Correspondence to Mary Leavitt

Identifier: 2011-27

Scope and Contents

The collection contains two letters, one written by John McKay (not to be confused with John Mackay of Virginia City mining fame) and the other by John Nelson to their sister Mary Leavitt in Jamestown, Wisconsin. In McKay's letter, he writes about his feelings of the Civil War and talks about Joseph, possibly his brother, re-enlisting to the Union Army even though he'd been a prisoner of war in the South. McKay also speaks of his family and marriage possibilities, stating that the only girl he'd think about marrying in the area is a Catholic, and gives his impression of the people who live in Gold Hill.

Nelson's letter is a copy of the original and includes a hand-written transcription by Ronald Mullins. In it, Nelson discusses their family in depth and coming out to California and Nevada "over the plains." Nelson also mentions seeing John McKay in Nevada.


  • 1864-1865


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.

Historical Note

Mary Leavitt lived in Wisconsin in the mid-1860s. Her brothers, John McKay, a miner, and John Nelson, a mining superintendent, lived in Gold Hill, Nevada Territory in the mid-1860s.


0.41 Linear Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



John McKay, a miner, and John Nelson, a mining superintendent, lived in Gold Hill, Nevada Territory in the mid-1860s. The collection contains two letters written by McKay and Nelson to their sister, Mary Leavitt, who lived in Wisconsin. In McKay's letter, he discusses views of the Civil War and living in Gold Hill while Nelson describes his trip out to Nevada, family matters, and sending money home.


Arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Holabird-Kagin Americana at the "Mining, Minerals and Mayhem Auction" in July 2011. Letter from John Nelson donated by Ronald Mullins in August 2021.



Guide to the Correspondence to Mary Leavitt
Jessica Maddox
December 2018
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)