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Determining the Facts

Reading 2: Laws of White Pine Mining District, October 10, 1865

The following document contains the original laws governing the White Pine Mining District. They were amended in 1867.

If needed, refer to a dictionary when the terminology is difficult to understand.

Tuesday, October 10th, 1865

A company of miners met on the above day for the purpose of forming a district. The meeting was called to order and Robert Morrell was nominated to act as President.

Motion made and carried that this district be known as White Pine District--bounded on the north by the Red Hills, and running from thence south to a point where the mountain runs into a foot-hill; from thence east, 12 miles from thence; from thence north, and from thence west to the place of beginning; the district being twelve miles square.

Thomas J. Murphy was nominated to act as Recorder for the district, and was duly elected Recorder of White Pine District for a term of twenty-four months from date.

On motion, the following By-Laws were presented and approved:

First--The Recorder shall go on the ground and record all claims, for which he will be allowed one dollar per name, after which no mine can be relocated, but belongs forever to the parties whose names are recorded.-[Amended]

Second--There shall be an election for a new Recorder on the 10th of October of every second year, who shall be in office as Recorder for two years, unless by death removed, or by other reasons, when a notice signed by fifty of the miners of the district can call a meeting, published by a notice posted 30 days in the district, and advertised for 30 consecutive days in the Reese River papers.-[Amended]

Third--It shall be the duty of the Recorder to keep a suitable set of books, or a book, a full and truthful record of the proceedings of all public meetings; to place on record all claims put on notice or brought to him for record, when such claims shall not interfere or affect the rights or interests of prior locators, recording the same in order of their date. It shall be the duty of the Recorder to keep his books open at all times to the inspection of the public. He shall also have the power to appoint a deputy to act in his stead. It shall be the duty of the Recorder to deliver to his successors in office all books, records, papers, etc., belonging to or pertaining to his office.

Fourth--All examinations of the records must be made in the full presence of the Recorder or his deputy.

Fifth--Notice of a claim or location of mining ground by any individual, or by a Company, on file in the Recorder's office, shall be deemed equivalent to a record of the same.

Sixth--Each claimant shall be entitled to hold by location 200 feet on any lead in the district, with all the dips, spurs, angles, offshoots, outcrops, depths, with variations, and all the mineral and other valuables therein contained. The discoverer of, or locator of a new lead being entitled to one claim extra for discovery.

Seventh--The locator of any lead, lode or ledge in the district shall be entitled to hold on each side of his lead, lode or ledge, located by him, or them, one hundred feet. But this shall not be construed to mean any distinct or parallel ledge within two hundred feet, other than the one originally located.

Eighth--All locations shall be made by a written notice posted upon the ground.

Ninth--Every claim located by individuals or company shall be recorded within 14 days after the date of location.-[Amended]

Tenth--The Recorder shall be allowed 50 cents per name for every name on an abstract of record furnished by him.

Eleventh--The Recorder or his deputy is not required to reside constantly in the district.-[Amended]

Twelfth--These laws cannot be amended, altered or repealed for two years.

Thirteenth--These laws shall take effect on and after the 10th day of October 1865.

Questions for Reading 2

1. What was the role of the Recorder for the district? Why was this role so important for the mining district?

2. Why must the Recorder keep his books open to the public for inspection? Why must the Recorder be there when an examination of the records occurred?

3. How was a claim staked?

4. Who determined the By-Laws of the district? If needed, refer to Reading 1. Do you think this was an effective process? Why or why not?

Reading 2 was excerpted from Harlan D. Unrau, Basin and Range: A History of Great Basin National Park, Nevada (U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1990).

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