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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/848

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NEVADA


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NEVADA


from Now Mexico from time to time reached the Colo- rado Uiver near Nevada, but \vc have no record of any expedition liaving actually crossed over into the ter- ritory in question. In 1S25, however, Peter Skeen Opden, an American trapper from the Columbia River in the North-West, accompanied by a few men, started to explore the countrj' to the south-cast and reached the river now known as the Humboldt Uiver, in the present State of Nevada, which was in 1825 a nameless country, lying between California (which was then an iiidcfuiite stretch of country north of southern California) and New Mexico, which included in 1S25. Arizona and parts of Utah and Colorado. All the above ti'rritories, with unsettled boundaries on the north and east, belonged to Mexico until tlie treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1S4S, at the close of the Mexi- can War, when they were ceded to the United States. Long before these events, however, Utah and Nevada were settled by Americans and even provisional gov- ernment established. After the explorations of Ogden and his companions, American adventurers, mostly trappers, went to I'tah and Nevada, among whom was Kit Carson (then living in Taos, New Mexico), who in company with many others \'isited the country in 1831, 1833, 1.S44, 184.5. In 1843-44, Fremont with Carson and Ciodey, conducted various explorations, largely hunting expeditions, into Nevada, and in 1844-45, Elisha .Stevens, w^ith a small party, among whom were two women, p.ossed through Nevada on his journey from the Missouri River country to California. This wa.s the first caravan to traverse all this stretch of ter- ritory. After the Mexican cession of 1848 and the discovery of gold in California, Nevada was frequently traversed by the gold seekers and other western pio- neers on their way to California. Shortly after the signing of the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, the Mor- mons who had migrated westward and built the city of Salt Lake, established the State of Deseret, a com- monwealth which was to include what is now Utah, Nevada, Arizona, parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Ore- gon, and California. These Mormons found it profit- able business to meet the travellers on their way to California and furnish them provisions. In these trading expeditions they advanced south and west from Salt Lake City, and in 1849, they founded the first settlement in what is now Nevada, near the Car- son River. In 18.50, Congress organized the territo- ries of Utah (what is now Utah and Nevada), New Mexico (what is now New Mexico and Arizona), and the State of California. The territory now com- prised in the State of Nevada was organized as Carson County, Utah, under the political control, therefore, of the Mormons. Congress had fixed the western boundary of the Territory of Utah as the Sierra Ne- vada. i"he fact that the Siiirra Nevada was continu- ally kept in mind :us the barrier between T^tah and California, may have given an oecasicjn to call the ad- jacent territory east of California, Nevada, though the name does not come into prominence until 1860. By 1856, the mines were being strongly developed and American immigration was rapidly settling Carson County. A political conflict between the Mormons and the Gentiles for the control of the governmental afTairs of Carson County (which inclucfed practically all of what is now Neviula) lasted for several years. In 1865 the citizens of this county, mostly gentiles, petitioned the fiovemment of the United States to be annexed to California or be organized as a separate territory. The Government gave little heed to these demands, and for five years the political struggle raged fiercely between the two factions. Congress at last put an end to these troubles, and in 1861 Carson County, Utah, was organized as the Territory of Ne- vada. .James W. Nye was appointed as the first ter- ritorial governor. Thrct; years later a constitutional convention was held, a State constitution adopted, ^d in 1864 Nevada vyas adinitted aa a State, and


H. G. Blaisdel was elected the first governor. During the years 1865-85, the materia! developments in Ne- vada made rapid stridts, though contiiuially hampered by a heavy debt contracted since the early days of ter- ritorial legislatures.

Government. — Nevada was a part of the Territory of Utah from 1850 to 1861, a separate territory from 1861 to 1864, and organized as a Slate in 1864. The State constitution when first adopted granted numer- ous privileges to mining interests. Wliili! at first this seemed to be an incentive to the develo]5minit of the rising mining industries, it soon proved to be unfair to the commonwealth at large. A long series of liti- gations, costly to both sides, ensued between the State and the mine owners, in view of the ameiKliiieiits to the constitution, which struck out all parts whic h gave special privileges to the mining industry. The State constitution after many amendnieiils is now a safe- guard to the State and to the rights of its citizens. At present, Nevada is represented in the United States Congress by two senators and one representative.

Education. — At the time of the admission of Nevada as a territory in 1861, there was no public- school system and there were no schools. The popula- tion of the territory was about 7000-8000 people, but there were only four or five small private schools. An attempt was made to organize a school system in 1861, but beyond the appointment of a superintendent of jjublic iiistrui^tion and the establishment of a few schools with little or no funds, practically nothing w:us (lone vmtil 181)4, when Nevada was organized as a State. The number of schools was then eighteen, and by 1865 there were thirty-seven, and the number of pupils was about 1000. At present, Nevada has a complete system of education, gradually developed, which begins with the primary school and ends with the State University. The educational affairs of the State are controlled and managed by a State Board of Education consisting of the State governor, the Presi- dent of the University, aiid the State Superinten- dent of Public Instruction. The State is divided into five educational districts, each district being under the supervision and control of a dei)ut y superintendent and there are no county superintendents. According to the law of the State all children between the ages of eight to fourteen years are compelled to attend school, but the law has never been rigidly enforced. At present (1908), there are in Nevada 17,583 children under twenty-one years of age, of whom thirty-eight are negroes and fifty Mongolians. Of all these, 6,733 attencl the iniblic schools and 595 attend private and denominational schools. The total number of schools in the State is 308 with 414 teachers. There are two Catholic schools with about 200 pupils and an orphan asylum under the care of religious.

The State University was opened in 1886. It is now located at Reno and has various departments of arts, literature, science. The teaching force consists of fifty-four professors, assistant professors, and in- structors, and in 1909-10 the attendance was 220 students. The annual expenditures are at present about $200,000, some of this money being appro- priated for building purposes. The State has also a mining school, located at Virginia City, with about thirty students.

RELifiioN. — The first Catholic church to be built in Nevada was the one erected by Father Gallagher, at Genoa, in 1861. In 1862 the church was blown down and another built in its place. In 1864 Father Monteverde erected the first Catholic church at Aus- tin, and in 1871 Father Merril built the first church at Reno. The efforts of these first zealous ))riest3 were the beginning of the history of Catholicism in Nevada. Nevada has at present no bishop an<l the State does not form a diocese. The eastern half of the State, east of the 117th meridian, including also Austin and the country bordering on the Reese River