Jess’s 2012 Junk Book, Clamper History
Julia’s Unequivocal Nevada Klampout
Fremont’s Castle Nevada
Brought to you by
Julia C. Bulette chapter 1864, E Clampus Vitus
Researched and interpreted by
Jeffrey D. Johnson XNGH, Clamphistorian
Noble Grand Humbug Jess Davis
General Geno Oliver XNGH, and current Proctor
Valley of the Mud Lakes, F. W. Egloffstein
from EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS FOR A RAILROAD ROUTE FROM THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO THE PACIFC OCEAN. WAR DEPARTMENT. REPORT OF EXPLORATIONS FOR A ROUTE FOR THE PACIFIC RAILROAD, ON THE LINE OF THE FORTY-FIRST PARALLEL OF NORTH LATITUDE. BY LIEUT. E. G. BECKWITH, THIRD ARTILLERY. 1854.
Nobles Trail east toward Wall Spring.
This years Junk trek begins where last year’s ended. The Corner of the the Ft Bidwell, Surprise Valley Stage Line and the National Wagon Road at Sheephead station on Smoke Creek. We continue on the National Wagon Road heading East from spring to spring. Each puddle is surrounded by the dead and buried over the years. This territory was a brutal battleground between the Paiute nation, harried emigrants and the never sweating Honey Lake Rangers. Before the Railroad was finished in 1869, this route was the major route west to California and East to Unionville in the Buena Vista Mining District of Humboldt County. Early in the spring of 1865, The Chico and Humboldt Wagon Road Company sent parties East to improve the road from Susanville to Ruby City, Idaho Territory going by way of Shaeffer’s, Mud Springs, Smoke Creek, Sheephead Station, Buffalo Spring, Wall Spring, Deep Hole, Granite Creek, Soldier Meadows, Summit Lake, Mint Springs, Gridley Springs, Pueblo, Trout Creek, Willow Creek, White Horse Creek, Crooked River, Castle Creek, Owyhee River, Jordan Creek Valley, and Wagontown to the Owyhee mines at Silver City Idaho.
From the Reno Evening Gazette , June 23, 1916 Willow Ranch Ft Surprise Valley Stage Line Leave Willow Ranch dally except Sundays at I 30 a m arrive Ft 9 00 a m noon Leave Cedarville 1 00 p m arrive Ft Bidwell 3 00 p m Ranch 6 30 Meets N C O R R (behind Louie’s Basque Corner)both AUTO CO Cairy U S Mall and Express
The Fort Bidwell stage also stopped at Sand Pass, Pyramid City, and Jonesville, which lies on the Washoe and Roop County line before arriving at Reno.
On the National Wagon Road
Eight miles North of the Junction is Murphy’s Salt Marsh, where Salt was commercialy produced for B. F. Murphy’s of Reno. Buffalo Meadows is the next station location. It once had a school, post office and two hotels. It was the center of a stock raising district. Wall Springs is the next wet spot in the Smoke Creek Valley. Deep Hole was a station and was also an Army Camp, Arguably it had the best water in the Black Rock.
The Murder of Lucius Arcularius (from Fairfields History of Lassen County)
During the winter of 1864-65 the Granite Creek station on
the emigrant road between Shaffer’s and the Humboldt river
was owned by Andrew Litch, who afterwards lived many years
in Honey Lake valley, and Lucius Arcularius. The latter, known
to both white and red men as “Lucius,” was a man who was
liked by everybody. The only fault ever found with him was
that he was too kind to the Indians. He hired them to work for
him and loaned them guns and ammunition with which to hunt
rabbits; and Mr. Lomas says “All this was quite at variance
with Honey Lake gospel.” Not far from the first of March
Arcularius started from the station on horseback and alone to
go to Susanville. Lafayette Marks says that two or three days
after he started some one going toward the Humboldt stopped
at the station and the men he had left there inquired if they had
met him on the road. The traveler replied that he had seen
nothing of him. Some of them then went to the Smoke Creek
station and were told there that he had not passed that place.
Lomas says that W. V. Kingsbury, who kept the Smoke Creek
station, came to Shaffer’s and made inquiries about Arcularius.
Harper says that some one went to Susanville and told the story
of the missing man and that Joe Hale and Nick Curran, and
perhaps others went out to look for him. However this may have
been, a party started to follow his tracks after he left Deep Hole
springs. They had no trouble in following them to Wall springs,
but from there they were hard to trace. Finally, after hunting
for several hours, they found his body with two bullet holes in
it about three hundred yards from Wall springs. It would seem
from appearances that two Indians lay in ambush and shot him.
His horse turned sharply to one side and ran about a hundred
yards and then he fell off. The Indians stripped him of his
clothes and threw him into a bunch of grease brush. They took
away everything he had, and as his horse was not found, prob-
ably they got that, too. The party went to the Granite Creek
station and fixed up a box and came back and buried him.
All the Live Long Day
Across the Smoke Creek Desert is the mainline of the former Western Pacific Railroad, coming down from Sand Pass, Sano, Reynard, Bronte and Phil where the Smoke Creek fades into the Black Rock Desert at Godey’s Gap. Godey’s Rock is the Hill here but the author has not been able to prove if this is named for Alex Godey of Fremont fame or a Godey who died in the service of the Nevada Volunteers in 1865.
Station House at Deep Hole Spring
John C. Fremont discovered Great Boiling Springs in 1844 on his journey from High Rock Canyon to Pyramid Lake. Pogonip, the White death blanketed the Valley and all was thought lost till a few climbed a nearby hill and could see clear skies and sun above the fog. The steam plume from the spring was first seen from Trego Peak. Fremont fully expected to find the mythological Buenaventura River in this latitude.
The Western Pacific railroad reached the springs in 1909 and called the facility Gerlach. It was the division point between East and West, including seniority rosters. Milepost 0.0 is the center of the Ferry Building in San Francisco, (for the SP too.) and the mainline ended at Roper Yard on the D & R G W RR in Salt Lake City. Gerlach is the half way point, crew change location and had a roundhouse and switching yard being equidistant from Portola California and Winnemucca Nevada. As a young brakeman I was asked, “You never been to Gerlach? They’ve got wimmen behind every tree.” Till the seventies a brothel was due east in the brush just across the line in Pershing County.
In the early thirties a Union agreement eliminated Gerlach as an away from home terminal and started runthrough service for crews from Portola yet protected work train service for Winnemucca crews. Before the invention of cable tv there was literally nothing to do but drink. I was once stuck in traffic in Sparks with the fastest car in the world, The first ever supersonic World Land Speed Record of 763.035mph was set on 15th October 1997 by Andy Green in ThrustSSC, on the Black Rock Desert. The English reporters made Bruno Selmi famous in London but he refused an invitation from the Queen. The Burning man Festival has ruined this part of the desert for land speed attempts because the playa is no longer perfectly flat.
My favorite memory of Bruno is him running along side my locomotive carrying an armload of crew lunches, Cussing me out in Italian while I hang by an arm on the rolling train. Obviously I was innocent of his vitriol because I was not at the controls, our train had to pull the caboose into the clear of the main line.
After a night on the town you needn’t show up to work before Bruno’s opened in the morning at 7. The Railroad didn’t like to pay the section hands overtime. After a day watching other people work on the desert we would head back to town, switch out the train for the next day and head to Bruno’s for Gin and Tonics. At 8 pm one of the crew ran walked or crawled the well worn path to the phone booth on the yard office wall, (Still In situ) and called the Dispatcher in Sacramento to give the siding back. Besides Bruno’s there was the Miner’s Club facing the tracks and Joe’s a block back. Joe was Bruno’s brother from Tuscany. The Jalisco Club served the biggest burgers I’ve ever seen.
Empire, the Company town for a gypsum mine across the playa was established in 1923 and connected to the wye at Gerlach Yard by a Railroad. In the eighties The locomotive was manned by an all women crew.
Back to the 19th century we return to the National Wagon Road and arrive at Granite Creek Station, Also known for a time as Camp Mckee. The Soldiers patroled the Black Rock out of Fort Churchill and camped at various strategic locations between relief. The brass knew the desert could turn some men postal and endeavored to keep idle hands busy. One such confrontation occured at Deep Hole. Captain Almond B. Wells was a busy little soldier who ordered atrocities at Winnemucca Lake.
The most important objective of the Volunteer Army in Nevada was to prevent Southern Sympathizers from smuggling arms and bullion to finance the Confederate Army. All travelers were required to take an oath of allegience to the Federal Government or they were incarcerated. This is the order that demanded Martial Law in the Nevada territory.
[ORDER NO. 1.]
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF UTAH,
FORT CHURCHILL, August 6, 1862.
The undersigned pursuant to orders from department headquarters hereby assumes command of the Military District of Utah, comprising the Territories of Nevada and Utah.
In assuming command of the district I especially enjoin on all disbursing officers the necessity of being particularly attentive, careful and economical in. their disbursements of the public funds ; and that they in no instance purchase from persons who have at any time, by word or act, manifested disloyalty to the Federal Government. Being credibly informed that there are in this district persons who, while claiming and receiving protection to life and property, are endeavoring to destroy and defame the principles and institutions of our Government under whose benign influence they have been so long protected; it is therefore most rigidly enjoined upon all commanders of posts, camps and detachments, to cause to be promptly arrested and closely confined until they have taken the oath of allegiance to the Government of the United States, all persons who from this date, shall be guilty of uttering sentiments against the Government, and upon the repetition of the offense, to be again arrested and confined until the fact shall be communicated to these headquarters. Traitors shall not utter treasonable sentiments in this district with impunity, but must seek some more congenial soil, or receive the punishment they so richly merit.
By order of P. EDWARD CONNOR,
Colonel Third Infantry C. V. Com. District of Utah.
JAMES W. STILLMAN, A. A. A. General.
Granite Creek Station
The Butchery at Granite Creek Station
Soon after the middle of March Litch left the station in charge of A. J. Curry, Cyrus Creele, and Al. Simmons. A week or ten days after he was gone an Indian who used to come
there quite often came into the house and said in a tantalizing
sort of way, “Where Lucius? Where he gone? When he come
back?” A fellow called “Puck” Waldron, who happened to be
there, grabbed up a gun, and putting it into the Indian’s face,
told him to look into it. He then pulled the trigger and killed
the Indian dead. Probably there was another Indian or two
outside who saw them take the body out and bury it, and these
must have gone away after more Indians and come back as soon
as they could. The following from “The Humboldt Register”
(Published at Unionville, Nevada) of April 15, 1865, tells the
“On the 7th, a small party, composed of W. R. Usher, Fox
of Jesse, M. S. Bonnifield, Col. L. A. Buckner, and John Wood-
ward left Unionville for a reconnoissance of a portion of the
Honey Lake road. They overtook and joined another party,
thirteen men from settlements along the river, out on the same
mission. On the ninth the party reached Granite Creek station,
eighty-five miles from here, owned by Andrew Litch and Lucius
Arcularius. Arcularius had been killed by the Indians at Wall
spring a month ago, and Litch was here for authority to act
as administrator. The house, furnished with five guns and a
good supply of ammunition, was left in charge of A. J. Curry,
Cyrus Creele, and Al. Simmons. On the first of April a large
column of smoke was seen rising from the vicinity, and the
supposition is the station was that day attacked by the Indians.
The walls of the house occupied by the men were built from
thick pieces of sod. They had made ten loopholes for their
rifles on the side attacked. The attack was made from a stone
corral about thirty paces off, in front of the house. (To the east
and lower than the house.) The whole front of the corral is
bespattered with lead of the bullets fired from the house. By
appearances the fight is supposed to have lasted about half a
day. Curry was killed by a shot through a loophole — a body in
the house having been recognized by persons acquainted with
him. The legs from below the knees were missing.
“The Indians must have exhausted their ammunition, for
they fired long missiles before leaving, made from the screw ends
of wagon bolts, cut about an inch long and partially smoothed.
Two of these were found — one in a bellows near the house, and
the other planted two inches deep in wood. Near the lodging
place of the latter was a blood stain, and it is supposed the mis-
sile had killed a dog belonging on the place — a savage animal,
intolerant of Indians. His skin was tanned, but left on the
“The Indians gained possession of a storehouse adjoining the
dwelling by tearing out a wall. (The station house was on a
little flat above the desert and faced toward the east. It was
built of sod and had a shake roof. Ten or twelve feet back, or
west, of it was a stone building, perhaps ten feet long and six
feet wide, which was used for a storeroom. The Indians dug
through the back wall of this building.) This enabled them to
reach and fire the roof (of the larger building), and then it is
supposed that Creele and Simmons resorted to flight, taking that
desperate chance in preference to burning. (They took their
guns, but didn’t carry them very far.) Creele struck out across
the flat towards Hot Springs. The flat is all alkali, very wet,
and the tracks are left plain. Three Indians, two on horseback
and one on a mule, pursued him and captured him ; brought him
back to the house, and all the conditions attest that he was
burned to death. A portion of the skull, a jaw-bone, and some
small pieces of bone were found; the other portions of the body
having been reduced to ashes. At the point where the arms
would be, were large rocks piled up, everything indicated that
he had been thus weighted down ; and then a large pile of sawed
lumber was built up over this — stubs of the sawed lumber near
these marks were found — and the poor fellow thus burned up.
“Simmons took the road to Deep Hole station. He ran about
thirty or forty rods, and there the mark of a pool of blood de-
notes that he fared not quite so badly — having been shot down.
The body was dragged off a short distance and much mutilated.
The remains of all the men, such as were found, were buried by
this party on the ninth.”
In the foregoing narrative the explanations made in the paren-
theses were given by Lafayette Marks who says that he was at
the scene of the massacre not long after it took place, and whose
account of it agrees closely with the above. He says the men at
the station seem to have expected trouble and prepared for it.
They had plenty of arms, ammunition and provisions, and had
a barrel full of water in the house. The marks of bullets on the
corral, which he and Charles Lawson think was about sixty yards
away, showed that they wasted their ammunition and that the
most of it was gone when the end came. Marks and others think
the siege must have lasted two or three days. Alvaro Evans says
that when the Indians got into the storeroom they picked up an
old mattress that was lying outside, set fire to it, and put it
against the roof of the house.
The “Register” continues: “The party then went to Deep
Hole station to see how its occupants had fared. This place was
occupied by three brothers named Partridge and a Chinaman.
(If there were three men by the name of Partridge there, two
of them may have been brothers.) They were entirely ignorant
of the fate of the Granite Creek station, though only ten miles
off ; and had not apprehended danger. They had seen the smoke
on the first, but thought it nothing serious.
‘ ‘ The party from here spent a day — the tenth inst. — helping
the Partridge Boys to cache goods they could not bring away,
and on the eleventh started with them, bringing their live stock
for this side of the county. At Granite creek they stopped and
made further observations. The place with all its property, had
been worth not less than $400. (Probably $4000 was meant.)
All was burned. A large wagon was destroyed, the spokes being
sawed out of the wheels. A large lot of good lumber was piled
up on the haystacks and fired. The stove was broken up, and
the bottoms of the pots broken in. Nothing escaped but a keg
of syrup which had been overlooked. A reaper, haypress, and
other tools were demolished.
“Everything showed that the boys had made a gallant and
protracted fight. They would have held the house, it is believed,
if it had not been fired. Curry’s body having been recognized,
and the skeleton of Simmons being easily recognized by pecul-
iarly marked teeth, the ashes, the piled rocks, the stubs of the
burned lumber denoted that it had been Creele’s fate to breathe
his last in flames and smoke. Charles Kyle and family with their
stock, and all other settlers thereabouts left their homes and came
“There is a sorrow ripening for the redskins, and as it is
known that all tribes furnish fiends for these marauding parties,
conviction is gaining ground that it is not good for the country to encourage the breeding of Indians. Men who have lost friends by the hands of these miscreants promise an early and a fearful vengeance.”
Fremont, Preuss map of route through the Black Rock Desert.
General Geno Oliver
In April of 1859 Peter Lassen and Ed Clapper were mysteriously murdered near the old trail. , Americus Wyatt escaped. Pete was buried in Susanville and Clapper buried where he lay. Just a few years ago, a rockhound discovered some human bones
which had eroded out of an intermittent stream bed at the mouth of a
canyon in the Black Rock Range. After first treating it as a possible
contemporary homicide, Nevada authorities determined that the bones were
too old for that eventuality, and the puzzle deepened. However, with
the assistance of OCTA, the FBI, and the Smithsonian Institution, it was
determined by the BLM that the bones beyond all reasonable doubt had to
be those of Edward Clapper. Clapper’s descendents were located, and
they gave permission for the bones to be returned to Honey Lake and reburied
next to Peter Lassen. The CA/NV Chapter financed and participated
in the marking of the murder site (for years the place of the
murder had been attributed to the wrong canyon with that canyon being
indicated on the maps as “Clapper Canyon”). The CA/NV Chapter also
aided in funding a new interpretive kiosk at the Honey Lake burial
site and participated in its dedication.
Paleobotanical Flora and Fauna, (Humbug)
Chief Engineer William Wagner of the Lander survey and construction team confirmed reports that indeed there was a petrified forest northwest of the Black Rock in 1860, but small in comparison to the breeds grown in Kentucky.
From the University of California Museum of Paleontology news letter, 8/2002
In the mid 1950s, Nell Murbarger set about to find a very large fossilized redwood stump, which she had seen pictured in a paleobotany pamphlet. Nell and her traveling companion Dora not only found this tree, but many others, which she wrote about in her Natural History Magazine article “Our Largest Petrified Tree.” The identification of these trees remained unresolved, some considering them to be Redwoods (Sequoia), while others thought the trees produced the fossil leaf species, Metasequoia langsdorfii, and therefore were Dawn Redwoods. Until now, no scientific study of the forest had ever been done.
Diane Erwin and Howard Schorn spent time this summer with Constance Millar, Robert Westfall, and John King (USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station) investigating these trees of the George W. Lund Petrified Forest. Mapping revealed over 250 stumps buried in place by volcanic ash fifteen million years ago. The wood and large size of some stumps suggest Big Trees (Sequoiadendron) did grow in this ancient forest, their fossilized remains a sobering reminder of the profound impact climate change has on the success and distribution of organisms through time.
Rod Stock, XSNGH
Congressional Globe, 34th Congress, 3rd Session, 1857.
Nevada: The Narrative of the Conquest of a Frontier Land (1935) James G. Scrugham
Noble’s Emigrant Trail, Trash guide XXX, Peter Van Alstyne 2003.
(b). EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS FOR A RAILROAD ROUTE FROM THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO THE PACIFC OCEAN. WAR DEPARTMENT. REPORT OF EXPLORATIONS FOR A ROUTE FOR THE PACIFIC RAILROAD, ON THE LINE OF THE FORTY-FIRST PARALLEL OF NORTH LATITUDE. BY LIEUT. E. G. BECKWITH, THIRD ARTILLERY. 1854.
(c) Frederick West Lander, a Biograghical Sketch, Leland, Shahrani andBaldrica, 1993
(d). FAIRFIELD’S PIONEER HISTORY of LASSEN COUNTY CALIFORNIA CONTAINING EVERYTHING THAT CAN BE LEARNED ABOUT IT FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1870,
ASA MERRILL FAIRFIELD 1916.
(e). Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California, Myrick 1962.
Thompson & West’s History of Nevada 1881.
The Colorful History of the California/Nevada State Boundary, John Wilusz 2002.
Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion, and the proposed invasion of California from Texas 1861 To 1867, 1890.
Report of the Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, 1853.
Report of the Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, 1854.
Early California Laws and Policies Related to California Indians, Kimberly Johnston-Dodds, 2002.
My Life with the Piutes, Sarah Winnemucca, 1883
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE PACIFIC RAILROAD AND TELEGRAPH. 34th Congress, 1st Session 1856
Nevada History John Evanoff 2007
Nevada History, CHAPTER LVIII WASHOE COUNTY, MAJOR G. W. INGALLS
Frederick West Lander, Road-Builder, E. Douglas Branch 1929
Trails West, http://emigranttrailswest.org/virtual-tour/nobles-trail/
Norm W. Holmes, My Western Pacific Railroad
A warmer welcome / Residents of small Nevada town profit from annual counterculture festival
Leslie Fulbright, San Francisco Chronicle August 28, 2005
Blasts in the Past
1980 GENO OLIVER, Proctor STAR CITY-UNIONVILLE
1981 SKIP PENNINGTON* MANHATTEN
1982 BILL KENNEDY KENNEDY
1983 JIM CRONN* PINEGROVE
1984 GEORGE COURSON LEADVILLE
1985 DOUG WALLING BERLIN
1986 DAVID WOOD ROCHESTER
1987 JOE LEPORI AURORA
1988 BILL SAWYER* SULPHUR
1989 MIKE MILLER MILLER’S STATION
1990 RED BEACH” SHAMROCK
1991 BOB RODGERS COMO
1992 RON WALSH SEVEN TROUGHS
1993 DANNY COSTELLO THE REAL NATIONAL
1994 JIM GROWS DESERT WELLS
1995 DANIEL BOWERS HIGH ROCK CANYON
1996 PETER VAN ALSTYNE+ FAIRVIEW
1997 EDDY GONZALES, GRANTSVILLE
1998 JOHN DORNSTAUDER, HUMBOLDT CITY
1999 KEN MOSER, BELMONT
2000 VAL COLLIER, PEPPER SPRINGS
2001 CHUCK MURRAY, NIGHTENGALE
2002 MARC BEBOUT, NEW PASS MINE
2003 AL NICHOLSON, lONE
2004 RON THORNTON, FLETCHER STATION
2005 J D PATERSON, APPLEGATE-LASSEN TRAIL
2006 WALT SIMMEROTH, NEVADA CENTRAL R. W.
2007 JEFF JOHNSON, ADELAIDE
2008 OWEN RICHIE, TYBO
2009 KARL SMALL, DUN GLEN
2010 DAN WESTON, KINGSTON
2011 RUSS BREAM, SMOKE CREEK 2012 JESS DAVIS
“Gone to Silver Hills + ”