Sunday, June 29, 2008
Carson City's Lone Mountain Cemetery
Most people don't usually think of a cemetery as a place for history, but some of Nevada’s most prominent historical figures can be found at the Lone Mountain Cemetery in Carson City.
Lone Mountain can trace its beginnings to the early 1860s and the earliest days of Carson City. Many pioneering Carsonites—as well as several governors and other 19th century state leaders—were laid to rest at Lone Mountain.
According to historian Cindy Southerland, who several years ago compiled an inventory of the cemetery, the 40-acre burial ground consists of seven separate cemeteries including sections for Masons, Oddfellows, Catholics, and children.
While it might sound odd, Lone Mountain is an interesting place to explore, particularly if you have Southerland's inventory as a guide. For instance, the Catholic section, located at the southeast end of the cemetery is home of several prominent Nevadans such as Mathias and Marcella Rinckel.
Mathias Rinckel, who was born in Germany in 1833, was an early resident of Carson City, having established a successful cattle ranch in the area in 1863. In 1876, Rinckel built a grand home for his wife, the Rinckel Mansion at 102 North Curry Street, which is still standing.
Mathias Rinckel, who died in 1879, also helped finance Carson City's first two opera houses as well as construction of St. Teresa de Avila Church. Marcella Rinckel, who died in 1933, was active in the women's suffrage movement in the state.
The former Oddfellows section, found in the northeastern portion of Lone Mountain, contains other familiar names including Abraham Curry, who is considered the father of Carson City.
Curry, who was born in New York in 1815, arrived in Carson City in 1858. With partners John J. Musser, Benjamin Green, and Frank Proctor, he purchased about 1,000 acres in Eagle Valley and laid out the community of Carson City.
Additionally, Curry built the Warm Springs Hotel (located near the site of the present Nevada State Prison) as well as the prison, the Carson City Mint building and the Virginia and Truckee Railroad shops.
His political accomplishments included stints as a Territorial Assemblyman from 1862-63, a Territorial Senator from 1863-64, warden of the state prison and superintendent of the mint.
Curry died in 1873 and, despite his achievements, was buried in a modest grave with a wooden marker because his family did not have the financial means to do otherwise. The original marker disintegrated over the years and it wasn't until 1964 that a more suitable one was erected.
Other prominent early Nevadans that can be found at Lone Mountain include:
• Henry Marvin Yerington, superintendent of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad and namesake for a western Nevada community. Yerington, who died in 1910, also constructed the first flume to send timber from Lake Tahoe to the Comstock mines.
• Denver S. Dickerson, who served as Nevada's 11th governor from 1908 to 1910. Dickerson was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1906, then assumed the top job upon the death of Governor John Sparks in 1908. He was defeated when he sought a full term but later served as superintendent of the state police and warden of the state prison. He died in 1925 and is one of five governors buried at Lone Mountain.
• Abe Cohn, a Carson City businessman known primarily for his commercial association with legendary Washoe basketmaker Dat so la lee. Cohn, who died in 1934, sold Dat so la lee's magnificent woven baskets for 40 years.
• Hank Monk, a stage driver who was immortalized by writer Mark Twain for a white-knuckle ride from Carson City to Placerville that he provided to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune. Monk supposedly traveled the 109-mile distance in less than ten hours.
• Jennie Clemens, daughter of Orion Clemens, who served as Nevada's Territorial Secretary in 1863, and niece of writer Mark Twain. Jennie Clemens died of spotted fever in 1864 at the age of nine.
• Anne Hudnall Martin, a remarkable woman who served Carson City as a school teacher for 13 years, then as owner and editor of the Carson Daily Morning News.
A copy of Cindy Southerland's excellent publication is available at the Carson City Library. A condensed version that describes the history of Lone Mountain Cemetery and selected burial sites was also produced.