When the Territory of Nevada was created in 1861 it was made up of 63,210
square miles of portions of Box Elder, Toelle, Millard, Beaver, Iron, and
Washington counties, Territory of Utah. The east boundary line was about
a mile east of the tunnel in Carlin Canyon. The area where Elko would grow
from the sagebrush was not included. So, what happened?
In 1862 the territory was expanded east by one degree. By then, awmakers
back in Washington, D.C. were probably thinking about future funding for
the Civil War. That one degree added 18,325 square miles. Again, the land
gift was taken from Utah Territory. Elko's future site ended up in Nevada
this time but poor old Wells did not.
Two years later, there was an unusual bout of Congressional finagling.
Now the highjinks really begin. Nevada didn't have enough people power
to become a state. No problem, the Washington people said and the rules
of population were bent a bit. Well, they were bent out of shape but that
didn't deter the politicians who wanted to marry us for our money. Yep,
they wanted to tie the old matrimonial knot so they could get their grubby
hands on our dowry - all that silver being dug from the hills at Virginia
City. Nevada became the 36th star on the American flag on October 31, 1864.
Right away we were dubbed with two nicknames: the Silver State, for obvious
reasons, and the Battle Born State, also for obvious reasons.
Source: Political History of Nevada, 1996, issued by Dean Heller, Secretary of the State of Nevada. Illustrations by the author.
©Copyright 2001 by Howard Hickson. Anyone is welcome to quote or use any portion or all of this article but proper credit must be given to the author.