A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 54
When mine owners tried to curb the looting of rich ore pockets, labor organizers in the International Workers of the World swarmed into Goldfield, and a few men were killed. Captain Case, a companion of our stagecoach honeymoon, figured, and not too well, in these negotiations. In dealing with the miners, he was arrogant and unyielding, as might have been expected from his university and military background. The mine operators employed men to buddy around with suspected high-graders, trap them into drinking, and capture them with the rocks still in their possession. It was a dangerous and exciting game, and once I had a glimpse of the danger. One night about midnight we were awakened by someone scuffing clumsily up the steps. Hugh answered the loud knocking to find at the door a young man, roughly dressed and spattered with blood. He told excitedly of having captured two men who had been suspected of high- grading. He had locked them in a room behind the Sagebrush Club. Hugh was needed to complete the formalities of their arrest. There had been a rainstorm earlier in the evening, and the flashes of lightning and murmurs of thunder rolling away into the mountains emphasized my feeling of possible danger to my husband. I pleaded with him not to go. Hugh said quietly, “ You wouldn’t have me shirk my duty because it was dangerous, would you? Nothing will happen to me.” Nothing did happen to Hugh, of course, but stolen wealth and danger in the night were pretty heady stuff. I was never allowed to forget I was living in Boomtown. Governor Sparks was at last prevailed upon by the Mine Operators’ Association to appeal to President Theodore Roosevelt to send troops into Goldfield “ to keep the peace.” At that time there was no state militia or police force in Nevada. It was a real shock to see soldiers marching through our streets, when they arrived in Tonopah on their way to Goldfield. Much criticism was leveled at Governor Sparks as well as the mine operators for making the appeal, but the incident pointed up the fact that a state law enforcement department was needed in Nevada.
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