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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 96

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His connection with the American Bar Association had begun with his law school days. When he attended the sessions in 1907 and 1908, Hugh was shocked to hear the outspoken condemnation of Nevada for its easy divorce laws. After the legislature shortened the residential requirements, the class of lawyers flooding the state and the kind of law they practiced were most objectionable. Knowing the high caliber of the state’s resident lawyers, the disapproval troubled him seriously, and he spent a large part of the year 1909 bringing to the attention of the reputable lawyers of the state the immediate necessity of creating a strong legal organization to curb the flagrant abuses. Through his determination, the Nevada State Bar Association was chartered in 1910. In recognition of his efforts, Hugh was elected its first president. Our little boys were still too young for me to leave them and accompany Hugh on his trips east to meetings of the American Bar Association, of which he had been a member since law school days. But I did go with him when business took him to nearby places. One such occasion arose when a serious water litigation case came up in Lovelock. Hugh’s client was Mrs. Arthur Rogers, a wealthy widow from San Francisco, who owned hundreds of acres of ranchland in Pershing County. Mrs. Rogers was a Lady Bountiful. During our stay in Lovelock, she had all kinds of delicacies shipped in daily from San Francisco, even flowers in huge boxes. These lovely blossoms were distributed throughout the lobby and the dining room of the hotel, as well as in the rooms we occupied. The day the trial ended, Mrs. Rogers gave us one of these great boxes from the florist. Arriving home in Tonopah, I telephoned to a few friends to come in to tea. I planned that when the front door was opened, all the flowers would be on display. To accomplish this taxed every utensil I owned. In the afternoon when my friends arrived, they could hardly credit their eyes. Never had any of us seen so much color in Tonopah. Even when we had a wet year and the pale desert flowers of Nevada burst into bloom, there was hardly more than a faint glow of color; but here was a profusion of yellow roses, deep pink peonies, purple iris, daffodils, delphiniums, and carnations. After tea, I told each lady to help herself to the blossoms she most desired, I wanted them to feel that they had gathered their own bouquets. When Mrs. Rogers offered me that box of flowers, she gave us all a beautiful experience. During these years the national resources of lumber, minerals, and water were being concentrated in private ownership. As an associate devil, tariffs and freight rates were progressively more unjust to the middle and western states. In 1911 voices in the West were accusing “ vested interests” of forming legislative committees composed of railroad henchmen or campaign contributors for the purpose of passing laws to control these tariffs. Besides the demand for a referendum by means of which partisan or crippling laws



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