Featured Story Archive

Historical Stories That Bring Goldfields Past To Life

An Early Goldfield Family
Rilla Alice McDonough Haney and Children

Boomtowns begin with gold, silver or other precious metals swiftly followed by prospectors armed with shovels, picks and hope.  Goldfield was no exception.

However, there is also opportunity for folks other than prospectors in a boomtown.  Miners need food, lodging and desire drink and entertainment… and there were plenty of people willing to supply the need.

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Ben Rosenthal was born in Bodie, California August 1, 1871.  Ben’s father was born in Russia in 1851 and he immigrated to California.  He settled in Hornitos were he owned a business.  He went on to Bodie and then to Hawthorne, Nevada in 1882.

Ben was raised in mining towns.  He played baseball for the ball team in Hawthorne.  He helped his father run the Lake View Hotel while growing up.  When his father died in 1901, Ben took over the hotel.

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Claude Inman Goldfield’s Toughest Cop

Claude Inman, born in 1873, was raised on a ranch near Bishop California. At an early age he learned to ride, shoot and herd cattle. At age 19 he moved to Los Angeles to learn the carpentry trade.

He showed up in Tonopah about 1901.His skill as a carpenter did him well. He worked on mine shoring, carpentry repairs and built houses.  In December 1902 Harry Stimler and Bill Marsh found gold in Goldfield and the rush was on.

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In June 1904 the Florence had been leased by a man named Sweeney and he began to ship ore within months. More than 5,000 claims had been located in Goldfield by 1905.

Ownership was continually changing. People all wanted to buy shares in the most valuable mines. The Combination, Florence, Jumbo, Red Top, January and Mohawk were names on everyone’s lips.

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Francis Marion Smith The Borax King

Francis Marion  Smith was born in Richmond, Wisconsin on February 2, 1846.  He graduated from Milton College where he studied minerals.

At age 21 he decided to come west where fortunes were being made.

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George Grahm Rice, Mine Promoter

George was born as Jacob Simon Herzog on June 18, 1870 but after a term in prison he adopted the name George Grahm Rice.  He started a horse tipping service in New York City.

In a short time it had earned close to several hundred thousand dollars.  The business was investigated by the postal service and closed in 1904.

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George S. Nixon – from Railroad Agent to Senator

Senator Nixon was born in Newcastle, California April 22, 1860. He went to school in California where he helped work the family farm. At age 19 he started working for a railroad company.

Nixon was born in Newcastle, California April 22, 1860. He went to school in California where he helped work the family farm. At age 19 he started working for a railroad company.

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George Wingfield Wealthiest Man in Nevada

Born in 1876 in Arkansas to a family who’s father worked as a cattle buyer. In 1883 the family moved west settling in Lakeview, Oregon. His father owned several ranches and there George grew up.

By age 16 he was on cattle drives to Winnemucca, Nevada. On his last cattle drive he decided to stay.

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Goldfield Cemetery Stories

Goldfield residents had the pleasure to meet with out of town visitors who have ancestors in the Goldfield Cemetery.
These folks have been kind enough to share their experiences. Here are their stories~

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The Ish-Curtis Building A Personal Memoir

In the summer of 1907, a couple of gents named Marvin Ish and J.B.Curtis got together and began my construction.  The plans called for a basement and three floors.  At that time, Goldfield was the largest town in Nevada… teeming with a human population close to 20,000.  It was an exciting time to be a new building.

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Joe Gans (Joseph Saifus Butts) The Old Master

The Longest Fight On Labor Day, 1906, in Goldfield, Nevada, Gans and Nelson were matched in the first Fight of the Century promoted by Tex Rickard, who would later achieve greater fame by promoting Jack Dempsey’s million-dollar fights.

The Goldfield match under the blazing Nevada desert sun drew the largest gate in history at that time, with a purse of $30 thousand and attendance over 8,000.

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John S. Cook

John S. Cook first worked for George Nixon at his bank in Tonopah, Nevada. He was hired as its cashier. George Wingfield along with George Nixon were investing in mines located in Goldfield.

To gain power among mine owners they needed a bank.The John S. Cook Bank opened its doors in January 1905. It was located in a wooden shack next to the Palace Saloon.

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“Tex” Rickard, Goldfield’s Great Promoter

Tex Rickard was born in Kansas City, Missouri. His parents moved to Sherman, Texas when he was four. He became a cowhand and at age 23 was elected Marshall of Henrietta, Texas. He was married and had a son, both of whom succumbed to illness.

Gold was discovered in Alaska and he left Texas to get away from it all. In Circle City he became partners with Harry Ash. The two men staked several claims finally selling out for $60,000. They then opened the First Northern Saloon.

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The Earp brothers were always drawn to boom towns. Perhaps it was the rush they got from the excitement of a new town springing up with miners coming and going, the saloons, restaurants, and any number of services including financial institutions, not to mention the unbelievable flow of money.

In the early 1900’s Virgil had been farming in Arizona but moved back to Colton to run for Marshal, he lost the election.

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