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Nevada Company Records

 Collection
Identifier: NC428
The records of the Nevada Company were donated to the Special Collections Department of the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1971 and 1975 by Isaac N. P. Stokes, president of the company when it was dissolved. Mr. Isaac Stokes was the grandson of Anson Phelps Stokes, who founded the company in 1897. The collection consists of 13 cubic feet of materials dating from about 1897-1971. There are no restrictions on use of the collection.

The collection contains records of the Nevada Company, its subsidiary, the Nevada Central Railroad, its successor, the Nevada Motor Lines (also referred to as the Nevada Central Motor Lines and Hiskey Stages), as well as other mining interests of the Nevada Company. Mining Companies include the Austin Mining Company, the Goldfield Blue Bell Mining Company, the Antimony King Mine, and Berlin. Included with the Goldfield Blue Bell are records of the Shamrock Group, the Downeyville Group, and other smaller claims such as the Sullivan.

The records for these companies vary but include minutes of the boards of directors; bylaws and certificates of incorporation; deeds and other records of property acquisition and disposal; correspondence; court records for law suits; tax returns; reports to and by the boards of directors; bonds; stock certificates; officers' oaths; financial statements; inventories of equipment; profit and loss statements; and general subject files.

Although there are few records of the Nevada Central Railroad from before 1898, the railroad (post 1898), other Stokes' Nevada business concerns, and the relationship between these family-owned companies are well documented in this collection.

These records originated in the corporate office of The Nevada Company hence little of the day-to-day operations is communicated except through reports of superintendents. The financial records likewise tend to be of a summary nature, rather than consisting of day-to-day accounts. One important segment of the company's history, a lawsuit against general manager Farnsworth for fraud, is clearly revealed in this collection through numerous court records: testimony, complaints, briefs, etc. These records are placed with other legal papers of the Nevada Company in Series 1, Subseries 4. The Austin Mining Company also sued P. T. Farnsworth for embezzlement. Those records are located in Series 4.

Another particular item of note is a typescript notebook containing early histories and technical descriptions of the Nevada Company, Austin Mining Company, Nevada Central Railroad Company, and the Bank of Nevada. Several authors appear to have written these histories, including mining consultants.

Additional collections of records of The Nevada Company, the Nevada Central Railroad, and Stokes family members exist in other manuscript repositories. A letter of 1968 from John Davis Hatch, vice president of The Nevada Company and son-in-law of the Reverend Anson Phelps Stokes, states that papers of the Rev. Stokes and his brother, James Graham Stokes, had been placed with Yale Library and Columbia University, respectively (Special Collections donor file). Other Stokes family materials, including records of the Nevada Company were placed with the Nevada Historical Society. The NHS collection consists of ten boxes and three volumes, and dates from 1875-1949.

Dates

  • 1892-1971

Creator

Restrictions

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.

Extent

13.5 Cubic Feet (17 boxes)

Abstract

Nevada mining corporation organized in 1897; head office moved to New York 1942; company dissolved 1971. Company was largely owned by the Anson Phelps Stokes family which operated mining, transportation, and banking enterprises in Nevada and eastern California. Part of the company's property near Berlin, NV as purchased by the State for Ichthyosaurus State Park. The collection includes: Minutes, articles of incorporation, bylaws, stock certificates, legal records, litigation records, financial ledgers and journals, reports, and correspondence.

Administrative History

The Nevada Company was founded in 1897 by Anson Phelps Stokes (1838-1913). The company focused on mining and railroads in central Nevada, with their principal mining properties being located at Berlin, near the town of Ione. The Nevada Company's corporate offices were located in New Jersey.

The company's president was Stokes' son James G. Phelps Stokes. John Sherman Hoyt, husband of Anson's daughter Ethel, was vice president; James W. McCulloch, long-time secretary to Anson, was treasurer; and Tasker L. Oddie served as secretary. The general manager was P. T. Farnsworth who had also managed the Austin Mining Company for Stokes.

After the Nevada Company was established, Oddie discovered that Farnsworth had embezzled over $110,000.00 in the course of purchasing supplies, mining claims, a saloon, and mining properties. Farnsworth was sued by the Nevada Company in the U. S. Circuit Court in Salt Lake City, Utah, and after two trials, found liable for $77,000.00. Oddie's biographer Loren B. Chan, states that the senior Stokes became enraged by his inability to collect damages from Farnsworth because of the latter's lack of assets. Consequently Stokes ordered all his Austin mines closed and the machinery sold or destroyed, leaving only his Berlin property in operation (Chan, Sagebrush Statesman: Tasker L. Oddie of Nevada. Reno: Univ. of Nevada Press, 1973).

Anson Phelps Stokes and his family first became involved in Nevada mining in the 1860s in the Reese River mining district. He organized the Austin Mining Company in 1891 to acquire the properties of the closed Manhattan Silver Mine. During the next ten years he constructed the Austin-Manhattan drainage and haulage tunnel 6,000' under Lander Hill. Mining activity ceased after the Nevada Company/Farnsworth litigation of the late 1890s.

The Nevada Central Railway was another of the Stokes family's interests. Anson Phelps Stokes bought the rights to the railroad, planned to run between Austin and Battle Mountain, in 1879. Construction was completed between September 1879 and February 1880. In June 1881 the Nevada Central Railway was purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad but lack of income and the need for maintenance gave the U. P. reason to allow the line to be sold at bankruptcy to the stockholders. Those stockholders were the original owners, the Stokes family. They formed a new company, the Nevada Central Railroad on November 1, 1888.

The railroad depended heavily on mining production; the lack of haulage and various weather disasters contributed to low profits. Motor bus competition also had an effect and in April 1927 the Nevada Central began its own line of motor stages which became an affiliated company, the Nevada Central Motor Lines or Hiskey Stages. Despite this effort of 32 years of profitable operations and 25 years of losses the corporate charter was allowed to expire and the road abandoned in January 1938. Some rolling stock was sold for scrap and some donated to the Pacific Coast Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. (Source: David F. Myrick, Railroads of Nevada And Eastern California, vol. 1. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1990.)

James Stokes proposed the dissolution of the company in a letter to the stockholders on June 24, 1958 because of a major slump in the value of the company's ores and a rise in wages and operating costs. In addition, an earthquake in 1948 had destroyed the Berlin shaft and made the company's principal mine workings completely inaccessible, as well as collapsing their major surface structures.

A major archaeological find of ichthyosaur fossils at Union Canyon had been supported for a number of years by the company's free giving of water rights for use by the State of Nevada. Stokes proposed in 1958 to donate those water rights to the state before the company lost them through lack of beneficial use upon dissolution. In 1970 all of the company's Berlin property, including mineral and water rights, was sold to the Nature Conservancy, Inc. which in turn sold them to the State of Nevada when the legislature appropriated funds. This property, when added to already existing state lands, became Ichthyosaur State Park (now Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park).

Upon dissolution stockholders received a final distribution of $1.0408 per share. All records of the company were then donated to the University of Nevada, Reno.

Below is a list of Anson Phelps Stokes’ children, many of whom were involved in the running of the Nevada Company over the life of the company:

Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, 1867-1944 Sarah Maria Phelps Stokes, 1869-1943 Helen Olivia Phelps Stokes, 1870-1945 James Graham Phelps Stokes, 1872-1960 Rev. Anson Phelps Stokes, Jr., 1874-1958 Ethel Valentine Phelps Stokes, 1876-1952 Caroline M. Phelps Stokes, 1878-1964 Mildred Phelps Stokes, 1881-1970 Harold Montrose Phelps Stokes, 1887-1970

Other Stokes family with correspondence in the collection:

William Earle Dodge Stokes, Jr, (1896-?): Nephew of Anson Phelps Stokes, Sr.; brother to James Ellwood Stokes James Ellwood Stokes (1914-1998): Nephew of Anson Phelps Stokes, Sr.; brother to William Earle Dodge Stokes, Jr.

Arrangement

Series 1: Nevada Company Records

Subseries 1
Operational and General Records
Subseries 2
Correspondence
Subseries 3
Nevada Company Financial Records
Subseries 4
Nevada Company Legal Records
Series 2: The Nevada Central Railroad Company

Series 3: Nevada Central Motor Lines

Series 4: Austin Mining Company

Series 5: Goldfield Blue Bell Mining Company

Subseries 1
General Records
Subseries 2
The Downeyville Group
Subseries 3
The Shamrock Group
Subseries 4
Other Claims
Series 6: Berlin Group

Series 7: Antimony King Mine

Series 8: Correspondence

Series 9: Miscellaneous Files

Separated Materials

Photographs from the Nevada Company Records have been transferred to the Special Collections Photo Archive as the following collection numbers:

UNRS-P2704 UNRS-P2705 UNRS-P2706 UNRS-P1998-01

Creator

Title
A Guide to the Records of The Nevada Company
Status
completed
Author
Robert Armstrong
Date
1972
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5665
775-682-5724 (Fax)