Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Travelin with Oma

Exploring some ghost-towns in Nevada last week, I left behind a few of my misconceptions of the wild west. I imagined mining towns were all of the Paint Your Wagon variety, with bordellos and saloons the major source of entertainment. All that gold and silver had to be spent somewhere, I assumed.

However, in old local histories I found excerpts like this one:

"Before the town was six months old, the gold prospectors organized a school district, elected a board of trustees, dedicated a lot for a school house and fixed the salary of the school marm, without having so much as a single child in the place. But as one of the miners remarked when approached with the fact, 'Children are a natural thing, they'll come later.' "

Preston, Nevada

Another book said this:
"In the first week of the existence of the town, the few inhabitants (all were there to search for gold) felt the want of 'stated times of preaching.' They met together without regard to sect, and organized a church under the title of the Universal Brotherhood, and set aside a large tract of ground for 'religious purposes.' Although none of the miners claimed a call from God, they all felt better for getting the business out of the way."

Ely, Nevada

Schools and churches taught the rules, and the prospect of a ball and chain helped enforce them. Lots of little towns in the west weren't all that wild, I guess.

(Although we missed out on the silver, we mined some good ghost stories.)

Where are you off to this summer?

Opa riding the rails.


marta said...

ooh, this looks like a fun trip. you are the cutest travelin pair i know. does your adventuresome spirit come from your vehicle of choice?! (i hope so.)

p.s. when i first saw this post i thought wait, did that say "Daughters... of the utah pioneers.."?

kenju said...

I'd rather be where you are, but we are going to the beach.