1944. Sara Mayne Heron Gillespie was naturalized in 1948. Matthew died in Alameda County, California on May 17th, 1949. So far no record of death has been found for Sara or son Richard. John S. Keheo, born in Illinois on December 26th, 1864 and Mary “Mamie” J. Lewis, born in Colorado on December 2nd, 1884. A record of marriage, conducted in Cripple Creek, Colorado, states that John Kehoe (NOT Keheo!) married Mamie Lewis on November 27th, 1901. Known children were Lewis, born 1904 in Colorado, Cletus, born 1906 in Colorado, George, born 1908 in Nevada, and Ronald, born 1910 in Nevada, John M. born 1914 in Nevada, and Baby Keheo, born and died 1916 in Nevada. The 1910 census for Lassen, California enumerates the family, consisting of John, Mamie, Lewis, Cletus and George. Son Ronald would be born in 1910, after the enumeration of the census. In 1912 the family were living in Mazuma, Nevada, and were unfortunate enough to be in the path of the flood of July 18th. For the Kehoe family the losses would be extremely tragic. Three of their sons, Cletus, George and Ronald, would be swept away and drowned, along with their friend Thomas Gillespie, who had been visiting with them at the time. Mother Mamie was also feared to be dead, but was found alive. Unsurprisingly, the family left the Seven Troughs / Mazuma area, moving roughly 27 miles away to Lovelock, Nevada, where son John was born in 1914. In 1916 another child was born, who died so soon after birth that the little one was buried without a name. In the 1920 census enumeration for Lovelock, Nevada the family are recorded under the misspelling of Kehab, instead of Kehoe or Keheo. The members in the household are John, Mamie, Lewis and Jack (John, Jr.). In 1930 John is enumerated at a different address from his wife and son, possibly because he was living away from home for employment reasons. His wife and son are recorded under the misspelling of Mamie and John Kehoa. Both John and Mamie state that they are married. Son Lewis is listed as living in Reno, Nevada, lodging with the family of Victor Spencer. His first name is spelled as Louis. Lewis married Florence Brown in 1935. In 1940 Mamie is enumerated in Lovelock, Nevada with son John, Jr and mother Mary O’Hanley. Mamie states that she is divorced. Ex-husband John is listed at a different address, where he is working as a ranch hand. He makes the declaration that he is still married. I think this gives us a good idea regarding which of the two wanted the divorce. Son Lewis is enumerated in Lovelock, living with wife Florence and sons John and William. John died November 5th, 1956, and is buried in the Lone Mountain Cemetery in Lovelock. Mamie died in April 30th 1974 in Solano, California, and is buried in Lone Mountain Cemetery in Lovelock, Nevada. Son Lewis died at Vallejo, Solano, California on September 15th, 1980. Son John disappears from the records after the 1940 census. John Trenchard, one of those who was in the flood at Mazuma, and died 17 hours later, was born August 18th, 1858, at Fairton, Cumberland County, New Jersey. His parents were Theophilus Trenchard and Sarah. John married Ida Mayhew, daughter of Daniel & Caroline (ALLEN) Mayhew, and sometime in 1899, after the birth of son John, they moved West with their family. An article in the Bridgeton Evening News (Bridgeton, NJ), dated August 26th, 1899, tells us that John and family were living in Colorado, where John suffered losses to his furniture business in the Great Fire of Victor, Colorado. They do not appear in the 1900 census, which leads me to believe that they were again on the move at that time. They eventually settled in Los Angeles, California, where they were enumerated in the 1910 census, along with children Caroline, Sarah and John. Not listed was daughter Catherine, who was an adult and lived elsewhere. In 1910 John was also enumerated in Mazuma, where he was conducting business as a merchant. By 1912 the family would be living at Mazuma. After the flood a number of news reports were sent by telegram to their family members back in New Jersey and reported in the local newspapers. Wife Ida lived until after 1940, as she was enumerated in the 1940 census for San Mateo, California. Maude Edna Ruddell was a sister of Mrs. Reese, who was married to Dr. Reese. It has been reported that both Dr. and Mrs. Reese and their five children were killed in the flood. The newspapers of the time reported that Maude was a native of Canada, but according to her great-grandson, Tim Ruddell, she was born in Indiana. Another fallacy is that she is one of the victims buried in the little cemetery at Seven Troughs. Again, great-grandson Tim corrects this erroneous information and informs us that she is actually buried in an unmarked grave at Mountain View Cemetery in Reno, Nevada. Maude was born as Maude Edna Buckles in South Bend, Indiana in 1879, a daughter of Francis Marion Buckles and Minnie Whiteman. Reno Evening Gazette July 25, 1912 Page Three MAZUMA POSTMISTRESS FUNERAL HELD TODAY “Sad and impressive were the services held this morning over the remains of Miss Maude Edna Ruddell whose funeral took place from the mortuary parlors of Groesbeck & O'Brien on West Second Street. The deceased was postmistress at Mazuma and she was one of the victims of the disastrous flood there, which carried nine people to their deaths. Miss Ruddell was aged 33 years. Rev. Samuel Unsworth officiated at the funeral. The interment took place in Mountain View Cemetery.” TO BE CONTINUED! @ 2013 Cindy Nunn. All Rights Reserved. Large_Article_1907.pdf Large_Article_1908.pdf Large_Article_b_1908.pdf John_Trenchard_2.pdf John_Trenchard_3.pdf John_Trenchard_4.pdf Mazuma_High_Ground.pdf Seven_Troughs_1.pdf Seven_Troughs_2.pdf Seven_Troughs_3.pdf Seven_Troughs_4.pdf Seven_Troughs_5.pdf Seven_Troughs_6.pdf
  5. I have been doing a lot of research lately on various ghost towns and it seemed back in the 50's, 60's, and even 70's, many of the ghost towns had at least on resident who lived in those ghost towns. I posted on story in the Aurora thread, and you can read another account of an elderly couple who lived in Fairview Nevada ghost town here (starting at page 11). Others that come to mine are Seldom Seen Slim, the couple that lived near the burrow tunnel in death valley, and Shorty Harris (I think that was his name). Seems once these old timers died off, nobody replaced them. Only one time did I enter a ghost town to find a resident living there. This was at New Idria and must have been about 15 years ago.   I have to wonder why nobody takes up residence at these old ghost towns like they did years ago. I am betting all of these ghost towns would have been kept in far better shape if some old desert rat or couple had taken up residence. I find it extremely interesting to read these people's stories about living in these old ghost town. Anyone have any ideas why we don't see more people living in these old ghost towns like they did years ago?
  6. http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/central-otago/267266/app-will-breathe-new-life-ghost-towns A computer program believed to be a world first will breathe life into the ghost towns that once served the Bendigo goldfields. A gold-mining heritage site mobile device app designed by the University of Canterbury will be available for free download later this year. It will allow people visiting the Bendigo area in the hills behind Tarras to point their smartphone or touch-screen computer at any site within the historic reserve and receive information and photos about what was on that site at the height of the gold rush. The man behind the project is Canterbury University history researcher Lloyd Carpenter, who has developed the content. Dr Carpenter is passionate about Central Otago's goldfields history and wanted visitors to Bendigo to ''see it as it used to be''. ''The worst thing about wandering around Bendigo now is that it's dead. It was such an exciting vibrant place, full of people in the gold mining days, and if you were visiting then, it would be full of noise and bustle. This app will take away that ghost town feel and put people back in the town. ''Visitors don't want to see just another stone house; they want to know who lived there, what was it like to live there and what was it like inside. Often they had wallpaper and carpets, so they weren't the primitive homes some imagine.'' Interpretation boards could hold limited information, but the app would give a fuller picture, and even include data such as class lists from the school, Dr Carpenter said. Experts involved in heritage interpretation in the United States and Australia believed the heritage app was a world first, he said. ''It's exciting that Central Otago's gold mining history has been dragged into the 21st century with the development of this app.'' The university's Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab) had produced the computer software and the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust was a partner in the project and sourced $50,000 funding from the Central Lakes Trust. Bendigo was the first focus and the technology would be rolled out to other nearby mining sites. Dr Carpenter and a team from HIT Lab would be testing the app ''in the field'' at Bendigo at the end of this month . It would be an international team, with computer programming technicians from Austria, Korea and the United States. The app, which should be ready to launch in November, would be simple to use and quick to download, as well as providing information, photos and audio for all kinds of user groups, Dr Carpenter said. ''We're so lucky to have this exciting goldfields history in Otago and this is one way to communicate my passion for the area's heritage.'' The stories being presented would not be a sanitised version of events, he said. ''It'll be the real stories. It was a hard life for those who lived there but a good life.'' Goldfields trust president Martin Anderson said the organisation was excited about the app, after seeing ''snippets'' of it in action and was delighted to be a partner in the project. - lynda.van.kempen@odt.co.nz
  7. http://gizmodo.com/take-an-eerie-tour-of-americas-creepiest-ghost-towns-686506223
  8. Found some old newspaper articles about a few ghost towns. Cake, Oregon.pdf Delleker.pdf Ghost Towns, Ryan Included.pdf Grafton, Utah.pdf Kendall, Montana.pdf Nevadaville.pdf Oregon Ghost Towns.pdf Rhyolite.pdf San Luis, Texas.pdf Thurber_Texas.pdf Thurber_Texas_2.pdf
  9. The first thing we noticed was the quiet. Even the wind seemed muted as it whipped through the tall grass. Five friends had traveled 340 miles east from Eugene to find the ghost town of Whitney, and now we stood at a dirt crossroad, reading a sign with a horse-drawn carriage painted next to a steam engine. “Rails of the Sumpter Valley R. R. reached Whitney Valley June 1, 1901,” we read, squinting in the hot July sun. “At one time 150 people called Whitney their home. When the railway was abandoned in 1947, the town closed down.” To read the entire article.... http://www.eugeneweekly.com/20130606/lead-story/summer%E2%80%99s-ghost-towns
  10. This year, Montana is celebrating the 150th anniversary of gold being struck in Alder Gulch, leading to booms in nearby towns such as Bannack, Virginia City and Nevada City. Fast forward a century and a half and the story seems common enough: gold was discovered, miners hoping to keep their finding to themselves got found out, the population of these towns exploded, then busted and on and on. Throughout the year, Virginia City is hosting events to commemorate the occasion, including concerts, farmer's markets and art shows. For visitors eager to see a few spots, there is a short tourist train connecting the towns of Virginia City and Nevada City, which both feature reenactments. Nearby Bannack is a state park and is among the best preserved ghost towns around. Check out the nice photos, too.... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/27/abandoned-montana-towns_n_3503915.html
  11. SOUTHERN UTAH MEMORIES: Shonesburg lingers on in memory by Loren Webb Published - 06/02/13 - 09:39 AM | 0 | 2 | | More Sharing ServicesShare This Article|Share on facebookShare on twitter Share on diggShare on fark (SHONESBURG, Utah) - While some people believe Grafton is the most scenic ghost town in Utah, Shonesburg (or Shunesburg) is probably one of the better preserved and one of the least accessible. Located on the Virgin River’s east fork as it flows through Parunuweap Canyon is Oliver DeMille’s two story cut-stone house. Near the abandoned home is a rickety fence surrounding a tiny cemetery. Further north, the fence along Zion National Park’s boundary is visible. In addition, remains of a few chimneys and portions of walls are the only clues that a town once existed here. Long before the white man invaded the Virgin River valley, the Indians lived here, according to Stephen L. Carr, author of The Historical Guide to Utah Ghost Towns. Several of the Indians along the river had tiny farms to sustain them and give variety to their game diet. One Paiute native named Shunes (or Shones) had a little spread in a small valley on the Virgin River’s east fork. In 1861, Oliver DeMille and several other families purchased land from Shones and the settlement became known as Shonesburg. Carr states the settlers paid Shones little for the land, so he accepted it as down payment and continued living among the pioneers, doing some work and begging the rest of the time. Shones may have known more than he let on, as he watched the settlers clear the land, dig ditches, plant crops and orchards and maintained them, so they reaped much larger fruits and vegetables than the old Indian had, and he benefited more than if he had held the land, Carr states. The following information on Shonesburg is largely taken from an article written by Janice DeMille, entitled Shonesburg: The Town Nobody Knows, published in the Winter 1977 issue of Utah Historical Quarterly. She notes that while the neighboring canyons of Zion National Park are yearly visited by thousands, Parunuweap Canyon and remains of the pioneer village are rarely seen. It was LDS President Brigham Young’s call of pioneers for the Dixie Cotton Mission on Oct. 7, 1861 which was the impetus for Shonesburg’s start, DeMille states. Among those called from Sanpete County besides Oliver DeMille, were George Petty, Hyrum Stevens, Alma Millett, Hardin Whitlock and Charlie Clapper and their families. Some of the families spent part of the winter below Rockville where the floods of 1861-62 washed away their farms, causing them to move on to a new location. Traveling two miles up the Virgin to where it forked, they followed the east fork. Once a site was chosen, available land was divided into small lots to accommodate newcomers. Oliver DeMille II stated that 10 families made their homes there at that time. A town site was then laid out on the northwest side of the river. Most residents built log cabins and immediately began working on a ditch to bring water to their farms. The residents also cleared the land, planted orchards and vineyards, planted corn and made the irrigation ditch. Using pick, shovel, crowbar and scraper, they also built dugways along the river for a road into the valley. After all this work, only a small crop was harvested. They also built dams across the river, only to see them washed away by unpredictable floods. Nevertheless, by July 1864, Henry Stevens presided over seven families or 45 persons and 75 acres of cotton. A year later, Shonesburg residents finally had a good harvest of cotton, corn and cane. Cotton was also used by some people for beds. During the southern Utah Indian wars of 1866-67, LDS authorities in St. George advised settlers to gather to Rockville, so Grafton, Springdale, Shonesburg and Virgin residents came with only the basic necessities. Some moved in with relatives, but most camped outside, living in their wagons. While some men kept watch for Indian attacks, others went in groups to farm nearby fields. Following resettlement of Shonesburg in 1868, a windlass was built over the ledge at the head of narrow Shonesburg canyon to take the mail up and down the mountain without climbing the trail. Mail carriers were hired to go from Toquerville to Shonesburg Canyon and back. Lorenzo and Horace Slack, carriers at the time, would leave Toquerville Monday morning, go to Shonesburg the first day and camp there that night. The next day, they went four miles to the head of the canyon, ran the mail up the windlass, took the Kanab mail that came down the windlass and went back to Shonesburg for the night, then returned to Toquerville. They made two mail trips a week. When high water prevented crossing the river, they stationed someone on both sides and ran the mail across on a wire. A mule was used to pack the wire. The only public building in Shonesburg was the old log schoolhouse built about 1870, used for public purposes, including church services. Before 1866, no Shonesburg ward organization existed so residents went to Rockville when they could. Later, an LDS Church branch was formed in Shonesburg with Oliver DeMille the presiding elder. School terms were only three months, because students had to work early in the spring and late in the fall. LDS President Brigham Young had sent the saints to raise cotton and make wine, but the settlers grew all kinds of produce, including cane, corn, cotton, watermelons, peaches, apples, pears, apricots, plums and grapes. Little wheat was grown however. Usable farmland ranged from about four miles up the river from town to two miles below. The produce was then sent north and traded for flour and potatoes. Although life was hard, the settlers were almost self-sustaining. The women and girls corded, spun, and wove the raw cotton into cloth, then made their own clothes by hand because they had no machines. Shonesburg residents also had large families with just midwives and no doctors to help. Several women died in childbirth. Home remedies were used and some of the women used their skills as midwives and nurses. There were other resident experts like Joseph Millett, Jr., a master of basket making. Using willows from above Shonesburg, he made baskets to sell, then later taught others how. He also made shoes by hand for all of his older children. He was a carpenter by trade, but was also a proficient blacksmith, mason, farmer, casket maker and shoe maker. Around 1880, Oliver DeMille and his family moved into the two-story rock house on the hill. Each of the wives had her own apartment and fireplace, while on the upper floor was a large room where dances were held. Building on the hill gave a good view of the surrounding country in case of Indian attacks and was also considered a more healthy spot than the valley, because a breeze kept mosquitoes away. Joseph Millett, Jr., did the masonry, with Christian Larson helping on the carpenter work. The DeMille house however, was never completely finished the way Oliver planned. When Brigham Young came to the southern settlements, he on occasion, stayed at the DeMille home. But very few celebrations were held in Shonesburg; the people usually went to Rockville or other early settlements for holidays. Because it was hard to get around and with not much to do, they entertained themselves. Shonesburg was particularly known for good dances. Folks came from miles around to dance at the DeMille’s rock house while afterwards, the fiddlers would be paid in produce for the dance music. But year after year, floods came and washed away more land. Consequently, families began to leave as their farms were washed away. Because many Rockville settlers at one time moved away, Shonesburg people bought their places. Finally, only a few farms were left in Shonesburg. The year 1897 was the last year enough children were available to hold school. By 1900, everyone was gone except Oliver DeMille and his children. Years before, DeMille wanted to move away, but Brigham Young had told him to stay, saying the day would come when there would be a family for every acre of land. Oliver was obedient to counsel. But conditions did not get better, and the floods washed away enough land that finally there was a family for every acre left. After 41 years of struggle, the DeMilles moved to Rockville in 1902 where they went into the mercantile business with a dry goods and grocery store. Today, Shonesburg is a ghost town. Jim Trees, formerly of New York State, later purchased 1,060 acres in Shonesburg Canyon where the old Shonesburg town site was. At present, the entire town site is on private property and is off limits to tourists. Meanwhile, the only thing running free through the town site is the Virgin River which ultimately was cause for the town’s abandonment. Read more: KCSG Television - SOUTHERN UTAH MEMORIES Shonesburg lingers on in memory
  12. The People Who Built the Ghost Towns: or, How to bring your explorations to life Exploring old ghost towns is an exciting adventure, where we can catch glimpses of a populated place that once was bustling with life and activity, but now sits in eerie silence, peopled only by the ghosts of the past. There is a certain feeling of awe and wonder, as well as a bit of sadness, that one experiences when tentatively reaching forward to stroke the graying texture of weatherworn wood, as if trying to find the gentle echo of a heartbeat beating somewhere in the fabric of an old abandoned building. Finding a lost button or discarded antique bottle, we pick it up and inspect it with curiosity, then slowly close our eyes and try to conjure up an image of how it got there and of whom it may have once belonged to. We see visions of a dusty miner, fresh out of the diggings, chugging down a cold beer, and then tossing the bottle aside as he heads back to the dreary drudgery of trying to strike it rich, or at least eke out enough gold for one more beer. The brass button, filigreed with delicate swirls, brings to mind the town madam, in all her flashy finery of feathers and silks. So tightly encased in her embroidered walking vest that one good, hearty laugh, straining her ample bosom, pops off a single button, launching it into the loose dirt of the main street, where it lies buried and forgotten, waiting for discovery over 100 years later. With a little shake of your head, and a small wistful smile, you pull yourself out of your daydreams, feeling a bit silly for trying to imagine something that is forever lost to time. But wait! Put on the breaks! Forever lost? Well, maybe to some, but not to all. If you have the tenacity and willingness to do a little digging, you CAN resurrect the original inhabitants, even if only on paper, and sometimes, you can get very lucky and find a few old photographs. The first place to start is with a very basic history of the town, such as the year of its settlement. This will help us to determine the type of records to search for and where they would be located. The census, enumerated every ten years since 1790, is the first record to search. The only census you will not be able to utilize is the 1890 enumeration, badly destroyed by a fire in 1921. You will also sometimes come across a State census, which would have been taken in odd numbered years, like 1875 and 1885. One thing to keep in mind when dealing with some of the people who came West is that for one reason or another they changed their name, so you might find them in the census for the year 1900, and other years after that, in the ghost town you are researching, but you won’t find them in any census previous to their arrival in the town. For those who did not change their names, but are still elusive in other census records, keep in mind that even though the name doesn’t change, their other information, such as age, place of birth, etc… can, and quite frequently, does change. Always add and subtract an extra two to five years to your subject’s age. Sometimes another person in the family or household provided the enumerator with the information, and guesswork played a large part in the answers provided. A number of western states had the Great Register, or a registration of those able to vote. These records help to more closely pinpoint just when someone arrived in the area, and will often give a date and place of birth, as well as occupation. Tax records provide a clue into how much someone was worth financially, as well as an address of where they were residing at the time. These records and the amount of information provided can vary from state to state. Another valuable resource is old newspapers, which give us a clearer image of what was going on than any history book could do. You can find everything from births, deaths and marriages to lawsuits, arrests, executions, accidents, business transactions, advertisements, and just plain nosiness! Back in those days anything and everything, including that which was embarrassing, ended up submitted to the news hounds. Fell off your ladder and broke your big toe? Expect to read about it the next day! Aunt Minnie decided to come for a visit from Kentucky? You can bet that within 24 hours every resident would know about it, and many would be knocking at your door seeking news from “back east.” Wife caught you down at the local brothel, did she? The gossipmongers and tongue wagers will be having a field day with it by morning. Truth is, back then you couldn’t fart in a noisy wind without someone reporting about it. Here are a few resources to get you started in your newspaper searches… http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ (Free) http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cdnc (Free) http://www.genealogybank.com/ (Fee Based) http://newspaperarchive.com/ (Fee Based) http://guides.library.upenn.edu/historicalnewspapersonline (Free and Fee Based) The CLAN system posted for Nevada has since changed their link to this... http://www.clan.lib.nv.us/nvdigital.htm Ignore all the criteria you can choose from. Just type in your search words in the box and click "Search All Collections." The local, or closest, cemetery is another good place to gather information. Sadly, many old graveyards are now nothing more than a few dirt mounds with some rocks scattered on them, but quite a few still have headstones or markers. Reading legible dates also provides clues to a possible epidemic, disaster or massacre in the town. Some headstones and markers might also have initials carved into them, providing evidence of religious affiliation, membership in a fraternal organization, social group or professional trade. There are a couple of excellent, free online resources for locating cemeteries and those buried in them. Please remember that the databases are created by unpaid volunteers, so they are far from being complete. So, if you don’t find someone in a cemetery it doesn’t mean they aren’t there, they just have not been recorded by the transcriber. http://www.interment.net/ http://www.findagrave.com/ If you want to have a hand in helping to preserve the carving in old headstones and markers, but find many hard to read, you can try this technique to safely copy the information… http://www.ancestryprinting.com/headstone.html Vital records, which include birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates, are a great resource if you can locate the records. Not everyone officially recorded these events, or, if they did, the information was lost by the official doing the recording. Some itinerant preachers visited the more distant settlements and kept journals or log books of vital information, but any number of things could have prevented them from giving this information to a county or local clerk, such as death or natural disasters. Other people simply never sent the information in to a recording clerk, but may have entered it into a family Bible or with the local church. Many vital records have been digitized and are offered online through various sites, with Ancestry.com being one of the main ones, with a huge price tag attached to access these records. Many libraries offer their card-holding patrons free access to the Ancestry database, but you must use the library computer to utilize the service. However, there is another site, just as good, if not better, where you can find a lot of these same records for free. https://familysearch.org/ Many of the men who settled the western territories also did military service in the Indian Wars, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and other military expeditions. There are a number of sites where you can locate this information, such as Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org (Free) and Fold3.com. There is also the free Soldiers and Sailors database, where you can find Civil War participants. http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/soldiers-and-sailors-database.htm There are also some old photographic databases that you can search or browse. http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/233_cwsoldiers.html http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/sets/72157625520211184/ http://www.civilwarphotos.net/ Maps are a great way to get a good idea of the layout of the town before its abandonment. To find out where a business was, or maybe someone’s home, look for plat maps and Sanborn Insurance maps. Here is a good example. http://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/sanborn/index.php One final resource that I highly recommend, which is free, is Google Books. http://books.google.com/ Type in your search criteria, and then hit the Search Books button. Once in you can customize your search to only show entire books that are free, which you can then read online or download. There are many other resources out there, so if you get stuck and need some help, just give me a shout or send me a message. @ 2013 Cindy Nunn. All Rights Reserved.
  13. The site of the once thriving town of Brandy City is located six miles northeast of Indian Valley and sits on a ridge at an elevation of 4000 feet. Hydraulic placer mining began in 1851 and the growth of the town was extremely fast. By the middle of the 1850’s it was the center of the mining and business activity for the area from Eureka to Morristown. In 1854 there were about one hundred and fifty miners at work in the diggings and the town had a population of several hundred citizens. Through the 1850’s the town continued to grow and by 1860 the town had a population of five hundred permanent residents. All matter of businesses was located in the town and outlying camps supplied their needs at Brandy City. One could buy a pair of boots, walk across the street to purchase mining supplies and finish off your trip to town with an oyster supper and a shot or two of San Francisco’s finest whiskey. To read more... http://www.westernbitters.com/2012/09/brandy-city-sierra-county-california.html
  14. Nevada Historical Society Papers Nevada_Historical_Society_Papers.pdf
  15. When do you think was the best time to be a ghost town explorer? Myself I think the 1960's would have been a great time to explore old ghost towns, decent off road vehicles and still plenty of nice sites to see. Now it seems most sites have been looted and vandalized.
  16. My book is now being advertised at the Western Mining History site http://www.westernmininghistory.com/blog-details/37793/
  17. Washington company looks to revamp ghost town near Glasgow A Washington state-based company has paid more than $200,000 in back taxes in an attempt to gain ownership of nearly 500 units of abandoned housing north of Glasgow. DTM Enterprises LLC of Ephrata, Wash., paid $187,086 to the Valley County Treasurer’s Office last December, and took assignment of 370 housing units in the largely abandoned community of St. Marie, once the site of base housing for the long closed Glasgow Air Force Base. On Feb. 8, DTM paid an additional $25,600 in back taxes for assignment of another 113 housing units in St. Marie.   Source   Anyone heard of this place?
  18. I am not sure if this would be the right place to post this or not, but I was wondering if anyone know of any good sites to find historic images of old ghost towns and mining camps? I am looking for photos of the sites I visited such as Broken Hills, Wonder, etc so that I can take some photos of then and now. Any ideas on where one can find these types of photos?
  19. I know we would all love to see every ghost town restored, but if you had the funds and time to help repair a few ghost towns, which ones would you repair? When I say repair, I mean in a state of arrested decay, just replacing enough of the wood to keep the place the way it is. I would love to shore up places like Humboldt City myself. Rebuild that roof on the top of the old adobe building and fix up that outhouse. I think it would probably take just a few days with a few good folks to fix some of those old places up, but would it destroy the entire feeling of these places? Or do you think it would simply preserve them for many more years? Of course with this government, it would probably require a lot of red tape and permits, inspectors, etc, etc, so it will probably never happen, but I thought it would be an interesting discussion to have.
  20. Residents and business owners will be allowed to return to the small privately run ghost town of Mogollon on Monday as fire crews battling the largest wildfire in New Mexico's recorded history continued to make progress. The town was evacuated on May 26 as extreme wind fueled the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire, now at 377 square miles. The Catron County Sheriff's Office decided to lift the evacuation order on Monday because crews were able to build some containment lines on the fire's western flank, Tara Ross, a spokeswoman for crews fighting the fire, said Sunday. Read the rest of the story here.
  21. There is a new California ghost town book being released. For more information, click here.
  22. Looks like the looting of old ghost towns has become a television show called Abandoned, where a guy goes around to old ghost towns and looks for items to look. You can read more about this show and view some previews here. What do you think about this? Are they breaking any laws? Should they be allowed to do this? Are they violating the Antiquities act?
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