Sunday……….June 24, 1883


Climatic Impulsiveness—Young Reese River Cyclones—Base Ball Speculations and Deductions—Independence Day and Pioneer Patriotism—Reese River in Cold Chunks—Unique Bath—A $10,000 Suit—Of Clothes—Smelting and Milling—Bricks—Jonas Seely’s Sad Ending.

[Correspondence of the Enterprise.]

AUSTIN, Nev., June 22, 1883.

Nothing can be more legitimate than hot weather in the proper time and season of it, but the only difficulty is to define and satisfactorily apportion the various contingencies thereof. Here in Austin the weather is totally different from anywhere else on the surface of the globe. It is an impulsive climate. The old pioneer, who always knows it all, swears that he could always bet on the weather in California; that if [it] blew there three days in succession, from the southwest, it was the deadest thing in the world on a big rain, or anyhow a decent storm, but he can’t do it here. A week of snow storms may be succeeded by six weeks of red-hot weather, with chances in favor of about six weeks more of the same sort, without over five degrees variation, and then a disgusting lot of early Spring and late Fall weather. But the most impulsive variety of weather here is the cloudburst. On the impulse of the moment a seven weeks’ siege of red-hot weather may change to the roughest kind of a cloud-burst, flooding the whole district and washing away buildings, mules or anything else what happens to get in the way. Twice the central part of Austin has been thus suddenly and unexpectedly swept by huge floods of rain water pouring and surging down Main street, carrying away, on one occasion, the Postoffice, the Reveille office and other buildings, beside any amount of sidewalks, awnings and other similarly moveable property. For years the prudent old residents have been on the lookout for another cloud-burst flood, but it does not come. But it will—sometime when least expected.


Reese River Valley is the home of the cyclone. Most any day half a dozen of them can be seen slowly and majestically waltzing about over the sagebrush plain. These whirling columns of dust spontaneously and impulsively arise, and sometimes can be seen for hours whirling hundreds of feet in the air, never interfering with each other and doing no material damage. Occasionally one more enterprising or aggressive than the rest will come sweeping up the canyon and across a portion of Austin, creating a smart temporary commotion among loose boards, shingles, paper and dust. When one of them passes up Main street everybody knows it, and there is a lively slamming of doors until it has passed on its way over the Toiyabe range into Smoky Valley. Untold millions of them have thus gone over there, never to return. As before remarked, they are harmless; but then the country is new and these cyclones are young. A few hundred years hence, when they shall have attained age and strength, perhaps Austin may be totally obliterated by them, and they may be more feared than the cloudburst floods are now.


The recent base-ball fever has ingloriously subsided. Our boys went to Eureka and got scooped. Then the Eureka boys came over here, and at the big Miners’ Union picnic, last Saturday, they gave our boys another walloping, finishing up next day by genteelly beating them for the third time. Then they quietly and unostentatiously returned to Eureka. That Sunday game was well attended, a special train taking everybody, church members and all, down into the valley for the purpose. What would this Nation be without the noble game of base ball? Where should we look for our rising American statesmen, talented preachers, politicians, demagogues, and great men generally, were there no base ballers? Look at the brains, manly energy and grand ambition expended in the ennobling game of base ball! Verily without it this world would be a stupid blank and life not worth living. Even the wild, untutored Piutes and Shoshones are rapidly yielding to its civilizing influence, and several of them came home from the picnic howling drunk.


As the glorious Fourth approaches a patriotic American sentiment wells forth more and more upon the sagebrush breezes of Eastern Nevada, and preparations are being made to properly celebrate that proud national day. Here in Austin a lot of money has been raised, the orator and other requisites selected, and we shall have a great time, winding up at night with the regular annual ball of the old stiffs—the society of Reese River Pioneers. When it comes to honest American patriotism the old boys are all there. The men who marched in the front rank, and braved all danger and privations in the frontier development of the country, are the truest patriots to-day, and the most reliable and consistent lovers of their proud American Republic. They can’t play base-ball, but at a picnic or a ball where there are ladies and fiddles and dancing the gallant old pioneer is right at home. By the way, I notice that your Committee of Arrangements for the celebration of the Fourth at Virginia have secured George H. Morrison and W. G. Hyde, both of Gold Hill, as orator and poet. Gold Hill could always be relied upon to stand in on that proud occasion, even though she celebrated by herself independently of Virginia, something she does not seem disposed to do any more since the consolidation.


Last Winter, when Reese river was frozen solid, two opposition ice dealers cut it up and hauled it to town. Now they are actively peddling it out at a cent a pound, and have enough to last till the next freeze. Meanwhile the springs thawed, the catfish and suckers crawled out of the mud, and the river is as good as ever. Being about six miles from town, when an Austinite concludes to take a bath in Reese river he buys a chunk of it, thaws it out, lies down and rolls over in it, and with a little effort of the imagination as to sagebrush and mosquitos he easily realizes that he is taking a genuine river bath. By using it over a time or two the realization becomes still more complete.


When a mine is not considered worth quarreling about, its owners or claimants do not make themselves prominent, but just let an old location be suddenly discovered to be rich, or if it happens to be sold for a good price plenty of owners can be found willing to come in for a "divvy." So it is now with the old Breen mine, near here, which was recently sold for $20,000. A year or two ago a tailor reluctantly took a deed for one-half of the mine in payment for a cheap suit of clothes, and now he wants half of that coin. But new smelting furnace at Battle Mountain is nearing completion, and great expectations are being indulged in with regard to its capabilities for reducing the ores from this section. Being nearly 100 miles from Austin, however, the item of transportation is liable to interfere detrimentally against the mines of this immediate vicinity. Owners of some of the richer base metal mines, the ores of which cannot be profitably worked by regular mill process, signify their intention of trying the new smelting works by and by. Meanwhile the old Manhattan mill keeps pounding away right straight along, and making its almost daily shipment of ten bars a day, worth $1,000 each. The mines also continue their regular yield, with plenty of ore in sight, bidding fair to keep the mill supplies for some months yet.


The news of Jonas Seely’s death came very sudden and unexpected to his friends in this section, although he was sick when he left here for his home in Oakland, California. The first part of last November Seely came from Denver and visited the Twin River mine, of which he was the principal owner, situated in Ophir Canyon, some fifty miles to the southward from here. He was on his way to Oakland, where he said he would make a home for his family and settle down in peace and comfort the rest of his life. He said he had done well at his profession as a lawyer in Denver, and had amassed an ample fortune, upon which he was satisfied to retire and enjoy life during the remainder of his days. He looked hopeful, fat and happy, and the old light beamed in his eye that we all remember in the early days of the Comstock, when Seely was prominent in the community. On the 23d of last month he came again and went out to visit his mine. He returned on the 31st, and that evening I visited him at his room in the hotel. He seemed very much depressed, and said he was sick. He made no complaint regarding his mine or his business affairs generally, but was evidently suffering from fatigue and decidedly ill-health. His face was pale and haggard, with a wan and weary expression, and he seemed hardly able to be out of bed. He said he should leave for Oakland by the morning train, but at my earnest solicitation he concluded to lay over for a day and rest, leaving on the morning of June 2, still seriously ill. He arrived at his home in Oakland, and died on the 15th instant. It does seem hard for a man to battle through long years in the worldly strife for competence and comfortable, pleasant home, to which he has looked forward as a haven of rest and peace, wherein to happily end his days, and thus, at the last, have so few days to enjoy the long-coveted prize. It is certainly a sad, unsatisfactory ending.


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