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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 33

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Chapter 5 Our Friend Tasker… Introducing the Oddie Family… The “ Damn Horse” Rondo… Pine Creek Ranch… Dancing, 300 Feet Underground… A Guided Tour through the Tunnels… The Glory Hole, “ Sweetest Ground in the District”… Six Inches from Perfection WHEN I ARRIVED IN TONOPAH, Tasker Oddie was in New York negotiating the sale of some of the claims owned by him and his partners. He was by no means unknown to me, however, for Hugh’s letters had set the stage of Tonopah with Tasker as the hero. I met him, of course, as soon as he returned. He was a tall man, over thirty and somewhat bald, on the crest of a wave of good fortune, gay and generous. From the moment Hugh had arrived in camp almost a year earlier, these two men had been comrades. Both were graduate lawyers, Hugh from Stanford, Tasker from New York University; both had been selected because of character and attainments to go to the frontier on errands of trust; both were typical twentieth century pioneers. Tasker was the outdoor man, bronzed, khaki- clad, with high- laced boots and broad- brimmed Stetson; Hugh, the office man, the counsellor, equally tall and slender but clothed in the same grey suits and white collars he wore in San Francisco - except for a battered old grey hat. “ This hat? Why, this hat is the concession I make to my environment.” In 1904 Tasker was grading the roadbed on the flat west of town for the railroad that was slowly approaching us. He had brought in some fifty draft horses to do the job, and a few saddle horses, among them Rondo, his special mount, together with a magnificent pair of trotter she maintained for traveling to Sodaville, where he met the Southern Pacific. We rode horseback with him almost every Sunday, ending with supper at his home or ours. There was little in the way of entertainment outside our homes and Tasker's horses added variety and great pleasure to our lives. Like a silver thread through our lives ran our friendship with the Oddie family. Tasker's mother and sisters came to Tonopah after the silver strike, and the youngest sister, Anna, married Fred Siebert, a promising mining engineer, soon after their arrival. They were a magnificent- looking pair. All the Oddies were tall, but Anna was the tallest of the three girls -“ just under six feet with my shoes off,” she told me - and Fred topped her by four inches. Anna and I established a friendship that lasted throughout our lives. As long as Tasker kept horses in Tonopah, we rode together, and later our children played together.



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