Clel Georgetta Papers

Identifier: 2003-02T

Scope and Contents

The Clel Georgetta Papers contains photographs, letters, manuscript of "Golden Fleece"; certificates, etc. Preliminary inventory avialble in the department.


  • 1927-1956


Conditions Governing Access

Unprocessed collection is open for research. Advanced notice is required; contact staff to schedule access. Materials must be used onsite. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law or special donor agreement.

Biographical / Historical

Clel Evan Georgetta was the only child of Rose Grant and David Georgetta. He was born in Salt Lake City on April 20, 1901, but grew up on his father's ranch near Cherry Creek, White Pine County, Nevada, returning to work there during summers between college years. David was one of the original surveyors and builders of the Lincoln Highway in eastern Nevada; he died at age 89. Clel's mother, Rose, was a follower of the Christian Science religion; she died at about age 84. Their last years were spent in Reno in an apartment provided by son Clel.

David began buying land in Deep Creek Valley on the Nevada-Utah state line in about 1904; this property, the Eight Mile Ranch, formed the nucleus of what would become the Triune Ranch, which was further developed by Clel.

Clel was educated in Salt Lake City because his mother wished him to have a good education. After high school graduation, Clel took over the operation of his father's sheep ranch and worked there for four years until he earned enough money to attend college. He continued to work on the ranch during summers, expanding the operation in ten years from 400 acres to more than 7,000 acres. He sold all of the Triune Ranch (except for the top of Mt. Cherry Peak) for $100,000 in 1940 to the U.S. government who used it to enlarge the Goshute Indian Reservation.

Clel attended the University of Nevada, Reno from 1920-1921; the University of Wisconsin from 1921-1922; and the University of Washington, where he graduated with a law degree. He returned to eastern Nevada and ran for the state Assembly in 1930, serving as White Pine County's Assemblyman for two terms. A life-long Republican and member of the Nevada Republican State Central Committee from 1935-1942, he was instrumental in passing the six-week divorce residency requirement and authored laws on range and water rights.

Georgetta began his Ely law practice in 1932 to supplement his ranch income. He moved the law practice to Reno in 1933 where he specialized in mining, land and water rights, range trespass, domestic relations, estates, and commercial contracts. Clel stated that in thirty-four years as an attorney, he lost only eleven cases. He was elected District Court judge for one term, serving from 1959-1963.

On July 25, 1937, Clel married Ruth Bedford of Boston; they had one daughter, Caryl, born November 14, 1939. Clel and Ruth were divorced after five years, and Ruth and Caryl moved to the eastern part of the U.S. where Ruth remarried.

Georgetta entered the U.S. Army in 1942 and was commissioned a captain. He served as a judge advocate during World War II and was a lieutenant colonel when he left the Army in 1946.

After the War, Clel returned to Reno where he built a commercial building on the southwest corner of State and Center Streets. His law practice was headquartered there, and he leased other offices for income. He resided on Gordon St. and in later years spent much of the winter near Palm Springs, California.

Clel always had an interest in writing. During his high school years, he began a diary which he continued until his death. He furthered his writing skills with English classes at the University of Nevada in the 1960s and authored many books, short stories and articles, some of which were published: Golden Fleece in Nevada; Wool, Beef and Gold: Sheep, Cattle and Mining Stories of the West; Japan as Seen by an American; and Kelley of the Triune: Biography of a Sheep Dog.

In his later years, Georgetta spent winters at a home in the Palm Springs area of southern California. It was there that he died of cancer on April 20, 1979.


8 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials



Unprocessed collection arranged as received.

Custodial History

Papers retained by the estate's secretary Roberta Jahnke and given to John Anderson when she moved from her office.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by John R. Anderson on April 17, 2003.

Guide to the Clel Georgetta Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

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