Thursday, February 4, 2010

Water receipt from the Nevada Territory

Many of the states in America were first Territories of the United States, or parts of Territories, and later became states. I particularly like finding ephemera that indicate the Territory status for a state, such as the 1864 Nevada billhead above.

This is a receipt from the Virginia and Gold Hill Water Works (payable to the Water Company). Their office was in Virginia, N.T., as noted on the billhead. The N.T., of course, standing for Nevada Territory. Virginia is now Virginia City.

Nevada tried to become a state in 1863, but failed over disagreements about wording in the state constitution that was seen as unfavorable to the mining industry. The 1864 constitution was reworked and approved. On October 31, President Lincoln proclaimed Nevada a state in the United States. A concise history of Nevada's transition to statehood is found here.

Several months prior to statehood, and per this billhead, the Savage Mining Company was billed $150 for "renting" one month of water by the Virginia and Gold Hill Water Works. The Savage Mining Company, among many others, mined the Comstock Lode in Storey County, Nevada.

As mining operations and the general population increased in the Comstock communities, so too did the water consumption. To keep up with the demand, the Virginia City and Gold Hill Water Company was formed. More interesting history here about the development of the greatest pressurized water system in operation in the world.

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