Henley Family Collection of Comstock Mining Records

Identifier: 86-05

Scope and Contents

The Henley Family Papers of Comstock Mining Records consists of a variety of materials and were collected by the Henley family over a number of years. Some of the companies represented include: the Fulton Foundry; the Savage-Placer Mining Company; and the Hale and Norcross Mines. Also included are accounts for Eureka City, Sierra County, California and Summit City, Nevada County, California; Storey County, Nevada agreements and legal papers; Virginia City, Nevada deeds; account information; various information and papers on the Comstock and the history of the Comstock; and miscellaneous papers.


  • 1855-1937


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

William James Henley, Sr. was born in Pennsylvania on November 8, 1861. In 1866, he traveled with his widowed mother and siblings to California via the isthmus route. By 1877, the family had settled in Reno, Nevada, where Henley secured a clerkship in a dry-goods store. This first job helped to secure his standing in business circles in the area. It was in 1886 that Henley relocated to Esmeralda County, Nevada where he was elected County Clerk in 1899 as well as being admitted to the Nevada State Bar. Between 1904 and 1906, Henley served as deputy District Attorney of Esmeralda County. In 1907, he relocated to Goldfield, Nevada, where he became Justice of the Peace, a position in which he remained until his death in 1909.

Henley married Kate Rosenthal, daughter of Davis Rosenthal (a prominent early settler of Hawthorne, Nevada), in 1887. They had six children: Esther, Benjamin, Lloyd, Willie (William Jr.), Dave, and Carabella. Their home in Hawthorne, Nevada, was a center of cultured society.

Benjamin John Henley was born in Reno, Nevada on August 14, 1890. He graduated from Goldfield High School in June 1909 and began the study of law with Bryant & Lyman in Goldfield. He was admitted to the Nevada Bar in Carson City on October 2, 1911. He continued to practice law in Goldfield where he was the assistant counsel for the Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company. Like his father, Benjamin was a member of the Knights of Pythias.

William James Henley, Jr. was born in 1894. One of his earliest jobs was as a clerk in the Goldfield Hotel. Henley, Jr. served in France in the army during World War I. He had a wide range of professional skills and talents, inside and outside of mining, and worked in diverse industries. After World War I, Henley, Jr. went to work in the Texas oil industry. Soon after, he relocated to Virginia City where he became a cashier at the Virginia City Bank. Yet another career change led him to the Dayton Consolidated Mines, based in Silver City, Nevada, where he became general manager. He was also involved in the Consolidated Virginia Mining Company during his time in the Comstock.

During his 32-year residency of Virginia City, Henley, Jr. was very active in community and business affairs. He never sought elected office, but did much volunteer community work. He was Selective Service board chairman during World War II and was a long-time secretary of the Escurial Lodge of the Free & Accepted Masons, and a member of the Shriners. One of his sons, Lloyd, was killed during the Korean War.

In 1952, Henley, Jr. moved from Virginia City to Reno where he became an executive with the Isbell Construction Company. Henley, Jr. passed away while working on an Isbell Construction Company open-pit construction project in Lakeview, Oregon in 1959.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



William James Henley, Sr. became Justice of the Peace, a position in which he remained until his death in 1909. Benjamin John Henley was the assistant counsel for the Goldfield Consolidated Mines Company. William James Henley, Jr. became an executive with the Isbell Construction Company later in his life. Collection contains mining company information mainly concerning Comstock Lode companies with some from Inyo, Sierra and Nevada Counties, California. Includes reports, deeds, insurance, bylaws, financial and legal materials, and correspondence; specifications for a stamp mill for the Fulton Foundry; and a chronology of the Comstock Lode from 1860-1937.


As this is a small collection, there is no series arrangement. Instead, an inventory of folders with titles is provided.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by the Special Collections Department in 1985; collection of Comstock mining materials purchased from Columbus Industries (Dealer) in April 1986.

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to the Special Collections Department photo archive as collection number UNRS-P1989-07.


Guide to the Henley Family Collection of Comstock Mining Records
Jacquelyn Sundstrand
April 2012
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

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)