Smith Creek

Smith Creek Cold Springs Dry Wells

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Remains of the Smith Creek Pony Express Station are on the present day Smith Creek Ranch located fourteen miles north of State Highway 2 on the east side of the Desatoya Mountains. There is one adobe building with a willow thatch roof and a second building with one section of adobe and another section of rock also with a thatch roof. The first building has been identified as the location of the corral. The adobe section of the second building is the original Pony Express Station house.

Smith Creek Pony Express Station was visited by Sir Richard Burton on October 14, 1860. He described it as follows:

"The station was sighted in a deep hollow. It had a good stone corral and the visual haystack, which fires on the hill tops seemed to menace. Amongst the station folks we found two New Yorkers, a Belfast man, and a tawny Mexican named Anton. The house was unusually neat, and displayed even signs of decoration in the adornment of the bunks with osier work taken from the neighboring creek. We are now in the lands of the Pa Yuta, and rarely fail to meet a party on the road: they at once propose 'shwop' and readily exchange pine-nuts for 'white grub', i.e., biscuits. I observed however, that none of the natives were allowed to enter the station house. After a warmer night than usual -- thanks to fire and lodging -- we awoke and found a genial south wind blowing."

At least two shootings are reported to have occurred at Smith Creek Station. The Virginia City Territorial Enterprise reported one case in August 1860:

"One day last week H. Trumbo, station keeper at Smith Creek, got into a difficulty with Montgomery Maze, one of the Pony Express Riders, during which Trumbo snapped a pistol at Maze several times. The next day the fracas was renewed when Maze shot Trumbo with a rifle, the ball entering a little above the hip and inflecting a dangerous wound. Maze has since arrived at this place (Carson City) bringing with him a certificate signed by various parties, exonerating him from blame in the affair and setting forth that Trumbo had provoked the attack."

William Carr has the dubious distinction of being the first legal hanging in the Nevada Territory. He was hanged in Carson City, Nevada, in 1860, for the murder of Bernard Cherry with whom he had quarreled some months previously at Smith's Creek Station. Sentence has passed by Judge John Cradlebaugh.

Source: Mason, The Pony Express in Nevada, 1976.

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