Profiles & Biographies

They Never Locked the Door of the Jail at Ballarat

By LeROY and MARGARET BALES Desert Magazine – May 1941 The bonanza days in the Death Valley region have long since passed, but grizzled prospectors are still picking away in the hills, confident that rich ledges of gold and silver are yet to be uncovered. Ballarat was one of the boom towns in that area... Read More »

Indian George

He Witnessed the Death Valley Tragedy of ’49 By J.C. Boyles – Desert Magazine — Feb – 1940 When the ill-fated Jayhawker and Bennett-Manly parties trekked across Death Valley in 1849 the white gold-seekers were in mortal fear of the Indians who lurked along the trail. Today, 90 years later, Indian George Hansen, venerable patriarch... Read More »

Burying John Lemoigne

John Lemoigne Arrives in Death Valley The stark, simple beauty of Death Valley has often captured the imagination and the hearts of unwary visitors and held them in its spell for their lifetime. Such an unwitting victim of this desert magic was Jean Francois de Lamoignon, born in February 1857 at Lamoignon, France, and educated... Read More »

The Renegade Indian

A chapter from Senator Harry Reid’s book, “Searchlight: The Camp That Didn’t Fail” On February 21, 1940, the banner headline in the Las Vegas Review-Journal— BODY OF INDIAN FOUND— recalled for many in the town memories of the first murder the dead Indian had committed, thirty years earlier at Timber Mountain, just a few miles... Read More »

Shorty’s Grubstake

Once I asked Shorty Harris how he obtained his grubstakes. “Grubstakes,” he answered, “like gold, are where you find them. Once I was broke in Pioche, Nev., and couldn’t find a grubstake anywhere. Somebody told me that a woman on a ranch a few miles out wanted a man for a few days’ work. I... Read More »

Dorsey, the Dog Mail Carrier

During the great silver boom in the Calicos, a small community grew up around the Bismarck mine in the next canyon east of Calico camp. Together with the miners of the Garfield, Odessa, Occidental and other mines, there were perhaps 40 persons in the area, which was known as East Calico. While Calico was less... Read More »

The Walters Family

The Walters family is an important part of Hesperia history.  Starting with George Francis Walters, who moved his family from Illinois to California because his wife, Harriet C Finigan Walters had asthma. The family first settled in the Riverside area where he went to work for the Santa Fe Railroad. According to Bolton Minister, son... Read More »

The Lost Breyfogle Mine

The most famous lost mine in the Death Valley area is the Lost Breyfogle. There are many versions of the legend, but all agree that somewhere in the bowels of those rugged mountains is a colossal mass of gold, which Jacob Breyfogle found and lost. Jacob Breyfogle was a prospector who roamed the country around... Read More »

The “Battle” of Wingate Pass

from; Death Valley Historic Resource Study A History of Mining – Volume I Linda W. Greene Probably the most publicized event in the Wingate Pass area concerns one of Death Valley Scotty‘s most infamous hoaxes, referred to as the “Battle” of Wingate Pass. Conceived as a last-ditch effort to discourage further investigations by a mining... Read More »

Review of The Hunt for Willie Boy: Indian Hating and Popular Culture

by James A. Sandos and Larry E. Burgess Review: Linda S. Parker – San Diego State University The authors have written an enlightening historical ethnography of the Willie Boy episode. By illuminating the frontier myth and Indian-hating inherent in the dominant story of Willie Boy, and using Chemehuevi ethnographic literature and oral traditions, Sandos and... Read More »

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